This Sunday Ward 29 Councillor Mary Fragedakis along with city officials and members of local arts organizations unveiled a multi-part mural at the Pottery Road underpass beside Toronto's Todmorden Hills Heritage Site. The event was attended by an intimate group of community members as well as hikers and bikers passing along Pottery Road.

Todmorden Mills, StART Toronto, Pottery Road Underpass, Ward 29, DanforthRibbon Cutting for StART Pottery Road Underpass Mural, photo by Salena Barry

The mural—which spans the pillars on the east side of the underpass—was created by artist Drew Mosley as a part of the City's StreetARToronto Program, commonly referred to as StART Toronto. StART aims to develop community by supporting local artists, beautifying public space and curbing graffiti vandalism.

Councillor Fragedakis opened the ceremonies by thanking members from Todmorden Mills Heritage Site, East End Arts and the Distillery District for their assistance on the project and praised artist Drew Mosely on his work. She also thanked the community members who voted for his work among the two other proposals they were offered. Fragedakis celebrated the mural's reflection of the outstanding natural environment surrounding the neighbourhood which recently completed an avenue planning study to guide all future development. (All three mural finalists were directed to the study in completion of their final design concepts.)

Todmorden Mills, StART Toronto, Pottery Road Underpass, Ward 29, DanforthDetail of StARt Pottery Road Underpass Mural, photo by Salena Barry

Todmorden Mills, StART Toronto, Pottery Road Underpass, Ward 29, DanforthDetail of StARt Pottery Road Underpass Mural, photo by Salena Barry

Todmorden Mills, StART Toronto, Pottery Road Underpass, Ward 29, DanforthDetail of StARt Pottery Road Underpass Mural, photo by Salena Barry

Following Fragedakis, StART project lead Caroline Taylor opened the ceremonies by explaining the goals of StART Toronto, which began operating in 2012 as part of the City's Transportation Services under the Public Realm section. Taylor proudly boasted that the Pottery Road underpass, which is the first StART unveiling of 2016, was one of five underpasses chosen to receive a mural each year. She was also pleased to announce that the mural would likely be integrated into Todmorden Mills Museum's educational curriculum. 

Todmorden Mills, StART Toronto, Pottery Road Underpass, Ward 29, DanforthDetail of StARt Pottery Road Underpass Mural, photo by Salena Barry

Todmorden Mills, StART Toronto, Pottery Road Underpass, Ward 29, DanforthDetail of StARt Pottery Road Underpass Mural, photo by Salena Barry

Lastly, Drew Mosely, who works as an illustrator, painter and carpenter, came to the microphone to explain the concept for his mural, which was completed over the summer with the assistance of local children and youth. The theme of his work was a forest. He was inspired by the wildlife that he saw while working in the area and wanted to remind residents that they cohabit in this space with them. The mural which features anthropomorphized animals, a common theme in his oeuvre, was painted in a Boschian style playfully interacting, hiding in tree hollows and acting as sentries to the valley. 

Todmorden Mills, StART Toronto, Pottery Road Underpass, Ward 29, DanforthDetail of StARt Pottery Road Underpass Mural, photo by Salena Barry

After the speeches, Councillor Fragedakis, Caroline Taylor, Drew Mosley and others from the City cut a ribbon officially marking the completion of the mural. Community members were later treated to a catered lunch and were encouraged to visit Todmorden Mills' Harvest Festival. Although the attendance for the event was not large, it indicated a close-knit and growing community, which is exactly the effect hoped for by the StART program.