Public Art Toronto: Tour the most beautiful (and free) spots in the downtown core!

No need to flirt with your finances on this Financial District tour of Public Art in Toronto. The only flirting you should be doing is with your date!

Trying to find creative places for a date is never easy, including for those working long hours and building a career in the Financial District and downtown Toronto. After a long day at the office, travelling to the latest hot spot isn’t exactly at the top of your list.

Public Art Toronto Financial District

Why leave the area? The Financial District has 15 blocks of art, entertainment and delectable delights. There are so many unique sculptures, installations and art pieces to see right in your neighbourhood and all of them are FREE to visit!

Beginning at St. Andrew Subway Station, here is a map of some of our favourite “date spots:”

Public Art Toronto

1. Courtyard Cows (The Pasture) – Toronto Dominion Centre

Courtyard Cows

It doesn’t matter if your date is a farmer or a financial analyst, everyone loves the Courtyard Cows outside the TD Centre. “The Pasture,” created by famed Canadian sculptor, Joe Fafard, features seven life-sized cows that populate the grassy courtyard. In their leisure, they bring a sense of sense of calm and beauty to a normally bustling urban setting. Your date might enjoy them so much, they’ll be “mooing” for a second date!

2. Allen Lambert Galleria and Garden Court- 161-181 Bay Street

Allen Lambert Galleria

Located in Brookfield Place, the Allen Lambert Galleria is an atrium conceived by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The six storey high pedestrian avenue is structured by eight freestanding supports on each side of the Galleria. It is a frequently photographed space, often featured as a backdrop for news reports, as well as TV and film productions.

Garden Court is located outside between the Brookfield Place towers. Muvbox by Marche Restaurants is located here and is a great little spot to grab lunch or drinks! []

3. Tembo, Mother of Elephants- Commerce Court

Tempo Mother of the Elephants

Did your date love the cows? Thought so. Keep the animal fun spirit alive on your date and check out Tempo, Mother of Elephants and her baby calves by Derrick S. Hudson in Commerce Court. Weighing almost as much as 80 people or six automobiles, the enormous mother elephant is one of the largest bronze elephants in the world. As they appear to be “moving” in single file to the water of the nearby fountain, the artist hopes “to make people aware and concerned about animals in the wild and assist in channeling this concern into greater animal protection efforts.” [The Grid]

4. Synthetic Garden of Eden and Between the Skies – One Adelaide Street East

dynamic funds

Want to REALLY impress your date? Take them to this secret spot behind the Dynamic Funds Tower at One Adelaide Street East. The open area has numerous flower beds, unique horticultureand eclectic sculptures. In an area surrounded by skyscrapers, this private area acts as a peaceful oasis in the heart of downtown. The Metropolitan Resto Bar patio is located here as well, so grab a drink and enjoy the scenery!

5. The Monument to Construction Workers – Cloud Garden Park

Cloud Gardens

As the sun sets on your romantic evening in the Financial District, why not take that special someone to Cloud Garden Park to see The Monument to Construction Workers by artist Margaret Priest. Completed in 1994, several square-metre panels made with materials representing 25 different trades throughout Toronto make up this unique and collaborative piece. Contributions include work with concrete, rubble, brickwork, stainless steel, glass and zinc. Cloud Garden Park is open to the public and is located between Bay Street and Yonge Street on Temperance Street.

End your date at The Chase restaurant at 10 Temperance Street. Their rooftop patio was voted among the top best patios in the city and their variety of gourmet seafood will be sure to impress any date!

Honourable Mentions

Not ready to end your date? Check out these other fun spots in the Financial District!

After Work Cocktails Map

6. A Small Part of Something Larger – Trump International Hotel

Trump Hotel Mosaic

At 13.5 ft tall and 69 ft wide, “A Small Part of Something Larger” by Canadian artist Stephen Andrews adds to the beauty of the already magnificent Trump International Hotel and Tower. All completed by hand, this piece is made with over half a million glass tiles and took fifteen master artisans over 13 months to complete.

The theme behind the mural is “immigration” – 50 photographs of the crowd at Roy Thomson Hall and Air Canada Centre were combined to bring the artists’ vision to life, demonstrating Toronto’s multiculturalism, welcoming attitude and togetherness.

7. “Waterfall”- Scotia Plaza

If your date is a large-scale art lover, you can take them to Derek Michael Besant’s “Waterfall” in Scotia Plaza. Standing at 11 feet tall and comprised of 69 panels, it is the largest indoor mural in Canada and depicts in full scale the largest waterfall in Johnston Canyon, Alberta. (Pictures inside Scotia Plaza are not permitted).

8. Steel Doors – Exchange Tower

Exchange Tower Doors

Is your date obsessed with The Wolf of Wall Street? Take them to see the Steel Doors of the Toronto Stock Exchange! Located in the Exchange Tower at King and York Streets.

9. Businessman Walking- Commerce Court

Business Man

Designed by Canadian designer and sculptor, William McElcheran in 1986, this statue is infamous in the area. The purpose of the statue is the mirror the type of people who roam the halls of Commerce Court.

10. City People- Royal Bank Plaza

City People

City People, by Catherine Widgery, consists of 18 painted aluminum cutouts located on the stairs leading up to the plaza and mounted on poles that allow them to turn in the wind. With a variety of people shown, the installation is supposed to reflect that of passing pedestrians navigating this busy section of the city. [The Grid]

11. Gallery of Inuit Art- Toronto Dominion Centre

Inuit Art Gallery

If it’s a rainy day, take your date to the Gallery of Inuit Art in the TD Centre. This one-of-a-kind gallery opened in 1987 and is a cooperative project of the TD Bank and Cadillac Fairview. Featuring a selection of the bank’s celebrated and extensive collection of Inuit art, this gallery serves as a permanent home to this must-see collection of more than 200 pieces.