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August 4, 2000
Neighbourhood Murals Add to Toronto's Growing Outdoor Art Gallery
Urban Development Services - Colourful outdoor murals are transforming
vandalized walls and buildings into neighbourhood art galleries.

City Council recently granted $307,100 to 16 community groups and social
service agencies to remove graffiti and change vandalized surfaces into
beautiful murals. The grants, available through the Graffiti Transformation
Program, help non-profit community groups hire and train teams of young people
to design and create larger-than-life art in unusual and unexpected places.

Initiated in 1996 through Urban Development Services, the Graffiti
Transformation Program involves public, private and non-profit sectors working
together to improve neighbourhoods throughout the city. Last year,
participating groups raised an additional $115,000 from other sources. The
program helps participants develop pride in their community, increases a sense
of safety in parks and laneways, encourages people to discover Toronto's many
interesting neighbourhoods and provides training and employment for young
people. Since the program began, 175 attractive murals have replaced defaced
sites and empty wall space, 58 sites have been cleaned and more than 2,100
graffiti "tags" have been removed.

"Close to 500 young people have been trained in the technical aspects of
graffiti removal, outdoor art and business skills," explains Councillor Olivia
Chow, Toronto's Children and Youth Advocate. "It's a wonderful, win-win
situation where everyone benefits. Neighbourhoods and communities feel safer,
look better and these incredible murals will be around for everyone to enjoy
for many years."

The Graffiti Transformation Program has expanded to include neighbourhoods
throughout the amalgamated city and teams of young people are currently
transforming graffiti-covered walls into works of art in communities across the

From moose to murals, there's plenty to see on the streets of Toronto this
summer. Stroll through the city's many interesting neighbourhoods and discover
Toronto's incredible outdoor art gallery - where the doors never close and
admission is free.

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