Function at the Junction!

Ward 13 Councillor Bill Saundercook, dressed to impress

This weekend, Dundas West from Keele westward to Quebec Avenue was the stage of the Junction Arts Festival, featuring the work of local and international musicians, visual artists, performance artists and writers. This year’s festival incorporated the Junction’s centennial celebrations, and marks the festival’s 16th anniversary.

The story of the evolution of the Junction Arts Festival mirror’s its recent transformation as a neighbourhood. The festival started when a group of artists known at the time as “Local Motive” approached the Business Improvement Area in 1992 to ask for support to start a site-specific installation project within the district. “The purpose of the festival at that time,” says festival co-founder and former BIA member Piera Pugliese, “was to expose new artists in non-traditional spaces. We had so many vacancies at the time that it was important for the public to actually get into those spaces to see what the possibility might be.” The following year, the event continued in the form of a small, juried art show that was held at a framing store on Dundas West near Keele.

Kids make the most of the remnants of their chalk drawings.

The continued popularity of the festival led to the formation of the Junction Forum for Art and Culture, which officially became recognized as a non-profit group in 2004. As the festival expanded and the neighbourhood ran out of vacancies as its economy grew, art was presented in different local businesses. Year by year, the festival’s body and nature of work has evolved and grown into the bustling four-day-long event it is today. What began as an effort to showcase the potential of the neighbourhood’s empty buildings is now a celebration of their increased use and the Junction’s resilience as a community.



  1. As much as I enjoyed being on a ‘car-free’ street filled with happy strolling families in this lovely neighbourhood, I was extremely disappointing to see not one, but two car sponsors with massive displays. One of them turned a side street into an on-street dealership of sorts, with a test drive area included. In the same half block there was a third car on display – an ad wrapped SUV parked between booths.
    My verdict: arts fest sells out to auto industry. Shame.

  2. I always feel sorry for them as they always seem to get crappy weather.

  3. A Toronto neighbourhood main street sure looks better without hydro wires…

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