Viva Sport! Athletic Diversity in Action

2015, Culture, Temporary Exhibit, Toronto Pearson International Airport
athletes, history, logo, opening invitation, sports
About This Project

Date: April 7 – September 2015

Partner: Toronto Pearson International Airport

Venue: Malton Gallery in Terminal One – map

Project Members: Katrina Cohen-Palacios, Holly Durawa, and Christie Silver


In order to spark excitement, the exhibit featured six of the most innovative and exciting 20th-century sports currently contested in the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. These were: wheelchair rugby, goalball, roller figure skating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, and BMX racing.


A detailed yet brief discussion of each sport was present in Viva Sport! in order to provide context and practical information to visitors. We developed text with information about the history of the sports, how each is played or performed, the most significant rules, and the key characteristics of the venues and arenas. As well, we touched on some of the challenges contemporary sports overcome to achieve popular recognition and directed visitors on where to watch the sport’s events during the TORONTO2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.


Viva Sport! took place in the Malton Gallery at Toronto Pearson International Airport. This gallery is located in Terminal One, one level above the Canadian arrivals area. Toronto Pearson was interested in creating an exhibit on contemporary sport for the summer months of 2015 because it was the official welcoming partner for the TORONTO2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.


Due to the location of the Malton Gallery, Viva Sport! was accessible to the general public as well as disembarking passengers. Accordingly, our exhibit was designed to appeal to a very diverse audience, comprised of people of all ages and backgrounds with varying degrees of knowledge and interest in sports.


Viva Sport! was the product of a partnership between University of Toronto Faculty of Information Museum Studies graduate students and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority’s (GTAA) Art and Exhibits Program, represented by curator Lee Petrie. The project was fully funded through the GTAA.


As our partner institution did not have a collection of images or objects to draw from, the exhibition also had a large group of stakeholders, who we reached out to for loans in order to display athletic equipment, relevant supporting material, photographic and film content.


Our Viva Sport! team was established in September 2014. Following a proposal pitch of our a preliminary concept in September, the planning process began with research in October. Our full concept was drafted in late November. We initiated communications with sporting organizations in early December to coordinate sport equipment loans for display. By late January, our concept had been finalized, with the panels related to the histories and fundamentals of each sport completed, and the interpretive plan set. All text panels and object labels were finalized and images for the exhibit were selected during the month of February. Over the course of March, the graphic design was completed including the layout of the text and images. Also, during March, all objects were shipped to the GTAA and mounts were prepared for display. Installation was completed in early April. The experience culminated in mid-April with an opening reception.


Aware of our diverse audience, Viva Sport! was developed to be an eye-catching presence in the Malton Gallery with impressive graphics, a bright and uplifting colour palette, and curiosity-provoking objects. We communicated the essentials of the sports without being overly intellectual and considered content strategically to establish a celebratory, inclusive exhibition that paralleled the atmosphere of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games itself. Given the constraints of having an Airport venue, the mode of presentation employed was very traditional. We used text panels and displayed relevant equipment, supported by photographs and video footage, as well as infographics.


We would like to thank the Greater Toronto Airport Authority’s Arts and Exhibits Program for sponsoring the project and Lee Petrie, our project manager, for her guidance and support. We would also like to extend a thank you to the all of the many individuals and organizations who provided insight on the sports and loaned equipment, memorabilia, and photographs for display.