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Vanier and Montreal Road Public Art Plan

Project Status: 

Request for qualifications: Vanier Gateway

Digital rendering of an aerial view of the Vanier gateway site

Deadline for Submissions: July 26, 2021
Online application form - Have your content ready for inputting, the form does not save your information if you leave or refresh the page.
Budget: 200, 000$ plus harmonized sales tax
Location: Parkette on southeast corner of Montreal Road and North River Road, Vanier, Ottawa, Canada.
Contact: Allison O'Connor, Public Art Officer

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.

6. Submission

Your submission must include all 4 sections listed below. Accessible formats and communication supports are available on request.

  • Support material may be written in English or French
  • Submissions must be received by the deadline outlined in schedule above
  • Please send all application material electronically using our online application form. Have your content ready for inputting as the form does not save your information if you leave or refresh the page.

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

The Public Art Program will send you a confirmation email when your application has been received and processed. If you do not receive an email from the Public Art Program two weeks after your submission, please contact us for confirmation.

All participants will be notified of the results of the selection process by email.

A complete submission must include all requirements as listed below.

6.1 Expression of interest

Submit a maximum of two written pages explaining why you are interested in this opportunity.

  • What aspects of this opportunity inspires and excites you?
  • What connects you and/or your work to the public art vision for this project?
  • What perspective / approach will you bring to the project?
  • If you are applying as an artist team, tell us about your past collaborations and how you would work together on this project.

Please do not include proposal information or sketches of a proposed concept. These will not be accepted at this stage as this Call to Artists is a Request for Qualifications not a Request for Proposals.

6.2 Resumé and references

Submit a current resumé of your art training, public exhibitions and commissions of your artwork and projects and any other experience directly relevant to this opportunity on a maximum of three pages. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. If you are applying as a team, submit a separate resumé for each team member and clearly identify the lead contact for this project.

In addition, submit contact information for two professional references who can verify qualification and projects demonstrated in the submission. References will be called for shortlisted artists only for verification purposes. Please ensure these references are aware that they may be contacted by the City of Ottawa as part of the process for this Request for Qualifications.

6.3 Sample projects

Submit the detailed information on one or two relevant projects of similar scope and size, undertaken or completed. Each sample should include the following information for each project: project title, team members, client name and location, budget, duration, project overview, role on team, methodology and any other unique or relevant information.

Please be clear which uploaded images in the next section relate to these samples. Please note that uploaded images have a limited description field.

6.4 Samples of previous artwork and detailed list

Upload a maximum of ten files in a combination of digital images and/or video/new media submission of previous artwork. An image file may include a collage of multiple images of the same project, in order to show details or alternate views. Artist teams are also to submit a maximum of ten files. If additional files are included, only the first ten files in the numerical sequence will be considered. If more than ten files are submitted, only the first ten will be reviewed.

Upload files directly into application form. Please consult form in order to prepare your files. Please note that uploaded images have a limited description field of 50 words.

7. Request for qualifications conditions

7.1 City rights

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

7.2 Disclosure of information

Applicants shall not issue a news release or other public announcement pertaining to details of the request for qualifications, their request for qualifications submission, or the selection process, without the prior written approval of the City of Ottawa.

7.3 Copyright and moral rights

Copyright, including any and all designs, drawings and final works of art, shall remain the property of the artist. Moral rights remain with the artist.

7.4 Confidentiality of information

City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of submissions and the deliberations of the committee as confidential.

Information provided by the applicant may be available to City of Ottawa employees and members of the peer assessment committee. Personal information in your submission is collected under the authority of the City Council approved Public Art policy. Personal information will only be used for evaluating your submission and administering the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Program.

8. Definitions

Artist supply agreement, the contract between the City of Ottawa and the selected artist for the public art opportunity.

Peer assessment committee, a group of individuals with expertise in diverse parts of the arts sector, including disciplinary knowledge and other expertise. Such committees review and assess applications as part of the public art procurement process.

Professional artist, an artist who:

  • Has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions).
  • Is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition).
  • Is committed to devoting time and resources to artistic activities.
  • Has a history of public presentation or publication.

Technical review panel, to be composed of conservation, design, engineering and project technical experts, responsible for reviewing the selected artist(s) public art proposal regarding feasibility, maintenance, conservation and other technical considerations.

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.