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The Globe and Mail " St. Jamestown without stereotypes. What a relief"

Inside Toronto " St. James Town a work of art"

BlogTO "Talk of Toronto, St. Jamestown 2008-2010"

North Toronto Town Crier "A tree is like an old friend"

The Toronto Star "Toronto's favourite leafy giants" "Unbalanced by Alexander Moyle" "Fibreworks - Opening Reception"

Now Magazine "Cafe Caffe; Now Spotlights Hot Shows Hanging At This Year's Mammoth Contact Festival" "Movie Screening Showcases World Cup festivities on St. Clair" "Landscape of Memory" "Side Space Gallery Installation Celebration" "Body of Water at Side Space"

Urban Photo "Arriverderci Tivoli" "Artist Profile: David Mah"

The Forest Hill Town Crier "Busy stip gets 'artistic touch-up' with new sidewalk art gallery"

The York Guardian "New gallery showcases local artists day and night"


The Globe and Mail

R.M. Vaughan: The Exhibitionist

St. Jamestown without stereotypes. What a relief

R.M. VAUGHAN | Columnist profile | E-mail

From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 26, 2010 4:30PM EST
Last updated Friday, Nov. 26, 2010 5:13PM EST

Matthew James William Higginson at Side Space Gallery
Until Dec. 2, 1080 St. Clair Ave. W., Toronto;
One would think that in the second year of a stubborn recession (yes, I know, the recession is “officially over” – from Bay and Front to Bay and Bloor), the gallery walls would be filled with art commenting on our economic and social woes. But, no.
Perhaps the art world is still in shock, or the systems that support art (everything from artist-run spaces to commercial galleries) are just behind schedule, as most displays and exhibitions are planned a year or more in advance? Whatever the reason, this strange lack of dialogue only feeds the incorrect notion that art has no social or political value, that art is a mere entertainment for elites.
Well, hands off the keyboard, commenters – all is not yet lost.
While cruising for dollar-store deals on St. Clair West, I stumbled on an exhibition by the multi-named emerging photographer Matthew James William Higginson – an exhibition about people who live in St. Jamestown, one of Toronto’s most misunderstood and neglected neighbourhoods. I hesitate to label this work “activist,” because that would limit its scope, but Higginson is definitely engaged in a social dynamic with his subject, an exchange that seeks to portray the fullness of a community often mislabelled a ghetto.
The first thing you notice about the people Higginson photographed in St. Jamestown is that none of them is positioned as a signifier for “poverty” or “marginalization.” For an emerging photographer to avoid such pitfalls, such literalness, is itself a minor triumph. There’s not a tattered bit of clothing to be seen, not one mud-smeared child.
What Higginson offers instead is a portfolio resonant with images of self-determination. The residents meet the camera’s gaze with knowing (and slightly suspicious) smiles, boastful gestures, distracted, busy glares and even slightly bored bemusement.
A young mother sits on a crumbling bench, propping up her curious child. Her confident face asks, “Why are you photographing me? I’ve got the situation under control.” A woman riding a heavily decorated mobility scooter smirks behind two pairs of thick glasses – as wary of, and experienced with, being watched as any supermodel.
The many elderly people in this collection meet Higginson’s camera with a forgiving impatience, and the children Higginson captures seem to barely notice the photographer at all. Higginson’s centrepiece photograph, wherein mayoral candidate Kevin Clarke proudly displays an enormous, exotic pet bird outside a storefront, perfectly demonstrates the dignity available to anyone when he/she takes rightful ownership of shared public space.
Refreshingly political and yet refreshingly free of preachy over-determination, Higginson’s work neatly straddles the boundary between art photography and journalistic record-making.
We need more of this sort of work, Toronto. Right now.

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Inside Toronto

Nov 07, 2010 - 5:30 PM

St. James Town 'a work of art'

Photographer Matthew Higginson's exhibition on until Dec. 2

Some may think of St. James Town and see an underserved community, but for local resident and photographer Matthew Higginson, the neighbourhood is a work of art. 
An exhibit of Higginson's photos of the community, dubbed St. Jamestown 2008-10, recently opened at the Side Space Gallery.
The photographer began taking photos of his neighbourhood shortly after moving in, but it was not until a couple of years later that he realized he had the makings of an exhibit. He hopes his show will help reverse some of the negative publicity St. James Town receives from those who do not know the area well.
"When you hear about St. James Town, there's usually a negative connotation and a lot of stigmatization about the area," he said. "When you're here, you see there are a lot of beautiful things in the area, as well."
Higginson was inspired in part by the work of Vincenzo Pietropaolo, who documented the experiences of new Canadians among his many subjects. Like Pietropaolo, Higginson did not wish to gloss over his subject matter, instead choosing to show the bad along with the good.
"There are two things that need to be captured: things that need to be corrected and things that need to be appreciated," he said.
Higginson said despite the negativity that often surrounds his community there are plenty of positive signs out there for anyone willing to see them. He pointed to the influx of young people, better management of highrise buildings and the work of local councillor Pam McConnell to clean up the area as signs St. James Town is headed in the right direction.
"Buildings are changing, balconies are being repaired and that's good to see," he said. "I think my pictures have captured some of this change, but they also captured the people that exist in St. James Town and are a historic record of the community as it was a couple of years ago in the midst of these changes."
While many St. James Town residents were happy to take part in Higginson's project, he did experience some resistance. Even after he explained why he was taking photos, some were angry, calling him a cop or worse.
"It was really a two-sided thing," he said. "Some people were happy for the attention I was giving them and their neighbourhood but others were bitter about their place in life."
For many residents, St. James Town represents their first home on Canadian soil. For others, it represents a neighbourhood in which social services are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of some.
While the exhibit shows both sides of life in St. James Town, it is predominantly a moving homage to a constantly-changing community.
"There are challenges, but there are amazing people here and amazing places and things," Higginson said.
St. Jamestown 2008-10 is currently on display at the Side Space Gallery, 1080 St. Clair Avenue West, with its run lasting until Thursday, Dec. 2.

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North Toronto Town Crier

 ‘A tree is like an old friend’

Photographer captures favourite trees of prominent Torontonians for exhibit
Tags: LEAFTreesPhotographyPietropaolo
By Alina Smirnova
July 29, 2010
Neighbourhoods: North Toronto
Originally published in our North Toronto print edition(s).

American Elm at exhibition place
TOWERING TREE: Vincenzo Pietropaolo captured images of well-known Torontonians’ favourite trees for Toronto Tree Portraits, an exhibit at Side Space Gallery. Above, Councillor Joe Pantalone’s favourite, an American Elm located on Exhibition Place grounds.
One provides shade over some tombstones in a cemetery.

Another dwarfs a house on Bellevue Avenue.

Prominent Torontonians’ favourite trees is the theme for a series of 16 portraits on exhibit at the Side Space Gallery until August 12. 

The photos, shot by local photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo, are accompanied by descriptions written by their famous admirers. 

The project was put together by Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) to bring awareness to Toronto’s urban forest, said organization founder Janet McKay. 

“Trees make our cities so much more livable,” she says, citing shade, air purification and storm water retention as examples. “We have to share our neighbourhoods with the trees if we want to get those benefits that they provide.”

Favourite trees photographed include a Ginko (Adrienne Clarkson), a Norway Maple (Matt Galloway), a Willow (Vincent Lam) and an Ironwood, (D’bi Young, who even wrote a poem about his favourite tree).

Pietropaolo says his love for trees encouraged him to take on this project. 

“There’s something spiritual about, especially older, trees,” says the North Toronto resident. “A tree is like an old witness, and old friend. It’s always standing there, it’s always looking at everything.”

Pietropaolo said trees help residents interact with their neighbourhoods – children play under them, people find solace in their shade – and provide beauty, tranquility and serenity.

Photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo
PHOTOGRAPHER Vincenzo Pietropaolo.
“Trees inspire people to reflect on a lot of things and sometimes I wonder why,” he says. “Maybe because they are so still and always there for you whenever you want to visit.”

Pietropaolo says he jumped at the opportunity to look at trees through someone else’s eyes, seeing details he may not have noticed on his own. Atom Egoyan’s favourite tree seems to cup the CN Tower with its branches if viewed from a certain angle, he says. 

The project took a year to complete, and some trees were shot several times, and in different seasons. 

Pietropaolo chose to shoot the cherry blossoms in High Park during the winter, not during their bloom in the springtime. He says he tried to capture their infrequently seen winter serenity.

He also chose some photos to be black and white, to force the eye to examine the texture of the bark of the tree rather than get distracted by colours in the background.

Pietropaolo says he makes these decisions consciously, composing each shot, something that can become hard due to the easy and infinite shooting made possible by digital cameras.

To capture quality images, photographers need to learn about arts, literature and poetry, says Pietropaolo. 

“You can learn, in a few weeks, everything you know about a camera,” he says. “But it will take you a few years to learn enough literature to inspire you to take pictures.”

Pietropaolo has photographed migrant workers, and captured images of immigrant life in Canada. The tree project gave him an opportunity to give recognition to a different life, he says. 

“I do hope it creates a lot of awareness about our unsung residents of the city.”

Toronto Tree Portraits runs until Aug. 12. Side Space Gallery, 1080 St. Clair Ave. West.

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The Toronto Star

July 13, 2010

Toronto's favourite leafy giants

July 13, 2010
Amy Dempsey
Photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo describes a portrait of a tree that is part of an exhibit of some favourite trees of 16 Torontonians.
Amy Dempsey/Toronto Star
They’re tall, slender, beautiful . . . and green.
The Toronto tree portrait exhibit profiles 16 trees chosen by local artists, musicians and politicians, all captured by photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo.
Each tree-picker — from Adrienne Clarkson to Joe Pantalone — wrote a short memory or anecdote about their chosen green giant. The idea was to get a peek into how others see the city’s trees.
“It was a way to personalize the urban forest. And I think when you personalize something you’re much more likely to care about it and look after it,” said LEAF member Lorraine Johnson.
LEAF, an environmental non-profit organization that works to protect the urban forest, organized the exhibit, which opens Thursday at 7 p.m. at Side Space Gallery on St. Clair Ave.
Atom Egoyan — filmmaker
Egoyan walks by this west end white ash every day and watches it cycle through the seasons. He likes the way the tree’s leaves fall gradually in autumn, so winter doesn’t come as a shock.
“Because of the power line passing through it, it has a doughnut shape, and I love how this fills in during the spring as the leaves begin to grow.”
John Van Burek — theatre artist
Van Burek considers this Manitoba maple one of Toronto’s many secret treasures. The tree wraps around and through the patio at Tati Bistro on Harbord St. The owners have rebuilt parts of it to accommodate the tree’s growth.
“I have always loved the way the commercial interests of a restaurant have made such a wonderful partner with this great gift of nature.”
Amy Millan — musician
When Millan lived in Toronto, this weeping willow on Bellevue Ave. was a landmark on her daily streetcar journey across College St., from her Cabbagetown home to the west end. She thought the tree was graceful and mysterious.
“To have a willow tree in one’s front yard seemed incredibly fortuitous to me,” she writes.
“I have never met anyone who lives there, but I am sure they know how lucky they are.”
Jian Ghomeshi — broadcaster, musician
Ghomeshi has written, played guitar and shared moments with friends under this Norway maple in Withrow Park. The tree is his refuge.
“In the middle of a busy urban centre this tree has given me a getaway; a nod to life outside human-created concrete jungles,” he wrote. “I cherish this tree.”

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September 2009

Unbalanced by Alexander Moyle
Sat Jul 11, 2009 - Wed Sep 30, 2009

Review written by Peggy Lampotang

Unbalanced, an exhibition showcasing the work of Alex Moyle at Sidespace Gallery, is packed on August 27th, its opening day. I am late and rush in, but the hushed silence makes me stop short and tiptoe between guests. Their rapt attention is directed at the artist who is describing the thoughts and work process that went into his whimsical creations.

Alex Moyle is tall and lean. His long fingers fan the air, and sometimes land on a part of his sculpture to emphasize a point. He talks in a calm, poised manner, with short pauses that brim with intensity, as if he is constantly connected to some deep, deep part of himself. As if he is giving us a glimpse of a mysterious inner world that is always churning with wonderful ideas ready to take shape under his skillful hands.

His light-hearted, yet finely engineered sculptures dangle, twirl around, drip, hold our attention. Ordinary objects such as wires, glasses, fabric, wood, stones interact in surprising ways. They are often placed in precarious balance, making them appear enticing and dangerous, challenging us to look within ourselves, at why we are so charmed by these unusual displays of creativity. Sharp, clean lines of wood or glass are juxtaposed against the randomness of curled, twisted wires, crushed pieces of fabric, and glass beads. There is a sense of control, yet an element of disorder that seem to intertwine pleasantly.

An artist sensitive to his environment and in tune with its vast possibilities, Moyle used a leak in the roof of the gallery for one of his sculptures. He devised a system in which drops of water from the ceiling slide in timed sequence on a long thin thread and trickle in slow motion into a glass bowl. The slight splash of the drop causes a floating ball sprouting wires and beads to bounce and rotate. The calculated precision of the drop against the playfulness of the drifting sculpture project a harmonious balance that would make any high-strung city dweller wish life could imitate art.

In the invitation to his show, we are told that Alexander Moyle explores the delicate balance of elements in a state of momentary equilibrium. He has discovered that minute adjustments can have profound results in sustaining balance in this art form. His work is a visual metaphor for the illusive balance we long to maintain in our daily lives.

Viewing the work of Alex Moyle is a delight not only to the eye but to the psyche. He is well-known for his sculpture at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts, and his work on movie sets such as X Men and The Republic of Love. This current show brings out a different aspect of his talents, something closer to home, something we can connect with at a more personal level. These sculptural mobiles are even available for purchase.

If you have not seen the show yet, there are a few weeks left to check it out at Sidespace Gallery, northwest corner of St. Clair West and Lauder. Unbalanced continues till September 30th.

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Snap Downtown Toronto

July 2008

Fibreworks-Opening Reception

If you've ever passed by The Side Space Gallery (located at 1080 St Clair Ave West) you probably know that it's a different kind of gallery, one that's unique from the start. Anytime of the day or night you can walk by and see some beautiful Art displayed there. When I found out that the work of some local quilt makers and textile artists were showing their hand-crafted pieces I couldn't wait to go take a peek. That's when I met the delightful group of ladies from the Hillcrest Village Fiber community. I was lucky enough to hear about their works of art firsthand, all the while admiring the great skills and talents they so obviously presented in each creation. The show was bright with colour and texture. A pleasure for my eyes to behold. I certainly look forward to seeing more from this talented group. And feel fortunate to have been a part of it. Thanks again ladies.

Image Number: 235736
Borrowed from Boro by Pam Woodward
Image Number: 235741
Tree by Carolyn Flood
Image Number: 235742
Our Actions Have Consequences by Janet Patterson
Image Number: 235740
Roushell Goldstein and Sandra Reford in front of Roushell's wall hanging
Image Number: 235737
The three Queens by Shelly Fowler
Image Number: 235738
Travel Plans by Laura Brocklebank
Image Number: 235739
Tree of Life by Anna Payne Krzyzanowski
Image Number: 235743
Sam who takes care of all the sound at Side Space Gallery

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Now Magazine

May 15-21, 2008

Caffe Cafe cups photo
Armando Lulu joins the Caffè Café show, where coffee is king.

Art Story
Caffè Café
NOW spotlights hot shows hanging at this year’s mammoth Contact Festival
Fran Schechter
WHAT: Group show at Side Space Gallery (1080 St. Clair West, 647-209-4687), to May 31.
WHY: This show celebrates convivial places for the consumption of coffee. Armando Lulu, Stephanie Cloutier, Saajid Motala and Leonardo Esteban Tamburri pay tribute to the funky interior of late lamented community hangout Cafe 163 across from the gallery. Vid Ingelevics’s Off-Season series of empty patios with piled-up chairs poignantly depicts our longing for warm weather, while Jorge Uzon takes a tour of resto murals in Chile, Bolivia and the Danforth.
BUZZ: Ingelevics, a teacher at Ryerson, explores the role of photography behind the scenes in the art world. Cloutier and Tamburri document the local club scene, and Uzon shoots South America. Side Space, an innovative approach to bringing art to unused venues, is a glassed-in porch attached to a tax services office. The work is viewed from the outside only, and collectors can contact the artists via e-mail.

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The York Guardian

March 19, 2008

Movie screening showcases World Cup festivities on St. Clair

March 19, 2008 01:51 PM

A special screening of a documentary that captured the 2006 World Cup festivities on St. Clair Avenue West will be shown at Regal Heights Bistro this Wednesday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.
The film called Footie will be screened in the community where most of the footage was shot for the first time as part of The Street art exhibition currently on display at the Side Space Gallery.
"That area has matured into a very popular soccer area in Toronto," said the director Stephen Young-Chin, who wanted to document the celebratory atmosphere during the 2006 World Cup, which saw Italy eventually win the tournament by defeating France in the final game. "Living in Toronto over the years, I've seen how World Cup celebrations have grown."
Young-Chin attributed that to the growing immigrant population, especially along St. Clair, where people from many different countries have come out to support the sport they love.
"There's a lot of soccer fans in that area," he said. "They celebrate enthusiastically. It was just a very joyous occasion. The game brings people together."
Local resident Elizabeth Cinello is encouraging her neighbours to come out to watch the film at the bistro at 1077 St. Clair Ave. W.
"I'm going to be there to relive the magic," she said.
Visit for more information.


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March, 2008

Landscape of Memory

Or is that, Memory of Landscape...our interior map of experience is comprised of natural conditions, built environment and culture. Over time we may accumulate attachments to a variety of places. The paintings of Nomi Drory and Gwyn Jones create a sense of place, without it being a particular place. Rather than concrete and specific, they inhabit the realm of association and memory. As we gaze into the vast distance of time and space, in these paintings, we are compelled to contemplate a sense of place and our place in it. The great thing about the "Side Space Gallery" is that it's available for viewing free, 24 hours a day, through the surrounding glass, right on the street. What a great way to brighten our city. 1080 St. Clair Ave. W.

Art lovers discussing a painting by Nomi Drory

Art lovers discussing a painting by Nomi Drory

Painter Gwyn Jones(centre in blue shirt)

Painter Gwyn Jones(centre in blue shirt)



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July, 2007

Side Space Gallery Installation Celebration

The Side Space Gallery, 1080 St. Clair Ave. W., held an opening reception for it's "Body of Water" exhibition.

Schuster Gindin, whose inspiration brings this gallery to life, with watery friend.

Schuster Gindin, whose inspiration brings this gallery to life, with watery friend.

Taira Liceaga of Imaginative Spark, was one of the artists in attendance.

Taira Liceaga of Imaginative Spark, was one of the artists in attendance.

Iara came to support her mom.

Iara came to support her mom.

Fish on Display.

Fish on Display.

Fantastic composition brings this picture to life.

Fantastic composition brings this picture to life.

Schuster Gindin in the Side Space Gallery

Fish Image


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Body of Water at Side Space

By Peggy Lampotang

June 28th, 2007

Press  Press

Click here for gallery of images from Opening Night

Schuster Gindin, the curator for Sidespace Gallery, the one who transformed the neglected glass-enclosed space beside a corner building on St. Clair and Lauder into a gallery space that people can view from the street, describes it as a giant aquarium for the opening of her fourth exhibition, Body of Water.

"Toronto may have constructed an architectural denial, but in this city we are all littoral creatures. We are adjacent to our lake, we ingest it, we disgorge into it. We know that we ourselves are composed of 70% water. We are the lake and it, in all its pollution and beauty, is us. Up here on the escarpment, it has always been so. We live along the shoreline of an ancient sea," says Schuster Gindin, as she celebrates the historical legacy of the Regal Heights neighbourhood, and introduces the work of 27 artists who explore the watery world.

On June 14th, opening night, Sidespace's doors were wide open and inviting in its easy accessibility to passers-by on St. Clair. In keeping with the spirit of the water metaphor, a river of people flowed into the giant aquarium. Neighbourhood residents and friends were thrilled to see the work of people they know, and to discover other artists. The wide range of medium was refreshing. Shannon Bramer's voice was evocative, making us dream of summer days as she read excerpts from her book, "Fishing". And the continuous beat of Malik's performance of Nano Valverde's musical composition, "Water Wars" pounded its warning message about our environment. The stimulating atmosphere encouraged people to linger and walk around the gallery a few times to take a closer look at the work on display.

Lily Contento's installation, "Isabella Valancy Crawford", a profusion of roses, and moss on a long piece of bark sitting over a giant vase with real goldfish swimming in it, recreates the romantic touch of Crawford's poem. Elizabeth Greisman's "Fishy Bridal Wear" is amusingly unusual with handpainted fish floating along the edge of a formal bead-embroidered wedding dress. Giovanni Peel's skillful pen and ink drawing and collage celebrates fish in all shapes and textures. Judy Adler's stained glass window of turquoise and emerald waterscape evokes peaceful days by the lake and is aptly named, "Cheaper than Waterfront Property".

From Nomi Drory's dark mood in "Interior with Diver and Shark", to Tamara Steinberg's playful reed and fibre installation, "Rainbow Fish", the creativity of these 27 artists, most of them living in the area, is proof that this St. Clair West neighbourhood is ready to emerge from deep water into the open.

Artists participating in Body of Water:
Seeve Savoy -Where's the Moon? - Olive oil and pigment on paper
Mondo Lulu - Stormy Horizons - Acrylic on canvas,
Kevin O'Byrne - Blue #2 Installation - Plaster, dry & wet pigments, glass powder
Kathleen Vaughan – Melusine - Textile assemblage
Jane Turrittin - Spirit Swimming - Alabaster
Gwyneth Fatemi - Water Spirit - Paper collage and ink
Elizabeth Greisman - Fishy Bridal Wear - bridal gown, paint
Karen Wold - Any Fresher We'd be Swimming - fabrics, beads
Francine Mornard - Two Fish - Paper, acrylic, wood and metal armature
Nomi Drory - Interior with Diver and Shark - Oil on canvas
Taira Liceaga - Floating Starfish – handpainted ricepaper over wire armature
Rose di Zio – Life in a Drop of Pond Water – machine appliqued and quilted
Lily Contento – Isabella Valaney Crawford - Glass, wood, water & flowers
Nancy Carnivale - Some Things Fishy
Leonardo Tamburri - Andrea vs the Horizon - digital print
Kim Mah and Maria Mah - Humpback Whale - Papier mâché
Judy Adler - Cheaper than Waterfront Property - Stained glass
Alex Moyle - The Contents of Jonah's Belly - Photos of sculpture
Luigi Ziani - Fished In -
Tamara Steinberg - Rainbow Fish - installation
Giovanna Peel – Untitled - Ink drawings and collages
Schuster Gindin - Brownie Starflash
Shannon Bramer - Two Fish in a Hurry - Drawing and text
Abigail Elwood - Amazing Amazonian Adventures…. - Fish Tale text
Shannon Bramer - Excerpts from Fishing - book
Nano Valverde - Excerpts from Water Wars - musical composition
Malik - Excerpts from Water Wars - performance

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Urban Photo

Arriverderci Tivoli

By Christopher DeWolf

May 6th, 2007


Almost every city has a collection of neighbourhood institutions, businesses known and used by such a wide variety of people that they become convenient meeting places as well as local reference points, secure admist the great of spasms of change in the city beyond. Some of these places seem to be fuelled on nostalgia alone, their outmoded menu and decor sought by people eager to recall earlier days. The best of them, however, have lasted so long because they have never failed to provide the great food and memorable ambiance that made them popular in the first place.

The New Tivoli Restaurant seemed to fall into the latter category. For three decades, the Gardanis family supplied the corner of St. Clair and Dufferin in Toronto with coffee and comfort food; in return, they were rewarded with a loyal and diverse clientele from the surrounding neighbourhood. “It ruled the eastern boundary of Corso Italia, whatever the mood, fashion or World Cup Champion. It was like the old sweater that you couldn’t part with—a bit frayed and rough-around-the-edges, but a constant source of comfort and security,” writes the designer and photographer Mondo Lulu, who lived above the restaurant.

Thanks to his uniquely intimate relationship to the restaurant—he calls its staff and owners his “second family”—Lulu was able to create a particularly engaging collection of photos that document life at the Tivoli. Last fall, when rising rents forced the restaurant to close, Lulu’s photos became a record of its existence as a focus of life on St. Clair. Many of Lulu’s photos can be seen on Flickr. Those of you in Toronto, however, might want to check out his photos in person, at the “Arrivederci Tivoli: Photos from the Centre of the Universe” exhibit. It opened this weekend and runs until June 7 at the Side Space Gallery, 1080 St. Clair West.

“After the SOS/ROW row, it looks like the hood is in healing mode,” Lulu told me last month. “I’m hoping that my show will be key in that, since the Tiv was the place where all factions laid down their arms in the name of bacon.”


“After today, Lawrence dies.”

“Whoa. What do you mean by that, Lawrence?”

“You see, people only know me as Lawrence here at the Tivoli. In the real world, people know me as Bernard, Barney or Bernie.”

“That’s quite a departure. So are you on the lam or something?”

“No, nothing as sordid as that. When I first started coming here, there was already a regular named Bernard. And Barney, you already know.

“To prevent confusion, I told everyone to call me Lawrence, as in St. Lawrence, since I’m originally from Montreal. Sheila was the first to call me that and after all these years, it stuck.”

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Artist Profile: David Mah

By Peggy Lampotang

April 26, 2007


David Mah is an artist who moulds materials such as cement,wax, and bronze to create powerful figures that touch you with such clarity that it’s difficult to forget them. Whether it’s through a gesture of the hand, or a cocky facial expression, his sculptures come to life and speak for themselves.

David Mah learned his craft at Central Tech and he believes it has the best sculpture studio in the city. He decided early on that he would not sell his work because he did not want the pressure of having to make a living from it. He worked at another job to support himself, and spent as much time as he wanted with his sketches and sculptures to arrive at a final form of expression that would please him. His work is not premeditated. He prefers to feel the material and let it decide. For example he likes “wax because it can hold an immediate spontaneous feel to it whereas clay is softer and you lose the shape easily.” David is an artist who is willing to spend innumerable hours experimenting and creating. For that reason it is impossible for him to put a price tag on his work. To him, the true value of his creations is the pleasure they can give to viewers. Even though David believes “art is an antidote to being cynical,” and each piece is very much part of his expression of life, he hasn’t discounted parting with one of his pieces if the right person comes along.

David Mah is thrilled to be at Side Space Gallery, an unconventional venue on the North West corner of St. Clair West and Lauder. The glassed-in space, which looks like a greenhouse attached to a corner building, was used as a storage for many years before Schuster Gindin had a brainwave and saw it not only as an art gallery where people could enjoy art from the sidewalk without the intimidation of walking into a gallery, but also as a step towards improving the image of the neighbourhood. With the generous offer of business owner Joe Lo Curto, Schuster transformed the messy storage into Side Space Gallery. This unusual gallery appeals to David Mah because selling his work is not as important as having passers-by enjoy his creations.

Side Space will be exhibiting the work of different artists every month. For more information, you can check its website:

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The Forest Hill Town Crier

Busy strip gets ‘artistic touch-up’ with a new sidewalk art gallery

By Lorianna De Giorgio

March 7, 2007

From a former storage space to an arts space, St. Clair Ave. West’s newest gallery is proving that art shouldn’t be confined to the walls of a gallery.

Located in a glass-enclosed conservatory that’s attached to the side of Liberty Tax Service, Side Space Gallery showcases the work of local artists.

The space, which is about 10 feet wide by 70 feet long, was donated by the building’s owner, Joe Lo Curto. While there is no access to its interior, people can view the paintings, sculptures and other work from the exterior.

At night the gallery is lit with track lights, making it an interesting stop while strolling along the busy street.

From a former storage space to an arts space, St. Clair Ave. West’s newest gallery is proving that art shouldn’t be confined to the walls of a gallery.

Side Space Gallery - Front
Glass-encased conservatory used to hold regular storage, but now it serves as a gallery for artists in the community. Passersby aren’t allowed inside but they can view the art from outside.

Located in a glass-enclosed conservatory that’s attached to the side of Liberty Tax Service, Side Space Gallery showcases the work of local artists.

The space, which is about 10 feet wide by 70 feet long, was donated by the building’s owner, Joe Lo Curto. While there is no access to its interior, people can view the paintings, sculptures and other work from the exterior.

At night the gallery is lit with track lights, making it an interesting stop while strolling along the busy street.

Currently home to the work of nine artists, Side Space Gallery plans to expand its content with future exhibitions, says curator Schuster Gindin.

The Glenholme Ave. photographer’s idea for the gallery came out of her interest in showcasing the work of local artists who call the Regal Heights neighbourhood home.

Additionally, she wanted to add an artistic touch to the strip of St. Clair which currently has little artistic influence, Gindin explained a couple of weeks after the gallery’s Feb. 25 opening.

“This part of St. Clair is abysmal,” she said, adding she is hopeful the current St. Clair streetcar project will bring more traffic, and ultimately more attention, to the strip.

The Regal Heights neighbourhood is home to almost every kind of artist and St. Clair should reflect the neighbourhood’s rich culture, said Gindin, who has lived there for 27 years.

Last summer Lo Curto allowed Gindin and other artists to show their work inside the Liberty Tax office. Art at Liberty, as the exhibit was known, was such a success that Lo Curto welcomed Gindin’s idea of transforming the unused space into a gallery.

“He said, ‘I like art’,” Gindin explained.

Since the space is donated, Gindin isn’t sure of its permanency. She is hopeful, however, that no matter how long it lasts it gets the message across that art can be at home anywhere.

“Geographically, this area is known for the escarpment and beautiful views of the city,” she said. “Artistically, there are more artists here than any other place in the city.

“I want to celebrate the Avenue.”

Side Space Gallery is currently featuring the work of Gindin, Victoria Wallace, Leanne Davies, Mondo Lulu, Peggy Lampotang, Zahide Ugur, Judy Adler, Francine Mornard and publisher McGilligan Books. Future exhibitions include a photography exhibit about the New Tivoli restaurant which closed down in October after 30 years of service.

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The York Guardian

New gallery showcases local artists day and night

By Clark Kim

March 1, 2007

A new arts venue on St. Clair Avenue West is now open all hours of the day and night showcasing the work of local artists.
The Side Space Gallery at 1080 St. Clair Ave. W., at the corner of Lauder Avenue, isn't a conventional art gallery.

The art exhibitions are, in fact, shown within a glassed-in canopy attached to the side of a corner building where passersby can view the artwork from the outside through the windows.

"We want it to be very accessible in that we want to attract people who wouldn't necessarily go to an art gallery," said Schuster Gindin, a local artist who is acting as the curator of the new art space.

The gallery track lights also illuminate the exhibition at night, which is a sight to see in itself, Gindin said.

And for many residents living along St. Clair, the Side Space Gallery is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

"On a very practical level, it just makes the streets look better," said Elizabeth Cinello, who lives near the gallery. "You can see it from the street and it's something you experience."

It's also a great way to get to know the artists living within the community, she added.

Gindin said the new venue would consist primarily of artwork that is relevant to the local area.

A photo exhibition, for example, of the now closed New Tivoli Restaurant on St. Clair is in the works for the month of May.

"It's just a way of making some connection with things that people in the community would care about," said Gindin, adding there are plenty of artists in the neighbourhood who are willing to contribute to the gallery.

"We're not going to run out of art. That's guaranteed."

Each exhibit is expected to stay up for a month before new works are submitted and displayed for the public to see.

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