How can we show care for our infrastructure and, by extension, for each other? Nico Williams applied “patches” (made with woven fabric and jingle cones) to the Gardiner’s concrete columns, incorporating traditional Indigenous regalia designs. These soft interventions add joy, beauty, and a caring touch to the Expressway.

Every year, the Gardiner Expressway receives a thorough inspection to ensure it remains in safe and good working order. City maintenance crews conduct a process of listening for air pockets in the concrete which can potentially lead to decay and, once those have been identified, the surrounding concrete is pre-emptively chipped away and then later patched. This work, which involves multiple crews and steps, often leaves scar-like crevices behind on the concrete columns (the “bents”). While some Torontonians assume that the crevices are a sign of decay, this work actually demonstrates a careful, time-intensive commitment to infrastructure care and repair.  

Nico Williams’ Tracings is a series of five sewn and appliqued patches incorporating traditional Indigenous regalia designs, presented as a parallel offering of repair and community support to this piece of infrastructure. These soft interventions – applied to the depressions left behind in the Gardiner’s bents – use the chimes of jingle cones and exuberant colours to introduce joy and beauty into the Expressway. 

The patches take the form of floral cut-outs and geometric designs interwoven with jingle cones, which dance and sway in the wind. Created with Williams’ studio team in Montreal, these soft sculptures become points of connection between the multiple hands that crafted them.  Visible throughout The Bentway Skate Trail, this collective mending of the Gardiner Expressway reminds us of the ongoing importance and responsibility of care for our infrastructure, and by extension, care for one another, and our city.

What to expect:

  • This site-specific installation presents a series of five woven soft sculptures, applied to the concrete columns along The Bentway Skate Trail.
  • Each set of concrete columns (or “bents”) is numbered, with numbers displayed at super-scale high over-head. The installation can be found at Bents 82, 83, 85 (north and south), and 88.
  • All-gender and accessible washrooms available Tuesday-Friday from 1pm-8:30pm and Saturday-Sunday from 11am-8:30pm. The washrooms will be closed on Mondays, with the exception of holidays.



Commissioned by The Bentway

Presented by RBC Foundation

Supported By:

  • Government of Canada  
  • Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund 
  • Dream Community Foundation
  • Hal Jackman Foundation
  • Partners in Art