Coming Soon! Public Space Incubator projects in a public space near you

April 18, 2019

Jake Tobin Garrett

As the weather turns warmer and the leaves start to bud, the recipients of our Public Space Incubator grants from our first round of funding in 2018 are getting ready to sprout as well.

Sign up for our newsletter to be sure to get more details as launch days approach and programs start, but here’s the skinny on when and where you’ll see these amazing, innovative public space projects pop up around the city this spring and summer.

Red Embers

Conceived as a celebration of the strength and resilience of the Indigenous community and as a memorial to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Red Embers seeks to open up new positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The Red Embers installation is a site-specific work by Indigenous designers Tiffany Creyke, Larissa Roque and Citylab’s Lisa Rochon. Below the tree canopy and along the major pathways in Allan Gardens, thirteen charred cedar gates will be installed with a great red banner suspended from each one. All of the fabric banners have been individually designed by Indigenous women artists from Toronto and across Canada using a variety of materials: tin jingles, beads, paints, road kill bones.

The project team has been working in partnership with the Native Women’s Resource Centre to commission these 13 designs. Interpretive programming is also being planned, with a project website in development that will provide more information on the artists and project. Additionally, an Indigenous healing garden will also be unveiled at Allan Gardens, and planted by Indigenous and non-Indigenous volunteers later this spring. Official opening of the project is early June 2019.



University of Guelph professors Brendan Stewart and Karen Landman and Master of Landscape Architecture grad Daniel Rotsztain partnered with the Wexford Heights BIA to create a pop-up plaza in one of the area’s lively strip mall parking lots along Lawrence Avenue in Scarborough.

Through a BIA innovation fund grant, which they received after their PSI grant, the project team was able to expand their vision to include evaluation and documentation of the project as a resource for other BIAs looking to do something similar.

The plazaPOPS team has been hard at work over the winter months working with a community stakeholder committee to finalize a design. The project team worked with students from the University of Guelph to prepare design concepts presented back to the community for input, including an online survey where people could vote. Official opening is early July 2019.


Urban Discovery

Urban Discovery is a youth-focused initiative that aims to change perceptions about things normally viewed as a nuisance—like a large downtown rail corridor. By creating a program of events rooted in adventure play and discovery about trains, the project will present the 14 tracks in the rail corridor at Bathurst and Front as an object of education and curiosity. Centred with a public-access train viewing platform, the project helps us to connect in a new way with a part of the city often overlooked.

The project team is partnering with Children’s Discovery Centre and Earth Day Canada to bring pop-up loose parts play to the open spaces and have collaborated with DeRail to design the train viewing platform.

Stackt Market opened to the public on April 10 and the official opening of the Urban Discovery project is slated for June 2019 with regular programming dates to be announced following.


Thorncliffe Community Cafe

The Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee aims to bring people together and create economic opportunities through food and programming in R.V. Burgess Park.

With a shipping container community café already established in the park through funding from the City, Trillium Foundation, and Metcalfe Foundation, the TPWC is using its PSI funding to establish a sustainable model for its operation that provides economic opportunities for local residents, many of them newcomers, to become entrepreneurs. They are also creating new cafe seating around the cafe to make it a more inviting place to stop and have a bite to eat in the park.

Official opening of the new cafe seating in the park is May 2019 and regular programming, such as community dinners, will occur during the Friday night markets starting in June 2019 and running until end of September.


Nicholson Laneway Linear Park

By working with partners along Nicholson Lane in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood, The Laneway Project is transforming this laneway through plantings, public art, seating, lighting, and, ultimately, the creation of mobile micro-scale units to create affordable places for local community organizations to offer programming.

The first phase of the project will include community planter gardens and benches, mural art, lighting improvements, way-finding, and a mobile performance space created in collaboration with local community arts charity Jamii Esplanade. Official opening is slated for late September 2019.

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