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Public art to inspire at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre

A kinetic sculpture inspired by the lanes of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre’s two Olympic-sized pools will welcome visitors to the facility’s main entrance.

Water Velocity, a monumental kinetic sculpture inspired by the lanes of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre’s two Olympic-sized pools, will welcome visitors to the facility’s main entrance before, during and after the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. The approximately 11-metre-tall sculpture is designed and executed by Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière, better known as BGL. The work resembles swimming pool lanes that have been twisted into an imaginary configuration. Metal flaps that are sensitive to the wind will mimic the flicker of light on water. The artists describe Water Velocity as “…a curious encounter between monumental sculpture, kinetic installation and Optic Art.”

Following a national call for proposals, a three-phased juried competition together with public input selected Water Velocity as a first choice. The University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), the City of Toronto and TO2015 commissioned this major piece of public art for the facility. The installation supports the City of Toronto’s official plan to introduce public art that celebrates the cultural diversity and creativity of local communities. More information about the public art competition's selection committee members is available at

The Quebec City-based collective, BGL, was recently chosen to represent Canada at the prestigious 2015 Venice Biennale, among the world’s most important showcases for contemporary art. BGL’s work has been shown in individual and group exhibitions worldwide, from Argentina to Paris, Havana to Barcelona.

Shrewd wit and offbeat charm characterizes their work. For over a decade BGL, known for its large-scale site-specific installations, has been breaking down the distance between art and audience, bringing viewers into a vivid and active experience.

The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, which will be known as the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House during the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, will host aquatics, fencing, modern pentathlon and sitting volleyball. Following the Games, it will provide much needed training and recreation space for students at UTSC, high-performance athletes, sports teams and local residents, and will also become the new home of the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. Students at UTSC voted in 2010 to help fund a portion of all facility costs, expressing their desire to transform the campus and the community.

Construction of the complex began in July 2012 and is scheduled to be completed this summer. The project is proceeding under the province’s alternative financing and procurement (AFP) model, which is managed by Infrastructure Ontario. The centre will be jointly owned by the City of Toronto and the University of Toronto.

© University of Toronto Scarborough