World’s Tallest Mural – 200 Wellesley St E
This community-led art initiative transformed a 32 story modernist social housing building into a vertical canvas for the world’s tallest mural that has received numerous honours since its production in 2013.
The design’s incorporation of a bird soaring up this high-rise is emblematic of a phoenix rising about its host community – St. James Town. Meanwhile, themes of diversity, accessibility, safety, happiness and other aspects of local culture were weaved into its lower sections. Local artist and 200 Wellesley Street resident, George McIntyre said “I have never seen so many people stop by and look at our building.”
This groundbreaking work was the culmination of over a year of engagement with St. James Town youth and hundreds of members from the wider community members, facilitated in collaboration with artist Sean Martindale. “Everyone who sees my sunflowers tells me how much they like them!”, says Dora, a 200 Wellesley St East resident who contributed her own designs to the work.
“Beautification of our public spaces is an essential component of building and maintaining healthy communities,” said Councillor Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre – Rosedale). “This spectacular mural is a shining example of the resiliency and creativity of the young people of St. James Town, and stands as a beacon of pride in their community on display for all of Toronto to enjoy.”
The building, which possesses a complicated history, is located near a busy intersection that sees a high volume of car, transit, cycling and pedestrian traffic – is currently unmemorable and often difficult for residents and users of the Community Corner (an agency on its main floor) to find. The mural has created a celebrated local landmark, with its upper sections (painted by the Toronto Muralists) visible from much of Toronto’s downtown core.
This project was funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, the Ontario Arts Council, Tangerine (formerly ING Direct) with generous contributions from the Toronto Muralists, Dulux Paints, and Skyway Canada. It was made possible through a partnership with the St. James Town Community Corner and Toronto Community Housing Corporation.