Toronto’s Villiers Island just received a $25 million gift. Today, at an event on the city’s waterfront, it was announced that the donation, made by the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation, is the largest arts-related gift ever received by the city, and will create a new, outdoor public art trail in Toronto’s transformed Port Lands.
The Lassonde Art Trail will be a free, open-air route in parks along the banks of the new mouth of the Don River. Waterfront Toronto is building the parks as part of the Port Lands Flood Protection Project. Two permanent pieces — one by a leading Canadian artist, and another by an international artist — is set to anchor the trail. A rotating cycle of contemporary installations from local, national, and international artists will also be featured.
Mayor John Tory was joined by members of the Lassonde family, Toronto city councillors, and Stephen Diamond, Chair of Waterfront Toronto at the event.
“With two new permanent art works as its centrepiece, the art trail, envisioned as part of the revitalization of the Port Lands, will serve as a free, accessible outdoor museum for visitors and residents alike — all of which play a big role in bringing art to public spaces in our city,” said Mayor Tory.
The donation includes $10 million to commission two landmark permanent art works, and up to $15 million to establish a new non-profit organization that will manage the art trail.
Next month, city council will vote on whether to move forward and accept the donation. If approved, the foundation will appoint an executive director, select a jury for permanent artworks, and begin identifying potential art to exhibit.
“Toronto’s revitalized waterfront is becoming an art destination in itself,” said Stephen Diamond, Chair of Waterfront Toronto. “This gift is transformational for Toronto’s waterfront and will contribute to making Villiers Island a major destination for all.”