toronto instagram drake

This Toronto Instagram star has captured Drake's attention

Not everyone can say Drake follows them on Instagram. But Toronto-based photographer John Tablate, or @asvpshooter on Instagram,  counts @champagnepapi among his 37,000 followers.

Tablate, 24, got into photography just over three years ago thanks to his best friend's ex-boyfriend. He picked up an old camera he had and started looking up popular Toronto photographers, such as @bora.vs.bora - someone who still inspires him today.

“What I thought back then was if he could do it, and all these other guys could do it, I could do it too," he says. "So I picked up my old camera from high school.”

He began rooftopping about two years ago and more recently started shooting Toronto's streets. Like many Insta-famous Torontonians, he's drawn to King and Bay in the Financial District, thanks to the scale of the buildings. He also highlights the area's diversity on his feed.

Since he works as a mechanic full time, he only gets out with his camera on weekends these days. And while he used to live in Toronto, he's currently based in Brampton. 

This past year, he started venturing to the Island, but he only goes on cloudy days. "I’m a guy who loves clouds," he says, noting how they look powerful when they hang above the city. 

He also prefers to shoot in the wintertime. He hates carrying around his equipment in the summertime heat and appreciates the beauty of snow-dotted photos. 

And this winter, he got the biggest gift of all - Drake re-posted one of his photos. Last week, he tagged @champagnepapi in a sweeping skyline shot with the caption "@champagnepapi this is for you big brother."

Drake added it to his feed (with the appropriate credit) soon after. It garnered more than 600,000 likes and Tablate got an influx of comments, messages and about 5,000 additional followers in just one day.

“My phone kept blowing up. It died three times because my battery was so low. I couldn’t keep up," he says.

This recognition is pushing him to keep shooting and capturing his own views from the 6ix. 

Lead photo by

@asvpshooter


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Arts

The fascinating history of Toronto's oldest bookstore

This photographer turns Toronto into a fantasy land on Instagram

Watch someone from Toronto do wonders with Rubik's cubes

Toronto gets a permanent Banksy

Instagram daredevil takes photos of Toronto from up high

Toronto photographer responds to Trump travel ban

Photos of celebrities mysteriously appear in Toronto

Toronto Instagram star captures the beauty of the city at dusk