An Ottawa Heat Wave in May?

News release

OTTAWA – May 30, 2019

How do Canadians see themselves? Hockey and winter aside, Canadians hail from many different backgrounds and our perspectives are just as diverse. The latest art installation in Ottawa’s ByWard Market explores how we see ourselves. A great way to consider this question is on the York Street steps, where your point of view changes with every step.

Young artist Jerome Bertrand explains that Heat Wave portrays our Canadian population as a vibrant and multi-faceted society. The fire elements represent passion for life and the warmth of Canadians. The water photos, from the Deschênes Rapids on the Ottawa River, speak to the ancient waterways of the Algonquin peoples. Finally, the geometric illustrations represent human activity. The perspective from the bottom of the stairs, looking up, evokes the future of a multicultural society, moving forward and constantly evolving.

Heat Wave is exhibited as part of the Art in the Capital program, which adds warmth and vitality to parks, streets and public places in Canada’s Capital Region, while showcasing the talent of Canadian artists.


“We are pleased to once again have the opportunity to exhibit the work of one of our emerging artists in the heart of the capital. The York Street steps are a popular attraction in the ByWard Market, thanks to the amazing and thoughtful images that these young artists bring to our streetscape. This work allows visitors and residents alike to enjoy wonderful Canadian art in a casual outdoor environment.”

– The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

Quick facts

  • Jerome Bertrand is an artist, photographer and illustrator living in Montréal, Quebec

  • Heat Wave was selected as part of a call for proposals on the theme “Perspectives” that was launched by Canadian Heritage for Canadian artists, graphic designers and illustrators aged 18–35

  • The theme “Perspectives” challenged artists to illustrate the many ways Canadians see themselves, their communities and their country. The theme is reflected by the physical experience of being on the stairs, as one becomes part of the viewer’s perspective of the artwork.

  • Heat Wave has been reproduced on exterior-quality graphic film and installed on the York Street steps for one year, beginning this spring. The York Street steps are in a highly visible part of the core of Canada’s Capital Region, linking the historic ByWard Market to Major’s Hill Park and Parliament Hill.

Associated links


Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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