If you haven't been through the railway underpass next to the Dundas St. West and Dupont St. intersection in West Toronto recently, you have been missing out on some incredible changes! The streetscape has evolved tremendously in the past couple of months: The West Toronto Railpath linear park and trail is now open, there are bicycle lanes on Dupont St., and a brand new mural dedicated to bicycle culture has been painted along the entire 400 foot south wall.
Talk about a major transformation! Standing next to the railway bridges, you can see all these sights come together into a single place where a formerly desolate bike- and pedestrian-unfriendly area has been completely transformed. Just stand there and look at the bright colours, watch people walk by above you on the Railpath, watch cyclists stream by on the Dupont St. bike lanes, and listen to people as they talk about the new mural. Beautiful!
The mural, titled Strength in Numbers, was installed by a group of artists from Art Starts, an organization that helps build Toronto communities by using the arts. Funding for these murals came from the City of Toronto's Graffiti Transformation Investment Program, as well as the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council. Lead artists Joshua Barndt and Jamie Bradbury, along with five youth artists painted the murals over four weeks in July and August 2009.
I interviewed lead artist Jamie Bradbury, who provided some insight about the mural:
Why did you choose to do a cycling-themed mural? Why this location?
The cycling theme was chosen as a starting point for the mural initially as we started the mural due to two main reasons. The west Toronto bike path being built above, we felt that biking as an issue was an umbrella for many other issues such as sustainability, eco-friendly cities, green space, alternative transportation. An artist and avid cyclist named Galen was also killed 5 years ago right at this location, and it was somewhat of an homage to him.