I wanted to share one of my pieces in which I looked at the various scales of parcels of land, built wood and brick buildings, and the swelling and flooding of the Don River. The piece is part of the Don River + Toronto series in which I could not overlook the long standing history of flooding along the lower Don. I am looking forward to exhibiting all seven pieces together in the near future.
Don Valley Parkway flooding. Here's why it happens so often, Scott Sutherland
It was Hurricane Hazel, which blasted across Toronto in 1954, that served as an effective wake-up call for the disaster potential that still existed in the valley. River flows during the storm have been estimated at around 1,700 cubic metres per second, which is over 400 times greater than the normal average flow the river experiences. There hasn't been anything quite that bad since, but the government did ban development in the valley (as well as other flood plains) as a result of that disaster.
Still, less than four years later, in 1958, construction crews broke ground on the newly approved Don Valley Parkway, which was going to wind its way right through the middle of the Don River's flood plain, and the city continued to grow around it, laying down even more concrete and asphalt up and down the lands that border both sides of the river valley.
Great stories and accounts of Torontonians displaced and rescued can be found in the Canadian archives.
All of the accounts, along with images and descriptions in Jennifer Bonnell's Reclaiming the Don: An Environmental History of Toronto's Don River Valley, had me draft and paint this piece, which plays a key role in the Don's recent story.
Lower Don River West Remedial Flood Protection Project describes in detail the flood protection systems, and their environmental effects, for the elimination of the flood risk of the Lower Don River. Full report found here.
about the author
I like to think that the large works on paper on which I assemble different drawing methods represent a kind of inventory or document about the state of the our urban rivers.