Montreal has become a canvas for street art. Strolling around the city, you will notice all kinds of colourful murals and even road art. Montreal has 2 annual street art festivals which introduce fresh creativity regularly. While some of the street murals were, no doubt placed on buildings without explicit “permission”, there are a number of creations that were commissioned by the city and its various art organizations. One such piece is an amazing likeness of Leonard Cohen by artists Gene Pendon and El Mac. This particular tribute to the artist was inaugurated in 2017 – a year after his death. You will find it at 1420 Crescent Street in the heart of downtown Montreal.
Many of the pieces are whimsical, esoteric, and cartoonish. Others are true to life and evocative.
Saint Laurent Boulevard is one of your best bets for seeing great murals. This is where the installations from the annual Murals Festival can be found. The Murals Festival also has an interactive website which maps out the location of each mural. Find it HERE.
A large mural by Birdo (aka Jerry Rugg), from the 2021 Mural Festival
Some of the murals certainly make the observer stop and think. These are strong humanitarian statements – like this work by artist DENIAL.
Since 2013, the MMFA (Montreal Fine Arts Museum) has been commissioning creators to design installations that cover the stretch of Du Musée Avenue north of Sherbrooke Street that gets transformed into a pedestrian walkway for the summer. This year’s work is particularly colourful and entirely done with chalk. It is entitled: Niamh
Guided tours of the street art are available if you want to be sure not to miss anything. Check out Spade & Palacio.
For some advice on a “self-guided” tour through some of the areas with the densest offerings, check out this website.
The street art in Montreal is ever-changing and very compelling. It definitely warrants a revisit every few years.