Banksy

Here are two places to see work from iconic artist Banksy in Toronto for free

Torontonians recently took to Reddit to discuss their favourite Banksy artwork in the city, with one Redditor highlighting the famous ‘Guard with Balloon Dog’ installation in the PATH, next to One York Street north of Harbour Street.

“If you ever want to admire a Banksy on your next dollar store trip, ‘One york st’ could be your destination. It is on second floor beside the escalators,” the Redditor noted.

The artwork—created by the anonymous British street graffiti artist renowned for his political messages and public placements—portrays a man dressed in a police uniform, holding the leash of a muzzled, pink balloon dog. This was one of several pieces that Banksy drew on Toronto buildings during a 2010 tour of his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.

This particular artwork has been in storage since late 2014, when Menkes Development, Ltd., decided to restore the piece and put it back on display in a new public viewing space. The salvaged artwork has been displayed in the PATH since 2017.

The reinstatement of the Banksy artwork, its reinstallation, and the creation and placement of Speculum are integral components of a $2,000,000 public art initiative incorporated by Menkes into the Harbour Plaza / One York project.

“This Banksy piece represents an exciting contribution to the public art landscape in Toronto and we wanted to reintroduce it to the public in a manner that was respectful to its origins,” said Jared Menkes, when it was unveiled years ago. 

Watch the video below to see the artwork being restored prior to its unveiling at One York St.

The second Banksy’s piece that could be found in the city is displayed in an alleyway near the Esplanade and Church on the back of Goose Island Brewhouse. It sits behind a protective glass and frame to prevent vandalism and theft.

Last summer, Torontonians experienced the world’s largest Banksy exhibit, BANKSYLAND, where they got to check out over 80 different pieces and installations, including some that have been salvaged from the street, some that have never been seen before, as well as popular pieces, like Girl With Balloon and Love Is In The Air.

The Toronto stop was part of a 22-city international touring exhibition. There’s no word on if this exhibit will return to the city, but considering how fast tickets sold out last year and the super long lineups, the interest is certainly there.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO