Explore the city while discovering Pride Month art installations created by 2SLGBTQ+ artists.
Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ community has always played a pivotal role in shaping its contemporary art scene. That’s why this year’s Pride Toronto includes an artistic program showcasing 20 contemporary artists through 12 thought-provoking art installations, placing a spotlight on a diverse array queer perspectives.
Here for Pride Month? Take yourself on a self-guided art crawl through Toronto’s most eclectic neighbourhoods as you discover works from emerging and established Canadian and international artists.
Note: All art installations run now through June 30, 2022, unless otherwise noted.
Stop 1: Woodbine Beach
Beginning in Toronto’s Eastside, the first stop on your Pride art crawl takes you along the sandy shores of Woodbine Beach and into the depths of an immersive installation by Nigerian Canadian multidisciplinary artist Oluseye Ogunlesi.
Constructed of wood, metal and found materials, Black Ark (now to September 5, 2022) explores the African diaspora and Canada’s ties to the Atlantic slave trade, revealing the country’s untold relationship with slavery while seeking to heal these old wounds through artistic expression.
After viewing the installation, indulge in a quintessential lakeside brunch at The Toronto Beach Club or head up to Tori’s Bakeshop for a quick bite and caffeine fix. Then browse the independent boutiques along Queen Street East while taking in some of the neighbourhood’s historic Victorian and Edwardian-era architecture.
Stop 2: Church & Carlton Streets
Bringing you into the heart of Church-Wellesley Village, the epicentre of Pride Toronto, is the 170-foot-long interactive mural Letters to a Future Queer (June 25 and 26, 2022). This five-piece mural weaves together community-sourced narratives about love, queerness and the future of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Curated by Lovers Art Club and standing eight feet in height, the interactive mural lets you get creative and personal by leaving your own mark with paints and other craft materials. It will also feature contributions by commissioned graffiti artists and the Toronto community throughout the festival weekend.
Stop 3: College Park
The next stop on the art crawl takes you further into Toronto’s downtown core and introduces you to the visually arresting work of Mexican-born artist Alex Flores, whose artistic practice spans visual art, film, and human rights advocacy.
Using a canvas made of recycled wood that dates back to the early 1900s, Flores’s Sustainable Love addresses our shared responsibility to protect nature and empower our most vulnerable communities through creativity and ingenuity.
Stop 4: The Tenor, Third Floor
Set against a backdrop of towering steel skyscrapers and the glowing LED displays that light up Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, the next two installations on your art crawl juxtapose nature’s magnitude with the vivid brilliance of computer technology.
This Tree is a Rabbit is a sustainably designed installation by David Rayfield and CBC Literary Award-winning author Jim Nason. It brings you into a setting of trees in various stages of growth. From humble saplings to soaring forest dwellers, this ecological artwork features Nason’s meditative poetry and instinctive collages, which encourage you to look deeply within the self.
Colour Field 3 is a generative artwork by computer artist Nicole Vella that performs at the intersection of technology and art. It uses a sophisticated algorithm to create an immersive display of luminous forms and colours, resulting in a fluorescent spectacle that continuously ebbs and flows.
Once you’ve wrapped up viewing these downtown installations, take a stroll through bustling streets, stopping at Yorkville’s stylish vegan restaurant Planta for plant-based fare and inspiring cocktails. Or make your way to the Financial District’s noteworthy contemporary Latin restaurant Leña, if you’re in the mood for something with South American flare.
Stop 5: stackt market
stackt market is Canada’s largest shipping container market and one of Toronto’s trendiest social hotspots, boasting a sprawling patio, brewery, and a slew of outdoor cocktail bars.
Incidentally, it’s also the home of the next three art installations on your art crawl so be sure to enjoy a signature cocktail while you view the on-site exhibition. Artworks include Tyler Burey’s Duality Illuminated, Adéx Lava’s Murder Music: The Malice Afterthought and Pyramids of Connection by Jay-Marie Phillips and Rana Mehanny.
Stop 6: West Toronto Rail Path
The last stop on the art crawl takes you onto the West Toronto Rail Path, a 2 km trail built over an abandoned rail line that runs through Toronto’s Junction Triangle neighbourhood.
Here you’ll find artist Moe Pramanick’s cyberpunk and drag-inspired portrait series The Cosmic Explorer. The series examines how queer people of colour have undeniably shaped the realm of fashion while exploring their shared potential in powerfully transforming the future.
Cap off your Pride art crawl with dinner at some of the Junction Triangle’s most exquisite Italian eateries, including the intimate Lucia restaurant and the eclectic Defina Wood Fired on Dupont Street, followed by a nightcap at the vibrant Bandit Brewery in neighbouring Roncesvalles.