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Bobber Plaza

Bobber Plaza

Douglas Coupland
b.1961

Bobber Plaza
  • Steel and resin
  • 2009
  • Various
  • 95 Fort York Blvd, Toronto

About the artwork

Complementing the Red Canoe and serving as the central locus of Canoe Landing Park, Douglas Coupland’s Bobber Plaza is one of Toronto’s most popular public artworks. Integrated into a water play plaza, this work gives welcome relief in the heat of summer. The Bobbers were inspired by colourful fishing floats. The artist explains that like the canoe and beaver dam, the Bobbers are meant to reference the lake, as well as “create a sense of futuristic Canadian energy.”

About the artist

Douglas Coupland grew up in Vancouver and attended the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Since graduating in the 1980s, Coupland has made a name for himself internationally as a writer, visual artist, and graphic designer, as well as being widely recognized as “one of the most original commentators on mass culture of the late 20th and the 21st century.” Coupland has written thirteen novels that have been published in many different languages worldwide. He has written and performed for England’s Royal Shakespeare Company and is a regular columnist for The Financial Times of London. He is also a frequent contributor to The New York Times, e-flux, DIS and Vice. In 2000, Coupland amplified his visual art production and has recently had two separate museum retrospectives: Everything is Anything is Anywhere is Everywhere at the Vancouver Art Gallery, The Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, and Bit Rot at Rotterdam’s Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and Munich’s Villa Stücke. His practice employs a variety of materials and explores the corrupting and seductive dimensions of pop culture. In 2015 and 2016, Coupland was named artist-in-residence at the Paris Google Cultural Institute. In May 2018, his exhibition on ecology, Vortex, opened at the Vancouver Aquarium. Coupland boasts an impressive list of honours and awards. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, an Officer of the Order of Canada, an Officer of the Order of British Columbia, a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.

Fun facts

  • Coupland is one of Canada's best known artists, exhibiting sculptures and various installations from the Pacific coast to the realm of Lake Ontario.

Engagement questions

  • What does this remind you of? Explain your response.
  • What symbols do you notice in the artwork?