Human River is a Toronto Public Space Committee campaign that started in 2005. The aim of Human River is to create community events that celebrate the buried Garrison Creek by exploring its past, re-envisioning its future and discussing its current stormwater issues. Over the years Human River has worked towards this aim through a range of eclectic events including: art shows, film screenings, arts and education workshops, an arts education program in schools and an annual storytelling parade. During the parade, participants wear blue, becoming a human river and bringing the Garrison Creek back to life!
Highlights over the years include:
Human River 2007
- ~ Human River expands its program after receiving funds through the Community Program for Stormwater Management, a program of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the City of Toronto
- ~ Human River Education: An exciting initiative that used art and community participation to engage students in local history and environmental issues. Five artists worked with students in schools surrounding the Garrison Creek. Together they transformed stories of the creek into performances, music created on student made drums, masks, sculptures and drawings for the Human River Walk and/or Art Show.
- ~ Human River Art: A week long art show at Fort York that featured works from established community artists and local students.
- ~ Human River Walk: On October 21, a parade of blue pedestrians traced the path of the Garrison, experiencing performances from: LEAF, RiverSides, Mr. Verg’s Verminous Puppet Show and our five Education Artists.
- ~ Human River Film: At Trinity Bellwoods, we held an outdoor screening of the documentary Rivers and Tides in late August. This was a spectacular event that brought together filmswelike, Friends of Trinity Bellwoods, Drummers in Exile, the Raging Grannies and HTO to go, a program of City of Toronto Water.
- ~ Art and Ecology Workshops: Four workshops held before and after the Human River walk combined crafts and ecology as participants made puppets and learned about local water issues. Partners included: RiverSides and Lost Rivers.
Human River 2006
~ Human River expands to include an outdoor art exhibit and craft workshop at Dufferin Grove.
~ Performances by volunteer artists added a sense of whimsy to the event. The artists involved were: ringleader Friendly Rich making unique music with participants; the Spirit Wind Drummers, whose playing created a sense of place and connection; clowns Morrow and Jasp, who demonstrated how to dig up a bridge; and Cardboard Heart’s flock of ghost birds who silently crossed our paths at Stanley Park.
~ Explorations of the creek’s history by Bernd Baldus, local organization LEAF who told us about Toronto’s tree landscape 200 years ago and Richard from Muddy York Tours who revealed a past when cholera was rampant.
~ Other participants included [murmur] and the Toronto Green Community’s Lost River campaign.
Human River 2005
~ Human River comes to life!
~ Starting at St. Clair our river streamed along the path of the buried creek, creating crafts at Christie Pits, flowing over a bridge railing at Harbord and pooling at Stanley Park (just north of the creek’s mouth) where Sierra Club ran a barbecue and kids’ entertainment.
~ The success of this event came through the collaboration of TPSC coordinators, volunteers, Garrison guide Bernd Baldus, Lost Rivers, the Sierra Club and blue clad participants!