No Vacancy, 2017


Organized and curated by Alyssa Fearon for the 2017 Myseum Intersections Festival at Scarborough Arts’ Bluffs Gallery, No Vacancy explored the evolving use of the Kingston Road motel-strip in Scarborough. Once known as Canada's Gateway to Toronto, the area was a popular rest stop in the 1950s for travellers and commuters. Many of the motels now serve various uses and functions including temporary housing for people seeking refuge in Canada, overflow for the City’s shelter system, rooms for sex workers servicing their clients, and occasionally, still some travellers looking for a place to rest overnight. However, due to the transient nature of its guests, the motels hide as much as they reveal about what happens there.

The artists in No Vacancy prompt us to ask critical questions about our society and the way it treats those dealing with migration and displacement: How can we re-imagine Scarborough’s neglected areas to better serve those that use them? What does it mean to seek refuge while navigating a complex social system? The exhibition space at the Scarborough Arts’ Bluffs Gallery on Kingston Road along the motel-strip allowed for further reflection on the transformation of the urban environment in which the motels are located.

The exhibition featured works by Sandra Brewster, Nadijah Robinson and Curtia Wright, paired with a series of archival photographs of Scarborough.

© 2018 Alyssa Fearon