ArtWalk’s activations reflect SmartCentres’ commitment to art and culture, setting the tone for SmartVMC’s new phase of art-inspired mixed-use development
TORONTO, July 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SmartCentres Real Estate Investment Trust (“SmartCentres” or the “Trust”) (TSX:SRU.UN) – Summertime in Vaughan just got bolder, brighter and a lot more animated, with the official unveiling of ArtWalk, SmartCentres’ new art district within SmartVMC, the flagship 100-acre master planned city centre in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.
ArtWalk establishes SmartVMC, one of Canada’s fastest growing communities, as a lively cultural destination. ArtWalk was recently unveiled with a collection of experiential activations, including one of Canada’s most ambitious art murals, consisting of 30,000 sq. ft. of vibrant ‘Instagrammable’ artwork, painted by four acclaimed international and local artists. The murals are the backdrop for ArtWalk’s daily Street Eats food truck market, and a free series of drive-in movies, running every Thursday and Saturday through September.
“Art and culture are synonymous with great communities. They contribute emotionally to an area’s identity, bonding people to spaces and to each other,” says Mitchell Goldhar, Executive Chairman, SmartCentres. “ArtWalk murals, free movies and food trucks are all accessible, immersive and engaging outdoor events. As SmartVMC’s art district emerges, ArtWalk will offer a collection of permanent and pop-up activations, bringing people together in ‘The New City Centre’.”
The ArtWalk Murals
SmartCentres collaborated with renowned LNDMRK, the art agency responsible for Montreal’s MURAL festival, to transform a vacant warehouse at 101 Edgeley Blvd into a breathtaking work of art. Four acclaimed and emerging artists were curated to each design and paint one façade of the building. The ArtWalk murals were painted over a three-week period in June, using more than 300 gallons and 1,000 cans of paint to complete the 30,000 sq. ft. canvas.
Madrid-based Ricardo Cavalo, a revered artist whose eclectic style is inspired by relationships with comic, cartoon, outsider art and tribal arts, made his GTA debut with his mural “Here Comes the Sun”, on the southern façade of the building. Due to COVID-related travel restrictions, Ricardo directed the painting of his work virtually from Spain.
Cavalo’s mural continues his work of sharing positive and optimistic messages. The bold vibrant piece represents individuals sharing their inner light with the world during a difficult time.
The western façade features “Birds of a Feather”, a striking mural by iconic Toronto native Jerry Rugg, known as birdO. The piece juxtaposes a soft pink palette and a surreal kingfisher bird with bold geometric shapes. birdO’s work has been featured on walls and buildings around the world, all of which thoughtfully pay homage to the local culture and surroundings. “Birds of a Feather” was designed to invite curious and eccentric art lovers to SmartVMC as the area emerges as a cultural destination in Ontario.
The eastern façade features Montreal-based Jeremy Shantz’s artful exploration of time, space and endless transformation. His mural depicts a figurative character, separated into multiple pieces and floating detached in space. Through this imagery, Shantz aspired to symbolically demonstrate the numerous elements required to create both an impactful piece of work and a creative community.
The northern façade features “Better Together”, a mural by local Toronto multidisciplinary artist, Ben Johnston. Johnston’s mural uses a bold red and orange typeface to remind visitors that our voyage on Earth is limited by time and space, and that we need to band together to create lasting memories.
“We are very proud to be unveiling one of the largest mural programs in Canada,” says Arman Afkhami, Director of Sales, LNDMRK. “Art has the incredible ability to inject energy into new communities, and that’s exactly what the ArtWalk murals are doing in SmartVMC; the buzz around the #ArtWalkVMC hashtag on social media speaks for itself.”
Free Drive-In Movies
Starting July 10th, SmartCentres launched a bi-weekly series of free drive-in movies to compliment the ArtWalk murals. The outdoor theatre runs every Thursday and Saturday evening through September, screening a variety of cult classic and family-favourite movies, in a safe and fun environment.
Food Truck Market
Rounding out ArtWalk’s summer activations, SmartCentres has engaged Street Eats to set up a food truck market on site. From authentic Latin tacos, to BeaverTails, to Toronto’s “OG” mac n’ cheese truck, the market has something for every palate, with more vendors that have yet to be announced.
ArtWalk Street Eats is open daily at 101 Edgeley Blvd in SmartVMC, from 12pm to 8pm. The hours extend to 10pm on drive-in movie nights.
SmartVMC’S Next Phase
With five sold-out condos, two fully occupied office towers, and both the TTC subway station and regional bus terminal on site, SmartVMC is one of Canada’s fastest growing communities. This new city centre at Highways 400 and 7 in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is emerging just as Canadians move out of downtown cores. It offers the benefits of life north of the city, with the energy and vibrancy of a city centre, making the prospect of ‘the best of both worlds’ a reality.
ArtWalk is the next phase of growth; the new art district in the heart of SmartVMC’s 100-acre development. This summer’s ArtWalk activations set the tone for the district’s art-inspired mixed-use development, inclusive of Hariri Pontarini-designed condominiums, commercial, retail and coworking space, open greenspace, and public amenities. This development will overlook SmartVMC’s nine-acre central park, which is scheduled to break ground later this year.
For more information on the ArtWalk activations, including movie listings, showtimes and registration, please visit: smartvmc.com/events.
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SmartCentres was started over thirty years ago because we believed that Canadians deserved products they could afford, at convenient times, in stores that were close to home. By fulfilling those needs, SmartCentres has grown and expanded into communities across every province across Canada.
Today, Canadians need transit-connected rental apartments, condos, townhomes and seniors’ residences with access to retail, offices and storage facilities – as well as open, green spaces and places to gather. So, SmartCentres is evolving, and SmartLiving has emerged, with a $13.5B plan to transform our properties from shopping centres to city centres. We plan, develop, build and manage holistic communities coast-to-coast.
SmartCentres has 3,500 acres of land across 168 prime locations where we’ve consistently provided a best-in-class retail experience. Now, because we’ve always respected Canadians’ needs, we’re creating communities that Canadians can be proud to call home. Visit www.smartcentres.com for more information.