The Junction is on its way to cementing itself as a design district as it gears up to host the weekend kick off event for the Toronto Design Off-site Festival (TODO), Saturday, Jan. 19 and Sunday, Jan. 20.
In its third year, TODO is a not-for-profit, indie design festival whose aim is to showcase local and national designers while fostering a public understanding of the practice of design.
This year’s festival features more than 40 exhibitions and events across Toronto, 10 of which are happening in the Junction between Jan. 21 and 27. “We immediately got on board,” said Kristina Skindelyte, executive director of the Junction Business Improvement Area (BIA). “Everyone loved the idea, it was the perfect fit. It’ll put the Junction on the map as a destination location.”
TODO executive director Jeremy Vandermeij sang the praises of the Junction and its BIA.
“We love the Junction – it’s where a lot of emerging talent is working. There’s a great art and design community that’s emerging there,” said Vandermeij, praising the BIA’s professionalism.
Vandermeij, director of marketing at The Gladstone Hotel, is an architectural and interior designer, who has been making art since he was a kid. The Gladstone’s annual alternative design event, Come Up To My Room, coincides with TODO.
Since its inception, TODO has grown from just seven exhibitions to more than 40 this year. Its attendance grew 45 per cent in 2012 from 11,400 to 15,300. As many as 300 designers took part.
“In the second year, we opened up the festival to anyone who wanted to submit an idea for an official off-site exhibition. Twenty groups of people said they wanted to do an exhibition. That number has tripled since the first year,” Vandermeij said. “We weren’t pounding the pavement, we’ve never really done that. It’s been really amazing. We have sponsors and cultural partners.”
The festival is not pretentious – “no one’s out to make a million dollars out of it,” said Vandermeij. “It’s about making a personal connection.”
The exhibits are more spread out than it’s ever been, he added. It stretches far beyond the Queen West strip to become a city-wide festival.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
For further details and schedule, visit http://todesignoffsite.com