Saturday, June 5, 2021

Saturday Sculpture

Sculpture Saturday

Toronto ON 

On the southwest corner of College and Grace streets can be found this set of two 2008 Heritage Toronto plaques about this gentleman and the piazza. Here's what they say:

Johnny Lombardi 1915-2002

One of this city's best-known personalities, John Barbalinardo "Johnny" Lombardi was a pioneer in the promotion of Toronto's cultural diversity. Born in this city to an Italian immigrant family, he became a self-taught trumpeter and entertainer before serving in the Canadian Army in the Second World War. 
Returning to Toronto, he quickly achieved success by appealing to the needs of this city's rapidly growing Italian immigrant neighbourhoods - first as the proprietor of a grocery store, opened in 1946, then as an impresario of Italian entertainment.
In 1966, Lombardi launched two vital Toronto institutions: CHIN Multicultural Radio and the CHIN International Picnic. CHIN, the first station in Canada licensed to provide full-time multilingual programming, began in rooms above Lombardi's supermarket at 637 College Street, and expanded into television in 1970. 
CHIN Radio now broadcasts in over 30 languages from 622 College Street. The CHIN International Picnic, now a three-day festival, annually attracts more than 250,000 people to celebrate Toronto's cultural diversity.
Dynamic and generous, Johnny Lombardi received numerous awards for service to his community and his country, including the Order of Canada in 1981.

Piazza Johnny Lombardi

Following the death of Johnny Lombardi in 2002, the City of Toronto joined local businesses and the Lombardi family to create this piazza as a memorial to his life and work. Managed by the City of Toronto, the project was nearly fully funded through the generosity of businesses and individuals.
Sculptors Veronica and Edwin Dam de Nogales, winners of a public art and design competition, designed the piazza and created the artwork, in partnership with landscape architects Ferris + Associates. The curving seating walls recall the ocean and radio waves that brought Johnny Lombardi together with the diverse cultures he celebrated. 
At the heart of the piazza is a bronze statue of Johnny, engaging and full of life. Across from him is a statue of a young boy wearing Johnny's cap. By drawing continents, nations and peoples together with one continuous line of his etching tool, the boy describes Johnny's inspiring vision of a multicultural Canada.


  1. It looks like Johnny's nose gets rubbed for good luck.

  2. ...a beautiful tribute and great addition to he neighborhood.

  3. You'd think you happened upon two people chatting.

  4. Thanks for telling me about him, and his works. Love the statues and the bench!

  5. Not a surprise that he'd be commemorated.

  6. What a great tribute, and the sculpture is really good.


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