During the 2016 Olympic Games, Penny Oleksiak became the first Canadian to win four medals in the same Summer Games and the country's youngest Olympic champion. She won gold in the 100m freestyle, silver in the 100m butterfly, two bronze medals in the women's freestyle relays, and Canadian hearts everywhere. At the time, Oleksiak was also enrolled as a student at Monarch Park Collegiate. Now, a signed portrait of the swimming superstar graces the area just outside the pool at her former high school.
The watercolour portrait was painted by Canadian artist Jeffrey Sprang, and depicts Oleksiak in her Team Canada jacket sporting her four medals from Rio 2016. It was officially unveiled at a special event at the east-end high school. “This portrait of Penny Oleksiak is a wonderful reminder of her extraordinary achievement,” said Monarch Park Collegiate Principal Virginia Pang. “Penny’s impact as an Olympic champion is profound and far reaching, and her influence as a role model continues to be felt by our students and by Canadians all across the country.”
Sprang’s art has supported education in Canada and around the world. In June 1990, he met Nelson Mandela at Central Technical School which led to a limited-edition print in support of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Canada. His work has also supported the literacy development charity, One World Schoolhouse Foundation.
One hundred limited-edition, numbered prints of Sprang's latest portrait are signed by both the artist and the young, inspiring swimmer. Available for sale for $200 each, all proceeds will support swim programs at selected TDSB schools. To purchase a print, please call TDSB Museum and Archives at 416-397-3680.