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 other. 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 numerous pieces of 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.

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                    The above murals are the work of Uber5000


              This sea world fantasy covers two sides of a building.


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

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                   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: .

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)


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