Uptown Art Walks

Dominion Lane Art Walk

The Dominion Lane Art Walk is a continuation of the Hughes Lane Art Walk, implemented in 2020. Both projects took inspiration from Vancouver’s ‘Canvas Corridor’ where the back doors of businesses within the alleyway were painted with unique murals. We are excited to see the Uptown Art Walk initiative grow with a second laneway that provides visitors with a safe and inclusive space to enjoy public art. The Dominion Lane Art Walk joins the Hughes Lane Art Walk and the Willis Way Mural Project in creating a more vibrant Uptown that people can explore and discover.

The Dominion Art Walk is a continued partnership between the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA)Create Waterloo, and local businesses and artists. This project supports the goals of the Uptown Public Realm Strategy as well as the City of Waterloo Culture Plan. Artists submitted their proposals through an open call competition run by the City of Waterloo. The submissions were juried based on the quality, aesthetic appeal and connection to participating businesses.


Participating Uptown Businesses and Local Artists:

Historical Fact

Dominion Lane was likely named after the Dominion Life Assurance Company – first located at 28 King Street North (at Dupont). In 1912, the company moved to 14 Erb Street West. Built in 1879, the building has been home to many different tenants over the years including the Waterloo Region Police Department North Division. Today, the building is home of the Communitech Data Hub.

    Find it!

    Dominion Lane runs parallel to King St. North in Uptown between Erb Street and Dupont Street. The lane can be accessed from Erb Street, next to Taco Farm, or from Dupont Street behind Babylon Sisters. See a map here

    Simone Cotrell - Taco Farm Door

    My art style is a combination of both abstraction and realism. I enjoy mixing geometry and fluidness as well as congruous line work into my creations. With my raw freeform style, I portray the true beauty and uniqueness of the people in the BIPOC community and their existence while telling their untold stories. My aim is to thoroughly educate the viewers that we are not only worthy of praise and idolization, but we are also exquisite works of art.

    Piece: The theme of this design for this specific project is a mix of ‘Primavera’ and ‘Enlightenment’. With this, I depict a sense of Zen and Rebirth/Life through my use of elements and principles of design. This shows throughout the focal point (woman) and background of the artwork. Corresponding is my main style/theme representing the women in the BIPOC community. This design will also display a mixture of Pop, Abstract and Eclectic Art.

    Christie Shien - Swine & Vine Single Door

    Christie is a Chinese-Canadian artist considering the tensions of and between intimacy, grief, and nostalgia. She is a recent graduate from the University of Waterloo and is currently based in the Waterloo region. Her practice presents themes of family and culture, memory, and preservation.  Her recent work considers the expressions of meaning and symbolism present in written language through its structure and translation. In the exploration of familial and intimate bonds based on sentimentality, she attempts to understand the ways in which nostalgia can colour who we are to each other and how we remember. 

    Piece: Over the past few years that I’ve lived in Waterloo Region I have seen the landscape of Uptown Waterloo and the surrounding areas shift and alter. Cities are often compared to living organisms – they evolve and adapt, fueled by its people and communities. Alongside these changes to Waterloo’s topography and transport paths, history still remains through all of the stories, experiences, and knowledge passed between people. Like cells working in tandem to bring energy to new places, the energies of the past stay with us as we navigate through the world, absorbing them into ourselves and passing it along in a cycle of its own.

    Robyn Lightwalker - Champa Kitchen Door

    I have been an artist my whole life. My mother is a painter, and everyone in my family has some kind of artistic talent, so not only did I have support, but I also always had access to alot of art supplies, so I guess it’s not a big surprise that I took up art as a full-time pursuit. I paint, illustrate, sculpt, and I am always trying out new mediums.  My work is often colourful, and I like to walk the line between realism and impressionism. I am always looking for new and interesting angles and trying to find the beauty in everything. I love fantasy, which tend to come out in my artwork. Bodies, animals, portraits, and anything with natural lines tend to be my main subject matter. As for style, to put it simply, I don’t have one, I have many.

    Piece: My mural is brightly colourful, eye catching with both large and powerful elements, and intricate detail that viewers can get lost in. The style, like my own, walks the line between realism, surrealism and illustrative/graphic elements so that it’s both relatable and striking. The elements tell a story about the community and our ecosystem to inspire people to see the world through new eyes and appreciate the beauty in nature and the beauty in our fellow humans.  I want this piece to project a sense of hope, joy and lightheartedness after all we have been through this year as a community, so that people have something to make them smile on their way to work or school.


    Natasha Rose - Swine & Vine Double Doors

    As a multi-disciplinary artist I have developed my craft in many forms. I have ten years of training (music and art), and have been working as a professional performer for almost as long.  My art and music often include themes of magic, mystery, nature, the exploration of beauty and human emotion. I love to study all subjects. As an emerging Hamilton artist I am still developing my body of work and looking for new opportunities to express. 

    Piece: My piece is a dynamic look into the progressive shift towards feminine power and equality that has been growing ever more present in our modern world. It would be an honorarium of sorts towards some of the most influential and important female artists of all time. Women who fought for the life they believed they deserve, women who stood up against traditional gender roles and limitations to share their vision for a better world, and women who used their voice with courage and love in the face of adversity and hardship. The piece features artists such as Frida Kahlo, Artemisia Gentileschi, Georgia O’Keefe, Augusta Savage, Yayoi Kusama, and more. It highlights the multi-cultural diversity of such artists and focus on empowering ALL women in this regard. Furthermore it would be in part an acknowledgement towards their contributions to the art world, pop culture, and how they shifted our perspective in a way that their male counterparts could not. Imagery includes elements from each artist’s unique style and techniques? ie. Frida’s self-portrait illustrative and symbolic style, Georgia’s flowers and Yayoi’s silver balls.

    Tabatha Donaldson - Eastwinds Door

    I am currently the Director/Curator at Homer Watson House & Gallery in Kitchener, ON.  Over the last 2 years, my involvement in the arts has been on the side of curation but I would love to get back into creating again.  In recent years, I have completed several projects in set design and prop making for events.  My focus is always to provide a unique experience for the viewer with many details for them to discover.

    Piece: During this unprecedented time I would like to provide the viewer with the opportunity to escape whatever challenges they may be experiencing through some good old-fashioned and light-hearted whimsy.  My design is titled “Curious Circus” and depicts a colourful, Victorian style flea circus.  Flea circuses were sideshows created by Victorian watchmakers as a way to show off their metal working skills.  The resulting works were tiny, intricate and charming; a playful display of artistic skill.

    Sean Chappell - Babylon Sisters Door

    I’m an artist and board game designer living in Cambridge, Ontario. Some may know me already from festivals and gallery shows in the area, most likely through my involvement with ArtsPay. My project is based on board games and board gaming in Waterloo region and built on a graphic design style I’ve been developing. It’s no secret that during the lockdowns/restrictions imposed during Covid 19 that board games have become a staple of household entertainment again. I think it’s safe to say that board games are enjoying a bit of a renaissance.

    Piece: My design for this project deals with dice. But not just any dice. These are a set of dice that you’ll find attached to many, if not all, Role Playing Games (RPG’s) such as Gloomhaven, Dungeons and Dragons and many others. Gamers will instantly recognize the significance of this set and I hope this energetic design will engage non-gamers and pull them towards the board game hobby. I use bold, eye popping colours as well which will surely catch peoples attention. On top of that, I’d like to use the design to highlight the robust gaming community in the area and all the businesses who supply and support board gaming. We have The Round Table, J & J games, Dragonheart Designs, Toy Tales and events like Nerd Nite happening in Waterloo region and that is only scratching the surface. There is a vast network of merchants, gamers, designers, suppliers and online content creators who could use the boost and the recognition for all the work they do to help engage, entertain and bring people together over board games.

    Hughes Lane Art Walk

    The Hughes Lane Art Walk is created in partnership with the Uptown Waterloo BIA, City of Waterloo and local artists with funding from RT04’s Shareable Moment Challenge grants. It builds upon the existing mural project located on the side of the Uptown Waterloo Parkade. The Hughes Lane Art Walk supports the goals of the Uptown Public Realm Strategy as well as the City of Waterloo Culture Plan. Artists were invited to submit their proposals through an open call competition run by the City of Waterloo. The submissions were juried based on the quality, aesthetic appeal and connection to participating businesses (listed below). The doors were completed in mid-August of 2020.


    Participating Uptown Businesses and Local Artists:

    Learn more details about each piece in the Fall 2020 Upbeat Visitors’ Guide or watch the video below. 

    Historical Fact

    Hughes Lane was named after the City of Waterloo’s first ever woman Councillor, Anna Hughes. Learn more about Councillor Hughes here.

      Find it!

      Hughes Lane runs parallel to King St. South in Uptown. It runs between William St. and Willis Way and picks up again on the other side of the Uptown Parkade and runs to Erb St. See a map here