Call to Artists: Temporary Floating Public Art, Waterfront Toronto


A+J Art+Design, SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers), Photograph by Nicola Betts

Call to Artists: Temporary Floating Public Art
Harbour Square Park Basin, Toronto


Waterfront Toronto is seeking to commission a professional artist or artist team to create a temporary floating artwork for Harbour Square Park Basin. Artists are asked to submit proposals for installation during summer 2020. The artwork will activate the basin by engaging with the local community and visitors to the waterfront.

Harbour Square Park is located on the shore of Lake Ontario, one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Containing one-fifth of all surface freshwater on Earth, the lakes are a vital source of drinking water and food. Throughout history these interconnected bodies of water have been critically important for trade, human settlement and migration. They are sacred to the First Peoples, who have inhabited the shores and fished in their waters since time immemorial. The lakes’ unique ecosystems are host to a diverse array of plants and animals, and their shores and waters provide recreation for millions of people.

Today, multipoint pollution, climate change, over-extraction, invasive species, and wetland loss are all taking a toll on their watersheds. Water scarcity, often perpetuated by climate change, is one of the most pressing global challenges today, particularly in its relationship to migration. It is imperative we remain engaged with the importance of these waters and with the challenges they face.

With this context in mind, artists are asked to develop work that explores water as a connector. They should consider the history and importance of these waterways and their role as geographical, ecological, political, economic, social, and spiritual connectors.

General Submission Requirements

Waterfront Toronto is inviting practicing professional artists to include in their submission:

  • Artist statement
  • Images of proposed artwork
  • Proposed budget breakdown and schedule
  • Images of previous and relevant work
  • Artist CV
  • References
  • Submission Form

This is a one-stage competition. Submissions will be reviewed by an independent jury convened for this project. Waterfront Toronto intends to identify one successful Proponent to undertake this project.


The total commissioning budget is $45,000 CAD +HST. This includes all artist fees, design costs, materials, shipping, installation and removal, insurance and permits.


Issue RFP – January 29, 2020
Deadline for Questions – February 28, 2020
Submission Deadline – March 16, 2020
Proponent Selection – Late March 2020
Contract Issued – Early April 2020
Fabrication – April-July 2020
Installation – Mid-July 2020
Artwork removal – September 2020

For more information about the opportunity, including detailed submission requirements, visit our website at: and click on the “current procurement opportunities” tab.

Submission deadline is March 16, 2020 at 2:00pm EST

Please direct all enquiries by email to:, to the attention of Sam Petralito, and reference the Opportunity number (RFP #2020-05) in your email. Responses to enquiries will be posted on our website at under the “current procurement opportunities” tab.

This page is a letter of introduction only. Please read in full the Waterfront Toronto Request for Proposals document RFP #2020-05 which contains instructions, evaluation criteria, submission requirements, site details and technical requirements, and terms and conditions.