CAMPSITE FOUNDING - SIMCOE MEMORIAL
- Amy Blankstein / Sculpture Magazine
The Toronto Historical Board and property developer Cadillac Fairview Corporation launched a public art competition in 1993 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the City of Toronto. The group commissioned a memorial for Simcoe Park, a man-made greenscape atop a parking lot situated between two city landmarks, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and the Workers Compensation Building. The guidelines for the project were to recognize the contribution of Toronto's founders, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe and his wife, Elizabeth.
Brad Golden and Lynne Eichenberg, known as Environmental Artworks Studio, were chosen to design the Simcoe Memorial. The plan for the memorial incorporated a pre-existing fountain within a 36-square-foot area. In addition to redesigning the fountain using native stone materials, the team built a memorial table and a tent made of stainless steel and zinc sheeting overhead. The tent evokes the environment and rough living conditions that the Simcoes encountered upon their arrival in Canada. On the table are a series of objects that symbolize the achievements of the Simcoes. Portraits of the couple stand at one end of the table and a stainless steel easel holding an etched replica of one of Elizabeth's treasured watercolors stand opposite. Cast into the surface of the table is a replica of a map of Toronto Harbor commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor in 1793.
Golden and Eichenberg designed the space to envelop visitors in a sense of the historical environment. "Our intent, physically, materially and spatially, was to represent the cultural environment of the Simcoes and their contribution to the founding of the city," says Golden. "quotWe chose to represent the city's first domicile in order to bring a sense of the individual to the monument."