Bombardier has delayed the delivery of Toronto’s new streetcars again, so we thought “How hard can it be to build our own?”
The artist-built “Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar” running down Gerrard St E. at the Festival of South Asia next weekend, August 15 and 16.
Inspired by Toronto’s obsession with all things transit, Andrew Horne and I designed a cartoon, three-quarter scale version of the familiar CLRV streetcar. We’ve spent the last week building the streetcar at Cuppa Coffee animation studios with the carpentry expertise of set designers Kevin and Tony.
The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar improves on the TTC’s vehicles in some exciting ways:
100% green energy: The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar will be pushed down the street three times a day by four people.
Community building: The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar has been designed the celebrate the Gerrard India Bazaar. The streetcar livery has been brightened up with a South Asia damask pattern. The cartoon passengers, who will be illuminated at night, include many traditional animals from the South Asia Region.
Engaging passengers: On top of the streetcar, rising to a height of four meters, are giant cartoon versions of Toronto’s animals – raccoons, skunks, opossums, squirrels, and plenty of pigeons. The passenger windows are also crammed with dozens of fantastic people and creatures. The streetcar car drivers are an enormous cat and and helpful lady monster.
Musical accompaniment: When the The Bazaar Bizarre Streetcar comes to live and roll along to a new location in the Bazaar, it will escorted by a fanciful South Asian style band, playing joyful music and adding to the excitement.
Accurate signage: The streetcar, which will travel only a half dozen blocks during the Festival of South Asia, has helpful signs reading “Very Short Turn”.
Heads for the Bazaar Bizarre installation ready for mounting.
Andrew Horne puts it concisely to every curious person who walks by the Bazaar Bizarre Collective’s workshop on Rhodes Avenue.
“We’re making art. We’re blocking off the street. You have to come back on Saturday.”
Dozens of wooden struts make up the backbone of the installation.
All of that is true. Andrew and I have been spending the week assembling a colourful, anarchic, 20 foot high thing. The timber-and-board construction is equal parts cartoon and carnival. Festooned with lights and flags made from sari fabric, the installation will make a lively addition to this year’s Festival of South Asia. The tower-like construction will be located on Rhodes Avenue at Gerrard Street, and will be installed with the help of volunteers by 2 p.m. Saturday.
Christine sewing banners made from donated sari fabric.
Members of Bazaar Bizarre Collective working on the art.
In addition to the installation, Andrew will be showing Bollywood film highlights projected on the wall across from his gallery and coffee shop, Flying Pony, on Saturday evening.
The Festival of South Asia runs on August 23 and 24 from noon to 11 p.m. along Toronto’s Gerrard Street Bazaar (directions).
St. Catherines artist Melanie MacDonald will also be opening her exhibition at Flying Pony on Saturday night, featuring highlights from her recent solo show at the St. Thomas-Elgin Art Centre. These scrapbook-based paintings should be seen in real life to be appreciated. If Pigs Could Float runs from August 23 to September 27 at Flying Pony.
Freeze Frame, Melanie MacDonald, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 60×36”