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Unveiling of World’s Tallest Mural at 200 Wellesley

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Unveiling of World’s Tallest Mural at 200 WellesleySTEPS Initiative, Toronto | ON

"The STEPS (Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Spaces) Initiative, alongside its partner the St. James Town Community Corner, will be hosting an unveiling event to celebrate the completion of the world’s tallest mural on Toronto Community Housing property, 200 Wellesley Street East, on September 28th from 1 – 4 pm. This community-led art installation that stands approximately 32 stories high has involved hundreds of community members, and is soon to be officially crowned the tallest mural in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The mural’s design incorporates the motif of a bird soaring up, emblematic of a phoenix rising, to counter the negative stereotypes associated with St. James Town, alongside designs that represent themes of diversity, accessibility, local culture, safety and happiness weaved into its lower sections. Local artist and 200 Wellesley Street resident, George McIntyre says “I have never seen so many people stop by and look at our building.”

The mural is the culmination of STEPS' Emerging ARTivist Program, been taking place in St. James Town over the last year. Over 50 young people from the St. James Town community and hundreds of community members have been involved in the project in various ways. Internationally renowned local artist, Sean Martindale worked with community members of all ages to help develop the mural’s design as the lead artistic facilitator. Dora, a 200 Wellesley tenant who has added her own designs onto the mural, says that it has been a pleasure to take part in this project and be recognized for it by her neighbours, “Everyone who sees my sunflowers tells me how much they like them!” Numerous other residents have shown immeasurable support, saying that the mural is “the best thing that’s happened here,” and that it has given the community a “brand new look.”

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 is already turning the building into a celebrated local landmark since it is visible from many tall buildings across Toronto’s downtown core (a rare occurrence for the City’s street art, which tends to be located at ground level). Jason Rouleau and Ryan Dineen of the Toronto Muralists painted the mural’s upper sections.

Celebrations are scheduled to take place as part of the St. James Town Festival, in the space in front of 200 Wellesley E., September 28th from 1 - 4 pm. The event will give community members and all those involved in the project an opportunity to celebrate its completion. There will be music, food and numerous arts and crafts activities, including face painting and henna. Attendees are encouraged to bring clothing to screen-print the images of the phoenix onto."

(submitted by Vera Belazelkoska, Project Coordinator, STEPS Initiative )

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Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space (STEPS) Initiative

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