By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Residents will see themselves and their communities in a series of murals painted across Danforth Avenue as part of the Destination Danforth pilot project.
The pilot brought a fast-tracked installation of cycling infrastructure on Danforth Avenue between Broadview Avenue and Dawes Road. In addition to patio extensions and pickup lanes, the pilot also included creative elements such as curb extensions, painted signal boxes, and five signature murals.
The artistic side of the pilot was led by a collaborative effort between the city’s StreetART Toronto and East End Arts.
“This is a brand new project,” East End Arts executive director Shana Hillman said. “We had the local expertise and we worked with local BIAs.”
In cooperation with local BIAs Broadview Danforth BIA, GreekTown on the Danforth, and Danforth Mosaic BIA, East End Arts recruited artists to paint the murals across the Danforth. It began with a list of 54 artists, narrowed down to five.
The art depicts two themes: gratitude, resilience, and hope, and #EastEnd Love, which is the group’s current project promoting inclusion, diversity, and fighting against racism.
Hillman said the themes resonate well with the community.
“To see themselves reflected in the art is so powerful,” she said. “I think when people see these murals, it’ll help spread the love.”
The murals were painted in September and October, with three now complete. The remaining murals will be completed in November, and next spring.
One of the mural sites – the site of the old 7-Eleven at Danforth and Donlands avenues – has been boarded up, owned by Percy Ellis Development. Hillman said the developer was enthusiastic about allowing the building to be painted for a temporary mural.
The mural sites and the artists involved are as follows, with Instragram handles for artists included:
270 Danforth Ave. in the Broadview-Danforth BIA, a mural by Monica Wickeler (@monicaonthemoon)
628 Danforth Ave. in the GreekTown on the Danforth BIA, a mural by Poser (@poserabm)
975 Danforth Ave. at the 7-Eleven building, a mural by Elicser Elliot (@elicserelliot) in collaboration with four artists.
The upcoming sites include a mural painted by Kizmet (@kizmet32) and an art installation by Lara Lucretia, Caitlin Taguibao, and Xuan-Yen Cao, both in the Danforth Mosaic BIA zone, east of Coxwell Avenue.
- Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.