I HeART Main Street 2021

Building on the success of the 2020 Main Street Art Challenge and in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, STEPS presents this year’s I HeART Main Street to support Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) of all sizes, strengthen business-community relationships, and provide meaningful opportunities for local Canadian artists. Beginning in June 2021, 27 main streets across Ontario will be activated through unique outdoor public art installations that can be visited in person or virtually through an interactive app. Participating BIAs will have a chance to win prizes valued at $30,000 at the end of the summer to recognize exemplary projects.


Location: Various locations across Ontario

BIAs:  Albion Islington Square, Aldershot Village, Belle River – On the Lake, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Chinatown, Clarkson Village, Cooksville, Downtown Bench Beamsville, Downtown Brockville, Downtown Tillsonburg, Downtown Timmins, Downtown Whitby, DUKE Heights, Fairbank Village, Greektown on the Danforth, Kensington Market, Lakeshore Village, Leslieville, MarkeTO District, Mimico by the Lake, Mount Pleasant Village, Oakwood Village, Pape Village, Port Credit, Riverside, Trinity Bellwoods, Upper Village

Artists: Asli Alin, Curtia Wright, Danielle Hyde, Hyedie Hashimoto, Yasaman Mehrsa, Farida Zaman, Karun Ramani, Toko Hosoya, Justine Wong, Mahmood Hosseini, Marie-Judith Jean-Louis, Jennifer Ilett, Sophie Paas-Lang, Chris Perez, GETSO, FP Monkey, Jeanie Priscila, Adeyemi Adegbesan, Mel Hayes, Andre Kan, Andre Castro, Leone McComas, Steven Twigg, Rally Rally, Katrina Canedo, Bareket Kezwer, Yaara Eshet, Marcia Diaz Agudelo, Leone McComas and more!

Year: 2021

Services: Public Art Management, Creative PlacemakingMain Street Recovery


Canadian artists and designers paid for their work


Business Improvement Areas supported


Cities represented across Ontario


New app integration


We believe that Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) are the heart of our communities. Expanding on the success of last year’s Main Street Art Challenge and in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, STEPS is working with 27 BIAs across Ontario this summer to implement placemaking initiatives as part of their main street recovery strategy. From creative coaching and hiring local artists to create new public artwork, to implementing innovative ways to safely engage with the artworks with an upcoming launch of an interactive app, I HeART Main Street is helping BIAs foster trust and a sense of community through challenging times. 

Supports include:

  • Pro-bono creative placemaking and public art services
  • Connections to multidisciplinary artists and creatives
  • Artist fee subsidies
  • Audio-visual documentation
  • Promotional tools and public programming

Stay tuned as public artworks are installed all summer long in communities near you! Follow @stepspublicart and #MainStreetArtChallenge for the latest updates and announcements.

Download the STEPS Public Art App

New this year is the launch of the free STEPS Public Art mobile and web app to capture all of the public art projects across Ontario! Through this platform, visitors can experience the installations virtually, learn more about the participating BIA communities, and meet the local artists involved. As projects are rolling, the app will be updated regularly with new photos, videos, and fun walking tours to discover public artworks near you!

How to use the app:

  1. Visit the Discover button to explore the artwork either by artist, by BIA, or by region.
  2. Use the Explore button to find the BIA closest to you where you can experience the art.
  3. Click on the Regions button to see the different regions hosting art.
  4. Use the About button to learn more about the program and STEPS Public Art, contact STEPS, leave feedback and more.
  5. Don’t forget to Rate and Review on the App Store and Google Play to help spread the word!






Scan the QR code to download the app or visit the links below:

QR code that scans to the STEPS Public Art App via App Store or Google Play
June BIA Activations

Projects kicked off this summer as artists collaborated with Trinity Bellwoods, MarkeTo, Oakwood Village, Port Credit, Downtown Timmons, and Mount Pleasant Village to activate main streets through creative projects that ranged from murals to one-of-a-kind Muskoka Chairs!

Port Credit BIA

Artists Steven Twigg, Rally Rally and Katrina Canedo adorned six giant Muskoka chairs with artwork inspired by Port Credit’s picturesque scenery and emerging arts/music scene!

Oakwood Village BIA

Oakwood Village had two activations, including Celebrating Black Queer Lives, a public art mural by Curtia Wright, and painted picnic tables and benches by Leone McComas, to brighten up the streets all summer long!

Mount Pleasant Village BIA

The neighbourhood engaged with 37 artists to splash colour onto the main street with 37 uniquely painted street poles!

Artists: Andre Kan, Andre Castro, Andrea Rodriguez, Karen Roberts, Melika Saeeda, Naz Nahidi, Patty Wilkinson, Sydney Madia, Samantha Roe, Ted Hamer, Caitlin Taguibao, Wenting Li, Raymond Vidal, Anya Mielniczek, Asli Alin, Chrissy Kuiack, Julia Prajza, Si Yuan (Victor) Wei, Mazur, Robin Hesse, Talie Shalmon, Jeff Stirling, Yen Linh Thai, Jieun June Kim, Yasaman Mehrsa, Joan Lee, Ghazaleh Rastgar, Marg Cresswell, Esky Zadeh, Andy Schmidt, Brandon Baghaee, Kamila Love, Julia Antohi, Natalie Very B., Alejandra Paton, Jim Thierry Bravo, Curtia Wright,

Photo Credit: Selina McCallum

July and August BIA Activations

Coming soon!

Awards and Recognition

Through the presenting partnership of RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, STEPS will provide prizes at the end of the summer to recognize participating BIAs who demonstrate ingenuity, creativity and a commitment to community engagement. Prizes will be awarded by a committee composed of local cultural and business leaders and will include a combination of monetary and in-kind support to realize future main street placemaking initiatives.

Partners and Supporters

I HeART Main Street, presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and the City of Toronto, is generously supported by the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council.

Banner of logos including RBC Royal Bank, City of Toronto, Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, and Ontario Arts Council
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