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15 urban explorers from Toronto to follow on Instagram

Posted by Liora Ipsum / August 26, 2014

urban explorers torontoToronto is home to an impressive population of urban explorers who use Instagram as a creative outlet. From rooftoppers to underground adventurers, these photographers capture parts of Toronto that most of us don't have access to, and it's intriguing to see these novel views of the city appear in one's daily feed.

Here are 15 Toronto urban explorers to follow on Instagram.

As his Instagram handle suggests, this thrill-seeker is all about shooting from on high. Despite having only recently adopted the square format photo sharing platform, his images have amassed over 7,000 followers and can be both mesmerizing or nauseating depending your perspective. He also throws in the occasional stunning travel shot from ground level.

Freaktography's feed features a wide variety of urban exploration (and even some rural sites), with a strong focus on abandoned buildings. There's a pervasive sense of nostalgia in most of these images, which is broken up with some rooftopping shots.

Javin Lau shoots skylines and streetscapes with interesting off-the-cuff compositions. Setting himself apart from his peers, his photos capture urban landscapes with muted slightly diluted colours that have a gritty appeal.

urban explorers Torontoriversforgotten
Venturing deep into the city's underbelly, Jeremy Kai has been documenting Toronto's underground waterways well before Instagram was a thing. His photo stream is nicely varied, featuring abandoned buildings, architectural wonders and other oddities.

Neil Ta showed work at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition this year, showcasing his rooftopping work, which at times make Toronto's topography look abstract. One of the most active local shooters around.

Toronto has a surreal neon glow through this photographer's lens. Follow his Instagram account to see him bound from rooftop to rooftop and capture skylines from every possible vantage point.

urban explorers Torontonotorious_yip
Ronnie Yip captures Toronto from atop construction cranes and from off limit locales like the abandoned water slides at Ontario Place. He has a keen eye for making Toronto seem even denser than it already is.

On top of the world. Literally. You'll find ori.ginals documenting his fearless antics as he dangles off the edge of skyscrapers and watches over the city from a bird's eye perspective.

One of the most consistent shooters right now, shaqvel's feed is current and constantly being plugged with awesome CN Tower shots and TTC porn.

urban explorers Torontojayscale
Finding beauty in urban settings, jayscale's feed showcases the city at every angle. See the city from towering heights or catch a glimpse of sky looking up through skyscrapers from street level.

Vee masks add an air of mystery and sense of mischievousness to this collection of photos. Tharobong's Instagram account dates back to only earlier this year, and is especially filled with shots of smoke, steam and fog.

Goldvisual focused on Toronto's architecture, with a penchant for shooting archways, tunnels and bridges.

urban explorers Torontophantamos
Phantamos loves to shoot Toronto as it glimmers at night, including the occasional strike of lightning. His feed features favourite landmarks from unusual angles and backlit silhouettes in front of vast skylines.

If you like looking at sneaker-clad feet dangling from vertigo-inducing heights, then this Instagram account is for you.

Super saturated colours might just be sksquared defining style. His Instagram account makes Toronto look majestic with a collection of nighttime photos that twinkle like jewels.

So who have I missed? There's got to be lots of great photographers to suggest in the comments below, so please do!

Lead image by roof_topper



Anthony / August 26, 2014 at 10:08 am
Although no longer with us, RIP, no mention of Ninjalious, who was a primary force and Urban Exploration in Toronto, created the magazine, and showed many the routes. It is a disservice to not mention him in this article.
Rob replying to a comment from Anthony / August 26, 2014 at 10:18 am
Wowww...I'd completely forgotten about ! I remember reading that site in the late 90s in awe...
Derek replying to a comment from Anthony / August 26, 2014 at 10:18 am
While Ninjalicious deserves loads of respect for his founding urban exploration work, not every article about the subject needs to mention him in order to avoid disrespecting his memory. That's ludicrous, to be honest.
Jono / August 26, 2014 at 10:39 am
Derek - Yes. Also, this is a post about instagratification specifically.

mike in parkdale / August 26, 2014 at 10:55 am
remember exploring places before social media?

As great as these photos are, it really seems like you're leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs for the police to follow.
James / August 26, 2014 at 11:07 am
Kind of a disappointing list of igers ...
Kyle / August 26, 2014 at 11:09 am
Missed the whole street team from Streetoftoronto
Mr Toronto / August 26, 2014 at 11:16 am
Publicising these criminals is really irresponsible. BlogTO is encouraging dangerous and criminal behaviour. Shame on you BlogTO.
sksquared / August 26, 2014 at 11:30 am
You have forgot to mention @mr_jobeezy (
Wonderland / August 26, 2014 at 11:32 am
Beautiful photos and these are brave people. I'm in awe!
Oh Geez / August 26, 2014 at 11:34 am
Props to the OGs.
Freaktography / August 26, 2014 at 11:47 am
Thanks for including me in this list, a great group with many talented photographers and some I've had the pleasure of meeting in person and shooting with.
Construction Girl / August 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm
As one of the people that gets called in by the police in the middle of the night when these people break into my construction site to climb my crane - I hate that this is being publicized. It is so ridiculously dangerous and the more the media glorifies and publicizes this....the worse it gets. It is irresponsible to encourage this illegal and dangerous behaviour.
crane topper replying to a comment from Construction Girl / August 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm
Damn kids!
Cheech / August 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm
user-pic --- Gets you lifted!
alan replying to a comment from Construction Girl / August 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm
I have to agree...what I don't understand perhaps is the lack of security on construction sites...
sQualie / August 26, 2014 at 01:17 pm
Although he's not on Instagram, BadPeter is definitely someone to follow in the Toronto scene. He's not afraid to go deep below Toronto's surface and has definitely had reached the highest heights this city has to offer.
you guys replying to a comment from Be Responsible / August 26, 2014 at 01:27 pm
what are you getting your panties in a knot for? most of these are photoshopped

old people today.
ken / August 26, 2014 at 01:40 pm
@myidentitydisorder instagram.
Sean / August 26, 2014 at 01:42 pm
BlogTO - STOP promoting illegal activity on your web page.
Freaktography replying to a comment from sQualie / August 26, 2014 at 01:54 pm
Agree, I was with him when he climbed that really high one and it was mind blowing that he was able to capture such quality shots from that high and with those winds!!!

His Flickr is here:

Jono / August 26, 2014 at 02:06 pm
Now that we've got the generic criticism / back-patting out of the way, why don't we explore (get it?) something more interesting. For instance, why is it for the most part males who do this kind of thing. There are some good academic papers out there on this subject...

Chad / August 26, 2014 at 02:37 pm
Really didn't include
Freddy F / August 26, 2014 at 03:01 pm
While they may take nice photos, this kind of trespassing and risk-taking should not be condoned nor publicized. It's unfortunately only a matter of time before someone falls off a tower crane they shouldn't be on while taking pictures.
Girls That Click / August 26, 2014 at 03:17 pm
Love the work of Gold Visual, but feel like there's always a lack of females being recognized.

Should have mentioned:

she's got over 38K followers and is super talented!

Also check out

We’re building a community and curating the work of female photographers, follow us @girlsthatclick and use #girlsthatclick to connect with other photographers
caley / August 26, 2014 at 04:39 pm
user-pic has some great shots from all over toronto rooftops and great pics from other adventures too!
roof_topper replying to a comment from Girls That Click / August 26, 2014 at 04:43 pm
"Love the work of Gold Visual, but feel like there's always a lack of females being recognized."


I'd also like to add maemask to that group, one of the most underrated in the community.
Water for Beer / August 26, 2014 at 04:45 pm
I investigated the death of Ryan Nyenhuis, who fell to his death at Hearn. This is a dangerous sport and should not be encouraged. These old structures are crumbling and are full of sharp metal, Asbestos and Lead.
Waterpoo Ontario / August 26, 2014 at 07:38 pm
Why would you post and promote such risky and dangerous activities on here? A pixelated face? You must be proud!
BadPeter / August 26, 2014 at 08:15 pm
I should get on Instagram too but adventure is more important than posting about it (although that is also important=)

Thanks sQualie and Freaktography!

Re all the negative comments, people relax, its all under control;)

Challenged / August 26, 2014 at 09:15 pm
Dumping a bucket of Ice Water over your head no matter what the cause is really irresponsible. There is a water shortage in the world, many charities are focused on getting clean drinking water to many parts of the world and here we are using electricity to freeze it, then just dumping it over our heads like its an endless resource. We must look like wasteful fools to many parts of the world that are dying for a glass of water.
Trish / August 26, 2014 at 09:50 pm
These clowns are all up for their 15 minutes of fame. I'm all for extreme activities but you jump the shark when your no longer doing it for yourself but to do it for an audience/following that you must please. Are web impressions, followers and likes so important to you that your willing to die for it?
Instagram on the TSX / August 26, 2014 at 09:57 pm
I prefer Canadian content. Instagram is not a Canadian site therefore its US owned content. Similar to Burger King buying Tim Hortons, its still kind of Canadian but American owned.
Michael Tang / August 26, 2014 at 10:19 pm
user-pic is another urban explorer to follow on Instagram
Jessplease / August 27, 2014 at 09:19 am
user-pic has a detailed glimpse of Toronto's doors. You can tell so much about a city just by something as common and overlooked as its doors. I love seeing them all together. When I focus on so many different small parts, it reveals things about the whole that I would otherwise miss. It should be called "Toronto by Induction" .
Jayscale / August 28, 2014 at 09:58 am
We know what we're doing. people who think we're doing this for fame are losers and are just mad they don't know the logistics of social media and how to build a network. I love photography and Im pretty sure all of the guys listed do too. So chill. Thanks for the feature blogto.
Remark replying to a comment from Jayscale / August 29, 2014 at 12:18 am
Couldn't have said it any better.
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Thomas huynh / September 7, 2014 at 10:44 am
Check out this guy its unique but definitely deserves more recognition, better with each shot IG: mishalelias
Emily / September 16, 2014 at 08:39 pm
Bruce / November 3, 2014 at 09:53 pm
They forgot Toronto_Tonto :(
Bruce replying to a comment from Jayscale / November 3, 2014 at 09:54 pm
Hi Jay!
Alfred / November 3, 2014 at 10:03 pm
Hey! How about @novniel??
He has some cool shots that looks like pictures on the wall
Kevin Churchill / November 3, 2014 at 10:27 pm
@doncharleone needs to be on this list!
Joshua M / November 3, 2014 at 11:06 pm

My buddy created #climbwithme and has been doing it proud.
jason / November 3, 2014 at 11:34 pm
I think the people posting about the legality and the promotion of it are missing the point. The people taking these photos are fully aware of the risk involved, which is why it becomes so exciting. Also its what makes the photos so unique, it presents a perspective that would otherwise never be seen. they take the risk so you dont have to, if they were to fall (fingers crossed no one does) they've already accepted that. If they take nothing but a picture and leave no damage, then who cares? (given they make it back down safely...obviously their families and friends would care if they didnt.)
Hoss replying to a comment from Jayscale / November 4, 2014 at 05:00 am
Jayscale, you mentioned that you're not doing this for fame in your comment above. I noticed in one of the captions from your IG post a while back (which funny enough you deleted), something along the lines of you bashing all the "ghosts" who aren't liking your photos. You we're clearly pissed that every single follower of yours weren't liking your photos. So you're comment above makes you look like a tit.
Charlie V. / November 4, 2014 at 11:18 am
how is @mr_jobeezy not on this list? Crazy!
Seek In Shadows / November 4, 2014 at 02:57 pm
There are many jobs and hobbies that are dangerous. If someone is doing them willingly, who are you to say it's it's wrong? People know the risks and judge the level of risk they are willing to take at each site. You don't understand the appeal? Fine. I don't understand the appeal of going around the net and criticizing everything you don't agree with or have an interest in. Different strokes.... However, there are many who love this kind of photography and fewer who are willing to do it themselves. And 15 minutes of fame? LOL Sharing your pics of things that others might enjoy is wanting 15 mins of fame? Question: How many selfies of yourself have you posted on your Facebook page. And how many websites are listing your selfies as something that should be followed and admired? Most of the time, no one outside of a select few truly know who these people are. Kind of a cheap fame. I can guarantee that no one gets into UrbEx for the fame of it, if you can even call it "fame".
vincent / November 4, 2014 at 03:54 pm
My boy Neil has to be in that list he deserves to be in it! Check his IG: Neil.nofuente
john / November 4, 2014 at 06:54 pm
another great one: (insta name: itsstefanbitch)
tommas / November 4, 2014 at 08:25 pm
This dude is amazing! Check him out for roof top pictures>>
IG: IStefanG
Jim j / November 4, 2014 at 08:27 pm
Amazing Instagramer for Rooftopping in toronto and Photos in General @iStefanG
Jim j / November 4, 2014 at 08:28 pm
Amazing Instagramer for Rooftopping in toronto and Photos in General @iStefanG
Michael Tang / November 5, 2014 at 07:22 pm
You guys missed a.perion
Cityscaping / November 6, 2014 at 03:18 pm
This guy does a lot of dope stuff too ->
Diana replying to a comment from roof_topper / April 16, 2015 at 12:00 am
it's so true!
Diana replying to a comment from roof_topper / April 16, 2015 at 12:00 am
it's so true!
Daniel / August 9, 2015 at 11:09 pm
Check out shes a upcoming graphic/lifestyle blogger living in Toronto. Pretty cool!
Heather / August 9, 2015 at 11:15 pm
@bora.vs.bora @urbanclassvisuals @streetsoftoftoronto @jazzy.vibes @justgoshoot
Tom / August 10, 2015 at 08:42 am
Great list - wasn't following some of these. While not necessarily always about urban exploration, @yourtoronto is another account that I love that showcases awesome shots from all over the city.
DeezNutso / August 11, 2015 at 12:49 am
Salutations to the OG's. The real daredevils. The passionate ones. The only thing about this list that needs to be updated is one user @4i6shots and the screenshots. Keep living life on the edge guys!! Awesome repost
Jay / March 5, 2016 at 11:41 pm
follow brxson on istagram he's got some great shots of Toronto
Other Cities: Montreal