Reggae Lane murals celebrate history and culture of Little Jamaica

By Stella Acquisto

Reggae Lane in Oakwood Village celebrates the area’s connection to Reggae music with storytelling through colourful murals.

It was named in 105 and is located in Little Jamaica, right off of Oakwood Avenue and directly behind buildings on Eglinton Avenue.

The laneway features a massive, 1,200 square foot mural created by artist Adian Hayles.

Nadine Spencer, the CEO of the Black Business and Professional Assocaition, said the history represented in the mural is part of the reason why people visit.

“Part of bringing people into Little Jamaica is the history and part of that history is this awesome mural done by Adrian Hayles that represents our musical history and the culture of this great vibrant community.”

One of the Reggae artists on the mural is Toronto’s own Jay Douglas. He even wrote a song dedicated to the road.

“I grew up in the neighborhood. I was a student at Central Tech, grew up in this neighborhood for years after my mom came here as a domestic worker,” shared Douglas.

Like Douglas, in the 1970s and 1980s, an estimated 100,000 Jamaicans immigrated to Canada, many settling in the Oakwood Village neighbourhood.

Some of those who immigrated here were Reggae artists, bringing this genre of music to the area.

“This was where we meet to see somebody that we haven’t seen from Jamaica or the Caribbean. This was where all the artists rehearsed here for shows, Marley, Dennis Brown, all these great artists,” said Douglas. “They all came here to congregate for the food, record stores .. Everybody came to Eglinton and Oakwood, now it’s little Jamaica with Reggae lane.”

There’s no shortage of history, music, great food and culture in Little Jamaica.

If you plan on visiting Reggae Lane and want to learn more about the history the mural itself has a QR code with a link that tells you more about the area.

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