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toronto

Chroma Lives: This is What a Tasteful Condo Showroom Looks Like

by Rea McNamara on June 15, 2016
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The Yorkville neighborhood is to Toronto what the Upper East Side’s Park Avenue is to New York. In a word: bougie. Back in the 1960s, it looked considerably different; as Canada’s equivalent to Greenwich Village, it was known for its waify bohemians, coffee house folk scene and a gallery district anchored by influential commercial gallerists like Walter Moos and Mira Godard. But offices and hotels were eventually built, followed by high-priced condo developments amongst the still remaining Victorian rowhouses now listed for over a million each. Yorkville’s biggest attraction is now it’s “Mink Mile”, a high-end luxury shopping strip that caters to the affluent residents of Rosedale and Forest Hill.

Given all this, perhaps it’s not surprising that at first glance, one could mistake the group exhibition Chroma Lives for an interior design showroom. Located in the presentation center for the Yorkville Plaza condo development on Avenue Road, curators Erin Alexa Freeman and artist Lili Huston-Herterich have filled the space with household items like walnut furniture, succulents planted in unglazed ceramic pots, and clothing hung on a rack. Not much distinguishes this simulacrum of affluence from present-day realities, especially at a time when luxury real estate has been engineered to include art walls and humidity systems to attract art-centric buyers.       

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An Interview with the Displaced Artists of Sterling Road: New Book, New Perspectives

by Rea McNamara on February 26, 2016
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TORONTO — On January 11th, Toronto artists and studio mates Lili Huston-Herterich, Vanessa Maltese and Abby McGuane were informed by their landlords of a 55% rent increase for February. This means their studios, located at a two-storey factory on Sterling Road, would jump from $1,905.50 CDN per month to $2,964.50.

The artists weren’t alone — indeed, as first reported in the Toronto Star, the landlords increased the rent across the board, with other artist and small business tenants also being forced to vacate the formerly desolate industrial zone in Toronto’s lower Junction neighborhood. The rapid revitalization along Sterling Road is bittersweet — despite the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s imminent move to the historic Tower Automotive Building at 158 Sterling next year, as well as new developments like “limited edition townhouses”, artists are getting pushed out of their live/work studios to be converted into offices for film production and advertising companies.

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