Sanctioned Graffiti

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Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa is a pretty straight-laced kind of city. I’ve been here many times for weekend getaways, the tulip festival is beautiful and the Blues Festival is a lot of fun.

But things don’t get too crazy here and the city shuts down quite early.


Ottawa Chinatown

While in Chinatown I saw this street art and besides wondering wtf is a horse, fish, geriatric turtle and t-rex doing together? I also wondered if conservative Ottawa was home to any street art given there were so many art galleries here?


The answer is yes and no.

In general street art is illegal except for sanctioned projects, one of them being the Tech Wall located on school board property just a few blocks outside the downtown core.

It’s an old fenced in basketball country that seemed to be popular with dog owners.


Ottawa graffiti

Ottawa street art

ottawa art

Ottawa Tech Wall

ottawa graffiti

ottawa street art

There is a sign indicating graffiti is legal here, as long as it’s painted in the daylight.

There are some really beautiful pieces that makes me wonder why they don’t have more organized projects because there is clearly some talent in the city.



Join the Conversation

  1. I must say that I love to take pictures of creative graffiti and I think it would be very sad if we didn’t have that form of art in our cities. But you are right, some of it…. not necessary. Let the true artists shine.

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    I’m a huge fan of street art, especially near parks! Just got back from BA and I was loving all of the new street art there. Great shots!

  3. Oh I love it. Street art is so great.

  4. That’s cool that there are special areas where street art is sanctioned and encouraged! Definitely adds character to the neighborhood.

  5. wow! the colors are so stunning!!! It’s sad that i hardly even notice the graffiti art in LA now. This inspires me to go looking for it again…

  6. Cathy Sweeney says:

    I’m a fan of street art and always happy to come across it when I travel. I often wonder too why some places don’t have more projects for sanctioned street art in places that could clearly benefit with the makeover.

  7. Marisol@TravelingSolemates says:

    Truly amazing arts! I like sanctioned graffitis. I saw similar ones in Melbourne and they made the rather dull and boring streets so much more pleasant and interesting. Your photography is gorgeous.

  8. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) says:

    Did you ever figure out the relationship between the geriatric turle, t-rex, etc?

  9. Jessica of HolaYessica says:

    These are really stunning! I love street art, it really brightens up a city. My college actually had something really similar- a dedicated graffiti wall. It was so cool watching it develop and evolve.

  10. Travel Wired says:

    Sanctioned or not, this stuff is stunning! Love it!!

  11. Brandon Elijah Scott says:

    Love it! I love street art, it’s a passion of mine.

  12. I love street art so much. <3

  13. Ok…I am embarrassed now…live in Ottawa and have not yet seen the street art! Love the street art that has ballooned in other towns…mission for the weekend. In search of art.

  14. I like street art. Thanks for the post.

  15. Jay Johnston says:

    Sadly, the answer is simple. Canada is scared of black culture, racist to a fault. If white kids were drawing rock n roll pictures it would NOT be a problem. 85% of Canadians like graff, but the 15% that don’t are the old whites in police cars and judges smocks……

  16. I’m a recording artist here in Ottawa and interested in using a photo of yours as an album cover. Please get back to me so we can arrange something. Thank you.

  17. R. Mark Desjardins says:

    I’ve been documenting murals/street art/graffiti up and down the west coast of the U.S. and Canada for 15 years and just now making my way to Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal. Urban self expression is important and I am always fascinated by how each city sprouts a distinctive style and energy. Looking forward to trolling the streets and back alleys of Ottawa during my swing through Eastern Canada this June, 2014!

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