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LIFE: Paying homage to local characters (Oct. 2020)

November 2nd, 2020 · No Comments

Vibrant mural meant to appeal to children

MARY AN/GLEANER NEWS

By Mary An

At the intersection of Bloor Street West and Major Street, the Annex has welcomed a new mural. With help from the City of Toronto’s StreetARToronto grant, the Bloor Annex Business Improvement Area (BIA)  held a competition last year to fill the wall in a way that would best represent the neighbourhood. 

This unique, vibrantly colored mural was painted with children in mind, and features key Annex residents. The artist wanted to capture different personalities through colour.

“It’s nice to paint something that is child-friendly because a lot of murals are beautiful, but they’re more for adults,” Daniela Rocha, the artist, said in an interview with the Annex Gleaner.

Behind the bushes, on the left side of the mural, a young boy with the name ‘Oscar’ on his cap is captured riding a bike. This drawing of Oscar was not originally planned. Rocha said she added him because he would often visit her while painting. 

“He would be super excited about it – like he would just talk to me, and he was super sweet. So, I thought it was like a nice surprise,” she said. 

Rocha’s mural also depicts Ted Winick, who was known to be a strong pillar of the community, who died in May, 2019. Winick appears as a man playing chess next to a dog. Winick and his wife Heidi Winick were co-owners of the Spirit of Math schools located in Toronto. He was also the founder of the Chess Institute of Canada, where he not only taught chess but also taught valuable life skills to youths and supported the community for many years. Winick passed away in June 2019, and Rocha was asked to include him in the mural as an homage.

“Daniela submitted her work and it was accepted. Then, last minute, we asked her to add the little chess player in the corner,” Melanie Ramsay, Project Administrator of the Bloor Annex BIA said.

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Tags: Annex · Life