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Loving cement robots descend upon Toronto streets

Are you seated? This may surprise you. Torontonians are not cold. In fact, they are loving.

This is what artist Matthew Del Degan is trying to prove with his new city art project.

The project consists of 100 cement statues, called Lovebots, on display in various downtown locations.

Each Lovebot is 250 pounds heavy and two feet tall.

They’re made of cement to symbolize Toronto as a concrete jungle, Del Degan explained.

Four-and-a-half years ago, Del Degan was sitting on a subway, chatting with strangers.

“There was a girl beside me and a grandmother in front of me, we were laughing and joking with a homeless guy,” he explained. “I was a student wearing pyjamas on my way to class. I bet people thought I was homeless too.”

He looked around and thought some others seemed like robots, not laughing or participating in the conversation.

“But we’re not robots,” he said. “We’re capable of love.”

He embarked on building the cement beings in order to give love back to the city. Each statue has a heart symbol built right into it.

“I had an ideal upbringing full of love and my duty is to give it back to the city,” he said.

Del Degan mixed almost every single robot himself using 25,000 pounds of cement.

“I’m bigger and stronger as a result,” he laughed.

Using about 20 volunteers, the Lovebots were transported one by one using a truck and displayed at 100 locations, including front lawns and storefronts.

The majority of the Lovebot locations are in the downtown core, chosen randomly.

The statues are connected to stories of love submitted by Torontonians and Del Degan is still taking stories via the project website.

“Art is a language,” he said.

The most memorable story for Del Degan so far?

A gentleman met a paraplegic who can’t use his hands. The paraplegic asked people to do his laundry but items started to go missing. So the gentleman took it upon himself to do the laundry for the paraplegic on a weekly basis.

“We don’t see these things in the city,” Del Degan stated. “With this project I want to prove that Toronto is a loving city.”

One of the Lovebots is its way to the U.S. and Del Degan is also thinking of placing some in secret locations throughout Toronto.

Have you seen a Lovebot on a Toronto street? Submit a photo and tell us the location.