Tag Archives: Parkdale

Life On The Grid: 100 Years of Street Photography in Toronto

Two Women on the Street by Ivaan Kotulsky
 Two Women on the Street by Ivaan Kotulsky

It seems that with the advent of camera phones, everyone has become a kind of glorified street photographer. Granted, some of the photos people post on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram certainly are stunning, but there’s something about real street photography that's missing from these over-processed shots. They’re missing the gritty realism of everyday life. They’re lacking the candid and moody atmosphere of a real street photo. The emotion is gone and the viewer will inevitably scroll down past each snapshot to see what other photos sit in their feed.

That’s why I was so glad that the City of Toronto Archives hosted Life on the Grid: 100 Years of Street Photography in Toronto. This showcase was kick-started when the City of Toronto Archives acquired a large collection of photos belonging to the late avid street photographer Ivaan Kotulsky. His collection of photos was captured from 1990 to 2000 and depicted the startling reality of life on the streets of Toronto.

"This dense collection of material provides a rich documentation of a specific area of downtown Toronto, largely Queen Street West, east and west of Bathurst Street, over a specific period of time,"

explains city archivist Patrick Cummins.

Kotulsky’s interactions with the denizens of the street, be they street people or simply people on the streets, was more intimate than one often sees with work of this nature. He got to know his subjects over the period of a decade, photographing some of the same people time and again, providing a more personal, in-depth portrait of these individuals.

Old Woman with a Cane
Old Woman with a Cane by Ivaan Kotulsky

Although Kotulsky’s work is considered the focal point of the exhibition, there are a substantial number of other artists’ work showcased in Life on the Grid as well. There are submissions from late photographer Arthur Goss, as well as works by amateur photographers Ellis Wiley and E.R. White. Together, these collections offer an intriguing view of one of the world’s major cities throughout 100 years of its storied history. Photograhic works were drawn together from both the city’s existing archives and newer sources and rarely seen collections. Cummins says,

"The photographs that we have chosen for this exhibit focus on the city’s streets themselves… The streets and street life are the subject of the images, rather than the buildings or people that show up in them. The exhibit attempts to show Torontonians at work and at play, living life in and on the streets of a liveable city."

This particular photo exhibit is a real gem for those who are interested in Toronto’s colourful lifestyles, quirks, and history. Never before has an Archives exhibit garnered so much interest and press as Life on the Grid has, and it’s most likely because no other exhibit presents such a unique portrait of the city of Toronto.

arthur gross
Wilton Avenue and Jarvis streets by Arthur Goss

When asked what exhibit patrons should look forward to upon visiting the archives, Cummins responds,

"The exhibit attempts to highlight Kotulsky’s work along with the work of other photographers in our holdings rarely exhibited. It also attempts to show work from some of our more popular collections in a new light, highlighting elements of street photography, intentional or otherwise, that can be found in that work, which is otherwise usually viewed as straight documentary or photo-journalistic in approach."

Viewers come away with a sense of wonder and a new appreciation for both the beauty and wickedness of Toronto’s neighbourhoods and busy thoroughfares. Popular sites and buildings are re-imagined and deeper, more illustrative moods are established from the culmination of so many photographs in one exhibition.

“Hopefully,” reflects Cummins, “viewers will come away from the exhibit with a new appreciation for what a valuable resource photographs in archives can be, over and above and beyond any original context in which they were created and used.”

Life on the Grid: 100 Years of Street Photography in Toronto runs from June 27, 2013, to May 1, 2014, at the City of Toronto Archives (255 Spadina Road). For more event information, please visit www.toronto.ca/archives

Top July Events in Toronto

Top July Events in Toronto

Torontonians certainly won’t get bored this July, since there's so much going on around the city to fill your warm summer days. There’s an event for every taste — we can look forward to many community events and charming farmers markets, theatre and music festivals for arts enthusiasts, and even indy car races for lovers of fast cars and motorsports. Check out my list of the top July events in Toronto.

Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market  (every Tuesday)

If you like farmers markets because they let you buy fresh, local produce, the Riverdale Farm Farmer’s Market is an ideal spot for you. Every Tuesday afternoon during the season, this charming market is set up just outside the main gates of the farm. Look for delicious organic veggies and fruits, a wide assortment of plants and flowers for your garden, homemade preserves and sweets, or dairy straight from small local producers. Over its thirteen-year history, Riverdale Farm Farmers‘ Market has become an institution in the community. You can expect to see lots of people coming out just to have a chat with friends or spend a nice afternoon with their kids.


Toronto Fringe Festival (July 3 to 14)

The Fringe Festival is among Toronto’s most popular summer events. In 2013, it's celebrating its 25th anniversary, and it promises to mark the occasion with some great programming. Talented actors will perform more than 148 productions by Canadian and international creators in 35 affiliated venues scattered around downtown. The Fringe is known to be both an indoor and outdoor celebration of creativity, so the program includes a wide variety of free outdoor concerts, busking performances, and outdoor site-specific shows. A popular series of discussions held in tents, TentTalks, and a special section for young visitors, FringeKids!, are also included. Tickets for most performances cost $10 or $11, but festival guests can also choose from a selection of special passes.


Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (July 5 to 7)

The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition reached its impressive 52nd year, and it seems to be getting better every summer. Once again, Nathan Philips Square will soon fill with the characteristic small white tents, sheltering artists who come to share their works with the public and celebrate art during the warm summer days. The exhibition is the largest of its kind in Canada and focuses on showcasing independent and unconventional art of both well-established and emerging artists. Visitors can freely walk around, talk to the artists, and even directly buy some of the works.

Festival of South Asia (July 6 and 7)

Don’t miss your chance to get carried away straight to South Asia and learn more about the subcontinent's cultures and cuisines during the Festival of South Asia, taking place in Gerrard India Bazaar between Greenwood and Coxwell avenues from 12:00 to 11:00 P.M. The two days of celebrations feature dancing, singing, theatre shows, magicians, and many more. The third annual South Asia’s Got Talent show for Toronto youth will also take place within the festival. On top of these great events, more than 20 businesses will offer food tastings to treat your taste buds.


Honda Indy Toronto (July 12 to 14)

All lovers of speed, fast cars, and the smell of burning tires can look forward to spending an unforgettable weekend at Exhibition Place. Honda Indy Races return to Toronto during the second weekend of July together with the top indy racers in the world, who will show off their mastery on the 1.75 mile circuit around the streets near Exhibition Place. The event is accompanied by a full week of programs showcasing the best of the world of fast cars. There are different kinds of tickets for the races, and if you don’t mind paying a bit extra, you might even get to have a look behind the scenes and visit some pit stops.


Festival of India (July 13 to 14)

The Festival of India celebrations kick off with a famous annual parade down Yonge Street. The euphoric parade full of colours, dancers, and masks starts at Bloor and continues down to Queens Quay. Afterwards, more than 40,000 expected visitors will shift to Centre Island, where the programming for the festival takes place. Get ready for acclaimed music, dance, and theatre performances, traditional face painting, a South Asian Bazaar bustling with arts and crafts for sale, and even an outdoor yoga session. The festival is free and great for families, as kids have their own section full of fun activities and yoga for children lessons.

Americanarama Festival of Music(July 15)

Bob Dylan, legendary 1960s icon and one of the most celebrated songwriters of all time, returns to Toronto — and he’s not coming alone. Dylan returns as a headliner of the Americanarama Festival of music, and he will perform an unforgettable show featuring a mix of the best songs from his rich repertoire. Other bands at the festival include Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and many more. Americanarama is noted for its great atmosphere, as all the artists seem to represent a very similar musical spirit. Tickets range from $46.25 to $106.25. The doors at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre open at 5:30 P.M.

Beaches International Jazz Festival (July 19 to 28)

The Beaches International Jazz Festival is an annual showcase of the top Canadian and international jazz musicians taking place around the Queen East and Beaches area, which offer a magnificent setting for outdoor concerts. Since its beginning in 1989, the festival has grown into a ten-day event with eclectic line-up that doesn’t limit itself only to jazz. Visitors can look forward to a colourful mixture of different styles, including Latin, reggae, blues, big band, R&B, and even hip-hop. Some of the big names who will perform at the festival include Eric Lindell & the Sunliners, Bryan Lee & the Power Blues Band, and Adonis Puentes.


BIG on Bloor Festival (July 20 to 21)

The BIG on Bloor Festival started a few years ago as the idea of a couple young people who felt that public space should be returned to the community. They found inspiration in other world cities and came up with the concept of creating a festival right on the street. Authorities gave the green light to the initiative, and nowadays, Bloor Street West closes off all vehicle traffic during one weekend of the year and becomes an amazing festival site. The area fills with artist performances, great food and drinks, and the unique Bloordale market, full of arts and crafts for sale.

T&T Waterfront Night Market  (July 19 to 21)


T&T Waterfront Night Market is one of Toronto's exciting multicultural food festivals. The event features over 100 popular food vendors with a selection of delicacies from the Pan Asian countries. The event will take place at T&T Supermarket on Cherry Street. Entry is free! Take a stroll down the market and check out  booths selling clothing, crafts, consumer goods, xiaochi (snack food) or get some tasty Bubble Tea. You don't have to travel far to enjoy what the great Asian culture has to offer.