Uncovering street art on Graffiti Alley, Toronto

Located within the trendy Queen West neighbourhood of downtown Toronto, Graffiti Alley encompasses three city blocks running parallel to Queen Street and including the contiguous alleyway of Rush Lane.

Previously a hotspot for unsanctioned street art, Graffiti Alley sparked a debate on the blurred lines between vandalism and art, leading to a fight for its legalization. In 2011, advocacy by the Queen Street West Business Improvement Association was successful in obtaining designation for the alley as an area of municipal significance. Borne from this fight was StreetARToronto, a program that continues to provide approval and funding for public murals and graffiti art in the city.

Graffiti Alley has played a pivotal role in transforming public perception of street art in Toronto, highlighting its power in beautifying a neighbourhood. The area remains a popular tourist attraction, a vibrant backdrop for photoshoots, and a place to see works by iconic local artists.

In keeping with the nature of street art, pieces featured along Graffiti Alley frequently change. Recently, a group of 40 artists from the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal converged on the alley as part of a project entitled “Paint the City Black”, to cover the area with murals in support of Black Lives Matter.

And how’s this for art as commentary on the times? A couple coronavirus depictions and pandemic mentions can also be found in the current rendition of Graffiti Alley.

18 responses to “Uncovering street art on Graffiti Alley, Toronto”

  1. I really liked that part when I last went. It was a short walk from my airbnb and from there went to Chinatown and then got Seven Lives for lunch. Would absolutely love to see the new art when the border reopens eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmm, Seven Lives is so good, great choice for lunch! I haven’t been there for years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. its one of the only places I went to both visits. hopefully theyre still around.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. In the debate between street art and vandalism, I believe that the line can be drawn according to whether or not the owner is happy with the painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose the debate becomes complicated when the “owner” is the general public with street art. I quite enjoy seeing areas like this though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the things I look for when I go to a city for the first time is streetsike this. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! Hope you get to visit Toronto and see it in person someday.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve had my fair share of visiting places with their own graffiti alleys, all of them gorgeous. The one in Toronto is no exception, and I especially like the Trump piece in the first photo (i.e. I don’t like Trump, but the art of him itself haha). Thanks for sharing such a colorful part of the major city in Canada!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Trump piece was my favourite as well, very topical and well done, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. wow awesome i love a good street art, or as I am coming to call it – ‘strart’! great examples!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, “strart” is a trick of the tongue. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  6. Cool! I’m tempted to call it Graffarti, but…

    Like

  7. Some great pieces on Graffitti Alley, I’d love to visit the place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a very cool area. Hope you have a chance to visit someday. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  8. We like to fly in and out of Toronto but have always said we should schedule more time there to see the city. This is a good reason to do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Thanks for reading and hope you have a chance to visit Toronto someday.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.