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ICYMI: Spreading joy

As the AGO continues to celebrate the monumental life and career of artist Rita Letendre, take a look at our 2020 story about her iconic stained glass installation in the TTC's Glencairn subway station. 

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre. Image by Adam Lauder. 

On November 23, 2022, the AGO held a celebration of life event honoring artist Rita Letendre. The free event in Baillie Court included a screening of interviews with Letendre, alongside remembrances by her colleagues, friends and family. Below, take a look at our 2020 story about her beloved stained glass installation in the TTC's Glencairn subway station.

We can all use a little happiness these days. Whether it’s the kindness someone showed you at the grocery store, that baked loaf of bread you’ve perfected, or the sun setting just right on another tough day, there’s still a lot worth celebrating. 

For those who frequent the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)’s Glencairn Station, that feeling can be found by simply looking up. Spanning 200 metres across the ceiling of the station, renowned artist Rita Letendre’s breathtaking work, aptly titled Joy, is installed in the ceiling. 

In 1978, Letendre was commissioned to design an art installation for the new subway stop at Glencairn. The coloured canopy of glass was and is one of the TTC’s largest art projects. The vivid work remained in place for almost 20 years before it was removed at the artist’s request due to water damage. The current installation is a reinterpretation of Letendre’s original commission with improvements in structure and materials. The updated work has been six years in the making, involving an intricate process of re-mounting a series of laminated and tempered glass panels based on Letendre’s 1977 painting Ixepec.


Image courtesy of the TTC. 

The colourful skylight is a welcome addition to the station and to Toronto, offering positivity and hope for rebuilding. Letendre hopes this beautiful new restoration will bring joy and elevate the spirits of all TTC passengers for years to come.

The AGO's celebration of Rita Letendre's life happens this evening. Book your tickets here. Find out more about the artist's monumental life and career here

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