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Melanie Robitaille


Melanie Robitaille

I'm a local photographer that took advantage of the downtown construction to do a walkabout of the main strip in a way that I hadn't before. It was on this walk where I captured what I call Two Toned Town, or the side of the once Northern Hotel, or The Commodore.

In my day, it was a place to congregate, dance and celebrate together. It's over 100 years old and remains a historical landmark to this day. I know many see it as an eye-sore, but I know that plans are still in place for it to be redeveloped as a Paresian-style hotel. That day on my walk, I saw both sides of it's beautiful, brilliant potential, and the darkness it has come to represent. My hope is that it too realizes it's full potential of once again being a beautiful place to congregate and becomes an integral piece of the town's revitalization project in a way that helps us remember our history.

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A "Zine" (short for magazine or fanzine) is a self-published myriad of works, including writing, painting, drawing, photography, poetry, and other creative forms of expression that is usually reproduced via a photocopier. They are usually the product of a single person or very small group of artists and surround a single theme, or celebrate the work of something that already exists. The term was first coined back in 1940 - and now, in 2020, Zines are more popular than ever. There are various intentions behind the creation of Zines. Their purpose is often to not turn a profit, but rather to provide a space for expression, developing identity, addressing pertinent issues, creating a story, or providing a space for artists and creatives alike to share their feelings on what matters most to them. This year, for Quest Art's first ever Zine publication, we prompted local artists during the month of September to consider the theme of 'Hometown Hideaways' and how locations in Georgian Bay can act as personal hideouts, community hubs, and collective centres for culture -- public or private. Artists were free to interpret this theme in whichever way or medium they desired. A very grand 'thank you!' to all those who participated, and were patient in the process of publishing their work. Click the image above to view a larger version or download the printable Hometown Hideaways Zine here.