A plan was made public on January 16, 2017 by Mayor John Tory of Toronto to remove a tax rebate on landlords and business owners who control empty storefronts along Queen Street East. This sparked an investigation into the area with a focus on closed stores. This investigation stretched from Broadview Avenue to Victoria Park Avenue, where I saw the core of this issue to be.
Tory speaks about the stores not being maintained, where others say they are an eyesore for an otherwise vibrant community. On my walk, I had the feelings of isolation and decay and wanted to recreate these feelings through photo collage. The use of photo collage allows for a more detailed, and extensive, investigation into the space. Photo collage allows obstructions to come into view, perspective to shift as the viewer moves along the street, and gives an overwhelming sense of scale.
With this project, I am bringing together storefronts that have been abandoned, are under construction or being renovated, or have been boarded up. The 30 ft mural, comprised of 4954 individual photos, reflects a compressed community of these stores on their respective north (top) and south sides (bottom). Buildings are placed in relation to their geographic location and have been photographed in a way to represent every step along the street.
Some facades of residences above the stores are included to display the size of the buildings. In doing this I create a continuous strip of buildings that display the sheer scale of the issue John Tory is bringing to light. However, with the inclusion of buildings under renovation the feeling of rejuvenation is present, but perhaps not at the forefront of this study at this time.