A little bit of Bermuda in the streets of Toronto

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  • Joan Butterfield with her Bermuda-themed piano.

    Joan Butterfield with her Bermuda-themed piano.

  • Joan Butterfield’s Bermuda-themed piano.

    Joan Butterfield’s Bermuda-themed piano.


A Bermudian artist participating in a Toronto art project has created a unique sight for the city’s streets — a piano made to look like a Bermuda house.

Joan Butterfield, who currently lives in Canada but was born and raised in Bermuda, designed one of 41 pianos placed around Toronto as part of an international art installation called Play Me, I’m Yours.

Toronto’s exhibition is one of many street piano projects in cities around the world. Artist Luke Jerram started Play Me, I’m Yours in 2008 in Birmingham, England. It has since spread to more than 25 cities including London, Paris and Los Angeles.

In Toronto, the installation celebrates the three-year countdown to the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games to be hosted in the city.

Each country participating in the Games is represented by a piano decorated by an artist from that country.

The Bermuda house piano currently sits outside the Royal Ontario Museum, where Ms Butterfield is a guest curator.

The piano has all the hallmarks of a traditional Bermudian house, complete with a white peaked roof, windows with shutters and a coat of pastel pink paint.

Ms Butterfield said she chose the design because “Bermuda is synonymous with its white roof and pastel houses”.

“Most people think it is an aesthetic look, so apart from wanting to promote my beautiful home country I thought I would highlight and educate the viewing audience about this unique and intriguing characteristic — our roof.

“The upright piano truly did lend itself to my concept.”

Ms Butterfield’s creation has proved very popular, garnering more posts on the project’s website than almost any other piano.

Ms Butterfield said: “The response to the Bermuda piano has been beyond belief.”

“I think it’s because I transformed the piano while most of the other country artists used their piano as a canvas and just beautifully painted on it, thus making the Bermuda piano stand out.”

The Play Me, I’m Yours project website features photos and videos of passersby stopping to play a tune on the Bermuda house piano.

The instrument has attracted pianists ranging from skilled improvisers to a six-year-old girl armed with her ‘My First Piano’ book.

The mother of the six-year-old girl commented on the piano’s web page that her daughter was “thrilled to get her chance at last to play on the ‘pink house’”.

Another post on the website remarks: “The Bermuda piano was the first my kids noticed when we arrived for the Pan Am launch.”

The 41 pianos will be on display in Toronto until July 31. Over the next three years the pianos will be displayed in other Canadian cities to promote the Pan Am Games. After the Games the pianos will be auctioned off.

To see photos and videos of the Bermuda piano being played, go to www.streetpianos.com/toronto2012 and click on Royal Ontario Museum.

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Published Jul 18, 2012 at 7:58 am (Updated Jul 18, 2012 at 7:58 am)

A little bit of Bermuda in the streets of Toronto

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