This Summer, The Bentway invites you see the STREET anew

April 21, 2022

Visit for the latest information and to register!

April 20, 2022 [Toronto/Tkaronto, ON] – Today The Bentway released further details on its Summer 2022 season, STREET, which includes a series of public art installations, roving performances, workshops, conversations and celebrations that explore what urbanist Jane Jacobs called the city’s “most vital organs.” Running May 26 to August 21, STREET invites the public to see the streets of Toronto anew – both under the Gardiner Expressway and along roads, sidewalks and public spaces in surrounding neighbourhoods.

“The street has long been a place for creative exploration. Throughout the pandemic this innovation accelerated and we saw cities everywhere reconsider these familiar routes as sites of improvisation and renewed action,” says Ilana Altman, Co-Executive Director of The Bentway. “The Bentway was founded on the idea that our streets can and must do more. Our summer season continues this dialogue through an engaging constellation of free programming for audiences to explore.”

Anchoring the season’s public art installations (opening May 26) is a major new work by Tony Award-winning set designer and artist, Mimi Lien. Commissioned by The Bentway, Lien’s PARADE suspends a 650ft conveyor-belt above The Bentway Skate Trail, carrying a kinetic procession of playfully reimagined objects from our everyday commutes – stop signs, bicycles, pylons, traffic mirrors – transforming a mundane urban scene into street theatre.

“My work is often rooted in how the audience interacts with the environment around them, similar to how a pedestrian may interact with the street. Streets are simultaneously an avenue to get from point A to point B, while also being a space that allows us to observe and connect with our surroundings,” says Lien. “I’m delighted by the opportunity to work with The Bentway to create something unusual and whimsical that reminds us to find beauty in our everyday surroundings.”

This summer’s program takes to the streets with a series of roaming performances, kicking-off with choreographer Willi Dorner’s Bodies in Urban Spaces (May 26-28), in which audiences follow a colourfully-clad group of dancers as they entangle with architecture on a breathtaking tour through Toronto’s streets. The opening weekend will also include a free Street Summit (May 27 & 28) featuring conversations, workshops and performances for all ages, and including guest speakers Michael Ford (AKA “The Hip Hop Architect”) and Gia Biagi (Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation). Other season contributors include OCADu’s Michael Lee Poy and the Ogimaa Mikana Project (Susan Blight and Hayden King), among others.

Bodies in Urban Spaces by Willi Dorner (from a prior performance in Vilnius, 2017) – Photo by Lisa Rastl

“Streets are where the city converges, through activities both spontaneous and planned,” notes Anna Gallagher-Ross, Senior Manager of Programming. “They are a soapbox, a stage, a courtroom, a runway, a playground and so much more. As the city celebrates ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, this felt like an important moment to challenge conventions of the street, and conventional notions of ‘street art.’”

STREET includes the following programs and projects, each free to attend:


May 27 & 28 @ The Bentway
Full schedule will be released on May 5 

Equal parts conference, workshop, artistic intervention and celebration, this free 2-day public event assembles citizens, urbanists, designers, researchers, city-builders and artists alike to consider how we can challenge traditional understandings of city streets and create a more inclusive, equitable – and joyful – public realm. 

The Street Summit includes:

  • Guest speakers:
    • Michael Ford (Madison, USA): Founder, the Hip Hop Architecture Camp
    • Gia Biagi (Chicago, IL): Commissioner, Chicago Department of Transportation
    • Farida Abu-Bakare (Toronto, Canada): Director of Global Practice & David Vega-Barachowitz (New York City, USA): Associate Principal, WXY Studio
    • Season artists including Susan Blight and Hayden King (Tkaronto, Canada) and Michael Lee Poy (Maracas St. Joseph, Trinidad & Tobago; Toronto, Canada)
  • Participatory workshops with Bespoke Collective, The Bentway’s Public Space Fellows Faizaan Khan & Jess Misak, Maximilian Suillerot Wilke, Tasha Shea, and Howard Tam of ThinkFresh, among others
  • A pop-up installation of 36 Questions That Lead to Loving Toronto, by Myseum of Toronto 
  • A commissioned street art intervention, created by Raquel Da Silva 
  • A Street Social, featuring a Hip Hop / breaking battle led by Switch B


PARADE by Mimi Lien (New York, USA)
May 26 to August 21 @ The Bentway

  • Award-winning designer and MacArthur Genius grantee Mimi Lien presents a kinetic installation that infuses The Bentway with the ever-shifting variables of the street. A 650ft motorised conveyor-belt, suspended high above The Bentway Skate Trail, becomes an energetic artery carrying everyday objects we might encounter on our morning commute, marching through the space in a celebratory procession.

Weweni Bizindan (Listen Carefully) by Ogimaa Mikana Project (Tkaronto, Canada)
May 26 to August 21 @ The Bentway

  • Continuing their practice of re-installing Anishinaabe place-names throughout the roads, highways, trails and paths of Toronto, the Ogimaa Mikana Project (Susan Blight and Hayden King) offers a new dialogue with the street. Amid the concrete, traffic and winds of the Gardiner Expressway, Blight and King listen and respond to the sounds of Anishinaabe life.

Moko Jumbie Mas Camp by Michael Lee Poy (Maracas St. Joseph, Trinidad & Tobago; Toronto, Canada)  May 26 to July 24 @ The Bentway Studio, 55 Fort York Blvd (facing Canoe Landing Park)

Registration required for Moko Jumbie workshops

  • In celebration of  Carnival’s long relationship with the streets of Toronto, artist, educator, designer and architect Michael Lee Poy leads a team of artists to transform The Bentway Studio into a Moko Jumbie Mas Camp, with Masquerade-inspired installations on view, and featuring free workshops for participants ages 10+ in stilt-walking, costume-making and more, culminating in a community parade centering balance, regalia, joy and emancipation.

Future Perfect: New By-laws for Civic Spaces by Mia & Eric (Calgary, Canada) and Action Hero (Bristol, UK)  May 26 to August 21 along Fort York Blvd and at The Bentway’s Strachan Gate

Co-presented with SummerWorks as part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022 

  • Mia & Eric and Action Hero’s Future Perfect: New By-laws for Civic Spaces is a hopeful, positive act of re-configuration, in which by-laws that regulate behaviours– including Toronto’s Streets and Sidewalks Municipal Code – are cut up word-by-word and meticulously rearranged into a set of playful possibilities for the future of public space. Over the course of the summer, the Future Perfect by-laws will pop up across the city on billboards, posters, hoarding, and more. Torontonians are invited to help reconstruct Future Perfect by-laws via and in person during the artists’ office hours in August at The Bentway Studio. 

a wandering by the Reconstructions of Home Curatorial Collective (Toronto, Canada)
April 14 to August 21 @ The Bentway

Co-presented with SKETCH Working Arts

  • Following the year-long collaboration between The Bentway and SKETCH Working Arts, the Reconstructions of Home public art project continues with an audio-visual tour, presenting a series of perspectives on street culture, and lived experiences of homelessness and houselessness.

A group of people walk on stilts in a procession.
Moko Jumbie Parade by Michael Lee Poy – Photo by Lisa Fernandez


Bodies in Urban Spaces by Willi Dorner (Vienna, Austria)
May 26-28 following a secret route to-be-revealed to registered attendees

Registration required

  • In choreographer Willi Dorner’s iconic performance, a colourfully-clad group of local dancers lead a breathtaking tour through Toronto’s streets, using their bodies to explore and respond to urban architecture. Audiences join in – on the run – as performers entangle with one another and the unique in-between spaces of our city, asking us to reflect on our relationship to public space, and who and what it is for.

WEEPING CONCRETE by Hazel Meyer (Vancouver, Canada)
June 11 and 12 @ The Bentway

  • In a growing city such as Toronto, scaffolds are a ubiquitous feature of the urban environment. This site-specific project by Hazel Meyer engages a trio of performers across two towering scaffolds, prompting us to reflect on the streets as we know them, as well as imagining what they might become.

And With by Germaine Liu with soundscape design by Mark Zurawinski (Toronto, Canada)
Sound walks: June 25 and 26 @ beginning at Canoe Landing Park and roaming through the neighbourhood Sound workshops: June 30 @ The Bentway

Registration required

  • And With is a sound procession featuring multiple percussionists, vocalists, a mobile soundscape, and a “Wizard” that travels along The Bentway and surrounding neighbourhoods. Join scenario-maker Germaine Liu and sound designer Mark Zurawinski on a journey to experience the sounds, textures and chorus of the rumbling urban artery of the Gardiner Expressway corridor like never before.

Nightwalks with Teenagers by Mammalian Diving Reflex (Toronto, Canada)
July 14-16 @ Canoe Landing Park and roaming through the neighbourhood

Registration required

  • Mammalian Diving Reflex, along with a group of local teens, invites you to ‘walk on the wild side’ after sundown, and to experience the streets, alleys, and secret urban spaces around The Bentway from their point of view. Originally developed with teenagers in Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood,, this Bentway edition of Nightwalks with Teenagers is the first full-scale presentation of the work in Toronto, led by those original teens (known as the Young Mammals) along with a growing community of Young Mammals from around the world.

Moko Jumbie Parade by Michael Lee Poy (Maracas St. Joseph, Trinidad & Tobago; Toronto, Canada)
July 17 @ Canoe Landing Park

  • Join Michael Lee Poy, the Moko Jumbie Mas Camp artists, camp participants, and their families for a jubilant community Carnival parade centering balance, regalia, joy and emancipation – travelling along the sidewalk around Canoe Landing Park. An open Moko Jumbie Crown-making workshop will be offered onsite for those interested in joining the parade.

A crowd of people watch a dancer perform outdoors at The Bentway.
The Bentway Block Party (2018) Photo by Andrew Williamson


August 14 @ The Bentway

Full line-up to be announced at a later date

The Bentway Block Party is back! Join us for a celebratory street party across The Bentway site, featuring performances, music, street food and drink, family-friendly workshops, a fashion show, and more. 


The Hilary & Galen Weston Foundation; Government of Canada

Maxine Granovsky Gluskin & Ira Gluskin; The Ivey Commissioning Fund; Frances & Tim Price; Barbara & Dougal Macdonald; Eleanor & Francis Shen; Canada Council for the Arts; Concord Adex; Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport; Ontario Arts Council; Beanfield Metroconnect and The Bentway’s growing family of friends and supporters

City of Toronto; St. Joseph Communications; Craft Public Relations; Puncture Design; Fort York National Historic Site.

ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022; Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sports; British Council; Cultural Office of the City of Vienna (Kulturamt der Stadt Wien); Farnham Maltings; Festival “Quartier d’été”/Paris; From Later; The High Commission of Canada in the UK via the New Conversations Fund and Arts Council England; The Lindy Green Family Charitable Foundation; Ontario Trillium Foundation; Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival; SKETCH Working Arts; SummerWorks Performance Festival; and Toronto Arts Council.