The emblematic expressions of the river are at the centre of every society. It’s impossible to think of any cultural or economic activity flourishing without a river at its beginning. Toronto is no different.
  Nine rivers define the form and boundaries of this city. These rivers are what led First Nations’ peoples to settle and build at this specific place along Lake Ontario and supported commerce and, in turn, industry prospered. But over time, these same commercial concerns, which fostered the development of the country’s largest city, diminished the relevance and reverence for these rivers. Yet, the rivers remain the source of our cultural memory and the linchpins of our environmental consciousness.
  This exhibition, at first glance, is an endeavor of artistic delight, but there are also guiding principles of conservation attached to the project. By focusing on the natural beauty of the rivers, we can begin to appreciate the complicated history of the natural environment. Through the rivers’ narrative in the landscape, along with the working and recreational aspects of the rivers and environs, we acknowledge the rivers are truly fundamental structures feeding the current and future natural wellbeing of Toronto. Harbourfront Centre invited six artists to capture the visible and the not-so-visible aspects of the nine rivers. Vanessa Hussey, Surendra Lawoti, Jade Lee Portelli, Meghan Rennie, Aaron Vincent Elkaim and Christopher Manson were asked to address one of four key aspects of the river system: River History, Nature and the River, River Landscape and the People of the River.
During five months, these artists shot hundreds of images up and down all nine rivers. There are portraits of riverains and river depictions both natural and industrial. These landscapes and riverscapes illustrate the durable connections between Toronto and the streams that run through it. It’s the search for the unpredicted view of our river system that is most satisfying. Unexpected beauty and experience is essential to the environmental outcomes of this exhibition. The intention is to give access and understanding to what it means to live in a city that has this unique treasure that is our river system.

– Curator, Patrick Macaulay, Harbourfront Centre

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