One of the many fun things about doing this blog is learning about all the programs that people dream up in order to make Toronto a better place to live. One such group is The PATCH Program. PATCH stands for Public Art Through Construction Hoarding. Their aim is to not only to beautify construction sites and other underused spaces but to develop positive public spaces and experiences. Developers and community members collaborating to create public art projects that reflect not only the development but area’s heritage and character.
One such under-used space was a series of empty storefronts near Queen and Broadview in the summer of 2014. These properties were empty and the Riverside BIA was concerned that the vacancies would be detrimental to attracting visitors and new businesses to the area. Enter PATCH with a novel solution. They would commission an artist to create murals that would populate these empty storefronts. So, in July of 2014, as part of the Riverside ArtFEST, lead artist Melissa Luk and collaborator Emanuel Ciobanica created a three-panel mural whimsically depicting the history and heritage of the area. The murals were installed in various vacant businesses and moved from storefront to storefront as these buildings have been leased. The murals now reside at 777 Queen Street East, beautifying the fence that surrounds the parking lot found in this location.