Relinquish to Dust: A Centre for (w)Resting Grief in Toronto's Community
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Currently, the spaces designated for death in the city of Toronto are separated from other programmes — in states that range from neglected, full, inactive or marginalized — while any new sites are pushed to the outskirts. The decrease in time provided to grieve and in places to face the mystery of death means Toronto residents are losing their connections to the sacred. The proposal aims to embrace grief in order to integrate this shadow of death into the urban fabric and everyday life of the Toronto community. Without this integration, loss, grief and death will remain on the periphery, increasing the danger of creating a city without memory — a city in denial of both death and its citizens’ mortality. So how can we acknowledge and address grieving, both as individuals and as a city? How can we, as a community within the city, grieve together? How can we make space for grief in the city? Seeking to implement a new vision for Toronto, this thesis project looks for ways to incorporate the cycle of life, death and rebirth into the city, allowing grief to be part of the urban reality. Locating a new centre for grief on the lakefront, the project learns from a variety of people, built works, data, sketches and books that range in reference from psychology and anthropology to sociology and architecture. All these disciplines are appropriated in order to inform the creation of a new centre that makes room for grief in an individual’s life, a community and the city. The thesis proposes “A Centre for (w)Resting Grief” that can be employed as a restorative, liberating, learning and socially-cohesive medium to facilitate and embrace each other’s life-long search for meaning after loss through grief work. The “Centre” designates a place for grief in the heart of urban Toronto. “Wresting Grief” describes the intention to regain the proper position of grief as a natural process in our lives. “Resting Grief” refers to then being able to confront and be at peace with loss in our contemporary society.