Muralists leaving their mark on ByWard Market's boarded-up businesses

If you haven’t visited downtown Ottawa since physical distancing measures took effect, you’d be forgiven for missing some new art.

'It's been back-to-back requests for this type of work right now'

Ottawa’s oldest bar is weathering the COVID-19 storm with some plywood and a colourful mural

3 years ago
Duration 1:48
It’s a quiet time for Ottawa’s ByWard Market, with physical distancing measures making “a ghost town” of one of the city’s entertainment hubs. But Deek Labelle, general manager of the Chateau Lafayette, says artist Marc Adornato is bringing a splash of dystopian colour to the 171-year-old bar.

If you haven't been downtown since physical distancing measures took effect, you'd be forgiven for missing some new art made possible by COVID-19 closures.

Boarded-up businesses in the ByWard Market closed by the pandemic have been turning to local artists for inspirational imagery. 

"I figured maybe there's some way I can pretty up the ByWard Market and put a positive message out for the community," said Marc Adornato, who approached the owner of the Château Lafayette for permission to paint the legendary bar's boarded-up facade.

"It's been kind of disturbing at the end of the day, but I kind of feel I've been prepared for this for a while just through my own dystopian artwork."

Artists have been hired to decorate boarded-up business windows in Ottawa's ByWard Market. (Mario Carlucci/CBC)

Muralist Robbie Lariviere said he hopes his mural work in recent weeks lifts the city's spirits.

"[The ByWard Market BIA] contacted me to bring some colour and life to the boarded-up businesses. I was happy to help," Lariviere said.

"It's been back-to-back requests for this type of work right now, businesses looking to promote their takeout or curbside pickup, or just positive messages."

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