Canada Modern DesignTO Exhibit August 17-29, 2021

We're excited to finally be hosting the Canada Modern exhibit as part of this years DesignTO festival. 

The exhibition opens Tuesday, August 17 to Sunday, August 29 during 313 Design Market’s regular store hours (Tues-Sat: 12-6pm, Sun: 12-4pm, closed Mondays).

Download the full Exhibition Guide here



‘Canada Modern’ is a physical and digital archive of Canadian graphic design, with modernism central to its glowing heart. In its first ever exhibition, ‘Canada Modern’ features a selection of artefacts by trailblazing designers, active in the years 1960-85, who contributed to the emergence of Canada’s bold new visual identity during an exciting period of modernization for the nation. These designers honed their creativity and design philosophy through commercial work, as Canada experienced a cultural coming-of-age with major global events like Expo 67 and the 1976 Summer Olympics.

In the exhibition, a striking assortment of posters, publications, corporate identity, and ephemera come together to reveal a familiar sense of Canadian identity and belonging, with many recognizable symbols that have lasted in our national consciousness through to the present day. What we also find is a simple, utilitarian style of graphic communication that radiates confidence, warmth, and optimism. This design language has roots in the International Style, which arrived from Europe and fused with a freer North American expression to create a truly distinct Canadian aesthetic, both modern and human.



The exhibition is complemented by interpretations of the archive by young Canadian designers. Shelby Guergis’s design practice explores the visual language of nationhood and invites the public into a participatory experience of making a ‘democratic’ work. Juan Saavedra approaches design through the lens of queer theory, presenting an overlooked history of LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace in the era concerning the archive. Also on view are modernist-inspired works by guest American designers, Antonio Carusone of Aisle One / Superlunar and Julian Montague.



Exhibition organizers:
Jo Minhinnett and Blair Thomson

About Canada Modern

Conceived in 2016 and launched in 2018 by creative director and designer Blair Thomson, the Canada Modern archive exists to preserve, document, educate and inspire, to contribute a richer understanding of a seminal point in Canada’s development as a nation — one of optimism, creativity and modernity. Focused on identity design, typography and graphic communication, the archive seeks to build a definitive and accessible record of this significant epoch, and serve as a valuable reference for designers, students, teachers, historians and citizens alike.

Explore the archive online at canadamodern.org

Canada Modern Merchandise 

Festival merchandise can be found here 

About DesignTO

DesignTO Festival is Canada’s leading (and largest) annual design festival that celebrates design as a multidisciplinary form of creative thinking and making, with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week, January 22-31, 2021.

Since 2011, DesignTO has been bringing communities together to celebrate design, by taking art and design out of the studio and into the urban realm.

More information on the festival and upcoming events online at designto.org