butterflyway lane toronto

Toronto artists just filled an entire alley with butterflies

Dozens of street artists set out this weekend to transform a humble laneway into a beautiful, nature-friendly tribute worthy of David Suzuki himself. And they succeeded.

Check out the newly-painted Butterflyway Lane near Felstead Park in Leslieville: an art installation organized by mural artist Nick Sweetman and sponsored by the David Suzuki Foundation in honour of National Pollinator Week.

The now very bright alley was beautified over the weekend by more than 20 of Toronto's most-talented artists to bring awareness to a loss of habitat for butterflies.

It's all part of a much larger, citizen-led movement called The Great Canadian Butterflyway Project.

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"There are a million issues that we need to address as a society and probably butterfly habitat is not, for most people, at the top of the list of priorities," says Sweetman, who personally went door-to-door getting permission from every owner of the properties painted.

"However, as artists, we are always looking for ways, big and small, that we can make a contribution to a good cause," he continues. 

"If a few children see these walls and feel joy and wonder at flowers and butterflies, that can inspire, and if enough people feel that way, eventually that is how you affect real change."

Launched by the Suzuki foundation in 2017, the Butterflyway initiative involves creating neighbourhood-scale corridors of landing spaces for butterflies, bees, and other important pollinators, "one butterfly-friendly planting at a time."

The idea is to create a network of habitats across Canada.

Last year alone, thousands of wildflowers were planted in hundreds of pollinator patches across Toronto, Montreal, Markham, Victoria and Richmond, B.C. as part of the project.

Volunteers have now established official, formally-recognized butterflyways (butterfly highways!) in all five cities, and plenty more are in the works.

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If you like butterflies, street art, nature, conservation, Instagram or just looking at cool things with your eyes, you'll want to visit this installation.

Plant some wildflowers, while you're at it. You can find more information about how to do so right here.

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