Toronto Double Take

How many times have you seen something in Toronto and had to do a double take?  In a city this big, with so many people, filled with so much art, culture, architecture and advertising hitting you every which way, it’s understandably so.

Now, I have this one double take that doesn’t seem to go away, probably because I pass by it so frequently.  It’s located on the north side of Wellington Street, just east of John (right across from the CBC building).  It’s a work of art composed of 19 small bronze sculpted creatures set on the grass and in the middle of them is a curtain with a dish.  The best way to explain it is to just show you a picture of it:

Remembered Sustenance

I do a double take each time I walk by.  Sometimes I wonder, what the heck are those little creatures?  Rabbits?  Pigs with long ears? I also wonder what they are doing there.  Where are these “bunnies” going? And then I think, what’s with the dish?  Is it feeding time?  There’s a curtain too…but they are outside.   Are there talented juggling bunnies about to perform behind the curtain? At times, I see little kids (ok, sometimes adults too, depending how late it is), sitting on the creatures or posing with them for photo opps.  I wonder what they think they are sitting on?  Have you ever wondered about this piece, too?  Well, I decided to do some digging…

Here’s a little more about the piece by Cynthia Hurley (Short), entitled Remembered Sustenance and how it came about, taken from an excerpt of City of Toronto’s Art Walk guide:

“The inspiration for Remembered Sustenance is drawn from the location of the sculpture’s site. Adjacent to an outdoor daycare playground the work has been created to convey the sense of playfulness and whimsy associated with children’s stories and games.

A group of bronze, non-specific-looking cartoon-like animals appear to be migrating in procession across the lawn, towards, then away from a curtain drawn by two birds. Below the curtain, a plate set in the ground holds a negative impression of the shape of a small ballerina that might be found in a child’s music box. This element represents the remembered experiences of childhood that the artist suggests can sustain us throughout our lives.

Open and abundant with possibility of meaning, it is the artist’s stated intention that the work should most of all be enjoyed by children.”

Remembered Sustenance - Double Take

See, now I would never have gotten all that just by looking at the piece.  It’s so abstract.  Not just a bunch of bunny rabbits running loose on the street looking for food.  Not. At. All.  Now, I can look at the piece and understand the artist’s deeper meaning and its inspiration.  OK, I still don’t know what the animals are.  Rabbits? Pigs? Alien creatures?  But then, art is very subjective.

And now, I can just have fun watching others walk by and do a double take.


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