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Winnipeg sculptor selected to design new greenspace in ‘sky-scraper city’

Kenneth Lavallee is helping design the future Dr. Lillian McGregor Park.

Kenneth Lavallee is a Winnipeg artist who was picked by the City of Toronto to design sculptures for the new Dr. Lillian McGregor Park.

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Joseph Visser / Supplied

Kenneth Lavallee is a Winnipeg artist who was picked by the City of Toronto to design sculptures for the new Dr. Lillian McGregor Park.

A Winnipeg artist is helping a brand-new greenspace in downtown Toronto flourish.

Located at 11 Wellesley St. West, the future Dr. Lillian McGregor Park was selected as the site of a new sculpture park following a public survey.

As part of the development of the park, the City of Toronto put out a call for professional Indigenous artists, or Indigenous artist-lead teams to submit expressions of interest for the greenspace.

“It’s going to be a natural setting, which should be good for the soul in the heart of downtown Toronto,” said Winnipeg artist Kenneth Lavallee, “because it’s sky-scraper city.”

McGregor was a founding member of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, and sat on a number of boards, including Native Child and Family Services of Toronto and the Aboriginal Advisory Council.

She was also the first Indigenous woman to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Toronto, among a number of other accolades.

She was a member of the crane clan, which Lavallee incorporated into his design.

He created four cranes at different stages of life, “a baby crane, a teenager crane, adult crane and a grandmother crane.”  

The sculptures are going to be made of brushed aluminum or steel, “very raw and just simple.”

They will be manufactured in Calgary and then sent to Toronto.  

The installation and subsequent development of the park is expected around late-2018, early-2019.

“It’s a huge job—its going to be there for like 50 years—400 years, who knows. Hopefully a long time,” Lavallee said.

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