hooker harveys toronto

Toronto's infamous Hooker Harvey's just got a new tribute

Few fast food joints in Toronto (or anywhere, really) can boast the kind of cultural cachet held by the Harvey's at 278 Jarvis Street.

Hooker Harvey's, as it was once formally labelled by Google Maps, is a part our heritage. If you don't believe me, float the idea of replacing it with a condo building and watch the masses freak.

The nickname itself may be outdated, sure, but it's distinctly Torontonian — and it will likely endure until everyone who grew up in this city over the past 30 years dies.

Even if the hamburger joint shutters. Even if developers do, in fact, pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

We can thank projects like Voidz Toronto, which celebrate "the weird, gritty side" of our city for that — the side that includes colourful locales like Hooker Harvey's and the Dufferin Mall Parking lot.

The fun side that, as the artist behind Voidz puts it, "has always given this place its unique character."

"Hooker Harvey's is such a legendary Toronto icon," says the 30-year-old digital artist and documentary filmmaker (who doesn't want to reveal his name publicly just yet.)

"To people that have been around long enough to know Toronto before it became 'The 6ix' I think it really represents the gritty character and dark wit that made this city such an interesting place to live," he said of the Harvey's piece. "This is my homage to that."

Using a combination of photography and 3D visual effects, the artist has been creating surreal images using the city as his canvas since August, starting with a trippy reverse sinkhole at Toronto's busiest pedestrian intersection.

"Voidz Toronto is a digital art project that lives on Instagram," he explains.

"I combine photography with VFX and design techniques to play with the urban landscape and inject some extra weirdness into different locations around the city."

The Hooker Harvey's piece, published over the weekend, proved so realistic that on Reddit today, people were debating whether or not it was a photo of an actual physical art installation.

Some commenters ventured to guess that the image was 'shopped, but they were wrong.

"Contrary to some of the comments on my posts, almost none of this was done in Photoshop, says the artist. "I come from a TV/Film motion design and VFX background so I use those types of tools. Cinema 4D and After Effects mostly."

All of the work on Voidz Toronto, save for one guest post, is by the same artist — all of it motivated by "the grittiness and unique dark humor of Toronto."

"This strange timeline we are all currently trapped in of Donald Trumps and Doug Fords. I'm obsessed with news, politics, art, design, music and documentaries," says the artist of what inspires his work.

"As well other bad ass independent artists like Beeple and Netherfriends who just keep their head down and create for the sake of creating."

His goal for the account is just to keep having fun making Voidz and to grow as an artist. That said, he's open to to tips for interesting locations "or ideas that are meaningful to people."

Hit him up on Instagram if you've got one, or simply get lost in an abstract Toronto where giant balls bounce around at random.

It's a fun trip.

Lead photo by

Voidz Toronto


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