New 60-foot public art installation illuminates second phase of Toronto master-planned community

The Galleria Mall pylon, which once displayed the shopping centre’s old signage, has been transformed by internationally-recognized artist Thrush Holmes. (Photo: Khristel Stecher)

As the Galleria Mall site undergoes transformation to become Galleria on the Park, one of the largest master-planned communities in Toronto, the 60-ft-tall shopping centre pylon has been reimagined into a glowing beacon for the neighbourhood. Given new life by Toronto-based artist Thrush Holmes, the dated brick pylon that once displayed the mall’s old signage at the corner of the 22-acre property, has now become a colourful, eye-catching gateway into the site.

The artwork was commissioned by developer ELAD Canada to animate Toronto’s West End and serve as a temporary centrepiece for the site. Best known for his bold style, Holmes’ mixed-media piece features distinct components including: an illuminated Galleria sign, vibrant neon bars, and Holmes’ signature neon artwork, including a Love me Till I’m Me Again sign and a massive red heart that shines atop the pylon. Splashes of bright green, red, blue and yellow paint add a playful element throughout.

Known for his bold style, Thrush Holmes’ mixed-media piece incorporates elements of neon, LED lighting and paint (Photo: Khristel Stecher)

As a Toronto native, Holmes’ studio is located on Geary Avenue, just steps away from the Galleria site. Dupont West has become a vibrant and creative arts scene as it shifts from the city’s industrial past. Dotted with numerous studios, art galleries, and artisanal restaurants and cafés, the redesigned pylon perfectly captures where the area is now.

Photo: Khristel Stecher Photography

“This art piece is an homage to the Dupont West neighbourhood. I’ve passed by this Galleria pylon countless times, so having the opportunity to contribute to my community’s transformation through art is truly special. From the start, it’s been a very collaborative process with ELAD Canada to bring this creative vision to life,” said Holmes, whose piece will be on display over the next few years.

Khristel Stecher Photography

The unveiling of the new public art is perfectly timed, as ELAD Canada moves into Galleria 02, the second phase of the Galleria on the Park master-planned community. Galleria 01, which launched this fall along with the brand-new eight-acre Wallace Emerson Park and the 95,000 sq. ft. Wallace Emerson Community Centre, saw overwhelming sell-out success.

Galleria on the Park master-planned community includes eight mixed-use buildings, 300,000 sq. ft. of retail and 150 affordable rental housing units, an approximately 8-acre park, as well as a 95,000 sq. ft. brand-new community centre.

Designed by CORE Architects with interiors by award-winning design firm U31, Galleria 02 echoes the industrial character of Galleria 01, connected by the same heavily-articulated podium with double-storey retail at the ground level. Residents of Galleria 02 will benefit from family-friendly amenities, including an expansive co-working space that doubles as an event space opening out to a wrap-around outdoor terrace, an outdoor pool and a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Following the success of Galleria 01 (left) ELAD Canada announces Galleria 02 mixed-use building (right).

At 24 storeys, Galleria 02 will offer family-sized suites with south-facing views overlooking the downtown skyline, as well as the community’s multi-use public spaces, including the extensive park and community centre, which doubles the size of the current facility.

“We’re thrilled to debut this public art as we announce Galleria 02. This dual announcement marks significant steps towards creating a vibrant, thriving community. The response from the market and our local community to the first phase of our Galleria on the Park master-planned community has been tremendous. On the other hand, this new art piece is a great fit for the neighbourhood, celebrating the site’s transformation and symbolizing Dupont West’s exciting future,” said Rafael Lazer, CEO at ELAD Canada.

Photo: Khristel Stecher Photography

The collaboration with Thrush Holmes marks ELAD Canada’s second partnership with local artists to honour the Galleria Mall and look forward to its future. In May, ELAD hosted a Scotiabank CONTACT Festival exhibit called Memories of Galleria Mall, alongside local artist and writer Shari Kasman, featuring Kasman’s photos celebrating the mall’s nostalgia.

Khristel Stecher Photography
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