New mural in Toronto's Graffiti Alley pays tribute to city's quirks and icons
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, August 8, 2017 1:50PM EDT
Think you know Toronto’s quirks and characters? Well, a local muralist might have you beat.
Canadian graffiti artist Uber 5000 has expanded his repertoire in the city with an intricate mural that wraps around the side of a building on Richmond Street West – in eyeshot of what’s commonly known as Graffiti Alley.
The mural pays tribute to the city’s recent history of oddities and accidental newsmakers, featuring cameos by Dart Guy, Crane Girl, Darwin the Ikea monkey and of course Toronto’s Very Own, Drake.
The hometown rapper is shown sitting atop the CN Tower – reminiscent of his 2016 ‘Views’ album cover – while the Ikea monkey climbs the structure wearing its iconic miniature shearling coat.
A Blue Jay donning a baseball hat, the Sam the Record Man sign and an oversized moose also make appearances.
“We wanted to make it Toronto centric and we wanted people to be able to pick things out but we also wanted it to be kind of obscure too,” Uber 5000 told CTV News Toronto via Skype on Tuesday.
“One of my favorite parts of the wall is the Dart Guy. It was the owner of the building, Sam, who suggested that to me. I painted it and my friend was helping me at that point, and he posted a picture of it on his social media account. Later we heard back from the Dart Guy who said ‘Oh this is great, I love it.’”
Much of Uber 5000’s work is already featured in the alleyway but he says his newest undertaking comes from a love of the city.
“I think that Toronto is a really interesting city and we have lots of funny cultural things that happen. The Ikea monkey, for example, got worldwide fame because of his appearance at Ikea,” he said.
“It’s just a way that we can kind of celebrate the city and hopefully people that live there and love the city will feel the same way about it. I want them to have a good feeling about their city but I wanted it to be really weird too because, well, I’m really weird.”
Work on multi-storey tribute started on Canada’s 150th weekend and is expected to be finished by the end of August.
Uber 5000 says he plans on adding other local icons like Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, former mayor Rob Ford and a raccoon.
It wouldn’t be a tribute to Toronto without a raccoon.
“I kind of came up with a rough structure of how the city would look and then we’ve just been taking Easter eggs and throwing them on there because it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
“It’s probably the coolest project I’ve ever done.”