History of ROGUE WAVE


rogue wave n. an unpredictable, abnormally large wave that occurs on a seemingly random basis in the oceans. Freak waves, also known as rogue waves, or monster waves, are relatively large and spontaneous ocean surface waves that can sink even medium-large ships. Once thought to be legendary, they have in recent years come to be recognized as a natural and relatively common ocean phenomenon.



ROGUE WAVE was founded by four Island residents in the spring of 1998.  Previously, ‘rogue’ art installations had appeared on the Island only to be removed by Parks Department staff. In response to this, knowing that artists wanted to install works outdoors on the Island, and in a community with an usually large number of visual artists, the ROGUE WAVE organization was formed to create an annual exhibition of sculpture and installation art on the Toronto Islands. Since then, we have received funding support from the Toronto Arts Council and have organized five exhibitions. One outcome of the project is the cooperative relationship established with City Parks & Recreation, Parks Manager, Warren Hoselton, and his staff who take an active and supportive role the realization of the project and ongoing safety and maintenance issues. Resulting from this, other arts-based projects, both in the visual and performing arts, have taken place on the Island.


As is always the case, the ROGUE WAVE opens in late September in conjunction with Toronto Arts Week. It runs or 8 weeks, and is open to the public 7 days a week. The exhibition typically attracts over 2,000 visitors. The organizing team handles promotion and provides maps showing the location of the pieces for viewers.


ROGUE artists range in experience from professional artists with national reputations, and artists working outside their traditional media to merging artists and new collaborations. All works must be safe for human interaction, environmentally appropriate, and able to withstand the elements for the duration of the exhibition. All pieces must be removed at the end of the exhibition.


ROGUE WAVE has included a wide range of works, including site-specific installations, collaborative projects, pre-existing pieces that have been re-located, pirate radio broadcasts (Ron Gaskin’s ROGUE RADIO), fire and water sculptures (Geoff Currie, Bruce Smith) and photographic installations (April Hickox). In addition, musical events such as ROGUE RAVE have been part of the exhibition in the past. Past artists have also included Carol Bigwood, Betsy Canfield, Robin Christmas, Michael Davey, Jerry Englar, Leida Englar, Mitchell Fenton, Brooke Gibson, Paul Grajauskas, Brad Harley, Delwyn Higgens, Joanna Kidd, Barbara Klunder, Lee L’Clerc, Luisa Milan, Janet Morton, Tery Pellettier, ROGUE RAVE III (Free Jazz Improv with Grahame Beakhust, Dwight Chalmers, Jerry Englar, et al.), Bill Roedde, Irina Schestakowich, Samantha Serra, Rick/Simon, David Smiley, Julie Stone, and Bob Gibson & The Toronto Island Housing Initiative.