Women supporting, championing and providing inspiration in the arts

The Toronto Heliconian Club, a non-profit organization, is the oldest association of its kind in Canada, founded in 1909 to give women in the arts and letters an opportunity to meet socially and intellectually. Members range from women who have earned great distinction to those in the early stages of their careers.

In addition the Club offers many activities for members and the public, including a Concert Series and a weekly Sketch Group.  Heliconian Hall serves as an art gallery with Exhibits by Club members changing monthly. The Club also hosts a popular Literary Lecture Series featuring Canadian writers talking about their latest work.

Part of rural Toronto when it was built in 1875, Heliconian Hall–designated a National Historic Site in 2011–is situated among leading art galleries in today’s Yorkville. Original elements of the Carpenter’s Gothic board-and-batten church and its rose window have been restored to their former glory. The air-conditioned hall with vaulted ceiling provides stellar acoustics, making the club ideal for musical and dramatic presentations. For information on renting and availability, contact the General Manager.

Saturday, September 9, 1 – 4 pm: “Encounter” New Members’ Show Reception

Don’t miss our annual new members’ show – “Encounter” – where thirteen of our newest Heliconian Art Section members present their work. Visual delights include paintings, photographs, prints and drawings. The opening reception takes place at 35 Hazelton Avenue in the heart of Yorkville on Saturday, September 9, from 1 – 4 pm. The show runs until October 4. Free admission. To view the exhibit outside of reception hours, contact the office at 416-922-3618.

July 11, 8 pm:Threshold of Magic: The Death and Life of Tom Thomson


“Threshold of Magic: The Death and Life of Tom Thomson” brings to life in brilliant colour and verse the artistic genius of this Canadian icon. “Barry Brodie has accomplished something quite astonishing…he has created a compelling meditation on the creative process,” says Bob Steele of CBC Afternoon Drive about the show. Angie Littlefield, author of  The Thomsons of Durham and Tom Thomson’s Fine Kettle of Friends  also praises Brodie as a fellow Thomson scholar, stating: “Barry’s [work] brings together meticulous research, technical wizardry, an impressive set, and great acting…an artist finding himself never gets old, and with this play, we are indeed on the threshold of magic.”

The play begins at the moment of Tom Thomson’s accidental death while canoeing in his beloved Canoe Lake.  Invited by a benevolent spirit-guardian, Ralph Waldo Emerson, to explore his life and art, Tom recalls the relationships and inspirations that contributed to his amazing artistic legacy.  The play examines the intersection of art, human relationships and nature. The audience is allowed an intimate look into the character who drew from a deep appreciation and love of nature, technical excellence, and a desire to express the infinite through his art.  Drawn from historical documents as well as conversations with members of the Thompson family, this work brings to life this Canadian legend.

Tuesday, July 11th at 8 p.m. $35 general admission; $25 students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite. Further information call 519-977-4525.

Tuesday, June 13, 6 pm: Get to know our Artists-in-Residence!

We are pleased to present, for the first time together, our three Artists-in-Residence at the Heliconian Club this past season, representing Visual Art, Literature and Dance.  They are collaborating on an inspiring event being presented on Tuesday, June 13 at 6 pm at the Club.

Anja Karisik will show a short video of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia and describe this area’s influence on her work on display in her solo art show, “A Lasting Presence”, which runs throughout June.

Marcia Walker will read a segment from her novel in progress,  speak about her experience in Banff, and discuss the purpose and experience of residency, as well as how projects transform over time.

Anja Karisik and Marcia Walker

Dancer and choreographer Ashley Ann Burton will give a solo performance followed by a Q&A, and conduct a participation seated event drawn from her immersion in the work of American modern dance pioneer, Isadora Duncan.

Ode to Isadora

Light refreshments will be served at the start of the evening. Donations appreciated.

Please come to celebrate our talented Artists-in-Residence!

Anja Karisik
Marcia Walker
Ode to Isadora, choreographer: Ashley Ann Burton, performed by York Dance Ensemble, photo by Craig Chambers

Saturday, June 3, 1 – 4 pm: “A Lasting Presence” Art Show Reception

Mark your calendars for June 3 from 1 – 4 pm for the opening reception for Anja Karisik’s solo show. Entitled “A Lasting Presence”, Anja’s pastels will be showcased. Admission is free.

“Beauty and proportion, a sense of stillness and lasting presence can be found in the most ordinary things. Whether painting vegetables, florals, or seashells, I look for the innate character of nature’s roots, structures, and relics. I breathe intimacy with the past without being overtly symbolic. My paintings are studies of balance, rhythm, and light. They are honest and quiet; a far cry from the passions and uncertainties of daily life. Still they are a part of life, or they point to how life could be: simple and undistracted.”

Memory Vessel

Anja Karisik was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovina, in 1987 and moved with her parents to Canada in 1996. She graduated from the University of Toronto, Hons. Fine Art History, cultivating her artistic spirit alongside her artist father, Ciba Karisik.

The show runs from June 1 – 28. To view by appointment or for more information, contact the General Manager at 416-922-3618.

Image: “Memory Vessel”, 24 x 26″, pastel on paper

Saturday, May 6, 1 – 4 pm: “Luminous” Photo Art Show Reception

Photography Comes Alive with Music, Poetry, Dance

Ekphrasis – responses of other arts (dance, poetry, music) to visual art (photography).

Join us on Saturday, May 6 for the opening reception of “Luminous”, a photo art show.

Seven photographic artists join together with professionals in the fields of dance, poetry and music to present an afternoon of visual art with Ekphrasis performances in response to the photographs.

Photographic artists are Linda Briskin, Sheila Craig, Simone Creed, Kye Marshall, Mary Perdue, Jana Skarecky, and Patricia Stamp.

Performers responding to the visual works are dancers Meiko Ando, Ashley Burton, and Aviva Fleising, musicians Kye Marshall and Jana Skarecky, and writers Josie DiSciascio-Andrews, Bianca Lakoseljac, and Carla Wilson. There will be two different performances beginning at 2 pm and 2:50 pm on Saturday, May 6.

Admission is free and all are welcome.

The photographs will be exhibited from May 4 – 31. To view by appointment or for more information, contact the General Manager at 416-922-3618.


Call for Writer in Residence 2017-2018

The Literature Section of the Heliconian Club seeks to appoint a writer-in-residence for a one-year period for the 2017-2018 season. Eligible candidates are female authors of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama as well as professional editors and journalists.

The successful candidate will have complimentary membership in the Club for the year and should she wish to join the following year, the one-time initiation fee would be waived. The non-paying position provides an opportunity for a writer to connect with members of the Literature Section on a regular basis and to interact occasionally with members in the Music, Drama, Dance, Art and Humanities sections.

The writer-in-residence is expected to attend several events over the year, and to present her work to an audience at one or more readings and/or workshops. The position lasts from September 2017 to September 2018.

An application package should include a letter of intent, a résumé, a list of published works and a writing sample. Short excerpts of longer works should not exceed 2000 words. In the letter of intent the applicant should explain why she is interested in the position, of what benefit the post would be to her and how she, in turn, could benefit the Heliconian Club.

The deadline for applying is Friday, April 28th, 2017 to be sent to the Heliconian Club office: info@heliconianclub.org. Alternatively, mail it to The Literature Section, Toronto Heliconian Club, 35 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto, M5R 2E3. Finalists will be interviewed on May 30th.

Call for Visual Artist in Residence 2017-2018

The Visual Art Section of the Heliconian Club is seeking an Artist-in-Residence for the upcoming season, 2017 – 2018. The Artist-in-Residence will have complimentary membership in the Club and in addition be able to attend Life Drawing sessions, free-of-charge, every Monday in the Club’s heritage building in the heart of Yorkville in downtown Toronto. The Artist-in-Residence will be able to show her work in Heliconian Hall in a solo show in June 2018 (no charge for exhibition space but 20% commission applies to sales made during the show).

We seek an emerging female artist. Applicants will submit five images (digital files) of original work, with an artistic statement describing their work (one page maximum) and a CV. Candidates will prepare a brief biography and a letter of intent concerning the creation of new work during the coming year (one page maximum). A short list of applicants will be invited for interviews to make the final selection.

Heliconian Art Section members look forward to observing progress midway through the year (February) as well as at the formal show in June. It is expected that the candidate will share her artistic vision with members by means of a tutorial, demonstration or workshop. Interactions with members from other sections are encouraged and will arise with access to Club concerts, workshops and events, as full membership privileges are included for the season. If the candidate chooses to become a Club member in the following year, the one-time initiation fee will be waived.

Deadline for email applications is Monday May 1, 2017 to be sent to the Heliconian Club office: info@heliconianclub.org; an announcement of the newly appointed Artist-in-Residence will be made by May 30.