Leading Edge / Winter 2010
Road Thrill

Art profs create a sparkling underside to the Gardiner Expressway

Photo by Evan Dion

Torontonians have a love-hate relationship with the Gardiner Expressway, but they may find more to like now that a small section has been transformed into a shimmering piece of art.

Watertable, an installation by University of Toronto art professors Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, uses strings of LED lights to illuminate a 30-metre section of the Gardiner near the new entrance to Fort York. The artists have programmed the lights to glow in sequence, visually echoing the motion of a wave. Speakers emit the sound of lapping water, recorded at the Toronto Islands.

Watertable marks the original shoreline of Lake Ontario, and the artists hope that it will prompt viewers to reflect on the city’s beginnings. “Everyone who came to this area, including soldiers and native people, arrived by water,” says Steele. “This was a place of importance – geologically, geographically – and I think Watertable brings a beautiful focus to it again.”

Reader Comments

# 1
Posted by Peter Mykusz on August 9th, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

Watertable video at

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