Planning a suburban public artscape: The case of Mississauga, Canada | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1-3
  • ISSN: 2042-793X
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7948



This article critically examines the cultural planning and policy frameworks recently developed in the suburban municipality of Mississauga, now considered Canada’s sixth largest city, to ameliorate an impoverished public artscape. In the absence of a public art programme and a three-decades-long anti-art mayoral regime, Mississauga’s public artscape has emerged in an ad hoc manner with no rationale for the distribution of art within the city and no strategy for engaging and empowering diverse publics. An analysis of Mississauga’s first Culture Master Plan (2009) reveals that public art is treated as a straightforward mechanism for animating the public realm despite the lived suburban realities of significant spatial distances, high car dependence, nine-to-five commuting patterns, low foot traffic and enormous cultural diversity. A critique of the ensuing Framework for a Public Art Program (2010) report produced by the Culture Division is used to evaluate the most recent addition to Mississauga’s public art collection, the sculpture Buen Amigo (2011) by Chilean artist Francisco Gazitua. The sculpture was privately commissioned by the developers of the Absolute World luxury condominium 56-storey towers by Beijing architect Yansong Ma. The towers and the sculpture are intended to be landmarks that help to brand the suburban municipality as culturally sophisticated and economically dynamic. This article considers the spatial politics and interrelationships between the different urban actors involved in the selection of one work of public art and critically assesses the cultural policy frameworks that informed this decision-making process.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error