Confluence: Frequently Asked Questions

Key Information

Dates: October 1 to October 30

Location: Under the Gardiner at Exhibition Place. Meet at the west end of The Bentway site (250 Fort York Blvd.), closest to Strachan Ave. 

Hours:

Wednesday – Friday | 5:00PM – 9:00PM

Saturday – Sunday | 12:00PM – 9:00PM

Closed Monday and Tuesday

Special hours: On October 1, Confluence is open all night from 7:00PM – 7:00AM as part of Nuit Blanche. No advance booking or ticket is required.

URL: thebentway.ca/confluence

How do I get tickets?

Tickets must be booked in advance at thebentway.ca/confluence.

Booking for October 2-16 will be available Tuesday, September 14. 

Booking for October 17-30 will be available Tuesday, October 4.

Can you help me register?

If you require assistance booking your experience for any reason, please contact us at 416-304-0222 or [email protected].

How much does it cost?

The Bentway is a not-for-profit, creative movement that believes the best art experiences are accessible to everyone. Tickets to Confluence are pay-what-you-can (PWYC) with a suggested donation of $5 and no minimum contribution. 

Where do I go when I arrive at The Bentway?

Strachan Gate, located at the west end of The Bentway site. There will be signs pointing you in the right direction.

Is there parking at The Bentway?

Paid parking is available nearby at the Fort York Visitor Centre parking lot and 800 Fleet St.

What will the experience be like? How long will it take?

Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your ticket time at The Bentway’s Strachan Gate (west end of The Bentway site). Attendees will cross the temporary bridge towards Exhibition Place and will have up to 45 minutes to explore the exhibit.

We encourage you to move throughout the space and explore the exhibit. The artists have selected a number of locations to pause for reflection and you are welcome to sit in the designated areas.

Please do not run or climb within the space. No food or drink allowed. 

Accessibility

Is Confluence accessible?

The Bentway is committed to ensuring our art and public programs are physically accessible. Confluence is wheelchair accessible & can be accessed by most motorized mobility devices. Please inquire if you have any questions and we will do our best to accommodate you. If you require accommodations, please contact us via e-mail ([email protected]) or via phone (416-304-0222).

What accessible features do you offer?

  • Step-free access throughout.
  • Service animals are welcome.
  • If you require Wheel-Trans drop off, please use 100 Garrison Road entrance and have the vehicle stop under the Gardiner before Garrison Commons.
  • Accessible parking at 250 Fort York Blvd.
  • Rest areas are provided within event space(s).
  • Large format printed materials available upon request.
  • Accessible washrooms will be available.

About Confluence

What is Confluence?

Inspired by the water systems that have shaped Toronto, Confluence examines the relationship between natural and industrial infrastructure. Named for the junction of rivers, as well as the process of coming together, this immersive new work sets the stage for the meeting of architecture and art, public and private spaces, as well as visitors from across the city.

The picnic table, a familiar fixture and symbol of public space, performs in new ways in this sculptural installation. A seemingly endless series of tables gradually break apart and take on new forms, smoothing hard edges into gentle waves, evoking the flow of the many waterways which at one time flowed through the city on their way to Lake Ontario. Confluence reminds us that since colonisation, this natural infrastructure—which was dammed, channelled or buried and incorporated into the city’s sewer system—has been violently shaped by urban development, and calls for a new balance; between natural and human-made forces, spaces for gathering and for movement, the present and the past, the hidden and the seen.

Amidst these twisting and undulating wooden forms that crest and dive into the concrete architecture, and surrounded by a sound field created by Anne Bourne, the visitor is invited to wander and reflect on how humans have shaped nature, how our urban landscape has changed over time, and how the built and natural worlds can meaningfully co-exist in future.

Who is Striped Canary?

Wade Kavanaugh (born Portland, ME) and Stephen B. Nguyen (born Little Falls, MN) have collaborated since 2005. They have created dozens of site-specific installations using paper as their primary medium. Their work has been commissioned by galleries and museums both nationally and internationally, including Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA. They have collaborated with dance companies at venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY. Their work has been supported by grantors like the Pollock-Krasner foundation and residencies like the Macdowell Colony in Peterborough, NH. 

They have created a body of work that ranges from large sculptural objects to warehouse-sized immersive environments that suggest layers of earth, old growth forests, the flow of a glacier and the swell of the sea. Their work seeks to tap into the collective imagination of their audience in the same way that they try to communicate to each other, by presenting an alternate view, a juxtaposition, or an abstract version, of a shared experience.

The process of questioning at the root of their collaboration has encouraged experimentation and play that might otherwise not exist in their individual artistic practices. 

Formally, each work is site-specific and draws from imagery of the local environment, both natural and built.  Conceptually, each work is built on a foundation of “shared seeing,” where the artists seek to find common ground by actively investigating their own visual reference points, memories and assumptions. Ultimately, the work they create seeks to tap into the collective imagination of their audience in the same way that they try to communicate to each other, by presenting an alternate view, a juxtaposition, or an abstract version, of a shared experience.

Is Confluence a sustainable exhibition?

This exhibition is net carbon-negative, and uses sustainably-sourced wood from Black Spruce trees. Over their lifespan, we estimate that the trees sequestered 25.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, compared to approximately 3 tonnes of emissions from the creation of the exhibition. Using wood allows the exhibition’s physical materials to store that sequestered carbon in their biomass, preventing it from being re-released into the atmosphere when the trees would’ve eventually decayed at the end of their lives. By replanting new trees to replace the harvested ones, the carbon that would’ve been taken in by the original trees will also continue to be sequestered out of the atmosphere for many years to come.

Once the exhibition has run its course, the wood will be used by a local architecture firm in upcoming projects. We’ve used screws and designed for disassembly, to keep the wood pristine enough to have a second life. Compared to sending the material to landfill or burning it, not only are we ensuring the carbon is stored well into the future, but we are also able to amortize the upfront emissions from the project’s creation over a much longer period. The processing and transportation of the lumber is estimated to have released approximately 3 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, with 2.3 tonnes attributed to the harvesting and powering of kilns to dry the wood, and 750kg from transporting the wood to The Bentway.