Calls for Submission

Call to Artists: Rideau Canal Crossing Public Art Project

Call to artists: Expression of Interest

Deadline: February 28, 2018 at 4 pm EST
Budget: $20, 000
Information: Allison O’Connor, Public Art Officer
allison.o’connor@ottawa.ca 613-244-4429

The City of Ottawa invites visual artists, no matter their medium, to submit an Expression of Interest to participate in a mentorship opportunity to design, fabricate and install an artist-designed public bench. Two artists will be selected to design benches that will be installed on the western side of the Rideau Canal, between the Rideau Canal and the re-landscaped wetland area. One bench will be commissioned specifically to an Algonquin artist or artist team. Theses benches should help create a unique sense of place. This is a two-stage open competition held in accordance with the City of Ottawa Public Art Policy.


The Canal, constructed between 1827 and 1832, is an important cultural heritage asset and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as a National Historic Site of Canada, and a Canadian Heritage River. Construction of the Canal was a catalyst for development around which the Capital grew, and it is still a defining element of Canada’s Capital today. In the 1950s and the 1960s, the National Capital Commission (NCC) constructed wooden footbridge, in the winter, annually, between Second Avenue and Herridge Street.

The objective of the new Rideau Canal crossing is to support sustainable and active transportation solutions by enhancing east-west connectivity and linking the crossing to the broader pedestrian and cycling networks. The new bridge will improve access for all users of the City’s extensive network of pedestrian multi-use pathways and connect communities such as the Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Lansdowne Park and Old Ottawa East.

A significant component of the Rideau Canal Crossing project is the beautification, restoration and expansion of the wetlands area on the western side of the Canal, which includes the restauration of the Lilly Pond.

The City of Ottawa is working closely with the Algonquins of Ontario on this initiative along with key project stakeholders including the National Capital Commission, Parks Canada and Transport Canada.

The construction of the bridge will include landscaping and the addition of benches along the pathway for resting, meeting friends and watching passersby. This presents an opportunity for unique artist-designed furnishings. Two benches on the western side of the Rideau Canal, between the Rideau Canal and the re-landscaped wetland area will be artist-designed benches. These benches will help create a unique sense of place and presents an alternative to standardized benches. Although designated as public artworks, the artist-designed furnishings will need to fulfill the traditional functions of a bench or seating element, as well as meet safety requirements set out by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The selected artists will work under the mentorship of a third-party manufacturing company contracted by the City of Ottawa to produce the artwork. The fabricator will translate the artist’s design to production and installation.

The artists are asked to consider the landscape, local community and the essence of the neighborhood’s past, present and/or future in their design.

For more information, please review the full Call to Artists: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/arts-heritage-and-culture/art-collection-old/public-art#call-artists-expression-interest

Or contact allison.o’connor@ottawa.ca