Volunteers begin work on huge mural in St. James Town

TORONTO –  Volunteers gathered in St. James Town Wednesday to begin work on, what could be, Canada’s largest mural.

“I think it’s really awesome because I used to live here,” says teen volunteer Samantha Goh, “The buildings here are kind of grey and dull so I thought a little bit of colour would make the community look much brighter and people might come more.”

“They don’t get much I guess, and having something as incredible as this is just really rewarding for it to go to this community and not go to another community it’s just better I guess, more hopeful,” says volunteer Ameerah Rashie.

The volunteers are hoping to mural will be among the world’s largest, The group, Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space (STEPS) has contacted The Guinness Book of World Records.

The mural holds a special significance for some volunteers because just four years ago the community was devastated by a six-alarm fire, which was emotionally and physically damaging for many residents.

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“It means everything to me,” Resident Jackie Morris says, “It means a big gift to this building, it’s going to be the fourth anniversary of the fire and it’s a nice thing we need something nice here now. The Phoenix is that rising from the ashes? Okay well after a fire from four years ago rising from the ashes is a good thing, that’s how I look at it.”

Funding for the mural was raised through Street Art Toronto and other independent donations.

“This is the final project that came out of a year long program that’s been involving youth to discuss questions of social justice and activism and how art can connect people to public spaces most of them either live or study in this neighbourhood so St. James town and 200 Wellesley St is the perfect place,” says project assistant Vera Belazelokoska.

The mural is expected to be finished in September.

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