Images from sidespacegallery: American Elm
Everyone has their favourite tree; one that they pass en route to work or school or in the neighbour's front yard. Toronto has its own fair share and they are immortalized in a new exhibition: Vincenzo Pietropoalo's Toronto Tree Portraits. In an interesting twist, local celebrities and artists were asked to chose and describe their favourites which were then lovingly photographed.
A musician loved a willow tree on a stranger's garden, seen from a passing streetcar. She said "To have a willow tree in one's front yard seemed incredibly fortuitous to me, I have never met anyone who lives there, but I am sure they know how lucky they are." Atom Egoyan, famous filmmaker, walks past a white ash every day and loves to watch it change with each season.
An actor considers this Manitoba maple to be one of Toronto's many secret treasures. It wraps around and through the patio at a neighbourhood restaurant. The owners have rebuilt the deck to accommodate the tree's growth. He comments: "I have always loved the way the commercial interests of a restaurant have made such a wonderful partner with this great gift of nature."
Image from Toronto parks and trees
The show is sponsored by LEAF; an organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of the urban forest. Their motto: improving city life one tree at a time. The non-profit group has a backyard tree program which provides free native trees to homeowners for their back yards. Their Toronto Tree Tours are guided walks that highlight trees of interest in a neighbourhood and incorporate history, culture and personal stories. They also have talks and lectures.
Image from bulger gallery
Vince Pietropaolo has been photographing Toronto's life and inhabitant for years. His series on migrant workers and trade unionists are well known and loved in the photographic and wider community. He has also documented italian immigrant life in Canada, religious street rituals, political protest, the labour movement, immigrant gardens, and urban social issues, and architecture.