New exhibition inspired by the North features collaboration between Toronto Public Library and TD Bank Group

Magnetic North examines the enduring pull of the Arctic, explored through art and artifact

Thursday May 8, 2014 - TORONTO -Toronto Public Library is pleased to announce a new exhibition, Magnetic North, which features interpretations of the elusive North from TD Bank Group’s collection of contemporary Canadian art and Toronto Public Library’s Special Collections of Arctic art and artifact.

Sponsored by TD, Magnetic North is the latest exhibition at the library’s TD Gallery, located on the main floor of the Toronto Reference Library. The show opens Saturday May 17 at 9 a.m. and runs until July 19, 2014. 

“Magnetic North is a journey to the Arctic through the eyes and imaginations of artists, explorers and academics who have lived there, travelled there or have been inspired from afar to represent its conditions,” says Pamela Meredith, Senior Art Curator, TD Bank Group, and the show’s curator. “Most of us will only ever experience the North through story-telling in all of its forms: film, photography, carving, literature, music, prints and drawings. These mediated representations become the basis for our understanding of this secluded place.”


Magnetic North is also the story of two very different collections coming together to expand the complex Arctic conversation. The Toronto Public Library’s Special Collections are rich in early maps, illustrated texts and journals, photographs, and artifacts. In addition, the exhibit features contemporary Canadian work including very recent Inuit drawings and carvings from TD's art collection.

What:              Magnetic North: The Enduring Pull of the Arctic

When:             May 17 to July 19, 2014

Where:            TD Gallery, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street – Main Level

Hours:             Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

                    Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

                    Sunday, 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Exhibition Highlights:

From the library’s special collections

  • Septentrionalium terrarum descriptio, the first printed map of the North Pole, 1613
  • The illustrated Logbook of Samuel Smith, 1857, depicting the ship surgeon's journey to the Arctic.
  • Photographs, circa 1920, by Robert Joseph Flaherty of Inhabitants of the Sub-Arctic Part of Eastern Canada.
  • Eskimaux and English vocabulary dictionary, 1850
  • Book illustrations from The Polar World by George Hartwig, 1881

From TD Bank’s collection of contemporary art

  • Tim Pitsiulak's large-scale drawings of Migrating Walrus and Bowhead Whales, 2013
  • Sarah Anne Johnson's Explosion Panorama, photograph, 2013
  • Christopher Wahl's Rankin Inlet photo series, 2013
  • Pitseolak Qimirpik's carving of Young Man with MP3, 2010


Media Preview:

Members of the media are invited for a pre-opening tour between 2 and 4 pm on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  Please contact Edward Karek at 416-397-5925 or  to reserve a spot. 


Related Programming:

Collecting Inuit Art with Patricia Feheley, Inuit Art Expert

An illustrated presentation about collecting traditional and modern Inuit art.  Tour the exhibition with Patricia Feheley following the talk.

Wednesday June 25, 2 pm Atrium, Toronto Reference Library

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

Film directed by Norman Cohn Isuma and Zacharius Kunuk, 2001 (161 minutes). Tour the exhibition with Pamela Meredith, Senior Curator, TD Bank Group and curator of Magnetic North, following the film.

Thursday June 26, 1 pm Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library


Additional Exhibit Tours:

With Pamela Meredith, Senior Curator, TD Bank Group

Monday May 26, 2 pm
Wednesday June 18, 2 pm


About the TD Gallery in the Toronto Reference Library & TD Bank Group’s Collection of Contemporary Canadian Art

The TD Gallery is the main venue to showcase Toronto Public Library’s Special Collections, which document the cultural history of our nation. These heritage collections include books, manuscripts, art and artifacts collected by the library since its inception in 1884, and include a comprehensive collection of printed books and maps documenting the early discovery and exploration of the North.  The collections are available to everyone for viewing, during regular library hours, or online 24/7.   

TD's Contemporary Collection of Canadian Art began around 1967 and raised the standard of corporate collecting in Canada. TD's vision is that art engages employees and builds relationships with customers.  


Toronto Public Library is one of the world's busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit our branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit our website at or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what's happening at the library, follow us on Twitter @torontolibrary.


Media Contact/Media Image Reproduction:

Edward Karek, Communications Officer