Tkaronto: A New Perspective on Map-Making

January 23, 2018 | Richard

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CARTOGRAPHY 17 Tkaronto: "A New Perspective on Map-Making"

Art Starts Map of Toronto on Display from February 1 - March 5, 2018

At the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street - 2nd Floor

Cartography 17 envisions a collaborative, arts-based representation of Toronto’s geography as it existed over 150 years ago and as it exists today. Cartography 17 is an organizational initiative to re-examine map-making; one that restores and embraces indigenous place names while animating and representing current neighbourhoods through hands-on artistic expression by Toronto residents.

The Urban Geographer Daniel Rotsztain says, "Maps are powerful tools to get us from A to B —but do they really represent the way we know the land beneath our feet?

"Spread throughout the city, there are places that are meaningful to us — places of memory, identity and importance. These places are much bigger in our emotional understanding of the city, creating a mental map that is not necessarily “to scale”.

"Have you ever tried to take a photo of the moon? You see the full moon, huge in the night sky. You reach for your phone to try and get a good picture of it. But in the photo, the moon is so small! How can something that feels so big become so small through your camera’s lens?

"When considered against the entire night sky, the moon is actually that small. The moon feels so big to us because it’s meaningful to us. In the same way, our experience of the world is never to scale.

"The map we are making with Cartography 17 is like the way you see the moon. Throughout our workshops all over the city, we have created a map of Toronto based on identity, love and embodied experience.

"In Toronto, cartography is intertwined with the history of colonization. Maps were used as tools of knowledge and power, erasing indigenous histories by renaming rivers and settlements with European names. Maps were also used as a method to survey and subdivide the land. Those initial surveys still make up Toronto’s grid — streets like Eglinton, Lawrence, Finch and Steeles are original concessions, marking the boundaries of farm that were subdivided and sold.

"Toronto’s grid was drawn up in England and imposed on a landscape of deep river valleys, ancient lake bluffs and rolling hills. The city has over 1,000 bridges that make sure the grid remains intact as roads cross over ravines and river valleys." (From Cartography 17 Tkaronto Brochure, p. 20)

Come and experience this very unique and enormous map of Toronto (10' X 20'): a celebration of Toronto that truly connects us all!  The map captures knowledge from the past, connects us all in the present and inspires us for the future.

We hope you can join us on Thursday, February 1st at 2 pm for the opening of this display.

Opening Ceremony with:
Julian Carvajal, Daniel Rotsztain and Maria Montejo

Thursday February 1st, 2018 2-4 pm

Toronto Reference Library - 2nd Floor

All are Welcome!


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For an interesting read, checkout this Globe article, "A defining moment for tkaronto".

The Toronto Reference Library Map and Atlas Collection is the largest such collection in a Canadian public library. It includes current and retrospective maps, atlases, gazetteers, for around the world as well as a supporting collection of books and periodicals on cartography.