Conversation Pieces: Eminent Poets
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Conversation Pieces: Eminent Poets

Toronto is home to a cornucopia of public art. Some of the pieces acknowledge an individual’s greatness or are inspired by their surroundings; others are installed when developers want to exceed the height or density for which their building is zoned—the public art is a trade-off for being allowed a site-specific change in the rules. In each installment of Conversation Pieces we’ll look at several artworks devoted to the same theme, and consider what makes public art succeed or fail.

Today: Rabbie Burns and Emily Carr makes appearances on our streets.

Photo by Brian McLachlan.

NAME: Emily Carr and Friends
ARTIST: Joe Fafard (London, England)

In Yorkville is a statue of Emily Carr, a Canadian-born artist who broke the glass ceiling on the Group of Seven. If being the most famous (and an extremely talented) female Canadian artist wasn’t enough, she had a pet monkey named Woo. How awesome is that?

Photo courtesy of the {a href=""}Dittwald Collection{/a}.

NAME: Robert Burns (1902)
ARTIST: David Watson Stevenson (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Robert Burns—the iconic Scottish rabble-rousing ploughman poet. He empowered the lower classes, encouraged artists to better art, and is credited with helping to inspire liberalism. He even has his own day. It’s no wonder that the Scots who helped found Canada were proud enough to erect a statue of him in Allen Gardens.