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Towering aliens will take to streets of Toronto as developers push public art for placemaking

Toronto citizens will soon be able to take an intergalactic journey on their way to work, thanks to a sci-fi tinged public art installation that will encourage placemaking in one of the city’s burgeoning neighbourhoods.

Artistic collective Blue Republic will create a pair of 15ft (4.5m) alien characters to stand guard over the cafes, offices and a new residential development on Redpath Street. The group won the contract after coming first in a public art competition organised by the city.

The permanent 3D installations, collectively called Stargate, will be created using bronze and glass. As the backdrop for the sculptures, two glass murals mounted on the buildings behind will represent portals through which the characters came.

“The installation will be very theatrical and dramatic, bringing a fresh energy to the streetscape,” said Todd Cowan, managing partner of Capital Developments, which is funding the residential development with Freed Developments and is supporting the art project. “We wanted the public art to activate this street, so we pushed to ensure the final work would be bold, colourful, contemporary and rooted in narrative and meaning.

“The artists have drawn from a well of inspiration – everything from world religions and Greek mythology to sci-fi and pop-culture. Themes of connectivity and diversity are intrinsic to the piece and elevate the whole concept. We are meant to explore and understand our differences.”

Cowan said that public art is “one of the most powerful tools” that developers can use in placemaking, and installations such as Stargate “can create a sense of identity to a new space.”

Blue Republic are considering expanding their Stargate to other countries, connecting Toronto to “a global art phenomenon.”

Canada has become something of a hotbed of public art in recent times. Earlier this year, Toronto hosted the 2016 Winter Stations art festival on its beaches, and Montreal hosts an annual Luminotherapie light festival, showcasing installations such as LED-lit musical see-saws.

Toronto  Canada  Stargate  public art  placemaking  Blue Republic  Capital Developments 
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Toronto citizens will soon be able to take an intergalactic journey on their way to work, thanks to a sci-fi tinged public art installation that will encourage placemaking in one of the city’s burgeoning neighbourhoods. Artistic collective Blue Republic will create a pair of 15ft (4.5m) alien characters to stand guard over the cafes, offices and a new residential development on Redpath Street. The group won the contract after coming
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A pair of 15ft aliens will be added to Toronto's Redpath Street following a public art competition / Blue Republic
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