Colin Boyd Shafer is on a mission to photograph the world, one Torontonian at a time. That means he plans on photographing someone born in every country of the world, now residing in the Greater Toronto Area. One portrait depicts each person in a place they feel at home in Toronto, and another photograph shows them holding an object that connects them to their past.
After photographing people from over a 140 different countries, Colin has come to understand that LOVE is an emotion that clearly has no boundaries. Each individual’s encounter with love – whether for another person, idea or place – has found its unique expression here in Toronto. Here are a few examples from the Cosmopolis Toronto project:
Tjidzani (Born in Zimbabwe) and Edgar took a walk one day and stopped at this midtown parkette bench to talk. By the end of the conversation, they had decided to get married. This bench will always hold a special place in their hearts.
This beautiful sculpture of two figures embracing was made by Margaret’s (Born in New Zealand) father, and sat at the front College Street United Church the day she was married.
Paul (Born in South Africa) lost two siblings and parents at a young age. His older sister Alice, a practicing Muslim, is the only sibling he has left from his immediate family. Paul explains how he is a practicing Christian, but while they are different in the sense of ‘faith’, Paul’s love for Alice runs deep.
Melvyn (Born in Botswana) says he is grateful knowing that each morning when he wakes up, his mother – a woman who fought for him to come to Canada after he lost his brother – is around.
Dulce’s (Born in Portugal) late maternal grandmother who, despite her age and lack of education, was the only person in the family with the vision and belief that Dulce would realize her dreams.
Whenever Stephanie (Born in Madagascar) smells cloves she is taken back instantly to the place where she grew up in Madagascar. She hopes one day she will be able to share those memories with her son.
Jamie’s (Born in Barbados) wedding took place here in the Steam Whistle brewery, with over 200 Canadian and Bajan friends and family together in celebration.
Catalina (Born in Colombia) is holding a photograph of her best friends from Colombia who she calls her “chosen sisters”.
In 1962, Eli (Born in Austria) began teaching guitar lessons to a student named Anne. For 40 years now, Eli has been living happily in this house with his beloved wife, Anne.
This photo has a special meaning to Marta (Born in Poland) because her parents sacrificed their own happiness, their friends and their life, in Poland in order to pursue better opportunities for their children.
Vytas (Born in Lithuania) and his wife decided to replace their lawn with all kinds of flowers, shrubs and trees. He says their “garden changes in appearance throughout the seasons, warming [their] hearts”
The strong opinions of Lorena’s (Born in Ecuador) mother often differed from hers, but she always knew that her mother had her best interest at heart.
While in the Masjid Darus Salaam in Thorncliffe Park Paivastun (Born in Afghanistan) prays for his war-torn country, and “his people.” He wants to gain “knowledge, power, patience and abilities to serve [his] country, and… help as many people as [he] can.”
Inna (Born in Bulgaria) feels lucky to have been raised with the love and support of her grandparents, they taught her many valuable lessons that helped shape her into the woman she is today.
The Women’s College Hospital holds significance for Marko (Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina) as he spent a great deal of time there with his mother before losing her to ovarian cancer. He says this experience made him want to be a better pharmacist and focus on women’s health.
Jennifer’s (Born in Ireland) Grandmother Mary was a strong and central figure in her childhood and she likes to be reminded every day of her life and face through keeping this memorial card on her fridge.
Rebecka (Born in Sweden) fell in love with Matt last summer, and is now a regular at Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club, where Matt has his boat and on weekends she is learning to sail.
This photograph of Hiba (Born in Iraq) and her sister in a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia illustrates the relationship they have and how they have always been hand-in-hand throughout life.
Since having her son, Valeria (Born in Argentina) has had many happy moments in Trinity Bellwood’s Park playing, picnicking and seeing her son grow happy and strong.
For more info: cosmopolistoronto.com or facebook.com/CosmopolisToronto
Previously: Cosmopolis Toronto
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