Arts & Culture Events

WATERLICHT – A Monumental Public Art Installation Canadian Premiere, October 12-14, 2018

WATERLICHT, the signature piece of The Bentway’s fall public art exhibition, If, But, What If? is a dream landscape created through the imaginative use of LEDs, special software, and lenses, designed by acclaimed Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde.

Larger-than-life, cascading waves of blue light will soar underneath the Gardiner Expressway, simulating a virtual flood and illustrating the universal power and poetry of water. Due the unique nature of the installation, WATERLICHT can only be viewed after sunset, 7pm-11pm, Friday October 12 – Sunday October 14, 2018.

The commission of WATERLICHT presents The Bentway with the opportunity to foster a city-wide conversation about the importance of clean water, environmental responsibility, and climate change. Working with numerous partners, additional programming includes:

With the support of Ryerson Urban Water Centre, Great Lakes Water Works, New College and Waterlution, The Bentway is recruiting Water Ambassadors who will be on-site and ready to answer questions, encourage conversation, or identify additional resources about the layered history of the Bentway site, its relationship to the waterways, the Lake’s ecology, and environmental threats facing the Lake now and in the future.

Paired with Roosegaarde’s own words about the installation, three local contributors, each with a long relationship with Lake Ontario, have recorded their own personal stories forWaterlicht Radio – Contributors include, Nancy Rowe, the founder of Akinomaagaye Gaamik Lodge and a member of the Great Lakes Guardians’ council,Angus Armstrong Harbour Master Emeritus for PortsToronto, and Madhu Nagaraja, an avid long-distance swimmer and a founding member of the Great Lakes Open Water Adventures. They discuss their perspectives: shared ethics and values for the water; ecological changes and challenges; and how to protect Lake Ontario for future generations.

On October 13 from 1-2:30pm at Jackman Hall, The Bentway partners with the AGO forOn Water, a free panel discussion between a number of artists and scholars who are exploring water as a medium as well as social, environmental and economic issues that threaten water resources, including Daan Roosegaarde, Assistant Professor James Miller (Faculty of Design, OCAD University), and filmmaker  Lisa Jackson (Biidaaban: First Light VR )to be moderated by water activist Sarain Fox.

If, But, What If? explores what could be, what should be, and what may never be, in the ever-evolving city of Toronto. In addition to WATERLICHT, If, But, What If? consists of seven other works.

  • Artist and architect Michael Awad’s 90 metre photograph of the entire length of the elevated Gardiner Expressway from Dufferin Street to the DVP, and Lakeshore Boulevard beneath, is both an urban-scaled selfie, and a visual record of a dynamic changing city.  Part of his Entire City Project.
  • Earthbound, by photographer and sculptor Steven Beckly, is a three-dimensional, intimate, mythical botanical world, amid a rapidly changing landscape. co-presented by Bunker 2.
  • Wally Dion’s (Yellow Quill First Nation) 4’ X 42’ wampum belt, made of discarded computer circuit boards explores environmental concerns, cultural identity and technological impulses.
  • Shift, a collaboration by multidisciplinary artists Mani Mazinani & Sanaz Mazinani, is a sound installation enabling audiences to perceive movement and motion in the absence of visual information using audio synthesized from original recordings of lakeside waves, rolling thunder and celestial surroundings.
  • Green Hills Discovery by Toronto-based digital artist Alex McLeod is a double-sided vinyl print mounted on the pivoting panels of the new Strachan Gate representing a place between two worlds, time and space.
  • An international art practice via Calgary, Sans façon’s Iconic Site (#5), a large-scale neon sign reading ‘iconic site’, sits atop Strachan Green in response to the new consumerist lexicon that has resulted from massive urban development in cities around the world.
  • Jon Sasaki’s installation Every Building From A Defunct Liberty Village Factory, Rotated Vertically, reimagines the once-mighty John Inglis and Company factory in its heyday of the 1940s, now the of dense and populous location of Liberty Village.

The Bentway reimagines the forgotten lands under the Gardiner Expressway as a unique new artist canvas, cultural attraction, and gathering place for Toronto with accessible, participatory and responsive programming at the intersection of art and urbanism. Through art in the public realm—rotating, site-specific, and thoughtfully-curated—The Bentway explores Toronto’s changing urban landscape as well as the opportunities and issues that unite cities across the globe. “If, But, What If?” runs until November 30, 2018.

Once a week in October special guests; artists, designers, planners, community members and active urbanists, will guide art tours, reflecting on the artworks, on The Bentway’s layered histories and potential futures, as well as on the city itself. The tour leaders will lead participants throughout The Bentway and interpret the site and works based on their own expertise and interests.

Tours take place each week in October, from 6-7pm:

THE BENTWAY presents
If, But, What If?
Fall Public Art Exhibition
Daily until November 30, 2018

Light installation by Daan Roosegaarde
Friday October 12 – Sunday October 14, 2018

Thursday, October 4, 10, 18 & 25, 2018
6-7pm, Meet at Bent 87 on the skating trail
Please register in advance at

All Programs are Free and Accessible
Enjoy Free Wifi courtesy of Beanfield 

For more information, please visit
Social Media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram using @TheBentway and YouTube
#TOBentway    #Waterlicht

The Bentway Fall Season is supported by the City of Toronto and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Waterlicht is also supported by Fort York National Historic Site, Partners in Art, McLean Foundation, Ports Toronto, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Bullfrog Power, along with donors Maxine Granovsky Gluskin & Ira Gluskin, Donald K. Johnson, O.C. & Anna McCowan-Johnson, and Diamond Corp.

The Bentway’s Waterlicht is powered with 100% green electricity thanks to Bullfrog Power. Bullfrog Power gives Canadians a renewable energy choice, allowing homes and businesses to take action against climate change and create a cleaner, healthier world.

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