Port Union-Rouge Park mural project

Centennial Park Plaza mural honour's Port Union's past more

mural wall july 2nd
mural wall
North end of the wall showing the transformation from early July to early September

Mural highlights our rich local heritage

This summer Centennial residents watched the evolution of a stunning new landmark in our neighbourhood. On September 8 the Port Union-Rouge Park mural was officially introduced to our community at a public celebration and ceremony.

smudge ceremony
A community celebration and ceremony

For those who had been following the artists’ progress through July and August, it was a chance to meet the creators and learn about images depicted on the 110-foot Centennial Plaza wall facing Port Union Community Centre. Like the Rouge River itself, the mural flows from past to present, north to south, and traces three periods in area history as it winds toward scenes of Port Union and the Lake Ontario waterfront.

A well-attended opening in front of the mural was highlighted by a smudge ceremony with Patrick Nadjiwon, Aboriginal lecturer and educator from The Three Sisters House. Patrick spoke about the long history of Iroquoians in the Rouge Valley that are depicted on the north end of the mural. He described their use of the river for farming, fishing, trade and settlement until the arrival of European settlers. More


Andrew Annis house
A brief history of Port Union

1808 Tommy Adams settled in the area and began a fishing and small ship building business. Adams Park is named in recognition of him.

1812 Americans invaded Canada and several Canadian ships took refuge in the mouth of the Highland Creek and Rouge River, throwing heavy objects (guns, brass kettles etc) overboard to raise the ship’s hull in the shallow waters. A British payship containing 38,000 pounds sterling took shelter there as well. Despite many “treasure hunters”, nothing of value has ever been found.

1847 Since Markham had no lake access and the bluffs prohibited easy access to Scarborough’s lakeshore, a union of the two, plus Pickering, was formed by William Helliwell, Wil Hetherington and Daniel Knowles establishing the Scarborough, Markham and Pickering Wharf company. More

Finding the meaning of community through art

The Port Union-Rouge Park mural artist team spent the summer of 2016 face to face with Centennial Plaza’s back wall, paintbrushes in hand. Outdoor mural painting is not a job for the frail, and the artists spent July and August working through hot, dry days and nights.

But art is transformation, and sometimes artists themselves are changed. Azadeh Pirazimian, one of the artists on the Port Union mural team, feels that her summer experience was life changing.

Seventeen months ago, Azadeh came to Canada from Iran, where she had trained as an artist since high school. She received her bachelor’s degree in painting from Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman and her master’s in visual communication from the Faculty of Art and Architecture at Azad University in Tehran. More




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