Posts Tagged ‘poem’

stencil in blue on concrete of a stylized face with big mouth made of a spiral of little shapes

There is a railway underpass on Dupont just before it meets Dundas West.  Several years ago the north side of the underpass was decorated with some murals.  Most of them are in bad shape or have been tagged or painted over.

below: Unity is one of the original murals here.  It is the best preserved.

old mural that is not in good shape, a rainbow in the top right corner with the word unity written on it. A number of faces in the rest of the mural, men and women, different colours.

This wall has also become a place to comment on life in words and and poetry.

below: Through the fires of chaos, let there be light!  ~ ” blessed be!”

many words written on the wall of an underpass, along with some line drawings. by druid,

“The man who misses all the fun is he who says it can’t be done.
With solemn pride he stands aloof and greets each venture with reproof.
Had he the power he’d efface the history of the human race
There’d be no motor cars or streets lit by electric stars
No telegraph nor telephone. We’d all linger in the age of stone.
The world could not be run by men who say it can’t be done”
– Druid
Been through rough times – keep your head up!

The poem in the above transcription comes from ‘The Book of Virtues’ by William J. Bennett with one little change.  The last line in the original is as follows: “The world would sleep if things were run By men who say “It can’t be done.”


below:  When  I researched the source of the message below I discovered that it was from a poem by Rumi.  He was a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic amongst other things but apparently he’s also one of the most widely read poets in North America.

words written in black marker on a white space on a wall covered with graffiti, "Out there in between right and wrong there is a field I will meet you there, Paws"

The lines of the poem are translated/shared in slightly different ways including

“Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.”


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”



below: Things aren’t what they seem?  I’m not sure if you noticed it, but someone has added, very faintly, “sometimes it’s a gold pot”.

words written in black beside a red and yellow stripe, At the end of every rainbow there lies a pot of gold but isn't always a pot of gold.

below: Someone’s commentary on the world today.

street art, two people on a purple background, looking old and worn (the mural that is), lots of words have been written on it, including Ashes 2 Ashes, Dust 2 Dust and What's happening 2 the world today

“Teens fight but don’t know what 4.
It’s really sad 2 see them _e.
Teens killed at subway stations,
young innocent girls being stalked by perverted men.
When will it all end,
what will happen 2 us.
What’s Happining 2 The World Today?”


words in white on blue that say I love freedom as long as men aren't callin' the shots. Graffiti

Along a short stretch of Coxwell Avenue

Upgrades to Coxwell subway station include work on the north side of Strathmore Blvd.  Two murals were created to brighten the hoardings around the construction site.  Both murals are the work of a program called ‘City on the Move – Young Artists in Transit’.  If you use Coxwell subway station you can’t help but see these murals as they are right across the street from the entrance.

below: ‘Today Reassembling Yesterday’ shows people standing within a miniature old East York.  On both sides of the mural is a replica of a Hollinger Bus line ticket.  This bus company was founded in 1921 by John Hollinger and it serviced the growing neighbourhood of East York.  By the time the TTC took it over in 1954, Hollinger had 96 employees and a fleet of 56 buses that traveled twelve routes on such streets as Woodbine, O’Connor and Coxwell.

mural in front of a construction site, the tops of two brick houses are visible behind the fence, a large green crane is working at the site

below: In this mural, five panels are covered with wallpaper of pictures of the past.  Residents, the present day, peel back the layers of the past to reveal their visions and hopes for the future.  On the left, red barns and hay stacks make way for solar panels over fields with bird filled skies.  The next panel is also inspired by agriculture – healthy corn fields and other crops under a layer with horses and stables.  The middle panel puzzles me.  I’m note sure what the pictures on the brown paper represent but birds in a tree are under it.  The fourth panel suggests accessible public transit.  Lastly, cars and trucks make way for rivers to fish in.

A mural of kids peeling away layers of wallpaper with pictures on it.

‘New Revelation, at Coxwell’

a poem by George Elliott Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto 2012-15
to accompany the mural at Coxwell station

As wallpaper peels to windowpanes, spy
Grass, insurgent, urging all our future
Is Spring: Sunlight sparks sweat and dream; wind drives
Machines. Thrilled, birds wing and sing so sprightly,
Everyone delights. Blossoms float perfumes.
Branches brandish emerald bouquets. Our lungs
Flood with surging airs, clean as chlorophyll,
Mint-new, mint-tangy, so song is born,
Just by breathing. Wheels become our earthly
Wings, so infant and elder, builder and
Dreamer, can flit – transit – through the city
As public millions that public millions
Uphold, so that the lame, too, can take
The air and wheel down to creek, stream, and lake.
Suddenly glittering, afresh with fish.

The TTC also owns property on the southeast corner of Coxwell and Danforth.  Back in 1915 this facility was built as the Danforth carhouse for the streetcars that ran along the Danforth.  When the Bloor Danforth subway line opened in 1966, these streetcars were retired and the carhouse was converted to handle TTC buses instead.   In 2002 the Danforth carhouse (or Coxwell Barns) was shut down.  Some of the property has been sold off but the TTC still has a presence there.

below:  Along Coxwell Avenue, south of the Danforth, there is a fence that separates TTC property from the street.  It was a typically drab TTC concrete barrier.  Recently it was painted by a group of volunteers.  The word ‘transition’ now pops out at passersby from a colourful mural designed by Sean Martindale.

Transitions written in block letters in a large geometric mural that matches the grid of the concrete that makes up the fence

close up of the letter N and part of S in the Transitions mural on a TTC fence on Coxwell ave.

Transitions written in block letters in a large geometric mural that matches the grid of the concrete that makes up the fence

If you walk a few more blocks south on Coxwell, you will come to a fence where many butterflies have stopped to rest.

two wood butterfly shapes that have been hand painted by kids and then attached to a chain link fence around a school playground.

They share a fence with a few creative owls wisely made out of recycled materials.  Tin cans, CDs, buttons, bottle tops, corks, paper clips, sunglass lenses, clothes pegs, foil plates, and bits of plastic repurposed.


four owls made of recycled goods, foil pie plates, CDs, bottle tops, there feet are wrapped around twigs and they are attached to a chainlink fence

owls made of recycled goods, foil pie plates, CDs, bottle tops, there feet are wrapped around twigs and they are attached to a chainlink fence - two corks for horns

owls made of recycled goods, foil pie plates, CDs, bottle tops, there feet are wrapped around twigs and they are attached to a chainlink fence - also blue buttons for the nose

below: A little red fairy door, home of the Earl Haig gardener.  This past summer there was a project called  Danny’s Urban Fairies.  Fairy doors that were hand crafted by local artists started appearing in stores and parks along Danforth East  (from Jones to Westlake).  Some of the fairy doors remain but many were auctioned off in November to raise money to support the non-profit East End Music Project.

A little red screen door, fairy door, at the base of a tree with two little signs. One sign says Earl Haig gardener and the other says Do not litter.

below: No bows and arrows allowed!

old sign on the exterior wall of a school that says: Playing of golf, hardball, handball, bows and arrows prohibited



Amnesty International Toronto Organization is a group that works in the to raise public awareness of human rights issues. One of the projects that it supports is  Urban Canvas.  Thirty murals were planned, each based on one of the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Art Alley Mural Project produced by Arts Etobicoke in 2010 was designed by  Susan Rowe Harrison and painted by William Lazos.  It incorporates a poem by Dionne Brand, Toronto’s Poet Laureate  in 2010 that is based on Article 13.   This article states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.”

A narrow lane, or pedestrian walkway, between two buildings.  On the left hand side wall there is a mural with a black and white background, and red letters.  The words are a poem about freedom of movement as stated in article 13 of the Declaration of Human Rights.

The mural is on the wall of 4893A Dundas St. West, alongside a narrow pedestrian walkway.


See also a previous post on two of Urban Canvas project murals at Parma Court 

Also, a mural celebrating education, article 26.