New street art in Toronto honours the Great Lakes and reggae greats

Street art festival A Love Letter to the Great Lakes gathered 20 renowned artists to paint vast murals across some of Toronto’s best-loved neighbourhoods. The stunning works of art that now decorate walls along the Ossington strip, Queen and Spadina and around the Lower Don are designed to highlight some of the most critical environmental threats facing the Great Lakes, one of Canada and the United States’ most precious natural resources.

A Love Letter to the Great Lakes worked with local and international artists to help give a voice to the Great Lakes, advocating for environmental issues through their art and, in the process, helping to beautify our streets and galvanize our communities.

The Great Lakes are the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world — their total surface area is nearly the same size as the United Kingdom. They are fundamental to the well-being of many North Americans and are home to a rich variety of plants and animals. The Great Lakes also provide the foundation for billions of dollars in economic activity and are a direct source of drinking water for over 40 million people.

But the sustainability of the Great Lakes ecology is threatened as the ecosystem experiences ongoing physical, biological and chemical stresses.

“For us it was about protecting what we love,” said Jacquelyn West, strategic partnerships and HQ programming with Hermann & Audrey media group, one of the project’s organizing partners. “We want to grow old in a city where we can swim, drink the water and fish freely. We wanted to give the lakes a voice.” To find out more about where the murals are located and what they stand for, visit

In addition, on July 16 another mural was revealed in Reggae Lane celebrating the origins of Toronto’s reggae music scene thanks to the work of The Laneway Project and York-Eglinton BIA.

“By continuing to celebrate Reggae Lane, we are bringing a positive light to Eglinton Avenue West and preserving an essential part of Toronto’s music history,” said local councillor Josh Colle.

Reggae Lane runs east from Oakwood Avenue behind the buildings on the south side of Eglinton Avenue.

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