Media Advisory: Celebration Marks Unveiling of Reggae Lane – Toronto’s Newest Cultural Landmark

TORONTO, Sept 14, 2015 – On September 19th from 4 – 7 pm, Councillor Josh Colle, the STEPS Initiative, The Laneway Project, and local Reggae musicians will host the official unveiling of Reggae Lane: Toronto’s newest cultural landmark. This event will celebrate the completion of a 1,200 sq ft mural commemorating more than a dozen local Reggae legends, a Toronto Heritage plaque, and will share the community’s vision for future improvements and a “Master Plan” for Reggane Lane.

Toronto is home to one of the largest populations of Jamaican expatriates in the world. During the 70s and 80s Toronto was a thriving hub for Reggae musicians, resulting in a myriad of record stores, labels, studios and music venues along Eglinton Avenue West. Last year, Councillor Josh Colle named the laneway at Oakwood Ave and now has installed a Toronto Heritage plaque on the site.

“I am hoping that by establishing Reggae Lane we will bring a positive light to Eglinton Avenue West and highlight the significance of this essential part of Toronto’s music history.” – Councillor Josh Colle, Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence

Date: September 19th
Time: 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Location: Green P parking lot at 1531 Eglinton West

The event will be free to the public.

4 pm: Curated walkthrough of Reggae lane hosted by The Laneway Project

5 pm: Ribbon cutting, honour Reggae Hall of Fame recipients, food and cake

6 pm: Live music including local legend Jay Douglas who will perform his original song called “Reggae Lane”

 

The STEPS Initiative, an award-winning public arts organization, teamed up this summer with renowned local artist Adrian Hayles and youth from the community to transform the wall at the eastern entry point to Reggae Lane into a celebrated cultural landmark that pays homage to the local reggae community.

The Laneway Project, working from the ground up with local businesses, residents, civic organizations and the reggae community, is in the midst of developing a vision and long-term master plan for Reggae Lane that will transform the laneway into a safe, vibrant and people-friendly space for the entire community.

 

Media contacts:

Amanda Penrice, Office of Councillor Josh Colle, 647-466-8573 or apenric@toronto.ca
Vera Belazelkoska, STEPS Initiative (647) 273-5397 or vera@stepsinitiative.com
Michelle Senayah, The Laneway Project, 647-763-6783 or michelle@thelanewayproject.ca

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The Reggae Lane mural has been has been generously funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, with support from Metrolinx, the Toronto Parking Authority, the PATCH Project and TD Bank. The Reggae Lane heritage plaque was funded by Heritage Toronto and Scotiabank, while the Reggae Lane master planning project is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The STEPS Initiative
The STEPS Initiative is an award-winning community-based arts organization that bridges the gap between the cultural, social and environmental sectors by building the capacity of citizens to create more vibrant and connected communities. This project’s lead artist, Adrian Hayles, is a graduate of the Graphic Design program at Humber College with over 10 years of working experience behind him and is established in Toronto’s modern art community.

The Laneway Project
The Laneway Project is an innovative non-profit that is fundamentally changing Toronto’s relationship with its laneways. Our mandate is to inspire, empower and support communities in undertaking their own laneway projects; to initiate and implement demonstration projects to improve and activate laneways throughout the city; and to work with City leaders to create laneway-friendly planning policies and procedures that formalize laneways as assets in Toronto’s public realm.

Photos

Youth from the Macaulay Centre for Child and Youth Development scrape away the flaking paint from a 10+ years old mural.  Photo credit: Vera Belazelkoska

Youth from the Macaulay Centre for Child and Youth Development scrape away the flaking paint from a 10+ years old mural.
Photo credit: Vera Belazelkoska

Councillor Josh Colle and acclaimed Reggae icon Pluggy Satchimo visit the site midway through the painting process.  Photo credit: Amanda Penrice

Councillor Josh Colle and acclaimed Reggae icon Pluggy Satchimo visit the site midway through the painting process.
Photo credit: Amanda Penrice

Lead artist Adrian Hayles in front of the complete work. Photo credit: Zainab Abbasi

Lead artist Adrian Hayles in front of the complete work.
Photo credit: Zainab Abbasi

Project volunteers and lead artist celebrate the work’s completion. Photo credit: Jiawen Zhou

Project volunteers and lead artist celebrate the work’s completion.
Photo credit: Jiawen Zhou

Legendary Reggae artist Leroy Sibbles poses in front of his photo on the new Reggae Lane mural. Photo credit: Josh Colle

Legendary Reggae artist Leroy Sibbles poses in front of his photo on the new Reggae Lane mural.
Photo credit: Josh Colle

Reggae artist Jay Douglas shares his ideas at the Visioning Workshop for the Reggae Lane Master Plan. Photo credit: Inside Toronto

Reggae artist Jay Douglas shares his ideas at the Visioning Workshop for the Reggae Lane Master Plan.
Photo credit: Inside Toronto

Workshop plan sketch of Reggae Lane used to gather community feedback on master plan priorities. Image credit: The Laneway Project

Workshop plan sketch of Reggae Lane used to gather community feedback on master plan priorities.
Image credit: The Laneway Project