Next time you visit Uptown Waterloo, don’t hesitate to stray off the main thoroughfares. For while King Street has much to offer, it’s the side streets and back alleys of this terrific core that give the area its distinctive flavour. Hughes Lane is a perfect example. Created in partnership with the Uptown Waterloo BIA, the Hughes Lane Art Walk is a place-making pilot that serves to animate and transform an uptown alleyway into a vibrant corridor of public art crafted by local artists. So poke around corners. Explore side streets. Venture down alleys. Get curious. 

‘Meditations on Breath’
Jackie Levitt

‘We are all connected by invisible threads.

Breath is urban air quality,

and how we greet strangers.

It is interdependence.

Cut down a tree in a neighbourhood,

and we all feel the difference in our lungs.

Breath branches out of our bodies in ways that can be seen.

Bronchioles in the lungs, tree root systems.

Coral structures, the breath of the ocean.’

                                    -Jackie Levitt

Jackie’s mural is located at the back of Hustl + Flow (120 King St S). When you’ve finished your yoga, boxing, cycling, or strength class here, why not replenish with a cold brew and fried chicken bucket at Beertown (75 King St S) – because a life worth living should be full of contradictions.

Jason Panda

Look closely and you’ll note that Jason’s piece is an homage to Waterloo Park: its gazebos, boardwalks, water, and green spaces. Panda’s work features a tessalation of shapes, lines, and colours that the artist notes project evocative impressions of community, environment, and creativity. 

Jason’s piece is located at the back of Scoop Du Jour (17 Erb St E) – Uptown’s response to hot & muggy summer days. With vegan and goat’s milk options complementing regular dairy-laced ice cream, ice cream cookies, and in-house cold brew affogato, there’s something for everyone. 

‘Waawaashkeshi’ (deer); ‘Gekek’ (hawk)
Luke Swinson

For this two-door mural, Anishinaabe illustrator Luke Swinson depicts a deer and hawk – animals native to this region. Inspired by woodland art produced by indigenous artists of his youth, Luke hopes his piece will serve as a reminder of the natural beauty that surrounds us – including the creatures with whom we share space.

Luke’s mural is at the rear of 21 Fir Whiskey Bar + Kitchen (100 King St S) – a prohibition-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar specializing in whiskeys and chef-inspired tapas, appetizers, and mains. 21 Fir’s alcohol-based drinks are superb, and for those wanting to refrain there’s always ‘The Sober Pirate’ (ginger beer, pineapple & lime juices, angostura bitters, mint).

Kat Hernden

Kat adores patterns – noting that they imbue this chaotic world in which we live with grounding structure and order. Even something as simple as a patio chair from McCabe’s is filled with wonderful patterns. Inspiration lurks everywhere once you’re open to receiving it.

You’ll find Kat’s geometric mural at the back of McCabe’s (44 King St S) – Uptown’s Irish pub. Bring your appetite next time you visit, and enjoy pub staples like bangers & mash, fish & chips, or steak & mushroom pie.

Tara Cooper

For this work, Tara draws inspiration from Henri Matisse’s ponchoir prints from the French artist’s 1947 book, ‘Jazz.’ The piece is meant to evoke a sense of taking care: of ourselves, each other, and the natural environment. 

You’ll find Tara’s piece on the rear doors of Bud & Sally Cannabis Co (32 King St S). And while this headshop doesn’t have food or a patio, Taco Farm (Erb St W) is just up the street – providing the perfect remedy for the munchies.