The phoenix mural, which is bright shades of pink, yellow, purple and blue, spans 32 storeys of 200 Wellesley St. PHOTO: CHARLES VANEGAS

Rising from the ashes

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By Stephanie Hughes

A new mural of a brilliantly flaming phoenix could find itself in world record books soon.

The artwork, which spans 32 storeys of the 200 Wellesley St. apartments, was designed in response to the fire that broke out in the building in 2010.

The mural was created by more than 50 young people from the St. James Town community, including residents of the building and a handful of Ryerson students. It’s the tallest mural in the world, according to the STEPS Initiative (Sustainable Thinking and Expression on Public Space), the local organization behind the mural that promotes art as means of connecting people with public space.

While most of the artists involved were high school students from Jarvis Collegiate Institute, STEPS youth leader Aniqah Rahman is a psychology student at Ryerson. Steven Song, Sara Ayub and Benjamin Jones – engineering and urban and regional planning students – also contributed.

“[They] were involved in various capacities in the planning and outreach for this project,” said STEPS representative Alexis Kane Speer.

The fire that inspired the mural started around 5 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2010.

About 150 firefighters battled the flames for several hours, and roughly 600 people, including at least one Ryerson student, were forced to relocate or were left homeless.

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