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Tour Toronto’s Vibrant Street Art Scene

Art comes in many different forms, but would you believe us if we told you that walking along the streets of Toronto can feel just as immersive as an art gallery? Ever since The City of Toronto implemented a program called StreetARToronto to reduce graffiti vandalism and promote street art to showcase local artists and encourage safe and vibrant streets, the streets of Toronto have become grounds for creative minds seeking to make their mark. Alleyways come alive with colour, neglected walls transform into captivating murals, and artistic expression has no limits. 

Evidently, great artwork has the capacity to provide a different perspective depending on the eye of the beholder. So, while navigating through the bustling streets of Toronto, allow yourself to feel immersed by the stories and emotions that each piece uniquely conveys to you.  

Come along with us as we take you on a blog-style tour of our favourite murals and traffic signal box artwork in Toronto! This dynamic art form serves as a reflection of the city itself – ever-evolving, vibrant, and as a way to challenge norms and serve as a reminder that creativity can flourish in even the most unexpected places. 

Animal Mural 

Stop one brings us to these soft pastel colour murals which are painted on the wall of the Meadowvale underpass at Zoo Road.

A mural of a lion and a butterfly

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Make Good Mural 

Next, this busy but exciting mural located at 835 Bloor Street West cannot be missed. 

Make Good, made well | as I walk Toronto

This is Paradise Mural

A simple but unique mural located at 408 Queen St. West. 

Canada: Toronto paradise | Cameron House mural by artist Tom… | Flickr

The Unknown Mural

Located at 290 Adelaide Street West on the corner of John and Adelaide, this mural has no name. Let your imagination wander and decide for yourself what meaning it provides to you!

15 Stunning Toronto Street Murals that you can now find with MapinHood | by  MapinHood | Medium

Equilibrium 

The fourth stop, located at 383 Jarvis Street, at the corner of Jarvis and Carlton, features a massive colourful masterpiece from top to bottom. 

Equilibrium - Knightstone Capital

Music Mural

Located at 423 Yonge Street, this piece showcases the portraits of many famous musicians. 

Yonge Street Music History Murals - Part I

Burt’s Bees Collaboration with Toronto’s Bee City Affiliation

In 2016, Toronto became the first Canadian city to receive a “Bee City” affiliation. As a result, Burt’s Bees requested street artist Nick Sweetman to paint the Green Sweat bee. Burt’s Bees helped to bring awareness to the community about the important role that pollinators play through officially sanctioned street art. This mural can be found at 2 Howland Avenue, at the corner of Howland Avenue and Bloor Street West. 

Nick Sweetman: Pollinator Sweetheart! | Bee City Canada

Have we sparked your street art interest yet? Because we are only scratching the surface. 

The City of Toronto has an interactive street art map that highlights all of the amazing street art scattered all over the city, including the initiative “Outside the Box”, which allows local artists to paint or wrap Toronto traffic signal boxes in their own creative way. Similarly, the goal of Outside the Box is to deter vandalism, reflect the diversity and character of the city of Toronto, and ultimately make the streets more visually appealing. 

Traffic Box 1

A picture containing outdoor, wheel, grass, painting

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This traffic box, located at King Road and Weston Road, showcases a bicycle to complement the bicycles that hang from street lamps in Weston. 

Traffic Box 2

Located at Church Street and Wellesley Street East, the purpose of painting houses on this traffic signal box was intentional. The goal of the design was to simulate walking around the box so that it would feel the same as walking around the block, both having houses to pass by. 

Traffic Box 3

A picture containing outdoor, building, tree, box

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This traffic box is located at Eglinton Avenue and Kennedy Road. The artist’s intentions were to challenge the artistic norms and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t live up to its intentions. I had to do a double take because the package looked TOO real. 

Traffic Box 4

A picture containing outdoor, window, art, building

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Created by Emily May Rose, this traffic box is located at College Street and Dovercourt Road, depicting a low-rise apartment building with fire escapes, and racoons (a pesky toronto staple). 

Traffic Box 5

gallery-item

Created by artist Alice Zhang, the design incorporates all of the components that make up a community. Adding beauty and character to a traffic box, this design can be found at Sheppard and Greenbriar.

Traffic Box 6 

A picture containing outdoor, art, painting, building

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Artist Thomas Dannenberg crafted this mosaic located at Maple Leaf Drive and Jane Street to represent the cultural diversity that Toronto embodies. 

This city is a living, breathing canvas celebrating the creative expression of the artists that crafted these murals. The undeniable artistic talent has revitalized dreary walls and neglected spaces to spark curiosity, ignite conversations, and wonder in anyone that dares to look up from their phone as they walk the city. 

Toronto’s street art has the power to bring people from all walks of life together through a shared appreciation for creative expression. Now, I’ll leave you with this…If you were tasked to paint the next mural with beauty and character, what would you choose to create? 

Jackie Marson | Contributing Writer

Winter 2023

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