As the subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre is built, there will be development around it, which means there will be public art.
And for the first time, the City of Toronto will have a master plan guiding how the area is culturally enriched by works of art.
The Scarborough Centre Public Art Plan currently being shaped will result in “public art that is of the highest quality, visually stimulating and of enduring value,” the city told Scarborough community council in February.
When you ask people where they go in Toronto to see public art, “I don’t think Scarborough will be at the top of the list,” said Scarborough Centre Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker.
“Give us a decade and the answer will be different.”
Money for art will flow with subway-related development. The city requires one per cent of the budget for art around developments “over a certain size,” and art will be roughly one half of one per cent of spending for the extension and the new Scarborough Centre bus terminal, said Diane Burchill, an urban design manager for the city.
Areas around Scarborough Civic Centre already hold a number of sculptures receiving scant notice, including the “internationally significant” Hand of God by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, standing in a park on Borough Drive.
Burchall said public art can reinforce community pride, contribute to diversity, tell a story and connect us to the past.
Neethan Shan, newly-elected as a councillor for Scarborough-Rouge River, said it’s important for the selection of artists to be done through an “equity lens,” and for all communities in Scarborough to be aware of the plan.
At St. Andrews Public School, students from grades seven and eight worked on a large model of the Civic Centre area, and on Monday, Feb. 27, they gave a presentation to city officials.
The next public meeting for the art plan is on March 27 in the Civic Centre Rotunda at 7 p.m. After another round of consultations on a draft, city staff hope to have a final report to community council in June, Burchall said.