RavineTalk 1: Expect the Unexpected
“Toronto’s Ravines: Expect the Unexpected” explores how to balance ongoing ecological conservation efforts with improved ravine access, expanded use, and enriched cultural programming. This is the first of two special lectures complementing the RavinePortal exhibition.
As stewards of Toronto’s ravine system, Toronto and Region Conservation have worked hard to protect the ravines and their ecology from development and its negative impacts including soil erosion and flooding. But in the process of protecting the ravines, their integration into our rapidly growing city has suffered. In anticipating a demand for increased access, programs and uses within the ravines, the question becomes how can the ravines be better integrated into the lives of Toronto’s residents without reversing the conservation efforts of the past? Steve Heuchert will explore the present potential of our ravines and some ideas for how the audience can enhance them for the benefit of all.
Assuming that the design challenges regarding ravine access and use can be overcome, what types of programming can be organized within Toronto’s ravines to catalyze exploration, education, and appreciation of this vast natural resource? What role can public art play in introducing new populations to the ravines? No.9 Contemporary Art and the Environment has been using the ravine landscapes as a setting for cultural and educational programming for more than a decade, and sees the role of art and educational programming as vital to the future success of the ravines as a defining, interconnected and accessible open space and cultural network. Andrew Davies will speak to these questions and provide an overview of their initiatives to program and animate the ravines.
Steve Heuchert is a Senior Manager, Development Planning at the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) where his responsibilities include management of the TRCA’s environmental planning and development review services for the City of Toronto and Durham Region. Steve also teaches with the Department of Environmental Studies (Planning) at York University where he focuses on the integration of environmental protection and urban design. He has lived in Scotland, England, Florida, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and frequently spends time in Japan. In all, he has explored and photographed the natural and urban systems. His educational background includes a Masters of Environmental Planning from the University of Nottingham, England and a BES from the University of Waterloo.
Andrew Davies received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University and Master in Architecture from The Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles, California. For five years Andrew was employed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City where he designed and administered over thirty international museum exhibitions. Since returning to Toronto, Andrew has provided art consultation for numerous major public art projects including the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital, the NXT Gardiner Expressway Gateway Project, the Pan Am Games Aquatics Centre and the City of Toronto’s Master Public Art Plan for the Lower Don Trail. In 2006 Andrew co-founded the charitable arts organization No.9: Contemporary Art & the Environment. As Executive Director of No.9 Davies has overseen the administration and production of 21 major public art installations that have brought awareness to important environmental issues. Under Davies direction No.9 has delivered environmental art and sustainable design education programs to over 12,000 inner-city school students.