Almonds and Wine on Bathurst

“Almonds and Wine” was a short (5 minute) animated film by Arnie Lipsey.  It is the retelling of a Yiddish folk song about a wedding of a couple from Eastern Europe.   In the film the newlyweds emigrate to Canada and become part of Toronto’s Jewish community.  In turn, their children grow up, marry, and have their own children.

Using scenes from the film, a mosaic mural was created that now lines a section of sidewalk on Bathurst Street.  It was designed to look like a strip of film with black lines between the frames as well as the sprockets along the edges.

Almonds and wine mosaic title panel, based on the animated film by Arnie Lipsey
scene from a Jewish wedding, bride and groom held up in the air on chairs
scene from a mosaic mural like a film, with sections and sprockets, a group is heading to a synagogue for a wedding
section on Bathurst Street with mosaic by Cristina Delago
three men dancing, with their backs together supporting each other as they kick their legs out with arms folded
mosaic, Mural Routes, Almond and wine, passover dinner scene, in a film witn sprockets
a scene from almonds and wine animated film, turned into a mosaic picture by Cristina Delago, two men protest, carrying placards,

Mosaic Artist: Cristina Delago.  The mural was completed in 2010.

ending credits for mosaic mural almonds and wine, mosaic artist cristina delago

This post also appears in As I Walk Toronto blog.

Photos taken November 2022

under the Hunter Street Bridge

In Peterborough Ontario the Hunter Street bridge crosses the Otonabee River. The west end of the bridge is in downtown while the east ends at James Stevenson Park. It’s in the park that you’ll find the paintings.

Back in 2015 and 2016 two of the arches under the Hunter Street bridge were painted. Nogojiwanong is an Ojibwa word for “place at the end of the rapids” and it was their name for the area that is now Peterborough.

Hunter Street bridge fromJames Stevenson park, grass in front, picnic tables under the arches

Facing the Nogojiwanong mural, and not visible in the above photo, are three animals – deer, beaver, and lion. Now the town is referred to as Electric City. Why? Because on May 24, 1884 Peterborough was the first town in Canada to have electric street lighting on downtown streets. Power was provided by the London Street hydroelectric water plant, also built in 1884.

arch under a bridge, street art painting of jumping deer with magenta antlers, a beaver, a log, and some leaves,

The murals on this arch were painted by Kirsten McCrea, with the help of Vicky Jackson (at least that’s what it looks like in the bottom right of this photo).

a street art painting of a lion with a curly mane and long tail, painted by Kirsten McCrea in yellow and black
from a mural in Peterborough Ontario by Jill Stanton, a picture of bloodroot plant, leaves, flowers, and roots under the ground

Bloodroot is a plant native to the Peterborough area.  It gets its name from the fact that it bleeds red when the stems are cut.  According to the text in the mural (bottom right, below), bloodroot propagates through a process called myrmecochory which is seed dispersal by ants.  The seeds have external “appendages” that are  rich in food that ants like.  Once this food is consumed, the seed is discarded and can germinate. 

large mural under a bridge, bloodroot plant, roots and leaves and flowers, painted by Jill Stanton

This mural was painted in 2016 by Jill Stanton with the help of Andrew Ihamaki.

from a mural, bloodroot flowers

Photos taken September 2022

zirco fish

In an alley near Dovercourt and Queen West in Toronto are two garage door murals unlike any others.

below: ‘Elephancy’ by Zirco Fish – It’s an elephant but it’s not. Tusks like an elephant and the ears seem to be big a floppy. But the mouth is like a beak and the eyes are certainly not those of an elephant. A crazy fantastical creature, the product of someone’s imagination.

a street art mural on a garage door, rust coloured wood garage.  Image looks like an elephant
mural on a grage door, another garage door that has been tagged, graffiti on a fence, the back of a house, in a lane.

below: ‘Scrat Attack’ by Zirco Fish. 

mural of a cat head, in memory of Scrat, painted by James Zirco Fisher, on a garage door in an alley

New Dawn collaboration

New Dawn is the name given to the latest laneway street art mural painting project. It is a celebration of the 10th anniversary of StreetARToronto.

The alley runs parallel to Queen Street West (just west of Ossington); it crosses Brookfield and Fennings streets.

mural part of new dawn project, painting by Nick Sweetman standing on a ladder as he paints bees on the top part of the mural

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The largest mural of the project is a collaboration between five artists: Meagan Kehoe, Kreecha, Bacon, Sight, and Nick Sweetman.

contributions by bacon, a flower, and kreecha, calligraphy designs in white and gold, on a mural
mural, part of, a large cat's head in silver and gold with long whiskers and a gold coloured eye.  Cat painted by street artist Bacon and calligraphy by kreecha
mural part of new dawn project, painting in progress by Nick Sweetman

This post also appears on the As I Walk Toronto blog.

Annie and her cow

… and rooster … and tractor.. paintings in Napanee Ontario.

L & A Mutual insurance building in Napanee, once the County Depot with silos for storage. silos have been painted with farm scene

Once used for storage, these silos were painted by Shane Goudreau as part of the redevelopment of the site – from County Depot to insurance company.  An excellent way to preserve some of the history of the area. 

painted silos, farm scene with old tractor, cow, rooster and female farmer called Annie working with a hoe

painted silos, farm scene with old tractor, cow, rooster and female farmer working with a hoe

painted silos, farm scene with old tractor, cow, rooster and female farmer working with a hoe

a yellow tractor on the roof of L &  A Mutual insurance in Napanee, beside old storage silos that have been painted with a farm scene

Spirit Stories under Old Mill

In Toronto, subway tracks cross above the Humber River at Old Mill station. The concrete pillars that support the subway bridge have been covered with many watery blue First Nations themed murals.

Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar
Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar

below: The artist, Philip Cote, described the story behind this image on the ArtworxTO website (see link); like all cultures, the Anishinaabe have an origin story.  In the beginning there was just Spirit. “And that spirit decided to send signals out into the universe and waited for a response. And when no response happened that spirit called the signals back and said, “As you come back to me, create light in the universe”. And at that moment they had light and dark in the universe. And that is the beginning of the Anishinaabe cosmology. Everything for Anishinaabe is made of light and dark. Everything we look at has a spirit, everything, the ground, the rocks, the sand, the trees, the birds, the plants, everything is… and even our sun and our Mother Earth and the moon, they all have a spirit.”     

Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar
connecting with the thousands of galaxies of the universe

The blues of the water, the Humber River, were painted by Kwest. Water is the Underworld in Ahishinaabe cosmology and the Guardians of this Underworld are the fish. Another artist, Jarus aka (Emmanuel Jarus), painted the fish.

Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar, large grouper fish in the water surrounding the central medallion

Most of the paintings have a well defined circle. This is the boundary between water and earth, between the spirit world and the physical world. But there are connections between the two worlds – all living things are connected and we are all connected to the Spirit World.

Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar, a mountain of ice in the background
Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar, a male and a female figure
Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar, an otter swimming in the water, looking below the surface
Philip Cote Anishinaabe mural of water and spirits on concrete pillar, a turtle shaped animal with a bear head with open mouth trying to catch fish

Clandestinos in a hidden corner

…. of downtown Toronto.

a brick arch with a hanging light near the top, view through the arch is to a multi level parking garage, slight glimpses of a mural on the left side

Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky have painted another large colourful mural. This one features two women, a baltimore oriole, and many flowers.

mural by Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky in a narrow passageway

below: Close up of the bird, a baltimore oriole

part of a Clandestinos mural, showing a bird, a baltimore oriole, with a woman's face close to it.  she has her eyes closed

close up of a womans face in a clandestinos mural, butterfly flying past her cheek,another woman behind her with flowers and fruit in her hair, eyes closed.

below: Adorned with leaves, flowers, and fruit – blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Lots of cherry blossoms and another bird too.

cherry blossoms, faces, painted in a mural, fruit and flowers for hair, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries

The Original Peace Treaty

There is a large mural (40′ x 50′) in downtown Toronto on the west wall of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts on Front Street East. It was painted by Quentin Commanda, aka Que Rock.

large mural with First Nations themes, painted by Quentin Commanda, outdoor scene, butterfly, bear in pink water, fish, turtle island, moose, orange grass, sunset or sunrise sky, woman sitting,

below: Commanda’s “Artist Statement” – see below the picture to read the transcription.

on a wall beside a mural, words that are the artist statement for the mural, also a picture of the artist, Quentin Commanda,

Artist Statement:

This mural is meant to be a visual healing experience. The seven rings around Grandfather Sun represent the seven Grandfather teachings of the Anishinaabe people: Wisdom, Love, Humility, Respect, Honesty, Courage, and Truth. There are many layers of sacred geometry patterns on the mural.

The skyline includes the medicine-wheel teachings, Grandmother Moon and the 13 grandmother clan systems. The turtle shell represents North America’s creation story, the 13 full moons per year, and the seven grandfather teachings.

The entire mural also represents the original Peace Treaty of the Six Nations on Turtle Island (North America). The story of the Six Nations Treaty starts with the original five Nations of Turtle Island: the Plant Nation, the Insect Nation, the Bird Nation, the Fish Nation, and the Animal Nation. All five Nations had to agree to let the Human Nation live here on Mother Earth. All five Nations agreed to be humanity’s teachers and the Human Nation was invited to share the land.

The Human Nation was given instructions on how to live on Mother Earth, walk gentle on Mother Earth, learn one new thing every day, and share with one another. These are some of the original instructions given to the Anishinaabe people. The bear represents a Medicine Clan. The Mukwa (bear) is a healer, it is the only animal who communicates with all Six Nations.

The bottom panel represents my story from the past, present, and future. The first character with the microphone is the future and present me. The second character represents my past as a native child with my dog Miangun and the path of healing I have taken to decolonize myself back to the Anishinaabe child I was born to be.

My mother is a residential school survivor and so was my father. I am no different than the 215 children found in Kamloops, B.C. I survived to tell you this story and share my experiences. My community is still here and so am I.

The Artist is from Nbiising or Nipissing First Nation, his traditional name is Manitou Nemeen (Spirit Dancing) and he is from the Miangun Dodem (Wolf Clan).

The orange background on the mural represents the missing/murdered Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

The mural was commissioned by TO Live