Yonge and Strong

Toronto artist creates signs of solidarity in 11 different languages

Matthew Blackett, like so many others in Toronto, was crushed to learn of the horrific van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 more near Yonge and Finch on Monday afternoon.

"I grew up and came of age along that strip of Yonge," wrote Blackett, the publisher and founder of Spacing Magazine, on Twitter. "My mom still lives up there, just a block away from where the horror started."

Frozen in disbelief, he created a simple yet powerful graphic of support and solidarity. Then, after the image started picking up steam around the web, he created 10 more — all of them saying the exact same thing.

Blackett has now produced 11 different "Yonge and Strong" graphics in 11 different languages, including Chinese...

Russian...

Spanish...

Persian... 

Hebrew...

and Ojibway. 

"Since I put the graphic out there, thousands have shared it or used it as a profile pic," wrote Blackett on Twitter while explaining the project. "People have been reaching out to me to use the graphic at vigils, to make their own t-shirts, and to create banners to hang in the windows of their business."

He goes on to praise the growing amount of diversity in Willowdale, crediting it for making the neighbourhood a more dynamic part of the city.

"With that in mind, I felt my English-only YONGE AND STRONG graphic was limiting," he wrote. "So I made multiple language versions. If there's an error I'm happy to correct."

Lead photo by

Matthew Blackett/Twitter


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