Architectural and documentary photographer Steven Evans releases book about Ontario Place

Steven Evans, an architectural and documentary photographer has released a book with essays centered around Ontario Place.

Photo credit: Steven Evans

Steven Evans, an architectural and documentary photographer, is releasing his self-published documentary project with essays centered around Ontario Place.

This compelling 160-page book, called As it is: A precarious moment in the life of Ontario Place, includes 102 black-and-white photographs meticulously captured by Evans from November 2021 to June 2023. The book also boasts insightful essays contributed by John Lorinc and Maia-Mari Sutnik.

Winter swimmers from Swim Ontario Place (SwimOP) at Pebble Beach in January 2023 (Photo credit: Steven Evans)

It is divided into six thoughtfully sequenced sections that comprehensively explore the entire Ontario Place site. These sections cover a wide range of aspects, including Eberhard Zeidler’s iconic architecture, the innovative landscape design of West Island by Michael Hough, the hauntingly abandoned and deteriorating Wilderness Adventure Ride, the enchanting East Island, and the remarkable success story of Trillium Park and the William G. Davis Trail.

Man-made berm between the lagoon and Lake Ontario (Photo credit: Steven Evans)

This book’s release is particularly timely, as it coincides with significant developments in the provincial government’s plans that may alter the fundamental public purpose of Ontario Place.

In his preface, Evans states, “These photographs show Ontario Place at a physical, political and economic crossroads. It is an important moment to record it comprehensively, to understand it as it was, as it is, and to thoughtfully consider what it might become.”

The decommissioned tower of the waterslide (Photo credit: Steven Evans)

Contributors to the book include the following.

Steven Evans, a Toronto, Canada resident, boasts a prolific career centered around documenting the city he calls home. His primary focus lies in capturing heritage architecture and exploring the intricate relationship between urban environments and the natural world. Evans’ work has earned recognition on both national and international stages, gracing the pages of magazines, books, and websites. His artistic endeavors have received support from prestigious organizations like the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council. Additionally, he has clinched two National Magazine Awards, with his photographs finding homes in both public and private collections.

The now-sealed exit from the log boat lift at the highest point of the ride (Photo credit: Steven Evans)

Author John Lorinc has made a name for himself through his insightful writings on urban issues. His contributions have been featured in a multitude of national publications, including the Globe and Mail and Spacing Magazine. In 2022, he clinched the Writers’ Trust of Canada Balsillie Prize for Public Policy for his book titled “Dream States: Smart Cities, Technology, and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias.”

Indigenous planting surrounds Hough’s Glade (Photo credit: Steven Evans)

Maia-Mari Sutnik holds the title of Curator Emeritus and is the founding Curator of Photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario. With a lifelong dedication to curating exhibitions, conducting research, teaching, and crafting written works about both historical and contemporary photography, Maia has established herself as a distinguished figure in the field. Her writings have graced the pages of numerous national and international journals, and she has actively served on international art juries and panels. Currently, she contributes to the board of the Contact Photography Festival. Among her recent projects is the exhibition and catalogue titled “Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross.”

A free book launch event took place on September 14 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 401 Richmond Street West in Toronto.

Books will be available at Swipe Design, Spacing Store and Helio Gallery.