Hamilton is certainly known for its industrial past but there is so much beautiful street art to admire across the city! One of the best free things to do in Hamilton, hunting for these colourful gems is a fantastic way to get some steps in and explore a new part of Steeltown you may not have visited before. I mean, there are over 100 scattered across the city. Think you can find them all? Well, this Hamilton murals guide will show you some of the best street art and point out a few other things to do while you’re in the neighbourhood!
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What better place to start than the heart of the city? Downtown Hamilton is certainly a colourful area that’s bustling with amazing restaurants, local shops and a number of fantastic art galleries.
Address: 250 King St E, Hamilton, ON L8N 1B7
Crafted by prolific Hamilton mural artist Lester Coloma, head to Ferguson Station along King Street East. Now a heritage landmark, it was once a part of the Grand Trunk Railway Company. There might not be any trains traversing these tracks anymore but this pedestrian walkway is used by many on a daily basis. Coloma’s mural speaks to the historical and cultural importance of this area and how this space is now a welcoming hub for people from all walks of life.
A World of Welcome
Address: 245 King St. E., 197 King William St., 215 King St E.
Head to the International Village in Hamilton’s downtown core to find this beautiful series of murals. Each one stands on its own while altogether, they act as a powerful nod to the unique experiences of women of colour in the city. These talented artists all come together as they share that Hamilton is not only a city where everyone is welcome but everyone is to be celebrated.
Address: 12 York Blvd (York Street Parkade Wall)
Have you ever heard of an artist crowdsourcing for a mural? Well that’s exactly what Scott McDonald did for this piece! After completing the outline, he pasted a QR code and asked passersby to scan it and colour it to their liking. Afterwards, he projected the best ten options and asked folks to vote for their preference on Instagram. The colours you see won the contest! How cool is that?
FUN FACT: The Peregrine Falcon was known as Hamilton’s unofficial city bird to later be crowned the title in 2022! You can read more here.
Address: 21 Rebecca St
Crafted as part of the 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival, Toronto-based artist Alexander Bacon brings Mother Nature to life in the here and now. His colourful work illustrates a vision where nature and technology can co-exist. While you want to fall into the calming hues of green, orange, pink and purple, the stern look on her face makes you wonder if this actually is possible. Look for the QR code close by and watch this elegant woman come to life!
While Hess Village is technically a part of downtown Hamilton, this area is pedestrian-friendly and features a cluster of murals. So much so, I thought it deserved its own section.
Woman with Flowers
Address: 24 Hess St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 3M8
Head to Gown and Gavel in the heart of Hess Village where you’ll be taken by this beautiful handpainted piece. Megan Oldhues of Toronto breathes life into the wall with rich, earthy tones as the woman she depicts is picking out bouquets. Her style and colour selection fit the building perfectly as if this stunning lady has been there for decades. Another piece crafted for the 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival, get up close if you have the chance to really admire every brushstroke that went into this piece.
Address: 26 Hess St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 3M8
Another piece by the aforementioned Alexander Bacon, this piece was crafted for the 2019 Concrete Canvas Festival. This is a great example of his work featuring animals as he often uses his art to help raise awareness for species that are endangered. It’s a great reminder that we can always be more kind to not just the wildlife around us but also to one another – to be the light for someone else.
Hess Street Raven
Address: 26 Hess St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 3M8
This collaboration between Mique Michelle and Kalkidan Assefa for the 2019 Concrete Canvas Festival speaks to the history of these lands that came long before us. Indigenous elements from the earth such as the raven and turtle are prominent in the oral histories that came long before colonization. It helps to shed light on a side of our current reality that isn’t seen but is certainly there for many people.
Once home to many of Hamilton’s steel plants, Barton Street was full of activity. While its hay day has come and gone, Barton is seeing a slow revitalization and with that, a number of murals along the way.
Life of the Party
Address:92 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8L 2V9
Completed by Cristhian and Ange Saravia known as Golden, this father-daughter duo has crafted some adorable Kirby-like characters on the side of what was once the last remaining strip club in Hamilton. The neon characters will certainly put a smile on your face with their party hats and flying sprinkles. Another mixed media piece from Concrete Canvas (sensing a theme, yet?), scan the QR code and watch these crazy characters come to life and show off their sweet dance moves!
300 Years of Community Series
Address: 314 & 534 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8L 2Z1
Created in 2017 by artist Tim Nijenhuis of Ninehouse Productions, this pair of murals sheds light on the history of Hamilton and what is now Canada. The piece at 534 Barton Street East speaks to the era long before colonization when much of this area was untouched by industrialization. Nature plays a prominent part with the ever-iconic Albion Falls in the background and an Indigenous male in the foreground. The mural at 314 Barton Street East speaks to the arts and culture of Hamilton with McMaster University Hall, Gore Park’s fountain and more as a girl sits on her bed, dreaming about her future.
St Matthew’s House
Address: 654 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8L 3A2
The work of Hamilton-based mural group Clear Eyes Collective can easily be spotted across the city by their jubilant style. Bright, bold shapes create intricate works of art which draw you in as you try to decipher the joyful imagery in front of you. In this piece on the side of the John Howard Society of Hamilton building, you can find numerous flowers and birds showcasing a unique cartoon-like landscape.
Tiger on Barton
Address: 905 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8L 3B8
In another piece created for the 2022 Concrete Canvas Festival, artist Michael Bryer nods to the beloved Hamilton Tigercats in this vivid mural. An illustrator by trade, this is Bryer’s first-ever mural with spraypaint though you’d never know it by how expertly crafted the piece is! This mixed media piece can be brought to life with a quick scan of the QR code as you watch the swirling colours come to life from the tiger’s boom box.
One of the main arteries up “on the mountain”, Concession Street is home to a number of stunning murals. The majority of these pieces are in a five-block cluster, making it easy to meander around and check them out!
Ray of Sunshine
Address: 533 Concession St, Hamilton, ON L8V 1B1
Another beautiful piece from Tim Nijenhuis, Stoneroads Bar & Grill is enveloped in a beautiful burst of sunshine as yellow streams of light beam through the greens and yellows of a quaint natural scene. Depicting Nijenhuis’ signature “trick of the eye” style, each beam leads to one of the building’s windows. It sure brightens up the neighbourhood as you can’t miss it as you travel down Concession Street!
Seven Sacred Grandfather Teachings
Address: 576 Concession St, Hamilton, ON L8V 1B1
This massive mural brings one of the many alleys along Concession Street to life as Indigenous artist Kyle Joedicke beautifully illustrates the Seven Grandfather Teachings. Drawing from the traditions and oral history passed down to him from Elders of the Haudenosaunee community, you’ll find the turtle representing truth, the buffalo representing respect, the raven representing honesty, the wolf representing humility, the beaver representing wisdom, the bear representing courage and finally the eagle representing love. You can learn more about these teachings here.
Greetings from Hamilton
Address: 618 Concession St, Hamilton, ON L8V 1B5
Who doesn’t love snapping a selfie with the name of a city? There are so many across the globe and yes, Hamilton has one too! Completed by public art group the Aerosol Assembly, each letter is a representation of a Steeltown treasure. You’ve got the TiCats, the Devil’s Punchbowl waterfall, Dundurn Castle and more. While the building is now up for sale, it was originally sponsored by The Mortgage Teacher who used to occupy the building.
Other Hamilton Murals to Check Out
Covering over a thousand square kilometres, there are plenty of murals in Hamilton to admire. Here are a few outliers that are worth checking out as you explore!
- Collective Arts Brewing: 207 Burlington St E, Hamilton, ON L8L 4H2 – If you indulge in adult beverages then chances are you’ve heard of Collective Arts. The art on their cans is absolutely stunning so naturally, the murals at their brewery are too! Five artists painted the majority of their mural collection (known as the Wall Project) back in 2017 with Brooklyn-based artist WERC adding to it in 2019 at their annual Collective Arts Festival.
- Tesla: 400 Wellington St N, Hamilton, ON L8L 5B1 – Another artistic gem by Coloma, this mural features Nikola Tesla in the place of Prometheus. In this famous myth, he stole fire from the gods to give to humanity but in this case, Tesla has harnessed electricity with wires in one hand and his iconic plasma bulb in the other. It’s also a nod to Hamilton’s claim of being “The Electric City” though Peterborough might have something to say about that!
- Donut Monster: 319 Charlton Ave W, Hamilton, ON L8P 4B9 – Donuts, dinosaurs and dragons, oh my! This hand-painted mural from Jacqui and Jamie of Ver Sands adds a vibrant dose of whimsey to the popular Locke Street South neighbourhood. Grab a donut from the shop and then see just how many fun characters you can find. Fun fact: the ducks in the bottom right corner represent the owners of Donut Monster, the Vanderkwaak family!
- Ottawa Street Orca: 189 Ottawa St N, Hamilton, ON L8H 3Z4 – Another piece by Indigenous artist Kyle Joedicke, this Haida style piece is dedicated to his grandmother. He explores his heritage with the word Ottawa illustrated above a beautifully composed Orca which symbolizes strength and family. It’s best admired with dinner at Merk Snack Bar’s alley patio!
This is in no way an all-encompassing guide to the colourful street art in Hamilton because, honestly, there are so many that it’s hard to include them all! It will get you well on your way to exploring some of the amazing murals in the city. However if there’s one that you’ve found that you think should be featured in this Hamilton murals guide, let me know in a comment below!
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