In concept, WinterCity has great potential. The city wants us to forget our winter blahs and get out and do stuff–free stuff, tasty stuff, new stuff…the cold-weather version of the summer’s Celebrate Toronto Streets Festival. The Winterlicious lineup proves Summerlicious can be equalled in quality, and free entertainment is always a draw. But Toronontist regrets to report, in terms of showcasing our city’s “vibrant arts scene” as promised…WinterCity has yet to deliver.
My Life, My City promised to take me “behind-the-scenes to reveal a day in the life of 24 extraordinary Torontonians.” Intriguing. A photography exhibit of 24 hours, 24 shots, 24 photographers. Could be good. A gallery space filled with “celebrities” sharing their own photographs as a glimpse into their personal lives. And it’s free? Can’t go wrong.
Again, the concept is there. But the followthrough is mediocre. If you happen to be in City Hall, sure, check it out. If you have no idea who Toronto “celebrities” are, perhaps it’s worth the trip for Canadian culture trivia knowledge. Torontoist found the trip worthwhile if only to see a shockingly lonely city hall (sans sporadically placed homeless sleepers it’s lost so much of its nighttime appeal!).
The celebs got to take their own photos intended to capture their lives in Toronto. For this kind of exhibit to work it needed more interesting people, more people altogether, and a more creative display.
But hey, it wasn’t all bad. Who doesn’t need to be reminded of how much Ben Mulroney loves himself (his exhibit displays the most self portraits)? And the trip confirmed the assumption that Paul Gross is a tad boring, Fashion Television’s Jeanne Beker lives a pretty cool life, and Rick Mercer is as random as he seems.
Turns out columnist Royson James can take some pretty great photographs, Michael Ondaatje apparently hangs out with young Canadian music stars, Ed Mirvish is still alive and cute as ever, and “it” chef-superstar Susur Lee is as popular as everyone says he is.
But walking around the empty City Hall Rotunda, My Life My City seemed like a display of a class art project rather than a showcase of any sort of art scene.