Major intersection to see revitalization

[attach]5016[/attach]The intersection of Dawes Road and Victoria Park will be undergoing a major facelift, topped off with an artistic touch.

As the physical layout undergoes reconfiguration to make it safer, the north corner of the connecting streets is slated to be revitalized.

Toronto-based artist Noel Harding was recently named the winner of a contest to design a new look for the intersection. The contest launched in April and asked citizens to create proposals for a new public arts display at the eastern entrance to the Dawes Road neighbourhood.

A panel of judges selected Harding after the final five proposals were put on display at the Dawes Road Public Library in late August in order to solicit public opinion.

“They wanted it to reflect the history of the community,” councillor Janet Davis said of local residents. “They wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing and they wanted it to be accessible to the community.”

Harding, who also designed the large, tooth-like water purification structures in the Don Valley, teamed up with landLAB landscape architecture for his latest design.

Dubbed Dawes Crossing, the barn-like design features an oak frame supporting a modern-looking glass roof and an aluminum roof.

Harding said the design is meant to reflect the history of the area but includes environmentally friendly aspects that make one look toward the future.

“Dawes Road is really kind of vital from a historical perspective and the notion of having the barn shape to the roof and the sheen of the metal is very typical of our region in Ontario,” he said.

Dawes Crossing will also feature a small wind turbine to power blue lights underneath the metal roof. The windier it is, the brighter the lights get.

There will also be solar panels that should provide energy and even funds for the community although Davis said the details have yet to be worked out.

Attached at various points near the top of the structure will be several basins.

“They’re in fact rain catchers,” Harding said. “They capture rain and then feed the wooded area adjacent to the sculpture itself.”

Construction of the structure is scheduled to begin in next spring and should be done by the end of the summer. Davis said she hopes residents make good use of the display.

“Instead of just being a beautiful space it will be a functional place as well,” she said.

More than 20 entries were submitted for the contest. Entrants were asked to submit their designs as a partnership between an artist and a landscape architectural firm. They were also asked to form their designs with a $400,000 budget in mind.

Davis said the intersection was intended to be a gateway to the community.

“It’s about working together to make this a safe vibrant and welcoming neighbourhood.”