Christina Wong is a Toronto-based playwright who wants to find out what Parkdale means to you. Over the next week during her residency at the Gladstone Art Hut Christina is inviting the public to come talk to her about Parkdale. “Parkdale: Past and Present” aims to document and record the changes that are happening in the Parkdale neighbourhood. Interested participants are encouraged to drop in during gallery hours to contribute to this growing Parkdale story, or simply come and celebrate the many diverse individuals who make, or who have made, Parkdale their home. Why do you love it? What would you change about it? Is gentrification pushing you to consider a relocation?
We recently had the chance to ask Christina a few questions about this beloved neighbourhood and her upcoming project. Read more below!
What do the concepts of neighbourhood and community mean to you? Why are they so important to discuss?
I feel like they are intrinsically linked and both inform each other. You can’t have a good neighbourhood without a strong community, and you can’t have a strong community without having the infrastructure in place in the neighbourhood to allow for this community to develop.
I think they are important to discuss, because sometimes we lose sense of these concepts and we need reminders that we should look up from our phones once in a while, or not be plugged in all the time, because it’s so easy to get distracted these days and not be present to real, human interactions. For instance, how many of us actually know our neighbours’ names, or even the name of your mail carrier? These social interactions may seem so small, but are significant in creating a sense of place, and in turn, help build healthy and liveable communities and neighbourhoods.
As a Gladstone Alumni, what does it mean to have a residency at the Art Hut across the street?
It’s an absolute honour to have this residency and it almost feels like it’s come full circle. I actually haven’t really been back to the neighbourhood since I left the Hotel. So it was like getting re-acquainted with an old friend again and seeing what has, or hasn’t changed, but it also made me question what brought me to Parkdale in the first place, and in turn, what motivated others to do the same to call Parkdale their home.
What has been the most striking change you have observed in Parkdale?
I can only speak to what I’ve seen as someone who used to work/volunteer in the area. But I’d have to say the demographics have certainly changed (much younger now), and perhaps, there is a sense that there are less places where Parkdale “regulars” can frequent.
What do you envision for the future for Parkdale?
Parkdale already has a strong, diverse community that isn’t afraid to voice its concerns. And I imagine this only getting stronger in the coming years.
2pm-7pm: Wednesday April 25th -Friday April 28th
12pm-6pm: Saturday April 29th-Sunday April 30th
Friday Apr 28 7pm-10pm