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Civic Impact

Gladstone’s Grow Op sees the hotel going green

“We’re thinking about new ways to think about how humans live in the world,” says Graham Teeple. He’s one of the curators of this weekend’s Gladstone Grow Op 2016, a weekend-long festival hosted by the Queen Street West hotel.

Billed as “an exhibition on urbanism, landscape, and contemporary art,” the event kicks off on April 20 with Grow Op Talks, a panel discussion featuring local designers, professors, and other creative types. The festival continues through the weekend with an evening market dedicated to the future of food—including crickets, which Teeple says is “a new way of consuming protein.”

But if bugs aren’t your thing, Grow Op offers much more. More than thirty artists, thinkers, designers, farmers, historians, and activists will be exhibiting works devoted to how the world’s relationship to food, abundances, scarcity and natural systems co-exist (or don’t) with humans. Teeple says he’s especially excited about a collaboration with the Toronto Flower Market in which hundreds of flower bulbs will appear in the hotel lobby.

Grow Op, now in its fourth year, is devoted to exploring new ways of being ecological. “This year what we’ve really noticed is an even more diverse of artists applying to the show,” says Teeple.  “I noticed more diverse groups: scientists, artists, storytellers, designers. Students and established artists, people who are working in social projects who have been doing these things for a number of years on their own, and now that have a context for this range of work.”

Grow Op also dovetails nicely with Earth Day on April 20. “As soon as we found out that Earth Day was happening around the same time, we decided to hold the opening on that day,” says Teeple. He sees the weekend as a “conversation starter” for Toronto’s designed and ecological communities. “I’m hoping that people walk away from the show with a whole bunch of new ideas, and a connection to this group of people who are focusing their work on those ideas.”
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