Northcrest Developments, the lead developer behind the 370-acre Downsview Airport Lands redevelopment, continues to reimagine the site in advance of the start of construction.

The almost century-old airport most recently served as a facility for Bombardier Aerospace, and will eventually be transformed into a series of new neighbourhoods over the coming decades. Northcrest is committed to creative placemaking through participatory arts and culture, sports and recreation, food and beverage, and community activities, as we have covered in a previous article.

The 600-metre-long taxiway at Downsview Airport.Image via Northcrest Developments

Beyond the Tarmac: Open Call for Submissions, is the latest initiative from the developer, who is offering $100,000 in funding to help reimagine the taxiway, 600 metres of tarmac, leading to the 2-kilometre runway, surrounded by vast airplane hangars. Open to local and international collaborators, artists, creatives, programmers and event producers, their goal is to help bring the site to life through cultural events and installations.

We’re looking for ideas that are imaginative, engaging, visually striking, and barrier-free, which will bring people together and build on our vision of creating a new cultural destination in Toronto,” says Mitchell Marcus, Northcrest’s Executive Director of Site Activation and Programming. “We have a unique and inspiring site that is filled with infinite possibilities for creative expression. We see the Downsview Airport Lands as an unprecedented opportunity for new experiences, community, and culture and we are excited to meet the creative minds who will contribute to this vision in the coming years through this open call.

Whether it be a breathtaking installation or a boundary-pushing festival, Northcrest is challenging creatives to captivate audiences in 2025.  The developer is offering funding for one or multiple projects, with a total budget of up to $100,000, with budgets starting from $10,000, in order to ensure a diversity of onsite experiences
For the arts community, opportunities like Beyond the Tarmac represent an exciting opportunity for innovation,” says Michael Vickers, local arts and culture leader and practicing artist. "At an impressive scale and with free rein, this initiative provides a platform for creatives, and cultural pioneers to unleash their imaginations. In a time where creativity and supporting artists is more vital than ever, initiatives like this underscore the crucial role of the arts in revitalizing communities and fostering connection.”
Beyond the Tarmac is the latest in a series of onsite artistic, cultural and community initiatives that Northcrest has led over the past two years, which has drawn more than 25,000 visitors to date.

Additional programs are planned for the Spring and Summer, such as a series of murals that will bring more public art to the site with work from celebrated muralist Jacquie Comrie, who will be creating “FLOAT” - a 3,900 square foot mural that will adorn the doors of one of the most prominent airplane hangars.