(Last Updated On: October 31, 2020)

What is Graffiti Alley?

Graffiti Alley is actually a laneway called Rush Lane just near Queen St West. It can be found in between the Fashion District and Alexandra Park, but keep your eyes peeled or you may walk straight past it. Toronto, like many cities, has a turbulent history with graffiti, but this half-mile long alley is a celebration of the art of street murals. It also has the proud history of being the first legalised display of graffiti in Toronto. Graffiti Alley has been officially designated as an area of municipal significance since 2011. 

Getting There

Walk

If you’re coming from Downtown Toronto, then a walk to Graffiti Alley will take around 20 mins. If you can, walking through the city is great because you’ll get to see more of Toronto than you would on an underground subway. If you’re further out, like I was, in the Yorkville area, then a walk is around 45 mins, so you may want to consider another option – especially if its winter.

Public Transport

If walking isn’t an option, then you could catch the Toronto trams, which are clean and safe streetcars.  From Downtown Toronto, it will cost $3.25 CAD for a single one way trip and the 301 should get you there in around 10 mins. 

Rent A Bike

If you’re feeling energetic, then a bike ride for around 15 mins will get you from the outskirts of Toronto to Graffiti Alley. With Bike Share Toronto, a one way single ride pass will set you back $3.25 CAD or $7 CAD for a day pass.

Ride Share

Finally, for the people who want to get to Graffiti Alley quicky (and warmly) depending on Toronto traffic of course, there’s rideshares everywhere in the city. Uber will take around 5 mins from Downtown or 10 mins from Yorkville area- though you should note that Toronto traffic is some of the worst in the western world. An Uber will set you back around $10 CAD and private and pool options are available. (Side Note: Uber is a super handy app to have downloaded when travelling in Canada – they’re much cheaper than taxis).

What To Expect

Graffiti Alley is all outdoors, and it is totally free to roam amongst the murals. It is like a free, open air art museum that can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With that in mind, a moderate to warm sunny day is probably the optimum time to visit. I was in Toronto in March and the city was still covered in snow, so despite loving the artwork, it was perishingly cold and I probably didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked because of the weather. If you are visiting in Winter, then I do think the snow looks really cool against the murals in the laneway, but make sure you rug up – gloves, scarf, beanie, coat – the works. 

The Evolution of Toronto Street Art

Toronto has a reputation for being a top destination for street art, but that wasn’t always the way. Historically, the city had a major problem with graffiti and had laws stating that if your property was graffitied on, you had to remove the offending tags or murals at your own expense or be fined by the city council. This has thankfully changed. There has been a lot of discourse about the difference between graffiti and art and the StART (StreetARTToronto) organisation has done wonders to reduce vandalism and unwanted graffiti whilst celebrating and supporting Street Art. Now, street artists have an opportunity to display their work and be mentored and nurtured by programs designed to promote and showcase their talents. Street Art is now the beating heart of Toronto’s artistic community. 

Street Art of Toronto Gallery

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