When you view the city as a canvas, beautiful things start to happen.
Hamilton’s street art scene continues to grow and inspire, offering a window into the city’s character and many stories.
Create your own self-guided tour for a street-level gallery experience with our neighbourhood guides to just some of the murals to look for in the city.
We’ve also checked in with some of the artists for their take on the city’s street art scene.
Donut Monster Mural
You’ll find one of the largest murals on the street at the corner of Charlton Avenue and Locke Street outside the insanely popular Donut Monster. The talented Hamilton-based artist of Vermillion Sands who hand-painted this vibrant piece have had their work featured in National Geographic and Oprah Magazine among many. This vibrant and whimsical design includes donuts, monsters, dinosaurs, a dragon and other characters straight from a fairytale. The little ducks on the bottom right corner represent the Vanderkwaak family, who own the shop.
Woman with Flowers
Where: 24 Hess Street South
Artist: Megan Oldhues
Part of 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival, this expansive mural is a reminder that beauty can emerge in the most unexpected places. Toronto based artist, Megan Oldhues, use of rich earth tones make the piece feel like it has lived forever among the historic red-brick buildings of Hess Street. As you get closer, you begin to see the detail behind every brushstroke that brings this young woman to life.
Where: 26 Hess St. S.
Artist: Alexander Bacon
Alexander Bacon is a world-renowned graffiti artist who’s best known for his colourful aerosol pieces. He visited Hamilton to create this detailed hand and butterfly piece during the Concrete Canvas Festival in 2019 (founded by multi discipline local artist Leon Robinson and curated by artist Scott McDonald). Bacon often features animals in his art to raise awareness of endangered species.
Hess Street Raven
This striking piece featuring a huge raven, turtle and other earth elements was a collaboration between Mique Michelle and Kalkidan Assefa during the 2019 Concrete Canvas Festival which welcomed local and visiting muralists to “elevate the visual landscape of the city while simultaneously inspiring a new generation of artists.”
Where: 12 York Blvd (York Street Parkade Wall)
Artist: Scott McDonald
Tap into your inner artist with Scott McDonald's latest mural, the Falcon. The mixed-reality piece, and first of its kind to be featured at Concrete Canvas, invites the community to get involved in creating this showpiece on York Street. Scan a QR code, snap a photo, and colour the Falcon blue, green, pink, or purple. The paint-brush is at your fingertips.
Where: 21 Rebecca Street
Artist: Alexander Bacon
Created for the 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival by Toronto based artist, Bacon, this striking mural will stop you in your tracks. Light hues of green, purple, pink, and orange surround the face of a strong woman, who is meant to represent a new Mother Earth. The contrast of soft natural elements and sharp robotic edges symbolize the harmony that can exist between nature and technology. You can also watch Mother Nature come to life with a quick tap of a QR code.
Where: 108 James St. N. (James North and Wilson Street)
Artist: Scott McDonald
Prolific local artist Scott McDonald has brought one of the city’s first VR murals to life at the site of the old Tivoli Theatre on James Street North. When visiting, scan the QR code to watch a skateboarding animation of American skateboarder Rodney Mullen come to life through your phone.
Where: 233 Queen St. S. (Queen and Charlton)
Artist: Robyn Lightwalker
It’s hard to miss this vibrant piece on the corner of Queen Street South and Charlton Avenue, created by local artist Robyn Lightwalker. Bold strokes of pink, purple, and teal draw the eye to the central focus of the mural, a young child joyfully interacting with the natural world around them. Bringing to life the concept that animals, humans, and nature can co-exist within the urban landscape of the city.
The Last Meal
Where: 10 Cannon Street East
Using art to connect the worldwide communities he is part of, artist Monk.e takes a photo on each of his travels and paints that place in the next city he visits. Featuring a woman who cooked his last meal while in Uganda, this slice of Monk.e's life will now live on in Hamilton. Part of the 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival, this stunning piece is an example of the power that art has to tell stories and connect people.
Where: 1 West, on King St. E.
Artists: Lester and Norman Coloma
After doing research into the history of the building, brothers Lester and Norman Coloma, wanted to honour the family owned and operated furniture manufacturer that once occupied this space. They painted labourers working hard to “lift a hammer”, symbolizing the grit and determination of Hamiltonians.
“It’s quite exciting to see the diversity of artists and how the city has made accommodations to help nurture the production of art and murals in a public forum. I’m grateful to the community for letting me be a part of this ever growing street art scene in Hamilton.” – Lester Coloma
Catch of The Day
Where: Behind 37 King William St.
This giant, bold design is actually easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Find it on Hughson Street behind The French restaurant at King William Street. It was commissioned by Collective Arts Brewing who invited the famed artist WERC to visit Hamilton to create this piece he describes as capturing his creative process.
Where: 75-77 Hunter St. E.
Artist: Scott Martin / Burnt Toast Creative
Burnt Toast Creative’s signature doodle pieces can be found across Hamilton and around the world. Scott Martin is the talented artist behind these colourful works and has done illustrations for brands like Dropbox, Facebook and Samsung. This popular piece featuring marshmallow clouds and a cartoon figure sitting on a hand was Martin’s contribution to the 2019 Concrete Canvas Festival.
Where: 118 James St. N.
Artist: Melissa General
Nitewaké:non or ‘the place where I come from’ explores artist Melissa General’s relationship to her home Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. The artwork is part of Supercrawl’s 2021 Visual & Public Art programming and is sponsored by McMaster Museum of Art. Look for new artworks in this space annually.
Where: 200 Caroline St. N.
Artist: Clear Eyes Collective (Darian Poisson, Adam Bates, Josh Kellet)
It’s hard to miss Hamilton’s north-end music venue and event space Bridgeworks thanks to the huge, colourful mural splashed across its outside wall. The building-sized artwork was inspired by the live music perform inside, according to the trio of artists behind “Clear Eyes Collective” who credit music as a common theme and inspiration for their art.
We wanted the exterior of the building to visually reflect the essence of the performances that take place there. While the inside of the building maintains Hamilton’s industrial charm, we wanted the outside to be easily identified as a place of the arts, and stand out as a landmark in the area. – Clear Eyes Collective
Hamilton is home to one of only two airworthy Lancaster bombers left in the world. And the only one you can purchase a flight on via the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. For those who can't splurge on a flight, there's still lots of ways to marvel at this famous WWII plane with local flyovers, grounded at the museum and now – thanks to local artist Scott McDonald – on this incredible mural near Barton and Queen Streets.
When local graffiti artist Scott McDonald created this tribute to front line health workers in the early days of the pandemic, he captured the emotion and gratitude we are all feeling. The mural was a collaboration with photographer Steve Haining and designer Scott Martin and has struck a deep chord in a city that is home to nine hospitals and hundreds of health centres.
Traffic Box Wraps
Photographer: Jocelyn Reynolds
Sometimes, the smallest things can make a big impact. As you explore the downtown, look out for brightly wrapped electric and traffic boxes, each designed by a local artist and chosen through the City of Hamilton’s Public Art Process. Find them all using this map.
Barton Street Murals
Life of the Party
Where: 92 Barton Street East
This playful creation will keep you smiling as you stroll down the block. Bold greens, blues, purples, and yellows make the larger than life personalities featured in the mural pop right off the building. Light-hearted, fun, and full of energy, the "stay golden" vibe is sure to stick with you long after seeing the piece. Scan the QR code and watch these party-animals do their thing.
St. Matthews House Mural
Where: 414 Barton Street East
Artist: Clear Eyes Collective
Local artist team, Clear Eyes Collective, are known for their vibrant and bold style that takes ordinary spaces and ifuses them with colourful magic. The team’s addition to the 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival didn’t disappoint. With the goal to use their art as a way to uplift the community, the blues, pinks, yellows, and greens in this building sized mural don't disappoint. Look a bit closer and you'll begin to see the images that weave their way through the entire piece.
Where: 907 Barton Street East
Artist: Michael Byers
The 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival saw a number of mixed media pieces added throughout the city. This Barton Street beauty comes to life with the quick snap of a QR code. In his debut mural with spray paint, artist Michael Bryer filled the wall with nods to Hamilton in this animated piece. Watch as the vibrant pinks, purples and blues flow from the boombox and dance around the mural. You might just want to groove along with it!
North End Murals
Wall Project at Collective Arts
Where: 207 Burlington St. E, Collective Arts Brewing
Artists (some): Bruno Smoky, Peru143, Shalak Attack, Chris Dyer, Jordan Warmington, The Weird Crew (Vidam the Weird, Cone the Weird, Rookie the Weird), Werc, Ola Volo, Viszla Bacon, Ryan Mosher
Follow (some): @brunosmoky, @peru143, @Shalakattack, @jordan_war, @w3rc, @olavolo, @viszla_bacon
It’s no surprise this North End brewery which showcases the work of artists on their cans and bottle labels, is also home to some of the best and biggest murals in the city. In the summer of 2017, five local and international artists spend four weeks painting a large wall on site.
In 2019, the Wall Project grew even larger with more on-site art-making during the brewery’s now annual Collective Arts Festival, most notably a striking purple, pink and blue toned creature by Brooklyn based WERC.
The Electric City
Where: 400 Wellington St. N.
Artist: Lester Coloma
Local muralist Lester Coloma was commissioned to paint this portrait to highlight Hamilton’s claim to fame as “The Electric City”. In the late 1890s, Nikola Tesla helped establish a hydroelectric power plant in the city. With reliable and affordable power now available, Hamilton became an attractive manufacturing destination and “The Steel City” was born.
Ottawa Street Murals
Ottawa Street ORCA
Where: 189 Ottawa St. N.
Artist: Kyle Joedicke
Hamilton artist Kyle Joedicke explored his Indigenous heritage in this mural painted with the word “Ottawa” above an Orca, which symbolizes the strength of family. It was designed in the Haida style, the Indigenous people who traditionally occupied British Columbia and is dedicated to Joedicke’s grandmother. Find it on the wall of MERK Snack Bar overlooking their alley patio.
“The Hamilton art scene is constantly evolving. It’s not restricted to a gallery environment. It’s something that can be experienced anywhere in the city. Whether it’s a mural in your favourite bar, an independent artist set up for Art Crawl, or just the graffiti in the streets.” – Kyle Joedicke
Caro Restaurant Mural
Where: 4 Ottawa St N
Artist: Gordon Leverton
Popular Hamilton painter Gordon Leverton lends his signature style - focused on shadows, buildings, and skyline - to this gorgeous mural inspired by the landscape of Acores, Portugal. Find this slice of Mediterranean inspiration outside of Caro Restaurant, who commissioned the piece, on Ottawa Street North, at Main Street East.
Meet local muralists and learn about the stories behind their art during regularly scheduled mural tours around the city.
Keddy Access Trail Public Art Project & Legal Wall
Where: Keddy Access Trail
Artists: Dan Bergeon & Gabriel Spector, Clear Eyes Collective, Janet MacPherson, Kayla Whitney, Nereo Zorro, Sowl
Follow: @iamfauxreel, @cleareyescollective, @janetmacpherson, @koe.design, @scenereo
The Keddy Access Trail never looked so good! As part of a Public Street Art Project, supported by the City of Hamilton, six artist and artist teams were selected to bring colour to the barriers and columns on the public trail. Concrete Canvas also left their mark on the Keddy, with the newest legal wall in the city. In addition to showcasing vibrant new works by established artists, the legal wall lets mentors with decades of experience, take emerging artists under their wing and share traditions, skills, and wisdom.
Whether you're biking, walking, or driving by, the vibrant blues, greens, yellows, pinks, and purples in the murals are going to make you want to stop and explore them all.
Hamilton Mountain Murals
Where: 828 Fennell Ave
Artist: Kyle Joedicke
Check out the latest Concrete Canvas Festival addition from local artist, Kyle Joedicke. Stretching over one-hundred feet long, this mural draws you in with vibrant colours and bold imagery. Infusing Indigeous art into the Hamilton community, Joedicke brings teachings and traditions to life through his murals. As your eyes move through the bright blues, purples, and oranges, you can't help but feel there is a story being told in every corner of the piece.
Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings
Where: 576 Concession St
Artist: Kyle Joedicke
The sprawling and vividly colourful Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings features seven animals that reflect the oral history and traditions passed down by Indigenous elders from the artist Kyle Joedicke’s Haudenosaunee culture. Find it just off bustling Concession Street across the street from the public library.
Ray of Sunshine Mural
Where: 533 Concession St
Artist: Tim Nijenhuis
On the edge of the Hamilton escarpment, you’ll find an explosion of yellow, blue and green wrapped around this building at the corner of Concession and Summit that brightens up the entire neighbourhood. Completed in 2020, this mural uses artist Tim Nijenhuis’ signature “trick of the eye” style with each window lined with a ray of sunshine.
Black Lives Matter Mural
A huge mural in support of the Black Lives Matter movement was completed in 2020. Organized by @multitaskii, a group of artists adorned the wall of the Mountain Lanes building with a striking image of Breonna Taylor, a portrait of the late civil rights activist and politician John Lewis and a representation of a sit-in at a cafe. Along the wall, there’s also an image of a little girl reading a book, among other symbolic images.
“Both artists (Nick and Elicser) wanted to go beyond just acknowledging and memorializing the fallen. [They] wanted to make people think about the roots of this movement and be confronted with something that is not merely pretty but which talks about the difficult realities people of colour have faced and continue to face.”
By Liz Enriquez
Liz Enriquez is an entrepreneur and lover of Hamilton (owner of @ambitiousadulting and @so_hamont). She enjoys exploring cities around the world and has led mural tours and community events in Hamilton with her friends @koe.design @myhappycity_ and @empathic.punk.
More on Hamilton Street Art
- Every One Rides: Mural Maps and Rides
- Downtown Self Guided Public Art Tour
- Concession Street Mural Map
- Public Art Hamilton