Toronto mural honors 8-year-old cancer victim

A Toronto mural pays special tribute to Noah Long. (WTOV)

On Wednesday, the finishing touches went on a special mural. It's a piece of art designed to inspire people and give them hope, and it does that by remembering a boy who meant so much to the community.

The mural is located on the corner of North Fourth and Clark streets. It overlooks Toronto's community gardens where flowers and vegetables grow. It's the perfect setting for a painting dedicated to those with cancer.

"Because we all have people that have passed with cancer. Family, friends, people we work with, people we know, it just touches all of us it does, in a very emotional way," said George Komar, president of the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization.

Cancer truly touches us all. Komar knows that as much as the rest of us.

That's why his group brought this painting to life. It gives the community a chance to honor and remember those with cancer, especially Noah Long, who died two years ago at just eight years old.

"Honestly there are no worlds to do it justice, to imagine that your child, children actually are on a mural on a side of a wall to see for forty, fifty years it's just so humbling to think that a community thought so much about my son," said Noah's mother, Katie Long, who works as a school nurse for Toronto City Schools.

Noah is pictured in the mural along with his sister, Maggie. Many of Noah's friends and classmates, like Hannah Dobbs, helped complete the mural. They painted some of the grass, then signed their names.

"So if we ever drive by we can remember him and look at this painting," 10-year-old Dobbs said. "He was just so nice to everybody, like he never didn't like anybody."

Individual parts of the mural may catch your eye, but if you look at it as a whole, it tells a story. From right to left, you'll see children playing in the sunshine, their silhouettes against a colorful backdrop representing joy, then you'll see Noah and his sister as a reminder of Noah's journey, then more kids playing in the sun as a sign that the human spirit prevails. Finally, the mural includes a picture Noah drew himself, showing himself with Jesus Christ on a picnic.

"He was still here with us on earth but I really feel that his spirit was already with Jesus and he was very much at peace," Katie said.

Katie said her son always wanted to be a famous artist. The mural gives him that chance. Maggie worked on the painting, too.

"I like it. It means to me bubby loves me," Maggie said.

It's clear the mural represents love on many levels. It's a love that Noah's dad, David Long, feels whole-heartedly.

"It's just amazing that the town has embraced me and my family and especially Noah and Maggie the way that they have. You know, you can tell that they really love them and they'll always be Red Knights and I'm proud to be part of it," David said.

Claude Ruston Baker and Cody Jones painted the mural. It was made possible by contributions from the Coalition for Revitalization, the Toronto Beautifulcation Committee, the city of Toronto, and the Walmart distribution center.

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