The Ward is a neighbourhood of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, historically the first developmental expansion out of the downtown and an initial place of settlement for many non-English-speaking migrants, including my own Italian family.
As much as a neighbourhood, I think of it as a state of mind, an attitude. It has a reputation for being proud and hardworking, on the one hand, and crime ridden and gruff on the other. You find gardens with chickens backed up against factory walls, old guys distilling moonshine in garages, and grandmas playing euchre in sight of bikers with tattoos and beards—although that is changing now with the arrival of condos.
Architecturally, it's a DIYers paradise.
In 2009, I moved back with my spouse and kids and bought a century redbrick with a garden and workshop/studio in the back. Completed mostly en plein air, these paintings represent my effort to appreciate the strange beauty of home and its power, especially, to keep it real.