After 50 years of supporting The National Ballet of Canada, the 99 Yorkville Avenue store PAPER THINGS will be closing its doors when the current lease expires at the end of September….but they are going out in style! The once fancy-schmancy stationery, greeting cards and gift store has been converted into a stunning gallery space and this evening they are launching a fabulous show and sale of artwork presented by The Volunteer Committee,  The National Ballet of Canada.


I dropped in for a brief chat with artist and store/gallery director, Echo Railton, this afternoon and she kindly escorted me around the wonderful airy space and intro’d me to some artists I had not previously known. Wow, what beautiful (and affordable) works of art, featuring stunning photography from around the world, oils, acrylics, watercolours, sculptures, even a few delicate mobiles hanging from the ceiling.  Here are a few examples of the works on show that you might want to add to your collection…..

My favourites have to be Tony Batten‘s stunning canvases (below) portraying elegant, peaceful French cafe-scapes.  You can almost imagine yourself sitting there sipping a cuppa latte, inhaling the fragrant lavender and listening to the birds sing……

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The Toronto-based artist is represented in Windsor Castle’s Royal Collection and his work is also held privately by HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. Tony’s work is in the collections of The Government of Ontario, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Vancouver’s Museum of the Pacific and the City of Toronto among others. His large canvas of Newfoundland (below) is particularly spectacular…what do you think?


I also loved the small still-life originals (below) by Guelph-based Janette Hayhoe. Each one offers a glimpse of everyday life from our homes, our kitchens….all lovingly executed and framed beautifully. At $300 each, I can see collectors snapping up 3 or 4 at a time.

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There are some beautiful B&W photos (below) of  ballerinas taken by former  principal dancer of  The National Ballet of Canada Vanessa Harwood and Bruce Zinger who is one of The National Ballet of Canada’s regular photographers that made me wish I’d kept up my ballet classes as a young girl…but I opted for tap instead and spent way too many years clomping about thinking I was going to be the next Ginger Rogers. Obviously that didn’t work out for me!

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The multi-talented Echo (pictured below) has a number of pieces in the gallery, too, and I love this piece which is on a sheet of metal and shows a special bee native to Florida as he gathers his pollen from a colourful array of flowers.


Here are a few more examples of the work on display and all the artists’ profiles can be found on the Paper Things website listed at the end of this blog post.

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You will also see this beautiful, delicate tutu designed by Linda Lundstrom in collaboration with the Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada, which is part of their TUTU PROJECT, a curated celebration of the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary. The tutu featured here is made up of  costume material from each of the productions sponsored by The Volunteer Committee for the Company. You can find out more about the project here: http://www.national.ballet.ca

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Originally housed in The Colonnade on Bloor St West in the 60’s and in its present location on Yorkville Ave since 1973, Paper Things has contributed over $2 million to The National Ballet of Canada since opening. Bravo!

There are 2 other special receptions for the show apart from this evening’s opening soiree that runs 4-8pm. You can also attend a reception on Thurs. Sept. 4th and the closing night Wed. Sept, 24th. http://www.paperthings.ca

Thank you for your warm hospitality, ladies, and good luck with the show.  Here’s Echo, below centre, with the friendly store volunteers Lorna (L) and Therese (R)


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  1. gael says:

    Exquisite show with solid representation of Canadian artists in an intimate setting on Yorkville at Paper Things space. Wonderful natural light and relaxed setting to enjoy and appreciate the talent we have in and around Toronto. Thank you all for this

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