Sunday, 5 June 2011

30 for Sun mural?

The new owners of 333 King Street East have apparently decided Toronto and Toronto Sun history be damned.

If a TSF tip from "CityPainter" is accurate, the 180-foot mural, admired by countless passersby since 1993, is in the process of being chipped away into ruble.

On Saturday, CityPainter left this comment on our post "Sun mural":

"As of today, this mural is about 1/3 gone. Yesterday, that entire wall was covered with a blue tarp, and today men on a raised platform were chipping it to pieces and tossing down the loose bricks. The entire wall from ground to roof is being knocked down. So, it seems there will be no restoration or preservation of the mural.

"I understand that south wall will contain entrances to new LCBO and Dollarama stores. Since the mural did not begin until 10 or 15 feet from the ground, I thought there would be room to punch in the entrances beneath it, but I guess they have bigger plans, perhaps an all-glass front or additional setback on the rather narrow sidewalk."

Read the previous TSF Sun mural posting and view the 32 vignettes.

Its loss to the Sun and Toronto is a shame. 

Doug Creighton, the Sun's founding publisher, commissioned Toronto artist John Hood to create the Front Street mural in 1991. Hood and his sister, Alexandra, devoted two years to creating the 4,000-square-foot mural.

TSF emailed John Hood after 333 was sold to ask his feelings about the future of the mural, but we didn't get a reply.

We didn't see a Mike Filey column on its future, or a campaign by the historical society to preserve it.

If there are any people who were involved in the decision making, please share with TSF readers.

Could it not be incorporated with the new face of 333? Could it not be moved to another location?

The once proud and bustling six-floor Toronto Sun building being reduce to a No Frills market, an LCBO, a Dollarama outlet etc. is a sad affair in this 40th year of the flagship tabloid.


  1. History means nothing to Quebecor if they weren't a part of it. Saving the wall would mean spending money and heaven forbid we can't do that for the greater good of the PKP's precious NHL plans!

  2. Quebecor/Sun Media doesn't respect their newspapers, some of which are roughly 100-years-old if not older. This company also does not respect staff members that have worked for them for years, as evidenced by the number of pink slips that have been handed out in recent months and years. Why would they care about an 18-year-old mural?

  3. Nostalgic in Toronto5 June 2011 at 17:43

    Gee, why didn't the Toronto Sun cover this as a news story? Was it too far to send a reporter?

    Pick up some cheap food from No Frills, some cheap paper plates from Dollarama, some booze from the LCBO and we can have the 40th anniversary in the parking lot of the cheap newspaper. Oh wait, we can't. It's now a pay parking lot.

    The mural had to go to accommodate not just doors but also large windows. The original plan was windows along street level plus a second row of large windows higher up, for the full length of the wall. Windows are supposed to continue around the east and west corners of that wall.

    Since stores like to have doors and windows, there was no way to keep the mural in place. That section of 333 was purpose-built for the presses. It's pretty tough to redeploy that section for any other business. Although, both the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail did repurpose their old pressrooms for outside businesses without requiring any tear downs.

    Could they have moved the mural three blocks east to the Distillery District? Probably, but that costs time and money. Remember that Upper Canada's second parliament buildings were located only 145 feet from this mural. No one cared about that old site, which now lays beneath a car dealership.

    The *only* option for the mural to survive was for PKP to step up and do something. (insert big laugh here).

  4. It's apparently being removed to make an entrance for the new LCBO. This has nothing to do with Quebecor, which no longer owns the building, but the new owners and the LCBO and the city.

  5. It is part of the Toronto Sun's history. Quebecor should have made an effort to save the mural.

  6. I don't think you can blame PKP for this one, TSF. That mural is almost a block long. When the building was sold there was no place to physically put the thing without relocating it.

    And as much as I love the Sun, in the Toronto scheme of things its history is relatively short. Also, Toronto is not a city that is much concerned with preserving its own history.

  7. Who actually OWNS the building? Time for this mystery owner to show themselves!!!!

  8. That mural was always a problem: all those tour buses slowing down on Front Street only messed up the traffic; people taking pictures of the mural constantly blocked the sidewalks; film crews photographing the mural for tourism ads; school classes coming by for a walking history lesson. Who wants any of that? Good riddance.

    Sure, that specific street corner (Front-Berkeley area) has over 230 years worth of Canadian history. But who cares? That was then and this is now. And now, we need high-rise condos, cheap food and booze.

    The Front Street side is leased out: NoFrills, LCBO, Dollarama, and a bank. Now that's how you attract the public! Don't need no stinkin' mural.

    The plans for 333 still include residential. The parking lots on the east side of the building, (the truck lot and the executive lot), are still skedded for high-rise condo(s).

    Any evidence that the Sun was ever there will be gone in a few years.

    Maybe someone could paint a mural showing the history of newspapers in Toronto.

  9. The giant mural was unique in that it depicted Toronto's history.

  10. To 6:40 p.m. You said it:

    All those tour buses;

    People taking pictures of the mural;

    Film crews photographing the mural for tourism ads;

    School classes coming by for a walking history lesson.

    You mean all of those people who gather outside of the Toronto Sun to view a mural commissioned by Doug Creighton 20 years ago to commemorate Toronto's history and the Sun's community spirit?

    We rest our case.

  11. Muraless in Toronto8 June 2011 at 03:45

    Speaking of murals, what's going to happen to, (or what did happen to), Donato's mural inside Red's Cafe?

  12. Donato's wall is dust in the wind