The New Queen West
This became the new trendy part of Queen, now near Trinity Park, but it too has lost its original boho charm. So let’s go further west, out near the Queen Street Mental Health monolith. Welcome. Until recently, the rundown area didn’t see too much action, but it’s come alive, and it is the new cool. Now galleries and subdued cafes easily mix with greasy spoons and vintage clothing shops.
I’d long meant to see what the area had to offer. Today was the perfect opportunity, I’d drank too much at The Drake Hotel last night and had to go back for my car this morning. So this is where my stroll began, at The Drake’s Beaconsfield Street. 18 galleries I counted, on a 6 block stretch to Shaw.
I hadn’t even noticed the largest of them before, the MOCCA (Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art). Its student art show didn’t impress me the same way the smaller galleries work did, where works of art, design and science hung and were projected onto spaces gutted to the reveal the guts and bones of an original 1800’s building.
The Deleon White gallery with it’s massive ceilings took me in. I nodded to the fantastic little man working away on his mac G4 laptop. Upstairs, the Emmersive gallery showed me what a water drop looks like magnified and made luminescent by a laser beam. The Spin Gallery had its homo-moderne twist of New York 70s body art.
A few blocks further down, at the Clint Roenisch Gallery, I realized that gallery owners whiling away at their G4’s is a bit of a cliché. I enjoyed the artist’s printing techniques while coyly smiling in his direction.
Katherine Mulherin’s Contemporary Art Projects space was most impressive (see link). Strewn across the walls were small frames of needlework showing little Japanese space girls partying with polar bears, something I’m sure Bjork would love to see. There were futuristic robot dolls and also a map of the world etched out of several old layers of paint on an antique piece of wood. I liked that the space contained a variety of media and artists' work.
How charming this street is, I thought as I looked up to the sign for Camera Bar, a swank and original little space used for screening movies. This, I thought, had to be filmmaker Atom Egoyan’s new venture. It was indeed. The filmmaker sat at the edge of its communal table, while people poured out into the street, no doubt reflecting on the latest kudos received at Cannes.
So cool can be found, but not always where you’d think. Because if everybody already knows about it no doubt it's already lost some originality, and isn't that what cool is all about.
Explore a little farther down the street next time and see where it takes you.