“Even though the ex­trac­tion of this clay happened 200 years ago, they’ve moved on to some­thing else. It’s oil, or it’s gas. It’s still re­source ex­trac­tion and it still re­quires the vi­o­lent re­moval of In­dige­nous peo­ple off the land to com­plete that ex­tract

Canadian Art - - Legacy -

Sin­ga­pore and Syd­ney, but on the other, its speci­ficity ques­tions the will­ful blind­ness of Toronto’s place within this im­pe­rial net­work. In the present­day metropoli­tan fi­nan­cial cen­tre, these gar­goyles are tes­ta­ments to the en­dur­ing le­gacy of the city’s fab­ric, the in­vis­i­ble labour of its crafts­men and ar­chi­tec­ture’s self-per­pet­u­at­ing ide­olo­gies.

As a present-day ur­ban bor­der­land, the Don River Val­ley is caught be­tween a high­way and a rail cor­ri­dor, with pock­ets of wood­land per­se­ver­ing like is­lands in a sea of pave­ment. At its in­dus­trial chan­nelling, vines, wild­flow­ers and weedy un­der­growth push up through the space be­tween as­phalt and rail spike. Deer, rab­bits, cranes and coy­otes share space with span­dex-clad cy­clists. Join­ing these res­i­dents of Toronto are crea­tures lean­ing and ly­ing in state: an­tecedent ru­ins, but part of Toronto’s eco­log­i­cal life cy­cle. It re­mains to be seen what role the Don Val­ley art trail, as­pir­ing nei­ther to a Man­hat­tan High Line model nor a sculp­ture-park model, will play in the city’s cul­tural life. Lin­klater’s work sig­nals that it won’t be a re­treat from the city, as so many ur­ban ecol­ogy projects prom­ise, but will un­earth Toronto’s hy­brid—if not mon­strous—na­ture. ■

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