Call for Expression of Interest: Public Artwork for Northeast Scarborough Community Recreation & Childcare Centre

Header image: View of NESCCC from Sheppard Ave. East, Through Filter Garden. Courtesy Perkins & Will

Over the past year, STEPS has been working with the City of Toronto to support a community-engaged approach and the development of this EOI. We encourage all interested artists to apply!




WARD: Scarborough – Rouge Park

Value of the Awarded Commission:
Approximately $450,000.00 CAD (+HST)

Deadline for Submissions:
Monday, February 8th, 2021 5pm


The City of Toronto invites professional artists (including artist teams) to submit their Expression of Interest to the first stage of a competition for a public artwork or artworks as part of the design of the Northeast Scarborough Community Recreation & Childcare Centre (NESCCC). This new multi-use community centre and child care facility in Scarborough’s Joyce Trimmer Park will include a gymnasium to accommodate an indoor cricket and running track, a teaching kitchen, fitness/dance studios, a 25-metre indoor lap pool and leisure pool. In addition to the Centre, the surrounding park will be upgraded with various outdoor amenities, including the addition of a skate park, multiple outdoor play spaces and a tree-lined promenade.

The art component of this new community centre will be selected through an open, international, two-stage competition, with a budget of approximately $450,000.00 CAD (+HST). The project budget includes all costs directly associated with the artwork: all fees for design, fabrication, installation, engineering and professional services, insurance, travel and other incidental expenses.

The NESCCC will become an important part of a vibrant, strong and culturally diverse local community. The site is located just south of the Rouge National Urban Park, a continuous ecological corridor from Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario. Within the Rouge Valley watershed, surrounded by parks and natural areas, the architecture and landscape of the project are inspired by this important ecological context.

The design, by architects Perkins & Will and landscape architects PMA, working with the City’s Parks, Forestry & Recreation and Child Services, is currently underway. Construction is anticipated to start in fall of 2021, with completion by the end of 2024.

Public Art Opportunity

The City of Toronto’s new Public Art Strategy outlines the City’s commitment to public art created for, and with the input of, Toronto communities, and to create opportunities for artists of diverse backgrounds, experience and practice. We welcome submissions from Indigenous, Black, and racialized artists, and those who may not have previously worked in the public realm.

Thematically, artists are asked to broadly consider the history and ecology of the area and the surrounding community, some of which is detailed above. Artists are asked to consider the social impact of their work and how they can engage with community members during the development and/or creation of their proposals. Community engagement will be a requirement for the selected artist, and interested artists should outline how they intend to do so within their submissions.

The primary site for artists to consider is the filter garden area at the south west corner of the site, along Sheppard Avenue East. In addition to welcoming visitors into the site, artwork at this site will be a visible marker of the site’s entrance. The filter garden will provide on-site water management, as well as incorporating shaded seating areas and a linear skate park. Art works could be placed close to the front edge of the site (1), within landscaped areas of the filter garden (2) or as part of the skate park (3).

Image: detail of Filter Garden Area. Courtesy PMA.

Complete information about primary site options, as well as possible secondary sites, will be included in the detailed Terms of Reference document which will be distributed to short-listed artists.


This is a two-stage, open, international competition for professional artists.
Per the Canada Council’s guidelines, a professional artist is defined as someone who:

  • has specialized artistic training (not necessarily in academic institutions)
  • is recognized as a professional by their peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition)
  • has a history of public exhibitions
  • has produced an independent body of work

A specially convened Selection Panel, composed of practicing arts professionals and community members, will be established for this two-stage competition.

Stage 1: Request for Expression of Interest:
December 16, 2020 – February 8, 2021

The Selection Panel will review all submissions and identify a short-list of five (5) artists, based on artistic excellence and demonstrated or perceived ability to create and execute an innovative, engaging public artwork that is complementary to the overall design scheme and community context.

Stage 2: Request for Concepts:
Late February – late April, 2021

The short-listed artists will be notified by late February (date TBC), and invited to submit a conceptual design proposal. A detailed Terms of Reference project document, outlining all proposal requirements will be provided to short-listed artists prepare their proposals. Short-listed artists will be paid a fee of $3,000.00(+HST) for this stage.

Short-listed artists will attend an interview and present their proposals (online presentations may be required) to the Selection Panel in May, 2021 (date TBC) The panel will choose a finalist whose vision for the site best suits the overall scope of this project, and has the ability or perceived ability to conceive and realize a public artwork on this site.

The selected artist will be notified by the end of May, 2021.

ArtworxTO, the City’s Year of Public Art, will take place in 2021 as part of the City’s commitment to artists and art as part of COVID-19 recovery. All new commissions will be included in the ArtworkTO program wherever possible.

Project Timeline

December 16, 2021: EOI issued
February 8, 2021, 5pm: EOI submissions due
February, 2021 (date TBC): Selection panel meeting
February, 2021 (date TBC): Short-listed artists notified (latest)
April, 2021 (date TBC): Proposal deadline
May, 2021 (date TBC): Technical Review
May, 2021 (date TBC): Artist interviews and selection


Professional artists are invited to respond to this EOI by submitting a single pdf document:

This pdf document must be labeled with the name of the artist and project (Last Name First Name_ NESCCC) and include:

  • CV (one for each team member, if applicable)
  • Brief artist statement outlining interest in project, showing relevant experience, ability, and general artistic approach. Please include your experience and general approach to the community engaged process. Do not include proposals at this stage.
  • Maximum ten (10) images of work, with caption including title, materials, dimensions, location, and commissioning body (if applicable). Audio / Video files may be provided via URL.
  • Names and contact information for two references (preferably from recent projects).

Submissions must not exceed 20 MB total size.

Submissions must be received by Monday, February 8th, 2021. at 5pm.
Late submissions will not be accepted.

Email submissions to:

For any questions or inquiries please contact:

Catherine Dean
Public Art Officer
(647) 458-5657

 The City of Toronto is on the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The City also acknowledges that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands.

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