Discovering Street Art in Crown Point
7 min read
All photos are credited to the author, Peggy Goddard. Header design by L. Pattison.
Crown Point is home to many attractions that solicit her beauty from Gage Park and all of its amenities, to the many small businesses spread across her over 9 km2 of mixed residential, commercial, and park space.
In recent years, another type of asset has been gaining in popularity as street art takes over the exterior surfaces of more buildings and garages lining our alleyways.
All provincial Stay-at-Home order restrictions were followed in an effort to take you on a tour of over a dozen eye-catching murals spread across Crown Point.
We begin our journey at the west end of the municipal parking lot between Rosslyn and Balmoral in behind the Barton Street East strip plaza. An “Alice in Wonderland” scene is created on a grey wall of a residential building. Mr. Rabbit, in his red jacket, is carrying a watch running in a hurry. The pink Cheshire Cat is smiling and the blue caterpillar is smoking a hookah; both look carefree. Finally, the Mad Hatter is holding a watch with both its minute and hour hands pointing to the thirteenth hour. The year ‘2020’ and a phrase ‘UNIVERSAL MIND EXPANDERS’ printed on the mural, indicating the year this fantasy was invented and who made this art piece.
We then dart around to Barton Street where we see nine variegated carps all upright in a soft ocean scene on the wall of Soul Water. The image provides a fresh and cool impression to the observer in the first of two paintings by artist Juliana LaChance.
Next to Soul Water, Juliana, who grew up on Ottawa Street, also hand painted the Lazio Pizza-Wings store front in 2018. Classic pizza toppings like tomato, herbs, garlic, mushroom, cheese, pepperoni, olives, and hot chilies surround the outer edges of the storefront with a entire pizza’s and a slice thrown into the mix. The black background makes all the ingredients and their colours really pop.
Heading up Ottawa Street, people can sit in East Kiwanis Place at Edinburgh Avenue when weather permits. The backdrop of the resting area is a two story tall mural that gives a 3D optical illusion, inviting visitors into another realm where there is a balcony on the left, a set of stairs on the right, and a swimming pool in the distance. The mural was created in 2016 in the style of Trompe l’Oeill by artist Tim Nijenhuis, who has many more pieces all over the city including on the edge of the escarpment at the corner of Concession and Summit.
Moving South, at the intersection of Ottawa Street North and Cannon Street, we stumble upon an indigenous orca with the words ‘Ottawa’ and ‘Street’ in the alley by Merk Snack Bar. The killer whale image uses formlines and ovoids in black, white and red, which are the colours commonly used by the Haidi people on the Northwest coast. Hamilton artist Kyle Joedicke created this mural as a dedication to his grandmother.
A couple doors south within the entrance to Simply Zen, there is a spiritual tree extending to the ceiling, with lilies at its feet where visitors stand under the starry sky before stepping into the boutique. This is the third mural of many within Crown Point and around Hamilton, by artist Juliana LaChance. In my next article, ‘Home is Ottawa Street’, I talk to Juliana as she speaks about her special connection to Crown Point.
As we continue our journey, we spot a piece in the rear of 180 Ottawa Street North. Two lamp posts are painted to match two actual lights on the wall on either side of the doors. It leaves us wondering if it is a mural in progress, or if it is a simple statement showcasing the real world within the imagined.
Next, we stand in awe of a tranquil scene on the south wall of Skizzers Hair Design. The business owner said she had always loved birds, and Juliana LaChance presented a draft with a green peacock and a crane standing apart but facing one other. This mural is one of the very first creations by Juliana. In this piece, calming blue tones are used to portray a starry night. Skizzers owner Darnell said the mural is a win-win as it has attracted clients for her, and it adds to the beauty of the neighbourhood.
Opposite Skizzers in the parking lot for L.G. Wallace Funeral Home, is the largest mural in Crown Point. It is ninety feet wide and two stories tall. On the left hand side of the painting, one of the factory chimneys emits flowers into a sky of blue and pink. In the centre of this work is a giant fairy with white wings smiles as they swing through the piece while holding what seem to be balloons. To the right, is a huge mosaic with two peonies. The creator of this piece did not sign their work so this artist is a great mystery.
From here we take a detour, walking east on Dunsmure, before heading south up Edgemount. Just before reaching Main Street, we can see the black and white text ‘MOMENTS- BY LAUREN’, against a charcoal backdrop on the side of UBreakIFix. Photographer Lauren Valvasori was looking for an image to identify her photography businesses, and she said that artist Clarie Hall helped her design the oversized vintage camera that rests below all the text.
Strolling back to Ottawa Street, there is a contemporary mural on the back of the Caro Restaurant on Main Street East. Inspired by the landscape of Azores in Portugal, artist Gordon Leverton breaks down the city into component parts, such as shadows, buildings and skylines, and transforms them into pieces of a puzzle to create the art.
It will be worth it when you head north on Ottawa Street, veering left on Cannon to the corner of Kensington Avenue North. There you will stumble upon the popular Shorty’s Pizza with its own stylish graffiti. Cheese on the slices of pizza are melting, and the male lead character is pointing you to the New York style pizzeria front door. ‘GER GNAR’ is initialed in the corner.
Undeniably, all this creative street art brings the community together, and helps the small business to thrive. These wonderful pieces and many more, make our Crown Point vibrant and always fun to discover.
Or click here for the link to full Google Map.