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Spreading Joy

Rita Letendre's stunning work, Joy, returns to the TTC’s Glencairn Station.

Rita Letendre

Rita Letendre. Image by Adam Lauder. 

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 Letendres breathtaking work, aptly titled Joy, has returned after a hiatus.

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. Today’s 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.

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