The first time I saw Parkdale’s new bike posts, or “bike rack sculptures” according to their creators, I immediately though how boring and unoriginal the ring and post models were. Why didn’t city officials create something interesting in the first place? Since the Parkdale posts have gone up several others have sprouted elsewhere in the city. From the original Parkdale BIA press release in April 2007:
Along with crocuses, roses and tulips that are emerging in gardens across Toronto, a crop of unique and functional public art is springing up in Parkdale.
Known as bike rack sculptures, these colourful and creative elements of street furniture are sprouting in various locations in Parkdale, taking the form of a tree, butterfly, gargoyle and other inventive shapes and designs. Four racks have already popped up at 1499 Queen St. W. in front of Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre (PARC), a community centre offering support to psychiatric survivors and people who are socially isolated. Ten additional racks will be installed at the Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area office (PVBIA) on Queen Street West between Dufferin Street and Roncesvalles Avenue. To view the bike rack sculptures already in place, visit: www.parkdalevillagebia.com
The bike rack sculpture program has helped to strengthen the relationship between the property owners, businesses and members of PVBIA and the marginalized and psychiatric survivors who live in the community. Local artist Phil Sarazen worked with members of PARC to design the racks; members of the Meeting Place, an adult drop-in centre operated by St. Christopher House, welded metal into the eye-catching racks that are starting to make a big impact on the streets. The program has helped to give a sense of pride and ownership of the streetscape to members of PARC and the Meeting Place.
“The process to develop the racks have proved to be a great way for residents, business owners and the broader community to work together to create a positive identity for the neighbourhood and strengthen community pride,” Bridget Vianna, Chair of the Parkdale Liberty Economic Development Corporation. “It has given our community members the ability to explore their creativity, beautify the local streetscape while serving a function by adding bicycle parking capacity to the area.”
The bike rack sculpture program was developed by the Parkdale Village Business Improvement Area and the Parkdale Liberty Economic Development Corporation. The program was made possible with a grant from City of Toronto’s Economic Development Office through the Economic Development Mural Program. The City of Toronto will also install the racks, all of which will be unveiled at an event to be held on Monday, April 16, 2007 at 11:00am in front of the Parkdale Library at 1303 Queen Street West at Cowan Avenue.
photos by Shaun Merritt.