There is so much great street art in Toronto that it is hard to know where to start. If you don’t have time for a full tour, at least take a quick stop at Graffiti Alley where there is a high concentration of murals all within a couple of blocks.
Graffiti Alley is the most popular graffiti spot in Toronto, since Canadian Comedian, Rick Mercer often films his weekly TV show here. It is located in the Fashion District, just one street south of Queen Street W, and starts at Portland St and runs east across to Spadina. (I park in the underground garage by the Loblaws right at the corner of Portland St and Queen).
You can visit the alley every year and see something new. I always take photos of my favourites as they may not be there the next time I visit.
The vibrancy of colours and the attitude of this alley cat makes it hard not to stop and take notice.
The below mural is one of my favourites due to the colour and detail. Unfortunately, the last time I visited, someone had defaced it with black writing.
This photo was not planned at all, so was a fun moment to stumble across this reflection in a motorcycle mirror that really showcases two very different styles of artists.
Don’t just look for the full wall murals, but also look for the fun little details that are tucked into doorways and down side alleys.
I have so many great photos, but I won’t post them all as you need to go and discover them all for yourself. Find your own favourites!
Kensington Market is one of Toronto’s most unique neighbourhoods with its eclectic mix of vintage clothing stores and restaurants. (Fun Fact: In November 2006, it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.) Adding to its charm is the street art and graffiti that you can find throughout the neighbourhood.
Whether it be dogs playing poker, or squealing pigs, …
Or the devil himself,… there is a style or subject matter that speaks to everyone.
Don’t forget to look down or you might miss some colourful paint!
UnderPass Park is an iconic park that transformed a derelict and unused space beneath a series of overpasses (Adelaide Street, Eastern Avenue, and Richmond Street) into a community space rich with graffiti, art installations, a skate park, and basketball nets. It has become a space for play, art and community events.
This photo illustrates this urban park in a single glance, showing the various artists, the skate park and the basketball court.
The park is in a constant state of change as new artists are commissioned every year to add their story. Check out this Toronto Star article showing 16 pillars representing 16 east-end residents by world renowned graffiti artist, Troy Lovegates.
I have a couple favourites that are not really part of a specific location like the above 3, but are still worth a walk to go see.
The Jailbird, part of a bigger mural, is just north of Graffiti Alley, and north of Queen down a side street. It has been there for years and is a favourite for many tours.
This underpass pillar is part of a pathway from Corktown Commons down to below the DVP / Gardiner Expressway. Many of the pillars have been commissioned but this one in particular caught my eye.
There are so many more areas around Toronto that have amazing street art by many talented artists. Visit these other blogs for an even more comprehensive list of great locations to help you plan out your personal tour.
I would love to see your favourites from around the city of Toronto too so feel free to drop me a comment or two.