Back in August 2019, when this colossal sculpture was unveiled, it instantly grabbed everyone’s attention. People started calling it “Condo Man,” but its official name is Toronto Man. Standing tall at 25 feet, this bronze statue was crafted by German artist Stephan Balkenhol. Commissioned by Camrost Felcorp, it plays a prominent role in a three-condo development complex at the former Imperial Oil building site. Many initially believed it to be a temporary installation. but little did they know that Toronto Man and his condo would weather the storm of a pandemic and remain a permanent fixture in the city, holding his ground well into 2023.
Toronto Man sparked a wide range of reactions and conversations. For some, it’s a whimsical and intellectually stimulating piece that delves into Toronto’s rapid development, housing crisis, and multiculturalism. However, there are many who find it peculiar and unsettling, seeing it as a symbol of class dominance, gentrification, and the perpetuation of white privilege. As a result, it became one of Toronto’s most controversial and captivating landmarks.
Throughout his career Stephan Balkenhol has been commissioned to make many public art pieces in various cities around the world, such as Berlin, Chicago, Johannesburg, Courtray, London, Paris and Salzburg.
Known for his rough-hewn style, he creates figurative sculptures in wood and bronze. His subjects range from men, women, to animals, capturing everyday moments.
Toronto Man is Balkenhol’s first public art commission in North America. The sculpture is located at 101 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto.