Observed on the street: Community pride in action

There is a major construction project going on in my neighbourhood, and residents along one street — their homes formerly facing a stretch of grass and a row of leafy shade trees — now gaze at a stark plywood barricade blocking mounds of upturned earth and noisy construction equipment.  Gone are the trees, the birds and the lazy quiet of the street they once knew.

I’m sure this change must be very disheartening for the folks who live here, but I am inspired to see that they haven’t lost hope.  In fact, they’re giving hope.  The residents are in the process of beautifying that plywood fence with an array of colourful murals.  They are painting trees, forest creatures, fantasy landscapes and abstract images to replace the beauty they lost.  When I walked down the street the other day, children and adults alike were out there with buckets of paint and imaginations gone wild.

It’s good to see that in a world where corporate and economic gain regularly trump the “little guys,” some little guys refuse to lose heart.  Instead of lamenting what was taken away, these people have taken ownership of what they have left, creating a conspicuous and uplifting statement about community esteem and community resilience.  These people possess the true spark of community spirit.  Neighbourhood pride most certainly lives here.

Here’s a sample of what’s on display…

Wall mural - trees and landscape

Homage to the trees that were, plus a new pastel landscape.


Wall mural - forest creatures

A family of forest creatures takes up residence.


Submarine mural with words "Love conquers hate."

“Love conquers hate.”


Wall mural - abstract images

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Mural on a construction barricade

Castles and forests built on community pride.


Public art on a construction barrier

Where trees and grass once grew, public art springs up.


Public art on a construction barrier

Residents check out murals in progress.


Blank boards awaiting mural painting.

The plywood wall further down the street, with the “mural bus” on its way.


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