An artistic chimney in Toronto that sounds like cormorants

New Living City art pieces inspired by our city’s natural environment


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A piece from the Living City Art Exhibition on this month

Photo: Jamie McMillan

Evergreen Brick Works is known for all the clever ways it brings together art, urban culture and the environment. Now, through a partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Crazy Dames, seven artists have created original art pieces inspired by different themes from the Living City Report Card.

The report card was created to track the progress of urban sustainability practices in the area through seven themes — water, carbon, air quality, biodiversity, land use, waste and collaboration — and it served as the initial premise for the artists’ pieces. The artists also had an opportunity to consult with an environmental expert during the creation of their work to bridge the gap between art and science.

Jo Flatt, senior project manager of policy and partnerships at Evergreen, says one of the aims of the exhibit was to get the public engaged in urban issues like sustainability.

“It’s things like carbon and water and biodiversity and air — as a statistic and a number they can kind of lose their impact,” Flatt says. “Art as a medium is a critical way to get people to understand, feel and respond in new and unique ways, but also we inform the art by facts.”

Taking these facts and issues into consideration, each artist has created a unique piece to showcase his or her theme. For example, artist Cole Swanson’s issue was land use, so he designed an iron gate on top of the chimney in the Evergreen Children’s Garden.

“For the land use one, Cole Swanson has done a beautiful iron gate, and in it, he has cormorants made out of this sort of iron metal, and you can hear the sound of the cormorants coming out of the chimney,” Flatt says. “It’s absolutely fantastic and it’s going to be a long-term install on the site.”

Although art has been considered a change maker in society for centuries, Flatt believes this is just the beginning for sustainability practices in the city. 

“This is kind of a journey and something we need to see as part of our life’s mission. We will never reach a point where there’s nothing more we can do and then we can stop,” she says.

The Living City Art Exhibition, at Evergreen Brick Works runs until Dec. 31.

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