The alleys where Rick Mercer films his “rants.”

29 Nov


       Alley that runs north from Richmond toward Queen Street West.

The laneway pictured in the above photo extends north from Richmond Street, west of Portland. It seems to be one of the favourites of Rick Mercer when he films his “rants” and rages in his inimitable style about some issue or another. His biting words are outrageously funny but also contain a great deal of truth. Another alley he frequently employs runs parallel with Queen Street West, extending from Portland to Bathurst Street. It is known as Graffiti Alley.

Rick Mercer personally writes the material for the “rants” and walks past the graffiti in the laneways as he talks. You may recognize some of the graphics below. Most of them were created by Uber5000, one of the most prolific graffiti artists in the city. He came to Toronto from Nova Scotia and has painted numerous pieces of colourful art on the walls in Graffiti Alley and the surrounding laneways, as well as in the Kensington Market. I have also seen his work on Queen Street West and on Spadina, commissioned by the owners of the shops.

Many tourist groups and Torontonians from throughout the city are often seen in the alleyways near Queen and Bathurst/Spadina. Most of them are avidly taking photos and videos of the art work. You may recognize some of the artwork below from the Rick Mercer Show.


              The yellow bird frequently appears in Uber500’s graffiti murals.

DSCN8154    DSCN8085

                    The above murals are the work of Uber5000


This sea world fantasy covers the complete east and north facades of a building in the laneway.


          The north wall of the building with the sea world fantasy.


                                    Creating the sea world fantasy.


              An artist at work on a brick wall in McDougall Lane.


                    The mural in McDougall Lane when completed


            Toronto is fortunate to have so many talented graffiti artists.

To view others posts about the Toronto graffiti scene:

New graffiti art in McDougall Lane

The graffiti-decorated “hug-me-tree” on Queen Street West.

Graffiti in a laneway amid the colours of autumn

A mural in the Kensington Market, with tongue-in-cheek humour:

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view previous blogs about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  


   To place an order for this book: .

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016, entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” 

“Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press, explores 75 of the city’s heritage buildings. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016. 


Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers

%d bloggers like this: