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Daniels Mural Project

Land Acknowledgment

We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University of Toronto operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land with Indigenous community members.  

We encourage everyone to learn the Indigenous history of the land that we call home. We are grateful to all those that came before us. By using the north façade window of the Daniels Building as a canvas, the mural would be visible day and night to the community.  

About the Project

The U of T Daniels Faculty, the Daniels Art Directive (DAD) and Elder Whabagoon are issuing a Call for Proposals for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Artists living in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to create a temporary mural on the north façade of the Daniels Building. 

We are answering the U of T Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action #2: “A strategy for the funding and placement of more Indigenous public art across all three campuses should be developed, in close consultation with local Indigenous communities.”  

An Artist has been selected and will be announced later this month. Stay tuned for details. 

Photo (Daniels Building North Facade): Nic Lehoux

North Facade of Daniels Building - Nic Lehoux

Site History

The land of 1 Spadina Crescent has been the home and an important trail of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. Spadina is synonymous with Ishpadinaa, meaning “a place on a hill” from Anishinaabe.   

We are currently seeking more information from researchers at the University of Toronto and other institutions about the Borden Buildings (563 & 487 Spadina Crescent) where the Borden Dairy Company invested in malnutrition experiments on Indigenous children. The North Borden Building now houses U of T’s First Nation House.  

1 Spadina Crescent, now the Daniels Building, was built originally to house Knox College - a Presbyterian theological school that was run by the Presbyterian Church of Canada, who ran 11 of the 130 residential schools in Canada. We will share this deeper history of the site as we receive the information from validated sources.  

You can engage with Toronto’s significant Indigenous history and presence through the Driftscape app, for free on Apple and Android devices.

Supported by

This inaugural Indigenous mural project at the Daniels Building is guided by Elder Whabagoon, an Ojibway Elder who sits with the Loon Clan. She is a member of the Lac Seul First Nation, a Keeper of the Sacred Pipes, and a 60’s Scoop survivor. Elder Whabagoon is the inaugural First Peoples Leadership Advisor to the Dean at the Daniels Faculty.  

The Daniels Art Directive (DAD) is a student-led group that creates exhibitions, workshops, and community projects. They curated the first mural on the Daniels Building: “Support Black Designers.” mural, with its designers and Daniels alumnae Ashita Parekh and Tolu Alabi, installed from October 2020 to May 2021.

The project is supported by the Daniels Faculty. We are hoping for more funding to support the Artist, the Advisory Panel, workshops, and consultations. If you’d like to support this initiative, please contact danielsartdirective@gmail.com

Advisory Panel

The Indigenous Advisory Panel has selected the Artist and continues to guide the project team. We are grateful to the Advisory Panel for their guidance and service: James Bird, Melissa Deleary, Jaime Kearns, Robin Rice, Brenda Wastasecoot. The mural will contribute a greater understanding of Indigenous artistic expressions, peoples, and cultures. 

Treaties Recognition Week Programming (November 1-7, 2021)

We are delighted to announce that we have received funding from the Postsecondary Education Fund for Aboriginal Learners. These funds will support a special series of programming during Treaties Recognition Week at the beginning of November. Established in 2016 by the Ontario Government, Treaties Recognition Week, an annual event, “honours the importance of treaties and helps students and residents of Ontario learn more about treaty rights and relationships. By learning more about our collective treaty rights and obligations, we can create greater understanding and nurture these relationships.”  Source

All details will be shared on this page. 

Call for Proposals

We had an open Call for Proposals this past summer. We received multiple submissions that were reviewed by the Advisory Panel. An Artist has been selected and will be announced shortly. We thank everyone for their submissions and the Advisory Panel for their service. 

Mariah Measawige (@Makoose) Daniels mural project logo

The Daniels Mural Project graphic identity is designed by Mariah Meawasige (@Makoose). We share her conceptual vision statement below:

Rise
Sharing, Growth, Process

Borrowing its shape from the Daniels Building and the surrounding roadways, this concept sees two shapes come together to nourish a new space; of conversation, ideas, etc. The bottom shapes are gently holding, but not clutching, onto something that will eventually grow larger.

Contacts

If you have questions about this project or wish to support, please contact danielsartdirective@gmail.com (Facebook, Instagram, Website).

For media, please contact Hannah Brokenshire, Senior Communications and Media Relations Officer.