Toronto, often referred to as a concrete jungle, is a city teeming with remarkable art and cultural treasures. Beyond its impressive skyline and bustling streets, lies a collection of hidden gem statues that add character and charm to the urban landscape. In this article, we will embark on a journey to discover some of Toronto’s lesser-known, yet equally captivating statues that deserve our attention and appreciation.
Jack Layton: A Beacon of Hope
Our exploration begins with a statue that pays tribute to the late Jack Layton, a prominent Canadian politician and leader of the New Democratic Party. Located near the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, this bronze sculpture captures Layton’s spirit and charisma. With outstretched arms, it symbolizes his unwavering dedication to the community and his vision for a better future.
Legends Row: Celebrating Hockey Legends
As we venture into the heart of the city, we encounter Legends Row, a collection of statues paying homage to Toronto’s hockey legends. Nestled outside the Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena), these life-sized bronze sculptures immortalize the greats of the game, including Ted “Teeder” Kennedy, Johnny Bower, and Darryl Sittler. A must-visit for hockey enthusiasts, Legends Row serves as a reminder of the city’s deep-rooted love for the sport.
Cows and Elephants: Quirky Delights
Toronto is no stranger to whimsical art installations. Hidden in plain sight are two notable examples: the cow statues at the intersection of Front and Church Streets and the elephant sculptures at the TD Centre, in the Financial District. These eye-catching creations inject a touch of playfulness into the urban fabric, inviting passersby to pause and engage with their vibrant presence.
Equal Before the Law: City Hall’s Iconic Sculpture
Toronto’s City Hall is not just a functional administrative hub; it is also home to an impressive artwork titled “Equal Before the Law.” Designed by renowned artist Walter Seymour Allward, this bronze sculpture stands proudly in Nathan Phillips Square. Depicting a group of figures representing diverse cultures, it serves as a powerful reminder of the city’s commitment to equality and justice.
Churchill and Peter Pan: Tributes to Resilience and Imagination
In the gardens of Queen’s Park, you’ll find statues that pay tribute to two iconic figures: Sir Winston Churchill and Peter Pan. Sir Winston Churchill’s statue honors his leadership and resilience during World War II, while Peter Pan captures the magic of childhood and the power of imagination. These statues serve as sources of inspiration, reminding us of the importance of courage and wonder in our lives.
Our Game at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Roughly a half dozen steps away from the “Team Canada 72 Millennium Tribute” is a scene depicting excited young hockey players climbing over the boards ready for action. Commissioned by the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993, the artist, Edie Parker from Oakville Ontario, created a work titled ‘Our Game’ that was inspired by an early 1970s magazine advertisement. If the CN Tower is the most photographed icon in Toronto, then this 17-foot Our Game bronze statue is surely a close second.
Tortoise and the Hare: A Fable in Sculpture
Tucked away in a park at the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair, you’ll stumble upon a charming sculpture depicting the classic fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Crafted by Canadian artist William McElcheran, this bronze artwork invites viewers to reflect on the timeless life lessons encapsulated in Aesop’s tale. It’s a hidden gem that adds a touch of whimsy to the city’s urban landscape.
Toronto’s hidden gem statues offer a glimpse into the city’s rich artistic heritage, showcasing a diverse range of subjects and themes. From political figures to beloved characters, each sculpture carries a unique story and adds to the cultural tapestry of the city. So, the next time you find yourself strolling through Toronto’s streets, take a moment to discover these hidden treasures, for they are the embodiment of the city’s creativity, history, and the spirit of its people.