Montréal (QC), Canada

Initiated by MU, the collection entitled "Hommage aux bâtisseurs culturels montréalais" (Tribute to Montreal's Great Artists) highlights the contribution of the creative minds and forces behind Montreal’s reputation as an exceptional North American city. Since 2010, this series of murals created pays homage to the creative talents who have made outstanding contributions to the local, national and international reach of the city’s cultural scene.


In 2010, the project began with the first mural "Manifeste à Paul-Émile Borduas" painted by Thomas Csano (in collaboration with calligrapher Luc Saucier) at the intersection of Saint-Denis/Emery.

The mural paid homage to Borduas’ contribution to Quebec’s artistic and social development by graphically assembling visual elements from six of the artist’s paintings. Also included in the mural are excerpts taken from "Refus global". 

The word MANIFESTE is shown using the original typography from the first edition of the manifest published in 1948. The barcode is a modern sign for the Automatistes, a critical look at conformism and the consumerist society.

The red birds pictured leaving the flock (a metaphor for the people) represent the 16 supporters of Refus global. 

In 2011, MU produced a new mural also by Thomas Csano on the south wall of the same alleyway, thereby creating a feeling of complete immersion in the artistic corridor leading to the Grande Bibliothèque.

It is meant to be a more modern take on Borduas’ legacy. The text, written in a more contemporary typography (as opposed to the original typography of the word ‘Manifeste’), highlights Paul-Émile Borduas, the man, as well as the more critical moments of his life along with key words related to his work. The hand represents the creative act as well as Borduas’ spontaneous artistry.    

Muralist: Thomas Csano

OSCAR PETERSON (1925-2007)

This mural by Gene Pendon pays tribute to the great genius of internationally renowned Montreal pianist Oscar Peterson, in honor of the 5th anniversary of his passing.    

 The mural was painted at habitations Îlots St-Martin (Des Seigneurs/St-Jacques) in 2011.

The imagery was taken directly from the Peterson’s family personal archives. The piano notes channel the famous pianist international career path, depicted at different periods of his life.    

The use of the blues, the purples, the black in the colors and the motifs are a reference to Jazz’s nightlife.  

The work embellishes his neighborhood - he was born and grew up on the Delisle street - showcasing the musical heritage of Little Burgundy.

Muralist: Gene Pendon

MIYUKI TANOBE (1937-      )

 The mural «Le Montréal de Miyuki Tanobe», painted by Annie Hamel in 2012, is a reproduction of an original painting by artist Miyuki Tanobe, commissioned by MU. 

 It is located at the intersection LaSalle and Lafleur in the borough of Verdun.

This Japanese-born artist settled in Montreal in 1971. Created in the Nihonga style, her colorful and vibrant artwork often portrays scenes of everyday life in Montreal and can be seen in many international museums.

The mural was completed over a nine-week period by muralist Annie Hamel and MU artistic team.    

It depicts winter play in an urban setting, daily life in a vibrant Montreal neighborhood with a few anachronisms for good measure. 


The mural "Printemps : hommage à Marcelle Ferron" was realized by Philippe Allard in 2013.  It draws inspiration from the colorful stained glass of the Champ-de-Mars station, originally created by Marcelle Ferron and bequeathed to the Société de transport de Montréal by the Quebec government in 1968. Ferron, an Automatiste artist, was one of the first to create an abstract piece to be integrated to the city’s architecture.

It which unfolds along the pedestrian tunnel linking the main entrance of the Champ-de-Mars metro station to Old Montreal. 

Thanks to a kaleidoscope of color, the 1,000 linear foot tunnel is now a fun, modern, vibrant and inviting passageway!

Rather than trying to conceal the intervals in the concrete tunnel’s architecture, Allard cleverly enhanced them effectively transforming the passerby’s visual experience in the process.    

Muralist: Philippe Allard

ALYS ROBI (1923-2011)

Covering the wall of the Lion d’Or Cabaret, the mural created by Dan Buller and Rupert Bottenberg pays tribute to Alys Robi, her career, her passion and her determination, but it also celebrates the golden years of Montreal cabarets (the 1940s). 

The large-scale portrait of Alys Robi is rendered in shades of blue to reflect her Québécois heritage and the Blue Note jazz aesthetics of the time.    

The background consists of references to the singer’s life illustrated as an array of graphic elements.

Muralists: Rupert Bottenberg and Dan Buller


Directly inspired by his body of work, the mural celebrates Tremblay’s invaluable contribution to Quebec literature as well as the quintessential Montreal borough on which he shines a spotlight: the Plateau Mont-Royal.    

2013 and 2014 marked the 45th anniversary of the first performance of the play Les Belles-sœurs (1968) and the 30th of Albertine en cinq temps (1984), the 40th anniversary of the plays Hosanna and La duchesse de Langeais and of the novel C’ta ton tour Laura Cadieux (1973) ; ...

and above all, it marks the 35th anniversary of the publication of La grosse femme d’à côté est enceinte (1978).   

It was therefore inconceivable to overlook this opportunity to pay tribute to novelist and playwright, Michel Tremblay.    

The artwork presents several characters from Tremblay’s imagination : Marcel Duplessis and his cat, Albertine, Thérèse and Pierrette, all from the Chroniques du Plateau-Mont-Royal; Hosanna, and of course, the Belles-Soeurs: Olivine Dubuc, Rose Ouimet, Marie-Ange Brouillette, Pierrette Guérin and Germaine Lauzon who gave her name to the mural.   

Muralist Rafael Sottolichio and Michel Tremblay

OLIVER JONES ( 1934-     )

To mark the 80th anniversary of Oliver Jones (September 11th, 2014), MU celebrated the immense talent of this great Montrealer, pianist and teacher by producing a large outdoor mural in Little Burgundy where he grew up. 

He will now be immortalized on the wall of Habitations Albert, near the Parc des Jazzmen, by muralists Dan Buller and Five Eight. 

Oliver Jones and Dan Buller

Credits: Story

Contenu / Contents — Olivier Bousquet, Elizabeth-Ann Doyle et Caroline Marinacci
Photos — Olivier Bousquet, Stéphane Cocke, Thomas Csano,  Isabelle Duguay, Jarret Gibbons et Gene Pendon

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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