Heartbreak and hope at the York Hotel
A new art installation has popped up on the site of the York Hotel, the notorious inner city bar that was torn down after closing in 2010.
Tied to to the metal construction fence are hundreds of paper tags which read “Tell me of your night fears.” People can help themselves to a little pencil and add their thoughts.
Once people write something down, they can take one of hundreds of intricately-made cloth and wool moths, placed in plastic bags bearing the message “take me.”
Another sign instructs people to "take a moth and send your fears into the deep night sky.”
The installation is the work of Edmonton artist Holly Newman who deliberately chose the York Hotel site.
“The York site was the centre of this area and it was also a centre of great joy and great heartache,” she said. “So there is a lot of fear and a lot of emotional things that kind of centre here.”
The stories are heartbreaking. One card reads: "My son is addicted to heroin, lost in Vancouver and I will never see him again."
The CBC’s Tim Adams said people were swarming around to fill out cards.
James McLean said his father recently suffered a relapse after staying off drugs for 12 years. He filled out one of the cards on the fence.
“My biggest fear is being like my Dad, and I thought I’d get that out there today,” he said, adding that it felt great to write it down.
“I feel like there’s a lot of weight lifted off my shoulders.”
Newman started with 500 moths but hopes to have 1,000 by the time the installation ends in August.
“My one hope would be that people could enjoy the exchange and enjoy the exchange with each other and sort of help each other make their way through this tangled city,” she said.
With files from the CBC's Tim Adams