Our Boast, Our Pride

Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Leslieville, 2016
Located: Intersection of Jones Avenue and Queen Street
Artist: Elicser Elliot
Lettering: Sight1
Program: StART
Website: http://www.elicser.com/
Copyright 2016, Public Art of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Alright, bring on the street art!

lvm-mapWe’re heading out to Queen Street East which has an embarrassment of riches in terms of new street art. There has been not one, not two, but three new works by some very talented artists installed in the area over the course of the last year. Let’s take a look at the first one, the Leslieville mural that was unveiled on September 15, 2016.

Alexander Muir is best known for penning The Maple Leaf Forever while sitting under a maple tree in Leslieville where he was principal of the nearby public school.  Given his near legendary status in the neighbourhood, it was no surprise twelve years ago that property owner, Andrew Elia, agreed to permit a group of students to decorate the side of his building at the corner of Queen Street and Jones Avenue with a tribute to Muir.

But in terms of street art, twelve years is a long time, and the original mural and the building were starting to show some wear and tear. The wall needed repair and vandals had often visited the mural, tagging it and giving the poor Muir a new look including the addition of a Hitler-esque moustache or the Joker’s makeup. Finally in 2015 after an aborted attempt to replace the art, Elia agreed to participate in the StART process with city councilor Paula Fletcher.

The result was three submissions by street artists Elicser, Mediah, and Dan Bergeron for residents to choose from. Ultimately Elicser’s design featuring Muir sitting under his beloved maple tree was chosen.

The title for this article is taken from the lyrics of The Maple Leaf Forever by Alexander Muir:

Here may it wave, our boast, our pride
And, joined in love together,
The lily, thistle, shamrock, rose entwine
The Maple Leaf forever!

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