A Toronto Transformation


401 Richmond

Exhibit at 401 Richmond Toronto

I really wish I’d read something about this one. Without an explanation it just looks a little creepy, which was apparently the theme of the eve for me!

Last night I popped by 401 Richmond, a gorgeous old restored industrial building that houses over a hundred studios, galleries and shops for local artists and businesses here in Toronto. It also boasts a rooftop garden, which I am determined to take a tour of one of these days.

My friend Erin and I had a grand old time strolling around and checking out some of the exhibits, many of which, looking back, skewed a little creepy. Behind a mysterious curtain reminiscent of that crazy curtain of death in Order of the Phoenix, a video taken from the viewpoint of a driver on dark country roads played under a recording of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. Creepy.

I peered through a series of portholes to view three black and white photos, one of a giant pile of discarded glasses, one of a pile of shoes. It was the one of the pile of discarded walkers, canes and artificial legs that raised the hairs on the back of my neck as I realized what I must be looking at. Reading the wall placard confirmed these were things taken from Holocaust victims. Definitely creepy and of course, horrifying to contemplate. Amazing how inanimate objects can tell such a powerful story.

I felt so spooked after viewing them that it took me a minute to get up the nerve to walk in to one of the next exhibits we came across. Though, to be fair, I think it would have given me the heebs and jeebs all on its own. It featured an empty bed covered with a quilt, gaudy funeral wreaths in the corner, and paintings of women’s hair and rugs and more funeral wreaths.

There were also some stunningly gorgeous giant charcoal drawings I’d have happily taken home were I in a position to cough up a few month’s rent. I bought these adorable cards at the rad book/gift shop instead:

Rifle Paper Co Greeting Cards

Love these little greeting cards from Rifle Paper Co.


Exhibit at 401 Richmond

I had the strongest urge to touch all the art in this room. I resisted, but man, sometimes the temptation to act like an unruly child is a strong one!


I thought these were pretty spooky too.


But these pigeons were the creepiest thing of all. “I feel bad for pigeons!” Erin sweetly declared. “You mean,” I said, squinting at her suspiciously while I waited for the punchline, “because they’re so terrible?”

Look at me, contemplating art like a grown up!

Look at me, contemplating art like a grown up!


At least until I'm distracted by a funny hole in the floor. Such a philistine.

At least until I’m distracted by a funny hole in the floor. Such a philistine.


For the Birds

There’s something going on with me and birds lately.

Two weeks ago, I had a ridiculous standoff with a pigeon (for my thoughts on pigeons, see here) that had weirdly hunkered down, blocking the narrow shortcut I take around the building I work in. I sidled by slowly, back pressed to the wall, eyes locked on beady eyes while speaking to it in soothing tones. “That’s right. You just stay there. No sudden movements and we’ll all be just fine,” before dashing for the safety of the parking lot.

The next week, on my early morning walk to Barreworks, I had to duck (heh) to avoid, not one, but three different birds: a sparrow, another damn pigeon, and a GIANT HAWK.

Not only did the hawk swoop down in the middle of the city, but it actually let out one of those haunting hawk screams as it dipped by my ear. It was spooky. I might have convinced myself I was still dreaming if not for the fact that there was an equally stunned, middle-aged woman in a floral housecoat putting out her garbage, who witnessed the whole thing.

Last night I dreamed that I ate an owl. I don’t really remember the context, or maybe in that dream way, there wasn’t any, but I promptly regretted it, and projectile vomited owl bits all over the place.

I woke up with a stomach ache.

I’m not sure what it all means, but I think I’ll avoid Swiss Chalet for a while anyway.

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