OJEN’s new Art and the Courts website was launched this August at the Toronto Summer Law Institute for teachers at Osgoode Hall. This beautifully photographed site takes viewers on virtual tours of the McMurtry Gardens of Justice and the courtrooms of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Winning posters of the annual Grade 5 Poster Challenge – student artwork based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – are exhibited here as well.
The McMurtry Gardens of Justice
The McMurtry Gardens of Justice opened in 2007 to commemorate the career of the Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, upon his retirement as the Chief Justice for Ontario. It occupies the lane between Osgoode Hall and the 361 University Avenue Courthouse in Toronto. Each sculpture in this outdoor gallery takes inspiration from the fundamental legal rights we enjoy as Canadians. Throughout the virtual tour, viewers may click on the sculptures for information about the artists and background about the legal concepts on which they are based. Find out how this ambitious project was achieved in a video interview with Justice Gloria Epstein, the Gardens founder. Learn more about the remarkable career of the Honourable R. Roy McMurtry and watch a video in which he discusses the importance of the legal community interacting with students.
Courtrooms of the Court of Appeal for Ontario
Osgoode Hall is a designated National Historical Site of Canada and the seat of the Law Society of Ontario and the Ontario Court of Appeal. This tour guides viewers through two of the most socially and architecturally significant courtrooms in the building: the esteemed Courtroom 1 (of the Ontario Court of Appeal) and the beautiful Courtroom 4 (of the Divisional Court of the Superior Court of Justice). Throughout the tour, viewers can click on hot spots for more information about the appeal process and the significance of courtroom features. Watch for tours of the Atrium, the Great Library and the Dining Hall coming soon.
Each year, OJEN invites Grade 5 students throughout Ontario to submit artwork that expresses what they value about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. One poster from each judicial region is chosen to be framed and hung in a local courthouse. Each of the winning posters is posted on the Art and the Courts website.
A visual feast, the Art and the Courts website is also a rich source of information. Teachers will find it a useful classroom resource. Others may simply enjoy visiting these special places where art and justice intersect. Special thanks to the Law Foundation of Ontario for funding the Art and the Courts website.