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5 quirky maps for the Toronto-lover on your list

Posted by Derek Flack / December 5, 2012

Toronto MapsFor those looking for Toronto-themed gifts this holiday season, you could do worse than one of the many quirky maps local artists and designers have plotted out over the last couple of years. Not only are they typically reasonably priced — generally coming in at around $40 — but there's more to choose from than ever as mapmakers continually rethink ways to chart the city that defy conventionality. While there's a preponderance of word and neighbourhood-related maps floating around out there, these are more than mere clones of the popular Ork Map. Each of them reveal unique cartographic efforts with little double-ups in terms of overall concepts.

Here's a roundup of five city maps for the Torontophile on your list.

Dave Murray Word MapsDave Murray Toronto MapThese silkscreened maps are often accused of being similar to Ork's efforts, but the process by which they're put together is actually quite different — Murray scouts each neighbourhood in detail prior to their design — and each maps is obviously focused on individual neighbourhoods rather than the entire city. Currently on offer are Kensington Market, Queen West and Parkdale, Ossington, Grange Park (Baldwin Village), Leslieville, the Annex, the Beach, the Junction and Roncesvalles. $40

City of Toronto 26 June 1976 Silkscreened Print 2nd Ed.Toronto MapRaymond Bliesinger's portrait of the city on the day that the CN Tower opened uses Toronto's buildings to plot its geography, so thank God it was made before the condo boom, lest the whole thing be rendered a series of anonymous glass boxes. Part of a series that includes Montreal and Ottawa, the print has a certain 1970s quality about it, to be sure — but that's kind of retro and cool, isn't it? $40

Ben Brommel's Toronto MapBen Brommell Torontn MapBen Brommell, a student at Humber College, spent almost 100 hours plotting out this typographic map of the city, which charts the city via its streets. It's hard to discern that the map is made up of words from a distance, so it rewards those who take a second to look closely. Also available in black & white. $15+

Marlena Zuber's Toronto Maps2012125-mx-map.jpgMore whimsical than the other offerings on the list, you might recognize Marlena Zuber's work from Shawn Micallef's Stroll, for which she provided the illustrations. My favourite feature of these maps are the annotations spread across various points of interest. Offered in a wide variety of formats at Pixel Print. Prints start at $45

Minimalist Toronto Color MapsToronto Colour MapThis is one of those Etsy offerings that's actually made for a wide variety of cities, but I include it here because I like the minimalist design, which reminds me of Flavio Trevisan's map-art. Available in a whole bunch of colours. $18

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Me / December 5, 2012 at 05:49 pm
Hmm. Considering all we see here at BlogTO is how much it's readers HATE Toronto and bitch and moan about it not being something called a "world class city" (whatever the fuck that is!!), I doubt there ARE many that this post would apply to. As for the few like myself that actually DO love this city, thanks BlogTO for a rare positive post.
Haley / December 5, 2012 at 05:56 pm
So great!
John mounfield / December 5, 2012 at 08:14 pm
"world class city". I have lived inToronto for 33 years and travelled extensively. Toronto is anythingbut a world class city.
I've traveled too replying to a comment from John mounfield / December 5, 2012 at 08:31 pm
I've traveled (and a few times lived) around the world and if you don't love the city you're in and aren't trying to make it even better perhaps you should not live here. I don't understand people like you. It feels so good to love where you live; you must wake up depressed every day, which would explain your negative outlook on life.
Councillor J Miter / December 5, 2012 at 08:44 pm
BITCHES IN TORONTO PLEASE. I always see people with negative comments about their hometown. Like get fucking lost.
the truth / December 5, 2012 at 09:10 pm
All of these are pretty mediocre for the prices they seek. Designers, artists, I beg you, show the city some pride and truly express what you within it experience in new and exciting ways. Inspire the population, don't produce this shitty experience. No wonder Toronto has so much self-hatred.

These artists/designers aren't even worth addressing, and are only capitalizing (but adding of no value to) the desire to consume something local.
John mounfield / December 5, 2012 at 09:11 pm
Read the post geniuses, i said Toronto is not a world class city. I love where i live and wouldnt live anywhere else. Its just not a world class city and if that upsets people then just take your head out of your asses.
facebook replying to a comment from John mounfield / December 5, 2012 at 09:22 pm
Hey John Mounfield. No one cares about your "extensive travels". Maybe you should just stay in Mississauga, or Northwich Cheshire, and keep your comments to your self.
Shut Up / December 5, 2012 at 09:46 pm
Everyone just shut the fuck up.
jonathan l. / December 5, 2012 at 09:48 pm
I happen to love it here. Some advice from an average person not looking to get rich quick, screw everyone over, or be a dickhead: smile! you're not better than people dressed in everyday clothes, so don't be a dick and give them that 'look'. stop ignoring people by staring at your phone or talking to yourself through your iphone earbuds to make yourself more important than you really are. nothing worse than a self-involved twat who has to make is clear to everyone how much money she/he has and how great her/his life is. nobody cares! stop walking around this city acting like you're staring in your own movie and nobody else exists.

part of living in a world-class city is acknowledging that, yea, there are others here too trying to enjoy the few minutes of free time they get to have, so don't be a dick, smile, be kind, and slow the fuck down and remember it's not all about you all the time. peace!
Shut Up replying to a comment from Mike / December 5, 2012 at 09:51 pm
Shut the fuck up you fucking homophobe.
Stavros / December 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm
Some of the maps are not bad. As for Toronto being a world class city to judge that just consider how you feel when you return here after months abroad in other major cities. We have it pretty good here in our small but well rounded city. We don't have the history or size of NYC or London but I'd pick Toronto over those any day. We have a clean city that offers good jobs and a standard of living we take for granted.

Last of all why is it that posters on this site seem so angry?
mike / December 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm
If you don't like the maps, don't buy it. If you don't like Toronto, just leave. Problem solved and everyone left is happy.
Mrs. Sausage / December 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm

One thing I hear in my extensive travels is "why can't Toronto be less fagotty, like Mississauga is"?.
Mr. Strickland replying to a comment from John mounfield / December 6, 2012 at 12:49 am
Sorry, I couldn't hear you over your extensive travels. Toronto is absolutely world class. It's got culture, cuisine & entertainment that rivals any other city under that category.
MapMan / December 6, 2012 at 06:10 am
I LOVE MAPS!!!!!!!!!!
Mappy replying to a comment from MapMan / December 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm
me too, me too.
missedthebus / December 7, 2012 at 07:47 am
Moderator!!!! Where are you???? Get over here quick!
Giles replying to a comment from John mounfield / December 7, 2012 at 02:14 pm
The next time you are extensively travelling abroad, you could just not come back.

We promise not to miss you.
phuong / December 7, 2012 at 02:30 pm
great article!
Becca replying to a comment from Mappy / December 16, 2013 at 08:20 pm
Ya, how bout these maps huh? A nice little collection. Thanks for sharing!
lololol / December 16, 2013 at 08:21 pm
Mississauga is still god-awful, but at least it's no Brampton.
Sup Bra / December 16, 2013 at 08:53 pm
Mississauga is world class white trash. Jersey shore wannabes
Ali / December 16, 2013 at 11:02 pm
Check out my hand-cut papercutting map of Toronto as well!
gayle b. / December 17, 2013 at 12:32 am
Love the maps with Dave Murray's Word Map being my top pick. Thank you.
FORD NATION / December 17, 2013 at 12:41 am
WHERE THE EFF IS LEASIDE??????????????????
Alex / December 18, 2013 at 03:04 am
Weird, who would have thought that an artistic interpretation of Toronto's geographic landscape topography would be the final straw to really bring out the xenophobic/homophobic disturbances. If one were to see these comments before the post itself, one might think there'd been some extreme political complication or tragedy among the population. I suggest you broaden your horizons and take things that are not such obscene parameters or else you'll end like Mikey from Mississauga. I grew up there, it breeds a lot of that mindset unfortunately - luckily they only plague the city thursday through Saturdays for the most part.
Good job artists, but I do agree - the envelope could be pushed a bit further with innovative originality.
Other Cities: Montreal