From its conception, LandMark was designed to have 3 main components: a community engagement element, a citizen design lab and photo-stories. The citizen design lab was originally imagined to be an interactive city-building space where participants could build and rebuild the city throughout the night, highlighting that city-building is never done by one person alone.
As LandMark grew as a project, we knew that strengthening our community partnerships meant collaborating with different organizations so when the opportunity to collaborate with Institute Without Boundaries arose, we knew we had to embrace the opportunity.
We met with the new incoming students in early September to share the initial concepts but really to create the container for a LandMark citizen design lab that would take on a new spin. We didn’t want to dictate what the students could or could not do, that would defeat the purpose of the collaboration. We shared the same creative brief with the students that our photographers worked with and knew that the openness might be daunting at first, but it offered a lot of opportunity for creativity and originality.
The IwB class is a small group of about 10-12 students. In an afternoon of brainstorming and ideation, they came up with two ideas that eventually became the Gazebo Confessionals and a Fondest Memories Wall. Both installations offered visitors a way to interact with LandMark either by individually sharing a story on the Memory Wall or connect with a stranger or several.
A HUGE thanks to the students of IwB who toughed it out for LandMark and really helped us animate St. James Park in an exciting way.
It is hard to believe that a little less than a month ago, we stayed up all night in St. James Park for LandMark. This project was an unbelievable triumph of community partnerships and stories.
In February, we submitted a proposal for a Scotiabank Nuit Blanche independent project following a few conversations with the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA. The idea for LandMark was born out of a goal to capture stories and bridge together different community organizations from the neighbourhood to complete one goal.
We specifically chose St. James Park as the site for our proposal, as it is a site rich with history and controversy. It is well known as the site of the Occupy Toronto protest and demonstration in 2011, the site of the St. James Cathedral which is the first church in the city of York and where you can still take bell-ringing classes, and now it is home to Music in the St. James Park where you can enjoy free concerts in the park on Thursdays throughout the summer. We knew this was a park of many layers and it was those layers that inspired the theme of LandMark.
To uncover the city, layer by layer.
This theme alongside the curatorial mission to capture the stories of everyday heroes, LandMark emerged as a one-time event that can only be created by these partners at this time.
What is remarkable about this project, is that each of the partners were like a moving piece of well-oiled machine, without each other, this project would never have come to life in the way that it did. Much like a community, we are a series of individual pieces that can operate separately, but collectively can accomplish larger goals without taking on the entire workload individually.
It is our goal to take what we have learned from LandMark and put it into longer and continuous community partnership projects in the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood and strengthen the foundation that has been built.