It’s difficult to create a comprehensive list of graffiti in the city, with a fluid number of artists making their mark. But despite Mayor Rob Ford’s promise to crackdown on graffiti in Toronto, it’s safe to say the street art community has fought back, with new pieces created every day.
Love it or hate it, here are some notable pieces:
1. Graffiti Alley
Tucked in the Rush Lane just south of Queen Street West near Bathurst Street is arguably the city’s most celebrated area for graffiti art. Every nook of this strip houses some new and exciting pieces. Expect to find popular graffiti bombers here, including artist Spud’s attack on Mayor Ford himself.
2. Milky Way
Murals cover the walls in this hidden alleyway in one of Toronto’s most diverse neighbourhoods: Parkdale. Located on the west side of Dufferin Street just south of Queen, this is just one of the great sites to see graffiti on the other side of the tracks. Art by local resident and muralist Matt McNaught can be found here.
3. Kensington Market
Street art in Kensington Market is a veritable feast. Explore the neighborhood’s rich culture heritage while exploring some of the city’s most iconic pieces. Find works by popular Toronto graffiti artist KWEST along with intricate faces created by artist ANSER here.
4. Ossington Laneway
As part of a 2012 city beautification project, nearly 20 artists got together to paint garages in the alleyway along the west side of Ossington between Queen and Humbert streets. The initiative brought the community together, with a weekend of painting by professional artists and some youth. Murals by Peru143 and EGR can be found here.
5. East-end Laneways
This is another initiative supported by the city. On Eaton, Woodycrest and Langford avenues near the Pape and Danforth area, over a dozen garages have been decorated with unique graffiti works.
6. Keele Wall
For TTC transit riders, the Keele Wall located mostly in a parking lot by Keele Station has been home to many Toronto writers. The wall has been painted a few times (including an interesting wilderness mural theme) though mainstays Bacon, Skam and Sensr have recently made their mark here.
7. East Side Mural
Probably one of the most iconic pieces of the city is also viewed by thousands of travelers each day en route along the Scarborough RT. Located behind an old building, the words “East Side” are marked in bold, yellow letters. Though there are conflicting accounts on when the mural was created, the work is attributed to the late 80s Graffiti Knights crew.