Who holds the right to decide what gets remembered? Conversely, the right to forget? ChinaTOwn tells the forgotten stories, willful omissions, and accumulation of silences that exist beyond Toronto’s official heritage definition of its Chinatown neighbourhoods. The project aims to put personal stories and individual memory in conversation with state-sanctioned narratives. Each of the projects featured in ChinaTOwn explores the idea that all that is written is not necessarily all that is, and what is remembered extends far beyond what is recorded. Through a conceptual exhibition, participatory workshops, a symposium and roundtable discussion, we seek to uncover untold stories and build a collective, intersectional vision for the future heritage(s) of Toronto’s Chinatowns.
What could the heritage future of chinatown look like? The ChinaTOwn Symposium, presented by Prof. Linda Zhang of Ryerson School of Interior Design at FCAD, will begin the discussion by looking at the history and origins of architectural motifs that we now recognize in chinatowns today. From the first Chinatown in San Francisco, to the world’s fairs that fascinated visitors with false portrayals of Chinese culture, the first panel will explore exactly what defines the “Chinatown-ness” that we know today, and how we arrived at that definition. The second panel will introduce some of the realities and challenges faced by Toronto’s existing chinatowns today, as businesses are forced to move out and new policies affect the livelihood of these communities. These findings will be presented as part of our speakers’ bodies of work, art and activism. Throughout the symposium we will connect back to our exhibit installations to help us respond and develop what a heritage future might look like for chinatowns in Toronto.
Speakers: Linda Zhang, Erika Kim, Morris Lum, Shellie Zhang, Howard Tam
Moderated by Biko Mandela Gray
Decolonize ChinaTOwn – Storytelling Event
When we talk about the displacement of Chinatown, we also have to talk about how these communities are often complicit in settler colonialism. How can we strengthen our on-going collective responsibility and commitment towards Indigenous sovereignty?
Decolonize ChinaTOwn is an indigenous-led storytelling, memory carrying, and knowledge sharing event for immigrant settler communities to deeper understand our relationship to Tkaronto. After a land acknowledgement delivered by Tea Base & Friends of Chinatown TO (FOCT), this event will go beyond a token land acknowledgement and explore what gratitude can look like for Indigenous peoples, communities, nations; past, present, future, and the land specifically in context to Chinatown.
Linda Zhang (she/her)
Linda is a Chinese-Canadian artist, registered architect, advanced operations drone pilot and educator based in Toronto. Her research areas include memory, cultural heritage, and identity as they are indexically embodied through emergent technologies, matter, and material processes. She is an assistant professor at Ryerson SID and a principal at Studio Pararaum. She is the recipient of the 2020 Artist in Residence at the European Ceramic Workcentre (EKWC), the 2019 Multicultural Fellowship at NCECA, the 2017-2018 Boghosian Fellowship at Syracuse University SOA as well as a 2017 Fellowship at the Berlin Center for Art and Urbanistics.
Tea Base is a speakeasy living room tucked away in the heart of Chinatown Centre (in the basement, behind the stage). This space is a physical manifestation of the politicized DIY community arts space we wished for our younger selves. We are a place for sharing; all in-between sips of tea. Driven by the need for accessible spaces for artists and young professionals, Tea Base promotes community engagement by hosting events, cultural programming, exhibitions, and workshops related to issues of displacement and healing for the East and South-East Asian diasporas. We are always in motion, always questioning what it means to imagine the greater unknown and how we can build it together.
Cecil Community Centre
Cecil Community Centre is a not-for-profit, multi-service neighbourhood centre that offers a broad range of recreational, educational, social, cultural and capacity-building programs to local area residents. For almost 40 years, the Centre has played a vital role in the lives of community members of all ages. Our centre partners with a variety of organizations to provide programs and services for children, youth, adults and seniors. Programs include a Family Resource Program, Community Drop-in, After School Program, Pilates, Senior’s Nutritional Program and Fitness classes, Youth Program, English language instruction for newcomers, and Sunday Children’s Program. The Centre is an accessible, multi-functional facility that provides program and activity spaces to the community at large.
Georgia Barrington (she/her)
Georgia is a second year mature student at the Ryerson School of Interior Design. She received a BA in English Literature and History from Dalhousie University in 2010 and has worked in various roles in Toronto’s non-profit and cultural sector.
Amy Yan (she/her)
Amy is a third year student at the Ryerson School of Interior Design. She received the RSID Chair’s Citation for Creativity in 2018.
Megan Barrientos (she/her)
Megan has found her passion to design memorable projects for others and believes that the best ideas are rooted in one’s culture and values. Studying in her final year at Ryerson School of Interior Design, and recipient of many Design Awards throughout her education, Megan works hard to play hard and enjoys her time with the ones she loves most.
Jenna Buchwitz (she/her)
Jenna is a fourth-year design student at Ryerson. She is interested in integrating art, design, and technology through her work inside school and beyond. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, she came to Toronto in 2016 to pursue interior design. Jenna was awarded the RSID Chair’s Citation for Creativity in 2017.
Conan Chan (he/him)
Conan is a fourth-year Interior Design student at Ryerson University. He is interested in working with his hands and finding creative solutions to everyday problems. Conan was a recipient of the Best in first year award and currently an associate in the 2020 RSID Year End Show committee.
Katherine Fazari (she/her)
Katherine is studying for her final year of Interior Design at Ryerson University. Her interests in the design field include interior design, furniture design, art, and architure. She takes inspiration from observing the environment she surrounds that helped create inspiration for past and present projects.
Jasmenica Filice (she/her)
Jasmenica is currently completing her final year in the Interior Design Program at Ryerson University. With an intuitive eye for perspective, her background in design is not limited to interiors and extends further into establishing creative ideas.
Joanne John (she/her)
Joanne is a fourth-year student at Ryerson University. Her passion in the fields of interior and graphic design have largely influenced the way she thinks and sees the world. Her work ethos is founded on designing spaces inspired by people, their interactions and creating a community culture.
Duyen Nguyen (she/her)
Duyen loves to design and always finds herself trying new processes of creating and fabricating, from embroidery to furniture to interiors. She is currently studying her fourth year at Ryerson’s School of Interior Design, however, will continue to be inspired by a wide array of different ways of working.
Tammy Ou (she/her)
Tammy is a fourth-year interior design student at Ryerson University. Tammy has always been passionate about visual art, design and architecture. She has a background in classical piano as well, and has worked to develop all these passions together.
Soon Chul Park (he/his)
Soon is a fourth year studying interior design at Ryerson University. He originally studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo but switched programs wanting to be in design related field. Born in South Korea, immigrated to Canada in 2003.
Sally Park (she/her)
Sally is a fourth year student at Ryerson School of Interior Design. She’s a visual art and fashion enthusiast, her curiosity towards one of her elective courses she took during high school has brought her to this program and she wishes to continue with her studies as well as her career experience to specialize in exhibit and commercial design.
Victoria Ruccella (she/her)
Victoria is currently completing her final year in the Interior Design Program at Ryerson University. Her passion for design stems from an interest in creating unique spaces that blend both aesthetics and function, while further exploring the creation of designs in graphics and material art.
Nicole Tetelbaun (she/her)
Nicole is at the prospect of designing after completing her final year at Ryerson School of Interior Design. Her skills and creativity go beyond the idea of minimalistic interior spaces to modifying outside the norms. As long as she can remember, Nicole has been inspired to articulate a unity between humans, nature and architecture.
Maria Tevyants (she/her)
Maria is a fourth-year interior design student at Ryerson. Her interests lie in more than just interior design – she is also passionate about architecture, graphic design, and photography, and believes that these disciplines work together often. Maria received the RHSA Media Arts Award in 2016 for showing promise in the preceding subjects.
Robert Tin (he/him)
Robert is constantly figuring out who he is. Born on a Christmas Eve, Robert explores complicated issues and logically devises solutions in his work. He enjoys the poetry of expressing philosophical ideas in spatial design. He also enjoys munching on wings while watching professional wrestling on TV.
Min Xie (she/her)
Min is a fourth-year student at Ryerson University. While inspiration can come to her from anywhere, she is strongly interested in hospitality and residential design. Also, she is colourist, she loves use colour to highlight the space and hand sketching to show the render effect.
Sandy Zhao (she/her)
Sandy is currently a fourth-year student at Ryerson University. With her interest in exploring galleries of art and design and the limitless freedom of creativity she has decided to pursue her studies in interior design.
Biko Mandela Gray
In partnership with:
ChinaTOwn: Future Heritage(s) of Toronto’s Chinatowns
17 Apr 2020
Cecil Community Centre
58 Cecil Street
April 3, 7 – 9:30pm
April 3, 7-9:30pm
April 4, 1-3pm (docent-led)
April 5, 11:30am – 4pm
April 6, 4-9:30pm
April 7, 12:30-6:30pm
April 8, 10am – 2pm
April 10, CLOSED for Good Friday
April 11, 1-5pm
April 12, 10am – 5pm
April 13, CLOSED for Easter Monday
April 14, 2:30-6:30pm
April 15, 10am – 2pm
April 17, 4:30-9:30pm
DECOLONIZE CHINATOWN – STORYTELLING EVENT:
April 11, 2-4pm
April 5, 1-4pm
– All projects are wheelchair accessible, but the degree of accessibility of engagement does vary from project to project.
– If you require any additional assistance, or require additional accommodation(s), please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to accommodate.
– In case of any changes or cancellation we will notify you via email well in advance.
– Video and photography will be taken at this venue.