While there are plenty of art galleries in Toronto, there are a select number of “art walks” in the metropolis. Here are a handful of such walks which display different parts of the city throughout different historical art periods.
Jane’s “Graffiti” Walk (Queen St. West)
One of dozens of Toronto area walks named after urban activist Jane Jacobs, this stroll down the the back alleys of Queen West shows off the work of local graffiti artists. “People have been writing on walls going on, practically, forever,” this year’s guided walk leader Sam Carter told a Toronto publication earlier this year.
Toronto’s Village of Murals (Islington)
This impressive array of historical artwork – primarily thanks to John Kuna but with others assisting – has resulted in some 15,000 square feet of exterior art. Most of the work centres around the early 1900s as a time period. The works – going along five blocks on Dundas West – can take between 300 hours to 400 hours to complete. Guided tours are available from June through October.
Yonge Lawrence Village Artwalk (Yonge/Lawrence Area)
Slated to run from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, the 11th annual event sees some 50 storefronts and businesses participating showing creations from the local art community’s finest. Lectures regarding the various works as well as artists creating on the spot are planned. As well you can vote for your favourite piece displayed. The walk stretches from the George Locke Library at Yonge and Lawrence and heads north through Lawrence Village.
Nuit Blanche (Downtown Toronto)
Perhaps the ultimate wide-ranging art walk under the stars, Nuit Blanche seems to have something for everyone. And on Oct. 3-4 the artistic bonanza will be in full bloom. This year’s official site has yet to release the myriad of activities but expect hundreds of artists to showcase their wares. While it might be crowded it’s well worth the walk into the wee hours.
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Art InSite (Morrow Avenue & Roncesvalles)
One of a handful of neighborhood paid walking tours available through this organization is through the Morrow Avenue area. The tour, which takes between two to three hours, includes stops in various art galleries. These galleries most likely would include the Olga Korper Gallery, the Christopher Cutts Gallery, and the Peak Gallery — which are all close to each other. An artist studio tour is also included.
The Tour Guys’ Graffiti Alley (Queen West)
The Tour Guys offer free weekly two-hour trips every Saturday afternoon. The tour ($30 per person for private tours) begins at the “Hug” tree (across from the Black Bull Tavern) and is a short jaunt. However, over that time guides will explain the history of graffiti, the tools used by these artists, as well as the controversy surrounding the issue of vandalization. The tour’s official site says debate and discussion is encouraged.
(Main Photo by Ashton Pal via Flickr)