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Past STORIES / A closer look at the Past, Present and Future of Parkdale

A closer look at the Past, Present and Future of Parkdale

RT Collective enlisted a team of local filmmakers to look at one of Toronto’s most fascinating neighbourhoods from over a dozen unique perspectives.

Group watching a film screening

(Image Source: Priam Thomas)

Be it a biographical tale about growing up in a Chicken restaurant, an expression of black identity or a meditation on the Parkdale pigeon, Past/Present/Future looked at Parkdale from all perspectives. A team of filmmakers have created a series of short videos 4-5 minutes in length, contemplating the history, present moment, and possible futures of the Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale. Using documentary, personal narrative, and experimental formats, the project explored the west-end neighbourhood as a physical, psychological, emotional, and political space, highly contested, ever evolving, and always in question. The films of Past/Present/Future focus on two primary elements: An emphasis on personal narratives as well as questions surrounding the future of Parkdale.

This year’s edition of Myseum Intersections challenged conventional narratives of life in Toronto by taking a revisionist lens at conventional narratives and ways of seeing. Past/Present/Future, one of our seventeen events from the festival, showcased the various ways one can look at a neighbourhood in flux.

Check out three of the selected films from the festival below, and feel free to check out RT Collective’s website for information on upcoming events.


By Debra Anderson and Suzy Richter


Debra Anderson is a Jewish queer cis Femme author of the novel, Code White. She was the winner of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s ‘Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers.’ Her work has been widely anthologized and she facilitates Creative Writing Workshops. Inside Out commissioned Debra to create a Super 8 animated short (Don’t Touch Me), which screened at MIX NYC and internationally. www.debraanderson.ca

Suzy Richter has been involved in the Toronto art scene since the 1980s as a musician, cabaret performer and independent filmmaker. Her musical projects have included The Nancy Sinatras, Some Do Split and Claudia’s Cage. As a queer-centric filmmaker, working exclusively in Super 8, Suzy has produced and directed four independent films all of which have been screened at festivals throughout North America and Europe.


By Duncan Alexander Cameron Stewart


Shot on 8mm film, this work documents the activity of pigeons at the corner of King Street West and Tyndall Avenue. It examines their habits; where they feed, where they perch, and where they find solace on the rooftops and in the sky.


Duncan Alexander Cameron Stewart is a writer, filmmaker, and visual artist living and working in Toronto. His work deals with themes of home, longing, and sentimentality. He graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Blackness in Parkdale

By Rodney Diverlus


Simply, an improvisational exchange between this (still nameless) lampshade-headed persona and the camera. We took in and held space in some of the (shrinking) Black infrastructure in Parkdale. The limited sites of convergence. Since 2006, an emigration; Black families leaving. Relocating. Change of address, change of postal code. Change to make space. A city in ‘development’; new neighbourhoods, mass emigration. $8.50 lattes and manicured dogs; microgreens and yuppy dreams. Old days remembered; the present celebrated.


Rodney Diverlus is a dancer, choreographer, activist, and curator. His work has been featured in various festivals and showcases, including the Footsteps Across Canada Showcase, Annual Alberta Dance Festival, New Voices Festival, 60×60 Festival, Cadence Ballet Company, Fashion Arts Toronto, Fresh Blood Festival, Toronto and Hamilton Fringe Festivals, Culture Jam Show, and various residencies. In addition to creative work, Rodney is an activist and organizer. As a co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Toronto, Rodney is on the steering body for Canada’s branch of the global #blacklivesmatter movement. There his work is focused on addresses anti-Black racism, police brutality, and state-produced violence.

RT Collective has been presenting programs in Toronto for the past six years, but this film festival is the first departure from their regular curatorial work. Previously, RT Collective has put on “In Your Pocket”, a series of queer-focused short films shot on smartphones, and Screen:Moves, a series of dance films presented in collaboration with Dancemakers Centre for Creation.

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