- Food + Drink
- Art Shows
Mammalian Diving Reflex, founded in 1993 by Darren O’Donnell is a research-art company dedicated to socially engaged art. The company’s work breaks down barriers between individuals of all economic and social backgrounds and looks at bringing people of all ages together in thought-provoking, unusual and interesting ways. Their signature work, “Haircuts by Children” is exactly what it sounds like. The project has toured all around the world, entrusting children with scissors and adults with bad haircuts, on an international level.
Mammalian’s collaboration with the Gladstone Hotel dates back to 2007, where they presented Parkdale Public School vs. Blocks Recording, featuring Parkdale Public School’s seniors string class and three bands: Bob Wiseman, The Phonemes and Kids on TV. Mammalian began to work with an array of new collaborators and in 2010; the company established a youth art collective called The Torontonians consisting of 10 youth members who have all grown up in the Parkdale neighbourhood.
The Gladstone Hotel’s relationship with the youth began in September 2011 with a year-long mentorship residency program called Producers of Parkdale, where the teens had the chance to learn the ropes of event production: curating, budgeting, marketing, production management and hospitality. Following a successful collaboration, in August 2012 the youth curated and managed an all-night event, Dare Night: Lockdown, a public sleepover held in the Gladstone’s Hotel ballroom.
Photo By: Micheal Barker
In 2013, Mammalian Diving Reflex and the Gladstone took the next step and officially moved in as an official company in residence. Mammalian launched “Teens Take Over”, the hotel’s first ever “Teens in Residence” program with the strategic aim of getting the youth more involved in the arts community in Queen Street West. The staff at the Gladstone have been integrated into this whole process, so much that they have reached out to the Torontonians for employment opportunities and odd-jobs in and around the hotel.
This model of youth engagement has been presented through Mammalian’s international presentations in Germany, Hong Kong and London with the Gladstone Hotel being an important aspect of this. This partnership has proved to be an example of what is possible when the business and cultural sectors collaborate and it continues to impress the performing arts world.
Photo By: Daniel Rodriguez
Annie Wong, who is the Young Mammals Director spends most of her time working on Toronto-based projects with the youth. She notes the positive experience working with the hotel over the past two years. “The Gladstone exemplifies forward thinking and creative risk-taking. Our work together demonstrates not only an important step in community development, but an understanding of innovative business partnerships.”
Once an intimidating space and exclusive space for the local youth, the Gladstone Hotel has transformed into an open and inter-generational creative incubator with the presence of young people playing a key part, participating in exhibitions like Come Up to My Room 2014 and Grow-Op 2015, while providing their own programming in the ballroom like dance parties and the occasional study session in the 2nd floor gallery. In just two years, the teens have considered this place their second home and somewhere they felt belonged.
While Mammalian no longer has an office at the Gladstone Hotel, the company is keen on continuing to expand and explore what is possible and keep this relationship going strong. You can catch Mammalian just down the street at Good Fellas Gallery, 1266 Queen St. West.
To learn more about Mammalian, visit www.mammalian.ca/
The Men’s Room, “Hey come here. Into the men’s room. I’ve got something I want to show you that I think you might like!” I papered the walls the walls of a washroom with images of men from historical tintype photographs. Similar in age to the Gladstone Hotel, and appearing on the walls of one of its washrooms, these images tell a story of the more secretive trysts men of that area might have had in the confines of such a room. The images honor a history, ask questions about such behaviour now, and hopefully bring strangers together to see something beautiful in the men’s room.
Opening Reception is on June 25th from 7-10pm on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Floor Galleries.
TSG: Fall to Pieces is a 2 month exhibition of new projects created by LGBTTI2QQ artists about their experiences of disability, radicalization, class, and other intersectional experiences of identity. The show attempts to interrupt the idea of a homogenous queer community and reimagines what it means to talk about our lived experiences as artists from a diversity of backgrounds.
1. Inside Out Film Fest (All Weekend)
Inside Out Film Fest brings Toronto’s LGBT community together in celebration of the best queer film from Canada and around the world. This year, Gladstone Hotel’s chief alchemist Christina Zeidler closes the festival with the world premiere of her film, Portrait of a Serial Monogamist.
2. CraveTO (Friday at 5:30pm)
Imagine enjoying craft drinks and street food creations to the sounds of local DJs and you can start to get a taste of CraveTo. Vendors include El Sabor de Mama, Naansense, Oyster Boy, Chimney Stacks, Mango Pinton, Junked Food Co., Bespoke Butchers, Bombay Street Food, and Foodbenders. Muddy York, Brickworks Cider, Mill Street, Amsterdam, and Nickel Brook (639 Queen St. W.).
3. Friday Night Live: Rock the Caravan (Friday at 7pm)
Quite possibly one of Toronto’s most unique social gatherings held at the Royal Ontario Museum with eclectic eats, drinks, DJs, dancing, and live music. This week, FNL celebrates Middle Eastern Archeology and the exhibit A Warlord’s Stronghold: Mystery on the Silk Road. (100 Queen’s Park
4. CBCMusic.ca Festival (Saturday)
In addition to the music performances, the festival will also highlight some of CBCs exceptional talent including a special live edition of The Debaters hosted by award-winning stand-up comedian Steve Patterson. (909 Lakeshore Blvd. W)
5. TD Echo Beach Spring Market (Sunday at 10am-5pm)
There’s nothing better to do on a Sunday morning then hit the local market. Fortunately, this Sunday the Junction Flea and TD Echo Beach present their inaugural spring market with 100+ vendors. Shop vintage, craft, clothing, jewellery, specialty foods, and more on the shore of Lake Ontario. (909 Lakeshore Blvd. W)
And don’t forget to check out the Gladstone Hotel this weekend, we’re chock-full of free events! Take a tour of our historic hotel and explore the diverse culture it has to offer. We have several galleries currently featuring Canadian photographers so, don’t miss out. Afterwards, you can grab a drink in our bar and jam out to the lively tunes of The Sugar Devils and Jackets!
Irene Torres and The Sugar Devils: Friday, May 22 8pm – 10pm
Jackets: Saturday, May 23 8pm – 10pm
Shameless Karaoke: Friday, May 22 10pm – 2am and Saturday, May 23 10pm – 2am
ART AND CULTURE
Doors Open Toronto: Saturday, May 23 12pm – 5 pm and Sunday, May 24 12pm – 5 pm
Niagara Custom Lab: May 1st – 31st, 12pm – 5pm
Contact Photography Festival: May 1st – 31st, 12pm – 5pm
The Toronto City Archives is home to range of pictures from the city’s history, and well represented among those photos is, of course, Parkdale. A few months ago, BlogTO posted a pretty good collection of images from old Parkdale, and I encourage you to head over there, and check them out. Also, there are always a range of old Toronto images over at Lost Toronto. This post will try to find some images that have not yet been seen, or at least haven’t been seen too recently.
In 2004, the transition of the Gladstone Hotel was still on going. During this time, the cultural foundations for a new Gladstone were being set, and it is interesting to look at how that culture was created. In a 2004 interview conducted by the Visible City Project & Archives, Christina Zeidler outlines her thoughts about the hotel,
“What I’m excited about is that we don’t exactly know where it’s going. We have a general vision, but what would make it an interesting place is that I don’t know exactly, it’s other people that are going to bring the culture…I think that’s what would make the hotel an interesting place in 5 years.” (Interview by Charles Finley & Yvonne Ng, June 22, 2004).
Having noted the challenges in creating a safe and viable site for cultural activity, Christina goes on to re-iterate that, “opening it back up to the community, and the city, will mean that it is going to be dynamic, it’s going to change, and we’ll provide an infrastructure for it”.
Additionally, the interview series reveals a look into the hotel’s interior before its final set of renovations:
As a whole, the interview series documents the Gladstone during a vital point of transition, investigating the state of the hotel’s community and plans for growth.
You can watch the complete interview series here: http://www.visiblecity.ca/index.php/spaces/77-the-gladstone-hotel
What do you remember about the Gladstone Hotel circa 2004? Please share your images and stories in the comments!
In terms of local celebrity, many of the first residents and land owners of Parkdale could possibly be listed as “famous people”. An individual from that era who stands out is Walter O’Hara: born in Ireland around 1789 , O’Hara was a soldier and served in the Peninsular war. He came to Canada in 1826, and was the assistant adjutant general to the Upper Canada militia with the rank of colonel from 1827 to 1846. Including O’Hara Street, there are no less than seven streets in Parkdale that are named after, or in relationship to, Walter. These include Marion Street (named after his wife), and Roncesvalles, which was named for a battle in Spain in 1813 in which he fought. Oh, and if you like finding historical plaques, let’s not forget the tiny O’Hara garden located northwest corner of Queen Street West and O’Hara.
One of the key benefits of being a village separate from Toronto, was the ability to set and manage bylaws specific to your municipality. If the goal was to maintain not only order, but the image of being orderly, bylaws were certainly an useful tool. Believing it would contribute to the overall health and comfort of the village, the Parkdale town council enacted a bylaw prohibiting domestic animals from running at large. A measure aimed to reduce the likelihood of residents keeping pigs, cows, and poultry. Interestingly, according to the Parkdale Council minutes from August 6th 1879, this almost immediately lead to the Medical Officer of Health’s own cow being impounded, then released, after paying a fine.
Somewhat more controversial were a set of morally based bylaws which were passed by Parkdale’s village council in the same year:
“Bylaw 18, adopted in May 1879, made it illegal to give intoxicating drink to a child, an apprentice, an insane person, or a servant if forbidden by his or her employer; to circulate indecent prints or placards; to use profane language; to appear on the street in a disorderly manner; to keep a house of ‘ill-fame’ or to harbour ‘bad characters’; to gamble; or to expose oneself near a public highway or other public place.” (Whitzman 2009)
Considering this push for a set of sometimes overly strict bylaws, it is no surprise that the Parkdale Council was not pleased with the proposition of a new hotel being built across the Dufferin tracks. To halt the establishment of the Gladstone Hotel, Parkdale Council sent a deputation to Toronto City Council to argue against the hotel’s construction, and flatly prohibited the sale of “intoxicating liqours” within the village. Oddly, this by-law was quickly disregarded by the Union Hotel (and a number of grocers), who a few months later obtained a license from the village’s council to serve liqour.
Whitzman, C. (2009). Suburb, slum, urban village transformations in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, 1875-2002. Vancouver: UBC Press.
The following buildings were once part of the Parkdale landscape, but they have now been removed, both in form and in spirit. From the Toronto Public Library’s Parkdale in Pictures, below is a picture of the Queen Victoria School as seen in a 1888 photograph. The building was designed by George M. Miller, who was also the architect for our Gladstone Hotel. Unfortunately, the Queen Victoria School was demolished in 1961.