‘Out and About’ in Weston

‘Out and About – Windows of Time’ is a large mural by Christiano De Araujo that features scenes from the social history of Weston village.  Unfortunately, the (painted) young man who is sitting on the sidewalk and playing a guitar is hidden by the (real) car parked in front of the mural.

part of mural by Christiano De Araujoo, windows of time, in Weston, history series, starting with kids in front of bakery window from the 1880s

part of mural by Christiano De Araujo, windows of time, in Weston, history series, a WW2 couple kissing soldier and woman in blue with blue hat, also a couple dancing from the 1960s. Another window shows interior of soda parlor

part of mural by Christiano De Araujoo, windows of time, in Weston, history series, Out and About, people doing things

part of mural by Christiano De Araujo, windows of time, in Weston, history series, woman in yellow head scarf pushes a stroller past a restaurant window while a young boy wearing glasses chases birds

part of a mural by Christiano De Araujo, a young man has a ghetto blaster to his ear and his arm around a young woman, in front of a restaurant window where there are people sitting

Happy New Year!

January 23rd is Lunar New Year as we enter the Year of the Rabbit (except in Vietnam where apparently it’s the Year of the Cat).

below: Although this mural has nothing to do with rabbits (or cats), it is found in Toronto’s Chinatown. Three dragons cavorting on the wall on Oxford Street, painted by sightone in 2016.

on the side of a large old brick buildig, a long horizontal mural of dragons, in chinatown,

central, gold coloured dragon, looking straight ahead with mouth open, part a larger mural in chinatown with three dragons

below: Blue dragon guarding the door at number 5.

blue dragon, part of a larger mural in chinatown with three dragons

Nearby there is an alley where the Chinatown BIA has sponsored some murals with Asian themes.

an asian couple, woman in pink with flower in her hair, man in green,

chinatown murals in an alley

green clad warrior in chinatown mural

three characters in chinese mural in an alley, warrior,

pig standing upright with green jacket and red necktie, green cap, jacket open in front to reveal fat tummy and belly button

young man in chinatown mural

mural with Chinatown theme, man in red robes

alley with metal oil drums covered with graffiti, low buildings with street art on them,

below: A large koi, or carp, swimming towards a pink lotus flower.

backyard and back of building, with three Asian theme murals, goldfish koi, a pink lotus flower, and

below: “Flowers of the four seasons – Autumn Chrysanthemum” by rowdyradrat.

murals on the back of Chinatown stores, in an alley,

below: Another rowdyradrat painting – this one is “Flowers of the Four Seasons – Winter, Plum Blossoms” and it features Chinese plum blossoms.
mural of pink flowers behind a store on Spadina, in an alley,

mural of a pink lotus flower on the back of a brick building

Lansdowne underpass

There is a railway bridge that crosses Lansdowne Ave just south of Dundas West. Along the concrete wall on the east side of the underpass is a long stretch of murals painted last year by a group of muralists and street artists. This is “Community Built”.

below: At the south end of paintings…. Ducks and loons in the water; ducks in flight by Nick Sweetman. Most people will recognize the green-headed mallard; the duck with the big black and white head is a male hooded merganser. A female merganser has a similar crest on her head except that it is brown.

Next to the ducks there are people fishing and wading in a creek. This portion was painted by Elicser Elliott.

part of a mural on the walls of an underpass, Nick Sweetman painted ducks and Elicser Elliott painted people in a creek

part of a mural, painted by elicser elliott, woman in yellow jacket and hat, standing in creek, hands in water,

below: Under the tracks, abstract flowers in yellows and oranges by Chris Perez

painting of abstract flowers in a mural by underpass, painted by Chris Perez, yellows and oranges on a blue background

below: Black hands and white hands reaching out, by Rowell Soller

street art mural underpass, calligraphy in red and yellow surrounding a black person, face and many black and white hands,

below: Kedre Brown (left) and Artchild (right)

mural under a railway bridge, two diferent scenes by two different artists, a black panther on the left, a person's portrait on the right, person is wearing a blue hat with little wings on it

below: Scenes on light green by Andrea Manica – a dog, a bee, and a couple of strawberries – walking in heels with coat and hat – sitting on a yellow blanket – a tent, mushrooms, and playing ball.

stylized people on light green background, scenes, in a mural under a railway bridge,

below: As the years go by we’ll be able to date the artworks of 2020 to 2022 by the presence of masks. That’s assuming that we won’t be wearing them again…..

part of mural, a brown person wearing an olive coloured wide brim hat and a pink covid mask,

below: Under a rainbow where nature thrives in a collaboration between Shawn Howe and Mo Thunder.

mural by shawn howe and mo thunder, an wall of an underpass. under a pink sky, a semi circular rainbow. under the rainbow a sleeping fawn, a loon, and many flowers and plants

a sleeping fawn in a street art mural

below: Que Rock

two murals on an underpass wall, on the right, by que rock, first nations theme and symbols

from a street art mural, a face painted with lines in blues, red, and yellow,

below: A few artists from Red Urban Nation Artists Collective had a section of the wall to paint

houses above, a stair case to a lower level sidewalk and street, with a mural on the wall and stairwell between the two levels

below: Part of the RUN Collective, is Ren Lonechild who painted the apes at the bottom of the stairs. Swooping and swirling around the apes and the stairs are ghostly creatures that are the work of Cedar Eve Peters

murals by an outdoor staircase, by red urban nation artists collective, apes walking in the blue night time, northern lights, ghost like figures

close up of part of a mural with large monkey or ape hand reaching for a smaller monkey or ape

below: The view from the top of the stairs from Shirley Avenue

looking down an outdoor stairwell beside Lansdowne Ave., into an underpass, murals on the left wall, street on the right

below: by Danielle Hyde

close up of part of mural painted by Danielle Hyde, a member of Red Urban Nation Artists Collective, on a wall beside a staircase, pink and brown faces swirled together,some hands too

long stretch of concrete wall alongside a railway underpass on Lansdowne Ave., covered with many different murals,

below: A mural with a message that the willow tree is nature’s aspirin. Willow bark contains salicin which is chemically similar to aspirin which also known as acetylsalicylic acid. The salicin chemical structure is shown in this mural by Keitha Keeshing-Tobias.

mural on a wall, willow as nature's aspirin, chemical structure of aspirin, evening sunset scene

below: This project incorporated a previous public art installation on this site. Back in 1989 a number of small sculptures, or forms, by Dyan Marie were embedded into the wall of the underpass.

shiny round sculpture embedded in concrete wall that has been incorporated into a street art mural

below: This is Leone McComas’s contribution to the ‘Community Built’ project

mural on concrete wall of underpass, different coloured silhouettes in long flowing clothes walking to a picnic in the park

below: Alex Bacon painted dancers in hazy flowing shades of pink and orange.

mural on exterior concrete wall, in shades of pink and orange, 3 human figures dancing, females, long flowing hair,

below: Two murals.

two murals on a concrete wall. on the right is a cyclist painted by Curtia Wright and on the left is a scene with two brown figures, a male and a female, standing above a yellow and orange sun

below: Close up of the cyclist painted by Curtia Wright

close up of cyclist head and shoulders, part of a mural, long brown hair, orange bike helmet,

below: Two brown figures by kaya joan

two brown figures facing each other, pink flowers on chest, hands up, white flowers in hands, dark sky behind them

below: On the right – a blue woman reclines by a cluster of colourful houses. She’s got one hand on a pink lawn and her feet on a red lawn under a white-leafed tree. This mural was painted by Yasaman Mehrsa.

two murals, one by june kim of a gold tiger, and one by yasaman of a blue reclining woman

below: Close up view of the big regal cat by Planta Muisca as it sits on a blue mat by a bowl of papaya and a slice of lemon.

part of a mural by Planta Muisca, yellow and gold tiger, with green necklace, a bowl of papaya, other animals in pastel colours

below: Welcome to Little Tibet … standing beside a white chicken by Caitlin Taguibao

two murals on Lansdowne Ave., on the left is tribute to little tibet, on the right is a white chicken with wings stretched out

below: People from the Little Tibet mural, by Kalsang Wangyal,

part of a mural, multi generational group of people, little tibet, mother holding baby, father with son on his shoulders, grandparents too

below: A mural by Tenzin Tsering on the right – a bonfire where “the flames of the bonfire represent the tradition of oral storytelling and act as a homage to the diverse and unique stories/voices of the people in Tkaronto.” (from her instagram page)

two murals with tops of houses behind,

below: And what’s a Toronto mural if it doesn’t have a raccoon?

light blue silhouette of a raccoon with a light blue and dark blue striped tail, in a mural on Lansdowne Ave

In the mural two pictures above, the painting on the left is the work of Jordan McKie (aka trip2thetop) The next few images are from that mural.

part of mural by trip 2 the top, butterfly with smiley face, other abstract shapes and figures

trip 2 the top mural, face of a person, black and white crosswalk, a yellow duck, a purple cat,

a smiley face worm by some leaves in orange and red, abstract shapes mural

below: A dragon’s head at the north end of the underpass by June Kim.

part of a June Jiuen Kim mural of a green gragon head with white teeth, blue spots, blue nose, and blue eyes

below: Looking south

graffiti on concrete supports at the end of a railway underpass, winter time, some snow on the ground, trees, a truck driving past,

city of toronto brass plaque on Lansdowne underpass bridge

A Mural Routes project from 2021

 

June, Jordan McKie, Tenzin Tsering, Kalsang Wangyal (waz_graphics), Caitlin Taguibao, Planta Muisca, Yasaman Mehrsa, kaya joan, Curtia Wright, Alex Bacon, Leone McComas, Keitha Keeshig-Tobias Biizindam, Red Urban Nation Artists Collective (Drew Rickard, Danielle Hyde, Cedar Eve Peters, Ren Lonechild and Que Rock), Mo Thunder and Shawn Howe, Andrea Manica, Kedre Brown, ARTCHILD, Rowell Soller, Chris Perez, Elicser Elliott, Nick Sweetman.

Curator and community engagement facilitator: Bareket Kezwer

looking through the top of a TTC bus shelter with blue sign for Dundas, Lansdowne Ave in the backgound

Elicser and Sweetman at West Lodge

Along a wall beside the playground at 103 and 105 West Lodge is a mural painted by Elicser Elliot and Nick Sweetman a couple of years ago. It’s theme is the outdoors and it includes scenes like kids playing baseball, people reading and sitting outside enjoying themselves, as well as people planting gardens and admiring the flowers. There are also lots of animals – a large dragonfly shows off its wings, bees fly by, squirrels hoard nuts, a robin pulls a pink worm out of the ground, and a very large hedgehog sniffs the flowers.

below: Hedgehog covered with thousands of protective spikes.

large hedgehog in a mural, painted by Nick Sweetman

below: Playing baseball and keeping an eye on the bees

outdoors theme mural on wall at west lodge ave apartment buildings, parkdale
behind some trees, elicser elliot mural
large bee in a mural, painted by Nick Sweetman

below: An encounter with a skunk

woman in blue uniform sitting on ground beside large skunk, kids watching her

below: Playing with friends.  Great dunk shot!

mural by elicseer elliott, people outside, two boys playing basketball
part of a mural along a wall by elicser elliot, a girl with a white head scarf holds a large orange flower. winter time, snow on the ground

below: This robin has found very large worm

mural, nick sweetman, brown dog standing beside a large robin that is pulling a pink worm out of the ground
mural, boy outside, kneeling on grass and playing with large pink worm, another boy is hiding behind a tree
corner of wall, interior angle, with mural painted on it

below: A blue dragonfly with translucent wings

blue bodied dragonfly in a mural, painted by Nick Sweetman, 103 West Lodge Ave., wall, snow on the ground, beside some large trees
elicser elliott mural, three kids outside, one in purple top and orange shorts sitting against tree, reading a book.

below: A black squirrel and a grey squirrel and thousands of nuts!

mural, outside, close up of a black squirrel and a grey squirrel and their piles of nuts
two people sitting in a garden, part of a mural on a wall, one person in a green t shirt is planting a small green twig in the brown dirt, the other person is female and has a purple head scarf
portion of wall painted by Elicser Elliot and Nick Sweetman, people outside,
snow covered playground with one wall covered in a mural painted by elicser elliott and nick sweetman

The people in the mural scenes were painted by Elicser Elliott while Nick Sweetman painted the animals.

Photos were taken December 2022

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

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.

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