North of Queen West, Heading East…

2 March 2014 — Long gap between posts, and no, I did not fall into a snowbank white hole. I fell into an electronic black hole (changing computers and systems), and enough of that. Let’s pick up where I left off in my previous post, & talk urban art instead.

So here we are. Bye-bye Mr. Snarly Bear, guarding the Portland St. end of Graffiti Alley just south of Queen; hello Snakey Lady to the north!

between Denison & Augusta

I had thought to head home eastward along Queen St., but then I glimpse an alley on the north side of the street. You know what happens next. I poke my way into it, and one block leads to another…  All the photos here are in the stretch from Bathurst to Spadina, more precisely from Denison on.

Only Snakey Lady to amuse me in that first block, but a whole bunch of images between Augusta & Vanauley, starting with this impressive display of 3D lettering…

Augusta to Vanauley

I wonder what some AR (augmented reality) could do with that one?

I always like the way alley art dances with everything else in the alley — street signs, wheelies, air conditioners, vents, screening. All those urban accessories build on the art, and create streetscape.

Augusta to Vanauley

Just a hint of air conditioner in the next one. (Hard to imagine at the moment, but its time will come again.)

Augusta to Vanauley

Um, that list of urban accessories I supplied a moment ago? I forgot cars.

Palm smacks forehead. Right. Cars. Got it.

Augusta to Vanauley

Strong faces next, at least one of them surely by ELICSER…

ELICSER, Augusta to Vanauley

… and then some UBER.

UBER, Augusta to Vanauley

Across Vanauley, into the stretch heading for Cameron St., where I find yet more Still Life With Cars.

Vanauley to Cameron St.

Right at Cameron, and yes, look, the alley continues on east. (I’m bush-whacking remember, first time snaking my way along this route.) Queen St. is just south of me there, to the right, probably where Scooter Man is headed.

eastward across Cameron St., north of Queen

You saw a bit of this next photo in the previous one. It’s second-storey art work, starting one level above Scooter Man’s helmet.

detail, N/E Cameron & Queen W.

You get the tiniest glimpse of the next photo as well, in that Cameron St. shot with Scooter Man. This is what I found as I started on down the alley. (Look between the two-tone brick building on Cameron St. itself, and the deeper red brick building in the distance behind it to the right.)  I don’t know the identity of this artist, but he often paints animals, and his colour palette & softened brush work are distinctive.

Cameron to Spadina

And now I’m at the alley’s edge, right at Spadina. Me, and a pensive ELICSER face, both of us looking out over that busy avenue.

alley N/W of Queen W at Spadina

And now a big jump forward in time, again with thanks to a blog follower (& urban art guru) named Michael, who ansered [sic] a question I hadn’t thought to ask.

Q & A

The Q would have been: “What art show must I absolutely definitely visit this very weekend?”

The A, unsolicited but much appreciated, is indeed “A”. As in, street artist ANSER. His show, “Crowded Kingdom,” is on view at The Hashtag Gallery,  801 Dundas West , 27 Feb – 9 March. Go go go, if you’re in town, and enjoy the art. Just don’t expect to buy anything. By the time I arrived on March 1, all but three of those iconic faces (in varying iterations, large and small) had red ‘sold’ stickers on them. (“Opening night, there was a line-up down the street,” I was told. “We sold more art that night than beer!”)

Leave a comment


  1. I really love how some of the art has light streaming down on it – just illuminating it in different ways. Thanks for taking us on your walk – and for focusing on street art. I find it often is more interesting than what is in a shop window!

    • I think I know the one you mean, with the sun dogs (is that right? you can see ‘ribbons’ of light streaming diagonally across the image). Thanks

  2. Rosa de los Vientos

     /  2 March 2014

    Cool, as always!!

  3. Oh we must try to see the ANSER exhibit! Another wonderful collection – two observations:
    first the way the ‘official’ signs are mostly left intact and secondly – I know these are alleys but the garbage figures prominently in many…great tour again!

    • Liter & garbage indeed. A few alleys are stunningly clean, I even commented on that once — but usually there is urban grit & grime all around. I leave it in, it’s part of the scene… Is it distracting or annoying? I mean quite the opposite. Anyway, go see the ANSER show, chi hours on the website though.

  4. I like the second picture best, the lines look really clean!

  5. bobgeor

     /  3 March 2014

    Ah, Mercer’s alleys…very cool! Thanks!


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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