Last Updated on February 3, 2021
We’ll be the first to admit that before spending so much time in Canada this summer, we pictured wide open spaces and wild life roaming, not urban centers wrapped in world-class street art. We certainly saw a lot of rural locales, but often this was as we city-hopped through Ontario and Quebec, spotting murals and graffiti popping off store fronts, taking over entire buildings and catching our eye around every corner. As huge fans of street art, we were excited to find many terrific pieces everywhere. So which Canadian city do we think has the best street art?
Street Art in Quebec City
On our short visit here, we spotted just a bit of street art in Quebec City, but may have missed a lot touring mainly the historic Old Town area. We’re guessing there is much more, considering the amount of creativity put into the free, nightly Cirque du Soleil show, which combines urban art with classic dance, set outside under an overpass just beyond the city walls.
Street Art in Ottawa
Ottawa had some street art, and while much of it wasn’t too spectacular, Ottawans were able to boast the giant Obey poster by Shepard Fairey, one of the most influential and worldwide known street artists, thanks to that iconic Hope poster of Barack Obama.
Street Art in Montreal
In Montreal we saw plenty of street art, especially in the Plateau neighborhood which has larger-scale murals.
This lady with her rooster was definitely one of our favorite pieces – check out her ‘gringo’ tattoo!
How to see street art in Montreal:
Mel has a detailed article outlining where to find the best street art in Montreal, if you venture out and track down the best murals on your own.
If you prefer a guided tour to learn more about the artists and the meaning behind some of the murals, there is a fantastic street art walking tour which can be booked via Airbnb Experiences: Non-Touristy Montreal Street Art Tour
Montreal had really great street art, but there was no way it could keep up with what we considered the best city for street art in Canada that we have found so far:
Street Art in Toronto
Toronto was heaven for us street art fangirls, in particular the area around Queen Street. Here we found entire alleys that served as outdoor galleries, filled with innovative, clever work.
And there was so much more urban art than just graffiti in back alleys, like this great guerrilla gardening graffiti combo… …and loads of urban art in other forms. We loved seeing these neon bikes permanently affixed to stairwells and various sign poles throughout the city.
Toronto definitely has the most original and inspiring street artists! The best thing about this form of art is that it lives and breathes, and changes constantly, so we can’t wait to see something completely different on our next visit!
How to see street art in Toronto
CultureTrip has an excellent guide to street art in Toronto, including the best spots to see street art and murals.
Here are 15 of the most instagrammable street art murals in Toronto.
Also check out these great Toronto walking tours on GetYourGuide:
Polaroid of the week: Street art in Montreal, Canada - GlobetrotterGirls
Friday 19th of February 2021
[…] thriving street art scene! We found creative, unique graffiti on almost every corner and found that Montreal has the best overall street art we’ve seen in Canada – so far. We loved this piece here, reminding us of our […]
Sunday 20th of November 2011
That's truly art. I love the car and the bike. Great ideas! They must bring such color on the streets. And also a smile on many faces.
Monday 21st of November 2011
Thanks Octavia. The bike was my personal favorite! Bright pink - loved it :)
Jade Johnston - OurOyster.com
Saturday 19th of November 2011
Wow! I love the vehicle reclamation! I want to do that when i get back to my home city of Winnipeg!
Sunday 20th of November 2011
Thanks Jade! Isn't the vehicle reclamation a great idea? We actually saw a similar project in a small town in France - an entire square in the town was filled with old vehicles that now served as flower & plant pots.
World First Wander. The world of graffiti and Street Art | World First Travel Insurance Blog
Friday 18th of November 2011
[...] Toronto is quite well know within the graffiti world for housing a lot of talent and the post from @GlbetrotterGrls proves it - Street Art Special – Oh Canada [...]
Friday 11th of November 2011
awesome post! and great pics!
Saturday 12th of November 2011
Thanks Yvonne! We'd love you to show us the street art in Berlin on our next trip through Germany!