Gibraltar Point Changing Station, Toronto Island
Mixed media installation
This work is the latest in a series of installations I have undertaken at Gibraltar Point on the westernmost tip of Toronto Island. The site for these pieces is, in all cases, a mid 20th century changing station used by swimmers from nearby Hanlan’s Beach. The exposed brick construction of the building and its whitewashed exterior allow for the placement of objects in relief on the projections, 600 in all. Over the years I have displayed pieces of wood, a collection of balls, photographs of now demolished houses from the area, old Bic lighters and, most recently, stones gathered from the surrounding region. The lakeside location of the facility means that it and the surrounding landscape are subject to extreme wind and wave action over the course of the year. The Toronto Island beaches are ‘rich’ with found objects, both flotsam and jetsam. The small rocks I find tend to be extremely varied in type coming from the dissolution of a nearby break wall and the products of what has washed up from city construction sites over the winter. My goal in displaying what I have found is to encourage people to focus on what is around them, on the beauty of natural stone and in the case of the plastic items to see the amount of waste that we generate in the process of living. It is useful to see how much of what is produced for our use ends up in our waterways and littering the beaches we use. This latest work, Installation #13 is in some sense a field study of local geology and is also a nod to artist, Robert Smithson who might have regarded the Gibraltar Point Changing Station as the perfect ‘site’ and also ‘non-site’.