Discover vibrant graffiti, murals and art installations in this boho west end Toronto neighbourhood.

Parkdale is a neighbourhood of artists. As in, it’s where artists live. The culturally diverse, traditionally blue collar neighbourhood began attracting creative types in the 1980s with cheap rent and the best Caribbean roti in the city.  Over the years, the community has evolved to offer fancy French pastries and designer handbags…but the art has remained. And most of it is outside, for free. 

Take a stroll along Queen Street West between Dufferin Street and Roncesvalles Avenue and you’ll experience some of Toronto’s best and most diverse street art by local artists and visiting global stars. It’s ever-changing, but here are some stellar pieces that have stood the test of time and are worth taking a trip to the west side of the city.

Shepard Fairey’s Rise Above

Start your Parkdale street art tour at Gladstone House, a boutique hotel and arts hub just east of Dufferin Street. When superstar artist Shepard Fairey (he of the Obama “Hope” poster and so much more) visited Toronto in 2014, he left his signature “Obey” stamp all over the city. On the backside of the Gladstone is the only remaining piece, a giant mandala mural with the message “Rise Above.”


The Murals of Milky Way

Tucked south of Queen Street West between Dufferin Street and Cowan Avenue, Milky Way laneway is a galaxy of colour. Local artists have left their mark in a mix of styles, from wild-style graffiti and murals to smaller scale cartoons. 

It’s a great example of street art revealing what we call #parkdalelife. A local fave: New York artist Buff Monster visited Milky Way and painted a giant ice cream monster—one of his signature “melty” characters. 

Waiting for Aliens

Parkdale locals sometimes refer to ourselves as “Parkdaliens” so it was only a matter of time before aliens landed here. Toronto’s Christiano De Araujo transformed the wall of a boxing gym at Queen Street West and Elm Grove Avenue into a vision of the future where cosmic extra-terrestrials just want to stop for ice cream: a  great pastel piece that’s super fun to pose with.  


Women Paint TO

Women are often under-represented in street art. So it’s a treat to explore an entire alley covered in images of sisterhood, divine womanly bodies and shapes. The murals just north of Queen Street West between Lansdowne and Macdonnell Avenues have a bold feminist point of view and a diversity of subjects representing the multicultural makeup of Parkdale. It’s always changing but one showstopper is a mother and baby in a traditional Indigenous cradleboard in front of a glowing city skyline, by First Nations artists Aura and Chief Lady Bird.

Lovebot Tribute to Keith Haring

Torontonians have truly fallen for Matthew Del Degan’s “Lovebots.” These robot figures with a red heart logo can be spotted all over the city but the large one lurking on the side of a house at 43 Triller Avenue (near Queen Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue) is extraordinary in its size and scope. Its black-and-white design is a tribute to the late Keith Haring, one of the most influential modern street artists.


Getting to Parkdale

Take the 501 Queen streetcar to Gladstone Avenue stop. (Some portions of this route may involve transferring to the 501 Queen bus during 2024 track construction.)

  • Or, take the Line 2 Bloor-Danforth subway to Lansdowne station, and then the 47 Lansdowne bus southbound to Queen Street West.
  • Or, take the Line 2 Bloor-Danforth subway to Dufferin, and then the 29 Dufferin bus southbound to Queen Street West.