The magic of the west island of Ontario Place has always been lost on me; I didn’t grow up in Toronto, and no matter how many times my mother insists we saw either Raffi or Sharon, Lowis & Bram here, I can’t remember it. I do remember some of the TV ads, and the nostalgia associated with the site rubs off on you from countless friends who share their fond memories of childhood fun has here.
My curiosity was peaked when Art Spin and the team behind it and in/future; Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta, brought me here last summer on one of their bike tours. The magic here, still exists. It’s overgrown and a little rough around the edges, but this magical feeling is one that in/future has managed to reanimate and transform.
When I proposed an info centre and store, it came out of my own interest in the history of the site, the architecture and the memories that lived here. My collaborator Leah came on board and turned herself into an Ontario Place historian – as an urban planner, this was a task she was more than thrilled to take on. Working with the design team at Monnet, they’ve created a historical time line installation where festival participants can learn about where Ontario Place has been, where in/future fits in, and envision where it all might be going.
A store, the other component our of project, was a natural addition – I envisioned it as another entry point to engage with artists and makers. We’re fortunate that in Toronto’s vibrant craft scene, so many artists were willing to come on board and create a limited edition item inspired by the festival.
The symbol of the swan dates back to 1973 when a pair of swans was donated by Ottawa, originally a gift from the Queen in the celebration of Canada’s 100th birthday. The addition of the swan boats has engrained the swan as an iconic image and acted as inspiration for both Leikey Designs, who created plush swans, and Miloshka designs with her laser cut swan mobiles, which combine natural elements and geometric patterns inspired by the Cinesphere.
Arounna, one of the designers behind bookhou used aerial maps to create a pattern applied to some of her stunning textiles works. The cinesphere, a source of inspiration for many, was the jumping off point for a series of hand painted wooden clocks from Ora Clocks.
Janet Hinkle is bringing her lively faces to some hanging planters – perhaps a nod to the overgrown nature of the site, and Sagan Editions worked with artist Mani Mazinani who has created a stunning hanging sculpture. Robin Classon of Floral Islands has made beautiful minimal geometric hanging glass works, and a curated selection of pieces will be included from Corey Moranis, Linda Colombus, Merida Anderson of YYY, Kristen Lim Tung and the Weekender Supply Co., to name just a few.
Xenia Taler and Steven Koblinsky, the team behind Xenia Taler, pulled from their own memories of the Ontario Place attractions to make geometric and abstract ceramic tiles, creating a series of playful and fun with a hint of nostalgia. The stunning design and brand for the festival, created by the team at Monnet, will also adorn pins, tote bags and glassware for those who want to take home a small part of the festival.
Our partners at Art Metropole, the not-for-profit organization in Toronto, will be setting up a pop-up shop within our store, displaying a selection of artists prints and multiples, connecting us even further to the vibrant arts community within Toronto. META4 Contemporary Craft Gallery from Port Perry is providing a selection of art and craft works and has supported us by providing displays and retail support.
While the in/fo centre and store play a small role in this transformative festival, the spirit of a creative community, support and partnership that runs deep in the festival and the mandate of both Art Spin and Small World can be felt here too, and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Written by Casey Hinton