We don’t have to go too far for our next installation.
Riverside is one of the oldest of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. Located along the banks of the Don River, the area, originally known as Riverdale, was amalgamated into the city in 1880. It was at that time its name was changed to Riverside. Since then, the area has grown up and changed with the city. As a result, the community has a long, storied history. One of the things it is most proud of is its sports heritage. Riverside hosted the Toronto’s first baseball diamond in Sunlight Park, and is home to one of the city’s two curling rinks. The area also housed the Toronto Cycling Club, now relocated, but the site is commemorated with The World’s Largest Cycling Trophy. The Don River also hosted a variety of sporting events, such as impromptu curling games, skating parties and shinny. There are rumours of some horse racing events taking place in Riverside during the early days, although information about those possibly illicit activities is understandably thin.
So given the historical significance and the diversity of sporting activities, it’s no wonder that the Riverside BIA decided to commemorate this facet of their community’s story with a mural located on Munro Street, just east of the Queen Street Viaduct.
Situated at 1 Munro Street and titled the Riverside Sports Heritage Mural, the piece was created by local artist Monica Wickeler. Here’s the fun thing about this particular work of art: in fact, it is two distinct murals. The original work was unveiled in 2014. It runs along the first floor of the building and consists of images from historical Riverside sporting events: curling, baseball, skating, and cycling. In a nod to the importance of the local geography, Wickler painted the images onto a topographical backdrop of the area. The sepia tones are used give the piece a historical heft and reinforces the regard in which these activities and athletes are held by the community.