The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic will use a set of 12 colours that are inspired by the palette of iconic Canadian painter, Tom Thomson.
Colour testing by Interstyle Ceramic & Glass of the twelve colours chosen for the TTC Sherbourne Community Mosaic
Thomas John Thomson, painter (born 5 August 1877 in Claremont, ON; died 8 July 1917 in Algonquin Provincial Park, ON). An early inspiration for what became The Group of Seven, Tom Thomson was one of the most influential and enduringly popular Canadian artists of the early part of the twentieth century. His paintings The West Wind (1917) and Jack Pine (1916-1917) are familiar Canadian icons. Thomson was a master colourist.
Thomson was one of the first artists in residence at the Studio Building, located at 25 Severn Street, in the Rosedale ravine immediately east of the above-ground Ellis portal that brings subway trains into and out of the north end of the Bloor-Yonge subway station, a short walking distance from Sherbourne Station. His studio’s site and positioning takes advantage of the northern exposure that illuminates the artist’s canvas with very even, neutral light. Completed in 1914, the nonprofit facility was financed by Lawren Harris, heir to the Massey-Harris farm machinery fortune, and Dr James MacCallum.
Thomson would spend the summers in Algonquin Park and winter at the Studio Building in a refurbished a workmen’s shed on the east side of the building that MacCallum had converted so Thomson could work in an environment closer to his beloved wilderness settings.
Over three weeks in March and April, 2018, we led 24 community pattern-making workshops at seven different venues located within a 5-10 min walking radius of TTC Sherbourne Station. We met with approximately 450 local community members, from kindergarten children to senior citizens, who contributed over 700 unique triangle patterns to this public art project. We are amazed!
Check out all of the pattern design galleries on the Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic Facebook page!
After a brief introduction to the project, participants were invited to create their own triangular patterns by arranging colourful cardboard tiles on special templates. Twelve different colours reference the bold palette of Tom Thomson, a famous Canadian painter who once had a studio in the nearby Rosedale Ravine. When completed, every pattern was photographed and catalogued, and the individual or group of artists were given the opportunity to provide their name to be included on the public artwork plaque as a contributor.
Later this year, ceramic tile mosaics will be installed at multiple locations around TTC Sherbourne Station. The mosaics will be assembled from custom-made tiles, manufactured in Canada from recycled glass. Each tile will be twice as large as the cardboard tiles used in the workshops.
The final mosaic pieces will be inspired by the patterns collected from community members. Parts of individual patterns will be woven together to form new and complex patterns representing the creativity and interconnectivity of the local community.
We greatly appreciate the hospitality, enthusiasm and support that we have received. We would like to give special thanks to those who assisted in hosting the workshops: David Crichton, Rose Avenue Junior Public School; Shabana Sohail, Community Matters Toronto; Simon Storey, Rosedale Junior Public School; Allyson Payne, Branksome Hall School; Suja Selvaraj, St. James Town Community Corner; Suzanne Fernando, Toronto Public Library – St James Town Branch; Rick Lee, Wellesley Community Centre; Jaymie Sampa, 519 Space for Change. Individual pattern-making participants will be acknowledged on a plaque that will be located near the station entrance.
The Sherbourne Station Community Mosaic public artwork has been commissioned by the Toronto Transit Commission as part of the Easier Access and Second Exit Program.
April 13, 2017
Anvil Centre. New Westminster, BC.
Thanks to Livable Cities 2017 for inviting Rebecca to talk about her practice and to give a presention on how our surroundings can stimulate our senses and help inform how we identify with a particular place.
“Livable Cities” brings together interdisciplinary research, creative inquiry and city planning methods to explore current city development through sound, smell and other embodied perspectives. Presented by Simon Fraser University and hosted by the City of New Westminster, this one-day symposium will take up various disciplinary approaches, including architecture, community development, and socio-cultural issues. The event will include panels and talks, sensory workshops and sound art presentations. Communities in flux across the Lower Mainland present unique opportunities to engage with city planning strategies, urban densification, and the impact of soundscapes, smellscapes and mobilities on local urban environments.
We’re excited about the new Calder Library mosaic project. The mosaic will be inspired by some of the patterns from the different groups of people who make up this Edmonton community. Census data shows that the people of Calder originate from countries and cultures from all over the world, and that there is a large Aboriginal population.
Tessellations form a class of patterns found in nature. The arrays of hexagonal cells in a honeycomb or the diamond-shaped scales that pattern snake skin are natural examples of tessellation patterns. Distinct shapes are formed from several geometric units (tiles) that all fit together with no gaps or overlaps to form an interesting and united pattern. Tessellating patterns are abstract and non-representational which makes their interpretation open to the imagination of all people.
Cairns are used as trail markers in many parts of the world, in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, as well as in barren deserts and tundra. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, whether for increased visibility or for religious reasons. An ancient example is the inuksuk (plural inuksuit), used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found from Alaska to Greenland. This region, above the Arctic Circle, is dominated by the tundra biome and has areas with few natural landmarks.
In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times; but, since prehistory, they have also been built for a variety of other reasons, such as burial monuments and for defence and hunting, as well as ceremonial, astronomical, and other purposes.
Cantharellus formosus is a mycelium commonly known as the Pacific Golden Chanterelle mushroom and is native to the Pacific Northwest. The popular edible mushrooms are the fruiting bodies that form on nodes of much larger mycelium organisms that live in the soil and criss-cross the region in vast networks.
The Pacific Golden Chanterelle, like other fungi, are ancient forms of life. Pacific Golden Chanterelle share an intimate and symbiotic relationship with the West Coast’s conifer forests and especially the mighty Western Cedar. These two very different species support each other in a mutually beneficial way at a cellular level, giving and taking important resources that lie beyond each other’s reach.
The Pacific Golden Chanterelle is fed by, and in return feeds, the conifers while actively supporting its community, helping to support soil structure, regulate moisture content and recover nutrients from decomposition. The Pacific Golden Chanterelle lives off the land with its amazing web of branching, connecting hyphae and in doing so strengthens the surrounding landscape.
Conifer forests once fully covered Burnaby, BC and as early as 5000 years ago this area was the foraging and hunting territory for native aboriginal societies. The Pacific Golden Chanterelle featured in the diets of Coastal First Nations and they remain popular delicacies in locally sourced cuisine today.
Pacific Golden Chanterelle mushrooms still appear in local forests from July to December and are identified by their orangy-yellow colour, meaty texture and funnel-shape. On the underside of the smooth cap, the mushroom has gill-like ridges that run down onto its stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. The false gills often have a pinkish hue. Chanterelles have a mild, sweet odor, are very high in Vitamin D, Iron, Copper, and Niacin. It is interesting to note that Vitamin D is especially important to humans who live in places that can have low-light conditions.
Since Settler times the landscape around Burnaby’s Metrotown has been transformed and today it is a busy urban centre and hub for transit and retail. Maps of Metrotown show how it is connected to its neighboring cities and communities by a network of roads, including the historic Kingsway, the Skytrain as well as many bus routes and cycle networks. More detailed maps indicate an additionally complex web of power lines, water lines, and communication networks that interconnect and support city life like a giant hidden organism.
Each pathway and connection provides an opportunity for social interaction and the sharing of ideas. Mycelium like Cantharellus formosus can be understood as an organic metaphor for the interconnected social networks that bind modern urban communities such as Burnaby’s Metrotown area together – each part connected to the next.
Pacific Salmon once thrived in the many creeks and streams that flow through the area now known as Vancouver. This iconic species connects the land, water, people and animals and has always been an integral part of the life and culture of the people of Canada’s West Coast. Legends tell us of the determination and persistence of the Salmon and how they serve as symbols of abundance, wealth, prosperity, dependability and renewal. Facing the threat of extinction the Pacific Salmon were formally designated BC’s official fish in 2013.
Pacific Salmon – Official Fish of British Columbia
Brewery Creek, one of Vancouver’s most important creeks, once flowed openly from what is now 41st Avenue down St. George Street and into False Creek along with dozens of other nearby creeks and streams. It was named Brewery Creek by settlers because it provided water and energy to a number of small breweries established along its banks around the turn of the 20th century.
Waterfall on Heather St at 9th Avenue c.1909
A working-class neighbourhood grew around these breweries and factories at Main St and Kingsway. Connected to downtown Vancouver by new streetcar routes, ‘Mount Pleasant’ became Vancouver’s first suburb. By the 1950s many of the smaller breweries along Brewery Creek had been bought out by larger companies and relocated elsewhere. The creek, and many others like it, were thought to be no longer important and as the area developed for residential and commercial use the creeks and streams were covered or filled and eventually built on top of.
View of Vancouver from Mt. Pleasant c.1892
Vancouver’s impressive annual rainfall (1153.1 mm) however, still drains through this entire watershed. Although the ‘lost’ streams are mostly hidden from view, they are definitely still present, diverted below the surface of the city in culverts and pipes, many of which follow the course of the original streams.
‘Daylighted’ stream at Ontario Street and 1st Avenue
The 55.2 hectares (136.5 acres) Garden City Lands, located between Westminster Highway, Alderbridge Way, Garden City Way and No. 4 Road, is within Vancouver’s protected Agricultural Land Reserve and plays a crucial role as a wildlife refuge in the City of Richmond. The green spaces like is an incredible amenity for the people of Richmond and is also a vital habitat and hunting ground for several rare or threatened species including the Barn Owl.
Barn Owls can and will cohabit with other owls, bats and small birds like doves and sparrows. Barn Owls prefer quiet cavities to nest or roost either in trees or tall structures with multiple openings. They easily take to nest boxes placed on poles or mounted on modern barns as long as the box is at least 3-4 m above the ground and safely out of reach from raccoons and other predators. Once Barn Owls discover a nest box it will normally be used every year.
Research shows that even a single nest box can mean survival for local Barn Owls and can help increase threatened populations significantly. The Richmond Nature Park, located only a short distance from the Garden City Lands, manages a Barn Owl nest box program with seven nest boxes installed around Richmond on behalf of the City. The three nest boxes located at Terra Nova Rural Park all reared young in 2014!
There is potential for at least one more Barn Owl nest box at Terra Nova and several other suitable locations have been identified around Richmond and earmarked for funding when it becomes available.
Chief Mathias Joe (1854 – 1910) was a great Squamish chief who was known as a powerful orator and renowned storyteller who fought hard to defend the legacy of his people and culture.
Like many of his stories, the tale of ‘The Two Sisters’ is deeply rooted in the local land of North Vancouver and the Capliano area and has an important message of reconciliation, sharing and peace. ‘The Two Sisters’ tells of how the two iconic peaks, now known as ‘The Lions’ came to stand over the what has become Vancouver.
Also known as Chief Joe and Capiliano Joe, this incredible man once travelled all the way to London, England to address King Edward directly about settling land claims in British Columbia. It was while he was in England that he met the Canadian writer Pauline Johnson. Johnson, of Mowhawk and English decent, spent her last years living in Vancouver and recording the amazing tales told by her friend Chief Mathias Joe.
In 1911 some of these stories, including ‘The Two Sisters’ were published in her book Legends of Vancouver. Johnson helped share these local legends with the English speaking public and now serve to remind Vancouver’s newer inhabitants of the area’s long and proud history.
According to the legend, Vancouver’s twin peaks, now commonly known as ‘The Lions’ were originally named Ch’ich’iyúy Elxwíkn’ (the Twin Sisters) long ago by a very powerful man known as the Great Tyee of the Caplianos. The Great Tyee ruled over the Capilano Canyon area and was a formidable warrior leader who prided himself on always winning battles against the neighbouring tribes. He had two beautiful daughters who were reaching the age at which it was customary to hold a great celebration in honour of their womanhood. The Great Tyee loved his daughters very much and upon their birthday he told them they could have anything that they wished for. The girls gave the offer careful consideration and decided to ask their father to invite the all the tribes that he was presently at war with to attend the upcoming celebration as a gift of peace. Because the Great Tyee was a man of his word he sent out an invitation across the land and sea to welcome all local tribes to a fabulous feast and joyous celebration. Vast quantities of salmon and olallieberries were served and there were many days and nights of happy singing and dancing.
After the celebration was over, hostile war songs ceased and a great and lasting brotherhood was sealed between the warring tribes. The daughters brought long-lasting peace to the area and the Great Tyee made them immortal by setting their memory forever in a high place in the mountains to watch over the Pacific Coast and the Caplilano Canyon.