• Sterling Weekend 2019

May 25-26


158 Sterling Rd.

Toronto Archives Tower Automotive BuildingCoinciding with Doors Open, MOCA’s Sterling Weekend activities take inspiration from Mark Dion’s exhibition, The Life of a Dead Tree and the 100th anniversary of the Tower Automotive Building. Reflecting on the life that has returned to the Tower Automotive Building, artist Mark Dion’s exhibition brings a massive, fully grown, deceased tree into the gallery along with its inhabitants, to create a sensory experience and exploration of the natural cycle of life and death.

A series of film screenings, workshops, and lively conversations delve into the unique history of the building, and investigate the concrete architecture and parklands that make up our city.

Join us at MOCA for two full days of free, interactive programs that are open to visitors of all ages.

About the Tower Automotive Building

Built in 1919, this building, designed by architect John W. Woodman of Winnipeg, was once the tallest in Toronto. Active until 2006, it was originally a factory that produced aluminium products for World War II, and later made items such as kitchen tools, bottle caps and car parts.

When it opened a hundred years ago, this building was considered innovative because it did not use beams for support. Instead, it pioneered a new approach called concrete flat slab architecture. Each floor is a slab of reinforced concrete and is supported by concrete columns – the ‘mushrooms’ you see on each floor, which distribute the weight to the floor below.

Once an example of innovation, and now a heritage building, today it houses the most innovative ideas and art. How cool is that?

Programs & Workshops

TOURS | Column Conversations | Floors 2 & 5 | 11:30am – 3:30pm

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tower Automotive Building, MOCA’s Visitor Experience team offer a selection of narrative tours that reflect on different aspects of the building’s history. Gathered from an open call for stories from those who used this building over time, the conversations will illuminate three phases of the building’s life cycle: a workplace for Northern Aluminum/Alcan/Tower Automotive; an unoccupied space used by artists and community residents for art and events; and the present as a public museum.

Column Conversations will be stationed at a selection of “stops” throughout the building during Sterling Weekend. All of the stories aim to offer an opportunity for the public to engage with the building’s history and MOCA as a contemporary art space.

SCREENINGS | Eva Kolcze | Floor 1 | 11am – 4pm

Images of concrete architecture and natural parklands collide in this screening of three films by Eva Kolcze. All filmed in Toronto, Kolcze’s films reveal the city’s infamous Brutalist architecture, the dramatic cliffs of the Scarborough Bluffs, and the experience of moving through Toronto, from its urban to natural environments.


All that is Solid, 2014. 16 min, 16mm, HD.

Using black and white footage that has been degraded by various chemical and physical processes, All the is Solid explores the utopian visions that inspired the Brutalist architecture movement and the material and aesthetic connection between concrete and celluloid.

Facing the Waves, 2016. 4:30 min, super 8mm, 16mm, silent.

A study of light and shadows on a late summer afternoon in Toronto.

Dust Cycles, 2017. 13 min, 16mm to HD.

Highlighting natural and human-made elements of the Scarborough Bluffs, the film ruminates on the past and present of this area; from the rock and clay strata that reveal the last Ice Age, to present day dwellings on the brink of destruction due to erosion.


Eva Kolcze is a Toronto based artist who creates films and installations that investigate themes of landscape, architecture and the body. Her work has screened at venues and festivals including the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), Anthology Film Archives, the Gardiner Museum, Nuit Blanche, Cinémathèque québécoise, Birch Contemporary and the Images Festival. She currently teaches filmmaking at Humber College and is co-director of Film for Artists: Site and Cycle, an analog filmmaking residency. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from OCAD University and a Master of Fine Art from York University. Kolcze is currently enrolled in the Akin Studio Program at MOCA.

WORKSHOP | Paper Park | Floor 2 | 11am – 4pm

What does the city park of your dreams look like? What plants and animals, real or imagined, live there?

Visitors of all ages are invited to take part in this collaborative installation project with visual artist Sean Martindale. Imagine a greener, more livable city, and help seed ideas for the future by transforming everyday found objects and recycled/recyclable materials to create a new world. Use cardboard to craft creative creatures, fold paper to form flora and fauna, and invent irregular invertebrates for this imaginative and collaborative urban jungle.

Sean Martindale is an internationally recognized and award-winning interdisciplinary artist and designer based in Toronto, Canada. His interventions activate public spaces to encourage engagement, and often focus on ecological and social issues. His playful works suggest alternate possibilities for existing spaces, infrastructures and materials found in urban environments. Frequently, Martindale uses salvaged goods and live plants in unexpected ways that prompt conversation.

Paper Park is produced with assistance from Yvan MacKinnon.

WORKSHOP | Rock Covers Paper | Floor 2 | 11am – 4pm

Fold, bend, and create your own mini architectural sculpture with visual artist Jessica Thalmann. Transform images of concrete and historical photographs of the Tower Automotive Building into three-dimensional forms that reflect the characteristic edges and corners of concrete structures around the city. Contribute your paper sculpture to a colourful cascading installation, or take it home with you.


Jessica Thalmann is an artist, curator and writer currently based in Toronto and New York City. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Advanced Photographic Studies from ICP-Bard College and a BFA in Visual Arts from York University. She has worked at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, Toronto International Film Festival, C Magazine, the Art Gallery of York University and Yossi Milo Gallery. Her work has shown at various venues in Canada and New York City including the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Whippersnapper Gallery, Nuit Blanche Toronto, VIVO Media Arts Center, Aperture Foundation, the International Centre of Photography, the Camera Club of New York, and Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair. Thalmann is currently enrolled in the Akin Studio Program at MOCA.

Exhibitions on view

Mark Dion The Life of a Dead Tree
Illustration by Mark Dion, 2018.

Mark Dion: The Life of a Dead Tree

Honest Shop
Honest Shop (installation shot). Archives Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Photo by Perry van Duijnhoven.

Honest Shop

DEMOS Andreas Anglidakis MOCA
Andreas Angelidakis, 'DEMOS – A Reconstruction', 2018. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

Andreas Angelidakis: DEMOS – A Reconstruction

Open Houses

Visit our neighbours and partners in the Tower Automotive Building throughout the weekend (open 10am-5pm each day).

Photo by Costabile Carpinelli

Akin & Ontario Science Centre Studios at MOCA

Floor 4

The 59 Group
Photo courtesy of The 59 Group

The 59 Group

Floor 8

Tower Automotive Building
Photo by Arash Moallemi

Tower Automotive Building Upper Floors

Floors 9 & 10

More at MOCA

Shop at Art Metropole: Clouds & Horizon

Eat at Forno Cultura

Mark Dion Supporters