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Vandalist: Street Art to Stop Graffiti

The Kenwood Lane art initiative.

BY: Elly Dowson and Christine Liber
LOCATION: The laneway between Kenwood Avenue and Wychwood Avenue, near St. Clair and Bathurst.
PHOTOS BY: Christine Liber
FIELD NOTES: While we at Torontoist appreciate all the quirks of the urban canvas that bring our city to life, we understand not all graffiti is to everyone’s tastes. When Elly Dowson and Christine Liber got tired of the tags that adorned their local laneway, they took matters into their own hands. Instead of complaining about disrespectful hooligans or the ridiculous fines property owners face when they are the victims of vandalism, they decided to make their own art. After all, taggers and graffiti artists are a lot less likely to hit a mural than a blank canvas of a wall. Painting 21 murals on 21 garage doors in 21 days, they transformed an under-appreciated space into a public gallery and brought a new sense of pride and community to their neighbourhood. Now that spring is here, they’re at it again, expanding the initiative into other laneways around their community.

This is a lesson to all property owners: if you don’t like the graffiti on your property or the threat of fines that comes along with it, why give in to the cycle of vandalism? Put your own art up, on your terms, even if it involves commissioning local artists. Because, hey, if you’re going to have to shell out anyhow (paint store plus your time, or a fine to the government), you may as well be paying to beautify your area, turning a point of frustration into a point of pride.

For more, here is a slideshow of all 21 garage doors.

Once a week, Vandalist features some of the most interesting street art and graffiti from around Toronto. Find something great? Email


  • Miroslav Glavic

    Did Elly and Christine ask permission from the garage door owners/property owners? if no, then they are no different than the graffitti artists.

    For the record I prefer the second one, imagine staring at it in the alley while drunk? rofl

    • Anonymous

      If they don’t like it they can restore it to a blank canvas for taggers.

    • KLA

      Yes, permission was granted by all property owners.

  • jaydod

    Yes, they did get permission from the garage owners, also the local paint store contributed paint.

    • KLA

      Just wanted to thank Maple Paints on St. Clair Ave West – they donated all of the paint for this initiative, and they’re great members of the St. Clair West community.

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