Around the World in East Chinatown, a graffiti art project in the Gerrard and Broadview neighbourhood, has transformed seven frequently tagged walls in the area with seven new wonders of the world.
With the assistance of the Toronto Police Service, the City of Toronto, StreetARToronto, Riverdale Collegiate Institute students and local artists, seven large-scale murals of world monuments such as the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China, now adorn the sides of buildings in the community.
The colourful works of art discourages vandalism and beautifies East Chinatown buildings as well as drawing people to the Gerrard St. and Broadview Ave. area.
The project is part of renewed optimism an change taking place in the neighbourhood, which is now in its second and third generation.
Valerie Mah, a member of the Service’s Chinese Consultative Committee who coordinated the mural installation with Constable Kent Vuong, said the project has transformed the community’s streetscape and provided a sense of pride among residents.
“We have changed the space and the community is quite excited,” says Mah, the first Chinese woman to become a Toronto District School Board principal. “As they go by, they have been giving us high-fives.”
A total of 15 students were involved in the project.
“They were attending summer school so, when I approached the vice-principal and he checked with them, they were only too happy to contribute because the time they spent was part of their volunteer hours,” added Mah.
Mike Kennedy was the project’s artist co-ordinator.
“The students helped prime the walls and 22 artists did the murals,” he said. “This was a super-interesting project and I am so proud of everyone that was involved.”
Community Response Unit officers in 55 Division were instrumental in recognizing significant ongoing graffiti vandalism issues in the area and working with property owners and community members to find a solution.
“I want to thank everyone for their support in helping to make this thing possible,” said Constable Kent Vuong.