This painting’s name comes from a young man who lost his life at the age of 23 during a St. Paddy’s parade in 1858, in the shadows of the Daniel Brooke Building which is captured by artist Brandon Steen.
The Daniel Brooke Building first constructed in 1833, named after Daniel Brooke a prominent early resident of York. A building 189 years on it is rich with history and some significant Irish history. This Georgian building finished with a Flemish bond brick pattern miraculously survived the great fire of 1849 that started in back of the building in the Graham Tavern building that was next door. It has also survived development.
In the 1840s two Irishmen started their grocery store business from there. Patrick Foy an Irish Catholic from County Sligo and James Austin a Methodist Reformist Protestant from County Armagh ran a very successful business from there as seen by the signage Brandon has painted into the ground floor windows along with produce and a sandwich board sign that reads a poignant quote from Patrick Foy on the greatness that can be achieved if sectarian politics where put aside for the greater good. A sentiment that I wholly subscribe too.
James Austin was as a young man an apprentice of Toronto’s first Mayor William Lyon Mackenzie, the association would later cause him to flee to the States for seven years until those from the Upper Canada Rebellion were pardoned. Later in life he was co-founder of the Dominion Bank known now as TD Bank.
The building has stood witness to much history over its 189 years including witness to one historic fact, being the only death during a public parade in the city’s history. That death occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day parade of 1858 (visible by the street number painted) when a gang of Orangemen descended upon the Catholic parade watchers and incited a violent riot. A young Irishman named Matthew Sheedy was stabbed and needlessly lost his life. Four Orangemen were arrested and quickly released back out onto the street. To which Brandon has marked with four oranges painted out on King Street next to a period appropriate Irish flag down on the sidewalk on King Street. It is also the origin for the title of this painting. A painting that is the only painting of the 9 in the series that has Morrígan painted not as the Irish Wolf but as the raven. For the raven form of the Queen signifies death.
Artist Brandon Steen familiar with this building. once worked as an Art Director in an Ad Agency on the top floor of the Daniel Brooke Building in the late 1990s.