You may have noticed a vibrant new addition to Leslieville recently.
Like the popular neighbourhood’s countless gentrified houses, a Leslieville landmark just got a facelift.
Tomorrow, a new mural will be officially launched at Queen Street East and Jones Avenue.
It replaces the longstanding original mural that featured ‘Leslieville’ written in bold lettering against a gold(ish)-yellow background.
When the mural and wall that housed it were deemed to be deteriorating last year, the residents felt it was time to revitalize it.
Created by well-known graffiti artist Jabari “Elicser” Elliott, the new mural features an elderly man sitting with his legs crossed under a maple tree.
The tree is a nod to poet Alexander Muir, author of “The Maple Leaf Forever,” who was featured in the original mural.
While some residents wanted the original artist to recreate it on the replacement wall, there was no record of who actually painted the mural. City of Toronto staff said it would be unethical to copy the work without the artist’s permission.
A design contest was launched last year to inspire a new mural for the wall.
Six finalists were announced in January and the mural committee launched a website to gather feedback from the public on the various design options.
A committee that included the wall owner, representatives from the Leslieville BIA, Leslieville Historical Society, the Ralph Thornton Centre, area residents, and Councillor Paula Fletcher’s office made its final decision sometime in March.
“It was very important for Leslieville residents that the mural be the right fit for this important corner,” Fletcher said in a news release. “Three very talented artists shared their designs with the community, and residents were moved by this modern take.”
The new mural was completed this summer (so some of you know what it looks like already), but will be officially launched with a plaque tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at a celebration at Queen Street East and Jones Avenue.
As for Leslieville residents, hopefully they’ll be happier with the new mural than they were the prospect of a homeless shelter.
Cover image by Julie Kinnear.