Park People exhibit showcases life along the Annex's green line

The exhibit casts a spotlight on the local stories that make up the Annex neighbourhood


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Local residents Melisa, Nigel and Ezekiel

Image: Avital Zemer Photography

The “green line” is more than just a five-kilometre stretch of green space running through the Dupont hydro corridor: it’s home to artists, entrepreneurs, families and thousands of others who infuse the area with life and vibrancy. It’s this vibrancy that Toronto-based charity Park People is hoping to showcase with its upcoming exhibit, People of the Green Line, a photo essay launching at Geary Lane this March.

Jake Tobin Garrett, policy and planning manager at Park People and the organizer of People of the Green Line, said the idea behind the project was to build awareness for the green line, which stretches from Earlscourt Park to Spadina Road, by putting a spotlight on the diverse mix of backgrounds, occupations and stories of the people that live around it. 

“We wanted to give people a taste of the many different backgrounds and professions you might not be able to see just walking through the neighbourhood,” he said. “There’s a furniture maker who’s been there for 30 years. There’s a car mechanic, an artist, a playwright. There are all of these interesting people that make up these neighbourhoods, and we wanted to provide a window into their lives.”

Almost everyone involved in the project lives around the green line, including the photographer, Avital Zemer, who photographed more than 25 community members for the exhibit. Zemer said that although the project was challenging logistically, it was rewarding to learn about each character’s unique life story.

“From a photography aspect, the challenge was trying to capture the people we were interviewing and the environment they lived in,” he said. “In terms of meeting new people and listening to their stories, it was quite fascinating to know that there are so many different personalities and worlds that we tapped into for a few minutes.”

Councillor Joe Mihevc, of Ward 21, St. Paul’s West, said the green line must be preserved, as it’s one of Toronto’s unique facets. “The green line is an amazing opportunity we have as a city,” he said. “There are very different neighbourhoods as you go through it, some are more industrial, some are more small lot, family residential, and others are townhouses, so walking or biking from one end to the other, it allows for a great way to understand the multiplicity of urban forms that is our city.”

Park People is throwing a launch party for People of the Green Line March 15 at 7 p.m. at Geary Lane. The exhibit will be at city hall from March 19 to 23 before moving to other locations.

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