Robert Burley’s new book celebrates Toronto’s natural parklands
While other cities have parks and an abundance of green spaces, Toronto revels in its semi-wild spaces that are hidden in plain sight. Photographer Robert Burley takes viewers into a side of the city they probably haven’t seen, diving into an exploration of ravines and buried creeks that run across Toronto.
Over 40 years, Burley’s work has concentrated on exploring the transition between country and city, and of describing the built environment now inhabited by humans. This mission continues in his new book, “An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands” which features more than 250 pages of photos of the Lake Ontario shoreline and ravines in Toronto.
It also captures Burley’s journey as he captures photographic evidence of the city’s extensive ravine network and of sunken rivers and forested vales. His book explores urban life and Toronto’s wilderness, showcasing one of the most extensive urban park systems in the world and diving into the question of the complex relationship between landscape and urban development.
The project description noted that Toronto is one of North America’s fastest growing cities, “yet despite this exponential growth and increasing intensification, the city’s wild places, woven into the urban fabric, continue to endure and, in many cases, have flourished under recent city initiatives.”
Commissioned by the City of Toronto, Burley’s photos invite the question of the role of these natural wilderness sites in a diverse and growing city.
His work will be featured as a primary exhibition in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival from May 2 to May 26.