This Ossington laneway is Toronto's other graffiti alley
The Ossington Laneway is one of Toronto's unsung graffiti strips.
Not nearly as frequented as the highly touristed Graffiti Alley on Queen West, or as celebrated as the painted pillars of Underpass Park, this 200-metre stretch is still one of the best embodiments of the decorated laneways that the city is known for.
This back alley runs parallel to its namesake street, sitting just west of Ossington and book-ended by Queen St. to the south and Humbert St. to the north.
There's no sign demarcating it, but you can you can access the Laneway through a few entry points, including its south entrance on Queen, right next to the shoe store Gravitypope, or its north entrance on Humbert just west of Greek restaurant Mamakas.
More than 20 local and international writers flooded this space for five days in the summer of 2012 to transform this dreary, dirty lane into an explosion of colour and design.
Like all other graffiti-driven urban projects, the project was multi-pronged. The local arts group Well and Good wanted to beautify the area, while also bringing attention to the potential use of graffiti as a community-building art form.
It wasn't easy getting permission: the organization needed the go ahead from the residents living on Brookfield Street—whose properties face the laneway—to graffiti their garages and back walls.
Some refused, but about 30 homeowners agreed to it: at the end of the day, planned graffiti murals were better than the vandalistic tags that would occasionally mar their property.
Today, the strip still remains relatively intact, though there's a share of toying that's reduced the beauty of some of these works. Chalk it up to the youth: the majority of foot traffic through this part of town are students from nearby Pope Francis and Old Orchard schools.
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