Call to Artists: Toronto Waterfront Artist Residency



The Waterfront BIA and Waterfront Toronto are seeking applications for an exciting Artist Residency opportunity. The 16-month residency will start in August 2020 with a period of community integration and research, and will culminate with the implementation of projects during 2021, which has been declared the Year of Public Art by Mayor Tory. Artists will have the chance to engage with current projects led by the BIA and Waterfront Toronto, as well as connect with members of the local community, in order to develop innovative and compelling art projects that are relevant to Toronto’s waterfront. This opportunity is open to all professional artists or artist teams in the Greater Toronto Area who have experience in art presented in the public realm and community-engaged art.

The aim of this residency is to create meaningful, experiential encounters with the community, to activate multiple underutilized spaces along the lakefront, and draw new audiences to the waterfront. Projects may include workshops, performances, events, urban interventions, and temporary or ephemeral installations. Interactive and participatory projects will be encouraged, as will projects that invite collaborations with artists from different disciplines. This residency will create an opportunity for artists to expand their practice and develop innovative ways to integrate art into the fabric of the city. It will also contribute towards the ongoing dialogue on public art and civic space, particularly during this singular time.

The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a constantly evolving present and an unforeseeable future. The approach to this Artist Residency will be rooted in the current times and must therefore involve flexibility, a willingness to improvise, and an ability to think of new ways of engaging the public and using our public spaces. If necessary, the artist must explore creative ways to engage with communities that are exciting and safe for everyone. These processes must take into consideration public health guidelines.

This project is an equal partnership between Waterfront Toronto and The Waterfront BIA. Funding and artist support will be provided by both organizations.


General Submission Requirements

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

  • Artist statement
  • Images of previous relevant work
  • Artist CV
  • References

This is a two-stage competition. Submissions will be reviewed by a jury convened for this project. Waterfront BIA and Waterfront Toronto intend to identify one successful Proponent to undertake this project.


The total commissioning amount for this project is $50,000 CAD, split into six phases over the course of the residency.


Issue Call to Artists (Stage 1): June 17, 2020
Submission Deadline: July 22, 2020
Shortlist Interviews (Stage 2): August 10-15, 2020
Proponent Selection: Mid-August 2020
Contract issued: Late August 2020
Residency Start: Late August 2020
Research and planning period: Late August-December 2020
Inaugural community-engaged event: Fall 2020
Project implementation: January 2021-December 2021 (with a focus on shoulder seasons, i.e. outside the high season summer months)

For more information about the opportunity, including detailed submission requirements, download the complete call (PDF).

Submission Deadline: July 22, 2020, at 4:00pm EST.
Submissions sent after the deadline will be disqualified.

For questions please contact Katherine Hebb at

This page is a letter of introduction only. Please read in full the Call to Artists, which contains instructions, evaluation criteria, submission requirements, and residency scope.