EDMONTON – A piece of Whyte Avenue history was lost earlier this week when a 30-year-old mural was accidentally sandblasted away.
The mural was painted by Edmonton artist Toti and featured three musicians – fitting for its location outside of the Gordon Price music store.
When Gordon Price was sold, later owners made sure to keep the mural intact.
The current owner had no idea it was painted by an Edmonton artist and had historical significance to Whyte Avenue.
“The landlord did not know it was a local artist,” said a realtor with Royal Reality.
“It was an unfortunate mistake.”
Edmontonians took to Twitter to express their disappointment over the destruction.
Local businesses were also unhappy to hear a historic part of Whyte Avenue had been destroyed.
“I was profoundly disappointed,” said Vivid Print owner Mark Wilson. “This piece of art has been a part of the Whyte Avenue community for the past 32 years.”
“It’s a beautiful edition to the community and [the sandblasting] seemed unnecessary.”
The realtor leasing the business actually has ties to Toti. He’s a part of the art world and knows the artist’s husband, Peter Lewis, personally.
The realtor says the landlord would have accommodated the painting if he knew its significance. They will be in contact with Toti in order to work things out, the realtor added.
“This is far from the end result,” he said.
Despite the mural’s historical importance, it was not a protected piece of art. Strathcona Business Association does not recommend that artwork be placed on the front of buildings because there is a chance it will eventually be destroyed.
“Initially when we found out about it we were a little disappointed. It’s been there a long time and it’s a nice looking mural,” OSBA Executive Director Murray Davison said. “On the other hand, we also understand that as businesses change, the product and the services change.”
Royal Reality says the owner “has a big heart” and wants the new business to be just as much a part of Whyte Avenue as previous stores. The sandblasting was just an effort to “clean the place up” for a potential new tenant.
© Shaw Media, 2014