Art, mural and graffiti walking tours in Ontario
From curated murals and sculptures to graffiti art that has revolutionized the way visual arts represent the life and character of urban cityscapes, there are exciting outdoor galleries of public art worth visiting that reflect strong communities and artistic traditions. Whether you’re looking for a guide to lead you through the best path or you want to seek out the top spots on your own, there’s a wide variety of walking tours available for you to explore across Ontario. Here are some of the best public art walking tours of outdoor artworks, installations, murals and graffiti art.
Greater Toronto Area & Golden Horseshoe
Over 50 free, self-guided art tours in Toronto are available through Artworx, the city’s initiative to support artists and public art projects. Ranging from Etobicoke to Scarborough, the art tours cover graffiti, murals, installations and popular photo spots. Download the free Driftscape mobile app to participate in Artworx Quests, city-wide scavenger hunts of public art. Embark on an augmented reality walking tour of areas or use the map mode to experience a virtual tour from your home.
Location: All across Toronto
Graffiti Alley in Toronto is filled with awe-inspiring murals and street art created by renowned artists such as SKAM, uber5000 and ELICSER. It’s located downtown, steps from popular shops and restaurants along the Spadina Avenue and Queen Street intersection. Graffiti Alley is at the heart of Toronto’s growing relationship with legalized street art — and it looks like art is winning. The 90-minute Toronto Graffiti Tour is run by The Tour Guys and must be booked in advance on their website. Tours are available every day of the week starting from 4 p.m.
Location: Graffiti Alley, Toronto
The vibrant street art scene in Hamilton continues to shift and evolve, offering visitors the perfect glimpse into the city’s background, culture and stories. Take a self-guided street art walking tour through Locke Street, Hess Street, James Street North and many other popular graffiti and wall mural spots. Find more information about Hamilton Street art on Tourism Hamilton’s Neighbourhood Guides to help you plan your trip.
Location: All across Hamilton
Beautiful murals and artwork overlay the street-level and mid-rise buildings around downtown Cambridge. Many of these works of art were created by local and international street artists during Cambridge’s International Street Art Festival. Learn more from your guide and see how outdoor art enhances the area with the Cambridge Mural Walking Tour. Run by Stroll Walking Tours, this guided tour operates on a fixed schedule so tickets must be booked in advance. Make sure you arrive 10 minutes early. Routes are accessible for scooters and wheelchairs and select dates are dog friendly.
Location: 29 Dickson Street, Cambridge
Discover over 25 indoor and outdoor art installations in Uxbridge, created by internationally renowned artists living in the town. From Elgin Park to the Countryside Preserve, and all the way to Leaskdale (the former home of author Lucy Maud Montgomery), there’s no shortage of interesting artworks to visit. Explore the downtown area on a self-guided walking tour or cycle, hike or drive in the surrounding countryside to see even more art.
Location: All across Uxbridge
From tree sculptures and utility box art to statues and murals, there’s an incredible amount of fascinating art in Orangeville’s diverse collection of public art and historic landmarks. Take the Top 10 Public Art Tour to enjoy all the must-see works of art or follow the Central West or Central East Public Art Walking Tour to view the most popular artworks in each region. Download the free Driftscape app to navigate the route with real-time information. If you prefer a physical copy, print their digital guide to carry with you on your self-guided art tour.
Location: All across Orangeville
Ottawa & Southeastern Ontario
Ottawa Walking Tours’ Downtown Art Walk covers many of the works of art up for public viewing across downtown Ottawa, while the Historical Highlights Tour stops at popular attractions like Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial. Check their website for more details and other available tours. Private and customized tours are available for a more personal experience. Make sure to book your tour at least two days in advance.
Location: 90 Wellington Street, Ottawa (at the Terry Fox Statue)
Ottawa's annual outdoor festival celebrates hip-hop culture and features the talents of poets, rappers, dancers, DJs and musicians, in addition to the work of many professional visual and graffiti artists. House of Paint has a complete map of murals and graffiti art of Ottawa's neighbourhoods, which makes the perfect tool for a street art walking tour.
Location: All across Ottawa
Stroll through city-owned public artworks developed through Kingston’s Public Art Program and curated as part of the Civic Collection. The Arts Walk stretches from the waterfront along Lake Ontario Park to Douglas Fluhrer Park in the downtown core and all the way to rural areas near the YGK Airport. The official Arts Walk Map includes the titles, artists, descriptions and locations of each work of art. Pick up a printed guide at the Kingston City Hall.
Location: All across Kingston
Experience the heritage and character of Pembroke by exploring more than 30 large-scale murals created by local and national artists, all located in the downtown core. Each one beautifully illustrates the changing landscape and lifestyle of the region over the past two centuries. Download the free map and audio tour (available in French and English) for in-depth information about each mural as you self-navigate the town.
Location: Downtown Pembroke
Niagara Region & Southwestern Ontario
Wander through the fun street art and murals decorating the boxcars and buildings around St. Thomas on this self-guided walking tour. View the Wings mural created by international artist Kelsey Montague and the boxcar murals in the Elgin Country Railway Museum. Many of the artworks capture a piece of the town’s past, present and future. Check their website for the full list of all the beautiful murals.
Location: All across St. Thomas
The Graffiti Alley in St. Catharines is the result of local businesses teaming up to showcase the work of dozens of graffiti artists from across Ontario. Located in an alleyway between James Street and Garden Park, this self-guided art tour features an eye-catching collection of amazing murals and art.
Location: Graffiti Alley, St. Catharines
Murals celebrating the heritage of Welland can be found all around this charming town. From the Welland Mural Project depicting the town’s industrial history to the canoe art inspired by Welland’s sporting history, there’s a ton of culture and experiences to learn on this self-guided walking tour. Check their website for the locations of all the public art murals.
Location: All across Welland
Artists in Windsor have long used the city’s urban alleys as their canvas for a variety of impressive mural designs. One of the most entertaining ways to see all these works of art and photo-worthy spots is on the Windsor Graffiti Scooter Tour. Ride an official Bird Canada electric scooter and explore the city, including its famous ‘Graffiti Alley’. Your guide will teach you about the history of graffiti in Windsor and how street art is transforming the city’s neighbourhoods. This 12 kilometre tour lasts 2.5 hours and must be booked in advance.
Location: 1899 Niagara Street, Windsor
London’s reputation as a ‘Forest City’ is enhanced by its public art tree carvings, which can be seen from multiple public streets. Each tree carving takes about four weeks from start to finish: artists select a tree, plan the design, then carve it out with chainsaws and power rotary tools. The tree is then stained to protect it from the outdoor elements and the end result is a unique, intricate design that can last for decades. Check online for artist information and a map of each tree carving location to plan your self-guided walking tour.
Location: All across London
The Collingwood Art Crawl is an annual event that brings a dynamic lineup of artists and musicians to the heart of the downtown area. This self-guided art walking tour is free and takes place Saturday, September 17, 2022 between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. Check online for an art tour map and more information about the participating artists.
Location: Downtown Collingwood
Located throughout the downtown area, this free, self-guided walking tour boasts a stunning collection of murals celebrating the history of Midland. This tour is a great way to both explore the town and learn about its colonial and Indigenous background, as many of the murals commemorate important historical events and figures. Most of the murals were painted by the late artist Fred Lenz, who made creative use of the town’s architecture for his compositions. Learn more about the murals and their significance on the virtual mural tour.
Location: Downtown Midland
Muskoka & Almaguin Highlands
Check out over 100 massive and surreal cast-concrete sculptures that decorate the 125-hectare property of artist Peter Camani. Visitors can drop by the ‘Screaming Heads’ in Muskoka anytime and freely explore the surrounding meadows, woods and ponds. Since the place is also Camani’s private home, the gate to the parking lot may sometimes be closed, but the view of his sculptures can still be enjoyed from the road.
Location: 925–1201 Midlothian Road, Burk’s Falls
Visit the stunning collection of over 90 murals celebrating the artwork of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, some of Canada’s most well-known painters. These inspiring reproductions can be found all around the Muskoka region, ranging from the walkable outdoor gallery in downtown Huntsville to Algonquin Park in the north to Baysville in the south. Check out their website for more information about the murals’ locations and history.
Location: All across Muskoka
Since 2013, Sudbury’s annual Up Here art festival has brought colourful and awe-inspiring murals to life on the city’s downtown streets. Take a self-guided tour through all the murals using the official Up Here app from the App Store or Google Play. A full list of the Sudbury murals and their locations is available on the Up Here website.
Location: Downtown Sudbury
Community support and involvement are the heart and backbone of the Downtown Art Walk in Sturgeon Falls. All the beautiful murals on this self-guided art tour were created by talented volunteer artists and sponsored by community members and local businesses. Take a look at their Downtown Art Walk map for all the mural locations.
Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma
What began in 2019 as a public art project has grown into an annual art, music and cultural summer event celebrating the diverse voices and talent in Sault Ste. Marie and beyond. Explore 13 stunning and meaningful murals by local and international artists throughout downtown and join in the celebration at the Summer Moon Festival.
Location: Downtown Sault Ste. Marie
Learn about the cultural history of Thunder Bay with the city-wide public art tour or stroll along the city’s beautiful shore with the waterfront public art tour. For a physical map, stop by the Baggage Building Art Centre or a local visitor centre. All the art installations located throughout the Thunder Bay tours are free for public viewing.
Location: All across Thunder Bay
The 18 public art murals highlighting Kenora’s talented local artists can be found throughout the town’s downtown core, adding splashes of colour and beauty to its urban landscape. A map of this self-guided walking tour can be picked up at the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre.
Location: Downtown Kenora
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Last updated: December 14, 2022