A poetry walk in conjunction with artist Maria Thereza Alves’s project Phantom Pain at Riverdale Park W. Toronto’s River Poets, together with the initiatives Lost Rivers and Rivers Rising, and knowledge keepers investigate Toronto’s lost rivers, the forgotten network of water that runs beneath our feet.
Meeting point: St. Matthews Clubhouse, 450 Broadview Ave.
Event note: Participants are invited to wear blue for the walk, which will form part of a Human River activity along the lost meander of the Don River. Rain or shine, the walk will start promptly at 12pm at the St. Matthews Clubhouse.
Accessibility: This event involves active walking through various paths in a public park, with a few stops to rest over the course of the program.
Image Credit: Former path of the Lower Don River. Courtesy of Lost Rivers.
St. Matthews Clubhouse
450 Broadview Ave
Dilys Leman is a writer, editor and yoga teacher, and often escapes with her dog into Toronto’s ravines to explore the Don River watershed. Her first poetry book, The Winter Count, was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2014. She has written for, and read at, poetry walking tours with Lost Rivers Toronto. Several of her “river” poems are forthcoming in The Wonder of Water: Lived Experience, Policy and Practice (University of Toronto Press).
Helen Mills (born in Johannesburg, South Africa; lives in Toronto, ON, Canada) is the founder of Lost Rivers, a project of the Toronto Green Community. When she came to Toronto she noticed the sunken park near her house. Years later she learned that it was a remnant ravine and home to lost Mud Creek. Mesmerized, she wanted to paint blue lines on the street and over buildings, to name the creeks and bring them back to the surface of our awareness. Then the Lost River Walks began through the alchemy of the very first public meeting of the Toronto Green Community (1994). More than 33,000 people have walked on a Lost River since then.
John Wilson (born in Youngstown, OH, USA; lives in Toronto, ON, Canada) is an independent community engagement specialist and waterfront advocate. Wilson leads public walks with the Lost Rivers project, a collaboration of the Toronto Green Community and Toronto Field Naturalists. He serves as co-chair of the West Don Lands Committee and board member of Waterfront for All. From 2000 to 2011, Wilson served as chair of the Task Force to Bring Back the Don, a citizens’ advisory committee of Toronto City Council with a mandate to restore a clean, green, accessible Don River.
Lost Rivers is a small group of citizen geographers, researching and mapping the long-buried creeks. Newer related projects are Rivers Rising and RAINscapeTO, both social enterprises that connect people to neighbourhood greening projects and eco gardening job opportunities. Grounded in historical connections of the place to Indigenous, settler, and immigrant communities, Lost Rivers/Rivers Rising travels through time to envision a future for the city that connects us all.
Maureen Hynes (based in Toronto, ON, Canada) has just launched her fifth book of poetry, Sotto Voce. Previous collections have won the Lampert Poetry Prize from the League of Canadian Poets, and were shortlisted for the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster awards. She has contributed poems to more than 25 anthologies, including twice Best Canadian Poetry in English. Maureen loves the work of writing to and for Toronto’s rivers.
Maureen Scott Harris (born in Prince Rupert, BC, Canada; lives in Toronto, ON, Canada) is a Toronto-based poet and essayist who has published three collections of poetry: “A Possible Landscape” (Brick Books, 1993), “Drowning Lessons” (Pedlar Press, 2004), and “Slow Curve Out” (Pedlar Press, 2012). Scott Harris was awarded the 2005 Trillium Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted for the League’s Pat Lowther Award. Individual poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Canadian, American, British, and Australian journals and anthologies. Her essay on the Don River won the 2009 WildCare Tasmania Nature Writing Prize. With the River Poets she has developed poetry walks through Toronto’s ravines and parks.
Nicholas Power is a founding member of the Meet the Presses literary collective, and has performed with the storytelling duo The Wordweavers and the sound poetry ensemble Alexander’s Dark Band. As part of the River Poets (Maureen Harris, Maureen Hynes and more,) he has read along the Don, the Humber, lost rivers and wild places. He has been published by Teksteditions (Melancholy Scientist and The Boneshaker Anthology), Underwhich Editions (wells), The Writing Space (a modest device), FindorCreate (a wrinkle in the mind) and Battered Press (No Poems). He has been editing and publishing with his own Gesture Press for 30 years.
Rivers Rising (based in Toronto, ON, Canada) showcases community-led, neighbourhood walks, through our parks ravines, and watersheds, where you can learn the stories of people, place, and the politics that shape the neighbourhood over time. Grounded in historical connections of the place to indigenous, settler, and immigrant communities, we travel through time to envision a future for the city that connects us all. Rivers Risingis a collaborative project of the Toronto Green Community’s Lost Rivers program, and the Toronto Community Garden Network (TCGN) / Toronto Urban Growers.
Setayesh Babaei is an Iranian-Canadian artist and designer based in Toronto. During her undergraduate studies at OCAD University in the Environmental Design program, she dedicated her work to the realization of the buried rivers in Toronto and their transformation due to urbanization from waterways to underground sewage systems. Her project explores the history as well as the future of the city’s hydrological system; from the greenbelt to rivers, the “Veins” of our city. Besides her full-time career as a designer at a transportation planning and engineering company, Setayesh has been collaborating with the Toronto Lost Rivers for the past two years. She is currently a graduate student at OCAD University where she is continuing to develop her project and expand her research.
Tsiktsinensawe Yakonkwe/Rhonda Lucy of the Mohawk Nation is the founder and Artistic Director of Sun Raven Arts established in 2015. Birthed out of the Idle No More Movement, MMIWM2 initiatives and the 94 Calls to Action. Sun Raven Arts aims to empower voices through the arts and tradition by means of alternative methods of learning and healing. Offering arts based education, cultural awareness, trainer training, trauma and harm reductions arts based programming, workshops, lectures/talks, and production in both live performance and film.