Street Art Graffiti In Toronto – Kensington Market

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Street Art Graffiti In Toronto – Kensington Market

Graffiti in Toronto - This mural of a flower lady in Kensington Market was the biggest we saw and the most beautiful. She is stood next to the 'garden car.'

Graffiti in Toronto – This mural of a flower lady in Kensington Market was the biggest we saw and the most beautiful. She is stood next to the ‘garden car.’

 

by Sharon Henry

Graffiti in Toronto Canada is just as much a tourist attraction as the 553m high CN Tower.

Opinion about graffiti or street art is split down the middle; one person’s art is another’s vandalism.

Toronto however, has embraced its graffiti culture and the move has boosted the city’s tourism industry.  People visit just to admire the Toronto graffiti wall art.

There are many graffiti walking tours available that explores the work of Toronto graffiti artists.  For self-guided tours there’s the super handy StreetARToronto map which pinpoints the locations of all of Toronto’s street art graffiti.

 

Gallery Walk Through Kensington Market

We’ve seen graffiti in many places, like Bristol, UK and find Toronto’s really striking.  We stumbled upon the city’s street art scene accidentally during an early morning stroll along Spadina Avenue, downtown.

We had no idea the treat that was in store.  When most were sipping their first mug of coffee we were on the streets discovering these epic Toronto murals, spray-painted onto the city’s buildings.  One dazzling painting after another.

The 'garden car' was formally a 2001 Ford Taurus and has been a feature of the Graffiti Street Art of Toronto for around 10 years. Green car is part of the Community Vehicular Reclamation Project and is the product of Rock & Adrian Hayles Productions.com.

The ‘garden car’ was formally a 2001 Ford Taurus and has been a feature of the Graffiti Street Art of Toronto for around 10 years. Green car is part of the Community Vehicular Reclamation Project and is the product of Rock & Adrian Hayles Productions.com.

 

Street Graffiti Not Breaking Canadian Law

At first it felt slightly mischievous admiring the ‘work’; wasn’t graffiti supposed to be illegal?

But, because there was so much art concentrated in the area of Kensington Market we soon figured it was a consensual feature of the neighbourhood. Plus, these weren’t of the tacky, property defacing variety; these were beautifully and painstakingly put together, displaying different types of graffiti styles.  The skill required to create such detailed works of art was undeniable and we were spellbound.

Street Art Toronto Is Fantastic

The streets were quiet, save a few shopkeepers opening shutters, otherwise the place was ours to roam freely taking graffiti photos to our hearts content with little distractions.

Although graffiti is perceived to be gang-related, what we saw felt intrinsically part of the community and the area felt safe.  Lured by elaborate, colourful designs we entered deserted alleyways and back-ways, and spent an easy hour photographing graffiti pictures and appreciating the art.

 

Graffiti Management in Toronto

Coming from the island of St Helena where graffiti in any form is virtually non-existent, the graffiti in Toronto was an eye-opener.

We later found out Toronto have a Graffiti Management Plan whereby an official panel decides whether or not a design is aesthetically pleasing enough to remain in place. Also they encourage building owners to work with graffiti artists for commissioned work. There is even a graffiti artist directory.

For an insiders guide on 48 hour itinerary in Toronto click here.

Is Graffiti Art Or Vandalism?

Our favourite graffiti piece that morning was a funky afro diva painted onto a garage door; clever highlighting and shading brought her to life. In fact, they were all so amazingly cool it gave the city a modern, trendy vibe and made it a perfect location for graffiti photography and the all-important Instagram shots.

Well done to the city, in our humble opinion Toronto is home to some the best graffiti in the world.  The graffiti art on the Toronto streets gave them the ‘wow’ factor, making it easily one of our favourite cities to visit.

What are your thoughts about graffiti? Is it art or vandalism?

 

Graffiti Street Art of Toronto - An eclectic mix of colours, lines and shapes and a reference to 'Wopbabalubop' days.

Graffiti Street Art of Toronto – An eclectic mix of colours, lines and shapes and a reference to ‘Wopbabalubop’ days.

This one looks menacing with the scary face. Love how the piping has been painted adding a 3D effect. We found this design at the end of a side alley.

This one looks menacing with the scary face. Love how the piping has been painted adding a 3D effect. We found this design at the end of a side alley.

Graffiti Street Art of Toronto - After viewing so much weird and wacky sights on our walk through Kensington Market, even these bins suddenly looked artistic!

Graffiti Street Art of Toronto – After viewing so much weird and wacky sights on our walk through Kensington Market, even these bins suddenly looked artistic!

 

Moai in Toronto - Love how the vine adds to this mural of the Easter Island heads. Note the 'no parking' sign didn't get painted over.

Moai in Toronto – Love how the vine adds to this mural of the Easter Island heads. Note the ‘no parking’ sign didn’t get painted over.

Love the authenticity of this backyard gate. The lazy face also seems to be issuing a gentle warning about entering.

Love the authenticity of this backyard gate. The lazy face also seems to be issuing a gentle warning about entering.

Darrin stood outside Roach Rama, an establishment that claims to be 'serving potheads since ah... I forget'.

Darrin stood outside Roach Rama, an establishment that claims to be ‘serving potheads since ah… I forget’.

Attraction to this mural was powerful with the beckoning hands and aged lines of the wise face. Note the twitter account of the graffiti artist.

Attraction to this mural was powerful with the beckoning hands and aged lines of the wise face. Note the twitter account of the graffiti artist.

Graffiti Street Art of Toronto - An elaborate tag (name signature) spices up the shutters of this restaurant.

Graffiti Street Art of Toronto – An elaborate tag (name signature) spices up the shutters of this restaurant.

 

The funky afro diva which appears to have been drawn by three Toronto artists. Our favourite of the collection.

The funky afro diva which appears to have been drawn by three Toronto artists. Our favourite of the collection.

An entire alley wall covered in a camouflage-like design. Alleys in this part of Toronto have become informal art galleries, perfect location for taking graffiti pics.

An entire alley wall covered in a camouflage-like design. Alleys in this part of Toronto have become informal art galleries, perfect location for taking graffiti pics.

Toronto Street Art - This was the most entertaining. We especially loved the 'no parking' fire breathing dragon and the audacity of the Mini parked in its space!

Toronto Street Art – This was the most entertaining. We especially loved the ‘no parking’ fire breathing dragon and the audacity of the Mini parked in its space!

The big headed man. One of my favourites. Note the blue and red eye, perhaps a trademark of the artist.

The big headed man. One of my favourites. Note the blue and red eye, perhaps a trademark of the artist.

No prizes for guessing what gets sold here. How crazy is this design for Toronto's Big Fat Burrito!

No prizes for guessing what gets sold here. How crazy is this design for Toronto’s Big Fat Burrito!

 

A beautiful ethereal face gazing back at us from this mural painted by Pascal Paquette at 192 Augusta Avenue. Graffiti in Toronto is not your usual run-of-the-mill scribbles!

A beautiful ethereal face gazing back at us from this mural painted by Pascal Paquette at 192 Augusta Avenue. Graffiti in Toronto is not your usual run-of-the-mill scribbles!

By |2019-04-07T16:08:03+00:00February 2nd, 2016|Canada, City Life, Culture|10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Mark Hammond October 12, 2018 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    KensingtonMarketToronto.com has added a new photo gallery for locals to share their photo’s.

    • WTSDN October 13, 2018 at 2:24 am - Reply

      Great stuff, thanks Mark.
      Looks like plenty of good reasons to try visit again 🙂

  2. Julian M September 16, 2016 at 3:23 am - Reply

    Hi, mi name is Julián i am from Colombia. I need a good steet painter in Toronto, who can help me??

  3. Kinga Kollektive May 13, 2016 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Did you check out Graffiti Alley while you were in Toronto? That is our famous graffiti art display, it’s in a network of alleyways behind Queen Street between Spadina & Bathurst.

    • Saints May 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Man! We missed out on Graffiti Alley but all the more reason for a return trip to the wonderful city of Toronto and next time we’ll know exactly where to find it – thanks Kinga!

      • Kinga Kollektive May 17, 2016 at 2:06 pm - Reply

        Yes, you absolutely must come back! There’s plenty to see & do! They even give tours of Graffiti Alley & go into the history & the artists.

  4. Larry Macemore February 2, 2016 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Graffiti is a big city thing, you don’t see much of it in small towns like where I live. If a railroad goes through town you see lots of graffiti, every other railcar has graffiti on it. Some of it is really good, some is just vandalism.

    • Saints February 3, 2016 at 1:34 am - Reply

      Hi Larry – yeah we didn’t notice much graffiti in any of the small towns but the many cross-country trains were riddled with ‘art’ or plain vandalism!

  5. Patrick G Henry February 2, 2016 at 7:09 am - Reply

    I think this is amazingly beautiful detail Graffiti displayed with pride on the streets of Toronto. None Vandalism.

    • Saints February 3, 2016 at 1:27 am - Reply

      We agree – it is amazing art and not vandalism!

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