“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
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. ■