Toronto Project

Toronto Project aims to reanimate the city's history

A new website launched by former Toronto mayor David Crombie, journalist David Macfarlane, and documentary producer Douglas Macfarlane hopes to foster renewed passion for the city's history. Called an "inter-active, online museum, the site will offer a platform for Toronto communities to tell their stories and feature digital exhibits that present the city's past in a manner that's meant to be both informative and entertaining.

So far, the site exists as more of a promise of what's to come than anything else, but it already looks pretty slick (a good sign) and has a bit of content along with a discussion forum about urban issues. Earlier today on CBC's Metro Morning, David Macfarlane used the example of John Lorinc's recent Walrus cover story to hint at what direction the site will take. "To explain the issues that we are facing now, issues of government, governance, issues of public transit, the waterfront... all these things we talk about as being the present of the city, John explains them by history... To understand the present and also to project into the future, we have to have that continuum of the past as part of the story."

On a more specific level, Macfarlane revealed two initiatives currently in the works: 1) the creation of an interactive encyclopedia of Toronto history, which will encourage members of various communities across the city to narrate their history on the Toronto Project's platform. And 2) an online exhibit on the (often troubled) history of the Toronto waterfront curated by David Crombie. There's a production team in place for the latter project that includes Atom Egoyan, so I'd expect that its interactive nature won't be a hollow promise.

Perhaps the Toronto Project will turn out to be the online museum many of us hoped the similarly named Toronto Museum Project would be.


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