portuguese rooster

Toronto just got a giant rooster from Portugal and it's beautiful

After months of planning and an art competition, Toronto's giant rooster has finally been unveiled.

The large rooster was actually from the Municipality of Barcelos, a place known for the colourful birds called Galo de Barcelos.

The rooster is a symbol of the Portuguese love of life. The 2.8 metre tall, 100-kilogram concrete rooster arrived in 2019 but was put in storage due to the pandemic.

The idea to bring the rooster started around three years ago when a group, including Portuguese consul general Rui Gomes, was gathered at the Barcelos Community Centre at 2079 Dufferin St. where they have another giant rooster, says Toronto Councillor Ana Bailão.

The group thought it would be great to have a rooster in Little Portugal. They made some calls and the unpainted rooster was shipped to Toronto.

The giant, unpainted bird sat in storage until the project was revived in early 2021 and the Little Portugal on Dundas BIA, City of Toronto and StreetARToronto held a contest to choose an original design for the bird. The design themes were the universal meaning of the rooster as a symbol of the sun and the historic legend of the Barcelos Rooster.

Artist Julia Prajza won the design contest, which had been narrowed to five finalists.

The rooster was unveiled on Sept. 25 in a ceremony at its new home at 1212 Dundas St. W. at the Lakeview Avenue Parkette.

Prajza says her design was based on the theme of "new beginnings, hope and optimism."

"…I wanted to create something that would truly honour the rich culture of the Portuguese people," Prajza says. "And so I created this modern-meets-traditional design."

She used vibrate colours to celebrate the energy of the rooster. The designs on the rooster are "bold, organic, playful pieces that would fit together like illuminated stained glass work."

"The patterns that live within these shapes, they’re kind of my abstract interpretation of Portuguese folk art embroidery, with a whimsical twist in there."

The design is also inspired by Prajza’s trip to Portugal in 2013.

"I've used these contrasting colours of yellows and blues that dance together in a lovely harmony, representing the everlasting sunshine and sparkling blue waters of the landscape."

Prajza says she hopes the sculpture will be a hidden gem for people to discover in the city.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil 

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