e believe art should be accessible to everyone in Cambridge. We’re committed to displaying public art throughout the city to transform our cityscape, engage our communities, and highlight the values upheld within our community.

Cambridge 50th Public Art

On behalf of the City of Cambridge, the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee is commissioning an artist to create an original public art piece as part of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the City.  

The Committee invited applications for two community representatives who have joined the jury. This group is responsible to short list applicants and review feedback from residents. The jury includes Peter Flannery, Gary Michael Dault, Bill Woodworth, Judy Magor-Girardin and community representatives, Meegan Persuad and Abeera Atique.

The jury reviewed all artist expressions of interest and shortlisted to five finalists. These artists received an honorarium to develop a model of their proposed public art piece which will be on display for consideration and feedback at the following locations and dates below. 

Comments on the finalists proposals can also be emailed to artcentre@cambridge.ca before Oct 12, 2023. 

Finalists

Two Smiths

fabric out of metal

Potential Location:
 Grassy berm along the shore of Grand River or Speed River

Concept Statement: 

Our focus is on the river and the industries that developed along its shores. The communities in the City of Cambridge each evolved around textile mills that were established along the riverbanks, powered by the water’s flow. 

We all encounter woven fabric on a daily basis: bed sheets, clothing towels, curtains, socks. We want to make fabric out of metal on a scale that feels larger than life and is configured so people can interact with it – touch, sit, and lean against it. 

Weaving is one of the oldest crafts in the world. Even before weaving was used to make cloth the practice of interlacing plants and branches was used to create baskets, shelter, and fences. First Nations people that first inhabited the shores of Grand and Speed Rivers would have woven willow branches and bark in all sorts of beautiful useful objects. 

As blacksmiths we recognize that historically our craft was foundational to all the other trades – blacksmiths created the tools that allowed all other tradespeople to do their work. We take great pleasure in the idea of shaping a giant piece of fabric by hand. 

Woven fabric is made up of thousands of individual strands of fibre; communities are formed by the interwoven relationships and interactions of thousands of individuals. Folded fabric is elegant and makes a profound statement about how Cambridge evolved and speaks to its current strength and creativity.
Gordon Reeve

Structure with people walking by

Potential Location:
Downtown Galt, Grand River shore

Concept Statement: 

Point of Origin 

I have considered various sites along Water Street, always seeking a place that might engage both sides of the river and involve the viewer in a kind of then and now dialogue. I would like to choose 60 Water Street North adjacent to the OPA offices. I have provided a Google Maps image to make this choice clear. Please note that the site created for the 

animation was selected early in my process. I have since realized it was in serious need of costly remediation. The main purpose of the animation is, however, to illustrate the wind acting on the moveable steel tiles. 

Looking across the shallow, flowing river I imagine a back-and-forth flow of memory, energy and knowledge between a viewer in the present, passing through the new spire and thinking about the countless numbers of people on the other side who built and passed beneath those distant spires during the life of this city. By engaging with the river, I wish to recognize the role the river has played not for hundreds but for thousands of years for the people who have always lived in this place. Turning a full 360 degrees in Cambridge, indeed in many cities, remote villages and remote times throughout world history, there seems always to have been a spire of some sort reaching toward the sky. I wonder if there is any place amongst all of earth’s peoples where a spire is unknown. The beauty of looking up the spire past the moving tiles to the sky is a universal gesture, made by our species, posing questions of the everchanging sky, seeking knowledge and perhaps comfort that comes less from knowing and more from wondering. It is interesting to imagine the sky not as a place but perhaps as a catalyst for the development of human sentience. 

I have called this work Point of Origin so that its name might come to mind while looking at the sky and listening to the distant trembling of the metal tiles, from high overhead, being ruffled by the wind. The spire shaped opening allows for the passage of one person at a time, forward or perhaps backward in time. Its floor will be made of slip-proof, textured stainless plate. 

Movement, sound, light and colour are elements as critical to the sculpture as the stainless steel of which it is made. Colours were chosen exclusively to maximize the flickering, visual response to the constantly moving tiles, not to reference one culture but to speak to all. 

Stainless steel was chosen for the tiles for its durability, brilliant, reflectiveness and the muffled sound of steel-on-steel jostling, like leaves in the wind. This movement suggests life-force where it would seem there is none. 
Please view here


Ernest Daetwyler

A Grand River (Part I_IV)

four sculptural works in bronze with a blue patina

Potential Location:
 Downtown Galt, Main Street bridge

Concept Statement: 

A Grand River consists of four sculptural works in bronze with a blue patina, formed after the Grand River. These sections will be installed on the four arches of the Main Street bridge, one sculpture on each arch.

The imagery of the blue Grand River in four parts with its tributaries appears fresh, minimal and contemporary. The flow of sculptures reminds of tree branches or roots, evoking associations to arteries and or veins transporting blood, or neurological connections in the brain.

The minimal and elegant sculptural works in bronze add another dimension to the historic bridge, highlighting the importance of water, the natural environment and the watershed that sustains the City of Cambridge, its citizens and all life.

The sections of the artwork have an overall length of more than ten meters and breathe new life on the four arches of the two-span concrete bowstring bridge with a length of fifty-eight meters.

The original Main Street bridge was designed by Archie B. Crealock and built in 1931 to carry heavy traffic. The concrete structure will easily be able to support the sculptures anchored in their place. A structural engineer will be consulted to confirm the exact, suitable places of the sculptural works to be anchored on the arches of the bridge.

A Grand River, the blue bands of strings of bronze modeled in the form present in the former Cambridge communities will elevate the distinctive historic bridge landmark, a strong symbol of connection and link to our past.

The Grand River in this region is located in the Haldimand Tract, a grant promising six miles on either side of the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River, and is within the territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The Mohawk name for the Grand River,  O:se Kenhionhata:tie means “Willow River”, for the many willows in the watershed. During the 18th Century, the French Colonists named it Grand-Riviere. The Ojibwe name for Grand River is Owaashtanong-ziibi.

This proposed public art project underlines the fact, that water itself, The Grand River and its tributaries, as well as its bridges are important focal points of downtown Cambridge and its community and deserve to be highlighted and celebrated.

The sculptures will celebrate the past, provide an inspirational, transformative experience to the present and hinting to the future, appearing as inspirational sketches in the sky.

Pierre Poussin

The Sheave Tower
Sheave Tower open-framed sculpture

Potential Location:
 Fountain Street Soccer Complex

Concept Statement: 

The Sheave Tower, an enduring beacon of innovation and discovery, stands proudly as a testament to the rich history and indomitable spirit of our region. Rooted in Ontario’s pioneering hydroelectric legacy and renowned as one of the world’s smallest hydroelectric generating sites, has left a profound impression on me.  With the Cambridge Public Art competition offering a platform to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, I am driven to create a monumental landmark that pays homage to the tower’s awe- inspiring history.

The concept connects the past and present, emphasizing the Sheave Tower’s significance in the area’s development.

The conceptual approach revolves around a sculpture that honours the original Sheave Tower’s shape and scale. By utilizing the tower’s distinct vertical ridges and outlines, the artwork would be created to help honour the City of Cambridge’s rich heritage and pioneering spirit. Creating an open-framed sculpture would create a piece that constantly plays with dynamic contrasts of light and shadow, positive and negative space, between day and night.  From every angle, it would compel the viewer’s perspectives, weaving an optical illusion that oscillates between a sense of transparency and opacity.

To further enhance the open qualities of the artwork, some facades have been kept open to highlight the tower’s unique shape, outlines and frame. Opening walls also creates a much more accessible public artwork which can be accessed from numerous directions.

Ted Fullerton

Being – Becoming

bronze figure surmounted on the iconic monolithic mill stone

Potential Location:
 At the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers

Concept Statement: 

In considering the artistic and design considerations for this public work of art, Being – Becoming within the framework of a publicly used space and in the context of the specificity of place that will reflect on its association to Cambridge’s 50th Anniversary, it is important it fuse and integrate within its setting socially, aesthetically and conceptually. It should enhance the experience of “place” and “environment” that honours and makes symbolic reference to its setting with a lasting contemporary statement that mirrors its communities present-day and past while inspiring a future city of diversity,  self worth and kindness – becoming a cognitive landmark.

This proposed sculpture, Being – Becoming is significant in associating to Cambridge’s heritage located at the confluence of the Grand and Speed Rivers. It makes a direct iconic association to the City’s origins that is based on the first mill built in 1842 by Robert Dickson on the Grand River – destroyed by fire the building was replaced in 1844 by the existing building, a limestone gristmill.

It also celebrates the creative spirit, tradition of invention and industry, natural beauty and cultural heritage of the city while symbolically suggesting a forward moving community that is evolving yet mindful of individual ideals and environment. These humanist ideals are reflected in the sculptures, Being – Becoming as well as the bronze figure surmounted on the iconic monolithic mill stone. This figure poised proud and looking forward – up river – associates and aligns with fundamental human values, determinedness, hard work and individual ideals within a community while implying “being” on an industrious, forward and progressive “pathway” or “wheel” to the future. Yet the figure is firmly surmounted on an iconic and solid foundation of past history. The brownish – oxidized green bronze figure will stand “triumphant” and created in a way that “identity” can be projected on to it by the viewer based on the individuals personal association supporting an inclusive perspective “of being”. 

To contextualize the sculpture regarding the project goals and to convey the history of its symbolic association with the site, a cast bronze didactic plaque will be placed at the base of its concrete plinth at a 45 degree angle. As a result this sculpture will take on a social connection within its aesthetic and breadth of interpretation allowing a “humanist” deliberation thus facilitating a work of art that has ongoing relevance to place while making reference to a historical past and an evolving future. It must symbolically suggest a forward moving community that is progressive yet mindful of individual ideals and environment.


A report will be provided to the Mayor and Council later this year when a final selection will be made. The awarded artist will make final revisions and installation will be scheduled in 2024. Proposed locations are subject to change based on jury's selection, required permits and discussions with artists.

For further details on the process and criteria please see the Expression of Interest.

Digital Light Projections Shows

In 2018, the City of Cambridge installed a digital projection system to display light shows on the facade of the Old Post Office building located at 12 Water Street South.  These shows have quickly become a community attraction and run nightly (Thursday to Sunday) throughout the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter Holiday Season. Content is scheduled to change seasonally and is appropriate for all ages.

Thank you to the Tourism Relief Fund for the funding that allowed for new creative content that can be used now and into the future!

Tune your car radio to FM 92.5 to listen to the music that has been choreographed with the show.

Please note:  Some shows may have strobe light type effects that may be disorienting to some residents. 

Digital Light Projection Shows
Content TypeStart DateDays RunningTimes
Fall Show September 14, 2023 Thursday - Sunday 8pm, 8:30pm, 9pm, 9:30pm
Rememberance Day  November 11, 2023 Saturday 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, 8:30pm
Holiday Show November 12, 2023 Thursday - Sunday 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, 8:30pm
No Show due to system maintanance January 4, 2024    
Winter Show February 29, 2024 Thursday - Sunday 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, 8:30pm
Spring Show March 28, 2024 Thursday - Sunday 8pm, 8:30pm, 9pm, 9:30pm
Show to be announced May 2, 2024 Thursday - Sunday 8:30pm, 9pm, 9:30pm
Summer Show May 23, 2024 Thursday - Sunday 9pm, 9:30pm
Fall Show September 5, 2024 Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm, 8pm, 8:30pm
Holiday Show November 14, 2024 Thursday - Sunday 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, 8:30pm
Winter Show January 2, 2025 Thursday - Sunday 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm, 8:30pm

Cambridge Sculpture Garden

Located on Grand Avenue, between Main and Concession streets, the Cambridge Sculpture Garden is in the heart of downtown Galt City Centre. The garden features temporary and permanent sculptures along the river walk.

Cambridge Sculture Garden Sign

Indigena domain

In 2008, artist and winner of a national competition, Stephen Cruise, created the indigena domain public art in front of Cambridge City Hall. This piece of work is a polished granite sculpture, honouring the founding communities of Galt, Preston, Hespeler and Blair.

Public Art Policy

In 2010, the City of Cambridge approved the Public Art Policy. The Policy includes starting a Public Art Reserve Fund through contributions equal to one per cent of capital construction budgets.

River Walk

In 2011, the Region of Waterloo, the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, the Cambridge Sculpture Garden and the Cambridge Libraries and Galleries started a joint project called Extraordinary Spaces. The project is a series of brochures about public art locations across the Region. Working closely with the local company Design Changes, the project produced the River Walk brochure from local residents and visitors to enjoy some of Cambridge's public art.