Call to Artists - Public Art Installations


Introduction and Background 

The City of Thunder Bay is currently re-developing and updating a portion of the City’s North Core.

The North Core Street Scape Project aims to transform the city's core by reconstructing streets to create a human centered, dynamic, and flexible space catering to diverse community needs. Scheduled from April 2023 to August 2025, the project encompasses Court Street and Red River Road, focusing on right-of-way enhancements, including:

  • Enlarge pedestrian walkways on both sides of the streetscape and ensure accessibility and access to all businesses.
  • Provide greater opportunity for outdoor terraces for local businesses.
  • Provide a flex-street design to support community programming and events and street closures.
  • Replacing water mains and sanitary sewers.
  • Constructing raised granite planters with trees, benches, and premium finishes.
  • Incorporating placemaking through public art.

Integral to this transformation is the infusion of public friendly spaces. Scheduled planting of greenery and public art installations will occur in phases over the project duration, contributing to a vibrant new atmosphere.

The initiative strives to reinvigorate the North Core as the Entertainment District, fostering economic growth and community vitality. By offering spaces for patios, events, and programming, the revitalized streets aim to attract families, businesses, and tourists.

The anticipated benefits include:

  • Immediate foot traffic and increased interest in existing businesses.
  • Safer, more inviting streets with added greenery and traffic calming measures.
  • Creation of a flexible outdoor event space for diverse programming by event organizers.
  • Long-term economic growth by attracting new businesses to the downtown area.

This initiative contributes to a healthier and more vibrant community by boosting small businesses and tourism as well as fostering a sense of inclusivity and cultural richness through public art and the opportunity for diverse event programming.

There are three (3) locations within this project where public art is being sought:

  1. Court Street Plaza (north-west corner of Court Street North and Red River Road)
  2. Mall Street Plaza
  3. St. Paul Street to Cumberland Street Plaza (North side, from Cumberland Street to St. Paul Street)

 Art Locations for the North Core Street Scape

 Invitation to Artists and Eligibility

The City of Thunder Bay is pleased to offer this public art opportunity for artists, artist-teams, or organizations to create and fabricate prominent art piece(s) that will be installed as part of the North Core Street Scape project. Artists are welcome to submit up to two (2) concepts for any or all three art locations.


Artist Eligibility

This competition is open to Canadian artists and artist teams.

Preference will be given to local artists, particularly those who identify as Indigenous artists, who have a connection to Thunder Bay and or the surrounding area, reflecting our commitment to supporting and displaying local & Indigenous talent from within our region.

Site Meeting

The purpose of this meeting is to familiarize attendees with the three locations, provide an opportunity to take pictures and measurements, and meet the project engineer and landscape architect of the North Core Street Scape.


Key details about the meeting:

  • Date and Time: Wednesday, June 26th at 10 am EDT
  • Location: Court Street, at the northwest corner of Court Street North and Red River Road
  • Attendance: Strongly encouraged, as it will be reflected in scoring


Additional information:

  • Technical questions arising from the site visit are to be submitted by July 5th, 2024.
  • An addendum with answers will be released by July 19th, 2024, and will be circulated to all proponents.


For more details, refer to the Timeline & Further Information tabs.

For accessibility requests, please contact Laurie Abthorpe, Cultural Development and Public Art Coordinator, at


Design Scope

Through public engagement sessions, the North Core Street Scape project has identified several key design considerations.

Participants expressed the importance of incorporating Indigenous cultural elements, public art, and culturally inspired designs to enhance pedestrian-friendly areas.

Submission Considerations:

  • Ensuring year-round durability using resilient materials.
  • Lighting elements for safety.
  • Thematic connections to the waterfront.
  • Opportunities to reflect stories of the community.
  • Inclusion of Indigenous cultural elements and/or geographical and cultural history.
  • Enhancing downtown with more colour and lighting.
  • Emphasizing inclusivity, cultural representation, sustainability, and accessibility.
  • Shaping perceptions of space and place through thoughtful interventions.

Design Themes

  • Nature.
  • Local history, culture, geography.
  • Visual motifs, themes, and patterns including canoes, fish, water, and traditional medicines.
  • Connection with the meandering river design of the lock stone and variegated blocking.

Photo of the lock stone design

Core Values

All proposals should be consistent with the goals and objectives of the current City of Thunder Bay Strategy Plan:

Four Strategic Priorities

  • Maamawe - All together - We honour the truth and reconcile for the future.
  • Safety & Well-Being - Ensuring our community is healthy, safe, and strong.
  • Growth - We attract and retain new and diverse businesses and community members.
  • Sustainability - We advance a thriving economy and environment.

 Project Specifications

Art Locations

As part of this project, there are three (3) designated locations for public art installations:

Court Street Plaza (north-west corner of Court Street North and Red River Road)

This location is considered a gateway to Thunder Bay North Core and is situated at the north-west corner of Court Street North and Red River Road and close to the public parking parkade.

Map of Court Street Plaza

Mall Street Plaza

Mall Street Plaza is a shaded pedestrian alley connecting Red River Road to Park Street, flanked by tall buildings. Concepts for this space should consider dynamic lighting elements.

Map of Mall Street Plaza

St. Paul Street to Cumberland Street Plaza (North side, from Cumberland Street to St. Paul Street)

Serving as a gateway into Thunder Bay North Core, St. Paul Street to Cumberland Street Plaza offers an exceptional opportunity for artistic expression.

Map of Cumberland Street to St. Paul Street Plaza

Design Considerations

Accessibility, Safety, and Appropriateness to Site 

To ensure that the artwork harmonizes with the site, several parameters must be considered:

  1. Access for Emergency and Firefighting: The design must accommodate 1.5 m access for emergency and firefighting activities, prioritizing safety within the area.
  2. Pedestrian Accessibility: Ensure the site maintains a 3.0 m wide walkway for pedestrians. 
  3. Height Restriction and Sight Triangle: Public art installations must adhere to a maximum height of 15.0 m within the above parameters. It is imperative to preserve sight triangles, at the intersections of roads where visibility of approaching traffic should remain unobstructed. Additionally, it is crucial to guarantee that public art does not hinder views of business signage.
  4. Walkable Surface Safety: In artworks intended for pedestrian interaction or walking, the artist must use non-slip materials, and ensure the design avoids creating tripping hazards.
  5. Vandalism Resistance and Public Safety: Prioritize vandalism resistance and safety for the public, particularly focusing on safeguarding children and individuals who may interact with the artwork.
  6. Prevention of Climbing Hazards: Ensure that the artwork is not climbable to prevent accidents and maintain a safe environment free of obstruction including overhang. 
  7. Maintenance: Consideration towards long-term maintenance.
  8. Right of the City: Understand that the installed art piece may be removed at any time at the discretion of the City, depending on its condition and other factors.

Please refer to the Appendix for plan views outlining the suggested allocated areas for public art placement. It is important to note that there are three types of designated areas:

  1. Green - Area for public art with a 0 to 15 m height restriction
  2. Yellow - Area for public art with a 0 m height restriction
  3. Orange - Areas where no public art is permitted.
Vertical Height Restrictions for Public Art
Distance From:Public Art 0 Metres in HeightPublic Art Up to 15 Metres in Height
Planters  0.5m  1.5m
Property Lines  0.5m  1.5m
Streetlights  0.5m  1.5m
Curbs  0.5m  1.8m
Addressing these considerations will demonstrate how the artwork enhances the functionality, safety, and overall suitability of the site. While the City may provide infrastructure for power sources, it will not provide solar panels or water infrastructure.

Compliance to Requirements & Feasibility

  1. Technical: Ensure that your proposed artwork can be realized within the given parameters of the site and construction methods. Consider factors such as structural integrity, installation requirements, and long-term maintenance needs. Assess whether the design can be executed effectively using available resources and expertise.
  2. Financial: Evaluate the budgetary constraints of the project and ensure that your proposal aligns with available funding. Consider material costs, labour expenses, and any additional fees associated with fabrication, transportation, and installation. Explore cost-effective options without compromising the quality and integrity of your artwork.
  3. Deviations: Successful proponents will provide a statement that any potential deviations from the accepted design must be brought to the attention of the Public Art Program staff before implementation and are subject to approval by the Public Art Committee. Deviations include, but are not limited to size/scale, location/placement, colour, materials, artists involved, content/appearance, and significant changes to budget or timeline.

 Design Finalization - Roles and Responsibilities

Selected artist/artist team/organization is responsible for providing the City of Thunder Bay with completed Artwork installed by August 2025.

  • Selected artist/artist team/organization is responsible for providing the City of Thunder Bay with completed Artwork installed by August 2025.
  • The selected artist/artist team/organization must create a finalized, detailed design for the City of Thunder Bay’s approval.
  • Schedule: Selected artist(s) must provide a working day schedule detailing the number of days required for design, fabrication, installation, construction of the base, and restoration.
  • Technical Drawings: Successful artist(s) will need to provide detailed drawings; particularly for foundation work, offering elevation and plan views with comprehensive specifications. Required structural/electrical drawings shall be stamped by an engineer licensed to practice in the Province of Ontario. Additionally, any foundation designs shall be accompanied by a construction cost estimate.
  • Infrastructure: While infrastructure for power sources may be provided by the City, solar panels and water infrastructure will not be.
  • The allocated budget covers both design and installation expenses. However, the base and restoration work will be the responsibility of the City of Thunder Bay.
  • Installation is the responsibility of the artist/artist team/organization. The artist is responsible to work with the City of Thunder Bay to schedule any required road closures.
  • Installed art piece may be removed at any time at the discretion of the City and depending on condition.
  • Certificate of Insurance - A certificate of insurance with a $5 million liability coverage for the installation of your artwork will be required by successful artist(s)/ artist led teams.
  • A contract will be extended to the selected artist/artist team/organization outlining the responsibilities of both parties.
  • The original format of the finalized design (e.g., framed rendering, digital print) may be purchased by the City and integrated into the public art collection. This cost must be reflected in the artist’s budget as a separate optional line.


 The three (3) public art locations each have a specified budget limit:
  1. Court Street Plaza:                                                             $200,000
  2. Mall Street Plaza:                                                               $100,000
  3. St. Paul Street to Cumberland Street Plaza:                  $200,000

If applying for all three (3) art locations, there is flexibility between location budgets, ensuring that the total project budget does not exceed $500,000.


Please note that the City of Thunder Bay assumes no responsibility for any expenses incurred by the artist(s) or organizations during the submission process. 

These lump sum amounts cover the public art’s design and installation expenses, including but not limited to, excluding HST:

  • Artist Fees and Honorariums
  • Project Expenses
    • Professional fees such as technical consultations, necessary stamped engineer drawings (electrical, structural, mechanical)
    • Required drawings
    • Mock-ups
    • Hourly per diem fees - fees for any expenses associated with changes or revisions/modifications to the submitted concept.
  • Fabrication & Material Costs
    • Material testing
  • Installation Costs
    • Delivery, transportation, anchoring systems etc.
  • Copyright Fee
  • Insurance - $5 million liability

City-Covered Costs (not included within the budget)

Please provide a cost estimate for the foundation work expenses if applicable. Completion of any foundation work will be covered by the City of Thunder Bay. 

Due to geographical and regional variations in availability and costs of equipment, materials and services, artists are strongly encouraged to obtain local quotes for any portion of the proposed project that may take place in Thunder Bay, (i.e. fabrication/installation).


The selected artist, artist team, or organization is responsible for providing the City of Thunder Bay with completed artwork installed by August 2025

Milestone Dates for the Project
 Call for Submissions  Wednesday, June 12, 2024
 Information Meeting & Site Visit  Wednesday, June 26, 2024, 10 am EDT
 Submission of Questions Related to Site Visit  Friday, July 5, 2024
 Addendum Released  Friday, July 19, 2024 - Updated as Needed

 Call to Artist Submission Deadline

(Including Preliminary Drawings) 

 Wednesday, August 21, 2024, 11:59 pm EDT
 Award & Notification to Artists  September 2024
 Concept Approval  October 2024
 Final Detailed Drawings & Foundation Drawings   December 2024
Installation Deadline  August 2025

 Submission Checklist

A complete application package must be submitted online by the deadline to be considered. Artists in a team must submit their proposal as one package. 


This is the information that you will be required to provide to submit your application:

Lead Artist and Team Members Profile
  • Lead artist and/or team members (legal name if applicable)
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address

Artist/Artist lead Team Bio (max. 2-pages)

  • Provide CVs/Resumes highlighting the qualifications and experience of each team member. Include a biography with details of each artist's background, artistic career, accomplishments, and connection to Thunder Bay. References may be requested for chosen concepts.

Related Experience (300 word-limit)

  • Outline the lead artist's experience and that of any team members in similar projects or related functions. List all completed major public art, public open space, street scape, and performance venue projects. 
  • Examples could include but are not limited to:
    • Murals
    • Site specific installations
    • Statues 
    • Lighting displays
    • Mosaics

Images of Past Work/Projects (max. 6 images)

  • Provide photos of previous work with dimensions, venue, and year of creation. If applicable, show examples from each team member, and include examples of other sculptural or similar works.
  • Images (jpg or png files) – to be labelled each with dimensions, venue, and year.

Submission (If submitting for multiple locations, submit one for each)

  • Vision/Artistic Merit (300 word-limit)
    • Please provide a concise description of your artistic vision or concept for the proposed artwork, limiting your response to one page. This description should encompass the theme, inspiration, intended message, and any unique elements or techniques you plan to incorporate. Your vision will serve as a cornerstone for comprehending the essence and impact of your proposed artwork within the designated space. The evaluation will prioritize the outstanding potential of the artwork concept, considering factors such as the quality of work, originality, and overall excellence. 
  • Appropriateness as Public Art (500 word-limit)
    • Please explain how your work is suitable for public art by focusing on two key aspects:
      • Public Impact: Describe how your proposed concept(s) aligns with the City of Thunder Bay Strategic Plan, and how it engages & enriches the local community, fosters dialogue and enhances the cultural landscape. 
      • Connection to Context and Design Scope: Illustrate how your proposed concept pays tribute to the distinctive character and heritage of the site, enriching its identity and aesthetic appeal while aligning with the project's design scope.

Design and Drawing(s) of Concept (max. 4-pages per concept)

  • The intended size, materials, colours, weight, height, and artwork dimensions.
  • How the artwork will be secured during installation and display.
  • How the artwork will be illuminated and any electrical requirements if necessary.
  • Submit preliminary drawings or photos of the proposed art concept, offering various viewpoints, and detailing dimensions, including the foundation base. This should encompass elevation and plan views, along with specifications.

Timeline (max. 2-pages)

  • Installation timeline/working days/work-plan timeline (how long to design, fabricate, & install).

Budget Breakdown

 Selection Process & Criteria

All submissions will be pre-screened to ensure completeness and eligibility as per the submission requirements, project specifications, timeline, and budget.

The City of Thunder Bay reserves the right to accept or reject any and/or all submissions.

Proposals that are deemed complete and eligible will be reviewed by a jury of qualified people, including members of the City of Thunder Bay Public Art Committee, the commissioning body, City administration, and where applicable, members of the local arts community. The jury may invite non-voting technical advisors to assist with the selection process at its discretion.

Submission Scoring Criteria



Maximum Score


Experience and Qualifications

Lead Artist and Team Members Profile (5)

History/profile of the Artist(s).

Detailed CV’s providing information on the qualifications and experience of the Artist and Team Members if applicable.

Demonstrated Experience in similar work (15)

Identification of the lead Artist’s experience and that of any the artist’s team in undertaking similar projects or related functions, along with a portfolio of completed major public art, public open space, and performance venue projects, with at least one project each in public street scape or public open space.

Have a connection to Thunder Bay and or the Surrounding Area (4)

Attendance at Site Visit (1)

Project Delivery

Project Understanding (15)

The Artist Team’s demonstrated understanding of the project and its scope and a statement of the key issues involved in the Project.

Demonstrated Alignment with the City of Thunder Bay Strategic Plan.

Concept is suitable and appropriate as public art. 

Visual & Artistic Merit of Design (35)

Artistic vision.

Illustrations, drawings etc.

Connection To Context and Scope of project etc.

Timeline (10)

A preliminary work plan showing the level of effort required and the anticipated hours for each task involved for each member of the project team.


Cost(s) to the City of Thunder Bay as per the Schedule of Pricing, all taxes extra where applicable.



Total Points Available

 Terms and Agreements

By submitting an online application, the artist/artist teams agree to the following regarding this Public Art Opportunity:


  • The City of Thunder Bay will purchase the rights of the selected artist(s) Artwork to install it at the north-west corner of Court Street and Red River Road.
  • In addition to all submission requirements outlined in this Call to Artists, the selected artist(s) are required to consent to the following copyright terms:
  • Ownership of the selected Artwork(s), in digital and printed forms, will vest in the City upon final written acceptance of the finalized design(s) by the City.
  • The artist warrants that they are the owner of the copyright in and to the Artwork(s) and have not transferred the copyright to a third Party.
  • Copyright in the Artwork(s), including the digital image(s), will be transferred to the City for the promotional purposes as outlined in this Request for Proposal and additionally, in any manner or medium, in whole or in part, for cataloguing, government publications, insurance, documentation, public relations or other publicity purposes. If the Artwork(s) are reproduced by the City for any of the listed purposes, the City will use reasonable efforts to indicate the name of the Artist(s) in the publication for which the reproduction was created.
  • Artist(s) may reproduce the Artwork(s) with the City’s prior written approval for publicity purposes only, and if they choose to do so, ownership credit must be given to the City as ‘THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF THUNDER BAY’. Despite this, the Artist(s) may include photos of the Artwork(s) in presentations and portfolios evidencing their work without the prior written approval of the City.
  • The Artist(s) will not reproduce the Artwork(s) for any other client or purchaser.

Proponent Covenant:

  • I/we as the undersigned authorized signing officer of the proponent, hereby declare that no person or studio other than the one(s) represented by the signature(s) below, has any interest in this submission. I/we further declare that all statements, schedules, and other information provided in this submission are true, complete and accurate in all respects to the best knowledge and belief of the proponent. I/we understand that this may result in the rejection of my/our submission if this declaration is found to be untrue. I/we have received, allowed for and included as part of our submission all issued Addenda.
  • Submission of a proposal indicates acceptance by the proponent of the conditions contained in this Request for Proposal, unless clearly and specifically noted in the proposal and in any contract between the City and the firm(s) selected.
  • Information For All Proponents (Artists)
  • The City has the right to negotiate with the proponent that presents the most attractive proposal.
  • Thunder Bay City Council shall have the final authority on all matters regarding this Request for Proposal.
  • Late proposals MAY NOT be accepted.  All equipment/materials specified in this proposal is/are subject to budget approval by Thunder Bay City Council and Budget Funding. Quantities may be adjusted and/or items cancelled based on availability of funding.
  • All proposals, including 3-dimensional support materials, submitted to the City of Thunder Bay become the property of the City and, as such, are subject to the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  • The City will not use/disclose the information provided, without proper authorization, and will keep the information in a physically secure location to which access is given only to staff requiring access.
  • Copyright of submitted support materials will remain with the artist, save and except for the City’s right to reproduce the artwork in any manner or medium, in whole or in part, for cataloguing, government publications, insurance, documentation, public relations or publicity purposes.  If the artwork is reproduced by the City for any of the listed purposes, the City will use reasonable efforts to indicate the name of the Artist thereon.

Rights Reserved by The City

  • The City reserves the right to be the sole judge as to the calculation of basis of award and has the right to award this contract in whole or in part, that which is deemed most advantageous to the City.
  • The City reserves the right, without prejudice, to reject any or all submissions in whole or in part, to waive technical defects, irregularities, and omissions and to determine, in its own best judgement, the proponent best qualified to undertake this contract, if, in so doing, the best interests of the City will be served.
  • The City reserves the right to terminate the contract without notice due to non-performance and unsatisfactory services.
  • The City reserves the right to call in alternate services if the proponent is unable to provide the service when it is requested.
  • The Evaluation Committee reserves the right to be the sole judge of the acceptability of any proposal, and also any alternative proposal, and to purchase the service/product which, in its opinion, most closely meets the operating requirements of the City.
  • The decision of the Evaluation Committee shall be final and without recourse.
  • The lowest cost proposal will not necessarily be accepted, and the City reserves the right to reject any and all proposals and/or re-issue the RFP in its original or revised form.

Late Submissions

  • Submissions are date/time stamped upon their receipt through the online application form. Materials received after the deadline may not be considered. The City will assume no responsibility for submissions that are not received though the online application form by the specified closing date and time.

Please contact Laurie Abthorpe, Cultural Development and Public Art Coordinator, at 807-625-2357 or email prior to the deadline if you require special accommodations or assistance with the above requirements.

 Further Information

If you require further information about this opportunity, please submit your questions by email to Laurie Abthorpe, Cultural Development and Public Art Coordinator,



  • Any questions & answers will also be reflected in an addendum.
  • Once a question is received, an addendum will be issued so that all interested parties can access the same information.
  • It is the responsibility of the proponent to check the City’s website to review the addenda and/or updates prior to submitting a proposal.

Refer to the Timeline for dates & deadlines. 




 Art Locations for North Core Street Scape

A photo of the lock stone design pattern

A map of the Court Street Plaza

A map of the mall street plaza

A map of the cumberland street to the st. paul plaza

Submission Instructions

Please contact prior to the deadline if you require special accommodations, or assistance with the submission requirements, including hard copy submission.

NOTE: Links to external document sharing sites will not be accepted. Submission materials must be included in your online application via attachment in .pdf format with support material in .jpg format through the online application process. Ensure that all submitted documents include the project reference number CTA2024-01.

Submissions that do not comply with these requirements may not be considered.

Please submit your application for any or all the public art installation areas in this call using the online application process below:

Court Street Plaza

Submit Here

Mall Street Plaza

Submit Here

St. Paul Street to Cumberland Street Plaza

Submit Here

Submission Deadline: 11:59 pm EDT, Wednesday, August 21, 2024

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