Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Graffiti and a Secret Garden

Yesterday my sister took us to Graffiti Alley. This is a back alley just south of Queen street running between Spadina and Portland Ave. Here in Toronto they have a dastardly mayor, Rob Ford, who has a mission to 'clean up Toronto'. (He's a jerk) So he is having all graffiti removed, including, as it turned out, some commissioned art paid for by tax-payers money. Which of course he had removed with tax-payers money. (That was an embarrassment).
Anyway, here is a place where graffiti artists are thumbing their noses at The Establishment.
(Apparently there was an image of Ford himself that someone had painted with the sign 'remove me' by it. Clever. He has been removed, but only unfortunately from the wall. Hope you enjoy the walk and the garden.
SO... here we go:
You'd think Joseph would be excited by a graffiti walk. Nope. It was the 'walk' part that killed it for him I think.
We saw some very cool images..
And I really liked the vines growing down over the graffiti
Sometimes the words seemed out of place in this setting
Joseph was a little concerned that this image might just jump out on him.
BIG walls of horses
And someone who expressed Joseph's sentiments about the whole thing.
We saw lots of cool cartoons, with the yellow bird being a regular feature.

Hope this guy doesn't need to get a criminal background check.
We liked the yellow bird in this one. It's so happy.
I liked the smoky-ness of this one.
We are in Canada after all
And a rather nerve-jangled cat.
Joseph being jollied along by his auntie. (Actually, by this time he realized that it was all pretty cool.) AND THEN. SUDDENLY. WE DISCOVERED....
A garden. Right there off the alley. A little inner-city community garden. It was enchanting.
Check out this rain water collection system! This pipe arched down very dramatically and dumped into:
These tubs. The top one had over flow spouts into the lower. All three were almost full. (We're not in Texas now.)
Here is the whole picture. Very cool.
It was a lovely little oasis.
Little gravel paths separated the beds.
One of the only ones we could read: ADORE.
Fierce Owl. And then, finally. My personal favourite:
That's right. "Piss off, ye wee snakes!"
A great interlude. So, Piss off ye wee Ford, is what I say. And thank you for the garden too.


  1. Wonderful! And a total parallel to our Balmy Alley mural excersion in SF. Yellow Bird is way cool! And did you notice that the chair in the garden also had a bit of graffiti on it? Isn't it lovely to go exploring?

  2. What cool finds! Have you looked into reverse graffiti?

  3. Very cool post! We just saw a movie about graffiti that you might like- it was called Through the Gift Shop- it was interesting. Some of those were really neat that you posted. Love how you stumbled into a garden as well!

  4. Hey, thanks for the nice comments and the suggestions of other possible interesting sites and movies. I'll definitely look into those.
    And Marjie, I was totally thinking of all your wonderful blog posts when I decided to do this one. (Of course I can justify it on a garden blog by putting a garden into the middle, right?)

  5. Thankfully our councilor for this ward, Adam Vaughn, asked for an exemption from the Graffiti By-Law for this alley and it was granted when city council passed it this week.

  6. Hey, Thanks for the update Kristin. It is a very cool alley.

  7. Loved the garden at the end of graffiti alley. Reminds me of when Margaret and I walked around Town lake and took pictures of all the art (a fair amount of it was grafitti) around the hike and bike trail. Did Joseph ever change his mind and see the benefit to the outing? Miss you. Say hi to Emma for me.

  8. what a great art work many people find it really attracting. People should be aware of this specially the teenagers now a days who waste their time on vandalizing and destroying public places.