In An Enduring Wilderness (ECW Press), Robert Burley surveys Toronto, the city sometimes referred to as “The Big Smoke,” making the case for its extensive network of rivers, ravines, forested vales, and expansive shoreline, often overlooked. As David Suzuki tells us, “With three-quarters of Canadians now living in cities, I’m glad that our city planners, municipal politicians, and the public are paying attention to the protection and sound management of urban green space, like Toronto’s world-class ravine system. Urban green spaces complement traditional infrastructure, provide a multitude of ecological benefits, and contribute to the health and well-being of local residents.” An Enduring Wilderness features photos of the city’s green spaces with selections of poetry and prose by some of Toronto’s best-known writers.
Toronto’s extensive network of sunken valleys, tree lined ravines and expansive shoreline has sometimes been overlooked, neglected or forgotten. However, the last 25 years has seen these distinctive landscapes rediscovered and even embraced as great civic spaces. This book explores the complex relationship between nature, parkland and urban life in Canada’s largest city.Commissioned by the City of Toronto to chronicle these often hidden and remote wilderness spaces, renowned photographer Robert Burley looks at these sites as integral parts of urban life. Publishing in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary, this ambitious project reveals the size, scope and unexpected wonder of one of North America’s largest urban park systems. The book brings together breathtaking views of the Scarborough Bluffs, the deep ravines that cut through the heart of the city, and the densely wooded trails in the Carolinian forests of the Rouge Valley, part of Canada’s first and only national urban park. Burley’s photographs infuse these sometimes hidden and mysterious places with meaning and contextualize their importance to civic life.Featuring tributes from some of Toronto’s best-known writers, including Anne Michaels, Michael Mitchell, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Alissa York and George Elliott Clarke, this handsomely produced collectible publication explores the priceless cultural value of these urban parklands, along with their surprising history and ecological biodiversity. * * * Over a career spanning 35 years, Robert Burley has undertaken numerous urban landscape projects, including an exploration of Chicago’s O’Hare Airfield and, as part of the larger commission, Viewing Olmsted, New York City’s Central Park. In 2012 Burley published The Disappearance of Darkness, documenting the demise of the industrial architecture supporting analog photography. Burley’s works are collected and exhibited by major art museums around the world. He currently lives in Toronto and teaches at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts. You can find out more about his work at www.enduringwilderness.robertburley.com.* * * Thanks to Stephanie at ECW Press for sharing An Enduring Wilderness with us. For more exploring Canada through literature, click here.