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.
Previously: Cosmopolis Toronto
Jane/Finch – Those two words together, say volumes. Depending on where you live, the message varies.
A lot of people have grown up with the belief it’s an unsafe, menacing place to be without even having stepped foot into the area. It’s judgments like that which fuels the fire of activist and filmmaker, Paul Nguyen. “‘Jane-Finch is dangerous’ or ‘the area is full of gang members’; it’s funny how these stereotypes can be put to rest with just a simple visit,” he says.
While he was growing up, Paul says he and his friends felt “blacklisted” by people automatically making negative assumptions about him just because they’re from Jane and Finch. “Even a city councillor once said that 80% of people in Jane-Finch don’t pay to get on the bus. Like WTF?! I got tired of my community being stepped on so I decided to show our positive side by creating Jane-Finch.com.”
The website is a platform which produces stories about the Jane-Finch community by the Jane-Finch community. “We make lots of videos about life in the neighbourhood. We like to focus on the good stuff, but we won’t shy away from serious issues. Residents can speak out against social injustice, crime or just about any hot topic.” It serves as a creative vessel for the youth who help produce the content as well as a forum for discussion. “We aim to give people the real story without any censorship or bias. It’s been our hallmark to give it raw.”
Paul has mentored countless kids who have in turn given back to the community. He has made it his mission to break misconceptions about his neighborhood and empower its kids. “I wanted to show youth that they can reach their goals no matter where they come from… We want to prove that you can achieve your goals with heart and determination.” Paul recalls an unforgettable moment where Canadian Rapper, Maestro Fresh Wes, came to the area and sat down with them to shoot an interview. After that moment Paul says, “We got kids thinking they can be reporters, producers, whatever they want. Anything’s possible.”
He says that the website is just a small example of how easy it can be to break down prejudice and racism which are all born out of fear. “If we want to live in a peaceful and prosperous community we need to embrace our differences and work together, not against each other… Get to know your neighbour and you’ll be surprised how similar we all are.”
To learn more visit: jane-finch.com
Posted by Community Contributor Samira Zia Rehman
We’re proud to present an exclusive release by Toronto’s very own Mustafa The Poet, entitled, “PEACE”. This release is in anticipation for his debut poetry project EP and special event at Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas St E), on Wednesday, February 19th, at 7PM.
For ticket info CLICK HERE
If you’re unfamiliar with Mustafa’s work, he’s an extremely talented young man who’s words hold great power. We’ve been fortunate enough to see him speak on numerous occasions, including back in 2011 at the Camden File Project, which we featured here on 1loveto.com. He’s also spoke at TEDxToronto, Manifesto Festival, Nelson Mandela Park Public School, and many more. Listen up and pay attention to what this poet is preaching.
For more info: mustafathepoet.com
Follow @1LOVETO #PEACE
The Toronto Love Lettering Project, created by local artist Lindsay Zier-Vogel, has partnered with Pattison’s Art In Transit program to fill our underground walkway (PATH) from February 3-28, 2014. The Love Lettering Project is in its 10th year, with Torontonians sharing their handmade missives in response to a public call for love-letters. If you get the chance to take the PATH, be sure to check this out!
For more info: artintransit.ca
Previously: The Love Lettering Project
We were honoured this past weekend to take part in a special event to celebrate the efforts and spirits of some very special athletes.
Motionball 2014 brought together people from every sector of the city to raise funds for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation (SOCF). This year’s festivities took place at Liberty Grand which was transformed into an enchanted evening of music, fashion and art. When people weren’t breaking it down on the dance floor, you could find them upstairs bidding on the silent auction, which dispersed all proceeds directly to SOCF. The highlight of the night was Carmen Electra’s high-energy, feel-good performance which needless to say, took everyone’s heart-rates up a notch or two!
The Special Olympics Canada Foundation focuses on promoting healthy and active lifestyles for those who face an intellectual disability. They do this through the power of sports which creates that amazing sense of belonging, teamwork, sportsmanship and pride. Divisions have been created pertaining to specific levels of ability in order to ensure all eligible athletes are able to play. SOCF differs from the Paralympics in that it deals with intellectual disabilities versus physical. Both are separate organizations and are both recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
The powerful message that SOCF sends of acceptance and fairness is one that Canada has echoed while we went into Sochi this year. Regardless of your ability, race, religion, gender, age or sexual orientation, we all have the right to be treated as equals and be given a fair chance to reach the peaks of our potential.
To learn more visit: specialolympics.ca
Posted by Samira Zia Rehman
Photos by Andrew Palmer
The Art Gallery of York University in collaboration with Success Beyond Limits presents “If We Ruled The World”, a multi-media art installation put together by 8 youth artists from Jane & Finch. The exhibit is FREE and runs from February 5th – March 2nd at the AGYU, Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Success Beyond Limits is an after-school educational support program and The AGYU, through this collaboration, are offering youth in Jane and Finch the opportunity to participate in stimulating and enriching arts and cultural workshops led by the city’s leading artists. If I Ruled the World, is providing youth in our community with the invaluable opportunity to collaborate with Mark “Kurupt” Stoddart and The M.A.D Poet, to create art works that explore and develop an urban spatial imaginary.
Looking at the architecture, landscape, and urban plan of their neighbourhood, youth artists are employing visual art and spoken word poetry to explore the impact that spatial inequality and injustice has had on their lives. Moreover, they will use painting, drawing and spoken work poetry as a means of envisioning urban transformation that will result from a more socially just and equitable neighbourhood and spatial structure.
For more info: theAGYUisOutThere.org
Toronto-based production duo Torro Torro recently released their 2014 Winter Mix (courtesy of EDM.com), including what they’re currently listening to and/or playing live. This mix also includes a couple unreleased previews of new music from their latest studio sessions. If this doesn’t get you out of bed on a Monday morning, nothing will.
For more info: torrotorro.com
Previously: Torro Torro – “Blue Blouse” (Video)
Art Battle is celebrating their 100th live competitive painting event in Toronto, on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 at The Great Hall (1087 Queen St W). Whether you like to paint or not, this is one event you don’t want to miss!
To compete as a painter: artbattle.ca/register
WHAT IS ART BATTLE?
Art Battle is a live competitive painting event. 16 painters will create the best work they can in 20 minutes. As they work, the audience moves around the easels, allowing them an up close view of the creative process. The medium used is acrylic paint and the tools allowed are brushes, palette knives or any other non-mechanical implements. At the end of the round, the audience votes for their favourite painting and can also later place bids in a silent auction to take the paintings home. This is Art Battle Canada’s 5th season!
For ticket info: artbattle.ca/art-battle-100-toronto/