George Brown College: Lucie & Thornton Blackburn Tribute Mural

Myself, along with three other artists were commissioned by George Brown College to curate and paint a mural dedicated to Lucie & Thornton Blackburn inside the new (at the time) George Brown student residency building in Toronto.


Lucie & Thornton Blackburn, a married couple, that managed to escape slavery crossing into Canada using the Detroit River nearly 200 years ago. Lucie & Thornton Blackburn moved to Toronto where they help build a community and jobs for escaped slaves. Lucie & Thornton started to become extremely popular within the community, and became highly respected as both activists and business people. Thornton went on to create the first taxi service in Toronto, and he named it ‘The City’.  It was a single-horse carriage painted red-and-yellow. Lucie and Thornton Blackburn are both buried blocks away from George Brown, and they decided to not only name the new student residence after them, but all produce a mural in their honour.


The Mural we named ‘Leap of Faith’ is a playful depiction of their journey into Canada from Detroit, with silhouettes of their heads on opposite sides of the wall. We also incorporated a glow in the dark element, that represents the powerful yet mysterious layer of this story. Even though Lucie and Thornton Blackburn did so much for the city of Toronto, their story remains unknown to the general public. This is our way of showing how powerful Lucie & Thornton were, and continue sharing their accomplishments with the city of Toronto.


Illustration, Paint