Contemporary Sites: New Ways of Seeing and Using Toronto’s Cultural Landscape

Toronto is experiencing a shift in the role heritage plays in the contemporary use of cultural landscapes. ICOMOS Canada and the Centre for City Ecology have partnered to present a panel discussion on this shift on Tuesday, August 26 at 6:00pm in 401 Richmond’s Urbanspace Gallery.

Panellists include Janna Levitt, Partner at Levitt Goodman Architects; Robert Kerr, Supervisor of Special Events at the Fort York National Historic Site; Franco Boni, General & Artistic Director of the Theatre Centre; and Rui Pimenta + Layne Hinton, Artistic Director/Founder and Co-Curator of Art Spin. The event will be moderated by Annabel Vaughan, Director of the Centre for City Ecology and Michael McClelland, Founding Partner of ERA Architects.

This panel discussion forms part of an international debate on the shifting role of heritage in contemporary society. The 18th General Assembly of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), to be held in Florence, Italy in November 2014, focuses on the general theme of “Heritage and Landscape as Human Values.” The Florence Agenda includes sub-themes related to sustainability, local empowerment and cultural landscape.

The purpose of this panel discussion is to discuss the Florence Agenda in the local context, prior to this international symposium. While “heritage” and “contemporary” can appear to be at odds with one another, Toronto happens to do ‘old and new’ very well. The Florence Agenda in action in the Toronto context is expressed through a broad range of actors using heritage as a tool for civic engagement. This includes arts or community-based groups that are activating underused heritage sites and well-established heritage institutions that are engaging in new community outreach programs.

Please join the discussion in debating Toronto’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for engaging heritage in a new way, to facilitate civic engagement.

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