Artists plan to restore vandalized mural honouring fallen Canadian soldiers
Published Monday, September 9, 2013 7:23PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 9, 2013 7:33PM EDT
Plans are underway to restore a mural honouring fallen Canadian soldiers, after the painting was recently defaced with spray-paint.
The vandalism came to light over the weekend. Vandals covered the Highway of Heroes mural that once featured an image of an outstretched dove and a field of poppies.
The mural is located at the end of the route taken by repatriated soldiers, in a back alley at a coroner’s office near College and Yonge Streets in downtown Toronto. It marks the final stop for the hearses carrying the remains of soldiers killed overseas.
More than 150 families have pulled into the alley next to the mural after their loved ones were killed.
As police try to find those responsible, graffiti artist Jessey Pacho, one of the mural’s co-designers, said he plans to re-design and restore the mural.
“As soon as me and my friend heard about what happened, we took it upon ourselves to start doing designs and came up with a plan to move forward and get this done as soon as we can,” Pacho told CP24.
He said the mural meant a lot to him and others.
“Mainly respect for the soldiers that have fallen and honouring them.”
Toronto Constable Scott Mills -- who runs a legal graffiti program -- convinced Pacho and artist Kedre Brown to create the mural three years ago. He said public outcry over the vandalism has been overwhelming.
“I can’t believe how many messages I’ve received from people in the graffiti community expressing their outrage as well that a dedication mural like this was damaged,” Mills told CTV Toronto.
Investigators trying to find those responsible for the vandalism took pictures and paint samples Monday morning. Police have a clue to work with: a signature, or tag, was scrawled on the mural.
Police say tips are coming in, and security cameras are also being reviewed.
But Mills said this is about more than just laying charges on those responsible.
“It’s about educating them to what this is all about, and getting them involved, if they’re willing, in the restoration process,” Mills said.
The new mural, however, won’t be painted in the same alleyway, reports CP24’s Cristina Tenaglia. The coroner’s office is being relocated to Keele Street and Highway 401, next to an OPP detachment. That move is expected to be complete by the end of September.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman and CP24’s Cristina Tenaglia