banksy toronto

Toronto gets a permanent Banksy

Famed street artist Banksy paid Toronto a visit almost seven years ago, leaving behind a variety of pieces that came under siege almost as quickly as they went up. Of the seven original works, only one remains in its original location for curious fans to hunt down.

While most were painted over or tagged, a sheet of Plexiglass continues to protect the small stencil near Church and Esplanade.

Another one of these pieces has not been seen in quite some time. Banksy initially painted "Guard with Balloon Dog" at 90 Harbour St., but the building was subsequently demolished in 2011.

Menkes, the developer of the site, preserved the Banksy during demolition with plans to reinstall it at some point in the future, though at the time it was unclear where it would eventually get a second life.

Now we know. The stencil, and the original limestone slab on which it was painted, have now been installed in the PATH connection beside One York Street, part of the sprawling mixed use Menkes development that includes the Harbour Plaza condo towers.

This is anything but how it was originally imagined; it's now serving as a virtual museum piece in a controlled environment when it was once graffiti on an Ontario Provincial Police building. But its new life is in keeping with the idea that once Banksy leaves a stencil, its future is entirely out of his hands.

At least now people will be able to locate the piece and judge it — context and all — for themselves.

Lead photo by

Martin Reis


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