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 Biennial takes its cues from Lake Ontario, part of the largest freshwater system on Earth. The majority of the Exhibition and Programs will take 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. For 72 days this fall, the inaugural event will take 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.