Saturday, July 24, 2010

Textile Tourism . The Toronto (Subway )Route

As July begins it is about the annual out door art exhibition in Toronto's Nathan Phillip Square at Queen Street West and Bay corner.As I walking out of the 2010 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition through the Blue North section 3 hours after having entered through the same section I came across Zsuzsa Szoke and her work. Having studied at Sheridan she headed to NSCAD University to turn her diploma into a degree her work is entertaining, whimsical and care free,

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2010 ( facebook Album )
The weekend before Austrian knit designer Veronika Persché who had organized the pre- ETN conference tours of Vienna last summer, was visiting and I was giving her a tour of the textiles on public display in downtown Toronto. We had started at the Textile Museum at 55 Centre Street and had walked the two blocks down to Nathan Phillips Square. to visit with Kalyna Pidwerbesky who had a booth at the Downtown Jazz festival
Blue Spiral brooch by Kalyna Pidwerbesky
Then went into city hall to see “Stitch In Time” in the basement of the rotunda. “Stitch In Time” made in 1984, is a  6 ‘X 24’ embroidery designed by Barbara Gordon and executed by the Toronto Guild Of Stitchery in celebration of Toronto’s 150th Anniversary after that it was down to King and Bay to look at the tapestries hanging in the bank towers. It is at this point I start thinking, well wondering why actually there still isn't a printed guided tour map of these textile works. I have been compiling information about them, suggested to certain officials at city hall and the archives that such a pamphlet or map might be welcome and nothing really has come of it.
Laurie Swim's " Breaking Ground" at York Mills subway Station unveiled March 17 2010 commemorating the 50 anniversary of the lives lost in the Hogg's Hollow cave in during the construction of the extension of the north bound subway system 
With quilted textile works in the Subway system and Goblin Tapestries in the bank towers at King and Bay, an Aubusson tapestry at One Queen Street East not to mention the ROM at the top of University on Bloor, the Textile Museum at 55 Centre Ave and two historic House Museums off of Queen Street east and west of Young Street there is an abundance of Textiles to be seen in downtown Toronto.  

MacKenzie House  at 82 Bond Street just behind St Michaels Hospitable two blocks east of Young of off Queen  St E. and Campbell House Museum 160 Queen ST W on the north west corner of University and Queen West do have domestic textiles in situ, the authenticity to the era of the house, provenance or if they are considered an important part of the museum's  i don't really know yet.

The “potager” growing in the front flower bed of Campbell House in July 2010 is an edible, but also decorative, vegetable garden. Thank you to City of Toronto Parks for this urban agriculture initiative in the heart of downtown

Campbell House is the oldest remaining house from the original site of the Town of York. Built in 1822 by Judge William Campbell and his wife Hannah, the home was designed for entertaining and comfort, and constructed at a time when the Campbells were socially and economically established and their children had grown to adulthood.

Mackenzie House is a historic building and museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that was the last home of the city's first mayor William Lyon Mackenzie. Mackenzie was forced into exile in the United States after having led the Rebellion of 1837. He returned to the newly-created Province of Canada in 1850, and died in this house in 1861.

Barren Ground Caribou by Joyce Wieland at Spadina north Subway Station, and Laurie Swim's Breaking Ground at York Mills and six Goblin Tapestries by four tapestry weavers in the First Canadian Place at 100 King Street West and The Toronto-Dominion Centre  which has three Goblins, with two in the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower, and one in the Royal Trust Tower. 

Notes on and or websites for artist, architects and museums sites mentioned above 

Veronika Persché
Kalyna Pidwerbesky

Toronto City Hall was designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell http://www.didrichsenmuseum.html

Construction commenced on November 7, 1961, and the building was opened on September 13, 1965 by Governor General Georges Vanier. The final cost of the new City Hall was approximately $31 million.

Tragically, Viljo Revell died of a heart attack 10 months prior to the opening ceremonies. He was 54.

Nathan Phillips Square is home to two sculptures, British sculptor Henry Moore's masterpiece Three-Way Piece No. 2 (usually called The Archer) has been installed in a place of honour right in front of City Hall. and on the southwest corner, Oscar Nemon's statue of Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Great Britain is located.

Joyce Wieland “Barren Ground Caribou” 1978,  8’ X 30’ quilt. at Spadina north Subway Station, Collection: Toronto Transit Commission. There are several images of this piece on the internet this link will take you to the only copy righted one Barren Ground Caribou © Joyce Wieland this is found at the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art/ Canadian Art Data Base at York University
Laurie Swim " Breaking Ground" a quilt commemorating the "Hogg's Hollow Disaster" which happened on March 17 1960 when five immigrant Italian workers lost their lives while building a new water main in suburban North Toronto. The unavailing of this large community quilt marked the 50 anniversary

When you explore your community take note of where you run into textiles, facebook them, blog them share them. But please make sure you ask permission to take photos and if you may post them. Obviously getting the artist permission is necessary,  and if you are posting an image of a museum artifact having the right information about is good.

Textile Tourism is an interesting way to look at the world. Find more "Routes" below

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