Yorkdale Rainbow


In Saturday’s Globe and Mail John Barber wrote about the “Yorkdale Rainbow,” or rather Arc en Ciel, the neon artwork by Michael Hayden. The lights pulsed as trains entered the station. Sounds exciting, iconic and great, but many of us either haven’t seen it, or can hardly remember it. It was installed when Yorkdale Station was built, but taken down soon after because the TTC didn’t want to buy some new transformers to replace the ones that burnt out (they cost $28 each, so it’s understandable).

Although he grieves the loss of a “seminal” sculpture the artist at least learned from the experience. Before engaging in his most famous light sculpture, The Sky’s the Limit, which animates the long tunnel connecting two United Airlines terminals at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Mr. Hayden applied his hard-won experience.

In fact, he infuriated his airline client when he insisted it enter into “a completely composed, identified and signed service and maintenance contract” before he agreed to build the piece. But that contract, he added, is why The Sky’s the Limit is still dazzling more than 15 million travellers a year, universally recognized as a symbol of its city.

“That’s what the TTC piece could have remained,” he said, adding that “the people who took it down should be strung up.”

The Globe’s subscriber firewall won’t let us link to the full article, unfortunately. It would be nice, really really really really really really really really nice, if this piece was reinstalled. Seeing that there’s a proposal to redo some of the stations, maybe there is a chance. Arc en Ciel isn’t even “The Toronto that could have been” — it’s the Toronto we had, but gave up, because………well, I guess we just gave up.