Always looking to animate unlikely spaces in a meaningful way, this female-led mural series integrates various designs, styles, and shapes featured below the Gardiner at the confluence of the Martin Goodman and Lower Don Trails (Lake Shore Blvd & Cherry).
The project responds to the many evolutions this site has experienced over the years. Originally, a marsh, the Port Lands were used for industrial activities, and later a dump site for old ammunition and construction waste. This dumping resulted in the creation of the Leslie Street Spit, which has been reclaimed over the years by seeds, plant matter, and local fauna—specifically birds—as the result of natural ecological regeneration.
“These fabulous murals are an eye-catching herald of the transformation of this neglected part of Toronto into a gateway to the new mouth of the Don River and a revitalized Port Lands,” says Cynthia Wilkey, Co-Chair of the West Don Lands Committee.
Artists Fathima Mouhiddin, Meera Sethi, Stephanie Bellefleur and Daniela Rocha have created works that respond to the themes of environmental reclamation and migration, referencing the site’s history through each of their unique artistic styles.
Mouhiddin’s birds tell stories of personal struggles and triumphs experienced by all. They with the determined human spirit that exists within everyone, a sense of shared humanity and magic in a time of impersonal chaos. Sethi’s work references the site’s transition from a WWI munitions dumping ground to its current form – an increasingly vibrant landscape, free of war and violence. The portion of the mural depicting the munitions will be painted low to the ground in the hopes that it will become overgrown with tall grasses, symbolically this suggests acknowledging a buried history while building a brighter future. Both Bellefleur and Rocha’s designs use bold colour in an array of patterns and abstracted figures that include fish, birds, wind, and water, all of which connect to the project’s environmental themes.
This project was made possible through a collaboration with Friends of The Pan Am Path, as part of their Relay 2017.