mosaic sidewalks toronto

Someone is patching busted up Toronto sidewalks with gorgeous mosaics

Toronto's crumbling public infrastructure is getting some much-needed love, with one midtown artist taking it upon herself to patch up the cracks, chips, and potholes in our sidewalks and curbs, with a very colourful twist.

Mosaic artist Mehtap Mertdogan, who runs At Origin Coffee at 687 Mt Pleasant with her husband Cuneyt, is the artist behind these little guerilla installations, known as the Fill in the Blanks project.

Mertdogan's colourful art is a defining element of the Turkish coffee spot, known for its charming mosaic-topped tables. Repairing broken sidewalks on Mt Pleasant with smaller mosaic pieces, Mertdogan has created sort of a breadcrumb trail leading back to the larger works within the cafe.

After having hosted regular mosaic workshops before the pandemic, Mertdogan had to stop during lockdowns, leaving a bit of a creative void.

"This winter, [I noticed] there were holes in the sidewalk and I just wanted to fill them," Mertdogan tells blogTO.

She answered this problem with custom-fitted creations that are making people stop dead in their tracks for a double-take to soak in these vibrant fixes.

"When I saw how happy it was making people, I continued [filling in gaps] on our block," said Mertdogan.

With colder weather approaching, Mertdogan is trying to stay ahead of any potential slipping hazards caused by the smooth-tiled creations.

"For winter, I don't know how [the mosaics] will handle ice and snow, so I'm taking care and putting some sprays over it," hoping to add some grip to the mini-installations.

"I just want to create enjoyable spaces in our neighbourhood," said Mertdogan.

It's a much different approach than some other guerilla "artists" who have spraypainted dicks around potholes to force the hands of municipal governments.

Some of these "installations" have earned their artists amazing titles like "the New Zealand pothole penis vigilante," or in the case of a Manchester, UK artist, "Wanksy."

Lead photo by

Mehtap Mertdogan

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