New group of artists set to live and create at Fool’s Paradise in 2019

TORONTO – Eight artists from across Canada, including visual artists, musicians and writers, have been selected for the fifth year of the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Program.

The program, run by the Ontario Heritage Trust, provides professional artists from across Canada with accommodation and workspace at Fool’s Paradise, the former home and studio of renowned Canadian artist Doris McCarthy.

The eight artists selected to participate in the 2019 program are:

  • Rabindranath Maharaj, an author from Ajax
  • Marisa Hoicka, a multi-media artist and film colourist from Toronto
  • Dr. Suzanne M. Steele, a poet, installation artist, librettist and scholar from Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Esmond Lee, a visual artist specializing in photography from Toronto
  • Janieta Eyre, a photographer from Toronto
  • Martine Leavitt, an author and writing teacher from High River, Alberta
  • Tristram Lansdowne, a visual artist based in Toronto
  • Jennavieve McClelland, writer and musician from Toronto

“Fool’s Paradise is a very special place and we are delighted that the artists selected to participate in the fifth year of the residency program will have a chance to experience and be inspired by it as Doris was,” said Beth Hanna, CEO, Ontario Heritage Trust. “The range of skill and talent these artists bring to the program, and the diversity of their backgrounds, honours Doris’ legacy.”

Fool’s Paradise sits on the ecologically sensitive and geologically significant land located in the Scarborough Bluffs. McCarthy purchased the easternmost part, which her mother called "Fool's Paradise" due to what she considered an extravagant purchase. McCarthy's home and studio grew over the years and in 1998 she donated Fool's Paradise to the Ontario Heritage Trust for heritage and artistic activities, and lived and worked there until the end of her life in 2010. Her vision was for other artists to have the opportunity to live and work at the site that inspired so much of her own artistic expression.

Today, the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre is a unique, living and working incubator for visual artists, musicians and writers of all disciplines. Applications are reviewed by an expert advisory panel. As part of the residency program, participating artists also provide a mentorship opportunity to support the development of an emerging artist or artists. The program aims to contribute to the artistic and cultural legacy of Doris McCarthy by demonstrating the inspirational value of the landscape and promoting excellence in Canadian art, music and writing.

The Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Program is supported by the RBC Foundation. RBC’s support of the arts has been a long-standing priority as they recognize that the arts play an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies. Through the RBC Emerging Artists Project, RBC is committed to supporting artists in the earliest stages of their careers and helping bridge the gap from “emerging” to “established” by supporting mentoring programs, education, and providing access and exposure to new audiences.

“Being able to bring Doris’ vision to life, to aid in inspiring artists and providing mentorship to emerging artists, is something that we are thrilled to be a part of,” said Roshni Mukherjee, Regional Vice President, Greater Toronto Region, RBC Royal Bank.

Since the program began in 2014, 22 artists have completed residencies. Applications for the 2020 residency program will open in the spring with an application deadline of September 30, 2019.

Read the biographies of the eight artists completing residencies in 2019.

Find out how to apply to the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Program.


The Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT) is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport. The Trust is mandated to identify, protect, promote and conserve Ontario’s heritage in all of its forms. The Trust is empowered to conserve provincially significant cultural and natural heritage, to interpret Ontario’s history, to educate Ontarians of its importance in our society, and to celebrate the province’s diversity. The Trust envisions an Ontario where the places, landscapes, traditions and stories that embody our heritage are reflected, valued and conserved for future generations.

Media contacts:

Kelly Johnston
Ontario Heritage Trust

Shauna Cook