Big Bang Clock Tower

douglas coupland big bangbigbang02

Doug Coupland is all over Toronto. Remember this as the time when the Vancouver author, designer and, yes, prolific public artist descended on Toronto like Peter Pan and made us believe all over again in Neverland.

And this week, when the Shops at Don Mills open to the public, the installation of his quirky clock tower will be complete: The 10-metre column wears a crown of bright, shiny models of middle-class houses, which were originally built for Don Mills, Canada’s first master-planned suburban community. “They really define the Canadian landscape. They pointed to a better tomorrow through better housing.”

The clock tower, built of galvanized steel by Mike Bilyk of M.C. Laser Werks Inc. of Barrie, is sited at the edge of the Don Mills town square. A digitized banner wrapped around the column indicates the time. The big, highly detailed, stainless-steel models are of actual houses, some of which still exist in Don Mills, and the undersides feature the corresponding house plan.

All those houses built at an alarming rate in what used to be a bucolic landscape – that’s why Mr. Coupland calls his Don Mills totem the Big Bang. His client prefers to call it the Starburst.

– Lisa Rochon

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