Folks napping in the space for a proposed park near the corner of Lisgar Street and Queen West.
Late last week, we reported that two Calgary artists were working with The Theatre Centre to host Z’s by the C, a public napping project that has toured across Europe and North America. This Saturday and Sunday saw Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton hosting hundreds of Torontonians looking to snooze in public at a proposed public park site on Lisgar Street just south of Queen Street West, kitty-corner to The Theatre Centre’s proposed new digs at the former Carnegie Library.
Torontoist moseyed down to Z’s by the C early Sunday afternoon to find about a dozen folks sleeping in a field, surrounded by blue umbrellas and yellow balloons. Before napping, participants (or “inactivists” as Moschopedis likes to call them) decorated hand-made sleep masks with a variety of stamps (also hand-made). Moschopedis and Rushton also provided blankets and on-site maintenance. “Every morning we had to start by picking up dog shit,” says Rushton. “It’s such a neglected space that people feel they don’t have to clean up after their dogs.”
A local couple counts sheep for art at Z’s by the C.
Certainly, it was something of a surreal scene on Sunday: people dozed, chatted, or strummed ukuleles under balloons, flanked by a Canada Post depot, a condo development, well-tagged brick walls, and a pile of rubble that can only suggest the groundbreaking of another condo development. A steady flow of people moved in and out of the space—spotting the balloons from Queen Street, curiously strolling over, and seizing the opportunity to grab some midday shuteye. Groups of friends, pets, couples, and even toddlers showed up to take part in the Toronto installment of Z’s by the C, apparently unperturbed by the sound of the Honda Indy going on at nearby Exhibition Place. (Moschopedis noted that the steady droning of the engines functioned as a kind of white noise, actually helping many of the inactivists fall asleep.)
As far as the proposed park itself, a group called Active 18 is petitioning the city to build out some public space around Lisgar Street, between Queen West and Sudbury Street. Literature provided on-site stated that there has been progress at City Hall, albeit slow, to develop the park, and that a Working Group of City Hall staffers and community representatives are working to find an architect to expand and landscape the space. More than just another swathe of green space, A18 (and future neighbour The Theatre Centre) hope that the park can be landscaped to coordinate plans for various art installations. Given the neighbourhood’s condo saturation problem, these plans seem a bit, well, optimistic. But then again, given that same condo saturation problem, plans for a public park seem all the more necessary.
Photos by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.