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60th Anniversary Archive

In 2021, we celebrated Toronto Outdoor Art Fair’s Diamond Jubilee by paying homage to the beginnings of TOAF by sharing the history of this beloved art event, founded by philanthropists Murray and Marvelle Koffler. It is a fascinating origin story. We have put together excerpts on our blog from our history book, The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition: Its History from 1961 to 2007, including tales from the founders, early organizers and artists. We are honoured that the members of the Koffler Family joined as Honorary Chairs and lead patrons of the 60th Anniversary. It is with great pride that we continue the legacy of TOAF with unwavering commitment from supporters, public funders, fellow arts organizations, and the community of artists and art lovers.

TOAF is proud to have found ways to continue delivering our mandate and serving the community with hope and joy despite the challenges of the pandemic. 

We celebrated our 60th Anniversary (digitally and in-person) with special feature exhibitions, showcases, and programming, commemorating our past, present, and looking forward to the future. 

From Artist Chats, Studio Tours, Live Tours, Art Talks that featured conversations with prolific collectors, and Special 60th Anniversary Exhibitions, there was something for everyone to enjoy at TOAF60.

TOAF is incredibly grateful to the artists, programming, community and media partners, public funders, many generous donors, our committed board of directors, and more than anything, the agile team of TOAF — for their resilience and admirable spirit of collaboration. 

We hope you enjoy exploring the memories of TOAF’s 60th Anniversary.


Thank you to our supporters!

TOAF's 60th anniversary celebrations are made possible by the support of the Government of Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of Ontario, Business for the Arts, the City of Toronto and Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation. We also thank the Lindy Green Family Charitable Foundation for supporting our awards and access initiatives, including the Flavio Belli Curator Award and Art Encounters program. Special thanks to the 60th Anniversary Lead Patron, the Koffler Family Foundation.

Learn more about our Donors & Supporters



Special 60th Anniversary Projects

 

 

Art Nest - Coming July 2022

TOAF is thrilled to present Art Nest, an exciting new initiative that will provide artists with an opportunity that will challenge them to experiment, take risks and push the boundaries of their particular practice beyond the limits of the 10 x 10 square foot tent context. Art Nest will present commissioned public art installations of 6 emerging artists at Nathan Phillips Square in July 2022. Selected artists are developing their work with the curatorial support of Rui Pimenta, Co-Artistic Director and Co-curator of Art Spin, a Toronto based art organization that has been presenting a multidisciplinary range of site-specific programming in unique and alternative spaces since 2009.

The Art Nest Project is presented in partnership with ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022 and is supported by the Toronto Arts Council with funding from the City of Toronto.

BEING+

Curated by Abisola Oni, recipient of the Flavio Belli Curator Award, BEING+ is an exhibition of works that situate the self within society by artists selected from the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair's Emerging Artists roster: Michelle Cieloszczyk, Biba Esaad, Miles Ingrassia, Noah Lima, Roxana Parsa and Michelle Rodrigues.

 

 

 

60 Works / 60 Years at Market Gallery

Public Tours: May 26th & July 7th

In celebration of #TOAF60, Toronto Outdoor Art Fair and the City’s Market Gallery presents 60 Works / 60 Years, an exhibition that showcases 60 artworks acquired by the City from TOAF over the past 40 years through the Mayor's Purchase Award.

In this unique exhibition, visitors are invited to view interpretations of the City’s ever-evolving cultural landscape through the eyes of its artists. The show delves into the history of TOAF, the award, and TOAF’s relationship with the City of Toronto through archival photographs, video footage and interviews with founders, curators and artists.

60 Over Sixty

To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, Canadian artists, sixty years of age and older, were invited to showcase and celebrate their work. 60 Over Sixty exhibition is still on view for you to enjoy.

“60 Over Sixty is a celebration of life-long dedication and creativity. Hopefully, it provides visitors with an opportunity to discover senior talents yet unfamiliar and for others, an occasion to re-visit inspiring artists and their timeless work. Thank you to the team of Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, the gallerists who generously assisted, and to the artists who contributed!” 
- Flavio Belli, Curator

Toronto Star's article about the visionary beginnings of TOAF

 

 

TOAF60 x ArtworxTO Hub EAST

In partnership with ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022, TOAF hosted a group of artists at Scarborough Town Centre Outdoor Patio on October 1-3, 2021.

TOAF60 at stackt market

In 1961, TOAF started as a humble and small gathering at the parking lot of the Four Seasons Motor Hotel on Jarvis Street, bringing artists and art lovers together in a public space. In 2021, we went back to our roots with a small selection of TOAF60 artists at stackt market from July 2-11. Small, distanced, fitting for our times!


Art Talks, Tours & Performances

In a typical year, TOAF offers the public additional opportunities for deeper engagement beyond the art-filled tents. This year, we continued our virtual format with an additional physical showcase at stackt market and more online Art Talks, Artist Chats, Studio Tours, and Live Tours for the public to enjoy at home.

 

 

TOAF fosters a welcoming environment for thought-provoking conversations about contemporary trends and current issues among community leaders in the arts world. We collaborate with programming partners on creating dynamic and engaging art talks that offer insights into artists' works, art collecting and contemporary art topics.  

Emerging Artists to Watch with Moderator Glodeane Brown, Culture Fancier

6Q's with StreetARToronto with Artists Jessey Pacho and Elicser Elliott

Craft Talks: Meet the Makers
In partnership with Craft Ontario

Art Collectors in Conversation with Rudy Adler
Co-presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Art Collectors in Conversation with Aaron Milrad
Co-presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Art Collectors in Conversation with Hirbod Human & Farnoosh Talaee
Co-presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

Glimpsing the Future, Vol. 3
Co-presented by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

 

Join a casual conversation between TOAF60 artists. Discover more about what excites and inspires them about their own and each other’s works.

Sidia Atabales-Schnitzler & Kyungmin Kate Lee

Shevon Lewis & Gizem Candan

Deloris Chen & Artist Jinming Li

StreetARToronto Artists Al "RUNT" Currie & Wenting Li

StreetARToronto Artists Cedar Eve & Nishina Shapwaykeesic-Loft

Craft Talks - Meet the Makers
Co-presented by Craft Ontario, with Artists Thomas Aitken, Kate Hyde, Stephanie Singh, Yaw Tony

 

Studio Tours

Take a tour and go behind the scenes of TOAF60 artists’ creative spaces. Learn more about them and their work as they personally walk you through their own studios and spaces.

 

Studio Tour with Kim Paquet, Nadira Narine and Olivia Mae Sinclair, in partnership with Harbourfront Centre

Watch Part 1        Watch Part 2

 
 
 

 

Live Tours

Take a tour of the TOAF60 in-person showcases at stackt market (July 2-11, 2021) and Scarborough Town Centre (October 1-3, 2021).

 

Performances

In addition to providing hundreds of contemporary visual artists a space to showcase their works, TOAF also presents free site-specific performances for the public to enjoy and expand their experiences with art.

Live Painting with Elicser Elliott

Co-presented by StreetARToronto (StART), with Elicser Elliott

Toronto is home to some of the best mural and street artists in the world. These artists and artworks have transformed Toronto’s public streets, laneways and parks into a city-wide art gallery! Watch an action-packed live painting performance by Elicser Elliott, one of Toronto’s beloved graffiti artists.

Live Painting with StreetARToronto Artists

Co-presented by StreetARToronto (StART), captured by Kalmplex 

Toronto-based artist, legend, archive master, kreative warrior and lover of life Kalmplex documented living painting by some of Toronto's beloved street artists at StreetARToronto's Landsdowne underpass project.


Exhibitions

StreetARToronto Photography Featured Exhibition

Enjoy the Front Line Heroes Exhibit, then take this booklet on a self-guided tour to explore Toronto at your own pace, and reflect on and celebrate with us the heroes who have helped us through the global coronavirus pandemic.

Participating Artists: Douglas Brown, Sarah Cannon, Philip Cote, Al "RUNT" Currie, Wenting Li, Keitha Keeshig-Tobias

Tangled Art + Disability

Curated by Adam Cohoon. Tangled Art + Disability is a registered charitable organization dedicated to enhancing opportunities for artists with disabilities to contribute to the cultural fabric of our society.

Participating Artists: Valentin Brown, Michel Dumont, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Bruce Horak, Sab Meynert 

 

TOAF60 in Virtual Reality

In partnership with Art Gate VR and curated by Daniel St-Amant and #Hashtag Gallery, TOAF presented a selection of artworks from the TOAF60 roster of artists in Virtual Reality (VR). TOAF audiences were invited to the virtual opening reception in #Hashtag Gallery’s VR gallery environment. Through VR headsets or simply through desktops, visitors from all across the globe were able to tour the VR collaboration and view the curated showcase, featuring over 30 of Toronto's top artists, in celebration of TOAF’s 60th anniversary and the future of Art Fairs. 


Curated Collections

A dynamic group of seasoned and emerging artists, collectors and curators have put together a collection of their inspirations to bring new perspectives to art lovers. Enjoy browsing these collections and hope they inspire you to find works of art for your surroundings.


TOAF60 Award Winners

Together with our committed and generous community of donors, we continued our celebration of artistic excellence by presenting $40,000+ cash and in-kind awards to our TOAF60 artists.

Watch the Awards Ceremony

 

Hear from the award winners...

"The impact of this award is indescribable. For the last two years I have been fighting a chronic illness. When The Toronto Outdoor Art Fair began, I was unexpectedly in the hospital. I was released just in time for the last few days and the news of receiving this incredible award for my Forest Story Boxes. The timing and emotional thrill of receiving this award has been a turning point in my journey back to health and full time work in my studio. The recognition gave me renewed vigour and validation after so many months working alone. It was such a great example of a silver lining! The award has given me the confidence to reach further and apply for new opportunities. "
- Jennifer-Anne Kelly, Award Winner of TOAF60 Best of 3D Works

"I was grateful to be able to participate in TOAF’s online exhibit during a time when many aspects of the art world had been put on hold due to the pandemic. Receiving Honourable Mention really helped me to further engage with the fair’s audience in an online space. The gift card to Gwartzman's Art Supplies was an added bonus!
I see TOAF as an invaluable platform for artists to engage with a large number of people, including collectors, curators and other artists. My favourite thing about TOAF is the diversity of its exhibitors, with artists making work in a wide range of mediums, coming from different stages in their careers and many different backgrounds."
- Steven Restagno, Award Winner of TOAF60 Honourable Mention Painting

 

"TOAF has been integral to my growth as an artist since my very first experience exhibiting there as a student in 2004, and throughout my time as a Harbourfront Resident. Simply having all of those “eyes” on your work  is a powerful experience that only ever leads to great things.
TOAF is a leader in representing Fine Craft in Canada. It’s an annual touchstone to reconnect with the maker community across the country. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities that TOAF provides."
- Lindsay MacDonald, Award Winner of TOAF60 Best of Jewellery Award


TOAF60 Anniversary Wishes

The community wishes TOAF a happy 60th birthday.

 

Mayor John Tory

“It is my pleasure to extend greetings and a warm welcome to everyone participating virtually in the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF). Congratulations to Canada's largest and longest-running outdoor art fair, TOAF, as it celebrates its 60th anniversary of helping people appreciate, access and participate in the arts. The City has been proud to host this event on Nathan Phillips Square for many years, and I am glad to see the festival has found a way to continue during these challenging times.
Thank you for bringing visual artists and art makers from across Canada and art lovers in our city together in a welcoming and inclusive environment, showcasing contemporary art for the past six decades.
The arts are an integral component of Toronto's cultural and economic fabric that enrich and enhance the lives of many. Toronto’s arts and culture sector has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and moving forward with events like TOAF not only brings a sense of hope and joy to people’s lives but it also is our way of supporting the talent that is within our city.”

The Koffler Family

“Congratulations, Toronto Outdoor Art Fair! You are celebrating 60 phenomenal years of promoting artists, building careers and exposing Toronto to the wonderful benefits of art and community life. The Koffler Family is thrilled to be a part of this organization and to continue the legacy of Murray and Marvelle Koffler.”

 

The Board

“It’s been a challenging year for TOAF and for all our artists and colleagues, no doubt. But the joy is that it has also been a wonderful year, a year of stretching our boundaries and skills, and finding that we can fulfill our mission in new and exciting ways.”

MPP Chris Glover, Spadina-Fort York

“I want to congratulate the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair (TOAF) on your 60th Anniversary!
That's 60 years of annually connecting 130,000 art lovers with hundreds of artists. Through performances, installations, learning sessions and children's activities, the fair nurtures the love of art!
Art is healing, and after this very difficult year, we all need the healing power of art. I want to thank all of the organizers, the artists and art lovers who have made this event a success for 60 years.
TOAF is a reminder that a life surrounded by beauty is possible.”


Press & Media Highlights

TOAF’s online and in-person showcase in 2021 succeeded in enhancing the sense of community we witness at the Fair each year.

With strong partnerships with Designlines Magazine, ClassicalFM, JazzFM, BlogTO, CBC Arts, Canadian Art, NOW Magazine, Globe & Mail, and welcoming new publishers to our portfolio, the 60th Anniversary was celebrated far and wide.

In 2021, TOAF received over 15 million impressions from media coverage, a few of them listed below.

See the energetic buzz of the online Fair come alive on Instagram #TOAF60.

 

Television Coverage:

  • CityNews at 6
  • Breakfast Television
  • Toronto.Citynews.ca
  • CP24 Newsflow
  • Global Evening News
  • FairChildTV.com

Radio Coverage:

  • Radio-Canada interview with TOAF60 painting artist Julien Kandolo

60th Anniversary Lead Patron

Public Funders

Special Initiative Supporters

Major Award Partners

Award Supporters

Programming Partners