shiny canoe toronto

Mysterious shiny canoe now floating on Toronto's waterfront

Add a gigantic shiny canoe to the list of awesome things floating in Toronto's waterfront these days that are far from the usual trash.

The waterfront is actually a great place to go see some free art, even moreso lately than usual. 

A temporary art piece called The Peacemaker's Canoe is now floating in Harbour Square Park basin: a geometric, reflective shape that forms into a massive mirrored crescent bobbing on the water like a canoe. It should be on view until around September.

The piece was created by Jay Havens, a citizen of Mohawk Nation from the Grand River Territory, who is two-spirit and of Haudenosaunee and Scottish Canadian ancestry.

At its centre is actually a real repurposed 15-foot canoe that material has been added onto, shapes meticulously hand-carved and reflective material individually cut and applied.

Multiple artists collaborated on the project over the last year to bring it from a digital model to a 3D printed model to reality, with help from consulting agency Production Canada.

The piece was inspired by the vastness and beauty of the lake's waters, as well as the long tale of The Peacemaker, a foundational tale in Indigenous culture.

Havens was inspired by one particular moment in the history when The Peacemaker builds a shining canoe to paddle away from his homeland to the opposite side of Oniadari:io with a message to end troubled times.

"Kayeneren:kowa or The Great Law of Peace was adopted by the Mohawk Oneida Onondaga Cayuga and Seneca Nations forming The Haudenosaunee Confederacy about 1000 years ago and our democracy continues to operate to this day inspite of many many many colonial efforts," Havens wrote on social media.

It's not the only thought-provoking work of art that's floating around Toronto's waterfront: Over Floe is currently on view at Ontario Place lagoon, an optical illusion that looks like ice floes or buildings depending on the angle.

There's a ton of other great public art that can be found around the city as well, not just floating in the water: you just have to know where to look for it.

Lead photo by

Jay Havens


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