Woodward's original "W" now sits in front of the redeveloped Vancouver building as a public art piece. Nothing ties a home together quite like a captivating piece of art, and the same could be said for new real estate developments. That’s why so many cities across Canada have mandatory public art programs in place.

While the specifics of the programs vary from city to city, they are all intended to encourage developers to give back to the communities in which they do business (if not with art then with another public benefit like affordable housing or a community centre).

The City of Vancouver’s program requires that $1.81 per square foot on projects 100,000-square-feet or greater go toward a public art project. In Toronto, a percentage of construction costs for buildings over a certain size also go into art. Calgary has a density bonus program, where downtown developers can add square footage to the cities’ floor area restrictions in exchange for erecting a public art installation.

Many savvy real estate developers have embraced these mandatory programs as an opportunity to have their properties standout.

This story highlights a few of those examples from across the country, but we’d also like to ask you, dear readers, what your favourite real estate art pieces are. Let us know in the comment section below or on Twitter and we’ll update this post with your suggestions.

“Buen Amigo” in Mississauga. Part of Cityzen‘s and Fernbrook Homes‘ Absolute World condo development.

Buen Amigo

“Buen Amigo” is Spanish for Good Friend.

While not associated with one particular development, “The Birds” at Vancouver’s Olympic Village keep watch over hundreds of False Creek condo owners.

"The Birds" by Vancouver artist Myfanwy MacLeod.

“The Birds” by Vancouver artist Myfanwy MacLeod.

Michael Awad and David Rokeby’s light collaboration is on display at Menkes‘ Telus Building at 25 York Street in Toronto.

Menkes light art

Stan Douglas’s photo mural at the redeveloped Woodward’s building in Vancouver depicts the so-called “Gastown Riot” of 1971.

The giant photo mural in Woodward's atrium spans 50 by 30 feet.

The giant photo mural in Woodward’s atrium spans 50 by 30 feet.

“Things End” at Toronto’s Festival Tower by The Daniels Corporation.

"Things End" weighs 1,400 pounds and is modeled after a rubber band.

“Things End” weighs 1,400 pounds and is modeled after a rubber band.

And in Festival Tower‘s lobby is Peter Powning’s “The Fantasm.”

“The Fantasm” is a series of back-lit video monitors that pulse with energy.

“The Fantasm” is a series of back-lit video monitors that pulse with energy.

“Wonderland” is a 12-metre wire portrait of a young girl at The Bow‘s main plaza in Calgary.

Wonderland is the work of Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa.

Wonderland is the work of Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa.

A colouful strip of lights runs up the side of Reliance Properties‘ West Pender Place in downtown Vancouver.

The idea for the light installation was inspired by the natural surroundings.

The idea for the light installation was inspired by the natural surroundings.

“Persian Wall” at Residences on Georgia by Westbank in Vancouver.

Artist Dale Chihuly designed “Persian Wall.”

Artist Dale Chihuly designed “Persian Wall.”

Intracorp recently unveiled their design for a new public art installation slated for Silver Condos in Burnaby

Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew’s “The Shed” will be part of Intracorp‘s Silver Condos development in Burnaby.

Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew’s “The Shed” will be part of Intracorp‘s Silver Condos development in Burnaby.

While not part of any new real estate development, “Everything Is Going To Be Alright” is a Vancouver favourite owned by Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing.

"Everything Is Going To Be Alright" is neon text affixed to the restored Wing Sang Building in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

“Everything Is Going To Be Alright” is neon text affixed to the restored Wing Sang Building in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Developments featured in this article

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