House of Paint festival director shares 4 favourite street art spots

Veronica Roy, House of Paint's festival director, takes CBC Ottawa's Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco to some of her favourite street art spots in the city, including — of course — the legal graffiti wall underneath the George Dunbar Bridge.

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Seeking out street art


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Veronica Roy, House of Paint's festival director, takes CBC Ottawa's Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco to some of her favourite street art spots in the city. 2:44

There is so much local street art in Ottawa, but it's easy to walk by without realizing that those walls have stories to tell. Some pieces fill a wall with colour and whimsy while others might require a bit of detective work to locate. 

House of Paint celebrates street art, hip hop culture, dance, music and more. CBC Ottawa is a proud partner with House of Paint and so we asked Veronica Roy, House of Paint's festival director, to tell us a bit about some of her favourite street art spots in the city.

What are your favourite places to see street art in Ottawa? Click here to find out how you can share your photos with CBC Ottawa on Instagram.

Veronica Roy, House of Paint's festival director, says in response to the recent painting-over of another mural, the festival decided to commission a piece to specifically highlight Black experiences, painted on the side of a Black cultural centre in Mechanicsville. (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)

Location: Lyndale Avenue and Carruthers Avenue
Artist: Daniel Martelock 

Roy says this mural is one of her favourites because it's "off the beaten path." 

"It's a little part of the city that a lot of tourists wouldn't come to and that if you don't live in Mechanicsville or Hintonburg, you might not know it was here," she says. 

"It's by Dan Martelock, who is known for very whimsical pieces, like birds and snacks and food, which are some of my favourite themes in art." 

Artist Daniel Martelock painted these birds on the corner of Lyndale Avenue and Carruthers Avenue. Roy says she loves the lesser-known mural tucked away in Mechanicsville. (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)

Location: The Flava Factory
Artist: Street Art Miniature 

This next pick is street art for the "keen observer," Roy says. 

Street Art Miniature creates teeny tiny pieces of art out of polymer clay and hides them all over the city. Roy showed us this hip hop sneaker hidden between the bricks outside the Flava Factory on Wellington Street West. 

"I like it because it's something that you have to be paying attention to your surroundings to see," she says.  

This shoe is hidden between the bricks outside the Flava Factory on Wellington Street West near Merton Street. It's one of many tiny pieces of street art around the city created by artist Street Art Miniature. (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)

Location: ByTowne Cinema 
Artists: Mique Michelle and Kalkidan Assefa 

Walking down Rideau Street, you might have passed this large, colourful mural and wondered about the back story. It's a collaboration between artists Mique Michelle and Kalkidan Assefa, depicting local musicians Elberlyn and Kimya. 

"If you look at the texture of the background colour, there are names of Franco-Ontarian artists in a hand-style," Roy points out. "It's just a really nice celebration of diversity in Franco-Ontarian culture in Ottawa."

This mural is one in a series across the city celebrating francophone culture and community. 

This downtown Rideau mural by Mique Michelle and Kalkidan Assefa is a celebration of culture, community and diversity. (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)

Location: George Dunbar Bridge 

Of course, the Dunbar Bridge near Brewer Park is one of Roy's favourite graffiti spots. It's the first legal graffiti wall in the city and the home of the annual House of Paint festival.

"This is just a free-for-all for artists, where any artist can come down and paint," she says. 

During the festival, which runs from Aug. 23 to 25, artists from across Canada and the US will set up under the bridge and create curated pieces, but those murals don't stay up for long. 

"After the festival, artists come in and just repaint whatever they want. This bottom row of pieces is all from the past few days, few weeks. It's just constantly changing and evolving as an ephemeral piece of community art." 

This wall under the George Dunbar Bridge was the first legal graffiti wall in Ottawa. Now, it's the home to the House of Paint festival. (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)
The graffiti under the George Dunbar Bridge is constantly changing. (Kate Tenenhouse/CBC)

Share your photos with us 

These are just a few examples, but there are dozens to chose from. We want to see the street art in your community. Share your photos with us on Instagram with the name of the artist and any other details you want us to know about the local art in your neighbourhood.

Don't forget to set your account to public and use #CBCOttawa, so we can find your photos.