The Bentway Announces Spring / Summer Programming, May-August, 2019

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2019 • Please include in your listings/announcements


Spring / Summer 2019 Programming
Featuring A Large-Scale Art Exhibit,
A Site-Specific Dance Performance,
Recreational Activities, Food and Beverage,
and The Return of the Block Party!
May – August 2019

The Bentway is excited to launch the Spring / Summer 2019 Season of programming, informed by the theme Communitas: The Spirit of Community! Through the lens of culture and recreation, The Bentway explores Toronto’s changing landscape as well as opportunities to unite diverse communities through shared experiences.

Communitas brings together artists, urbanists, innovators, and community activators within the connective space of The Bentway to engage in radical experiments in collaboration, co-creation, and cohabitation: all of which are key to the future of Toronto.

“Does the sharing of spaces, assets and rituals lead to greater connection between people? What happens when individual needs and identities conflict with the collective?” asks Director of Programming, Ilana Altman (recently appointed with David Carey as Co-Executive Director of The Bentway). “With the theme of “Communitas” we wanted to explore some of the key questions that emerge from our increasingly populated urban landscapes. Who and what are considered part of the “community” is often hotly-contested based on identity and status, regional and personal politics, and ever-evolving civic histories.”

The Bentway’s Spring / Summer 2019 Season kicks off on Saturday, May 11, 2019 with New Monuments for New Cities, a joint art exhibition with five members of the High Line Network—a group of 19 North American infrastructure reuse projects. This ambitious touring public art exhibition will be displayed across The Bentway Skate Trail and in front of the Fort York Visitor Centre. It will showcase provocative works by 25 acclaimed artists from Toronto, Houston, Austin, Chicago, and New York that explore new monuments for today’s changing social and political landscape. The Bentway is the only Canadian partner and will open the exhibition on May 11 with Toronto’s first-ever Monuments Summit. The full exhibition of New Monuments for New Cities runs May 11 – August 30.

Toronto artists include: Coco Guzman, a visual artist whose work addresses the dynamics of exclusion and normalization; Life of a Craphead, the collaboration of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley, whose work spans performance art, film and curation; Susan Blight, an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker from Couchiching First Nation, Anishinaabe, Turtle Clan; Quentin VerCetty, whose work addresses issues of representation, immigration, and decolonization through the lens of afrofuturism; and An Te Liu, currently engaged in sculpture and installation work which explores issues of function, occupation and cultural coding.

The Monuments Summit (May 11) is a day-long public event that will introduce the public to the New Monuments exhibition, the contributing artists from several participating cities, and the issues the exhibition raises. The day will be structured around a series of conversations and participatory activities asking the public to reflect on the same set of questions posed to the artists, and to engage in a collective dialogue about issues of representation, civic histories and monumentality.

 On June 7 & 8, The Bentway presents Dérives, a site-specific commission that explores and celebrates the architecture of The Bentway, by acclaimed Canadian choreographer Noémie Lafrance. The performance invites performers and audiences to participate in an exercise in psychogeography, and emerges from collectively scripted instructions to be enacted by a group of 60 performers, and the audience, while traveling The Bentway. 

Noemie Lafrance is known for her innovative approach to public space interventions. Her company Sens Production has produced numerous site-specific works in public spaces in New York City and internationally. Lafrance’s work includes Agora, which reclaimed the abandoned 50,000 square feet McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Rapture, staged on the architecture of Frank Gehry. Her work was presented as part of the Whitney Biennial, Festival de Cannes, and Festival TransAmerique. She has choreographed for artists such as David Byrne, Feist, Justin Timberlake, Carly Rae Jepsen, Snow Patrol, and Amanda Palmer.

As part of the epic creation of Dérives, Lafrance will hold a series of public creative process workshops from March 23 – May 14, inviting people of all ages, including professional dancers, actors, members of the community at large, and future audience members to participate in round table discussions, collective writing exercises and group improvisations in movement and voice. (pre-registration required). For more information about the workshops and to register to participate, visit

The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival returns to The Bentway with A Nation Outside a Nation from Dutch artist Nadine Stijne. This long-term photographic project documents the Filipino labour migration from 2012–2014 in the Netherlands, Dubai, Sweden, the U.S. and Canada. A Nation Outside a Nation is co-presented by Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and The Bentway. The exhibition runs May 1- August 30.

The ever-popular Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf celebrating their 20th anniversary, also returns to The Bentway in May (May 25-26). This year’s events include an inspiring panel discussion on the past and future of Toronto’s development, a public reception for urban designer Ken Greenberg’s forthcoming publication, and tours of The Bentway site and New Monuments for New Cities.

Beginning in June and running through to August, The Bentway will be offering a variety of recreational activities for both residents and visitors to Toronto. The Bentway will be partnering with Tai Chi instructor Eti Greenberg to offer an intimate bi-weekly Tai Chi practice, and with Tribe Fitness for weekly large-scale outdoor Yoga classes. The Communal Table is a weekly dining experience featuring local chefs, food offerings as curated by the innovative Toronto food venue and pop-up hub, The Depanneur.

The Bentway will participate in the 2019 Indigenous Arts Festival, presented by the City of Toronto and Fort York National Historic Site, in June. The Indigenous Arts Festival is an annual celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music, dance, theatre, storytelling, film, crafts and food.

Save the date today for The Bentway Block Party; Sunday, July 7, Noon – 9pm. The Block Party will kick-off The Bentway’s popular Sunday Social music and open-air bar series. The Sunday Social series runs July 7-August 25 with the Exclaim! Stage featuring Toronto’s hottest musical acts on the coolest covered patio in town!

The Bentway
Spring / Summer 2019
May 1 – August 30, 2019
For more information, please visit
Social Media: 
FacebookTwitter and Instagram using @TheBentway and YouTube
#TOBentway    #Communitas
Access to The Bentway is Always Free and Accessible
Enjoy free WiFi Courtesy of Beanfield

The Bentway’s summer season is supported by the City of Toronto, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, Richard M. Ivey and the Ivey Commissioning Fund, Donald K. Johnson, O.C. & Anna McCowan-Johnson, Langford Family Foundation at Toronto Foundation, Northwood Family Office, and Diamond Corp.

New Monuments for New Cities is also supported by Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and Fort York National Historic Site.

Dérives is also supported by the Hal Jackman Foundation and Fort York National Historic Site.

Media Contact: FLIP PUBLICITY, 416.533.7710 • Carrie Sager,

The Bentway, Iconic Site (#5) by Sans façon. Photo by Nicole Pacampara.

click here to download media release (pdf)

About The Bentway
The Bentway is a unique and innovative public space that transforms 1.75km underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway into a new gathering place for our city’s growing population.

The Bentway knits together seven local neighbourhoods with over 70,000 residents, becoming a gateway to the waterfront, while providing access to important attractions and destinations – from Fort York National Historic Site, Ontario Place and Exhibition Place to Harbourfront Centre and the CN Tower. The Bentway offers year-round activities and events, including gardens, a skate trail, recreational amenities, public markets, public art, special exhibitions, festivals, theatre and musical performances, and more. Since opening to the public in January 2018, The Bentway has welcomed over 150,000 visitors to experience free year-round programming including public art installations, performances, festivals, recreational activities, and much more. 

The initial phase of The Bentway stretches from Strachan Avenue in the west to just east of Bathurst Street underneath the Gardiner Expressway, this section of The Bentway is located on the lands of Fort York National Historic Site, recognized by the Government of Canada as a site of national significance. The Bentway is maintained, operated, and programmed by The Bentway Conservancy. The Bentway is a proud member of the High Line Network, an international network of projects that transform underutilized infrastructure into new urban landscapes.

About Fort York National Historic Site
Fort York National Historic Site is one of 10 Toronto History Museums operated by the City of Toronto. Since 1793, Fort York has been an important military location and is where Toronto was founded as an urban place. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, this 43-acre heritage conservation district is home to Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings. Fort York offers permanent exhibits and immersive multimedia displays at the Visitor Centre, ongoing programming and events, site tours, military displays, historic cooking demonstrations, and the annual Indigenous Arts Festival.

Fort York National Historic Site is also home to the first phase of The Bentway. For more information, visit

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