Graffiti artist Jessey Pacho stops mid-sentence as the sheet of blue tarp shifts and peels off the wall behind him to reveal — a few minutes earlier than expected — his team’s masterpiece.

“Oh no,” Pacho says as the tarp hits the ground. The 22-year-old pauses, shrugs it off and grins.

“Well, there’s our mural, guys,” he says to the few dozen people gathered for the unveiling on Thursday.

Laughter and applause echo off the alley walls.

The just-finished Highway of Heroes mural, located across from the coroner’s office at 26 Grenville St., the end of the highway route from Canadian Forces Base Trenton, is a tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers.

The mural is part of the Graffiti Transformation Project, an annual community program that hires marginalized youth who face barriers to employment.

Toronto police Legal Graffiti Art co-ordinator, Const. Scott Mills, came up with the idea for the Highway of Heroes project.

More than 150 Canadian military personnel have died during the mission in Afghanistan since it began in 2002.