K-W visual artist gets sentimental about local landmarks and hidden gems in new project

Trevor Clare hopes his latest art project brings people warm and fuzzy memories of landmarks around Kitchener-Waterloo.

For Art of Nostalgia, Clare has focused on local spots and hidden gems, from the Walper Hotel to Jimmy’s Lunch, and will pair the digital artwork with the history of those buildings along with stories from people who also have a special connection to those spots.

“It was almost an instinct, I guess, for me to start to gravitate toward these places that have meant a lot to me in the past, places where I’ve hung out with friends or just frequented quite a lot,” Clare told CBC News.

“People started resonating with it and I guess these places mean a lot to different people.”

Some of the spots Clare has recreated have closed or no longer exist, such as Forwell’s Variety and David’s Fresh Cut Fries, both on Lancaster Street in Kitchener, and Sonny’s drive-in in Waterloo.

“Sonny’s is a favourite of mine simply because it was open very late, which was kind of not very common for those sorts of establishments anymore,” he said.

“I used to go there late at night, sometimes coming home from places just kind of on a whim.”

Clare says it’s been remarkable to him how people have responded to his art. Many have told him stories about the landmarks, like that they had their first date at Harmony Lunch or they regularly went for meals with their grandfather at Jimmy’s Lunch.

“It’s much more than just the physical location of these places. It’s also like the emotional connection to these places,” he said.

There are some places Clare hasn’t done yet, such as Centre in the Square and the Kitchener Market. But he’s not sure whether it will fit in with this current project.

Clare is currently working on a book that is scheduled to be released this November. 

“The question is, will I find time to do it or am I going to, after this book is complete, leave it at that and move on to something else? I think I’ll keep doing Kitchener locations in some capacity, but I’m just not quite sure when or how,” he said.

Trevor Clare, a Kitchener-Waterloo visual artist, holds some of the prints from his project Art of Nostalgia that highlights local landmarks. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

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