Artful Flows the Don

15 December 2015 – A play on Sholokhov’s epic novel, Quiet Flows the Don, but can you blame me? When I have Toronto’s Don River on one side, and this duo on the other?

Bridgepoint Hospital sculpture

I have no expectation of any of this. I am minding my own business, following a shortcut through Bridgepoint Hospital grounds to Riverdale Park East, where I’ll take the pedestrian bridge over the Don that also allows me to drop down to the Lower Don Trail at river’s edge.

I knew that Bridgepoint had commissioned a lot of public art, but I did not know about all these leaping sculptures, flying down the stepped walkway between the hospital and the river’s east bank that leads to the park. (I’m headed for that first, low green bridge.)

view northward, Bridgepoint sculptures

Wowzers, I think, and do a bit of leaping myself, to catch more images.

Like this trio, silhouetted against the city skyline toward the west.

Bridgepoint sculptures, looking westward

And this guy, bold against the hospital’s equally bold architecture (Diamond Schmitt, if you’re interested).

Bridgepoint sculptures

Or these figures, bursting at me from the surrounding mist.

Bridgepoint sculptures

Well, that‘s a good start to my Saturday walk!

And on into Riverdale Park I go, up onto the pedestrian bridge, & down all those steps to the Lower Don Trail that runs along the river. I am, in fact, picking up where Phyllis & I left off the previous Tuesday.

I’m not hugely looking for graffiti as I walk south, but I do play a bit of dance-about with this graf in an underpass, framing it within the trestle’s strong metal gridwork.

Lower Don Trail underpass

When I reach the access steps to Queen St. East, there’s lots more public art waiting for me at street level. Before climbing the steps, I poke my camera through the wire mesh fence to catch the dramatic lines of one of the newest buildings rising in the once-desolate Donlands.

RC3, or River City 3rd tower

OK, it’s architecture, not art-art, but I’m willing to embrace it as part of the river’s artscape all the same.

I like what’s happening down here, I like the black/white interplay, & the way these buildings’ clean lines are bold & interesting, not merely boxy. River City may be a too-cute name by half, but I like what they’re building.

No argument about this bridge as art!

Queen St E bridge over the Don River

More precisely, not the 1911 bridge itself, but the 1996 installation on its western end by Toronto artist Eldon Garnet. The quote is by Heraclitus — and how appropriate for a bridge over a river — and the structure is called TIME: and a clock. Catch a short 2011 video interview with the artist right here.

I then do a bit of a wander on the west side of the Don, knowing (as usual) that Underpass Park is around here somewhere but (also as usual) not exactly sure how to find it.

Sometimes, if you just let your feet go walkies, they take you where you want to go. And once again, they do. Yes! here I am under the converging Adelaide/Richmond/Eastern Av. overpasses, in Underpass Park.

Last time I was here, they had established the kiddie play area over there, and a skateboard/trick cyclist/what-have-you area over here. There and Here are still where they were — but the skateboard end has been visited by street artists. Wow, has it ever.

Underpass Park

Images demand your attention everywhere you look. The base of this one says (in Spanish): “We are the children of the witches you could not burn.”

Underpass Park

Kids (specifically, boy-kids) are busy practising their tricks, whooshing on skateboards, spinning on trick cycles.

Underpass Park

All this, I insist, is still part of the river’s artscape. The park is close to the river, close to West Donlands Park, integral to the east-end explosion in which the river also plays such a strong role.

I start angling west & north, head up quirky little Bright St. & dive into the alley just to the west.

One last, & totally ridiculous, piece of art to show you.

alley west of Bright St.

Yes. A bicycle wedged in the crotch of the tree.

You will try to tell me that I have now moved hopelessly beyond my river-art brief. I will argue that this is so river art! The river flooded, don’t you know, and marooned that bike up the tree.

I say this with a straight face. It’s my story, & I’m sticking to it.






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  1. Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today and commented:
    The Walking Woman always has beautiful photos from her travels – but these statues are so amazing, I had to share!

  2. Mary C

     /  15 December 2015

    Great colours and shapes at Bridgepoint! I was planning to be in the area on Friday – I’ll plan on spending some time to check out the sculptures while I’m there! Thanks!

  3. Mary C

     /  15 December 2015

    One more thing – I had never heard of Eldon Garnet until this afternoon when I encountered one of his installations on Sherbourne street so I was amused to see his name in your blog. I am just going through my day’s photos so I will post the Sherbourne street art in a short while.

  4. wow those dancing leaping figures are incredible, I love them, they just look so happy and full of life. Perfect beside a hospital. As for the treecycle…so funny Penny. Thanks for making me smile on a grey dark winters morn!

  5. Graca Dubery

     /  16 December 2015

    I follow your walks while spending Winter in Portugal. Thank you for the lively, interesting descrptions. Wonderful!

  6. I live right near bridge point and those sculptures are beautiful.

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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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