Building on STEPS’ past community-engaged work in the area, the Reggae Lane Mural transformed a derelict and under-appreciated public space at the heart of Toronto’s Little Jamaica neighbourhood (Eglinton West & Oakwood) into a 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 works development included a collaborative journey with prominent reggae music experts, musicians, and enthusiasts, to source inspiration from the area’s rich musical history. The design was inspired by the musicians that paved the way for Reggae music in Toronto and abroad, depicting 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.
Always committed to embedding capacity building opportunities, local youth helped to interpret the locally crowd-sourced stories and aspirations into a visually inspiring design, with the mentorship and experience of artist Adrian Hayles.
Located at 1529 Eglinton Avenue, facing the Green P Parking lot, the completed mural spans over 1200 square feet and is part of a larger initiative to activate the area by celebrating its rich cultural heritage.
This project has been generously funded by the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto program, with support from Metrolinx, TD Canada Trust, as well as the Office of City Councillor Josh Colle, the Macaulay Centre for Child and Youth Development, the Toronto Parking Authority and the York-Eglinton BIA.