Sweet new mural inspired by a taste of home

Newfoundland born artist puts a funky twist on a local favourite.

Adam Pike

Don Short, who calls himself an artscaper, puts the finishing touches on the Purity logo. Short was hired to paint a mural on the Purity syrup building. Adam Pike/Kicker

Where a whale once dove past a chest filled with treasure, a moose now looks to fill its gob with chocolate chip cookies.

Passersby of the Purity factory on Blackmarsh Road will notice a unique addition to the syrup building, a new mural.

The mural, which covers the side of the building and spans 90 feet wide and 40 feet tall, was painted by Don Short, an artist originally from Newfoundland who now calls Ontario home.

It features many Purity classics like jam-jams and peppermint knobs. Short worked alongside the company’s marketing team to come up with the design.

The massive mural measures 90 feet by 40 feet. It depicts a scene which Heather Spurrell describes as “mayhem at Purity factories.” Adam Pike/Kicker

“They wanted a bakery that is whimsical in the style of Willy Wonka meets Tim Burton meets Salvador Dali,” said Short. “We shied away from the macabre, and moved towards the family friendly.”

The mural covers what was most recently a plain white building. In the past, it featured a smaller mural. The scene depicted a whale swimming by a treasure chest filled with iconic Purity treats and a lighthouse shaped like a bottle of Purity syrup.

Heather Spurrell is the marketing co-ordinator at Purity Factories. She says the new mural has been in the works since the old one began to fade away.

“As time went on, portions of the paint began to crumble and fall off so we decided it was time for a new mural,” said Spurrell. “We painted the wall over white so it was ready to go for the next muralist.”

Spurrell says the company was hoping to find an artist to convey a scene of mayhem at Purity factories. After providing hopeful artists with guidelines, Short’s vision came out as the favourite. Although the company collaborated with the artist, he was given extensive freedom to create the mural.

Don Short reflects on painting the new purity mural on the syrup building. The project took him 41 work days to complete. Adam Pike/Kicker

Painting the mural was no small task, taking Short 41 days of work to complete – 37 of which were consecutive. He says it was the biggest job he’s ever taken on, and he pushed himself to new heights.

“I don’t usually go that high up,” he said. “The highest I’ve ever gone before was 20 feet, this is double that.”

Short faced a fair share of challenges while he painted his massive canvas, including angry wasps and maneuvering on the scaffolding. While he handled those hurdles with relative ease, another almost made him jump off the scaffolding.

“Every now and then a seagull or crow would fly above the building when I wouldn’t expect it,” he said while cracking a smile. “I had to be careful not to jolt and fall off the scaffolding.”

Short has had many visitors throughout his time painting, some even going as far to take pictures with him.

Spurrell hopes people will enjoy the artwork.

“We encourage everyone to swing by and take a look for themselves,” she said.


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