Reggae Lane

  • Blank canvas (Photo: Z Abbasi)
  • (Photo: Z Abbasi)
  • (Photo: Z Abbasi)
  • (Photo: J Zhou)
  • Some of the STEPS crew upon completion of the mural (Photo: J Zhou)
  • Completed mural (Photo: V Taraskine)
  • (Photo: J Zhou)
  • (Photo: J Zhou)
  • (Photo: J Zhou)
  • A glimpse of the unveiling event in September 2015 (Photo: A Solanki)
  • (Photo: A Solanki)
  • (Photo: A Solanki)

Inspired by the musicians that paved the way for Reggae music in Toronto and abroad, this mural depicts legendary Little Jamaica resident artists, Pluggy Satchmo, Bernie Pitters, Leroy Sibbles, Lord Tanamo, Jay Douglas, Stranger Cole, Johnny Osbourne, Jojo Bennett, Nana McLean, Jackie Mittoo, Leroy Brown, Otis Gayle, Joe Isaacs, and Carol Brown as well as key figures such as the Lion of Juda, Haile Selassie, Bob Marley and the Skatalites.

Building on STEPS’ past community-engaged work in the area, the Reggae Lane Mural Project transformed a derelict and under-appreciated public space at the heart of Toronto’s Little Jamaica neighbourhood (located at Eglinton & Oakwood), into a new celebrated cultural landmark.  It was completed in collaboration with local artist Adrian Hayles, business owners, and residents, especially young people, who were engaged from conception to completion.

The rich reggae music narrative of this community is the leading motif behind this project. STEPS and the lead artist have embarked on a journey to collaborate with prominent reggae music experts, musicians, and enthusiasts, to source inspiration for the artwork’s design. Youth engaged through the Macaulay Centre will work to interpret the locally crowd-sourced stories and aspirations into a visually inspiring design, with the mentorship and experience of the lead artist – Adrian Hayles.

Located at 1529 Eglinton Avenue, facing the Green P Parking lot, the completed mural is a new work covering over 1200 square feett that reflects the rich culture of the neighbourhood.

This project is part of a larger initiative with local City Councillor Josh Colle to activate the Reggae Lane area, and we hope that it will serve as a backdrop to a new “stage” that celebrates local reggae culture, as well as a landmark for people visiting this new official cultural site. The mural was completed mid August of 2015 and unveiled on September 19th by the City Councillor and community members.

This project has been generously funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, with support from Metrolinx, our partners at Councillor Josh Colle’s office, the Macaulay Centre for Child and Youth Development, the Toronto Parking Authority and the York-Eglinton BIA.