9 Of The Most Instagrammable Graffiti Spots in Toronto
It’s not hard to find the best graffiti spots in Toronto. Over the years, Toronto has joined the international ranks of London, New York and other major cities around the world in terms of its street art. Some even dare to call Toronto’s graffiti scene one of the best in the world! I mean, even the world-renowned secret graffiti artist Banksy added his mark to some buildings in Toronto during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
So whether you’re wanting to learn more about Toronto’s street art scene or trying to add some colour to your Instagram feed, here’s where you can find some of the most iconic graffiti spots in Toronto.
Where To Find 9 Of The Most Instagrammable Graffiti Spots in Toronto
This Is Paradise
Address: 408 Queen St. W., on the side of Cameron House
Tom Dean’s ‘This is Paradise’ wall is a little paradoxical sitting next to the giant metal cockroaches crawling on the exterior of the Cameron House. But what was once a dingy watering hole slowly became a safe haven for artists in the early ’80s.
As the story goes, Dean’s landlord had kicked him out of his studio apartment over a renovation dispute. So Dean sought refuge at the Cameron House and a nearby hotel. The bar had recently undergone new management, and the new owner offered Dean a place to live above Cameron House. As a thank you, Dean painted the iconic blue and yellow block lettering along the side of the building. The ‘This is Paradise‘ wall has since remained a constant reminder for artists of Toronto’s continuous support of artists and one of the most iconic graffiti spots in Toronto.
Address: Rush Lane, between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue
Directly across the street from the ‘This is Paradise‘ wall is one of the best graffiti spots in Toronto. Tucked behind Queen Street West in an alley way between Portland Street and Spadina Avenue is close to a kilometre of the city’s most colourful street art. Graffiti Alley is best known for its iconic red shark wall and is a popular spot for photoshoots and video shoots. It was popularized by Canadian comedian Rick Mercer, who films the rant portions of the Rick Mercer Report in the alleyway.
To keep Graffiti Alley relevant, there is a 24-hour legal graffit periodi during the summer. Street artist group Style In Progess run the event as part of a 2-day graffiti and hip hop festival.
Kensington Market is the heart and centre of Toronto’s multiculturalism. Nestled in the heart of China Town, Kensington Market is a hub for local artists and mostly young people. Historically, the market was where new immigrants lived and first started businesses. Over the years, Kensington was passed around between different immigrant ethnic groups. And its street art definitely reflects that!
One of my personal favourites is the mural behind the garden car! It draws inspiration from Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, adding to the many graffiti influences in Kensington Market.
For a complete gluten-free and vegan guide on where to eat, drink & shop in Kensington Market, click here.
Tag-free garages are hard to come by in Toronto- especially in isolated alleyways. So when property owners near Ossington Avenue and Queen Street West voiced their anger of destruction of property, the city fought back illegal tags with beautiful works of graffiti. The project brought Toronto police together with youth to create eye-catching murals along the Ossington Laneway! Since then, the Ossington Laneway has become a popular spot to see some of the best up-and-coming street artists in Toronto.
Address: 835 Bloor Street West
Studio 835 really knows how to attract Toronto artists, designers, producers, musicians, photographers, and filmmakers! The massive ‘Make Good‘ mural on the side of the building is hard to miss! The storefront is available to all artists for rent for pop-up shops or studio space. But for the rest of us mere mortals, the mural makes for a great photo-op!
Address: 367 King Street West
If you’re worried that you’ll have to travel all the way to New York City or Los Angeles to get photos in front of the much-Instagrammed graffiti angel wings, don’t book your ticket quite yet! Toronto is the latest Victoria’s Secret Angel to have gotten its wings! Located outside of the Hawaiian-themed poke bar near King Street and Spadina Avenue, Cali Love’s wall has quickly become an Instagram hotspot. So channel your inner Karlie Kloss and strike a pose!
Adrian Farrow Mural
A recent addition to Harbord Street’s storefronts is a stunning mural by Adrian Farrow. The Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD) graduate has gone on to create stunning illustrations that have graced the pages of The New Yorker, Bloomberg View, The Walrus, and now to the Toronto streets! Catch the colourful mural at the intersections of Harbord and Clintont Streets in the Annex.
A hidden favourite of mine is ****** lane, which leads from Harbord Street all the way down to College street. My boyfriend discovered this alleyway while waiting for the line to clear at his barber shop. Toward College Street, there are some beautiful entrances to homes and garages. Further toward Harbord are beautiful graffiti garage doors on either side of the alley! From emojis to colourful flower patterns to the Raptors & Blue Jays’ logo, there are plenty of doors you can Instagram!
Address: SW of 1214 Queen Street West
Located along the Metrolinx railway a few hundred metres southwest of the Gladstone Hotel, the Reclamation Wall is the largest graffiti mural in Canadian history. At almost 1,000 feet long, the mural spells “LIBERTY VILLAGE,” “PARKDALE,” “WEST QUEEN WEST,” and “TORONTO” in two-and-a-half-story block letters. Part of the reason why the mural is so well organized is because it’s legally commissioned by the City of Toronto in an effort to clean up illegal graffiti in the area.
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Where are your most Instagrammable graffiti spots in Toronto?
Please share your go-to graffiti spots in Toronto and street art photography tips in the comments below! I feel like I definitely haven’t seen everything Toronto’s graffiti scene has to offer!! So don’t hesitate to let me know if I missed any of your graffiti spots in Toronto!
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