rooftopping Toronto

Portraits on Toronto's Forbidden Rooftops

My penchant for rooftopping in Toronto has always come from my great love of photography. The mission is to capture unique angles of the familiar, and to make the city refreshing once again. Those familiar with my work (here and elsewhere) are no stranger to images of sweeping city-scapes, taken from all manner of unfinished condos and abandonments. I rarely make those who journey with me the subject of my rooftop photography, however, and so I thought I might give it a try.

I decided to assemble a series of images depicting the wonderful people who join me on my esoteric adventures. As the images show, many of these folks are amateur photographers like myself. Observing the etymology of the word amateur is of note here, as it is derived from the word for "love." The passion these individuals have for their hobby is most certainly rooted in this form of love. We push each other to climb higher, to go farther, and to reveal urban beauty using the often neglected roof space in our towering city.

The individuals, as it turns out, are as unique as the hobby itself. You may recognize a few of them from my portrait series on this site a few weeks back...

rooftopping Torontorooftopping Torontorooftopping Toronto

Sadly, some of the more beautiful rooftops have been lost to redevelopment, such as at the Don Valley Brickworks pictured below...

rooftopping Toronto

That being said, there is hardly a shortage of new rooftopping opportunities sprouting up around the core...

rooftopping Torontorooftopping Torontorooftopping Torontorooftopping Toronto

Even so, my favourite elevations are those of a particular vintage, such as the roofs of Toronto's

rooftopping Toronto

older hotels...

rooftopping Torontorooftopping Torontorooftopping Toronto


I suppose that if there is a message in these images, it is one of levity. Urban exploration is often seen in the narrow light of the exploration of abandoned buildings. I tend to see this rather myopic preconception about the practice as a barrier to those trying to understand the motives of the urban explorer.

While the aesthetics of urban decay interest me the most within the hobby, I am always intrigued by the ability of elevation to change my perspective about the way Toronto flows architecturally -- especially when I'm up there with a few equally passionate friends.

After all...

"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart"
(Albert Camus).

(To see the rest of the portrait series, as well as high-res. versions of the images above, you can check out my flickr slide-show below.)


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