How We Live In Cities

Exhibition, workshops and discussions towards an art and garden corridor.
All Free, All welcome.

Opening Reception: Thursday, May 18th, 2017, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Opening remarks with Councilor Ana Bailão, Dyan Marie and Joe Svec, 7:00 pm.
Date: May 18 – July 15,  2017
Location: ReImagine Galleria, Community Collaboration Space
1245 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6H 2A6

Place and Placement Exhibition Statement
By Dyan Marie, curator

The Place and Placement exhibition was both a start-up and a culmination of a lifetime of relationships with artist-friends who I admire for their work and their civic efforts. The intention is to place art at the Galleria Mall to draw attention to this transitional site, to encourage both artists and visitors, to consider this development, and all developments, in relation to How We Live In Cities. It is past time for us to ensure that this city is grounded, sustainable, and life-long livable. We can ground space by elevating the place-making importance of landscape and by mindfully focusing attention on civic space by incorporating works of art.

The project is a hopeful gesture to help foster an art garden corridor that links small spot gardens into connected public, private, commercial, orphaned and railway places with the intention to create walking routes to schools, parks, homes, shopping, business and the Community Centre. This is a research project – we ask – what can a garden mean? What is dirt? Leonardo da Vinci said “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot”, Peter Wohlleben said the same thing in the Hidden Life of Trees, published just last year.

We are searching and learning as represented in David Acheson’s work Presence. We want to understand what earth is and the lives inside it, as presented in Earth Room- Wormhole by Interspatial: with cross-species opportunities to move in darkness like an earthworm. Fragility is understood in Heather Nicol’s glass Garden Party. Danger is apparent is Eldon Garnet’s Snake-in-the-grass, rattling a warning when we approach.

25 years ago, I enjoyed the small creatures in Wallace Emerson Park: searching with my children to spot grasshoppers, enjoying the sound of crickets at night – both insects have both gone missing in the past years. Edward Burtynsky bares witness to the world’s missing large creatures when he photographed the largest burning of rhino and elephant tusks in Kenya. His experience is presented here as a 3-D model. But some things endure in life, and as metaphors, as in Reinhard Reitzenstein’s bronze Philosopher’s Stone that has been charged with reflective aptitudes, similarly in the straightforward appreciation of shape, form, function, forever captured in Catherine Beaudette bronze pinecone. Thank you to TIMEANDDISIRE – for signing what needs to be done, and to Darren Leu, noting that we are all stakeholders and making it apparent with the garden stakes for a workshop he will lead to create garden markers.

We have heard that one of the most joyful rewards in a well-lived life is to have planted and watched a tree grow – John Dickson’s Book of Trees, bound in cardboard casing, hints at our complicated relationship in how we experience trees. We know that there are better ways of using materials and energy – as Eric Anthony Charron solar-powered recycled water bottle – Sun Lights – gracefully illustrate.

Noel Harding, an artist who lived and worked on Dupont Street and was the Canadian soul of environment art – draws attention to how global warming is putting the environment into a spin. It might be appropriate that one of the new streets, in this proposed development, to be named Noel Harding Way in his honour and be animated with solar, wind and waterworks.

For my part, I offered you seeds – as beginnings and ends – in all their fascinating and purposeful shapes. They were collected from plants growing along Wallace Emerson Park fence and from other local sites proposed as the Garden Art Corridor: local laneways, front yard gardens, the Metro railway lands, and the West End Rail Path, and the Green Line. Place and Placement put Spot Garden ideas into practice.
Throughout the exhibition, we distributed Spot Garden Kits that contained everything needed to start a garden: tools, information, seeds, advice and ongoing ways to stay connected.

Workshop activities by the late Kristen Fahrig of Botanicus Art Ensemble created seed bombs. Kristen supplied materials, lead hands-on making and offered her garden experience and advice in one of her last public appearances. Darren Leu workshop, assisted by How We Live In Cities Team Denessa Gookool, Rayna Sydney in a project that created garden stakes, designed as art and acting as wayfinding once installed in gardens along the designated art and garden corridor.
Throughout the duration of the project and in ongoing efforts we encourage discussion regarding ideas and actions to Re-imagine How We Live In Cities.

Thank you to the artists Catherine Beaudette, Darren Leu, David Acheson, Edward Burtynsky, Eldon Garnet, Eric Anthony Charron, Heather Nicol, Interspacial, John Dickson, Kristin Fahrig, Noel Harding, Reinhard Reitzenstein, TIMEANDDESIRE, and to Councillor Ana Bailao for support and opening comments, to the Reimagine Galleria team for support and hosting Place and Placement, to TD Friends of the Environment with CELOS for enable this effort and to CastlePoint Numa Greybrook for assistance that allowed us to expand the workshops as a feature event at the BIG on Bloor Festival.


West Room: Presence
Large-scale sculpture.
David Acheson

Middle Gallery: Way Finding
Corridor Collective garden sculpture.
Catherine BeaudetteEdward Burtynsky, Eldon Garnet, Darren LeuHeather NicolJohn DicksonNoel Harding, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Time and Desire 

East Room: Earth Room Worm Hole
Interspecies architectural environment.
Interspatial: Natalia Bakaeva and Mark Francis

Outside / Overhead: Sun Lights
Installation of hanging, solar-powered lights, constructed from recycled materials.
Eric Anthony Charron 

Monitor: Eden Archive
Images developed from seed collected in local parks, gardens, railway corridors, laneways and orphaned spaces.
Dyan Marie

Work Room: Spot Gardens
Spot Garden presentation: art, toolkit, seeds, workshops and activities.
Botanicus Art Ensemble, Toronto Seed Library, Tool Exchange and HWLIC


Guerrilla Gardening Seed Bombs
Workshop Saturday, May 20th, 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.  Free / All Welcome
Seeds bombs are an ancient technique for propagating plants without opening the soil. Join the hands-on workshop to create Seed Balls, led by Kristen Fahrig, seeds provided by the Toronto Seed Library, MacGregor Playground Branch. Use and share the Seed Balls to start Spot Gardens at home and in overlooked spaces. 
Kristen Fahrig; Botanicus Art Ensemble

Change City
Change City Discussions, April 31 and June 2, 12:45 to 1:30 PM

Spot Gardens,  Place and Placement tour and discussion, ReImagine Galleria, Community Collaboration Space, 1245 Dupont Street, Toronto,
Betty Ann Jorden; Ryerson, Life Institute, Chang School of Continuing Education  

Garden StakeHolders Art Workshop 
Workshop Saturday, June 17th, 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.  Free / All Welcome
Join us for a painting and drawing workshop to make way-finders, garden markers and stakes that not only beautify your Spot Gardens but connect you to others in your neighbourhood creating a walking route.
Artist-guided;  we provide you with all the materials and lessons needed so you can walk away with your own Garden Stakes and other art pieces at no cost.
Darren Leu; DCP + How We Live In Cities

About: How We Live In Cities and the Corridor Collective respond to population and climate change with art and ecology projects. The redevelopment of Wallace Emerson Park, and the Galleria Mall in the Dupont Street West area of Toronto is an opportunity to invest the site as the start-up location for an art- garden corridor.

Gardens lower the city’s carbon footprint. They mediate summer heat, water run-off, provide bee and wildlife habitat, improve air quality, enhance urban appearances and provide healthy, self-directed exercise. Collecting spot gardens, (small designated or new gardens sites) into a corridor can link civic, public and commercial space into Walk Here routes that encourage people to walk to work, schools, parks and shops. Walking enables stronger civic engagement; it enables people to live where they live, while fostering better health and mindset.

The exhibition presents works by leading artists with practices in sculpture, public art, and place-making. They offer art as garden sculptures to be imagined as public art and theoretical examples of way-finding markers for the Art Garden Corridor route.

Drop In! Participate! Free! Discover art and be encouraged to make gardens. Hands-on, garden-making resources are available to create Spot Gardens with seeds, tools, information and events.

Proposed Art Garden Corridor Route:
West and south: Wallace Emerson Park Place > Lappin Ave. > under the MetroLinx proposed overpass bridge > Campbell Park > Wallace Ave. > West End Rail Path > The Bent Way.
North and east: Wallace Emerson Park Place > Lappin Ave. > MetroLinx pathway > Green Line.

We encourage garden-making along this route and everywhere. Make, mark, share and follow garden progress on social media with:
#spotgardens #HowWeLiveInCities

About the Artists

David Acheson’s sculptural and photographic work riff on popular imagery, graphics, and signage to inhabit places in the nature-culture gap. The double figure of Present, installed as sentinels for Place and Placement, set the tone for the exhibition. The figures move in and out of the particular and the unknown. The puffy, muscular giants search in tentative strides, invite acts of recognition and stand as small monuments to collective solitude.

Catherine Beaudette is a Canadian artist and professor at OCAD University. She is the founder of Loop Gallery in Toronto and 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects in Duntara, Newfoundland. Born in Montréal Québec, she currently divides her time between Toronto ON and Bonavista Bay NL. Her practice stems from both places where she collects objects, artefacts and specimens to form the basis of her drawings, paintings and installations. Combining elements from the natural world with evidence of human intervention, Beaudette’s collections offer new taxonomies as a way to see the world around us. Beaudette has attended art residencies in Spain, Serbia/Montenegro, Germany, Banff, Fogo Island, Havana and Mexico. She received her MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1998. Beaudette won the RBC Canadian Painting Prize in 2000, and twice has been awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant.

Edward Burtynsky is a Governor General award-winning Canadian artist recognized worldwide as a visual chronicler of the earth-changing results from the harnessing of oil, water, land and wildlife. On April 30th, 2016 Burtynsky was on-site in Kenya to capture the largest burn of illegal trade ivory in history. The occasion saw the destruction of the confiscated tusks of 6500 elephant and 450 rhinoceros as Kenya publicly declared its official opposition to illegal wildlife trade. His 3-D maquette for Place and Placement shows one of the pre-burn tusk piles and is related to his upcoming new work Anthropocene. Speaking of his role as an artist and environmentalist, Burtynsky has said: “Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, my work function as reflecting pools of our times.”

Eric Anthony Charron is a Toronto-based architect, urbanist and reclaimed materials artist. He founded upcycledXD in 2009 with a series of design experiments in direct response to a garbage strike, his creations are situated between utility, re-use, abundance and delight. Recent works include installations for PULP ’17, (Blue Light) The Centre for Social Innovation, Spadina office (Bottom’s–Up Chandelier) and Spazio Del-Arte Gallery. His regenerative Sun Lights, installed outside and overhead the Place and Placement exhibition entranceway, demonstrate the use of recycled plastic made luminescent by solar LED technology.

John Dickson is a Toronto-based artist whose mixed-media sculptures and installations explore humanity’s tenuous relationship with the natural world. Early works investigated water as a sculptural medium, developing themes with underlying environmental concerns. His interest in working with water led naturally to outdoor projects, and to exhibiting in non-gallery situations, with artist collectives such as NetherMind and Persona Volare and with organizations like the Tree Museum and Art Spin. Past projects include Frontier, a public commission for the West Toronto Railpath, Music Box for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and COLD WAR at the AGO’s Young Gallery.  He has shown internationally in the USA, France, the Czech Republic and Denmark, and is represented by Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects.  His work can be viewed online at

Eldon Garnet is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Toronto. Surveys of his sculptures and photographic work have been held at the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and the Amsterdam Center of Photography. His novel, Reading Brooke Shields: The Garden of Failure was published by Semiotext(e), in 1995. Impulse Archaeology, a collection of articles from his years at Impulse, was released by the University of Toronto Press in 2005. His novel “Lost Between The Edges” was published by Semiotext(e), MIT. His recent novel, Categories of Disappearance is available from He is also well known for his public artworks including The Memorial for the Chinese Railroad Workers located in Toronto.From 1975–1990 he was the editor of Impulse, a Canadian magazine of art and culture. He is represented by the Christopher Cutts Gallery Toronto and Torch Gallery, Amsterdam. He is a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design


Noel Harding Studio Noel Harding, 1945 – 2016, artist and urban innovator is recognized as Canada’s leading environmental artist with monumental scale public art projects and sculptures.

Interspatial is a young Toronto design collective founded in 2015. Their work includes projects built for PULP ’17 (Volume & Void), Evergreen Brick Works ‘ 16 (Inverted Valleys), Nuit Blanche’ 16 (Laneway Canopy), The Laneway Summit ’16, and The Stop’s Night Market ’15 (Urban Nomad Food Cart), with competition entries for Delectricity Detroit, NXT City and Winter Stations. Environmental urbanists Mark Francis and Natalia Bakaeva are Toronto-based intern architects, installation artists and the founders of Interspatial. Their art and architecture are focused on animating interstitial urban environments and facilitating autonomy in the making of personal and public spaces. Instagram


Darren Leu is an artist and curator, his work involves collaborative partnerships in creating participatory art and cultural events. For Place and Placement he has created StakeHolders, a sculptural work that includes painted garden stakes. The works will be placed in Spot Gardens, installed as way-finders, along with the art and garden corridor route. Darren is also the director of DCP; an arts organization established to create studio spaces and facilitate opportunities for artists. Darren is also the 2017 Director of the BIG on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture.


Heather Nicol is a Toronto-based artist and independent curator. Her site-specific installations have been created for national and international locations, including in New York for The Winter Garden, SculptureCenter NY, and The Brooklyn Academy of Music BAM, in Toronto for Ontario Place – In/Future, Brookfield Place – The Allan Lambert Galleria, and Union Station – Nuit Blanche, as well as Chateau de Courannces (France) and Kunsterhaus Betanien (Berlin). Consistent with her art practice, her independent curatorial projects have often explored site-conditions found in transitional, decommissioned locations. Curated exhibitions for galleries include Artscape Youngplace, Typology Projects and OCAD University, (Toronto), John Paul Slusser Gallery (University of Michigan), The National Arts Centre (Ottawa), and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa)


Dyan Marie works with photography, sculpture, text and she creates civic organizations, events, art and ecology projects that respond to how we live in cities. Her work from the Eden Archive, exhibited on monitors in the Place and Placement exhibition, presents close viewing of seeds found along the proposed corridor route, collected from parks, laneways, gardens, orphaned spaces and the railway lands. /


Reinhard Reitzenstein was born in Uelzen, Germany, in 1949. He studied at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, 1968-71. From 1971 to 1991 he was represented by, the Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto. Since 1993 he has been represented by the Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto. Reitzenstein’s work has consistently taken him into processes exploring ways to interconnect nature, culture, science and technology. He works in several parallel areas: indoor installation and sculpture using a cast, spun and welded metals, wood, glass, photography, digitally processed images; large-scale drawings; outdoor tree-based installations and sound art. He travels and exhibits his work extensively, often speaking about contemporary cultural issues in his public lectures.


TIMEANDDESIRE Denise St Marie and Timothy Walker’s practice explores new-genre public art, text art, signage, interventionism and socially engaged installations that both occupy the public realm and the gallery. Their work commonly examines concepts of public and private spaces, as well as the role perception plays in constructing our realities. Inspired by the various uses of language and graphic representation, they aim to highlight the absurd, the psychological, the philosophical and the poetic. Their outdoor installations look to provide the viewer with a break from their well-established expectations or routines by adding some levity, doubt, questions or reflections to the given space. In 2010 St Marie φ Walker adopted the moniker TIMEANDDESIRE to signify their collaborative outdoor work. St Marie Walker has installed interventive work nationally and internationally in such countries and cities as Japan, China, Chicago, Las Vegas, Toronto, Montreal, Windsor, Victoria, and throughout the Canadian prairies.


Kristen Fahrig is a professional sculptor, educator and cultural animator, working primarily in Toronto, Canada. She has initiated and led numerous community art projects in her West End neighbourhood and is currently Artistic Director of Botanicus Art Ensemble, as well as Artist-in-Residence at MacGregor Playground. Kristen has permanent installations of her work in numerous urban Toronto parks, and gardens and has created theme-based site animations and integrated arts performances for festivals in public spaces such as at the Harbourfront Centre and Nathan Phillips Square.

Place & Placement In The Press 

Toronto Star

Feature by MURRAY WHYTE Mon., May 29, 2017

NOW Magazine

Artists plant the seeds of the new Galleria Mall development

BY , MAY 30, 2017

As the city and developers hammer out a new plan for the massive site at Dufferin and Dupont, urbanist arts organization How We Live In Cities has already begun the landscaping



Feature by Terence Dick, JUNE 14, 2017

Images of opening:

Thank you to the artists Catherine Beaudette, Darren Leu, David Acheson, Edward Burtynsky, Eldon Garnet, Eric Anthony Charron, Heather Nicol, Interspacial, John Dickson, Kristin Fahrig, Noel Harding, Reinhard Reitzenstein, TIMEANDDESIRE, and to Councillor Ana Bailao for support and opening comments, to the Reimagine Galleria team for support and hosting Place and Placement, to TD Friends of the Environment with CELOS for enable this effort and to CastlePoint Numa Greybrook for assistance that allowed us to expand the workshops as a feature event at the BIG on Bloor Festival.

Special thanks to ReImagine Galleria Coordinator, Joe Svec with Freed Development.




More Information contact:
Dyan Marie, artist and exhibition curator / 647-973-2349