As we approach the end of 2014, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on a very exciting and productive year as your Urban Geographer. I’ve grown a lot since this time last year. I had a short stint living on Toronto Island, and I’ve had the opportunity to create maps, host events, facilitate workshops and write about my love of place, architecture, urban planning and ecology!
Please join me in remembering some of the highlights from 2014.
- The year started with a bang, as I moved to Toronto Island with Chris Foster to participate in the pilot Work Exchange program at Artscape Gibraltar Point. The residency went extremely well. On top of getting a job at Artscape (a phenomenal organization in Toronto that is committed to creating good urban space), Chris was hired as Superintendent, and I was able to contribute to the Island community and AGP as an interpreter of its history (as tour guide), and an ambassador of the building. I was extremely inspired by the Island and its history, and helped come up with a new design for AGP that referenced its history, but remained elegant and contemporary.
- I started contributing to Spacing Toronto, the flagship site for the Canada-wide blog network and magazine. Highlights include The secret airport express bus, The most beautiful Dairy Queen in Toronto? and my favourite, Lake Ontario is a Sea. Get ready for more in 2015, as I investigate the bluntness of the word gentrification, music venues in churches, and the surprisingly dramatic landscape of pizzerias in Toronto.
- My partner Natalie Amber and I began hosting the Learnt Wisdom Lecture Series - a storytelling event taking place in overlooked and unconventional spaces across the city. On the heels of two incredibly successful events, we are excited to get the ball rolling on indoor lectures for the first and coldest months of 2015.
- I travelled to Upper Economy, Nova Scotia to join my brother and participate as an artist in residence at the annual White Rabbit festival! My initial project Framing Red Clay gave way to a week long chase to frame the moon, resulting in the erection of a 6 foot “ladder to nowhere”, referencing Andrew Maize’s tidal ladder of 2013, and overlooking the vast tidal flats of the Bay of Fundy. On top of my project, I illustrated the White Rabbit site map, and spent the week hosting Rotsztain Brothers Radio with Jonathan, exploring the world on Red Clay Radio, 92’nothing FM.
- After a widely embraced article for Torontoist, I began working as Communications Coordinator for Charlie’s Freewheels, an amazing organization that empowers youth from Regent and Moss Parks by teaching them how to build, maintain and ride their own bikes. The campaign has been a great opportunity to employ my skills as a geographer, planning, graphic designer and writer – and another attempt to master the elusive internet by trying to go viral. The campaign is still going on! Check out our indiegogo! (until January 6 2015)
- I spent the last few months of summer visiting and drawing every branch of the Toronto Public Library – a journey to all 6 corners of the city that taught me a lot about the social and architectural realities of my city. Get ready for its release in early January!
- I debuted Geomancy, my version of the ancient practice of fortune telling with maps, to receptive audiences at the Algonquin Island Christmas Boutique and Long Winter. People loved it, and I thoroughly enjoyed helping people gain geographic insights into their being. The project has generated a lot of interest, and will be appearing in unexpected places in 2015!
- I created my most ambitious map to date: a map of GMOs across the world for ASEED Europe, a food security organization based in Amsterdam.
- Along with the ASEED map, I expanded my reach as a critical geographer, illustrating map-themed political cartoons to go alongside articles for the Dominion, a grassroots, alternative news outlet with a mission to go beyond mainstream coverage of political and environmental situations.
- I continued my street art practice, collaborating with entrepreneur and street artist extraordinaire, Glo’erm, aka Mike Stulberg. We transformed a Canada Post mail box into a mini condo — a, perhaps omen of things to come in a mostly low rise neighbourhood just north of Liberty Village.
Thank you to all my readers for your support over the years. While 2014 is almost behind us, 2015 promises to be incredibly exciting for my professional development, art and writing practices. Get ready for more Geomancy, the release of All the Libraries Toronto, and more editions of Learnt Wisdom Lecture Series. I also may be finally making it to grad school….maybe!