Exhibition Sites

Toronto’s waterfront is currently undergoing urban renewal at a faster pace than anywhere else in North America. Shaped by the waterfront’s multi-layered history, the 2019 Biennial took its cues from Lake Ontario, part of the largest freshwater system on Earth. The majority of the Exhibition and Programs took place at venues along the lake between Etobicoke Creek and Ashbridges Bay.

This stretch of Lake Ontario was active long before Toronto became a city. It has been populated by Indigenous peoples for at least 12,000 years, and was initially a site of trade, migration, and ceremony before it underwent mass settlement and industrialization. Today, the waterfront is host to relics of heavy industry, dense condominium developments, active and decommissioned military bases, manufactured parks, lost rivers, and human-made spits.

The implications of the changing waterfront prompted the Biennial’s inaugural edition: The Shoreline Dilemma. Spanning 72 days during Fall 2019, the inaugural event took place in repurposed buildings, public spaces, and partner institutions, including galleries, museums, train stations, and community organizations, along the lake and throughout the Greater Toronto Area. These connections revealed systems of resistance against and movement away from industrial colonial culture, uncovering polyphonic histories embedded in and around the shoreline.

The second chapter of the Biennial in 2022 – What Water Knows, the Land Remembers – will explore a new constellation of locations near above-ground and hidden tributaries that channel water into Lake Ontario as well as the ravines that shape the city’s geography.

Exhibition Sites

5 Lower Jarvis

5 Lower Jarvis St
Toronto ON
M5E 1Z2

Explore this site

72 Perth

72 Perth Ave
Toronto ON
M6R 2C2

Explore this site

Arsenal Contemporary Art Toronto

45 Ernest Ave
Toronto ON
M6P 3M7

Explore this site

Colborne Lodge

11 Colborne Lodge Dr
Toronto ON

Explore this site

Fort York National Historic Site

250 Fort York Blvd
Toronto ON
M5V 3K9

Explore this site

Mercer Union

1286 Bloor St W
Toronto ON
M6H 1N9

Explore this site

Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto

158 Sterling Rd
Toronto ON
M6R 2B7

Explore this site

Small Arms Inspection Building

1352 Lakeshore Road East
Mississauga ON
L5E 1E9

Explore this site

Textile Museum of Canada

55 Centre Ave
Toronto ON
M5G 2H5

Explore this site

X