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#TPThursday: Toronto’s Street Art

Toronto’s street art. New York is considered the center of the art world but whenever I visit Toronto, it’s their art scene that I’m most interested in experiencing.

This time around, I was taken by the amount of street art I noticed mostly on the sides of buildings. Here in Toronto, graffiti is legal provided it is approved by the property owner or occupant. It must also enhance the surface it covers and add to the general community surroundings.

The city has even implemented a graffiti management program called StreetARToronto. Its mission, according to its website, is “to counteract graffiti vandalism by developing, supporting, promoting and increasing awareness of street art and its indispensable role to add beauty and character to neighbourhoods across the city.” You gotta admit, that’s pretty progressive, right?

Here’s a taste of the street art I was able to photograph.

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

My friend and I happened upon a rock balancing artist at work. We joined the crowd and watched as he painstakingly placed small and large rocks, and cinder blocks on top of each other without them toppling over. It was my first time seeing rock balancing done and it was fascinating. You could see the concentration on his face, like he was willing the rocks to stay in place. When he finished a piece, the tension in his facial muscles relaxed ever so slowly.

I overheard him tell someone in the crowd how centering the work was but he can’t do it if he’s angry.

Toronto's Street Art


This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out their website for other travel photos from around the world.



  1. Very cool! I’m Canadian and had no idea that street art was so prevalent in Toronto and that it was so well managed.
    Laurel recently posted..Wildlife of Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu National ParkMy Profile

  2. totsymae1011

    That is progressive. Nice to know how Toronto embraces the artists. I like that simple message that says ‘You already know.’ It makes the viewwers think; kind of like a self-reflective message.
    totsymae1011 recently posted..Come Along on the Bus Ride through SaudiMy Profile

  3. Muza-chan says:

    Great article, interesting street art collection 🙂
    Muza-chan recently posted..A Japanese Song per Day: Baroque – Nutty a hermitMy Profile

  4. Jackie Smith

    Great post about a great idea. Too bad more cities don’t do this. What incredible fun finds along the way.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..TPThursday: Wallowa Lake Magic–The End of the RoadMy Profile

  5. Great photos of Toronto’s street art! Where did you see the rock balancing guy? My daughter would get a kick out of him!
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..Canada Day at the Stratford Shakespeare FestivalMy Profile

  6. Obviously I’m spending too much time with family in Toronto when I visit and not enough time checking the city out. I lived there for about 8 years quite a while ago but it’s changed a lot. Love your selection of photos.
    BTW – still need your physical address as you are one of the 100o Places to See… winners.
    Leigh recently posted..Canada’s Most Scenic Drive: Banff to Jasper, AlbertaMy Profile

  7. Nifty! Nice that the city recognizes graffiti as street art.
    Dick Jordan recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: Send in the CloudsMy Profile

  8. sabrina

    Some of these are really pretty! Great pics!
    sabrina recently posted..Travel to Normandy: Trouville-Sur-MerMy Profile

  9. Great shots, Marcia! These are so creative and so colorful! Street art and graffiti have come a long way. The rock artis is certainly very impressive. I even see concrete blocks. How cool!
    Mary recently posted..Belize with kids: Cave tubing to hell and backMy Profile

  10. Thanks, Mary. That rock guy was pretty impressive. Yes, there were a few blocks there.

  11. Thanks, Sabrina, they were.

  12. Isn’t it, Dick? I’ve always thought Toronto was a pretty progressive city. To me, this confirms it.

  13. That’s what happens when family are in the mix — we focus on them more. Toronto’s changed a lot in the last few years, that’s for sure.
    Thanks, great to be a winner. Have emailed you my address. Thanks again.

  14. Thanks, Lisa. I found him between the 300 and 400 block of Queen Street. Hope your daughter can check him out.

  15. Thanks, Jackie. It’d be great especially on boarded up buildings, for example.

  16. Thanks, Muza-chan. Glad you like it.

  17. I agree — Toronto is a pretty progressive city. Hope you’re able to visit.
    I liked that one too, very simple and profound.

  18. This is probably a newish thing, Laurel. I guess they figured it was better to manage it rather than let it get out of control.

  19. totsymae1011
    This guy is in Canada and speaks briefly about the art initiative you mention here. He’s also an artist. Thought you might want to check him out.

  20. Thanks, Totsymae, will check him out.

  21. Cool! I have not been to Toronto but am looking forward to taking photos of Sao Paulo’s lively street art when I am there this coming month.

  22. Ah! These are really cool shots! The colors and the creativity must certainly be lauded.
    Have a wonderful weekend Marcia:)
    Arti recently posted..Planning for Japan: Visa, Flight Bookings, Hotel Reservations, etc.My Profile

  23. Thanks, Arti. The colors are what draw me but the creativity definitely has to be lauded. Wishing you a great weekend as well.

  24. Great, Jenna. Can’t wait to see what you find and I hope you make it to Toronto soon. Have a great trip!

  25. My favourite is the bus on the side of the building! I love street art and have been having fun capturing Melbourne’s 🙂

  26. Street Art is wonderful! I mean look how beautifully it add colors to our busy lives! You go out for work and on your work you see something on the wall that just makes you smile! Great!
    MyLandAndMe recently posted..Truck Art!My Profile

  27. I agree, Natasha. It’s fun to see and photograph. Can’t wait to see your photos of Melbourne’s.

  28. I agree, Naxysch. It does make you smile.

  29. Andrew Graeme Gould

    I particularly like the fourth one. It makes for an attractive scene. Great to hear that the city has such a plan. Santiago’s city council is considering such an idea at this very moment. If approved, they would encourage street art along some section of the river embankment.
    Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted..Peru: Cusco & Saqsaywaman, UNESCO World Heritage sitesMy Profile

  30. Thanks, Andrew. It’s a great idea but there has to be some parameters established beforehand or people can go crazy.

  31. Andrew Graeme Gould

    Yes, I agree with that, Marcia.
    Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted..Peru: Cusco & Saqsaywaman, UNESCO World Heritage sitesMy Profile

  32. That’s an interesting approach.

    In these parts, graffiti is removed as soon as possible, because research has shown that the least amount of exposure discourages graffiti artists. Youth projects are not allowed to do any kind of graffiti projects in public places – all art has to be done on canvases.
    Narelle recently posted..walking withMy Profile

  33. I can see why your city would take that approach. NY’s subways used to be covered in graffiti back in the 80s, I think. It was believed to be gang related though I’m not sure how much of it was but the city eventually cleaned it all up.