Toronto Through My Lens

“Across Time and Space, Two Children of Toronto Meet”

In 2011 sculptor Ken Lum completed his work: Across Time and Space, Two Children of Toronto Meet. The piece is located west off Bay Street and south of Dundas Street West, directly behind City Hall. It involves a long passageway from Bay Street to City Hall.

Two bronze sculptures placed on either end of this corridor represent historical immigrants to the area in the form of two children from different eras. The boy wears traditional Chinese clothing, closely related to the clothing worn during the Qing dynasty including the six paneled “Little Hat,” and the tunic with a mandarin collar and frog buttons which were popular during this period.

Pinned lettering in oxidized bronze separating the children reads: Across time and space, two children of Toronto meet…

The girl wears a simple collared, long sleeve dress with a bandana tying her hair.

The work calls the audience to think about the children’s divergent histories which have preceded their settling in Toronto. Specifically, the figure of the boy in traditional clothing is symbolic of the Chinese immigrant community through his cultural clothing. In contrast, the figure of the little girl in European dress, becomes a reminder of Canada’s white immigrant history, which has interacted directly with the Chinese immigrant history in the nation.

By facing the children toward one another, Lum uses his art to point towards a complicated web of national settler histories that converge and negotiate with one another, which has taken place in this very area of the downtown core.1

1Kaliyah Macaraig, Open Library

2 Comments

  1. David

    Interesting. A new one for me. I will look for this the next time I am in the area

  2. Bob K

    I remember seeing this discreet artwork when it was installed and finding it rather clever.

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