Where you might have once seen an ugly graffiti-strewn wall, today you will likely see a colorful mural, painted by local artists such as Leanne Mlanden (above). Ms. Mlanden is one of several community volunteers who have given their time and skills to the Roncesvalles Top to Bottom Mural Project. Lisa Rainford from Inside Toronto has the scoop.
The Project was launched by local resident Teresa Emmanuel, after hearing about the BIA’s problems with graffiti. While the BIA has a Graffiti Eradication Program to remove all graffiti from street-level properties, upper-level walls are not included. In recent months, affected Roncesvalles businesses have received notices from the City warning that they face fees and fines if they don’t remove the graffiti. This would cost a total of $8,400. In addition, adding the upper floors to the BIA’s graffiti eradication program would require special equipment, more than double its cost, and would benefit less than ten percent of all BIA members.
Teresa, along with BIA board members Mary-Ellen Mitchell, Catherine Huizenga and Jennifier Ziorli, decided there was a better way. Their efforts brought local artists together with the affected businesses, who agreed to pay for the paint. Muralist and local resident Walter Ruston, who painted the BIA-commissioned murals at Garden Avenue and the Grafton Parkette, provided technical and artistic guidance. It is a wonderful solution that beautifies and unites our community, erases graffiti, and at very little cost to the affected businesses.
A second phase of the project, to begin in October, will focus on the bottom and back areas of Roncesvalles. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Teresa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BIA offers its gratitude and praise to Teresa and all the local artists and volunteers for their generosity, community spirit and hard work! Thank you!