Riverside just got a colourful mural inspired by pollination and time

  Photo:  Dean Seguin

Photo: Dean Seguin

The neighbourhood just got a lot more vibrant with a new mural installation along Queen St. East in Riverside.

The design for the public installation, created by Toronto-based artist Nick Sweetman, plays on multiple layered themes of bees and pollination and clocks and time.

Long a neglected spot targeted by graffiti, the revitalized west-facing wall at Queen and Saulter brightens this area thanks to a City of Toronto mural grant.

"We've chosen this theme because Riverside has a lot of hidden green spaces that maintain wildflowers," says a statement of Riverside BIA, who is overseeing the mural installation. "There are also a number of local hives in the east end, and a bee-keeping culture that has been shared with the community through Riverside’s guided walking tours."

Riverside BIA says it ties into the community's sustainability approach. Urban hives are good for the city’s ecosystem, while also being unexpected pockets of calm among the bustle.

"This is reflective of Riverside’s character: a neighbourhood that maintains a calmer small-town atmosphere in the middle of a busy urban centre."

The secondary time and clocks theme pays homage to Riverside clockmaker Albert Edelstein, who had a huge impact in founding the Riverside BIA. It's also a symbolic reference to the neighbourhood's Time Public Art series, created by artist Eldon Garnet.

Riverside maintains two iconic clocks on the bridge and on the Ralph Thornton Centre, and this further connects to the historical significance of Riverside, which has a strong legacy, while continuing to move forward in time as a vibrant neighbourhood.

"Edelstein as a jeweler and clockmaker is a great metaphor for the pollinator — someone working hard on tiny things with thousands of tiny moving parts, largely out of sight, just quietly working, but the things they produce, their work, has enormous effects outside the workshop," according to the statement. "The gears represent small things working together to make big things happen — like bees in a hive, or a neighbourhood community. Like clockmakers, pollinators are an important member of society and their toils must be given proper respect, because they play an essential role in the community in allowing it thrive and exist."

We say two thumbs up — the 'hood needs more spots for vibrant and impactful public art.