1335 Dundas St. W

1335 Dundas St. W
Eastern Cotton Tail

In the heart of Toronto’s vibrant art scene, an extraordinary installation has captured the attention of locals and visitors alike. Bordalo II, the renowned Portuguese artist celebrated for his innovative approach to recycling and environmental consciousness, has brought his captivating artwork to Dundas Street West.

The “Eastern Cotton Tail” installation is not only a testament to his artistic prowess but also a powerful statement about our relationship with waste and nature. In this blog post, we delve into the story behind this remarkable creation and its significance in the realm of modern art and environmental activism.

The “Eastern Cotton Tail” installation in Dundas St W stands as a testament to Bordalo II’s commitment to creating beauty from waste. This lifelike sculpture of a rabbit, native to the region, is crafted entirely from materials that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. The artist collected salvaged items such as car parts, scrap metal, and discarded plastic to construct this intricate piece. With meticulous attention to detail, the rabbit’s form emerges, showcasing the artist’s ability to transform ordinary materials into something extraordinary.

Beyond its aesthetic allure, the “Eastern Cotton Tail” installation carries a profound message. The rabbit, an emblem of wildlife and biodiversity, serves as a symbol of nature’s resilience in the face of human activity. The juxtaposition of discarded materials forming a creature of the wild prompts viewers to contemplate the impact of consumerism and waste on our environment. It’s a reminder that our choices have consequences, and the delicate balance of ecosystems is in our hands.

Bordalo II’s installation goes beyond its physical presence; it has become a catalyst for community engagement and environmental awareness. The artwork has drawn crowds of curious spectators and sparked conversations about sustainability, recycling, and the importance of preserving our planet. Art has the power to connect people emotionally with complex issues, and the “Eastern Cotton Tail” installation does just that. It encourages viewers to reconsider their relationship with waste, fostering a sense of responsibility for the environment.

Bordalo II’s “Eastern Cotton Tail” installation in Dundas St W, Toronto, stands as a powerful reminder of art’s potential to address pressing environmental issues. Through his creative genius, the artist transforms discarded materials into captivating sculptures that challenge our perception of waste and beauty. As visitors admire the intricate details of the Eastern Cotton Tail, they are also encouraged to reflect on their own role in creating a sustainable future. This installation not only embellishes Toronto’s artistic landscape but also leaves an indelible mark on our collective consciousness, urging us to tread more lightly on the Earth and embrace the transformative power of art.

Artwork Information
  • Title: Amália Rodrigues Centenary Project
  • Creation Date: 2021
  • Address: 1087 Dundas St. W
  • Artist: Matthew Cadoch


Bordalo II

Art has the incredible power to provoke thought, stir emotions, and spark conversations. Art that transcends traditional boundaries and brings pressing issues to the forefront holds an even greater significance. Bordalo II, born Artur Bordalo, is an artist who has mastered this art of blending creativity with activism. His unique approach involves creating intricate sculptures using discarded materials, particularly those that are associated with pollution and environmental degradation. By repurposing these materials into stunning installations, Bordalo II brings attention to the urgent need for sustainable practices and conscious consumerism.

1628 Dundas St. W

1628 Dundas St. W

1628 Dundas St. W
Scratching The Surface

This “Scratching the Surface” mural, celebrating the Portuguese ladies of the “Cleaners Action movement” of the 1970’s and 1980’s, is the work of esteemed international artist Alexandre Farto, AKA VHILS. The mural captures the Portuguese spirit, culture and deep appreciation of art.

Honoured dignitaries Consul General of Portugal, Jose Manuel Carneiro Mendes, Mrs. Rita Sousa Tavares Cultural Attaché to the Portuguese Embassy in Ottawa, Julie Dzerowicz, our Member of Parliament for Davenport, Member of Provincial Parliament for Davenport, Marit Stiles, Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Ward 9 Davenport Ana Bailão, Ms. Andria Babbington, President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, and our own BIA Chair, AnaBela Taborda were on hand to bring greetings. Also on hand were Professors Gilberto Fernandes and Susana Miranda for their historical invaluable insights and guidance during the project, and Ms. Marcie Ponte for helping us to understand the movement and for donating the plaque you can see at the entrance of the mural.

Everyone was thrilled to be introduced to VHILS’ inspiration for his mural, Mrs. Idalina Azevedo (pictured at the ribbon cutting, below), a proud Portuguese woman involved in the Cleaners’ Action movement, associated with St. Christopher House, and a leader in a “wildcat” strike at the TD Towers in 1974, which brought about employment changes for the cleaners. For non-English speaking immigrant cleaning women, this was a major achievement and important event in Toronto’s labor history.

The BIA is extremely proud, thankful and touched by the members of our community and those abroad who came to our aid to make this art piece possible:

João Mendonça Cruz, Ionut Clipacs (Russo), Ricardo Piedade, Luis Soares, Luis Lobato, Ricardo Toga, (Vihls’ crew) building owners Victor and Marina Tavares, Carlos Canejo of Independent Build & Design, Jack Oliveira, Cesar Rodrigues, Armindo Correia, Benito Tavares, Shaun Bowring, Arlindo Beca, Danny Lopes, Fausto Gaudio, José Nieves, Pastor Rui Nunes, The owners of Swan Dive

Artwork Information
  • Title: Scratching The Surface
  • Creation Date: 2021
  • Address: 1628 Dundas St. W
  • Artist: Vhils



The acclaimed artist Vhils has created his first mural in Toronto, telling the story of a former Portuguese cleaning lady involved in the Cleaners’ Action movement that took place in the 1970’s.

Cities have the raw materials and inspiration for Alexandre Farto (b. 1987), the acclaimed Portuguese artist known as Vhils, who made giant faces appear on urban facades, during the last decade all over the world. They are dug out in a dissection process meant to “reveal the insides” of these great cities. He has been interacting visually with the urban environment since his days as a prolific graffiti writer in the early-to-mid 2000s, until he realized that he was just “adding one layer over many others that have covered the walls over the years.”

His work developed an ongoing reflection on contemporary urban societies and the complexity of the modern city. The artist uses subtractive methods of carving, cutting, drilling, and even blasting through with explosives, in a “creative destruction” process. This groundbreaking bas-relief carving technique – which forms the basis of the Scratching the Surface project. It was first presented to the public at the VSP group exhibition in Lisbon in 2007 and at the Cans Festival in London the following year. It has been hailed as one of the most compelling approaches to art created in the streets in the last decade.

Vhils’ work, showcased around the world in both indoor and outdoor settings, has been described as brutal and complex, yet imbued with a simplicity that speaks to the core of human emotions. His work is an ongoing reflection on identity, on life in contemporary urban societies and their saturated environments. It speaks of effacement but also of resistance, of destruction yet also of beauty in this overwhelming setting, exploring the connections and contrasts, similarities and differences, between global and local realities.

His first project in Toronto, ‘Cleaners’ Action’ movement reflects another case of human resistance, and a tribute to the Portuguese immigrant women who worked as janitorial workers in the high-rise office towers downtown and at the Queen’s Park Legislative Buildings in the 1970’s. Portuguese “cleaning ladies” have been a constant presence in the lives of countless Portuguese-Canadians as mothers, wives, breadwinners, community members, and activists. Torontonians, in general, are familiar with them, though mostly as archetypes of Portuguese immigrant women, without knowing much about their lives. Still, these working women, who have played a major role in up-keeping their families, communities as well as the city, remain largely invisible in the story of Toronto.