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Wind Rose

An invigorating climb to the summit of Downsview Park’s largest mound of earth will be rewarded! On top you’ll find the Downsview Wind Rose: a dynamic installation that celebrates the wind, the view, and the Indigenous connections to this place. 


This interactive structure created by Future Simple Studio features a circle of vibrant blue flags attached to a radial network of 32 square arches arranged in a compass-like formation. They resemble a huge wind rose.  


A wind rose is a time-honoured tool invented by meteorologists that maps the direction, speed, and frequency of the wind in a specific location. The wind rose for Downsview, depicted on the concrete bench at the installation’s centre, is specific to the Downsview airport and shows the local area’s prevailing northwest winds. 


Where those winds prevail, you’ll find the jewel of the Downsview Wind Rose: a set of flags designed by Chris and Greg Mitchell, Mi'kmaq artists who lead the design studio Born in the North. The work, called “The Turtle and the Traveller,” is based on the history of these lands and the local area. Because the flags are positioned at the installation’s northwest, one is white, representing north on the medicine wheel, and one is the black, representing the west. 


The white flag depicts a traveller to honour Indigenous people's historic use of this place as an important route for trade and travel. The turtle on the black flag represents the land—Turtle Island—as well as the local wildlife. Its shell references a medicine wheel to highlight traditional teachings. The style is reminiscent of petroglyphs from the Eastern Woodlands people.

The square arches provide great potential for other installations and we’ll be exploring possibilities for the future with the XOXO Advisory Committee.

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Learn more about Chris & Greg Mitchell on our Collaborators page and hear from them directly on the audio tour.