September 21 – December 1, 2019

Excavated soil from Bickford Park accumulates in 259 Lake Shore Blvd as part of Alves’s participatory project, enacting a communal unearthing of one of Toronto’s lost rivers: Garrison Creek. The Garrison Creek Ravine was covered over by infill from residential development, but along the southern edge of the park, the parapet of the former Harbord Street Bridge remains visible.

Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art. Phantom Pain, a related installation by Alves, is co-commissioned by Evergreen’s Don River Valley Art Program and the Toronto Biennial of Art, and is on view at Riverdale Park West.

Learn more about Maria Thereza Alves’ practice by listening to the Short Format series on the Toronto Biennial of Art Podcast. Interviewed by Aliya Pabani, episode 2 with Alves is is available HERE.


Maria Thereza Alves (born in 1960, São Paulo, Brazil; lives in Naples, Italy, and Berlin, Germany) has participated in exhibitions including the XV Bienal de Cuenca (2021); the Sydney Biennale (2020); Manifesta 12 (2018); the Sharjah Biennial 13 (2016–2018); the 29th and 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2010 and 2016); and dOCUMENTA (13) (2012). She is the recipient of The New School’s 2016–2018 Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics. Alves co-founded the Partido Verde of São Paulo in Brazil. As a member of the International Indian Treaty Council, Alves made an official presentation of human rights abuses of the Indigenous population of Brazil at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.

Learn more about Maria Thereza Alves’ practice by listening to episode 2 of the Toronto Biennial of Art Podcast “Short Format”, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

Exhibition Site

259 Lake Shore Blvd East

The life of this nondescript building reveals the area’s economic history. Its first tenant in 1945, the Standard Chemical Company, produced methanol, formaldehyde, and charcoal. A railway line to the south tethered the site to the movement of goods. By 1954, the building was divided into a warehouse and a showroom, a configuration that remained intact over the course of various leaseholders, including oil and electrical supply companies and a series of car dealerships. (The advertising of its most recent tenant, Volvo, is still visible on the façade.) This building’s fate is indeterminate, as real estate development is increasingly filling the voids left by industrial decline.

259 Lake Shore Blvd East
Toronto ON
M5A 3T7