The Seven Coolest Murals in Northeastern Ontario

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Attractions and Festivals, Big Blog, Other

Tour the Vibrant Street Art Scene in The Seven—North of Muskoka

 

Over the last few years, a colourful trend has come to Northeastern Ontario—communities are celebrating their histories through the creation of murals and public art, often with famous artists helping to facilitate the process. Street art has evolved into a fun, vibrant, community-building way to transform blank spaces and express culture and tradition. And why not? There’s no need to maintain plain walls when you can delight visitors and locals alike with evocative stories woven through colour and shape—not to mention provide gorgeous Instagram-worthy photo backgrounds! Take a tour through the vibrant street art scene in The Seven—North of Muskoka with this curated list of some of the coolest murals in Northeastern Ontario.

1. Old St. Triple JOOO – Sudbury

 

 

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This epic, record-breaking, awe-inspiring creation is a collaboration between Sudbury’s urban arts organization We Live Up Here and legendary graffiti artist RISK. We Live Up Here has been transforming bare space into jaw-dropping murals since 2013, creating and curating over 20 murals in the Sudbury area. Their most notable project is the Old St. Joseph’s hospital site, which was transformed into Canada’s largest mural in 2019 by a titan of the public art world, the artist RISK. This 74,000 square foot mural took 860 gallons of paint, 29 people, 1500+ volunteer hours, three lifts, and one crane to create—and it’s 100% worth it.

 

 

2. We Are All In This Together – North Bay

PHOTO credit Downtown North Bay

There’s a reason North Bay is known as Northeastern Ontario’s most creative city. Murals, graffiti-filled alleys, art galleries galore and artsy spots around the city make Downtown North Bay a vibrant art hub. Over the last few years, with the support of Creative Industries and Downtown North Bay & Waterfront, more mural projects have been popping up across the Gateway to the North to help beautify the city. 

This stunning 64’ new addition to North Bay’s street art collection covers the remnants of a 2019 fire that devastated two buildings on Main Street. The mural, titled “We are all in this together” is printed on aluminum composite panels and was installed in 2021 during the pandemic lockdowns. Local artist Skyra Laframboise hopes that its message inspires all those who view it.

Bonus—Mini-Murals: The North Bay Traffic Box Art Project has led to the creation of mini-murals and a scavenger hunt style walking tour through the downtown. A call out to local artists for design submissions has led to the transformation of over a dozen traffic boxes downtown.

To check out all of the traffic boxes and more murals and street art in North Bay, head to this Interactive Public Art Map.

3. L’envolée Irrévocable – West Nipissing

PHOTO credit Gayle Primeau

Between North Bay and Sudbury lies the beautiful village of West Nipissing. Recently, a series of public art murals have appeared on walls throughout the village. Curated by Sturgeon Falls Beautification Team Leader Gayle Primeau, as part of a tourism initiative to celebrate Franco-Ontarien culture in the region, 30 pieces of work have been created so far. This piece, titled “L’envolée Irrévocable” (Irrevocable flight), depicts Indigenous artist Renée-Claude Serré’s two favorite birds, the Bluejay and the Cardinal, and is located at 173 King Street.

To experience the whole West Nipissing Mural project, check out their self-guided Downtown Art Walk.

4. I’ll take “The Nickel City,” Alex – Sudbury 

 

 

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This retro-style mural of a young Alex Trebek, completed in summer 2021, rises three storeys tall on the wall of Sudbury Secondary School (formerly Sudbury High School, which Trebek attended in the 1950s). Created by acclaimed Canadian mural artist Kevin Ledo, this colourful piece pays tribute to an iconic hometown hero, and joins other stunning works by Ledo around the world.

To see other murals created by We Live Up Here, head to their Murals Webpage

5. Turtle Island – Timmins 

 

 

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Colourful paintings sharing Indigenous teachings have been popping up across Timmins as part of a youth mural project. Based on history and culture teachings shared in intergenerational connections between youth in the city and Indigenous elders, the youth then work with established artists to create murals expressing these teachings. Pieces have gone up at Misiway, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre, Porcupine Advanced Printing, Timmins City Hall, Timmins Victor M. Power Airport and Timmins and District Hospital.

On the Porcupine Advanced Printers’ building you’ll find this gorgeous mural by artist Mique Michelle, a Métis Franco-Ontarian artist from Northern Ontario. This piece depicts Turtle Island, the Indigenous term for North America.

6. « D’accepter et de respecter tout le monde » — Kapuskasing 

 

 

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Mique Michelle’s murals can also be found in Kapuskasing, where she partnered with a grade six class from Jacques Cartier Catholic School. The class spoke with representatives from the Kapuskasing Indian Friendship Centre in the year leading up to the mural creation to learn about the Indigenous history of the area and the seven grandfather teachings. The students then decided on the symbology of the piece, choosing animals found in the area and the aurora borealis. The mural was painted on the side of Brunelle & Coté law firm.

Another of Michelle’s murals, created for the city’s 100th anniversary celebrations in 2021, spans the Kapuskasing Curling Club

 

7. Hi-Ho Mistahey! – Haileybury

PHOTO credit Charlie Angus

We saved the most heart-rending for last. This poignant piece from Mique Michelle commemorates the tragically short yet impactful life of Shannen Koostachin, who died near Temagami at age 15. A Cree education activist from Attawapiskat, Koostachin was the leader of ‘Students Helping Students’, the largest youth-led rights movement in Canadian history. Koostachin’s campaign to improve Indigenous education in Canada continues today as “Shannen’s Dream” — a movement launched by children from Attawapiskat in November 2010. 

You can read more about Shannen’s story in the book Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada’s Lost Promise and One Girl’s Dream by Charlie Angus. Koostachin’s legacy in Attawapiskat is a new school, Kattawapiskak Elementary School, which opened on 8 September 2014.

About Abby dePencier-Cook

Abby was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario. Abby has worked in hospitality and tourism for over 12 years. Abby currently works for tourism social enterprise 101 Experiences, and is a co-founder of the Beer Baroness Society. Abby is incredibly passionate about developing tourism in Northern Ontario, and showing off our hidden gems to the world!

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