Collaborative Architecture Inc. with client John Howard Society of Ontario is proud to announce that they have been the recipient of a StreetARToronto Partnership Program Grant for proposed ‘New Beginnings’, a large scale outdoor mural located downtown Toronto at the intersection of Queen Street East and Parliament Avenue. The future public art piece speaks to themes of diversity and inclusion, gender equity, historic, human rights, local community and social justice.

“New Beginnings” encapsulates the neighbourhood population of newcomers, the journey of JHSO clients starting anew, the restoration of the street corner after the Rupert Hotel fire, and life after COVID lockdowns. It considers these experiences and embodies the spirit of embarking on a new chapter in life. It resonates with the demographics of the Ward, which includes a significant population of newcomers seeking opportunities in a new environment. It also connects to JHSO’s clients who are seeking to rebuild their lives and start anew. The Rupert Hotel fire incident on this site marked a significant moment of devastation, but through the restoration process, the building has been given a fresh start and a chance for renewal. The mural project symbolizes the resilience and rebirth of the building and serves as a symbol of hope, resilience, and transformation, representing the journey forward for the community.

JHSO engaged Collaborative Architecture for building restoration and rehabilitation in 2016 and reengaged in 2023 to find a solution for the on-going graffiti on the building’s exterior wall, given their experience in mural project consultation and community engagement. Sean Martindale and Leeay Aikawa were selected for their experience in community engagement, mentorship, and local street art. Since the co-artists’ work aligns with Street Art Toronto,  JHSO’s and Collaborative Architecture’s missions, we felt both a strong team and proposal was formed. 

By: Sandra Iskandar

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