UNI101Y1: Citizenship in the Canadian City
Who belongs? Who governs? Who decides? Examine the concepts of citizenship, public space, political membership, civic responsibility, and belonging. Address topics such as Aboriginal sovereignty claims, urban multiculturalism, public housing, and greening the city.
In previous years, students visited Coach House Books on the U of T campus to see how light industry still can survive in a dense urban setting. We journeyed to the Rosehill Reservoir and the Vale of Avoca ravine with noted Toronto arborist Todd Irvine, who talked about how nature can coexist with urban development. From York U, Patricia Burke Wood spoke on citizenship in marginalized “in-between” cities; and Roger Keil discussed citizenship in the suburbs. Architect Graeme Steward shared his work on Toronto’s Tower Renewal project that looks to reinvigorate the city’s aging towers.
We wandered North York City Centre, looking at the suburban form; Dundas Square, at the urban form. We went down into the PATH system to examine the line between public and private; and then to the back alleys of Queen Street West and Kensington Market, with graffiti artist Pascal Paquette. City Councillor Kristen Wong-Tam met with the students at City Hall, and we visited Fort York to hear how civic history can be incorporated into the contemporary city. David Meslin spoke about the various grassroots democratic efforts he has been part of. Rounding off our year, Amy Lavender Harris, author of Imagining Toronto, spoke to students about the myth of the multicultural city.
UNI102Y1: Performing the City
Explore the connections between the performing arts, urban spaces, and cultural diversity. How does theatrical performance affect how people perceive the city? What are the alternatives to established theatres, and how does community activism inform performing arts in Toronto?
In previous fall terms, we travelled across the city as we explored the crucial role played by theatre in Toronto. The very first play we read, Kim's Convenience, is a hit show set in a store run by Koreans in Regent's Park, and it began a discussion about cultural diversity and civic action which continued throughout the term. Our field trips took us to Theatre Passe Muraille and the Distillery District, where we were able to meet artists and attend rehearsals. . Students investigated the many independent theatre companies in the city; they not only wrote critical responses to Nuit Blanche but also met the event' s creator, Rita Davies. They critiqued a Daniel McIvor play and were astounded by the work of Robert Lepage. The first term ended with collaboratively devised performances based on 25 instructions for performance in cities, by Carl Lavery.
In previous winter terms, we focused on the nature of a city; how it seizes our imagination; how do questions of finance impact the creation of art; which performances do more than simply reflect pre-existing communities or identities, by participating actively in their construction. A visit to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, North America’s largest queer theatre, and a conversation with Artistic Director Brendan Healey provided rich context for our study of Brad Fraser’s Poor Super Man. After Fraser’s play and an enlivening visit from Brad Fraser himself, we continued to study plays about Toronto, like Andrew Moodie's provocative Toronto the Good and met with award-winning actor-author Anusree Roy. We attended extraordinary site-specific production by African-Canadian artists, the poet called Motino, and director Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu. A second field trip, to Daniels Spectrum, the Regents Park Arts and Culture Centre, and a meeting with David Yee, the Artistic Director of Fu-gen Theatre helped us to more fully grasp the realities of producing contemporary intercultural theatre in Toronto. A final trip to see the Centre for Drama' s production You are Invited to a Cast Party After the Production Formally Known As Mrs. Dalloway summed up our discussion of the city and its impact on the collective mind.
UNI103Y1: Gradients of Health in an Urban Mosaic
Evaluate how Toronto's varied communities access and use health care, and how they may encounter barriers in doing so. Investigate how economic disparities, shifting demographics, and government policies affect health policy and the right to access resources.
In previous years, we went on field-trips:we toured the Ontario Food Terminal, North America's third largest produce distribution centre, to learn about this vital part of Ontario's food/grocery infrastructure. We had a historical tour of downtown Toronto's Hospital Row and the Medical and Related Services (MaRS) Discovery District, the innovation hub of Canada's biomedical technology industry. We attended an academic conference on Toronto's Healthcare History and visited Anishnawbe Health Toronto, a community health centre meeting the special healthcare needs of aboriginals and First Nations people living in the GTA.
UNI104Y1: Sex in the City
Learn about the sexual politics of the city and how cities and their neighborhoods become sexualized and desexualized spaces. Explore what "sex" means to Toronto's varied, multicultural communities by looking at urban space, cultural production, law enforcement, safety and health resources and more.
In previous years, Sex in the City had a special focus on youth and queer identity, and how that identity is both influenced by and influences various urban sites. In addition, we studied the formative years of Toronto's LGBTQ communities (complimented by a field trip to the Lesbian and Gay Archives); the evolution of health strategies in coping with HIV/AIDS (our visit to ACT); community representation in the media (a trip to Pink Triangle Press); and alternative "queer" spaces (a visit to videofag). Chester Brown also spoke to us about his experiences with sex work, and Brad Fraser delivered a fascinating and amusing tale about queer artistic creation. We read extensively on (and listened to guest speakers discuss) the stresses and resolutions to urban issues all of us, queer and otherwise, face.