Toronto’s “Caribbean Carnival Arts” Mural starts Stage Two


The first stage of Blackhurst Cultural Centre (BCC) outdoor Carnival Arts’ mural project has now closed. BCC received 18 Expressions of Interest (EOI): 11 solo submissions, five pairs, and two collectives (comprising three or more members). While most of the submissions came from Toronto, others came from Hamilton, Milton, Edmonton (Alberta), Barbados, and one pair who live in France and Spain respectively.

“I’m very pleased that our community stepped up with so many submissions,” says Roger Gibbs, BCC’s Mural Project Manager. “We expected to get submissions from Toronto but are really pleased about submissions from other cities in Ontario and Alberta, along with foreign submissions from Barbados and France/Spain. I feel confident that amongst the 18 EOIs received, we will find a wonderful candidate for our mural.”

A jury of seven will review the 18 submissions and choose five finalists for the second stage of the selection process. Each finalist will receive a design fee of CAD$1,500.00 to prepare and submit their design to the jury for final consideration. The winning design will be announced this spring at BCC in Toronto.

The mural is a unique community engagement project intended to serve as a billboard of information about the Caribbean Carnival Arts culture in Canada, and to become a tourist destination.

The theme is the contribution of the Caribbean Carnival Arts to Canada, and will be located on an outdoor wall of the laneway that bisects the new Mirvish Village located at Bathurst and Bloor Streets. It is to be a tribute to the seminal roles that calypso & soca music, masquerade costumes, and the steelpan have played in Canada’s Black and Caribbean community. The chosen design must offer an enduring legacy statement on the Caribbean Carnival Arts in Canada and visualize its evolution – its beauty and meaning.

“Prior to launching this project in February 2023,” says Gibbs, “we got good feedback from the public regarding what they would like to see in a Carnival Arts’ mural. We incorporated many of their suggestions in our mural’s criteria. However, it’s not too late for interested persons to still step forward and share their ideas to”