Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Legacy Project, in partnership, have developed a program of commemorative plaques that celebrates the bygone lives that helped to build the city of today. Each plaque marks a site where a notable artist, scientist, or thinker lived or worked.
Many cities have similar programs, such as London, Paris, New York and Barcelona. Toronto has the Cabbagetown People plaques, but this is the first city-wide initiative.
Explore our map of the Toronto Legacy Plaques below, or in full screen here.
The Toronto Legacy Project was established by Toronto’s first Poet Laureate Dennis Lee in 2002 to celebrate Toronto’s notable artists, scientists, and thinkers by weaving their names into the cityscape. Initially focused on naming or re-naming facilities, such as Oscar Peterson Place (at the Toronto Dominion Centre), Glenn Gould Place (formerly Metro Square), and George Faludy Parkette (at St. Mary’s and St. Nicholas Streets), the Toronto Legacy Project is currently focusing on this plaques program.
The Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto share a common commitment to memory – to marking, on our streets and in our public places, the names of those who have given us something worth celebrating. This new program reflects the merging of the Legacy Project’s focus – individuals who have made a major contribution to the arts, science and thought – with Heritage Toronto’s long-standing Plaques and Markers Program. Using criteria jointly established for this program, the Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto work closely to select candidates and plaque locations.
Heritage Toronto and the Toronto Legacy Project gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Nigel Smith in developing the design of these plaques.
Selection of Candidates and Plaque Sites
To be considered, individuals must have made a major contribution to the arts, science or thought. That contribution must be recognized by members of their own calling, and must be well documented and broadly acknowledged. Candidates must also have had a strong association with the City of Toronto through birth, residence over a significant period of time, or through the connection of their work and career with the city.
Plaques must be installed on a site which has a well-documented and strong connection to the life or work of commemorated individuals.
Candidates for the plaques are put forward each year by the Legacy Project. The public is invited to submit names for consideration to both Heritage Toronto and the Legacy Project.
Simple and elegant, each plaque uses a few words to identify the person and place being honoured. Plaques will be installed either on the front wall of a building or on a post at the sidewalk.
The striking design was contributed by the Toronto firm, Hahn Smith. Each plaque is an oval, 30 cm by 18 cm, with bold white type on a blue background. The oval retains the shape of Heritage Toronto plaques; the blue retains the colour of Legacy Project markers at Oscar Peterson Place and other sites, while referencing the official colour of Toronto.