March 8 – 26, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 18, 1 – 4 pm
Artist in Attendance: March 12, 18, 19 & 26
The Red Rocket in the 6ix is a merge between a visual history of the “Red Rocket” spanning over one hundred years and the animals that call Toronto home. Included are animals that are found in Toronto (aka the 6ix) riding Toronto’s streetcars and making their way around the city. A series of mixed media photography and painting, explore a fantastical version of Toronto in this spectacular exhibition. Viewers will be left questioning the role of animals, and our relationship to them in Toronto’s concrete jungle. (Exhibition statement continues below)
The Red Rocket in the 6ix
The city of Toronto is Canada’s largest city. Presently, Toronto’s concrete jungle has a population of over 2.8 million people.
Toronto is nicknamed the “6ix” (coined by Drake) for two reasons; at one time, Toronto phone numbers only had 416 and 647 area codes, and also after the six cities that comprise the Greater Toronto Area as of January 1998, when the Municipality of
Toronto issued the amalgamation of the six boroughs of Toronto: Toronto, East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York.
Toronto’s streetcars are part of Toronto’s history and culture. Our transit system keeps the city moving and has for over one
hundred years. The history of Toronto’s streetcars dates back to 1861 with the Toronto Street Railway and has evolved over the
years with new technology and the needs of the city. The Toronto Transit Commission coined the streetcars, the “Red
Rocket” in the 1970s and the term has stuck ever since.
Toronto’s skyline includes nearly one hundred skyscrapers and it’s easy to get lost amongst the bricks and cement. With so much
development in the city, it is easy to forget that we share the city with nature and animals. Animals are navigating the city almost
as easily as people, and it would be wise to remember that they are important citizens as well.
This exhibition is a merge between the history of the “Red Rocket” and the animals that call Toronto home. I imagine the animals as any other Torontoninan, riding Toronto’s streetcars and making their way around the city. Included are animals that we see
everyday, that is well protected, but also you will find animals in a few pieces that are at risk of going extinct.
Cities provide an ideal environment for many animals to thrive as there is an abundance of food sources and shelter. As the city
grows, the animal’s natural habitat shrinks and we are forced to share space. We should promote an animal-friendly environment
in the city while working to protect the natural areas for those who cannot adapt to the concrete jungle. We are all living together in this beautiful city, let us ensure that we all thrive.
Throughout this exhibition, the photos of Toronto streetcars were taken by me during my daily travels throughout the city. If you
look closely, some paintings are of vintage streetcars dating back to the 1920s. Toronto’s streetcar lines started with only one line, the Yonge Line, but quickly expanded to over fifty throughout the years. Presently, there are only nine streetcar lines in Toronto as the subway line expands through the city. At one time streetcars were the only means of public transportation in Toronto. When we travel on the streetcar, we are experiencing a piece of history. If you do not frequent public transportation, you should take a ride on one of the streetcars at least once. One day all of the streetcars will be a part of Toronto’s past.
Rachel Stableford lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. She studied Visual Art at York University, specializing in painting and sculpture. She has shown in galleries across Ontario and her work can be found in private and commercial collections across
Canada. An active member of Propeller Art Gallery in Toronto, her work focuses on how we as humans are negatively impacting our natural environment and the effect on the ecosystem.