This car embedded through a house on Leona Drive marks the starting point of an inspired art installation exhibition: “The Leona Drive Project,” a landmark coalescence of more than twenty Canadian artists alongside students and developers, which opened on October 22 and closes tonight.
Set in Willowdale, one of Toronto’s oldest inner suburbs, The Public Access Collective in collaboration with L.O.T: Experiments in Urban Research (Collective) commissioned artist projects for a series of six vacant Leona Drive bungalows slated for demolition. The series takes a provocative look at the modernization of suburbia, where post-war bungalows make way for bigger homes (not as big as this home, but you get the idea).
Thus far, the work has caused quite a splash in the city, so we decided to check it out. Janine Marchessault, co-curator of the project, gave Torontoist an update on how the installation has done so far:
“We had over fifteen hundred people our first weekend and three hundred people a day throughout the week,” she boasts.
The audience, she explains, has been a combination of people who live in the area who are interested in the history of the homes and art buffs who heard of the project (“[this] gets them out of downtown”).
Exploring the area felt part history lesson, part commentary on the state of urban growth north of Bloor—and on the eve before Halloween, it also felt a tad spooky. From the darkened sound installation in the basement, to white-painted pennies by Ryan Livingstone or Christine Davis’s upstairs bathroom painted completely in “Victory Red” (a shade of lipstick from the era), and An Te Liu’s giant green house, Leona Drive last night was a cross between The Shining and Pleasantville, or as one guest wrote in the guestbook, “creepy, but in a good way.”
And while the final day of the exhibit resting on All Hallows’ Eve was happenstance (the project was originally slated for Nuit Blanche but got delayed thanks to this summer’s labour strike), Marchessault expects that there will be quite the turnout tonight, and the art exhibit will feature one new installation—pumpkins.
The Leona Drive Project closes October 31 and is open from 1–4 p.m. and 6–9 p.m., with artist talks at 1 and 6 p.m.
All photos by Nick Kozak/Torontoist