In September, a mural was painted in front of the University of Guelph-Humber to remind students and locals of the nature they live close to and the endangerment it faces.

This mural, entitled “Let’s Take a Walk on the Wild Side” is located above the Pan Am Path. The Pan Am Path came into existence after the 2015 Pan Am Games to continue its legacy of active living and arts. The path stretches 80 kilometres and connects many trails from the Humber River down to the Scarborough Waterfront.

The mural, or the “Ecoscope 2 project” was developed by Kirsten McCrea, a Toronto artist and founder of the Papirmass Art Subscription organization that sells affordable prints to many worldwide. In 2016, she came to the City of Toronto and Friends of the Pan Am Path, an organization that founded the Pan Am Path after the Pan Am Games.

McCrea said she researched the Humber Arboretum and found that it exists as an “important part” of the Carolinian ecosystem, a forestry that extends from Southern Ontario to Southern Carolina. She also found that some plant species were endangered, which gave her the idea to spread awareness by painting two murals.

The first mural, entitled “No Plant is an Island” is located under the bridge by the Humber River and Humberline Drive.

“Together, these two murals depict 9 endangered plant species – hopefully they will make a comeback before it’s too late! Educating the public about their existence is the first step. We have to know something exists to care about losing it,” McCrea said in an e-mail.

Ultimately, McCrea says that the project “places murals on bridges that run above the Pan Am Path to remind people of the beautiful nature trail that runs below.”

Endangered species depicted in the mural include the Small White Lady’s- slipper and the Slender Bush-Clover. For a more detailed description of the mural see this pdf.

Ann- Marie Power, Visual Arts Producer at Friends of the Pan Am Path acted as Project manager for the Ecoscope project, and she says that the mural “represents an exit to the concrete that is so abundant in the city space.”

Although projects for the year of 2017 are finished, Power also said that the organization looks forward to more projects in the future dedicated to environmental sustainability and awareness.

McCrea has also painted a mural for the city of Peterborough commemorating the “Electric City” since it was the first Canadian town to use electric streetlights. She is also working on a mural at Facebook’s Canadian headquarters in Toronto.

Concrete bridge with a yellow painted background with flowers

Photo by Isaac Sauder

For more information on McCrea, visit her blog.