The heartbeat of the city is under the Gardiner.

For the month of October, the Bentway and Exhibition Place are presenting the Canadian premiere of PULSE TOPOLOGY by Mexican-Canadian media artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer under an enclosed portion of the Gardiner Expressway. And you can add your heartbeat to the collective art installation.

The immersive public artwork is made up of 3,000 light bulbs that react real-time to visitors’ heartbeats. You can add yours via a touchless remote technology that captures your pulse. The outcome is beautiful. The space itself is an experience too – an massive storage chamber beneath the Gardiner that you wouldn’t otherwise get access to. It makes for a quiet contemplative experience.

For the moms and dads out there, this one will surely give you all the feels. The inspiration for this artwork, as told by our Bentway guide, was listening to his twins’ heartbeats in utero – distinctively different.


Getting thereThe entrance to the art installation is at Strachan Gate on the west side of The Bentway (250 Fort York Blvd) Parking on-site and accessible by TTC and bike.

Low down: Pre-registration is required. Tickets are pay what you can. Capacity is limited to ensure social distancing. Each group is accompanied by the guide and can spend approximately 25 minutes in the space. You can leave earlier if needed. PULSE TOPOLOGY runs until October 31, 2021 – Tues-Fri from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sat-Sun from noon to 10 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Trip tip: The installation is kid-friendly. That said, it’s a big open indoor space, so as long as kids don’t break out into a sprint and run around, you’re good to go. You’re also asked to keep voices down to encourage a contemplative experience. There were no kids during our time slot but I saw some families in the previous time slot.

COVID protocols: Proof of double-vaccination for attendees 12+ are required. Kids under 12 and unvaccinated are allowed to attend. Face coverings and physical distancing are required. Check out the Bentway website for more details and a list of FAQs.

Potty time: There are port-a-potties near the check-in.

In the hood: Next door Fort York Historic Site, east Fort York Library and south Little Norway Park (across from Billy Bishop Airport), Trillium Park and Ontario Place.