A University of Victoria graduate and artist has completed her most recent community map showcasing the sights and gems of the Burnside-Gorge neighbourhood using hand-drawn illustration and watercolour techniques.
Masami Teramachi, born and raised in Gifu – a small city in Japan – came to the Island to study at UVic in 2020.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Teramachi spent much of her time walking around and exploring different neighbourhoods across Greater Victoria, taking mental notes of all the sights, sounds, characters and unique features she observed.
“Everything had gone online and I was feeling depressed, but I got a lot of pleasure from going on walks and talking to local business owners,” she told the Saanich News.
“Just interacting with actual people in person really helped my mental health and I kept doing it every day. I walked every single street in my neighbourhood and realized there are so many interesting things like murals, little libraries, trees or even just the houses.”
Last year, Teramachi started Walk with Masami, a passion project of hers that aims to help locals rediscover their own backyards with a fresh set of eyes.
Before finishing her latest Burnside-Gorge community map, she drew maps of Victoria’s North Park, Fernwood and Oaklands neighbourhoods, as well as a special map for a community event, Jane’s Walk – an annual walking tour done by locals.
Her work, which she often posts to Instagram, caught the attention of the Burnside-Gorge Community Association, which invited her to sit with local residents to learn about what they valued about their neighbourhood for a community mapping project last September.
The new hand-drawn community map illustrates locals’ favourite spots, shops, little free libraries, historical sites, old trees and the Galloping Goose Trail.
Teramachi, who started drawing walking maps in Japan over a decade ago, said each community has its own unique character and hopes her maps can help people find the beauty in things that typically go unnoticed.
“I want people to feel some joy and excitement with it,” she said. “And hopefully get people out and walking and supporting local businesses.”
Anyone wanting to go on Teramachi’s walking tour can pick up one of her hand-drawn maps from the Burnside-Gorge Community Centre.
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