Over the past few months, DUKE Heights BIA had the privilege of being a part of ArtworxTO project of the City of Toronto that aimed to produce various mural art projects to beautify prominent streets in the area. The murals work to bring passersby and residents together to strengthen the bonds between community members and nearby businesses using unifying art pieces. Throughout these unprecedented times, street art can provide a sense of solace and trust to residents and local businesses while offering meaningful work to local artists that share special connections to the neighborhood. Next time you see a mural, take a moment to stop and admire its beauty and remember the artist’s passion for the city that fueled each paint stroke.
Mural Art Title: “Red Birches”
Location: 4925 Dufferin St & Gerry Fitzgerald
Artist: Adele Steinberg
Adele has decades of painting experience with diverse mediums which she has honed through her membership at the Willowdale Group of Artists and North York Visual Artists. Adele is a long-time resident of North York where she raised her family and taught art for many years as a teacher. “Red Birches” is Adele’s first mural. Her art was inspired by its proximity to G Ross Lord Park as it reflects one’s interconnectedness to nature and the beauty of this symbiotic harmony.
Mural Art Title: “Pull Up a Chair”
Location: 1106 Alness St (south of Flint Rd)
Artist: Alisha Davison
Alishia is an artist and illustrator located in Toronto, she loves working with various mediums to capture human connection and its interactions with the natural world. She is a passionate volunteer in the DUKE Heights area and takes pride in the welcoming nature of the community. Alisha’s mural “Pull Up a Chair” incorporates DUKE Height’s rich history of furniture manufacturing and design in the community. Alisha takes the familiarity of a chair and repurposes it in a plethora of ways to encourage passersby to take a step back and look a little differently at the ordinary.
Mural Art Title: “Memphis Dreams”
Location: 63 Alness St
Artist: Caylen Monroe
Caylen is a painter from birth, beginning with portraiture and later evolving their work into large-scale murals. They are passionate about important topics like queerness, gender non-conformity, and feminism and regularly express this through their art. Caylen’s ties to the community, as both a former resident and York University student, inspired them to be a part of the street art beautifying process. Their passion for colour inspired their mural “Memphis Dreams”, a maximalist interpretation of a familiar home space, inspired by the Memphis Milano Design firm.
Mural Art Title: “Building People”
Location: 3983 Chesswood Dr
Artist: Dina Belaia
Dina’s artistic journey began at a young age in Russia, and her passion brought her to York University to continue her studies. She is an illustrator and graphic designer and has continued her work painting murals around the community. Dina’s mural “Building People” reflects on the importance of people in bringing to life their surroundings, like the very neighborhood the artwork is located in. She is inspired by the diversity of the people and businesses of the DUKE Heights area and spends a lot of her time enjoying all that the community has to offer.
Mural Art Title: “New Energy”
Location: 598 Champagne Dr
Artist: Janny Van Der Eyken Mol
Jaia is a Mexican-born artist who immigrated to Canada in 2010 with no education, work experience, or connections to support her in a new country. Jaia worked hard to build a life for herself, her first job was at a small skateboarding warehouse near Downsview Park. Jaia’s recent education at OCAD has fuelled her visual artwork and inspired her to undertake her first experience painting a mural. Jaia’s mural “New Energy” actively represents the up-and-coming changes to the community, especially those that broaden the access to healthcare in the area.
Mural Art Title: “Lift Each Other in the Heights”
Location: 2361 Petrolia Rd
Artist: Marianne Langford
Marianne is a former elementary school teacher who now resides in Toronto. Her family immigrated from Egypt in 1965 and she later pursued teaching at York University, winning Teacher of the Year in 2002. As a newly budding artist, she has found solace in her artwork during the pandemic and the mural’s completion is a long-awaited goal that she is deeply proud to check off her list of achievements. Marianne’s mural “Lift Each Other in the Heights” reflects the supportive nature and unity of the businesses and community members in the area.
Mural Art Title: “Mid-Century Modern Duke Heights”
Location: 4465 Chesswood Dr
Artist: Sarah Alinia Ziazi
Sara is an artist based in Toronto, having honed her skills in Illustration at OCAD University. Her work was featured in several Canadian galleries and art societies in America as she loves to combine traditional and digital mediums to inspire her work. She has numerous friends and family who reside in North York and associates the DUKE Heights community with the people she loves. Sara’s mural “Mid-Century Modern Duke Heights” is a modernist twist on simple furniture design to invoke feelings of optimism about the flourishing of home furniture businesses in the area.
Mural Art Title: “Art Deco”
Location: 493 Alness St
Artist: Victor SY Wei
Victor is a passionate storyteller that aims to articulate the neighborhood’s history through his work. His diverse portfolio is led by his passion for traditional folk art with a modern twist as he loves to work with inspiring colours to brighten mundane objects. Victor is a frequent visitor of the DUKE Heights area and his fond memories of the community helped inspire his mural. Victor’s mural “Art Deco” is influenced by the art deco style of visual arts as he incorporates unique designs and patterns that shine a new light on unadorned furniture.
Mural Art Title: “That's How We Knoll”
Location: 1111 Alness St (north of Flint Rd)
Artist: Victoria Day
Victoria is a printmaker and craftsman, constructing large-scale murals and artwork that incorporate ideas of introspection and unapologetic feminism. As a former resident of the area, Victoria relishes in the beauty of the neighborhoods, often biking through Downsview Park where it brings her great joy to find murals scattered throughout the area. Victoria’s mural “That's How We Knoll” incorporates imagery from a dynamic and spunky tool cabinet that reimagines the traditional woodworking apparatus that much of the furniture and manufacturing industry in DUKE Heights utilizes.
Mural Art Title: "Furniture in Nature"
Location: 907 Alness St
Artist: Yasaman Mehrsa
Yasaman began to practice art actively in 2018 and later worked on various community projects within the Toronto area and beyond. Her primary motive is the interconnectedness between humans and nature as she uses her work to emit positive energy and tell important stories. She is a resident of North York and as a regular commuter, she appreciates the positive and enlightening energy that colourful and bright art installments bring to the area. Yasaman’s mural “Furniture in Nature” uses design to symbolically shape and mold the vibrant neighbourhood setting.