Baird is one of Canada’s most successful sculptors having executed over 300 public, corporate and private commissions. But his works are recognized mostly because they celebrate the accomplishments of others and this great country. Dedicated to emergency workers, the generosity of donors, Canadian peace-keeping efforts, honouring our history-makers, our First Nations, celebrating our multicultural diversity, his works are in many public parks, churches, synagogues, subway entrances, community centres, libraries, and government buildings, not only in Ontario, but across Canada.
Joan Murray, art critic and author has said, “Some artists are like explorers who create their own maps. Because of their discoveries our way of experiencing develops a new sensitivity. Ron Baird is one who has developed a new aesthetic form in Canada, sculpture in the context of architecture.”
He had several pieces in both Montreal’s Expo ’67 and Vancouver Expo ’86. He has never used an agent, never sought publicity or invested in self-promotion. But he has been regularly commissioned to create large-scale, site-specific sculpture installations across Canada and abroad. From the Spirit Catcher (now the City of Barrie’s logo), to the whirling 150 ‘ kinetic piece for Environmental Canada to the CFB in Kingston, to the recently installed award-winning series of pieces dedicated to our province’s railway history in Brampton, his works are everywhere! Many of them move in the wind, are interactive, light responsive or make musical sounds. These include fountains, murals, sculptural landmarks for world fairs, art galleries, hospitals, parks and public gardens.
Proudly Canadian, Ron is a true ambassador who has expressed the great beauty and marvellous diversity of our province and our country through his artistic genius.
Making large works excites him, especially if they have mechanical components. Lately, most of his projects have been executed in stainless steel a medium he loves for its “versatility, permanence, and when polished, its chameleon like ability to take on the changing colours that surround it.”
His art bestows a sense of place; strengthening connections between people and place and is integral in the fostering of a community’s identity. It celebrates the social, historical and cultural threads of the community, and honors both natural and urban environments.
From Montreal’s Expo ’67, Vancouver’s in ’86, to a recent installation for Ontario Hydro in Innisfil, his creative ingenuity and passion for community & the environment can be seen across Canada. Barrie, Hamilton, Bradford, Pickering, Kingston, Lindsay, Brampton, Oshawa, Orangeville, Ajax, Kitchener, Mississauga, Ottawa, Markham, and several spots in Toronto are just a few of the locations in Ontario where Baird’s public pieces can be found.
His ‘Spirit Catcher’ in Barrie has become the logo for the city, reflecting the community’s pride for our First Nations. The city of Brantford’s ‘Ghost Train’ won a prestigious architectural award; in Kitchener, ‘The Gathering Tree’ welcomes new Canadians; in Red Deer,Alta. another honours its civic heroes; in Sask., a celebration work is dedicated to African Canadians; the gracious roof top garden at Princess Margaret Hosp.; the Military Tower at the CFB, Kingston, 33.5 m. high kinetic piece at Environment Canada, Toronto; Civic showplace fountain for Sarnia; Mel Lastman Square, North York; Oshawa City Hall; mural for the Legislative Assembly, NWT; York Univ., Waterloo Univ; Seneca College. Many hospitals have his work: Children’s Magic Garden of Health, Credit Valley; the Wellness Tree, Huntsville; an extraordinary musical creation for Toby and Henry Battle Fdn; St. Joseph’s Hosp., Hamilton; Lakeridge Health Centre; Oakville Trafalgar; Bell Tower for Uxbridge’s Hosp; Peel Memorial – to name a few. Each is unique to its context, inspiring, & inclusive. His work is ubiquitous: Casa Loma’s Gardens; Government House in Ottawa, the Amelia St. Muse; Dupont Subway gate; and several magnificent entrances for churches & synagogues.
Throughout his career, he has continued to volunteer his time and talents to both community and environmental causes, was recently honoured by the Lake Simcoe Conservation Fdn. and the Canada 150 Outstanding Citizen Award, 2017. His volunteer work with local theatre groups, initiatives for new Canadians, along with his devotion to actively preserving the environment, Lake Simcoe in particular, is staggering in the scale of achievements.
- Appointed to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a graduate of OCAD
- Winner of numerous awards including Allied Arts Awards from the Royal Architectural Society of Canada and the Ontario Association of Architects.
- Founding director of the Latcham Public Art Gallery
- Instructor and Artist in Residence at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture.
- Resident Master-Printmaker at the prestigious Clo Ceardlamm na Gcnoc Studio in Ireland.
- Artist/instructor – Nicaragua 2013: The Canadian Royal Academy of Art sponsored him to help set up a print-making program for the Nicaraguans – in an effort to help them understand their cultural heritage and initiate an art industry. It culminated in an inspiring and successful art exhibit for several local (new) artists.
- Conducted workshops & seminars at several International Sculpture Conferences.