Boots & Pine


Britt Wray in Dundas and Ossington

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Toronto until I was in the awkward years, then moved to Mississauga with my mom and came downtown on the regular to visit my dad and step-mom.

Once I turned 17 I left the GTA for many years to live in Kingston (ON), Amsterdam, Montreal, Portland, and most recently London, UK.  I returned to Toronto to do my Master’s at OCAD University, and now that that’s over, I’ve planted myself here, for at least a little while.

What do you do for a living?

I’ve noticed recently that I tend to say I do “patch work”. Meaning, I have a heck of a hodgepodge-y professional life at the moment. I freelance as a radio producer, work as an artist at the Ontario Science Centre, research and give talks on biology and its intersection with technology, am in development on a documentary, and am working on a start-up with a friend. Increasingly typical for our strange generation.

How did you get started?

I got started as a biologist (what I did my BSc in)  who hated lab work. I realized pretty quickly that the nitty gritty empirical investigations of biology did the opposite of make me enthusiastic, and that it was the meta stories of science that transformed me into a passionate nerd. As a result, I started dreaming of being the next David Attenborough and focussed my attention towards science media and communication rather than field and lab based science research (though I do love being out in the field). I started a science radio show back in the day while I was studying at Queen’s and then my scientific interests got a bit more esoteric from that point onward. What followed next was learning about media production, media theory, cultural studies, and things like bioart. I thought their overlap with science was really fascinating.

What’s your favourite thing about your neighbourhood?

My favourite thing about my neighbourhood is probably Trinity Bellwoods Park and the fact that I get to go through it on average twice a day to get to wherever I’m going. I also love the never ending cute cafes, bars, restaurants, galleries, etc though the ever-increasing gentrification (and admittedly my contribution to it) is washing out some of the interesting parts of the neighbourhood.

What’s the last treasure you found?

The last treasure I found was, hmm, wow good question, what was it? Oh yes! A really great bandana – black with fluorescent turquoise, purple and yellow paisley, in amazing condition, on the street in Montreal.

 If you were going to eat your last meal in Toronto, where and what would you eat?

My last meal in Toronto would be at Rossini’s, which is somewhere way up north of Lawrence on Avenue Road and I would have their caesar salad and fettucine alfredo, with some type of delicious red wine. This place is the best, and really really nostalgic for me as I used to go there pretty often as a kid with my parents but haven’t been in years. Those are pretty boring classic Italian food choices, but they just do it so well.

If you could have a sleepover with anyone who has ever existed, who would it be?

How about a tag-team sleep over with Virginia Woolf and Roald Dahl?

If your life was a TV show, what would be the theme song?

I have no idea, so how about “Read All About it” – remember that series? Shown to you at the age of 9 or so in public school? Such a good theme song. I don’t know if it aptly describes my life (I mean, well, I hope not) but I do love the tune. Kind of mysteriously jazzy…. “discover all the news, doo, doo”…

What does Toronto need that it doesn’t have now?

Toronto DESPERATELY NEEDS DAY TIME DANCE PARTIES with amazing DJs! That are not $40 to get into! C’mon let’s do it everyone. Montreal has Piknic Electronik, which can be amazing when you’re up for it. London has clubs you can walk into at 2 pm and people will be massively breaking it down and not at all necessarily high out of their minds. Institutionalized good daytime dancing, hands down.

Visit Britt’s site, listen to her podcast and her soundcloud, and follow her on twitter @brittwray

© 2012 Arden Wray