I HeART Main Street 2022


Entering the third year of I HeART Main Street, this program supports Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) of all sizes across Ontario to provide meaningful opportunities for Canadian artists and strengthen business-community relationships. Participating BIAs and artists will have a chance to win prizes valued at $30,000 for future placemaking initiatives to recognize exemplary projects that engage communities, transform main streets, and inspire innovation. Below you will find links that lead to our Ontario public art projects.

Project at a Glance

Location: Various cities across Ontario

BIAs: Bloor Annex, Bloor West Village, Chinatown, Cooksville, Clarkson Village, Downtown Bench Beamsville, Downtown Barrie, Downtown Bench Beamsville, Downtown Bolton, Downtown Brockville, Downtown Greater Napanee, Downtown Milton, Downtown Timmins, Downtown Whitby, DUKE Heights, Eglinton Way, Elora, Mimico by the Lake, Mount Dennis, Oakwood Village, Ottawa Street, Pape Village, Rosedale, Trenton, Upper Village, Uptown Yonge, ZAC Vanier and more!

Artists: Wenting Li, Hour Studio Space (James Lai and Alexis Venerus), Kayla Buium, Jenn Kitagawa, Ailsa Craigen, Asli Alin, Enna Kim, Vivian Rosas, Justine Wong, Whyishnave Suthagar, Tee Fergus, Kseniya Tsoy, Yulia Tsoy, Moonlight Murals Collective (Yasaman Mehrsa, Melika Saeeda, Ghazaleh Rastgar), Farida Zaman, Yen Linh Thai, Monica Wickeler, Sara Sarhangpour, Sue Todd, Joseph Sagaj, Saroja Ponnambalam, Jacquee Lavallee, Yen Linh Thai, Sima Naseem, Jenn Kitagawa, Katie Green, Marlisha Lewis, Alessandra Vai, Oksana Hawrylak, Christopher Bennett, Meaghan Claire Kehoe, Naomi Smith, Wayne Simpson, Kayla Buium, Mehtap Mertdogan, Pam Lostracco, Earth Sky Collective, and more!

Project Photographer/Videographer: May Shi, Marc Beach, Kyle Jarencio, Anushay Sheikh

Year: 2022

Services: Artist Capacity Building, Main Street Recovery, Creative Placemaking, Public Art Management


Business Improvement Areas supported since 2020


Canadian artists and designers engaged since 2020


Awarded to exemplary projects since 2020

Project Details

I HeART Main Street is a program that started at the height of the 2020 pandemic to provide Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) with the supports they need to activate main streets across Ontario through creative placemaking and public art. From hiring artists and building staff capacity, to showcasing local business stories and engaging communities through one-of-a-kind public artwork, this program provides paid opportunities to Canadian artists while fostering community through challenging times.

This year’s 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 features on the STEPS Public Art App

If you are a BIA or business organization interested in bringing more public art to your neighbourhood, learn more our main street recovery services and apply to the I HeART Main Street program. You can also follow along @STEPSPublicArt and #MainStreetArtChallenge for the latest project installations and announcements.

Find Public Art Near You!

Visit the STEPS Project Map or explore the STEPS Public Art App to find public art and self-guided walking tours near you for new safe and engaging experiences.






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

Fall/Winter Public Art Activations

The new year started off on a high note with amazing winter-themed window murals activating the main streets of Bloor West Village and Rosedale with local businesses! Other main street celebrations included Lunar New Year with Toronto’s Chinatown BIA (one of the previous 2020 I HeART Main Street award winners) and NoVacancy storefront activations with DUKE Heights BIA as part of the City of Toronto’s StrollTO initiative.

Bloor West Village BIA

Bloor West Village BIA collaborated with Hour Studio Space to decorate a storefront window with a unique installation that mixes elements of paper art, photography and light! 

Rosedale BIA

Rosedale BIA collaborated with Vivian Rosas, Enna Kim, Asli Alin and Ailsa Craigen to decorate the windows of 5+ storefronts with winter-themed murals.

Chinatown BIA

In celebration of Lunar New Year 2022, Justine Wong collaborated with the Chinatown BIA to create a unique, paper art installation inspired by the Year of the Tiger.

Downtown Brockville BIA

The Downtown Brockville BIA partnered with artist Oksana Hawrylak to install this folk-inspired banner featuring original drawings of Brockville’s native and common plants!



Mimico by the Lake BIA

Mimico by the lake BIA enlisted artist Kayla Buium (Milkbox) to reimagine the main street’s local attractions with brightly illustrated sidewalk map decals.



Downtown Barrie BIA

The Downtown Barrie BIA worked with artists Mar Lewis and Katie Green to create their new public piano, a playful installation that celebrates the role of pollinators in keeping the ecosystem in balance.



DUKE Heights BIA

The Nu Age Fish Storefront was animated with an original photo-drawing collage by artist Yen Linh Thai that depicts fish friends and people enjoying a delicious meal.



Oakwood Village BIA

The Oakwood Village BIA worked with artist Mehtap Mertdogan to create two mosaics on the picnic tables outside of Oakwood’s Public Library. This activation was accompanied by a community-engaged mosaic-making workshop facilitated by the artist.

Bloor West Village BIA

Bloor West Village BIA engaged artist Wenting Li to decorate the windows of 8 storefronts, with murals inspired by the theme ‘Winter Cheer Starts Here’.

DUKE Heights BIA

With the talents of Whyishnave Suthagar, Moonlight Murals Collective, Tee Fergus, Kseniya Tsoy and Yuliya Tsoy (including youth from The Neighbourhood Group), vacant storefronts were animated to encourage residents to explore their neighbourhood.

Downtown Bench Beamsville BIA

Catch a glimpse of artists Sue Todd and Farida Zaman creating amazing works of art in-studio. These works now beautify the Downtown Bench Beamsville BIA neighbourhood.

Uptown Yonge BIA

Uptown Yonge BIA worked with Earth Sky Collective to create the Gratitude Mural, reflecting the Indigenous peoples’ presence in the area with imagery of the land, rivers, animals, and traditional plant medicines of Tkaronto.

Bloor Annex BIA

Inspired by the ‘Interconnection’ mural by Joseph Sagaj, the Bloor Annex BIA collaborated with Saroja Ponnambalam to create a series of audio stories on the STEPS Public Art AppSound Attributions: Credits for Creative Commons Licensed Sounds



Clarkson Village BIA

Artists Sima Naseem and Yen Linh Thai beautified Clarkson Village’s main street by painting murals on street light poles along Lakeshore Road West.



Cooksville BIA

The Cooksville BIA worked with artist Jennifer Kitagawa to create these vinyl sidewalk decals along Hurontario Street and Dundas Street West illustrating the heritage of the area.



Awards and Recognition

Prizes will be awarded to participating BIAs and projects that demonstrate ingenuity, creativity, and a commitment to community engagement. Recognized BIAs and artists will be awarded with monetary and in-kind support to support future placemaking initiatives. 

Winners will be selected by an Award Committee consisting of local cultural and business leaders and community representatives.

For past award winners, explore I HeART Main Street 2020 and I HeART Main Street 2021 (including The Hope in Chinatown Mural that was made possible by this program).

About I HeART Main Street

STEPS Public Art’s I HeART Main Street is a program supporting Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) with the support they need to activate their main streets through public art and placemaking. This program engages BIAs, local artists and businesses across Ontario to create more vibrant and safe communities.

Learn more about how to apply to the program and STEPS’ main street recovery services.

Partners and Supporters

I HeART Main Street, presented in partnership with RBC Royal Bank and ShowLoveTO produced by the City of Toronto, is generously supported by the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative funded by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, funding provided by the Government of Ontario, and Ontario Trillium Foundation for activations in Peel Region.

I HeART Main Street funder and supporter logos (RBC, City of Toronto, Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Province of Ontario, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Ready to get your project started with STEPS?

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