Sex, crack, urination, and kids.

A narrow, unlit alley off Spadina Avenue in downtown Toronto is the sort of place you may walk by without thinking twice. But the alley in question is critical to those who use it. It's popular with crackheads, dealers, and it's used as a public washroom. It's also the main route to school for the kids in a nearby housing project and one of the only routes through to shops and services on Spadina. The alley epitomizes how cities themselves are often described: it's filthy, unsafe and chaotic, but it also possesses a certain unmistakable urban beauty. Juxtaposing gritty security camera footage, interviews, and moments of visual poetry, The Alley explores the phenomenon of orphaned public spaces and creates a discourse between the city and its dwellers.

2009 The Alley
Artwork by Mike Parsons and Ivan Pols | Website design by Helen Tran