Town of Ajax officially presents new Gateway Mural in Pickering Village

A placemaking initiative captures Indigenous and natural history of the area

On June 15, the Town officially presented the new and completed Gateway Mural in Pickering Village with Ajax Council, Signs of Life and Elexicon Energy Inc.

In September 2021, Council met to discuss opportunities for public art and placemaking opportunities in the Town. Recognizing Council’s and the corporation’s desire to enhance the character of Pickering Village and grow its potential as a hub of culture and economic activity, staff determined Pickering Village as the ideal location for the Gateway Mural.

The Town was proud to formally acknowledge this piece that two talented artists worked so hard to bring to life. Local Indigenous artist from Port Perry, Jon Colwell (JonnyOneThree), and Jesse Watson of Mostly Letters, transformed a plain wall located at Church Street and Kingston Road into a display of stunning bold colours that make up the Town’s natural history. The new mural will continue to act as a gateway to help outline our neighbourhood, engage future investment and welcome drivers and pedestrians into the area for years to come.

#SummerInTheVillage Photo Contest

Celebrate summer and Pickering Village with the #SummerInTheVillage Photo Contest! All submissions will be featured in a special video at the end of summer.

How to enter:

  • Take a photo of yourself [and your companions] at the new Pickering Village Mural.
  • Post the photo to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, tagging us (FB: @myajax | TW: @TownOfAjax | IG: @townofajax) or email it to corporate@ajax.ca.
  • Include the hashtag #SummerInTheVillage so we can find your photo and include it in the special video photo collage.

Each entry will be entered into a random draw to win 1 of 5 Support Local gift cards to a Pickering Village business of your choice! The last day to enter is Labour Day (September 5, 2022), with the video set to debut shortly after.

QUOTES

“Being from the area and with most of my family still residing close by, it was an honour to be part of this project. Being asked to take part in this endeavor by Signs of Life was amazing; they do great work in the community and I am glad to be part of that. To work alongside Jesse was an honour as well, as I have been a fan of his work for many moons. The plan for the mural was to keep it simple and readable at a glance, all while still being a conversation piece with some history ingrained and some depth to it. I think we managed to pull it off and I am proud when I see the work we have created together.” – Jon Colwell (JonnyOneThree), Pickering Village Mural artist

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with Signs of Life, Jon Colwell and the Town of Ajax to capture the rich history of Pickering Village and distill it into a piece of art that, if the overwhelmingly positive feedback during the painting process is any barometer, will serve to materialize the community pride that is already so rightfully abundant in the area.” – Jesse Watson of Mostly Letters, Pickering Village Mural artist

“In September of this year, our Council met to discuss immediate opportunities for public art and placemaking opportunities throughout Town, including murals and crosswalks. We recognized that Covid has highlighted the need to ensure our outdoor spaces are welcoming and meaningful to the communities surrounding them, and we know that murals are a great way to do this. Pickering Village is a special place in our community – one that ties heritage with opportunities for economic growth and tourism opportunities for the future. I’d like to express my gratitude to all parties involved with the mural and their commitment to making it happen on a very aggressive timeline.”  – Mayor Shaun Collier, Town of Ajax

Elexicon Energy is honoured to be a partner in the creation of this mural by artists Jon Colwell and Jesse Watson. The mural speaks to the history of Indigenous peoples in this area before settlers. Throughout the year, but especially during National Indigenous History Month, it is of critical importance that all Canadians join Indigenous communities to learn about the impacts of colonialism and reflect on modern systemic barriers. The mural not only showcases the beauty of Indigenous art but can also hopefully be a starting place for conversation and action.” – Indrani J. Butany-DeSouza, President and CEO, Elexicon Energy

About Signs of Life

Signs of Life supports the growth of healthy, happy communities across Durham Region. We recognize our creative economy, use art as a vehicle for civic participation and improve quality of life through non-partisan, regional-wide projects. We work with developers, property owners, architects, community groups and municipalities to provide stakeholder engagement, cultural planning, placemaking, community marketing, public art services and consultations. We have supported various projects in Oshawa and Whitby and have partnered with Invest Durham, Delivering Community Power, School for Climate and more. Signs of Life continues to develop partnerships that offer more communities the chance to create, transform and sustain their public spaces. Learn more at signsoflifemuralproject.com and follow us on Instagram.

About Elexicon Energy

Elexicon Energy powers life’s most meaningful moments. As the fourth largest municipally-owned electricity distributor in Ontario, our vision is to empower the communities we serve and help customers seize opportunities to ignite a better future. We provide over 171,000 residential and business customers with reliable and affordable energy services. Elexicon Energy is owned by five municipalities: the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Town of Whitby, the City of Belleville and the Municipality of Clarington. Learn more at elexiconenergy.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

QUICK FACTS

  • At Council’s request, staff investigated a number of placemaking opportunities in our community, one of which was the possibility of a mural in Pickering Village.
  • Staff provided possible locations, with the current location being approved by Council in September 2021. This location offers an opportunity for a gateway mural, as it welcomes drivers and pedestrians into Pickering Village.
  • Staff worked with Signs of Life Placemaking Mural Project, a local organization that supports the growth of healthy, happy communities across Durham Region, by recognizing our creative economy, using art as a vehicle for civic participation and improving quality of life through non-partisan, regional-wide projects.
  • A beautiful addition to the Town, staff worked with local Indigenous artist, Jon Colwell (JonnyOneThree), to showcase the natural history and heritage of Pickering Village, including Duffin’s Creek, formerly known as Salmon River. 
  • Jon Colwell’s beautifully painted landscape was complemented by the bold and colourful lettering of Jesse Watson of Mostly Letters, resulting in a stunning, welcoming mural that is an incredible addition to the area.
  • A placemaking project, such as this, assists to re-imagine the space and invigorate the potential the area has for arts, culture, heritage and economic development.

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