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East Gwillimbury selects Holding Hope as winner of public art contest
Nov. 16, 2022

A dynamic new sculpture is coming to the heart of Sharon.

East Gwillimbury council approved the installation of "Holding Hope" in Children of Peace Park following an extensive community engagement process. The process began earlier this year with a community call-out for design proposals. The Arts and Culture Advisory Committee received and assessed 13 submissions and selected two concepts to move to the next phase.

In July, the town and the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee launched “Which Art in the Park,” a poll to assist with the selection of EG’s first permanent art piece. A total of 384 people voted, with 267 people selecting Holding Hope as their preferred concept. Consultation was also done with key stakeholders from the Town, Sharon Temple Board, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, and Accessibility Advisory Committee to review the proposed concepts.

“Celebrating the arts and creativity in our community are key factors in building a culture of municipal excellence,” Mayor Virginia Hackson said. “Holding Hope is a truly remarkable piece, that represents our town’s rich history through art."

Holding Hope was created by Kyle Thornley, a blacksmith who has created art using metal for the past 18 years. The description of the piece states, "Holding Hope is offered to encourage feeling of curiosity, gratitude, delight and well-being as it celebrates and keeps the stories of the past and inspires hope for the future."

The cost to create the piece is $90,000, which will be funded by the Public Art Reserve. The council-approved reserve fund has been established using development charges with no cost to the taxpayer. The piece is scheduled to be completed and installed in Children of Peace Park by 2025.

The process to select public art in East Gwillimbury is included in the town’s Public Art Policy, which was approved last summer. The policy defines the role of public art in EG as well as the town’s commitment to supporting the arts in the community. To learn more about Holding Hope, visit