The Vessel

Taddle Creek Park
40 Bedford Rd., Toronto, ON Canada
Installation date May 2011.

Commissioned by The City of Toronto
5.7m high Stainless Steel Sculpture with a Water Feature.

This sculpture of a water-carrying vessel is made from 4 kilometers of stainless steel rod. The rod measures the approximate length of Taddle Creek, which ran from Taddle Creek Park through downtown Toronto to Lake Ontario. The piece reconstitutes a memory of the buried creek by referencing its length and by bending the steel rod into water-carrying arteries. The sculpture’s surface is porous, allowing one to see light slicing through the stainless steel rods that create its volume. Water flows from the top of the rim of the vessel over its surface and then cascades onto the ground, creating sound that drowns out the noise of traffic. The piece is like an over-flowing pitcher, evoking the creek’s long history as a source of sustenance. Water from The Vessel is stored in an underground cistern and used to irrigate the park. Vessels have accompanied all peoples for millennia, and are often seen as a surrogate for the body; the desire of all civilizations to anthropomorphize these water-carrying vessels is evidence of their importance to our survival as a species. The ability to harness the flow of water both for physical and imaginative nourishment has been an inseparable part of the evolution of all societies. The Anishinaabe Nation or Ojibway-speaking people of the region would have drawn water for sustenance from many sources, including Taddle Creek. They also drew inspiration from water in the development of their creation myths, one of which says, “the rivers that run underground are the veins of Mother Earth and water is her blood, purifying her and bringing her food. Mother Earth implies reproduction, fertility and life.” Although The Vessel represents a container, it also acts as a fountain, relating the creek’s historical significance as a life-sustaining water source to the future pleasure of the community.

Ilan Sandler 2011