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Toronto’s Utility Boxes

For several years now I’ve seen these painted utility boxes around Toronto and they’ve always grabbed my attention with their colourful and whimsical designs. Years ago I started photographing these boxes as I discovered them in my travels around the city. I’ve now consolidated the utility boxes for showcase here on TO Utility Boxes.


These are the boxes which control an intersection’s traffic lights. Most of these painted boxes are part of a City of Toronto StreetARToronto project called Outside The Box. According to the City’s website: “the Outside The Box program provides an opportunity for local artists to create works of art on traffic signal boxes across Toronto and contribute to the vitality and attractiveness of the streetscape”.

Bell Box Murals Project

These are the boxes which house Bell Canada’s telecom connections. Many of the boxes I’ve been photographing are part of the Bell Box Murals Project. Since 2009 artists from the Bell Boxes Murals Project have painted 530 murals on Bell Canada outdoor utility boxes in over 40 communities throughout Toronto, Southern Ontario and Quebec. The Bell Box Murals Project is a program of Community Matters Torontoa Toronto-based community nonprofit organization located in the St. James Town neighbourhood of Ward 13; this project benefits all members of the community. Each summer Bell box murals are painted in sets of eight boxes in separate communities. Six to eight projects are done each year.

A Work In Progress

My Utility Box Project is an ongoing, evolving one. I continually add content to this project as I encounter utility boxes in my daily travels through the city. My photography on some of the earlier boxes is less than spectacular as they were captured with an older iPhone. At least they are recorded for posterity, though; while doing this photo project I’ve learned that artwork on the utility boxes is ephemeral.

Exploring My TO Utility Box Site

There are a few ways to search the utility boxes on my site. To start geographically exploring the Toronto utility boxes I’ve captured, click on any of the markers in the map below. An image will appear along with a “More Details” link which will take you to a page dedicated to the utility box in question. Alternately, you can click on the “Filter Boxes by District, Neighbourhood or Street Name” button below the map if you’d like to filter the boxes accordingly. If you would like to explore the boxes as a blog (i.e. in reverse-chronological format), you can jump to my Box Blog page to view the Toronto utility boxes I’ve encountered during my city travels.

The locations indicated on the map markers may not be precisely where the box is located, but they’re very close; in order to make Google maps point to the utility boxes I’ve had to take an educated guess at actual street numbers where I think the box may reside (very few of the boxes have a published, fixed street addresses).

As I mentioned, this is a constant work in progress: some of the boxes do not have complete information (i.e. artist, box title, etc.) but I add and update details when I discover them. If you can add any information to any of the utility boxes please let me know.


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