Toronto history

Lost buildings return to life on Toronto street poles

I'm used to seeing telephone poles littered with posters calling for male models and back alley guitar lessons, so it's always a welcome surprise when I see a poster with a little more substance. Fourth year OCAD University student, Heather Fulton uses posters to explore the idea of memory and the gone-and-maybe forgotten in her latest creation and final project, Forget to Remember.

For her work, posters are placed at five prolific Toronto locations that have been lost to development in recent years, spaces like Sam the Record Man and the former Big Bop, respectively. The posters are made of paper, making them fleeting additions to the city, in the same way the buildings were. On each poster are tear-aways with web site addresses on them, leading people to a website outlining the history of the building.

The project, which launched in January, aims to draw attention to the process of gentrification and the way certain cultural relics are taken away to make room for the future. "I'd like to memorialize the past in a way that highlights ephemeral fragments of Toronto's rich culture that may not always have a place in our collective memory," says the Toronto-native of her project.

Fulton has been re-hanging some posters as they disappear, but will discontinue this in the next few weeks. She doesn't plan on officially taking them down, but rather leave them for "however long it takes for them to come down naturally, either by force of nature or human." Fulton is going to then shift her focus towards making a book that displays the project in its entirety. Forget to Remember will be shown the OCAD University Grad Show in May.


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