Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Play Me, I'm Yours, Toronto

The idea of art, music and a sense of community scattered all around the city of Toronto totally enchanted me about the Street Pianos installation around town. I first heard about it because one such piano is sitting in the hallway downstairs at work, and news of it's arrival had been broadcast within the internal news.

With the tag line "Play Me, I'm Yours", these 41 pianos have each been painted to represent a different country competing in the Pan Am Games here in Toronto in 2015.

The website is full of stories of people sitting down to play, and the hidden musical talents of the random public. But also, what captivates most are the tales, and sights, of a couple of strangers chatting as they play, or standing listening to an accomplished player having a go on the keys. One evening I saw an older gentleman sitting with 2 younger girls, figuring out how to play the parts of Heart and Soul together. Right there on a busy Toronto street. Making a connection.

I captured a few pianos with my camera, namely the one at Sick Kids and the one at the main airport, and also the one along University Avenue that I pass on my way to work every day, over the last couple of weeks. But as the end of July is approaching, I was keen to make a dash around the city to spot a few more.

Tonight at the end of work, Tara, Natalie and Arielle joined me for a 'Piano Crawl', where we managed to see 7, including the baby grand which is painted to represent Canada. Oh, and 2 pub stops along the way, in The Annex and then along King Street West! Much needed, and definitely added to the crazy adventure!

The detail of the artwork on each piano is also very impressive, with the pink Bermuda, the faces of Barbados, and the notes of the national anthem for Nicaragua, all adding colour and diversity to the discoveries of each piano. The baby grand is also pretty special, and this was a pretty cool find, after being disappointed at a few spots on our map with the removal of a few prematurely today for our Crawl. (More photos.)

Pianos have been in Sydney, and are due to be in Perth in October. These pianos in Toronto are set to move up to Stratford for August. There is also due to be a group of pianos in Cambridge, UK, later this year. What a great event, bringing people together all around the city!


  1. I saw this in NYC in 2010 and made this video: http://www.roamingtales.com/2010/07/02/video-nyc-pianos/ It's an awesome public art project!

    1. Ohhh, awesome! So cool to see the talents of random people like this!


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