Bentway Staging Grounds Eco Workshop

Join us for an intro to the features, functions, and possibilities of Bentway Staging Grounds through a free guided tour and foraging walk! Then explore creative ways to collaborate with nature using foraged materials to create artwork inspired by the site and local environment.

Bentway Staging Grounds is a new temporary public space that transforms the area below the Gardiner Expressway at Dan Leckie Way into a living laboratory, offering opportunities to learn about urban ecology. Specially designed experimental gardens use rainwater run-off from the highway above to support the growth of flowering plant species.

Join us for an educational workshop and introduction to Staging Grounds featuring a guided tour of the space followed by a foraging walk and hands-on drawing activities.

Tour the site with the project’s ecological consultant, Isaac Crosby, also known as Brother Nature, about the process of rainwater collection and filtration from Gardiner run-off and how that feeds the growth of native plants to support urban ecology. Plants include wild ginger, pawpaw tree, sumac, nodding onion, and more, chosen for their resilience and remediation qualities. 

Following the tour, participants will explore creative ways of drawing with nature led by artists Natalie Majaba Waldburger and Amy Swartz as well as students from the Life Studies Specialization at OCAD University. With the artists, you will forage for materials to create your own drawing tools for artwork inspired by the local environment.

This educational workshop aims to cultivate a heightened awareness of the ways in which infrastructure and nature can collaborate under the Gardiner and the diverse forms of life and creative possibilities growing at Staging Grounds’ urban gardens.

Workshop Schedule:

  • 2-3pm: Guided foraging walk
  • 3-4pm: Arts activity

What to Expect:

  • This is a family-friendly event! All are welcome.
  • This event is held at The Bentway Staging Grounds, an outdoor space. Participants may have to navigate uneven, large river rocks on site. Please wear sturdy shoes and appropriate outerwear.
  • During this event, accessible public washrooms are available nearby at The Bentway Studio (55 Fort York Blvd), about a 5 minute walk away up a gentle hill.
  • Bentway Staging Grounds is accessible to mobility devices; visitors enter onto a series of walkways approx. 7ft wide.