"Danger" reads the red tape at the corner of East Don Roadway and Queen Street East.
It's a warning to passersby of the nearby condo construction zone, but another danger is steps away - the condition of the Lower Don River. These days, it sports the yellow-green hue of honey Dijon and smells like a dirty toilet bowl. And a new public-art project won't let us forget about the sewage and pollution we drive over daily.
From the Don Valley Parkway, it's hard to miss the 4.5 metre (15-foot) orange life preserver (which is big enough to save Godzilla from drowning) hinged from the rusty Eastern Avenue Bridge. Reading "Don River" in black caps, it is a sculpture by the Montreal-based art collective BGL (which stands for the surnames of members Jasmin Bilodeau, Nicolas Laverdière and Sébastien Giguère). A closer look into the sludgy river reveals what the life preserver is looking to rescue - a miniature black cruise ship called the Nowhere II, crafted from an ice canoe and fashioned after the Queen Mary II.
The sculptures are hosted by a new curatorial collective called No. 9, which on Tuesday (Earth Day) will be also hosting historical walking tours of the Don. "Culture can play a role in environmental awareness," notes the executive director, Andrew Davies, who co-founded No. 9 with curator Catherine Dean. "We'd like to see the switch from thinking about consumption to thinking about sustainability."
Tours and family activities Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Ship viewable until June 29. Lower Don River, south of Queen Street Viaduct. 416-644-1019 ext. 3. http://www.no9.ca.