The Aquatic Gathering
This mural was co-created by local youths at the corner of The Esplanade & Berkeley St.
A group of fifteen youth from The Esplanade came together, under the artistic leadership of Kseniya Tsoy to create a marvelous mural on the Hydrobox, at the corner of The Esplanade and Berkeley St.
The Hydrobox had been vandalized years ago and was, simply put, an eye sore for the community. The youg women transformed the box into a whimsical underwater world where everyone is welcome.
Unveiled in July 2023.
Artistic Statement by Kseniya Tsoy:
This project is a true example of "community-engaged arts" where participating young artists had full ownership of the final creation - from deciding the theme to designing and painting the individual elements. I hope this mural brings smiles to the people of the Esplanade and, as one of the young artists beautifully said, reminds everyone to be proud of being different and know that everyone is welcome here.
Artistic Statement by the co-creators of the mural, who are young women local to The Esplanade neighborhood:
This mural is a way for us to share aspects of our community’s history with visitors. For example, just a few hundred years ago, The Esplanade was underwater: Lake Ontario would come all the way to Front Street! This is one of the reasons why we chose to make a design which is an underwater scene.
Each creature painted on the wall looks different from one another: for us, it is a way to represent the diversity of our community. Each creature has “something special” and each one is their own person but, together, they form a unique community. The beauty in this is that all these creatures represented on the mural share the same home: just because they are different, they don’t have to be separated: they belong together. To us, it’s a way to bring up the importance of inclusivity.
This mural brings the message to younger kids that they can do and be whoever they want to be. For example, you can see a fish riding a bike. For young kids, there is pressure from society to be a certain way. But they can be their own self and be that fish riding his bicycle.
We hope this mural brightens the community and brings people together. While before it was mostly graffiti on this wall, now the cartoonish aspect of the mural brings joy when people walk past it and, with all the animals, it engages kids of all ages.
Most of us grew up in The Esplanade community and being part of creating this mural was an opportunity for us to leave our mark and to do something that’s meaningful for others, especially the young ones.
Some of us are moving out of this neighbourhood, on our way to university. This mural becomes a reminder of our childhood, our community and being an Esplanade kid. These sea animals make our inner child happy.
As a group of 15, while we had different outlooks on what this mural should look like, we came together to design and paint it and we believe the end result really is beautiful. Everyone participating was able to add their own touch to the mural. We are proud of the way it looks and we are grateful for this opportunity to express our talents. We were proud to show it to our families and we are proud that everyone walking by can enjoy it. We hope it shines a loving spotlight on our community.
Lead artist: Kseniya Tsoy
Supporting artist: Karen Lam
Curator: Isorine Marc
Coordination and community outreach: Maryam Alireza
Design: Asmaa, Collean, Gennavive , Hafsa, Helena, Kandi, Larissa, Morgan, Nada, Pushpa, Vijaya
Painting: Aéla, Alex, Asmaa, Collean, Hafsa, Kandi, Larissa, Morgan, Nada, Nancy, Pushpa, Vijaya, Zélia
Initiated and produced by Jamii Esplanade
The Kiwanis Foundation
TD Bank Ready Commitment
City of Toronto Main Street Innovation Fund
RBC Emerging Artists
In partnership with Canadian Stage and Berkeley Castle
© Jamii Esplanade