The Arts
Art on the Street – Toronto
June 19, 2018
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Art on the Street - Toronto

I found Toronto street art, much like Detroit, to showcase a great array of talent for wildstyle graffiti. If you’re you’re not familiar with the term, stay tuned and I’ll explain in a minute. Like all of the Art on the Street series, this post doesn’t just cover street art, but also public art installations and murals of which Toronto has some fabulous pieces to show off. From “The Audience”, a sculptural ode to Blue Jays fans at the Rogers Centre, to the whimsical dog fountain in Berczy Park.

Murals, sculpture and public art

Toronto carpark mural
Mural by unknown artist in carpark
Love Locks in the Distillery District, Toronto
Love Locks in the Distillery District
Love Locks in the Distillery District, Toronto
MIrror selfie on the Toronto streets
Mirror selfie
Mural depicting indigenous Canadians
Hexagon shaped public seating in Toronto
Opalescent hexagon brings the magic to some concrete public seating

The Audience

The Audience is a sculpture that hangs high on the northwest corner of the Rogers Centre, home to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. The Michael Snow creation depicts fans at the game and greets spectators from above as they enter the stadium.

The Audience sculpture, Rogers Centre
The Audience sculpture at Blue Jays home ground Rogers Centre

The Gooderham Building and Breczy Park

The Gooderham Building is also known as the “Flatiron” of Toronto, although it pre-dates its New York cousin. The Romanesque Revival and French Gothic building was completed in 1892 and has appeared on many an Instagram feed. The commercial buildings which once adjoined the rear of the Gooderham were torn down a long time ago and in the 80’s the space was a carpark. It has since been revitalised as a public space named Berczy Park. The rear of the Gooderham Building is adorned by a mural by Canadian artist Derek Besant. Painted in 1998, the artwork reflects the facade of the Perkins Building opposite, and has a 3-dimensional look due to the trompe lóeil effect Besant employed.

The Gooderham "Flatiron" Building
The Gooderham "Flatiron" Building
The Flatiron Mural on the rear of the Gooderham Building
The Flatiron Mural on the rear of the Gooderham Building

This playful puppy fountain features 27 cast-iron pups shooting water longingly towards a golden bone centerpiece. Among the represented breeds are Fox Terrior, Jack Russel, Dalmation, Beagle, Giant Schnauzer, Golden Retriever, St Bernard and Pug. This fountain is too fun to miss and is located in Breczy Park, right behind the Gooderham Building so you can kill two birds.

Dog fountain in Berczy Park
Dog fountain in Berczy Park
Dog fountain in Berczy Park
27 cast iron dogs are featured

A selection of wildstyle

I like to think of wildstyle as both the calligraphy and secret code of street art. It is a highly complicated form of typography that is often unreadable to those who don’t create it. Wildstyle got its name from a Bronx-based graffiti crew in the 1980’s called Wild Style. The graffiti involves the distortion of letters, adding embellishments such as arrows, along with overlapping and interweaving their forms to create a complex piece. Sometimes additional effects such as layering and shadows are used to create the illusion of three dimensions.

Wildstyle created to look like neon lights, tagged by Zinc Nite Crew
Wildstyle created to look like neon lights, tagged by Zinc Nite Crew
Wildstyle street art in Toronto
Tagged: Gems and Kaos Inc
Street art tagged: Diana
Tagged: Diana
Wildstyle street art in Toronto
Piece tagged: Fathom (I think)

Breakin' Convention at the Sony Centre

Skam piece for the Breakin' Convention at the Sony Centre
Skam piece for the Breakin' Convention at the Sony Centre
Gems piece at the Sony Centre, Toronto
Gems piece at the Sony Centre
Breakin' Convention artwork at the Sony Centre
Breakin' Convention artwork at the Sony Centre

Lovebot created by Matthew Del Degan

You will find Lovebot hiding all over Toronto. Creator Matthew Del Degan set out to “lovingly disrupt the robotic routines of humans, and remind them that there is love in their cities and kindness around every corner.”

Lovebot sculpture
Lovebot began a sculpture
Lovebot seemingly dressed as Ronald McDonald
Lovebot agai, this time seemingly dressed as Ronald McDonald
Lovebot in a Toronto back alley
Lovebot in a back alley
Lovebot on a residential building
Lovebot on a residential building

Works by Skam

The work of street artist Skam
The work of street artist Skam, 2017
Skam wildstyle, 2012
Wild style street art by Skam in Toronto
Skam, 2015
Skam, 2015

Works by street artist Uber5000

Uber 5000 artwork in Toronto
Artist: Uber5000
Uber5000 street art
Uber5000 street art featuring Toronto sign on ice rink
Uber5000 street art

More Toronto street art

Toronto street art
Find the artist on instagram here: @censdbs
Top Cat in Toronto
My husband and Top Cat
"Don't forget to drink water" donut street art, Toronto
"Don't forget to drink water"
Rasta man street art, tagged: NYMS
Rasta man tagged: NYMS
Toronto street art featuring spray can
Street art in Toronto
Tagged: #FeeltheRush
Toronto under Godzilla attack in Rush Lane
Toronto under Godzilla attack in Rush Lane
Horses that are part of a larger mural
Horses that are part of a larger mural

Where to find Toronto street art

Finding art on the streets of Toronto requires no more than going for a walk and keeping your eyes peeled. However, if you’re time pressured and want some more specific direction, check these out:

  • Rush Lane aka “Graffiti Lane” and adjoining McDougall Lane are the most central hot spot for graffiti.
  • Kensington Market is a neighbourhood with a creative, bohemian vibe where you’ll find plenty of colourful wall adornments.
  • Further west of Kensington Market is Ossington Laneway, which was the setting for a 2012 “beautification project” by 20 artists.
  • Milky Way in the Parkdale area is another street of art, that gets a mention by locals.
  • On the eastern side of town, find plenty of street art in Cabbagetown.
  • Also in the east, seek out laneways in the Pape and Danforth areas. Look for painted traffic boxes and mailboxes.
  • The aforementioned Berczy Park is the place to see the Gooderham Mural and Dog Fountain
  • The Distillery District is filled with sculptures including the Love Locks featured above

Find more graffiti, murals and public art installations from cities around the world over on the Art on the Street Series page.

Peace, love & inspiring travel,

Madam ZoZo

Toronto street art covering grafitti and public art installations

About author

Madam ZoZo

Hi! I'm Madam ZoZo, aka Zoë, an Australian designer, creative consultant, blogger and digital nomad. I'm passionate about travel, design, dance and new experiences that fuel my creativity. I strive to travel in a style that is gentle on the earth and that contributes to the communities I visits, even if it is merely to take away a greater understanding of a different culture. Duende by Madam ZoZo, is where I share the stories of my travels and the duende (soul/inspiration) I find along the way.

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