By Stephen Weir
Dwight Drummond, Patricia Jaggernauth, Drake, Master T and a wall full of other familiar faces have been seen in a Keele Street laundromat in Toronto. Why, even a female model from Caribana is hanging out there, in all her mas’ costumed glory!
Rob De Luca, a well-known Toronto rock ‘n’roller, artist and of late, co-owner of the Monte Carlo Laundromat, is working on a large mural that he says “captures life in the 6.”
De Luca, lead singer of the hard rock band, Rustic, told the Caribbean Camera that “ we, the members of the band, own the Monte Carlo and nine months ago I decided to challenge myself to create something special – Toronto through my eyes.”
“Something devastating had happened in my personal life and I needed something to make me forget about my pain. My therapy is this mural,” he explained.
Of course, one doesn’t usually go to a coin operated laundry to see funky Canadian art. But at the Monte Carlo on Keele Street (south of Lawrence) the wildly colourful images of buildings, Toronto stars and events, light up the place. The mural runs overtop of a wall of dryers, snakes around the soap dispenser and frames the money change machine.
“I’m currently on the third stage of my mural. When it is done, it will be over 80 feet long. So far it’s taken me 490 hours,” says De Luca.
The artwork is so massive almost anyone who is anyone, living or dead, has made it on the wall, from Rob Ford to the late Honest Ed. The number of people from the Caribbean community depicted in the art piece is over 20, and rising, as the mural continues to grow.
“ I am not Caribbean. I am, in fact, Italian,” said De Luca.
“My good friend (and inspiration) is Pam Houston from the Ontario Black History Society here in Toronto.”
De Luca noted that “Caribana is major part of the 6.
” But some other Caribbean Canadians on my wall include the Weeknd, Maestro, k-os, Donavan Bailey, Master T, Lennox Lewis, Boxer/radio host Spider Jones, Much Music’s Michael Williams, Cabbie, and the lovely Patricia Jaggernauth, CP-24’s on-air weather specialist.
” Other notable Caribbean mentions on my wall include the play Da Kink in My Hair, Rap City, and Soul in the City.”
The artist said that a large number of African athletes who have moved to Toronto ” are also now immortalized on my wall.”
People waiting for their clothes to dry are already having fun finding the sports stars, including Kyle Lowry, Marcus Stroman, Joe Carter, Vince Carter and Chris Bosh.
While laundry is the main reason people go to the Monte Carlo, a story on the CBC has sparked the interest of art lovers too. Spider Jones has already come by and signed the mural. Both the mayor and his rival, Doug Ford, have taken the tour and CBC announcer Dwight Drummond has said he would drop by with his kids.
You don’t have to drive to the west-end of Toronto to enjoy the art. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the mural.
The mural is expected to completed in time for a private launch on March 10.