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Boarded-up businesses in the ByWard Market get a lift from local artists

By Greggory Clark on April 24, 2020



This week on Instagram, @apt613‘s most-liked post was a series of photos shot around Ottawa, showing businesses which are temporarily closed due to COVID-19… and which took the extra measure of boarding up windows and doors. These unsettling images clearly struck a chord.

Since then, local artists have started beautifying shuttered bars and restaurants in Ottawa’s ByWard Market, painting vivid artworks with positive messages like “We’re all in this together” and “It’s going to be OK. We’ll be back.” We’re told more original murals are in the works.

Today we’re delighted to show off the “before and after” shots of brand-new murals in The Market, like this recent creation by Robbie Larivière at The Aulde Dubliner on William Street.

Larivière, who goes by @falldowng on Instagram, says the “feedback has been unreal” for his new mural. You may recognize Larivière’s iconic style from past works on display at The 27 Club or the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage, but this one is full of easter eggs and specific nods to the Aulde Dubliner’s heritage… see how many you can find.

It all started a couple blocks away on York Street, where Marc Adornato painted this message onto the side of Château Lafayette. Swipe right for more views. Even if he hadn’t signed it, you’d know this was Adornato’s work because of his signature gas mask and antler motifs. The gas mask is not a COVID-19 thing… he’s been doing it for years.

Ottawa’s oldest bar, The Laff opened 171 years ago. They’ve seen through tough times for sure—this isn’t even their first pandemic—so we know they mean it when they say, “It’s going to be OK. We’ll be back.”