The Toronto gallery scene is in the midst of a major geographic transition, one that's witnessing a collective exodus away from storefront spaces on heavily trafficked streets like Dundas and Queen West to former industrial areas where the rent is cheaper and the space far more ample.
While the trend itself isn't new -- the rise of a gallery scene in and around Sterling Rd. in the Junction Triangle goes back a few years now -- it's become more diverse of late, with Dupont St. becoming the destination du jour.
Former Dundas West staple Cooper Cole has recently opened a large new space at Dupont and Gladstone, while Angell Gallery just formally announced that it's relocating to 1444 Dupont in September. You can also throw Neubacher Shor and Erin Stump Projects into the mix, who will head to the Dupont area in July and September respectively.
That Dupont has finally attracted a host of galleries shouldn't be surprising. In fact, what's surprising is that it took this long for the migration to occur. You can thank galleries like Katzman Contemporary and the soon-to-close Jessica Bradley for paving the way for this northerly transition.
Street traffic doesn't sell art -- or, at least not good art. These galleries can do much more with warehouse-style spaces on streets like Dupont and St. Helen's than they can on West Queen West. Just imagine the potential that the Tower Automotive Building poses for the new MOCCA. You can't occupy an abandoned industrial building on West Queen West anymore.
So while it'll become a little bit more difficult to plan a Toronto gallery hop, this migratory trend is actually a positive sign for the Toronto arts scene, which continues to prove its adaptability in a city that becomes ever more expensive.
Photo of the new Cooper Cole
by Derek Flack via blogTO