This is a project I initiated in 2017 with the idea of painting a series of murals on the rail bridges in the Carlaw-Dundas area as part of the Carlaw Dundas Community Initiative.
The Carlaw-Dundas area is a former industrial area that has transformed into a hub of cultural and creative businesses and residents. As part of the larger initiative, a suite of public space improvement projects are being undertaken.
The Underpass Project has now grown to include all nine rail bridges in Toronto-Danforth from Eastern Ave to Coxwell Ave. This will also be the only project of its kind in the City which will be rolled out over a number of years.
In collaboration with StreetARToronto (StART), we are inviting community input to develop a unifying theme and an integrated approach for each mural installation.
The Coxwell Underpass is the fourth underpass in this series to receive a mural.
Congratulations to the Paintbrush Carrier Collective, Keitha Keeshig-Tobias and Jay Soule, whose mural concept, inspired by Josephine Mandamin’s Water Walk, was selected by the Advisory Panel for implementation on the Coxwell Avenue underpass!
The mural will highlight Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the water using graceful images and the phrase “WATER IS LIFE” written in 100+ languages.
The third mural in this series was installed on the east and west sides of the underpass on Carlaw Avenue at Gerrard Street East, as well as the wall facing into the parkette that connects the Carlaw Underpass and to the Gerrard Street underpass.
In February 2020, four proposed design concepts for art on the Carlaw underpass were considered by a local Advisory Committee. A community engagement drop-in event with the shortlisted artists took place in March and an online survey to collect feedback was also circulated to the community.
Artist Ryan Smeeton was selected and he began working on the underpass in July 2020. Ryan and the collaborating artists completed the mural in August 2020.
In 2018 public consultation meetings were held and artists were selected for the first two of nine underpasses. Kirsten McCrae was selected to create artwork on the underpass on Gerrard Street East at Carlaw Avenue, and Jason Pinney was selected to create artwork on the Jones Avenue underpass which is between Gerrard Street East and Boultbee Avenue.
The Gerrard St. East mural was completed in July 2019 and an official ribbon-cutting and celebration was held on July 30th.
The Jones mural was completed in September 2019. Repairs are being made in 2020 by artist Jason Pinney and will be complete in June 2020.
Locations of Railway Underpasses in Ward 14