Wind Ensemble

Brightly coloured windsocks dance overhead while windchimes echo throughout, picking up the movement of the wind and the energy of the city. Toronto-based artist Heather Nicol invites you to add your voice to this chorus, to pause and connect to your surroundings and one another.

Rippling through the tunnel created by the concrete columns under the Gardiner Expressway, the wind at The Bentway carries the sounds of the city; sirens, construction, and traffic can be heard with varying degrees of velocity. As these streams move through the site, they also have the power to carry our voices, enabling new forms of connectivity and gathering.  

Toronto-based artist Heather Nicol responds to these sonic streams with Wind Ensemble, a sound and soft sculpture installation that invites us to pause and connect to our surroundings and to one another through observation, listening, and play.  

Moving in unity like a group of dancers, brightly coloured windsocks fly overhead, bringing a visual form to the speed and direction of the wind. Windchimes echo throughout the bioswale below, while a series of colourful podiums invite you to add your voice to the chorus. Each new vocalization prompts unique variations in the playback of the ensemble, altering the sound of the environment. In this sonic layering, a collective harmony is created. Through air movement, vocal and percussive expressions, and human interactions, Wind Ensemble invites us to recognize our unique role in a larger community, while the power of adding our voices to a collective chorus is amplified by the dazzling scale of The Bentway’s natural and built environment.

What to expect:

  • This site-specific sound-based installation includes six soft sculptures and microphone cones (viewable 24 hours a day), as well as a sonic score that is operational daily from 10am – 9pm. This installation is interactive and encourages you to add your voice to the microphone cones.    
  • 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.
  • Benches are nearby for those that require seating accommodations.
  • The majority of the installation is wheelchair accessible, with the exception of one entry point at the pathway between Bents 80 & 81.


project team

Sound & Interactivity Technical Direction: Driftnote

Fabricator: Steel & Oak Designs, Felsen Tailors

AV Provider: Phase3

Studio Assistant: Ella Hough

Vocal Ensemble: Neema Bickersteth, Peg Evans, Fides Krucker, Alex Rand, Stephen Michael Spencer, and Taurian Teelucksingh, with additional vocals by Martin Julien, Deborah Lambie, and Heather Nicol


Commissioned by The Bentway

Special thanks to Fort York National Historic Site

Supported By:

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