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 first two underpasses have been installed at Gerrard St. East and Jones Ave.
The third mural in this series will be 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 began working on the underpass in July 2020.
The Coxwell Underpass will be the fourth underpass in this series to receive a mural. In early 2020, artists who identify as Indigenous persons were invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to participate in Coxwell Underpass Street Art Project. The goal of this Expression of Interest (EOI) was to obtain a roster of artists who will be eligible to participate in this project. The goal of this project is to beautify and animate the underpass with a mural representative of the local, historical indigenous perspective. This Expression of Interest was facilitated by Denise B. McLeod. Denise is Anishinaabe (Ojibway) who’s home territory is Sagamok Anishinabek First Nation on the north shores of Lake Huron.
For further information please visit: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/96cf-TS_REOI-StART-Coxwell-Underpass-Art-Project.pdf
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 should be complete in June 2020.
Locations of Railway Underpasses in Ward 14