Toronto, Ontario

Part of Make it Real at the Gardiner Museum 



3. Artist-in-Residence

4. MAXIMUM CITY Half Day Workshop


Scroll down for more information on each event or series

We Built This City is a playful way to engage diverse communities in animating, changing and improving our everyday experiences. Over the course of the two weeks, Crazy Dames will work with participants to create a scale version of the neighbourhood, build forts, and engage in walkshops, as a way to reimagine our public spaces. The program coincides with the City of Toronto Planning Division’s TO CORE initiative, a study that looks at using growth in Toronto's Downtown to make the city a great place to live, work, learn, play and invest. 
In addition to free programs and events, visitors can also experience the project and add to the neighbourhood model during regular Museum hours, included with admission.


July 25th, 2016, 6:30- 9:00 pm


HOW TO BUILD A BLANKET FORT is a workshop that invites participants to work together to transform the Gardiner Museum Community Art Space into an epic version of a quintessential childhood space. These temporary childlike forts will be built on a gigantic-scale using blankets, cardboard and other household materials.This creates a playful and whimsical space to engage in dialogue and creation,in which the convergences of arts based inquiry and city building can be realized. The surrounding environment where the workshop is held will be used as supports/incorporated into the structure. While re-engaging with their child-like perspectives through this experience, the group will work together problem solving aesthetic, function and spatial preferences and choices. This will happen at the beginning of the exhibit.


July 26th - August 5th, 2016

Throughout the exhibit, Sara and Jennie will facilitate ‘walkshops’ in collaboration with community leaders (including Museum employees, community artists and other community activists). These walkshops are intended to be interactive, playful and imaginative walking tours of the surrounding neighbourhood, aimed to foster artistic thinking and learning about our city spaces. The walkshops will take on different creative forms including playful scavenger hunts of the neighbourhood, fictional tours and storytelling.

Walkshop Descriptions and Times:

Taking an Object for a Walk

Tuesday July 26, 2 - 4 pm


Taking an Object for a Walk is a chance for objects within the collection of the Gardiner to "leave" the museum with museum goers to have a tour around the neighbouring streets and perhaps further afield.  Where would you take a 15th century vase from China, or a porcelain figurine from 18th century Germany?  We will discuss the concept of object biography and ask questions of our chosen pieces to devise the best walk for each.  Participants will be encouraged to draw their object and record their adventure together as they escort their "object" out of the museum.  We will reconvene after our walks to talk about where the objects went and even if they decided to come back "home". 

Not Zoned for Dancing: A Walk Through Downtown Toronto’s Evolving Entertainment District

Thursday July 28, 8 - 9:30 pm


Based off of their study for the City of Toronto’s Office of the Chief Planner, the research team—urban planners Anna Wynveen, Brenton Nader, Carolyn Rowan, Chris Hilbrecht, and Kyle Miller— will attempt to walk you through the definition, history, and current phases of entertainment in downtown Toronto. As downtown Toronto experiences intensification of residential/commercial development and tastes change, how will the entertainment sector shift and adapt? How will our city’s downtown “playscape” evolve?

Maximum City Walk

Friday July 29, 2 - 3 pm


Maximum City summer program students will lead a walk of the neighbourhood using the arts based inquiry tools they learn during their workshop with Crazy Dames.

Escape from Intern Purgatory

Saturday July 30, 2 - 3:30 pm


Two unpaid interns are trying to get back to their home, Tough Guy Mountain. They’ll need the audience’s help to explore the city and, hopefully, make it back to the Brandscape in one piece. Tough Guy Mountain is an artist collective focusing on the glories, trials, and absurdity of late capitalism.

Everything All The Time: Using Sound to Collapse Time & Space

Sunday July 31, 10:30 am - 12 pm


How do the sounds of our city narrate particular experiences, shape spaces, and foster (dis)connections? How would we locate ourselves if we could hear everything all the time? Participants in this “walkshop” will use a ubiquitous tool—their cell phones—to create an audio record of one particular day and time, across different sites, in an effort to co-create a unique soundscape, one which captures a multitude of isolated perspectives on urbanism and then gathers them to produce something whole and unknown. Zev Farber is an interdisciplinary artist. His practice involves integrating sound, programming, video, and still imagery into layered narratives which often blur the line between documented and fictional histories.

Walk, Talk, Play

August 1, 2 - 3:30 pm


This interactive and open-ended walking tour of the neighbourhood, will encourage participants to share their own stories about places that are meaningful to them. Crazy Dames is a collaboration between Jennie Suddick, a visual artist/educator, and Sara Udow, an urban/community/cultural planner.

Walkshop: A Tour of Public ARTivism
Led by STEPS

Tuesday August 2, 4 - 6 pm


Join The STEPS Initiative on a tour of some of downtown Toronto's public art interventions. Over the course of this walk, participants will visit public art interventions in unlikely spaces within the downtown core. These include construction sites, which line our streets for up to five years and can be leveraged as cultural spaces. 


Wednesday August 3, 4 - 5:30 pm


How can our senses inspire us to imagine creative possibilities for the cityscape? On this walkshop, join designer Jay Wall in collectively mapping the sights, sounds, textures – and desired futures – of the streets, parks and hidden spaces surrounding the Gardiner Museum. 

From Place to Being

Thursday August 4, 4 - 5:30 pm


Forget Google Maps and your handy-dandy GPS. From Place to Being asks participants to (re)discover the wonder of undefined paths. Together we will take a collective route, but the maps we each create on this walkshop highlight our personal experiences, stories and contexts, focusing on what we care about, what catches our eye, and asking us to determine what is important and interesting enough to make it onto a map. 

3. Artist-in-Residence

July 26th - August 5th

For the entire duration of the project, Jennie will act as the Artist-in-Residence, asking visitors of the museum to engage in an expansive clay maquette. The public will be invited to contribute to this collaborative art piece. This piece will be a reimagining and reconstruction of the surrounding environment of the museum, which can be guided both by practical needs and fantastical ideas.

See more documentation of the collaborative city model here

4. MAXIMUM CITY Half Day Workshop

Wednesday July 27th, 12:30 - 4:00 PM

Crazy Dames has partnered with Maximum City, an award-winning summer program and enriched curricular experience for young city builders between the ages of 10 and 17. It is taught by leading experts and is hosted on the University of Toronto campus and nearby sites. Maximum City has partnered with local museums and artists on city building themes, and the program includes a range of hands-on activities in urban topics such as architecture, urban design, the environment, technology,civic engagement and transit. Each week at Maximum City focuses on a different urban theme such as designing better public spaces or welcoming newcomers. The week of July 25-July 29 will focus on the theme ‘art and city building’ and will feature workshops facilitated by Crazy Dames at the Gardiner Museum, which will include fort building, a walkshop and clay maquette city making.

5. We Built This City Closing Event and Panel Discussion


Thursday August 4th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM


This closing panel will focus on the role that exploration has in city building and will ask panelists form a diversity of perspectives (political, design,education and art curation) to consider how incorporating art and play into the urban design and the planning process can change/shape our cities.

Questions we are considering include:

Is there potential for artist inquiry to be embedded in the planning process?

Can creative methods of public engagement reach diverse and/or marginalized communities where traditional forms may fall short? 


  • Kristyn Wong-Tam, City Councillor of Ward 27;
  • TBD, Partner and co-founder of Public Work an award winning urban design and landscape architecture firm;
  • Adam Nicklin, partner and co-founder of Public Work, an award winning urban design and landscape architecture firm;
  • Josh Fullan, educator, consultant and founder of Maximum City; and 
  • Janine Marchessault, public art curator and Professor of Media Studies at York University.

Moderated by Mojan Jianfar, Cultural Planner at City of Mississauga

here in .pdf format

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