the bentway toronto

An upside-down street will soon dangle under Toronto's Gardiner Expressway

A lively urban space has existed below the fast-moving chaos of Toronto's Gardiner Expressway since opening to the public in 2018 as The Bentway. It's become a gathering place and a centre for art, its rotating interactive displays drawing many to the Fort York neighbourhood even during the darkest pandemic days.

The dynamic public space announced its new season of programming on Tuesday afternoon, the Summer 2022 program known as STREET to include a mix of static and roving art installations and performances, along with events like a one-day block party.

But among the list of events and installations, one eye-catching rendering is jumping out from the pack. Known as PARADE, the kinetic installation from New York-based artist Mimi Lien will bring an upside-down street to the underside of the Gardiner Expressway.

Running throughout the duration of the STREET summer program from May 26 to Aug. 21, the display will feature a motorized conveyor belt that moves everyday city street items like bicycles, road signs, and pylons to form a stylized simulacrum of a typical daily commute through the urban environment.

The Bentway's STREET program will be more than just static and roving visual displays like this dynamic inverted streetscape, but also a conversation forum for artists, urban planners, educators and changemakers through conference/celebration hybrid events like The Street Summit event planned for May 27-28.

"The Bentway was founded on the idea that the street is not only a path from point A to point B, but a destination in its own right," said Anna Gallagher-Ross, Senior Manager of Programming at The Bentway.

"Streets are where the city converges, through activities both spontaneous and planned. They are a place to see and be seen; a soapbox, a stage, a courtroom, a runway, a playground, and so much more. As Toronto celebrates its Year of Public Art, this felt like an important moment to challenge conventions of the street, and conventional notions of 'street art.'"

Lead photo by

The Bentway

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