I have lived for thirty years in the shadow of a now-disused malting factory located along the central waterfront in Toronto. In the early years I loved the distant sound of the compressors and the sweet/sour malty smell drifting through my open windows on a hot summer’s night. Now considered an eyesore by many, I delight in the interplay of light and shadow on its scarred surface. A majestic retired fortress of food, it reminds us that the communities along the shores of the Great Lakes have their roots in the shipping of natural resources.
Traveling with a cargo of wheat from Thunder Bay to Montreal, I trace the classic journey celebrated in song. A story forgotten by most urbanites as gentrification relentlessly pushes heavy industry and shipping infrastructure from its place in the landscape.
Growing up in a family with strong political and social values, I was surrounded by art and handmade objects from an early age. My father was a great influence in my early years and I have always had an interest in construction and industry. We were often seen together watching the long line of trucks deliver grain to the now-defunct Victory Soya Mills on the Toronto waterfront in the fall. Family vacations inevitably included tours of car manufacturing plants, pulp and paper mills, match factories, greenhouses, welding companies, and furniture finishers.
Watermark Project Contributor
Find out how Lake Superior has influenced Victoria. Read Victoria's Watermark.