Toronto Through My Lens

“Cross Section”

A work entitled Cross Section, comprised of large bas-relief panels made from terra cotta, covers the walls of the underground passageway between Dundas subway station and the Atrium on Bay.

Installed in 1984, Cross Section was created by Canadian artist William McElcheran, For the installation, the terra cotta pieces were oven-fired in two-foot-square tiles prior to assembly.

William McElcheran conceived the Dundas subway stop as being a cross section of Toronto. It gave him an opportunity to sculpt and celebrate the increasing diversity of Toronto’s population.

You’ll notice in the work, the presence of the rotund business man in the trilby hat. The business man seems to be rushing somewhere in each panel, occasionally bumping into people, making them spill their parcels.

Artist William McElcheran (above, right) supervises the construction of his bas-relief art piece at Dundas subway station. In McElcheran’s words, “While the sculpture shows a busy cosmopolitan scene, it is also attempting to communicate the hopes carried in people’s hearts under their overcoats, and the dreams locked in their briefcases”. Photo taken for the Toronto Archives in April 1984.

“The Businessman” seems to be a recurring character in McElcheran’s works of art. His sculpture Businessman On A Horse, found in a small square at U of T’s St. Michael’s College, exemplifies this:

My earlier post for Businessman On a Horse can be found here if you’d like to check it out.

William McElcheran is also the sculptor of Untitled, found outside the Kelly Library, St. Michael’s College (U of T), 113 St. Joseph Street:

Click here if you’d like to read my post on Untitled.

Also true to McElcheran’s style and worthy of mention is his 1981 work Conversation, found on Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary:

William McElcheran died in 1999, leaving behind an impressive legacy. In Toronto, he created two twenty foot high marble reliefs at WaterPark Place at the foot of Bay Street, and a monumental sculpture of Daedalus and Icarus for the head office of the DuPont Corporation in Mississauga. His piece entitled The Family in Guelph has been adopted as a symbol of that city.

1 Comment

  1. David

    Yes his work is instantly recognizable. I like it. It has a sort of funny theme. And those hats that the rotund man wears in all of his work.

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