Meaning Behind the Water-Themed Murals

Water-themed murals

Eight water-themed murals painted with various shades of blue have returned to West Park Healthcare Centre after a lengthy time away due to construction and the pandemic. Inspired by patients and staff, the captivating murals are now installed on the construction hoarding (fencing) along the Main Entrance. 

In 2019, local not-for-profit organization UrbanArts approached West Park to be a partner in a proposal to the City of Toronto’s Cultural Hotspot initiative. Entitled “Find Your Element,” UrbanArts explored the four elements of earth, air, fire and water through community workshops and created four art installations in the York South-Weston community.

With the hospital’s proximity to the Humber River, West Park’s art installation was assigned the theme of “water.” Through the community workshops, UrbanArts’ artists took inspiration from more than 100 ink paintings created by participants. 

The murals reflect West Park’s patients and their journey to getting their lives back, evoking the idea of strength, growth, resilience, protection and hope.

Patients participate in ink painting
West Park patients participated in an ink painting workshop to inspire the murals displayed along the Main Entrance

Excerpt from the Artists (Edited)

Water takes so many forms, and it is in constant motion: from a tiny trickle in the mountains or a vapor in a cloud, it travels and transforms becoming lakes, rivers, oceans…and puddles on city streets. It floods and recedes, it can rage or become stagnant, it destroys and it is the cradle of all life. 

For all the workshops leading up to the creation of these mural, community participants were invited on a guided meditation where they became water in its many forms. 

The four artists — Freddie Lo-toca, Hadley Howes, Tara Korkmaz and Victoria Charko —also listened to patient stories from West Park of people "getting their lives back," and made verbal association between these amazing stories and the transformative capabilities of water. 

They then made associations between these different bodies of water and different stages of their own lives, and expressed their associations and memories of water with brush and ink. 

Like many bodies of water pouring into the same source, together the four artists drew inspiration to create diverse images, stories, thoughts and feelings into the eight paintings you see. 


Resilience, Support, Strength

Resilience Support Strength

Growth, Protection, Confidence

Growth, Protection, Confidence

Loss, Challenge, Grief, Struggle

Loss Challenge Grief Struggle

Process, Renewal, Clouds

Process Renewal Clouds

Anger, Storm, Clouds

Anger Storm Clouds

Jump, Action, Waves

Jump Action Waves 

Light, Hope, Future

Light Hope Future

Recovery, Pain, Peace

Recovery Pain Peace