If you’re not from Toronto, stumbling across an entire block spray painted in graffiti is quite surprising. We actually found graffiti alley in Toronto by complete accident on our trip up from the states. If you’re in the area, Graffiti Alley is not a place you’ll want to miss.
While most cities battle to remove street art, this Toronto suburb as embraced it. Hundreds of artists have transformed over a kilometer of city space into their open canvas. But it wasn’t always this way.
Where Is Graffiti Alley In Toronto?
Graffiti Alley is located in Toronto’s fashion district, spanning nearly 1 kilometer you can find artwork stretching from Spadina Avenue to Portland Avenue. On Google maps you can find it by searching for just Graffiti Alley, or Rush Lane which is also part of the alleyway.
Graffiti Alley’s History
Like most major cities Toronto suffered from graffiti and vandalism. For years city counsel struggled to keep their walls tag and graffiti free. The battle against street art shifted in 2012 when the city founded StreetARToronto (StART), a program designed to encourage artists to paint areas of the city rather than try to prevent it.
This was in my opinion, a brilliant move. Instead of playing the cat and mouse game of trying to catch taggers, it allowed people a space to freely paint massive murals in certain sections of the city. This brought vibrance to dull alleyways and cut down on tasteless repetitive tagging.
The street art is still widely debated, and like all art, isn’t loved by everyone. For the most part Graffiti Alley’s street art is seen in a more positive light, and is responsible for a lot of tourism to the local area.
Work from several prominent Toronto street art groups can be found here. Work from the Humble Servants Of Art, SKAM, and DOHCrew can be found up and down the alleyways.
Is Graffiti Alley In Toronto Safe?
Having talked to others, and been there myself I can say that Graffiti Alley is a safe place during the day. The neighborhood in my opinion was fine. Having been in some rough parts of different cities before I definitely didn’t get that vibe here.
With that being said, always be cautious of your surroundings, especially if you’re traveling alone or at night. Use common sense. Walking around the area with an expensive camera at night could put you at a higher risk of theft than if you had visited during the day.
Is Graffiti Alley Free?
Yes, Graffiti Alley is free for you to view. You can park nearby and walk the alleyways free of charge. I do believe there are paid guided tours if that’s more your speed.
How Long Is Graffiti Alley?
The actual main stretch of graffiti alley is about 400 meters long. It’s a pretty easy walk but can be crowded on the weekends.
Worth The Trip
If you’re in the area it’s definitely worth the stop, you don’t have to spend all day there, but if you’re a photographer this isn’t a placed you’d want to miss.