McLean Drive Mural Project 2011

The McLean Mural Project initiative intended to create a fabulous 9000+ sq. ft. mural on both the upper and lower segments of a cement retaining wall two blocks long on McLean Drive (from Parker to William Street) in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood of East Vancouver. The wall is along the City of Vancouver's Mosaic cycling route and borders Britannia High School's Oval Field.

This project offered an excellent venue for a community-engaged mural project.  This mural celebrates the diverse demographics of the community taking into consideration that the Grandview Woodland & Strathcona neighbourhoods hold high numbers of urban aboriginals as well as working artists, some of the highest numbers in all of the major cities in Canada.  The residents of this community worked hard at initiating new partnerships with businesses, groups, and individuals as well as working with a very well-established and creative team under the artistic direction of local Artist, Richard Tetrault.  This is a highly accessible and visible wall.  As one of the oldest and most culturally diverse neighbourhoods within the City of Vancouver the themes and imagery sourced through community process became an integral part of the project.  The final work is graphically bold, expressive of the community, and uplifting. It takes advantage of the great length of the wall for its visual and conceptual impact. The mural reflects the diverse and active community in the Grandview Woodland Strathcona neighbourhood; its culture and heritage as part of the city as a whole. The finished mural is a true celebration of living on the eastside of Vancouver.


The theme chosen for the mural is “flight”, reflecting the daily migration of crows across this part of the city. This daily recurring phenomenon associated with a bird which is familiar to all Vancouverites is uniquely Vancouver and specifically East Vancouver.  This is a flight occurring every evening throughout Vancouver’s 125 years and certainly beyond. It is symbolic of consistency in the face of change, endurance through adversity and the proverbial “strength in numbers.”  How best to describe this Vancouver neighbourhood!  The overall concept animates the length of the wall in a sequence that makes the wall into an active space, so that walkers, cyclists and drivers will experience the phenomenon of flight.  This “flight” theme was the result of the gathering of information from public input sessions under the guidance of the artistic director who engaged residents of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels.


This mural is a direct result of community initiative arising solely from the community residents themselves.  In 2010 the residents in the areas surrounding the wall location formed a work-group and approached Britannia Centre to help facilitate the mural process.  The resultant mural, completed in July of 2011, is a legacy for the community as well as the City of Vancouver.


Funding for this project is through a Cultural Services Community Neighbourhood Arts Development Grant as well as the City of Vancouver’s Celebrate Vancouver 125 Mural Program


Special thanks to the donation of paint and supplies from General Paint, a dedicated supporter of the Arts in our neighbourhood!


As well, many thanks to the Vancouver School Board who is the proud owner of the “wall” and without their support this mural would not have been possible.


Lastly, thanks to the City of Vancouver who believed in putting art into communities and all the artists and community residents who designed and completed this inspiring work.


For further information please contact the Arts Programmer at 604.718.5825.