Canadian Photojournalists Have Been Plastering the Streets To Show How the Country Has Changed

Boreal Collective took to the streets of Toronto and Montreal, wheat-pasting large prints of some of the most striking images of what Canada has become and reclaiming the public space as a forum for discussion thanks to the participation of some of the...

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Oct 19 2015, 6:25pm

Officers using excessive force arrested 1,118 people during the G20 Summit held in Toronto in 2010. This is the biggest mass arrest in Canadian history. Photo by François Pesant

Throughout this last decade, photographers have witnessed and captured the changing nature of the country. They've seen the forests and our pristine waters disappear to make way for the oil industry. They've documented the militarization of the nation—whether it be violent repression of protests during the G20 or increased security in the capital. They've captured the faces of those being discriminated against and their fight to have their rights respected from the missing and murdered Indigenous women to religious and ethnic minorities.

Their photographs painted a new picture, one that Canadians needed to take into account in order to make an informed decision on Election Day. And so, in a bid to spread awareness, we took to the streets of Toronto and Montreal, wheat-pasting large prints of some of the most striking images of what Canada has become and reclaiming the public space as a forum for discussion thanks to the participation of some of the country's foremost photographers. Tony Fouhse contributed an image of a Leopard Tank stationed in front of Parliament, that is part of his "Official Ottawa" series. François Pesant shared a photo of a woman being charged by mounted police in Queen's Park during the 2010 G20 Summit. Marta Iwanek provided a moving portrait of an elderly couple, one of whom is battling dementia, the other acting as a prime caregiver, despite his old age. Ian Willms supplied pictures from his long-term documentation of the evolution of the Tar Sands in Alberta. Laurence Butet-Roch showed a scene where Indigenous children are seen playing next to a toxic petrochemical plant in Southern Ontario. Rafal Gerszak shared his sobering take on the Highway of Tears where many Indigenous women have gone missing, without generating much official outrage.

It's our hope that upon seeing these pictures, passersby feel the need to get more details, do more research, and get the information they need to cast their vote.

Laurence Butet-Roch is a member of the the Boreal Collective of photojournalists.

Pasting in process at Queen’s Park, Toronto.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Scene from the 2010 G20 that took place in Toronto by François Pesant at Dundas and Morrow, Toronto.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Eighteen Aboriginal women have been killed while hitchhiking along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, and many more are reported missing. Investigation is slow and despite the gravity of the situation there has not been any public inquiry.
Rafal Gerszak / Boreal Collective

Placing a photo of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia by Rafal Gerszak at College and Roxton, Toronto.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

More than 66% of the 140,000 square kilometers region has been leased to companies for extraction.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Aerial of the Tar Sands in Alberta by Ian Willms at Queen’s Park, Toronto.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Over 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. That figure is set to double by 2031. Yet, Canada is the only G7 nation without a national dementia strategy.
Marta Iwanejk

Pasting an image taken in Trenton, Ontario by Marta Iwanek at Chestnut and Dundas, Toronto.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Portrait of an elder man caring for his wife with dementia taken by Marta Iwanek in Trenton, Ontario at Chestnut and Dundas, Toronto.
Ian WIllms / Boreal Collective

In June 2015, bill C-51 became law. It allows the police to preventively arrest people without warrant and gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more power to gather intelligence and act on it, with very to little oversight.
Tony Fouhse

Pasting a photograph by Tony Fouhse of a Leopard Tank stationed in front of parliament at Bloor and Dundas, Toronto.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Approximately 60 percent of air pollutants released by the industries located in Sarnia happen within five kilometres of Aamjiwnaang First Nation.
Laurence Butet-Roch / Boreal Collective

Photo from Aamjiwnaang, Ontario by Laurence Butet-Roch pasted at Osler and Pelham, Toronto.
Laurence Butet-Roch / Boreal Collective

Placing one of the three panels that make up the image of children playing baseball by a petrochemical plant in Aamjiwnaang, Ontario taken by Laurence Butet-Roch at Bloor and Christie.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Placing a photo of the Highway of Tears in British Columbia by Rafal Gerszak at College and Roxton, Toronto.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

Photograph of children playing baseball by a petrochemical plant in Aamjiwnaang, Ontario taken by Laurence Butet-Roch at Bloor and Christie.
Ian Willms / Boreal Collective

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