43rd World Wide Sketchcrawl in Toronto

Despite still being a little too cold to spend the days sketching outside, a group of us participated to the 43rd World Wide SketchCrawl. The plan was to go through a portion of the Toronto PATH and stop at various locations to sketch our surroundings. I had plan to start at Osgoode subway station, then visit the Four Season Centre for the Arts, the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel Lobby, the Richmond Adelaide Complex, the Hilton Hotel Lobby and then finish with a meal at the Vegetarian Haven. A few adjustments were needed in order to accommodate for the fact that the Four Season was closed, but it turned out great. We had a little over 20 participants and a lot of great sketches. (See the Toronto Urban Sketchers Facebook page for more pictures). 

I started sketching in the subway on the way to Osgoode station (colours were added later at home). There was not a lot of people around since it was rather early on a Saturday. 

Our first stop was at the Sheraton Hotel. They have a spectacular lobby including a beautiful courtyard with two waterfalls, greenery and stone sculptures. This was obviously a great subject to sketch and the sketchers were able to find comfortable places on two floors to sketch it. Can you spot some of them in the photo below ? 

Despite being a little chilly, I decided to venture outside to sketch the waterfall a little closer. It was warm enough for me to get most of my lines in but my fingers were getting a little too cold to complete it outside. It was great being in this little oasis, with the sound of the water in the background and birds chirping from time to time. Whoever thought about designing this area for the hotel created a great asset. As I was sketching, I was wondering about the bright leafy green near the stairs. It's obviously not quite the time for leaves to come out since it's still quite cold. I wonder what kind of bushes they are.  

After our sketching session at the hotel and a quick lunch, we headed over to the Richmond Adelaide Complexe and sketched items around the area. I spent some time in the sun outside and sketched one of the outdoor seating areas. I like the giant flower pots near the chairs. I'll have to pass by again later during the summer to see how it looks when the leaves are out. 

We then headed toward the Hilton Hotel and sketched in some of the areas around. There's this really neat building right in front of the hotel which is home to Momofuku restaurant. The entire building looks like a piece of art and includes a very complex sculpture. I later found out that it was made by artist Zhang Huan and the piece is called Rising. It is intended to be a philosophical reflection of the world around us. It was too intriguing not to sketch, even if it was very complex to draw, I gave it a shot. The sculpture has several birds seeminglly flocking towards a mass that looks like an abstract animal that's difficult to define. According to the info on the artist's site, the objective was to  convey the message that humans can exist in harmony with nature, and that, if this delicate balance is struck, our cities will become better places to live. Through the monster-shaped tree, he would like to advocate the protection of ecology, and the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. The doves in the tree symbolize the peace of the world and his wish is for beautiful city life to be shared by mankind and nature. I completely agree with his view. 

Unknowingly, and perhaps inspired by the sculpture, on our next stop I wanted to capture the fiberglass geese in the Toronto Eaton Centre. This installation was created by artist Michael Snow and called Flight Stop.  

Overall we had a fun and prolific sketching session for our first SketchCrawl with a lot of great talent and people sharing valuable ideas, insights, experiences, tips and tricks along the way. There's a lot to see in Toronto and I'm looking forward to do it again in the future so that we keep showing Toronto one sketch at a time.