Graffiti Management

Graffiti Plan

City staff will remove graffiti vandalism on City-owned buildings, overpasses, bridges and public parks. Staff will strive to remove any hate or gang-related graffiti within a 24-hour period. Municipal Licensing and Standards Division staff will respond to graffiti vandalism complaints and take appropriate action in accordance with the new by-law.

If you find graffiti vandalism on your property, or receive a notice, it is your responsibility to clean it up. You can either do it yourself or you can hire someone to do it for you. You may also commission an artist to create a mural or graffiti art on your property and apply for an exemption.

Toronto Police Services is a key partner and has developed a Graffiti Management Program to integrate and reflect the principles of the Ontario Mobilization and Engagement Model on Community Policing. The Toronto Police program incorporates five elements. They are enforcement, intelligence gathering/management, community partnership/engagement, education and restorative justice-diversion.

Reporting Graffiti Vandalism

  • If you are witnessing graffiti vandalism in progress, please call 911.
  • To report hate or gang-related graffiti, call Toronto Police Services at 416-808-2222.
  • If you see Graffiti on City or private property call 311 or report it online. You can report anonymously if you wish.
  • If you have information regarding graffiti vandalism, please call Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.

New Graffiti By-Law

City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 485, Graffiti, has been amended to reflect the new Graffiti Management Plan and to include exemptions for Graffiti art which is a legal and acceptable form of street art and is differentiated from "tagging" which is generally characterized by writing and with the act of vandalism.

Graffiti Art is defined 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

Graffiti Vandalism is defined as any deliberate markings made or affixed on property that is not currently exempted or regularized by the Graffiti Panel, Executive Director or Council and: was made or affixed without permission of the owner; is considered to be a tag; for which there are reasonable grounds to believe that it may incite hatred or violence against any person or identifiable group; or contains profane vulgar or offensive language.

Graffiti Vandalism is a community concern – Get Involved!

Everyone can do their part in keeping both public and private properties free of graffiti vandalism. Help the City of Toronto and its communities stay clean and beautiful. Eliminating graffiti from walls, fences and other structures are prime ways to maintain community cleanliness and beauty.

Negative Effects of Graffiti Vandalism:

  • Poses a risk to the health, safety and welfare of a community.
  • Promotes a perception in the community that laws protecting public and private property can be disregarded with impunity.
  • Fosters a sense of disrespect for private property that may result in increasing crime, community degradation and urban blight.
  • Creates a nuisance that can adversely affect property values, business opportunities and the enjoyment of community life.

City staff work closely with property owners, community groups and local BIAs to coordinate community efforts that effectively deal with graffiti vandalism.

  • Whenever possible, City staff encourage and support the formation of community-based groups, such as "adopt an area", and coordinating community-organized paint-outs and other graffiti abatement initiatives.
  • Murals and Graffiti art are an effective means of deterring graffiti from appearing on structures. StreetARToronto is a new partnership program with an overall mission to counteract graffiti vandalism by developing, supporting, promoting and increasing awareness of street art and its indispensable role to add beauty and character to neighbourhoods across the city.

Reporting graffiti vandalism

Keeping Toronto graffiti free is a top priority for the City of Toronto. All Toronto residents can help keep Toronto clean. If you see graffiti vandalism, please take the time to report it. Call 311 or report it online.