A mural and beautification in the rear of 53 Division station has been completed with amazing results.
This summer, 53 Division Inspector Suzanne Walsh assigned the three Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) students for a beautification project.
This project involved cleaning up the rear parking area of the station and creating a clean place for officers to sit outside when off-duty. One of the ideas was to have a mural painted in the corner to brighten the area and give the public something to look at as they walk or drive by.
I put a request on the 53 Division Facebook Page for a local artist who might be interested in painting the mural. The ad was answered by David Johnston otherwise known as “Chalkmaster Dave.” Dave is a well-known street chalk artist with many notable pieces throughout the city. He had done some work for 41 Division and 51 Division and wanted to take on the much larger project that 53 Division was designing.
The mural was to be 24 feet long and 4 feet tall and include both aspects of policing and community blended together. The YIPI Students worked hard to clean and refurbish the area which included removing tree branches, weeding planter boxes and dismantling an old storage shed. After the area was ready, Dave went to work. He installed the board, his canvas and worked whenever possible on the project. The total amount of hours spent on the project was equal to eight days of work.
During the early stage of the painting, Constable Alex Li worked alongside the YIPIs to do some of the base priming and colour painting.
On October 2, the mural was unveiled to the public. The event involved a news crew from CBC interviewing “Chalkmaster Dave” and the officers. Superintendent Scott Gilbert, presented a plaque to Dave along with Inspector Suzanne Walsh, Staff Sergeant Matt Moyer, Constable Timothy Somers and Constable Alex Li.
Uptown Yonge Business Improvement Association’s Daly McCarten was part of the presentation to thank Chalkmaster Dave for his work and donating a gift certificate to a local restaurant.
The mural has had many compliments and is going to be enjoyed by both police and community members for many years to come.