The Riverdale Hub houses three gallery spaces, located on the first, second, and third floors of the community center building. The Riverdale Hub Gallery is dedicated to employing the transformative power of art to engage Toronto’s east-end community, connect with other communities across the city, and provide a platform for local, national, and global conversations.

Steve McDonald: Natures Cathedral

(Roxanne Pye McDonald, photographer)

October 4th – Nov 1st, 2023
1st & 3rd Floor Gallery, Riverdale Hub

Meet the Artist opening:
Please join us on Thursday, October 19th, 6-8PM
Artist Talk: 7PM

Steve McDonald is a widely recognized Canadian illustrator. His work has taken many forms over the years but he is best known for his highly detailed line drawings and fantastical illustrations of both architecture and landscapes. He is an international best-selling author and illustrator with his coloring book series from Chronicle Books. Recently he produced four new sketch books with Field Notes as their spring 2023 editions. A few past notable clients include Architectural Digest, Blueman Group, Amazon Prime, Entertainment Weekly, and The Atlantic. He is a fan of many techniques and has even spent the last few years mastering the new AI rendering platforms and diffusion modelling tools. Steve doesn’t see these tools as a bad thing – he views them as a progression of the evolution of image crafting.

To classify Steve’s work one should look at his influences: Moebius, Terry Gilliam, Luc Besson, Imperial Boy, Hayao Miyazaki, Roger Dean, Noriyoshi Ohrai, Looney Tunes, and then painters like the the Canadian Group of Seven, NC Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, and even Frank Frazetta. His new work could be best described as ‘escapist fantastical realism’. Steve believes almost all approaches and tools are legitimate as long as the work you are producing is striving to be singular and unique. He also believes in having fun and hopefully making you smile.

Roxana Pye McDonald began photographing her many travels at a young age. Living and growing up in Canada, India, and Indonesia, and spending her summers in Algonquin Park gave Roxana a fantastic array of locations to practice her hobby. Roxana began successfully showing her work alongside her father’s illustrations as a teenager and continues to travel and photograph their many adventures together. Among them are trapping beavers in Northern Ontario, surfing in Java, exploring the nooks and crannies of Morocco, and most recently adventuring around Canada’s West Coast in preparation for the ‘Nature’s Cathedral’ exhibit. Roxana’s Photographs tell a story of time and place and often leave us wondering about the why, where, or what is portrayed.

Pictured: Steve McDonald, Clearview Township, reverse digital print on acrylic glass, mixed process (analog, digital & diffusion).

The Intensifying Storm

Poonam Khanna


Most of the earth’s water — 97 per cent — consists of undrinkable salt water. Freshwater from rain and snow sustains our plants and forests, feeds our freshwater streams, rivers and lakes, and enables life on land to thrive. However, rising temperatures are intensifying our planet’s water cycle. This means more frequent and intense storms in some areas, including Canada, where the average annual precipitation has increased.

Through my rainy day urban landscape paintings I tell the story of everyday life in the city as it is affected by rain. When it rains, I head out to take pictures through various kinds of glass, including car windows, bus shelters and a piece of glass from an old frame. I capture pedestrians, cyclists and cars on their daily journeys through the city in the storm. These images form the starting point of my paintings, which rely on vibrant colour grounds and soft edges.

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Much as the environment erodes, the rain blurs the lines between objects, and many things start melting into one another. Delineations are no longer clear. And sometimes the raindrops contain their own mini landscapes, transforming how we see.

Car headlights glow on the pavement and sparkle in the raindrops, turning an otherwise dreary day into a beautiful one. The headlights and street lamps signal the attraction we feel to the conveniences of modern life. But the oncoming headlights also present a sense of foreboding and approaching danger, even as they dazzle.

In one of my paintings, “The Rose Emporium,” a lone pedestrian walks home at night. To her right is a flower shop, signalling the beauty of nature — though contained and clipped. On the road a car approaches from behind, bringing with it a sense of peril. In another painting, “Pedalling Through the Storm,” a determined cyclist bikes to his destination, navigating through a busy road even as the rain blurs the scene making it difficult to demarcate objects.

Pictured: Poonam Khanna, Rain-kissed Metropolis 3, acrylic on canvas, mounted on wood.


Gender Performance and Self-Expression

Marina Doukas


Marina Doukas is a Canadian painter whose vibrant works range from bold and chaotic to blended and controlled. She explores themes of self-expression, perception, and individuality by bringing together abstract mark-making and contemporary portraiture. She treats the paint as a tool to record her experiences with navigating femininity and all of the moments of tension and discovery that may present themselves along the way.

Marina obtained her Bachelor of Arts, Honors in Studio Arts at the University of Guelph.

In this exhibition entitled “Herself,” Marina places herself as an observer to the performance of gender. She reflects on the choices she and her subjects have made in order to present their gender identity to the outside world and how these decisions can affect how they are perceived in social and professional settings.

Through her paintings, Marina shows that there is no right or wrong way to ‘be’ in this life and hopes to create a space where any individual can feel safe and encouraged to show up as themselves, whatever that may look like. Witness these colorful explorations at the Riverdale Hub gallery.

Pictured: Marina Doukas, Herself Series, oil on canvas, 2021.

Lost in Headspace

Kyla Yager


Kyla is a Canadian-American visual artist based in Toronto, born and raised in New Orleans, LA. She began drawing at a young age and fell in love with acrylic painting as a teenager. Kyla then obtained her BFA in Visual Art from York in 2018. Since then, her work slowly merged into abstracted realism with hints of cubism, psychedelic art, and surrealism.

Masking is the process in which an individual camouflages their natural personality or behaviour to conform to social pressures, abuse, or harassment. Before her ADHD diagnosis at the age of 17, Kyla masked throughout her entire childhood. Later in life she began to utilize her love for painting as a definitive coping mechanism, at the same time allowing her condition to intuitively guide her paintbrush. In this exhibition, she invites viewers to get Lost in Headspace with her and invites viewers to remove their own mask in a safe and creative space.

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Kyla’s current process begins by playing with paint by refining images she finds in the various colours and then creates hyper-detail to alter and reshape the emotional magnitude of each work. After completion, Kyla will reflect on the work, discovering elements of her subconscious, therefore giving the piece itself a mindset or mood based upon the headspace she was in while painting.

Kyla Yager Artwork Inc. was officially launched in January 2020 and has been featured in exhibitions, markets, shops, and galleries in New Orleans, Toronto, and Montreal. In addition to being a full-time fine artist, Kyla works as an Art instructor, muralist, and collaborator.

Pictured: Kyla Yager, The Aftermath, acrylic on canvas.


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