As my last post explored, Southern Ontario’s physical geography is often ignored, and its landscape is often derided as being flat, monotonous and boring.
Disconnected to the subtle features of the landscape by 400-series superhighways, big box plazas and its relentless grid, its understandable that the infinite beauty of the land beneath the concrete would be, for the most part, forgotten.
Beyond the highways, Southern Ontario’s rich glacial soil has been sculpted into dramatic river valleys, cuestas, waterfalls and the rolling hills of drumlin fields by millennia of water movement.
My map (leading image) is an effort to re-assert the geologic features most prominent in these three very connected cities at the western end of Lake Ontario. Happy exploring!
Over the summer, I’ve illustrated a few maps for my friends over at Craft Beer Passport, encouraging its users to fulfill the passport’s motto: “Explore Beer Through Toronto | Explore Toronto Through Beer”.
Each map takes cues from its neighbourhood and is themed accordingly. Downtown Patios is a film noir-esque jaunt through Toronto’s most Gotham like quarters. The Train-Hopper is inspired by the train tracks that dominate Toronto’s west end, especially the Junction. Day at the Beach and The Danny are pure explorations of the Beach and the Danforth East, while The Cozy Date crawl indulges in the whimsy of Bloor West.
Enjoy the maps and happy exploring!
As part of Rising Tide Toronto‘s Earth Day Action to Stop Line 9, I illustrated a map showing how disastrous a pipeline failure would be for the city’s waterways.
Enbridge plans to have Line 9 operating by June, despite the fact that the legal challenge by the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation has yet to be heard in court and despite the City of Toronto’s recent motion requiring safety valves be installed to protect Toronto’s waterways.
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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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!
Compared to other cities, getting myself oriented in Amsterdam has been quite a challenge.
The city’s circumferential layout lends itself to a very special logic of navigation. The circular street-pattern of the inner-city canal belt leads to a lot of confusion: things that at first seem far from each other are in fact very close.
One of the first steps in getting to know Amsterdam’s layout is to relate things to the centre of the half-circle: Centraal Station. First, realize that Central Station isn’t precisely at the centre, but is slightly to the west – this is essential to eventually making sense of the city.
As Centraal Station is the anchor of initial orientation, an understanding of the city emerges as radiating lines of experience that extend from the centre out and into the periphery. Be careful though. Understanding the city this way leads to a fragmented and incomplete picture of Amsterdam, and to the confusion of distance between things described above.
One of the most gratifying things is when you connect the space between these radiating lines, realizing that two things you previously thought were in different parts of Amsterdam are indeed side by side. After two months here, I find this is happening more and more.
I am learning this systematic and uniquely-laid out city in a systematic and unique way.
Karen Stintz announced the proposed OneCity transit plan today.
Using a language of unity rather than a false suburbs downtown divide. This is one system, one region, the efficiency of downtown routes directly effects the suburban.
Best of luck to the fine people of toronto, may they be protected from divisive politics and incompetent leadership
Ours, is a choice of urban systems.