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Beautiful Artwork: Victoria, BC Uses City Property as Paint Canvases

Updated on May 26, 2012

City Property as the Canvas

Painters traditionally use an easel and paint brush. As I walk the city where I live, I see many new canvas surfaces popping up around me. The city is Victoria, BC. I walk the streets and trails daily that make up one of the most beautiful locations on the west coast of Canada.

I notice that city property is becoming a canvas for artists. I am not referring to graffiti of symbols and tags, although I do see that as well on rocks, tunnels and other walls. Instead, there are painted landscapes that are approved by the city as projects to help beautify the location further. Here are a few examples.

Hydro Boxes as Paint Canvases

Hydro boxes are one example of a painting project approved by municipalities such as Victoria, BC. Depending where you live, hydro boxes are also called electrical transformers, junction boxes or utility boxes. They are by default gray or green in colour.

Several of these boxes are on busy street corners in Victoria and the neighbouring municipality of Saanich. Here are some of the hydro boxes in Saanich.

Hydro Boxes In BC

The boxes are painted with BC landscapes.
The boxes are painted with BC landscapes. | Source
The beautiful forests of BC and Pacific Ocean are depicted here.
The beautiful forests of BC and Pacific Ocean are depicted here. | Source

Public Wall Murals

Public wall murals are being painted across North America. Victoria, BC is not an exception to this trend. In downtown Victoria, there is a 3D Vintage Car Mural on the back parking lot of a vintage auto broker's office. See the image here.

Along the local Galloping Goose Trail, a beautiful mural is featured on the underside of a tunnel. The work is titled "Bridging" and was painted by Frank Lewis. The paint was donated by General Paint and the art was presented to the City of Victoria.

I was unable to fit the entire mural within one photo; I show the two halves below. I love the bold colours and the strong looks of the man and woman. They reach out to each other at the top of the underside of the tunnel.

The Two Sides of the Mural

The left side of the mural "Bridging" by Frank Lewis, Victoria, BC.
The left side of the mural "Bridging" by Frank Lewis, Victoria, BC. | Source
The right side of the mural "Bridging" by Frank Lewis, Victoria, BC.
The right side of the mural "Bridging" by Frank Lewis, Victoria, BC.

The City Canvases

The canvases used by artists are increasing in variety. When cities embrace the addition of beautiful artwork onto city property, they may see the decline of graffiti of obscene words. Recently, the Frank Lewis mural had graffiti of symbols painted onto its right-hand side. I was pleased to see the City of Victoria had the markings removed quickly to restore the artwork to its original form.

Do You...

Do You Have Similar Artwork In Your Own City?

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    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub with amazing photos!

      Even, in my home city, this art is practised to a great extent and is seen everywhere from walls to underground tunnels. They mostly depicted nature, animals and birds, routine activities of Indian people and historical story scenes.

      Just as you rightly mentioned, this resulted in the reduction of graffiti and random posters to a considerable extent. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Awesome & Interesting. Voted up

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks wilderness! I agree that it is a unique way to make a city stand out.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I wish we DID have this kind of city art - it certainly improves the drab look of most cities. Nice hub, and some very nice photos here - well done!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks RCrumple, it was fun to walk around the city and collect the photos to explain the artwork. It makes the city look more unique.

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      This is really cool! Most cities will arrest you for doing this. Of course, as soon as some would attempt it in the U.S. the gangs would have to put their emblems all over it! Really Interesting!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      @Teaches, you are welcome to visit any time my friend. It is lovely to walk around these sights. I like being able to share them with all of you! Thanks for the nice comment.

      @Marc, yes I think it's such an inventive idea for the hydro boxes. The murals you have in your town sound great. They would add such character! (well aside from your great character hehe).

      @Wynne, Yes I had to take photos to show you! I'm glad you appreciate it.

      @RTalloni, I also think it is a neat idea. It was fun to take the photos and share local sights with you all. I'm so glad the hub is being well received. Thanks for the comment.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      This should be taken on in every city. What a great way to cover all those unsightly areas. Also art is always educational and adds cultural interest for others to enjoy. Wish I could see these in person.

    • Marc Babineau profile image

      Marc Babineau 5 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

      I absolutely LOVE those hydro boxes! I live in a very old little town, Cornwall, where they have murals that are from the 1920s and 30's on some buildings, which they preserve. It is beautification at it's best!

    • wynnestudios profile image

      wynnestudios 5 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      What a creative way to hide those ugly city boxes! I love it!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Victoria, BC is developing a grand idea by adding artwork to city property. I've seen this in a few other places and hope to see it in more! Thanks for sharing this peek at some of the artwork there.