In 2007 with the opening of the BMO Soccer Field, Exhibition Place commissioned artist Stephen Cruise to create art installations for the new facility. The result was 14 granite benches as well as a two-sided glass mosaic entitled Arc of Nations. The benches are scattered around the perimeters of the soccer venue and feature the artist’s designs (based on the sporting and architectural history of Exhibition Place) laser cut into the granite. Cruise’s benches proved so popular that an additional 4 were commissioned by Exhibition Place and are installed on the north and south sides of the Beanfield Centre. The Arc of Nations, located over the north entrance to the BMO Field, is approximately 54 inches in length and is comprised of over 200 tiny FIFA flags trailing like shooting stars behind an earth sphere that also resembles a soccer ball.
Stephen Cruise was born in Montreal in 1949. He attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD U) from 1967 – 1970. He has traveled around the world and lived for extended periods of time in Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan.
Stephen Cruise was a founding member of A Space in Toronto (Canada’s first artist run gallery) from 1970 to 1974. As an artist and sculptor he has been awarded grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. His work is housed in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the University of Calgary, and the Canada Council Art Bank. Some of his public art commissions include Indigena Domain, located at Cambridge City Hall, and Vessel, located at the Manulife Recreational Centre in Waterloo, Ontario.
Cruise has won several important commissions for public art in the Toronto area. The bronze and concrete sculpture along Spadina Avenue called Uniform Measure/Stack from 1997 reinforces his interest in ideas of localized history. This particular piece embodying a sewing thimble pays tribute to Spadina Avenue’s historical fashion district.
Cruise's sculptures have been exhibited across North America and featured in many international shows, including three recent appearances in the Bienal Barro de Americo in Caracas, Venezuela.
Stephen Cruise currently lives and works in Willowdale, Ontario. Stephen Cruise is also an accomplished martial artist in Kendo 5dan, (Japanese sword fencing) and Iaido Renshit 6dan (Japanese sword draw). To view more of Stephen’s work please visit his website: www.stephencruise.ca
Toronto Argonauts, 1 of 18 benches designed by Stephen Cruise in 2007