Mentee Sylvie Verwaayen (L) and Mentor Tova Hasiwar (R) working on their mural located at 623 Dundas St.
OEV Main Street Mural Program
The OEV BIA launched the OEV Main Street Mural Program in May 2022 to build community and beautify the neighbourhood. This program paired five artists for a total of five murals, created in partnership with property owners and businesses in Old East Village. Through this program, we aimed to facilitate new artist partnerships and mentorship opportunities. The mural installations were included in the community events series, Only in OEV Fridays, which happened every second Friday this summer in Old East Village. The mural locations expand upon the existing public art found in Old East Village, creating art attractions for residents and visitors alike to enrich the experience of the neighbourhood.
We’re thrilled that the OEV Main Street Mural Program was one of the many successful projects from the second year of Community Activator program. Thank you Fed Dev and the Canadian Urban Institute for their support.
Make sure to check out the complete murals on Dundas St.!
OEV Main Street Mural Project Murals:
632 Dundas St. - K-Laba Hair and Beauty Supplies Inc.
Forest City Panorama
Artists: Mentor Amsa Yaro and Mentee Rain Bloodworth
The mural at 632 Dundas St by Amsa Yaro and Rain Bloodworth was created in collaboration with Angella Kyabaggu, the owner of K-laba Hair & Beauty Supplies Inc., and her daughter Ramona. Although K-laba wanted to celebrate that they are a Black-owned business that brought haircare to the Black community over 25 years ago, they also wanted to demonstrate that their reach extends much further. The artists thought of the phrase “Love Starts Here” to convey the village as an inclusive community and the mural depicts a diverse group of people, celebrating their uniqueness. The mural also incorporates many recognizable Old East Village landmarks such as the Western Fair, Aeolian Hall, and a nod to Old East Village’s heritage buildings.
623 Dundas St.
Artists: Mentor Tova Hasiwar and Mentee Sylvie Verwaayen
The mural at 623 Dundas St. on The Root Cellar (temporarily closed) by Tova Hasiwar and Sylvie Verwaayen celebrates ecological sustainability and pollinators by depicting local plants and a honeybee in a bright, eye-catching composition. The Root Cellar owners Jeff Pastorius and Ellie Cook also run On the Move Organics, a local grocery business specializing in food grown locally and sustainably, and LOLA Bees, a learning apiary. The mural encapsulates sustainable food systems, which is a value embraced through all their businesses. Ellie also describes how honeybees themselves are an “amazing model for how to live and work cooperatively.” The mural imagery also incorporates local pollinator plants such as the anise bloom and wild borage, and morel mushrooms native to the region.
680 Dundas St.
Seeds Across the Land
Artists: Mentor Robin Henry and Mentee Reilly Knowles
The mural at 680 Dundas by Robin Henry and Reilly Knowles is inspired by a Polish folklore tail incorporating dandelions. They settled on the imagery of a figure blowing a dandelion since it’s a positive message that symbolizes hope and peace. Although, as the mural developed, it became even more meaningful as it is painted in memory of Amara Hollow Bones, a beloved figure in the LGBTQ2S+ art community in London, who passed away this summer. Robin and Reilly quickly adapted the figure in the design to represent Amara and their signature red hair. They also added elements of Amara’s art, depicted with the spotted loons that fly around them in the composition.
1074 Dundas St - Vietnam Restaurant
East meets East: Vietnam to Old East Village
Artists: Mentor Pamela Scharback, Mentee Andres Garzon
The mural at Vietnam Restaurant painted by Pamela Scharback and Andres Garzon celebrates the beauty of both Canada and Vietnam. Vietnam Restaurant owner, Lam Ngo, wished to convey an “East meets East” theme that celebrates what he loves about both Vietnam and Old East Village. The mural has hops found in craft beer to pay homage to the craft breweries in the neighbourhood as well as traditional Vietnamese elements, such as the figure dressed in traditional garments on a water buffalo, lanterns, and a map of Vietnam on the far-left panel.
796 Dundas St. - Recker Art Studios
All You Need is Love
Artists: Mentor Alayna Hryclik and Mentee Jason Recker
The mural located at 796 Dundas St. is painted by artists Jason Recker and Alayna Hryclik. “All You Need is Love” are familiar song lyrics and a positive message that Jason Recker desired to convey to the Old East Village community to help brighten people’s day. Both artists Jason Recker and Alayna Hryclik are inspired by music, which is expressed through their art. As Jason explains, “It’s hard not to start singing the song when you see it and automatically feel better. With the exposure and location of this wall, it also had to be vibrant, so I went with a colourful 1960’s psychedelic vibe to bring it all to life."
Mentee Rain Bloodworth (L) and Mentor Amsa Yaro (R) working on their mural located at 632 Dundas St.