From Galleria to Gateway

John Hill
14. November 2019
Photo: Khristel Stecher Photography

A brick pylon that once marked the entrance to Toronto's Galleria Mall has been transformed by artist Thrush Holmes into a colorful, glowing beacon — a gateway to the Galleria on the Park development being built on the site of the mall.

Galleria on the Park's 22 acres are being developed by ELAD Canada and master planned by Hariri Pontarini Architects and Urban Strategies. The project's first phase includes a residential tower, Galleria 01, designed by CORE Architects, plus a community center designed by Perkins+Will and an eight-acre park designed by Public Work. Eventually the development will consist of eight high-rise towers with apartments for approximately 6,000 residents, plus retail and other uses turning it into a mixed-use neighborhood. The unveiling of the gateway artwork by Thrush Holmes coincides with an announcement about Galleria 02, also designed by CORE.

Photo: Khristel Stecher Photography

Once topped by a square with the Golden Arches and emblazoned with signs for a bank, a fitness center, and numerous stores, the Galleria pylon at the corner of Dupont and Dufferin Streets is now covered with splotches of paint and lots of neon: vertical bands between the bricks, a red heart on top, and the words Love me Till I'm Me Again facing the street.

Photo: Khristel Stecher Photography

Thrush Holmes is a native of Toronto who often works in neon: his Instagram account is full of colorful canvases enlivened by neon shapes in front of them. At Galleria on the Park his "canvas" is three-dimensional and 60 feet tall, perhaps the largest artwork by the artist.

Photo: Khristel Stecher Photography

A statement from ELAD Canada indicates the "piece will be on display over the next few years." If the pylon will disappear when Holmes's artwork does remains to be seen, but in our age of Dead Malls all signs point to yes.

Photo: Khristel Stecher Photography

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