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Vanier and Montreal Road Public Art Plan

Project Status: 

What artwork should be Vanier's Gateway? Have your say!

Public Art is coming to Vanier. As part of the Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan, the City of Ottawa is commissioning a gateway artwork for the corner of Montreal Road and North River Road. See location here.

Four (4) artists have been shortlisted to submit proposals to design, fabricate and install a permanent artwork that will be the gateway into the Vanier neighbourhood, but only one will be selected.

We are offering a preview of the four (4) proposals and asking for input. What artwork should be Vanier's Gateway?

View the proposals and vote through the online survey.

Survey is open from November 9 to 21.

(Closed) Request for qualifications: Vanier Gateway

Digital rendering of an aerial view of the Vanier gateway site

This competition is now closed.

The City of Ottawa invites professional artists to submit their qualifications to design, fabricate and install a permanent Gateway artwork for the community of Vanier. This is a two-stage open competition held in accordance with the City of Ottawa Public Art Policy and part of the Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan.

1. Introduction

1.1 Public Art Program background

Established in 1985, as one of the first in Canada, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program is committed to increasing awareness and appreciation of the visual arts in Ottawa by collecting, commissioning and exhibiting works of art. A renewed Public Art Policy incorporates the strengths of past decades in Ottawa and reaffirms the objectives of commissioning professional artists to create original works of art for integration into public places. The Public Art Policy mandates one percent of funds from municipal development are mandated for public art in order to enhance public spaces and make art accessible to everyone.

1.2 Opportunity

The City of Ottawa invites professional artists or artist teams to submit qualifications for the opportunity to design, fabricate and install permanent, site-specific artwork at on the southeast corner of Montreal Road and North River Road, in Vanier, Ottawa. This two-stage competition in held in accordance with the Public Art Policy. This Request for qualifications document provides information, details and submission requirements relating to the Vanier Gateway public art competition.

1.3 Acknowledgement - Honouring the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples

Ottawa is built on unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The people of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land. The City of Ottawa would like to honour the people and land of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The City of Ottawa would also like to honour all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, their elders, their knowledge keepers, both young and old, their ancestors and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.

1.4 Budget

The total budget for this commission is $200,000 in Canadian Dollars plus Harmonized Sales Tax. This public art budget includes all costs to consult, collaborate, design, fabricate, store, transport and install the public art, plus the cost of engineering, attachments, anchoring or foundations and reinstatement of streetscaping. This should also include the Artist’s or Artist’s team time, travel and attendance at meetings and events if applicable.

1.5 Eligibility

This request for qualifications is an equal opportunity, open to local, national and international professional artists and artist teams with experience in creating permanent public art and working with multidisciplinary teams. City of Ottawa employees are not eligible to apply.

The City of Ottawa supports cultural activities that are inclusive of Ottawa's diverse communities including people from diverse ancestries, abilities, ages, countries of origin, cultures, genders, incomes, languages, races and sexual orientations. Applications from First Nations, Inuit and Métis are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages (English and French) as having the same rights, status and privileges.

2. Public Art Project Vision

As part of the first phase of the Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan, the gateway will act as a beacon and mark the West entrance into the Vanier neighbourhood. The artwork should consider the neighbourhood’s unique past, present, and future, and represent Vanier as a creative sector with a uniquely diverse community.

The artwork’s design must be safe for the public and mindful of the site by considering the neighbouring Rideau River, and distinguishing itself among the new adjacent residential and commercial development.

3. Background

3.1 Project background

The City of Ottawa is undertaking a number of initiatives in the community of Vanier with the common goals of improving neighbourhood’s vibrancy and livability under the banner of Vision Vanier.

Projects include:

3.2 Neighborhood background

Located on the east bank of the Rideau River, the neighbourhood of Vanier covers a relatively small geographic area but has a high population density, with over 16,000 calling Vanier home. Vanier’s demographics shows a community that is rich with diversity, a multiplicity of histories and stories and an optimistic view of the future.

Offering a variety of shops, strip malls, restaurants, and bars, Vanier has both market housing and subsidized housing, but is seeing a large influx of commercial and residential development including upscale condominiums and infill developments. Vanier is considered to be relatively inexpensive Ottawa neighbourhood with a desirable location next to downtown. The neighbourhood is becoming increasingly popular due to an active community association, Business Improvement Area as well as many strong community partners and services.

3.3 Site background

The site is along at the corner of Montreal Road at the corner of North River Road. You The site is visible as you cross Cummings bridge, which connects the downtown core to the Vanier neighbourhood. Cycling routs and a public multi-use pathway runs adjacent to the space, along the Rideau River in Riverain Park. The public art site is also the location of a three-tower residential development featuring 1,003 residential units, complete with retail spaces on the ground level. The selected artist or artist team will work in connection with the landscape architects of this new development on the mutual goal of creating community gathering space.

Digital rendering of the view of the Gateway site from across the Cummings bridge

4. Request for qualifications process

4.1 Selection process

This public art commission will be awarded following a two-stage, arm's length, competitive process as follows:

Stage I - Request for qualifications:

Qualifications will be evaluated by a peer assessment committee consisting of artists with public art experience, a community representative and representatives from the project. This committee will review and evaluate submissions from artists in accordance with the evaluation criteria and will shortlist a maximum of four artists to advance to stage II.

Stage II - Request for proposal:

Shortlisted artists will meet with the project team for an information session, either in person or remotely and will be given terms of reference for preparing proposals, drawings and budgets for Stage II of the competition. Shortlisted artists (maximum four) will be paid an honorarium of $2, 000 plus Harmonized Sales Tax for the preparation of a virtual presentation to the peer assessment Committee.

At a date following the submission of stage II documentation, artists will meet individually with the peer assessment committee for a 30-minute interview to present their proposals and answer questions. The finalist will be determined by the peer assessment committee after the presentations and deliberation.

Technical Review:

A technical review of proposals will be requested prior to the final proposal date. Proposals will be reviewed by the project team, which will provide feedback on the technical and logistical feasibility of the proposed artwork. Draft proposals will not be shared with the voting members of the peer assessment committee. Comments will be shared with shortlisted artists in order to be incorporated into final proposals.

Online Survey:

A portion of the final proposals will be presented to the public though an online survey for community feedback. Feedback will be provided to the peer assessment committee for their consideration.

4.2 Competition Schedule

schedule is subject to changes

Competition milestone Planned completion
Request for qualifications issued May 31, 2021
Deadline for Application – Request for qualifications closing date July 26, 2021
Peer Assessment Committee Stage 1 Week of August 9, 2021
Shortlisted Artists notified and issued with Terms of Reference and one-on-one meeting with Public Art Program August 16, 2021
Deadline for draft submissions September 20, 2021
Technical review September 20 to October 4, 2021
Deadline for final submissions October 18, 2021
Online survey October 21 to November 1, 2021
Peer Assessment Committee Stage 2: Presentations and Interviews Week of November 1, 2021
Finalists notified November 12, 2021
Contracting December, 2021

4.3 Inquiries

Inquiries regarding this request for qualifications must be directed to Allison O’Connor, Public Art Officer by email

5. Evaluation Criteria

All submissions will be evaluated based on the artist’s ability to address the public art vision (expression of interest), demonstrate their experience and qualifications (resumé), and show previous artwork (sample project and digital images).

Please note: The City of Ottawa reserves the right to reject any or all submissions, or any part thereof, or to terminate or re-advertise the project. The decision of the peer assessment committee is final.

Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan

Art plan graphic

Developed by Rebecca Carbin of ART + PUBLIC UnLtd, the public art plan is rooted in conversations with community and presents a holistic, forward-thinking strategy for public art in Vanier. The Public Art Plan aims to reflect the communities’ unique character and diversity through innovative public art initiatives. Based on key findings from community engagement the Public Art Plan lays out public art opportunities and recommendations for implementation.

The Public Art Program will consider these recommendations when offering opportunities to artists for integrating with revitalization projects and by working in partnership with community and business partners.

Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art projects

The Public Art Program will be intermittently rolling out multiple public art commissions with considerations to the Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan. This includes a major Gateway for the community of Vanier.

Vanier plan map

Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan

Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan (accessible version)

The development of the Public Art Plan and upcoming Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Project is funded by the City of Ottawa Public Art Policy that sets aside one percent of eligible municipal construction budgets for public art. This important part of city planning can spark neighborhood revitalization and adds distinctive character and identity to a space.

For more information and updates email or follow @publicartottawa on social media.