It doesn’t always have to bleed to lead. Not in Saturday Scrawler, at least.
There’s more than just bad news in this big town.
Here’s some good news: “Go Big or Go Home.”
That’s the name of the Toronto Police project in Leaside that had a lot of people turning their heads on Friday — and nodding in agreement.
Unlike some the taggers who stealthily skulk around at night, these graffiti artists have talent.
“They are impressive,” said Toronto Police Const. Brenda Dolenc, of 53 division.
The problem they were facing was in the Sutherland Dr.-Eglinton Ave. area of Leaside where the alleyways were littered with tags. The plan was to cover them over with real art.
“This project took two months to organize,” said Dolenc.
This was a labour of love for the eight-year police officer whose father and grandfather were also cops. Before she followed in their footsteps, she decided to work for Bell, have a family, then work on Bay St.
“Policing is my third career,” she joked. “But it’s the one I love the most.”
And it’s working with young people that makes it “so exciting” for her.
“This lane way is a badly-targeted area for taggers,” she said. “As the graffiti liaison officer for 53 division, I had received several complaints over the past couple of years. I have in past painted over the graffiti with high school student volunteers. But it continued to get tagged despite the effort to clean it up.”
So they came up with a plan.
“Jodi Callan from the City of Toronto’s Start Program, with Brooke Somerleigh, manager of Team Spud Bomb, and myself, organized this eradication graffiti project.”
They got together “700 pounds of spray paint, 48 Artists, and 8,000 square feet of murals.” The effort resulted in some beautiful work.
In the past, such art stays in place for years.
“As a general rule, taggers will not tag over the piece because they respect the artists.”
This was community spirit.
“Stephen Rental has kindly donated all equipment and Dominos Pizza On Eglinton Ave. E. has donated pizza for all the artists,” said Brenda.
Special props to Christopher Deslesick, Chou, Dudeman, Ted Hamer, Zombie Art Squad, Cruz and Roam Nedobsc.
Well done to all.
They may not always get your bus, streetcar or subway train to your destination quickly, but give them a bed and watch out.
Of course, I am just teasing.
Hats off to the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 — led by captain Bob Kinnear — in winning this year’s Bed Race for the Michael Garron Hospital (Toronto East General). They beat out Team RBC for the Gold Bed Pan Trophy.
“More than $40,000 was raised in support of priority needs at the hospital,” Justin “Shaker” Van Dette tells me. “NHL players Cody Hodgson and Brad Boyes were there along with Councillors Michael Ford, Jon Burnside, and Mary Fragedakis, MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and the Toronto Firefighters who raced off against Toronto paramedics and Toronto Police 54 division.”
The 10th annual was hosted by Sportsnet’s Ken Reid, Global TV’s Anthony Farnell and CP24’s Cristina Tenaglia.
Who says all we print is bad news!
Great weekend — Scrawler out.