Curatorial Statement

Uncharted Waters:
Toronto’s Enigmatic Harbour

Toronto’s harbour is Canada’s largest inland port at the doorstep of the largest city in the country. With a geographic reach that extends to Humber Bay in the west and the Scarborough Bluffs in the east and out into Lake Ontario, this harbour is an active and complex port. From the heights of the downtown towers, we can view the harbour and see the intertwining of industry, aviation and recreation but, at the water’s edge, this hive of activity is not that easy to comprehend.

This exhibition attempts to expand your view of the harbour. Six artists took hundreds of photographs across the harbour over the course of three months, 72 of which were selected. These are portraits of people, images of nature and industry and of a varied landscape that challenge perceptions about Toronto. This unexpected view of our harbour is key to the importance of this exhibition. Its intention is to give access and understanding to what it means to live in a city which has such a unique treasure.

In order to showcase this treasure, Harbourfront Centre invited six artists to focus their artistic lens on the visible and the not-so-visible. Dianne Davis, Johan Hallberg-Campbell, Jesse Louttit, Eamon Mac Mahon Joanne Ratajczak and Clare Samuel were asked to address one of three key aspects of the harbour: the Working Harbour, the Natural Harbour and the Active Harbour. We hope their images and stories illuminate the complexities and wonder of Toronto’s enigmatic harbour.

– Patrick Macaulay