Henry VanderSpek

Someone has been taking photos of all the development signs around Toronto

An artist in Toronto has been taking pictures of Notice of Development signs around the city - and they're now being featured in a free exhibit.

Photographer Henry VanderSpek started noticing development signs in Toronto on his weekly "photo walks" in 2017.

"It just struck me how these signs are everywhere," he told blogTO.

VanderSpek's exhibit, titled "On Notice" is featured at the Daniels Spectrum Hallway Gallery from May 25 to June 13.

He explained that while these development signs exist all around the city, there are only a few in particular that have caught his eye.

VanderSpek told blogTO he photographs signs based on if "someone's written something on them, there's graffiti, and the scene around it."

The exhibit aims to start conversations regarding the use of public notices and invites people to consider their role in engaging with the development process.

Over the course of the past five years, VanderSpek said he's taken a few thousand images, and spent hundreds of hours preparing for the exhibit.

"One of the things I was going after is documenting this impeding change, it's about to happen, it's coming soon," he said. "As well as documenting people's response to it, and you see that response by what people have written on the signs."

VanderSpek said his favourite image in the exhibit features an old Toronto hydro building, whose rich history is overshadowed by colourful advertisements and pedestrians.

"All of these signs represent significant change or even loss of whatever building those signs are posted on," he told blogTO.

The photo exhibition will be accompanied by a screening of "Excluded by Design," a short film by Simon Madore and Gabriel Tougas.

Lead photo by

Henry VanderSpek


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