Best installation artist: Allyson Mitchell
Her vision slowly swirled together like a tropical storm over the past few years, picking up debris like fun fur and her newfangled feminist Deep Lez theory in equal doses, until finally this year: Hurricane Sasquatch. Last summer's Lady Sasquatch installation at Paul Petro was only the beginning.
Best art hotel vision ever: Christina Zeidler at the Gladstone Hotel
The idea of utopian society lives on in little pockets where good people do the right things in the right places. Much as her sister Margaret did at 401 Richmond, Christina Zeidler is restoring and developing the Gladstone Hotel into a neighbour-centric haven for artists and Parkdale denizens. And you're welcome, too.
Best Artist to Watch: Kristan Horton
His ode to Dr. Strangelove back in January garnered plenty of deserved praise. Assembling sets from forks, felt markers and other obvious household objects, Kristan Horton magically re-photographed frames from the film. After working fairly quietly for the past few years, he's liable to explode onto gallery walls around town and beyond. His next show at Mercer Union opens November 4.
Best art party: Mind Control
There are so many art parties, but none so reliably good as the ones at Mind Control . Early on, it inherited the vibe of the Atlantis that was Art System, rendering partying as art, a heightened, aesthetic form of debauchery. Curator Derek Mainella and directors Shane Laurila and Matthew Bennett have closed the Gladstone Street space and will soon be mounting shows in other galleries. Keep an eye out for Efficiency 3 , coming soon.
Best painter: Margaux Williamson
Beyond her distinct skills as a painter, Margaux Williamson also channels highly intriguing ideas through the bristles of her brushes. For her last show she turned her attention to the busy West Queen West neighbourhood she calls home, and the solitude people seek when pressed by its busyness. In an imagined forest surrounding the strip, she paints a haven we could all use.
Best photographer: Edward Burtynsky
Ed Burtynsky 's international reputation is bigger than his large-scale prints. Capturing the geological scars that industry inflicts on nature in oil fields or mines, Burtynsky creates tragically beautiful images. His latest series on China presents slick factories and burgeoning skylines with the same stunning, penetrating gaze. Kudos, too, to Janieta Eyre for her immaculate, surreal and surprising pictures of people and strange symbols. Most exciting curatorial vision Philip Monk -- Art Gallery of York University Although it's out of commission for a few months, the AGYU will be back with two brand new gallery spaces in January, with Philip Monk at the helm. Monk has consistently brought in challenging work by talented local and international artists, and opened a dialogue with other spaces such as the dearly departed Zsa Zsa.
Best new gallery: Toronto Free Gallery 660 Queen East, 416-913-0461
A gallery devoted to themed shows that directly question the status quo and rupture our complacency is a rare treat. Having worked with an array of interesting artists and collaborated with like-minded Spacing Magazine, Gallery founder and director Heather Haynes is now into her second season, leading the charge down Queen East.
Best public art: Luis Jacob
A lot of public art goes unnoticed as inert all-weather sculpture. It doesn't particularly invite play, let alone a reaction. Luis Jacob 's Flashlight at the Toronto Sculpture Garden demanded both. The funk reference, monkey bars, Muskoka chairs and pedal-powered lights saw lots of action this summer, and were all about universal equality.