The hoarding that surrounds the site of Toronto’s Mirvish Village development — on the site of the former Honest Ed’s discout store — has been painted with the stories of the community. Local artists commissioned by Westbank, have created new works that speak to cultural diversity and unity, celebrating Mirvish Village’s unique history and values. Their works build off the principles guiding Westbank’s engagement and interpretation efforts leading up to the planning of Mirvish Village. This process has involved multiple artists who have explored, uncovered, presented, and sustained the neighbourhood’s unique history and values.
For the hoarding, three Toronto-based artists — Naomi Moyer, Leeay Aikawa and Jessica Thalmann — present work alongside a collective of visual art students from Central Technical School — J’mar Black, Damian Dean, Maya Dorrington, Stephan Giczey, Aurora Gifford, Sage Grosbein-Ainslie, Jamie Kirton, Brandon Lewis, Katie Luu, Skylar Marshall, Saviah Maxwell, Gabriel Milton, Anna Moller, Brandon Persad, Shirien Sangian, Ozzie Tizzard, Wendy Zhang.
Seven themes honouring the site’s cultural, entrepreneurial and community roots have been brought to life, giving historic nods to Mirvish Village and the Bloor and Bathurst neighbourhood, while celebrating all that is to come with the new development.
Working across various media, including photography, drawing and digital collage, many of these creatives have included archival imagery in their work that was then embedded and manipulated in their various styles. They were charged with marking a point of transition, and many chose to address that directive by blending contemporary imagery with photos and findings from the neighbourhood’s past.
The artists came together under the direction of curator Ilana Altman, and the creative agency Whitman Emorson, who worked closely with Westbank to develop the creative and graphic framework to unite the hoarding. This approach has resulted in a bold yet integrated scheme that supports diverse voices and enlivens these prominent Toronto streets during this pivotal time of transition. In recognition of Bloor and Bathurst as a vital pedestrian intersection and the size of the site, Westbank has also partnered with New York-based Urban Umbrella to deliver a unique, custom construction hoarding system. With extra height, translucent overhead panels that allow daylight, and integrated LED lighting, the Urban Umbrella system serves as a premium canvas for each artwork. Hoarding is currently being erected on Bloor Street and Lennox Street. The Bathurst Street façade will follow soon after in early 2019.