Massive laundromat mural captures life in The 6
Look closely and you'll spot CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos and Dwight Drummond
The Monte Carlo Laundromat in North York might look like any ordinary laundromat from the street, but step inside and you'll find a massive mural tribute to Toronto spanning more than 18 meters wide and 1.5 metres high.
Images of the Caribbean Carnival, the Rogers Cup, TTC, Sam the Record Man, Rob Ford and even the world's biggest rubber duck from this summer's Canada Day celebration are included.
It's all the work of local artist Rob De Luca, 43, who spent over 450 hours painstakingly painting the mural on a ladder in the wee hours of the morning starting at midnight when his laundromat closes for the night.
He says there are 400 references to people and places with connections to Toronto, including CBC personalities George Stroumboulopoulos and CBC Toronto anchor Dwight Drummond.
"I think he's a big part of Toronto. A lot of people know him," De Luca says of Drummond. "I really like him. He was really fun to draw."
He says his customers love his mural, but what has really surprised him is how it has struck a chord with celebrities and other public figures.
The mural has already drawn attention from big Toronto names including Jeanne Beker, John Tory and Doug Ford. Spider Jones has also come down to the laundromat to sign it.
"The fact that I've started this mural and it's getting all this publicity and recognition. I'm blown away," he says. "I'm flattered. I couldn't be happier."
While bright, colourful and filled with gags, the mural was borne out of a difficult time in De Luca's life.
"I had options: stay home get drunk, drink or challenge myself to create this mural, and for me it was mind therapy," De Luca says. "I was there every night and I didn't have to think about my horrible year I had and I just concentrated on this mural, and it helped through the pain."
De Luca's mural has its own Instagram page, where it has gained a following. De Luca says he hopes to complete the project by Jan. 2018.
He also says there will be a private function for the mural in March where former MuchMusic VJ and one of the faces featured on the mural, Michael Williams, will DJ.
The response the mural has generated so far has floored De Luca.
"I'm flattered, because I'm not making [any] money off this," he says. "I just want the recognition. I just want people to notice it, and they are, and it's blowing my mind."