Toronto’s Gardiner Museum opens its clay studio to the public for drop-in classes a few times a week. Participants can use a potter’s wheel or sit at tables to build something creative out of clay.
I joined a friend for Friday evening’s session, which included a wide range of participants from couples on a date night to friends hanging out to parents and children spending time together. The studio was very small, which made it difficult to take pictures since I was constantly in someone’s way (sorry!) but it was a great experience trying to capture fast movement in a tight space.
Side note: later that evening I participated in a lively discussion over dinner on the pros and cons of living in the city versus the suburbs. Some friends said they prefer raising their future families in the suburbs where they have more space, green grass, and are part of a community. However, I’d argue that you can easily enjoy the same lifestyle in an urban setting. The Gardiner Museum is right off a subway exit. Across the street, you can visit the Royal Ontario Museum, University of Toronto’s scenic campus, or walk down to Ontario’s provincial parliament building at Queen’s Park. Around the corner of the Gardiner Museum, you can eat at restaurants serving a variety of cultural dishes.
Cultural and creativity are all around.
Urban spaces allow residents to interact with each other more often than the suburbs because of the walkability factor. By walking instead of driving to the grocery store for a bag of milk, you may interact with the people you pass by (whether it’s a brief hello or a quick chat with a neighbour).
Suburbanism gives rise to individualism – you tend to be isolated in your car because you need to drive everywhere. Suburbanism also subscribes to the dated idea that you must own a patch of green grass so your children can play in the yard. But people can just as easily access public resources such as city parks, hockey rinks, swimming pools, and community centers. I spent many childhood summers in Toronto’s swimming pools and parks instead of my parents’ fenced off backyard.
That said, everyone has a different opinion of the kind of lifestyle that best suits their needs and desires, which should certainly be respected. I, however, enjoy the opportunity to walk to and use the city’s rich cultural resources. Perhaps that’s the Yatesian emerging from within me. (Maybe it’s just me but Revolutionary Road is the best scare tactic against suburbanism.)