Firehall Fact #20: Our Lovely Mosaic

One of the first things you see when you walk toward the Firehall, is the pebble mosaic that has been inlaid out front.

The fish on the steps outside the Firehall Lobby


The idea behind the public street art project came about in 2004. The Firehall would work with professional artists to create and install the work, and three Downtown Eastside community members would also come on board to be mentored in the art of pebble mosaics.

In 2005, the Firehall received and accepted a proposal from artist Glen Andersen for the project, and the journey began!

Besides the artistic work that needed to go into the mosaic, there needed to be an excavation and removal of the existing concrete sidewalk, and the area needed to be re-paved with the mosaic inlaid so as to create an even walking surface.
Over time and through discussion, the vision for the design morphed into the Dragon we see today.In addition to Glen and the community artists, many volunteers donated time to help out on the project, including Strathcona neighbours, Britannia Outreach volunteers, and a group calling themselves “Labour for Leisure” who put on mosaic parties.

The Dragon symbolizes the the passion and fire of the arts at the Firehall, as well as representing the neighbourhood we are a part of, Chinatown.

The work was kept in the Firehall’s courtyard until it was ready to be installed, which happened in sections. The mosaic was finally completed in 2010.

The whole of the mosaic is stunning, but if you take a look at the detail, you’ll be wowed. None of this work could have been done without the help and support of donors like you! To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website, click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.