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Galleries

The Baitshop Gallery

Posted by Derek Flack / Posted on February 19, 2009

Baitshop Ramp and PrintingThe year is 1990. In between repeated viewings of Gleaming the Cube, my friends and I have managed to construct a quarter pipe ramp to help broaden our skateboarding horizons. As we take turns catching what we think is pretty major air, there is a general sense of accomplishment and happiness spread amongst our group. What could be better than spending an afternoon hanging around and skating? Just picture our happy faces and skinny bodies, all showing off and all sure that we were on our way to going pro. Now enter a sliver Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by the cantankerous old guy up the street. He guns the engine, takes dead-aim, and destroys at once both our quarter pipe and the teenage idyll we then occupied.

Baitshop BoardsWhat does all this have to do with The Baitshop? Quite a bit, actually. You see, with the destruction of our ramp I came to learn the meaning of karma. The driver's car was significantly damaged by the impact with our ramp, and there was nothing he could do about it except to get angrier with us skaters, all of whom he already hated. When I visited The Baitshop earlier this week I was struck by the realization that its very existence would also deeply anger the ramp-wrecker. Not only did he want to destroy our quarter pipe, he wanted to destroy our lifestyle. And although I gave up skating long ago, and the guys at The Baitshop aren't aimless teenagers, their space is certainly a haven for a more mature skate community, one that no doubt would still piss off that villain of my adolescence.

Baitshop ExteriorOpened by Greg Rodriguez and Ken Chong in December of 2007, The Baitshop is located on the edge of Parkdale and Liberty Village and takes its name from the building's former occupant: a worm farm. As the owner of Sumo Skateshop in Etobicoke, Greg's involvement in the skateboarding and snowboarding community is evident immediately. The huge space (1800 sq. ft.) includes a small half-pipe and print facilities downstairs and the gallery area upstairs. Although the gallery area is temporarily being used as a showroom for Nitro and Step Child snowboards (art in their own right), it has seen numerous shows over the last year or so. While there's no specific focus on a style or genre, the relationship between the gallery and the print shop tends to be pretty fluid, with Greg and Ken often showing work by the artists who they're helping with print-based projects.

Baitshop MainIndeed, the print shop itself seems to be as much about the artistic process as it is about commercial enterprise. One of the things that Greg and Ken were particularly animated about was the degree to which they still like doing small custom orders that involve a close relationship with the customer/artist. They've done a lot of work with skate shops around the city, small clothing lines, and even the upholstery for a local restaurant (School Bakery and Cafe).

Baitshop MainWith such a large space, Greg and Ken are looking to increase the number of events hosted at The Baitshop. To date it's featured skate video premieres, drop in skate sessions and standard gallery openings. But looking forward, the two have plans to diversify even further. A good example of this is the upcoming Disposable Art fundraiser in conjunction with Freedom Fighter Skateboards and The Princess Margaret Hospital, in which a variety of artists will design skate decks (boards) to be auctioned off for charity. Look out for some live printing shows in the future as well, where the age-old mystery behind how an image gets onto a t-shirt will be revealed to all.

Being as much a print shop as a gallery, the hours during which one can drop by can be a little unpredictable. So, my recommendation would be to call ahead to make sure someone is there to show you around.

Baitshop Empty

Baitshop Art

Baitshop Logo

Discussion

15 Comments

the Market Garden Collection / January 27, 2009 at 11:14 am
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The Baitshop Gallery, is definitley one of Toronto's hidden gems! Operated by the raddest dudes, the baitshop is always hosting some good times! Check them out!
Lance / January 27, 2009 at 11:35 am
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"The Baitshop" re-invented the stoke!
Smart creative people, in a smart creative space



Alexandre / February 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm
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A "Baitshop" like no other!

Not only do they know how to make a RAD space, they just so happen to make some of the best prints in town.
Georgie / February 20, 2009 at 06:33 am
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Baitshop = #1 Gallery in Tdot..
Hug Boat / February 20, 2009 at 09:20 am
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This place is outstanding. Nothing but positive, friendly vibes.

Great ramp, great art, great people.

One of the coolest spots in Liberty Village. These guys are on the up-and-up!
robocop / February 20, 2009 at 11:02 am
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best gallery I have seen.
raddest dudes too.
Inspirational for artists that are sick of the pretensions that run this town.
Vaneska / February 20, 2009 at 08:46 pm
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wow great space
Franklyn / March 24, 2009 at 01:46 am
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I guess it's ok, it's very amateur, and dirty, I wouldn't recommend it for any serious artists. There are many better places on Queen st. Anyone who is praising it like it's the "it" place, has obviously never been to a real, established gallery.
Dan Mudford / March 26, 2009 at 07:08 pm
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That Battle Of The Hands night was one of my most memorable Friday nights ever, super friendly crowd and I left feeling like I'd been in a deleted scene from 'Repo Man', which is a Good Thing!
Mhikeal / May 9, 2009 at 11:23 pm
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All smoke & mirrors folks. Tried to get some quotes & basically it became obvious this place is a low end wannabe gallery. No art or gallery experience among the owners, and several skateboard/snowboard types hangin out, smoking weed, drug use, drinking, etc.. It's more of a hangout with a vibe than a serious gallery.
dingo replying to a comment from Mhikeal / November 18, 2009 at 10:24 am
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Then go be 'high class' somewhere else and leave this place for people who feel the love.
ryan replying to a comment from Mhikeal / December 4, 2009 at 04:28 pm
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"all smoke and mirrors" pathetic quote, from a narrow minded geek
Dan / April 25, 2010 at 03:39 pm
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Can't wait til the new shop opens. gonna be dope!
Jeremy R / August 31, 2010 at 04:53 am
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New shop is so hype, should get some updated photos here.
Adam / March 8, 2011 at 06:49 am
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What a dope spot. Hidden gem in Parkdale. Keep up the good work, should get some updated photos on here. New ramp is hype.

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