How do you distil an entire neighbourhood down to one image? It’s not easy, especially when the neighbourhood is as dynamic and historic as Riverside.
The Village of Riverside dates back to at least 1882, which is when it first appears on area maps. The village was then annexed by the City of Toronto in 1884 which increased the area’s affluence. The resulting improvement in economic circumstances led to the building of many of the Victorian and Edwardian homes that give the area its stately charm. Since then, the neighbourhood has adapted and changed to suit the times, thanks in part to one of the first Business Improvement Areas established in the City of Toronto. Today Riverside is one of the more vibrant and dynamic regions of the city, with lots of chic shops and restaurants, and yet it still maintains its sense of history, thanks in part to the area’s respect for its heritage.
The question becomes: How do you put all that history into one mural?
The simple answer is you don’t. What you do is to try and choose one or two themes for the piece and hope you find an artist talented enough to bring it all together into one cohesive image. That’s what the Riverside BIA did when it teamed up with StARToronto to create a mural for 777 Queen Street East. As for the artist?
Let me introduce you to Nick Sweetman.