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Who are your heros?

This past weekend the Death Race was held in Grand Cache Alberta.  For those who might not have heard of this sport, I share the description from the organizers website:  “racers have come to the Canadian Rockies to cheat Death in one of the world’s toughest ultramarathons. The 125 km course begins and ends on a 4200-foot plateau, passes over three mountain summits, and not only includes over 17,000 feet of elevation change but a major river crossing at the spectacular Hell’s Gate canyon at the confluence of the Smoky and Sulphur Rivers.”  I don’t pretend to be an avid fan of ultramarathons, but I am in awe of those who consider challenging themselves in this way. I was drawn to follow this year’s race as I was cheering on a friend and her fiancée who completed the task in just over 23 hours and earned the admirable position of 149th and 150th finishing spots of 271 solo runners who started the race and 174 who finished it (results from https://www.canadiandeathrace.com/). My sincere congratulations go to these incredible people who challenge not only their bodies but also their minds when faced with such a daunting task.

There is another group of people I am admiring this weekend, equally determined but often overlooked when considering heroic measures, the independent artist crafter. Today in Bronte, Ontario, the 53rd annual Art in the Park event was hosted by the Oakville Art Society and the venue boasted over 175 vendors with a wide variety of wares: pottery, painting, metalwork, jewellery, mosaics and photography. These brave artist crafters set up in tents in scorching weather (40 degrees with the humidex) and 5 hours into the event the thunderstorm hit. I managed to take in the event before the storm and I was impressed by the enthusiasm and professionalism of most of the vendors – from the not yet graduated Sheridan student to the veteran artists who worked hard to greet passersby and engage in conversations. It is possible to predict the successful ones – they make an effort to connect, to develop a rapport with individual patrons because they know it will help to ensure future sales. The life of the artist/crafter is not for the faint of heart. Undaunted by competition from the mass produced market, many artist crafters frequent the art show circuit; piling their wares into a vehicle and setting up shop in a variety of locations over the course of “the season” (typically March to late November). The neighbourhood art show draws a very different crowd from the art gallery. From the family groups on an outing to the serious collectors who are looking for a bargain, the art show offers the chance to connect directly with artists crafters and is less intimidating than a formal gallery. It is a time honoured tradition and the practice exists in countries all over the world; from Le marché de la creation in Paris, France to the Santo Spirito Artisan Market (Mercato Artigianale) in Florence, Italy, to the Vancouver Summer Night Markets. By supporting these markets, I invest in the cultural life of my community and I endorse the handmade movement, simple actions which can challenge the status quo of the mass produced market. Watch for innovative companies like Canvas and Cave who recognise the need to support artist crafters as a way to rebuild communities.

Who are your heros? For me it is those who challenge our ideas of what is expected and remind us that great things can be accomplished by ordinary people with determination.

Get ready to stay up all night for Nuit Blanche 2017

Nuit Blanche is back for the 12th annual city wide art show. On Sept. 30 from sunset to sunrise, Toronto’s downtown core is transformed into an artistic wonderland, with installations, exhibits, and live performances being carried out throughout the city. This year, the festival will Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday under the theme entitled: “Many Possible Futures.”

This is the first time there is a specific theme at Nuit Blanche. The festival will host 35 art immersive projects, with four set to run from dusk till dawn. Over all there will be 300-plus independent artists and 90 different art projects to experience in the city.

Here are five exhibitions to look out for at this year’s festival:


Monument to the Century of Revolutions- Nathan Phillips Square ( all night)
Curated by Nato Thompson

This exhibition features 21 different showcases within one project. The installation is a reflection of Russian history and the Bolshevik Revolution, which led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The display will feature an array of different shipping containers that essentially form a village. In this village, different shipping containers will display moments throughout history from the Mexican Revolution to the French Revolution. One section will address issues of indigenous peoples, sex workers, queer activism and African diaspora. In all, this village is a social space that represents history and the narrative of global justice.


Calculating Upon The Unforeseen- AGO (6:58PM- 2:00AM) Indoors
The Forest- Curated by Clara Halpern

This performance at the AGO will feature Canadian artist Will Kwan, and addresses how inequality is created through economics and cultural discussions.The performance will address the “force and fragility” of the human voice through words. These spoken words will reflect on human history and poetic stories, and will only be conveyed through human and voice connection.


Taking To The Streets- Wellesley Street West & Queen’s Park Crescent West
Automobile- Curated by Barbara Fischer

Artist Joseph Namy will feature a translation of sound using the bass system of various cars. Clusters of cars will be parked under a bridge near Wellesley St., featuring an amplified sound that can be heard even before the display is seen. The goal of this installation is to see how people listen to music versus how they feel when they hear music. The loud bass is powerful and is meant to transmit this power to a large audience.


Netflix’s Red Forest- Spadina Courthouse Rotunda

For the first time, Netflix will be creating the “Upside Down” world that is featured in the popular Netflix series, Stranger Things. Expected to be one of the most popular attractions, explorers have a chance to explore the ‘Red Forest’ that reflects the upside down world. Guests even wear a hazmat when entering the forest to reflect the nature of the show. This is a big promotional effort for the show Stranger Things, but understandably is very appealing.

Fly By Night- The Gladstone Hotel
Curated by Lukus Toane

This celebration at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street Wes, is an all-night event that will showcase this hotel as one of Toronto’s oldest cultural hubs. The Gladstone is already known for their unique and artistic rooms, but the celebration will take place on the second floor public space and will feature live performances and a visual transformation of the environment. There will also be karaoke at the Melody Bar on the first floor.

As per usual the TTC will be operating all night to ensure the easy transport of persons around the city. For more information visit nbto.com


Hope you have an enjoyable Nuit Blanche 2017!