Graffiti is a controversial topic in Toronto; some see it as an art form, while others see it as nothing more than vandalism. Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford even vowed to remove all graffiti from Toronto’s streets. However despite some hostility to graffiti in the city, some steps were taken to protect property owners who did not want graffiti on their buildings from being removed.

The first area where graffiti was legalised was on Rush Lane, an alley south of Queen Street West, running from John Street to Bathurst Street. But this alley now has a more famous name: Graffiti Alley.

Graffiti Alley has become a popular destination for tourists and photographers, and subsequently became recognised as an area of municipal significance by the City Council. The city even founded an organisation called StART to help nurture and manage legal street art.

Graffiti Alley remains a popular tourist attraction and has helped the local area become more recognised – in 2015, the Queen West area was named as the coolest neighbourhood in the world, and local tour companies offer guided tours of the alley.

If you’re interested in art and graffiti, then be sure to add Graffiti Alley to your Toronto itinerary – but until then, check out our gallery below!

a close up of rubble on the floor in graffiti alley
Graffiti Alley can be quite grimy, but it adds to the atmosphere
A low angle shot of graffiti alley with tourists walking by
Graffiti Alley is popular with tourists, photographers and locals alike
a view down graffiti alley with a Toronto themed mural
The alley runs from John Street to Bathurst Street
a huge mural of a toddler playing while lying on their stomach
Some of the murals are truly huge!
Rick and Morty mural
Some of the murals feature your favourite TV characters!
Three teenagers take a photo against a huge mural backdrop
Everywhere you look is covered with beautiful graffiti murals
a butterfly on a mural in Toronto's graffiti alley
If you’re lucky, you might spot some local wildlife!
Tourists walking around graffiti alley
Graffiti Alley can get busy, so consider visiting early

Planning a trip to Toronto? Consider a drive down to Niagara on the Lake – view our guide to Niagara on the Lake here

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