York Wilson
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Communication Mural

Bell Canada, 76 Adelaide Street West, Toronto

This mural depicts manís effort and progress in communication Ė hand set in five glass mosaic panels over the main entrance of the Bell Canada building at 76 Adelaide Street West in Toronto. There is a panel showing communication by letters and signs which have their origin in both early and present day alphabets (writing panel). In another there are symbols and drawings from ancient civilizations representing manís first attempts to record his native customs (drawing panel). A third panel depicts communication through music in the form of notes and other musical symbols (music panel). Communication by voice is the feature of a fourth panel (voice panel) and finally, satellites are used to exemplify the role of communications in the age of outer space exploration (satellite panel).

Bell Communication Mural

Click here to view full completed image.

Click here to view the early preliminary studies for the Communication mural.

View another preliminary study below

Bell Communication Mural

Click here to view full completed image.


Click the following to view each panel in detail:

Panel 1  |  Panel 2  |  Panel 3  |  Panel 4  |  Panel 5


Throughout his long career, York Wilson never stopped experimenting with a variety of artistic media. While visiting Italy in 1957, York Wilson became suddenly interested in the possibilities offered by mosaics. Not long after his return, he brought this interest to bear in his "Communication" mural, commissioned by Bell Canada for its new head office. 

Wilson's intention with this work was to employ mosaic technique to "introduce colour in an unusual way, where it would have value both as decoration and as identification."  The mural consists of five long vertical panels, each measuring 20' by 5'. In keeping with the title, each panel deals with a specific method of communicating: written, drawn, musical, verbal, and electronic methods of communication are represented in sequence. The mural makes pictoral references to various landmarks in the evolution of communication, from ancient letter forms and cave paintings, to musical notation and a modern day satellite. 

Wilson executed the mural with the assistance of Conn-Arts Studio, a firm specializing in mosaic. First, patterns were drawn onto a large piece of brown paper providing guidelines for the tesserae (pieces of different coloured glass or ceramic chips). These tesserae were then glued onto the paper upside down.  When all the tesserae were fixed in place, the entire composition was then brought to the destination and embedded into the cement, at which point the brown paper was removed.

The mural was installed in July 1965.  


Click the link below to view a short video of the installed Bell Communication mural.

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