VOLTA - Lakeshore Boulevard + Leslie Street, Toronto

In poetry, the “volta”, or “turn”, is a dramatic change in thought and emotion; a moment of grace that introduces the possibility for transformation. Similarly Volta I and II acting in concert with their moving surround offer a new vision of uplift and transport; calling for a radically new form of social and aesthetic space that trembles with the energy of a city in metamorphosis and blushes with the vitality of contemporary urban life.

The new Leslie Barns facility and its encompassing urban and landscape infrastructure forms of hub of intense dynamism, movement and linkage, woven inextricably into the extensive Martin Goodman Trail, tying it in to Tommy Thompson Park, and acting as a vital threshold from downtown to the Eastern Beaches, to Scarborough and beyond.

Spanning the city’s industrial past and a new state of the art transportation facility, Volta I and II look both to the mythical foundations of the City of Toronto along Lake Ontario and to its emerging future of streamlined public transit and beyond. 

Whether passing in a vehicle, circling on a bike or strolling on foot one immediately feels the intense vitality emanating from the intersection of Lakeshore Boulevard and Leslie Street. An astonishing red artwork arises from the arena around which visitors gather. A frieze of red on the bounding wall of the TTC facility flies by. Sumacs and red maples tremble in the wind and the thread of red moves on, down Leslie Street to where the streetcars sheathed in red, coil in and out in their daily round. Beneath the silos a second red artwork, pensive and attentive picks up the call in a more solitary refrain, relaying it backwards and forwards between the arena at the crossroads and down to where the wildness of the Spit enters Lake Ontario.

The Leslie Barns Site is moving. Interwoven vortices of culture and nature, of human and non-human life, form and re-form, taking lines of flight into and out of one another; each a relay for the other. These fluent, shape-shifting formations sweeping through our inner and outer worlds are harnessed and transformed in Volta, creating moments of pause and enticement, connecting the vitalized arena of civic life with the wild.