ERA Architects

Preparing for Toronto the Good party

The 2006 invitation to the Toronto The Good party

This coming May will mark our fifth installment of the Toronto The Good party. Back in 2005, ERA teamed up with Spacing and murmur to produce the event in hopes of fostering a greater appreciation of Toronto’s built heritage while bringing together a mix of people from various professional backgrounds. Since the inaugural event, we’ve added other partners like the Toronto Society of Architects, Wireless Toronto, and Heritage Toronto and made the event one of the most popular during the Festival of Architecture and Design held each May. The event has been hosted once at Fort York and three other times at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District. We are currently working on the 2009 location with details to come soon.

We’ve programmed the evening with different themes and games, with the most popular activity being our giant map of Toronto — eight feet high and eighteen feet wide. We ask attendees a question like “where is the heart of Toronto?” and have them place a sticker on the map identifying their preferred location (see photos above and below). The only catch is that the map shows buildings and green spaces, but no street names. It forces people to look at the map in a different manner — in order to find your desired spot you need to understand Toronto in a deeper way by being able to recognize the unique qualities of intersections, like a curve in the road or the shape of specific buildings.

The map also encourages people to talk to the stranger standing beside them, something totally un-Torontonian.

For the last two years, the kind folks from Wireless Toronto have provided us with an interactive feature that allows anyone to text a message to a displayed phone number and have that text projected onto the wall within a few seconds (see photo below). The messages can be provocative, poetic, and, um, immature. Of course, things get a little silly the later the night goes, thanks to the wine and the folks from Mill Street Brewery.

We are now preparing for the 2009 edition of Toronto The Good. We want to hear from you what kind of programming and activities you’d like to see this year. We’ll definitely have the giant map and hopefully the texting game again, but what other fun things can we add to the event?

photos by Yvonne Bambrick