Recently it appeared on the green windscreens at the Leaside Tennis Club, on the side wall of Stanley Cleaners, all along the lane between Eglinton and Donlea, in Leonard Linton Park between Research Rd. and Vanderhoof, and on a new fence on Commercial Rd. in the Leaside Business Area.
Most of these are in the form of “tagging” – symbols that have meaning to the person wielding the paint can and his/her friends, but look more like doodling to the uninitiated.
Tom Kern of MacNaughton Rd., who is on the board of directors of the Leaside Tennis Club, mentioned their most recent graffiti invasion, on the windscreens, came on the Saturday night of the Labour Day long weekend. Earlier, they had needed to sandblast graffiti off their clubhouse, and paint over graffiti on the electrical light box.
Staff at the City of Toronto had offered to get them a quote from a company to remove the white paint from the green windscreen, but if they don’t receive it before the end of the tennis season, they will use green paint to solve the problem.
They notified the city immediately after the weekend, because there is a security camera owned by the city, mounted on the corner of the clubhouse which might have had video able to identify the culprits. So far, no news.
At Stanley Cleaners, on Millwood, the owner, Fortunato “Lucky” Fusco, says most of the graffiti on his premises appears on the white-painted back of the building, where he has covered graffiti tags regularly. As he says, “It keeps happening.” He has received letters from the city advising him that if he doesn’t remove the graffiti, he will be fined.
The City of Toronto website information on graffiti includes “Tips for Preventing and Removing Graffiti Vandalism”. Scrubbing it off or painting over are among the recommendations. One that appealed to me was “Plant climbing vines or thorny plants along building walls.”
The City of Toronto distinguishes between street art and graffiti vandalism. To be considered street art, the work “must have the property owner’s permission, adhere to community character and standards and aesthetically enhance the surface that it covers”.
The city has a pro-active program originating out of its Graffiti Management Plan that is administered by the Public Realm Section of the Transportation Services Division. “Its overall mission is to counteract graffiti vandalism by developing, supporting, promoting and increasing awareness of street art and its indispensable role to add beauty and character…”
The spray work in Leaside doesn’t look much like art to me, and I would very much doubt that the owner of the property gave permission. Although the outward shell of the skateboard bowl in Leonard Linton Park has a surprising piece of street art in black and white, the inside of the bowl, on the other hand, is full of tags and scribbles.
It is a property owner’s responsibility to remove graffiti that is not art. For graffiti on city property, city staff does the removal.