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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

So long, secret swing

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Rannie Turingan just sent us an email saying that the secret swing, located just off Graffiti Alley behind the shops of Queen West, has been boarded up and completely removed.

Back in December, Corwyn Lund’s Secret Swing installation had the seat and a few rings of the chain removed. But within days, two people named Vince and Kai fixed it, leaving an inscription on the seat that said, “The Secret Swing belongs to the people of Toronto.” Here are two previous Wire posts about the swing and some photos.

In just two weeks we’ve lost two great little public interventions. Sadly, we must accept this as a part of living in a city where things are often transient and ephemeral. While it is frustrating to see these losses, it also means we have other surprises waiting for us, other projects in the works that can inspire and make us smile slyly. The City of Toronto has declared 2006 to be the Year of Creativity, so why not go and be creative?



  1. Exactly!

    I’m glad to see that instead of calling people to protest and put up a fight, you’re calling us to be creative and replace this loss with something else. Just like the whole bruhaha over the sidewalk art that was removed, we need to get over it. We live in a city of like 3 million people. It’s not just you and your artistically liberated friends here. Stuff happens. Get over it, make the city beautiful and fun in your own way so that we can all once again benefit. Whining and complaining does nothing.

  2. As my friend Rick and I turned up the alley on our bikes yesterday, ‘Yay SWING!’ was the immediate simultaneous response. Our glee quickly vanished when we were greeted instead with a new ‘no way you’re getting in here’ fence and an empty (except for the garbage they left on the other side) space behind it. Sad to see this play space gone, but looking forward to discovering the new ones that will soon pop up. Get creative yourself – definitely!

  3. Where is the funeral? Someone ought to write a eulogy.

    Then throw a big party to celebrate new discoveries like this.

    — WordFreak

  4. Not so much a “mitigating factor”, but it’s private property, and the owners can do what they want…I guess. That is, there’s something less inherently “egregious” about the swing’s disappearance than there is about the King + Uni sidewalk sculpture destruction…

  5. In a way, this makes sense, because it wasn’t a “secret” swing anymore — everyone knew about it & knew where it was. Someone could install another one in a different secluded alley, & make us all look for it. The secret swing could move around the city. But even better is the idea of coming up with something unexpected and new. Up with creativity!

  6. This is unfortunate. Sure, it will be replaced, but I wish people could get creative to help out the increasing problems of litter, crumbling road and ugly ads that violate the dignity of hydro/lamp poles and illegal dumping.

    It just seems like no one cares anymore.