StreetARToronto

Street Art Toronto logo

StreetARToronto, or StART, is a pro-active program that aims to develop, support, promote, and increase awareness of street art and its indispensable role in adding beauty and character to neighbourhoods across Toronto, while counteracting graffiti vandalism and its harmful effect on communities.

What is Street Art?

Street art is visual art specifically developed for public spaces and assets, such as walls, pathways, and street furniture and infrastructure. Street art includes traditional graffiti artwork, street poster art, video projection, and murals (painted, photographic, or mosaic). Over the past few decades, street art has become a global phenomenon as cities around the world recognize the enormous cultural and socioeconomic potential value of harnessing this artistic energy and providing an alternative to unwanted graffiti vandalism. In Toronto, many of our murals and graffiti art have become must-see destinations. 

For the purposes of the StART program, "Street Art" can include traditional graffiti artwork, murals, and stencil graffiti. Graffiti art is a legal and acceptable form of street art and is differentiated from "tagging" which is generally characterized by writing and an act of vandalism. The City of Toronto defines Graffiti Art as "markings made or affixed to properties that are approved by the property owner or occupant, where the markings aesthetically enhance the surface they cover and the general surroundings, having regard to the community character and standards." Click here to download the by-law (PDF).

About Toronto's StreetARToronto (StART) Program

The City of Toronto's StART program was launched in 2012 as a central feature of Council's new Graffiti Management Plan. The plan encompasses a pro-active approach to eliminating graffiti vandalism, while adding vibrancy and visual interest to our streets. 

We believe that by harnessing the artistic energy and talent of Toronto's creative community we can:

  • Build a visually rich and exciting environment and revitalize public spaces
  • Use street art and the design process as a tool for community engagement while reducing graffiti vandalism
  • Use street art as an opportunity to illustrate and celebrate Toronto's diverse cultural character 
  • Open new avenues of dialogue about legally sanctioned art
  • Promote awareness of the social and economic values of street art
  • Play a key role in attracting creative businesses and workers
  • Develop long-term, sustainable collaborations with organizations, artists, and communities interested in using murals as a place-making tool 
  • Nurture the talent of artists and local arts organizations  
  • Provide art opportunities that are freely accessible to all
  • Encourage the growth of a culturally informed public

 

For more information on the City's Graffiti Management Plan, visit toronto.ca/graffiti.

StART is administered by the Public Realm Section of the Transportation Services Division at the City of Toronto.

 
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT StART, PLEASE DIRECT INQUIRIES TO streetart@toronto.ca.

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The Public Realm Section of the Transportation Services Division strives to perform its duties at the highest levels at all times. If you have a complaint about an aspect of our division, there is a process for complaints that you can follow to have your concern addressed. All complaints are reviewed by management and will be promptly addressed in an effort to resolve your concern as quickly as possible. We also welcome any compliments or kudos you may have.

Making a complaint or compliment

Complaints/compliments may be made verbally (in person or by telephone) or in writing (by mail or e-mail). With a complaint, we recommend you speak directly to the staff member responsible for the program in question. Most complaints are received this way and can often be resolved quickly.

If you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been managed, you can submit your complaint directly to Elyse Parker, the Director of the Public Realm Section. The Director can be reached at:

By e-mail:

Director Public Realm
eparker@toronto.ca
Subject line: PUBLIC REALM COMPLAINT / COMPLIMENT

By Telephone: 

(416) 338-2432

By mail:

ATTN: DIRECTOR of the Public Realm Section: COMPLAINT / COMPLIMENT
Public Realm Section
City Hall, 100 Queen Street West
17th Floor, East Tower
Toronto, ON
M5H 2N2

We recommend that you direct your complaint or compliment to the relevant program area.

Alternatively, you can make a complaint or compliment:

TTY:

416-398-0889 (311 general enquiries line)

Office of the Ombudsman: City of Toronto

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can present your compliant and concerns to the City of Toronto's Office of the Ombudsman. Visit their secure and independent website for more information.

Alternatively, you can contact the Office of the Ombudsman:

  • By telephone: 416-392-7062
  • By e-mail: ombuds@toronto.ca
  • In person: 112 Elizabeth Street
  • TTY: 416-392-7100

Who reviews complaints?

All complaints, including those resolved by program staff, are reviewed by the Director and other management staff. Your complaint will be treated as confidential to protect your privacy; however, you should be aware that when a complaint is investigated, you may be indirectly identified. If you do not wish to be identified, you may submit an anonymous complaint.