Outside the Box | Animals

It’s been a good week with spring-like temperatures, plenty of sunshine and blue skies from Saturday through to Tuesday. I cycled most days and walked every day. On Wednesday, the daytime high temperature reached 14C (57F) which is unusual for mid-February here.

I photographed the following five utility boxes on my walks. I organized them under my Outside the Box | Animals theme and listed them by artist’s name. Most of them have different designs on the front, side and the back so two pictures for each box.

1. Raccoon by Jeff Blackburn

The raccoon is holding a camera like a tourist as this box is near St. Lawrence Market, a tourist-friendly area.

Raccoon – front
Raccoon – back

2. Pets by Tak Bùi, 2017

The design hopes to celebrate the affection humans have towards the two most popular pets. I spot a monkey, do you see it too?

Pets – front
Pets – back

3. Stinkpot Turtles Toronto Return by Jungle Ling, 2019

The design attempts to draw attention to the Eastern Musk Turtle or the Stinkpot Turtle which only grows to 5″ long. They once were common in South Eastern Ontario in our muddy flats and shallow rivers. Such habitats continue to disappear due to human activities.

Stinkpot Turtles – front
Stinkpot Turtles – back

4. Fish by Charles Weiss, 2015

The vertical design shows bright contrasting shapes of Lake Ontario fish. The largest fish is the Chinook salmon in two different colour patterns (brown for fall and silver for summer).

5. Birds by Avril Wu, 2021

Soft images of birds on the front and a striking crane on the back of this box.

Birds – front
Crane – back

Weekend Coffee Share

I enjoy these designs that highlight animal life around me. Which design(s) do you like?

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #107 InLinkz below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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86 thoughts on “Outside the Box | Animals

  1. leannelc February 17, 2023 / 8:29 am

    Hi Natalie – the dog and cat one just made me smile – so I’m picking it as my favourite – I loved the variety though. You have so many cool outdoor art pics and I like that you’re cataloguing them into different groups like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:22 pm

      Hi Leanne, Thank you for your positive feedback about my catalogue of public art photos. I’m enjoying the process of organizing, selecting and posting them on my blog. The dog and cat design is adorable. Glad it made you smile.


  2. Gail Is This Mutton February 17, 2023 / 8:40 am

    These are so attractive! I’m drawn to the stinkpot turtles because I’ve never heard of them, and it’s such a great name ! But also like the fish design, and the cat and dog. Have a good weekend


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:25 pm

      Gail, I think the name ‘stinkpot’ is cute for the small turtles, too. I’m glad you like three of the designs. Happy weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean February 17, 2023 / 9:06 am

    This is great and fun and unexpected. I like the Pets one the best, but all are delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:29 pm

      Ally, The Pets design is adorable. I’m pleased you find all of them delightful.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Janet Alcorn February 17, 2023 / 9:13 am

    I love these so much! I wish every city turned their utility boxes into murals. I especially love the raccoon and the raining cats and dogs. So adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:46 pm

      Janet, I’m pleased you love these designs. I agree the raccoon and the raining cats and dogs are adorable.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Darlene February 17, 2023 / 10:49 am

    I love the raining cats and dogs one especially but they are all great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:48 pm

      Darlene, The ‘raining cats and dogs’ design is adorable. I think it’s a clever take on the phrase ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Kevin February 17, 2023 / 10:51 am

    Hi Natalie, my favourite is the “raining cats and dogs “ utility box. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:50 pm

      Thank you, Kevin, for sharing your thought. The ‘raining cats and dogs’ design is adorable and clever.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Writing Sparkle February 17, 2023 / 11:06 am

    What’s spring? We had snow in Northern Alberta this week!

    Love seeing this kind of art. The raccoon is cute.


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:55 pm

      Shari, Glad you like the raccoon design. Spring will arrive eventually. Hang in there.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. trentpmcd February 17, 2023 / 11:43 am

    I liked all of the boxes. It is a great way to “hide” those ugly utility boxes. I don’t know if I have a favorite, but will say the Stinkpot Turtles.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend 🙂


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 6:58 pm

      Trent, I’m pleased you liked all of the boxes. I think the stinkpot turtles have an adorable name that suits their small size. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. restlessjo February 17, 2023 / 12:42 pm

    Raining cats and dogs is fun, Natalie. Enjoy your Spring temperatures.


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 7:00 pm

      Jo, That ‘raining cats and dogs’ design is such a clever and adorable take on the same phrase. I’m pleased you like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Dan Antion February 17, 2023 / 12:50 pm

    These boxes are such fun things to see, Natalie. I love them. These are starting to show up around here, but nothing this good.


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 7:05 pm

      Dan, I’m pleased you love these box designs. I saw a technician opened the door on one of them and it’s full of circuit boards and wiring inside.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 7:06 pm

      Barbara, Those two designs are adorable. I’m pleased they made you smile.


  11. Joanne February 17, 2023 / 3:43 pm

    Oh so fun! That pet one really made me smile. We had beautiful weather this week too and I got out hiking every day.


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 7:08 pm

      Joanne, Sounds like we have similar weather patterns. I’m pleased the ‘pets’ design made you smile. Happy hiking!


  12. Lydia C. Lee February 17, 2023 / 4:03 pm

    I love these. We have some near us where if you stand in the right spot they match the background and become invisible. Gorgeous! I’ll be away for a few weeks so see you late march


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 7:09 pm

      Lydia, I’m pleased you love these designs. I hope you have an enjoyable break. See you in March!


  13. Denyse Whelan Blogs February 17, 2023 / 4:26 pm

    They are such great ideas and urban art does brighten up a street space. I’m linking up today with a post…and then with a house move imminent…may be absent from the blog community around end of Feb, till all set up for connection in new house in Sydney. Thanks for your friendly community and connected space, Natalie! Denyse


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 7:12 pm

      Denyse, Thank you for linking up while you’re getting ready for your move. I’m pleased you like these urban art designs. Wishing you and B a smooth move day and quick settling in your new house after the move.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Retirement Reflections February 17, 2023 / 6:25 pm

    You are so fortunate to have art all around you. The painted utility boxes are fabulous! It is difficult to choose a favourite – but it I had to select just one, I would go with the camera-carrying racoon. How clever, creative and whimsical is that?!


    • Natalie February 17, 2023 / 7:15 pm

      Hi Donna, I appreciate the rich art and culture in Toronto. I’m pleased you like the raccoon design. It’s clever, creative and whimsical indeed. The artist paints several raccoons in different colours in Toronto.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Kirstin Troyer February 17, 2023 / 10:59 pm

    Wow. Those are just awesome. I just love outdoor public art, especially when they try to beautify things like utility boxes, etc.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 10:27 am

      Thanks, Kirstin. I’m pleased you like those utility box art designs.


  16. Yinglan February 17, 2023 / 11:02 pm

    I like number 2 the best, raining cats and dogs 😄 so cute!


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 10:28 am

      Thank you, Yinglan, for sharing your pick. The dog and cat expressions are adorable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 10:30 am

      Ali, I love a good catch up. I’m pleased you like the utility box designs.


      • Alison February 18, 2023 / 9:57 pm

        They brighten up the streets don’t they 😊


        • Natalie February 19, 2023 / 1:15 pm

          Yes, I think so; better than ordinary grey boxes.


  17. Debbie February 18, 2023 / 1:48 am

    These are fabulous ideas for otherwise unattractive boxes Natalie. I was drawn to the raccoon as he seems to be trying to fit in as a tourist. Thanks for the smiles, they’re all great fun.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 10:31 am

      Debbie, The raccoon looks playful and mischievous. I’m pleased these art designs made you smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Jennifer Jones February 18, 2023 / 3:44 am

    You have some awesome street art in your area Natalie. I love each of these animals but my favourite is probable the cute raccoon with his camera,.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 10:33 am

      Jennifer, I’m fortunate to have wonderful public art around me. I’m pleased you like these animal designs. The raccoon is cute.


  19. Karen February 18, 2023 / 8:09 am

    My favorite is the raining cats & dogs. The look on the eyes under the umbrella is cute, adorable & kind of realistic. I like all these animal artworks.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 10:35 am

      Karen, The “raining cats and dogs” design is adorable and a clever use of the same phrase. I’m pleased you like all these animal artworks.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 2:36 pm

      Pam, I’m pleased you like the artworks.


  20. Gary A Wilson February 18, 2023 / 2:03 pm

    It’s remarkable what these artists come up with. thanks for capturing and sharing their work Natalie.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 2:38 pm

      You’re welcome, Gary. These artists are very good at creating, designing and painting.


  21. Astrid February 18, 2023 / 2:20 pm

    Stupid question from a non-native speaker of English who is also blind so can’t look at the pictures, but what is a utility box? Google Translate comes up with “gereedschapskist”, a word which I’d translate as “tool box”, like the box people put their screwdrivers into. I doubt you’d find those in public places across Toronto though.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 2:35 pm

      Hi Astrid, Not a stupid question at all. I’m glad you asked. These utility boxes are usually traffic signal or telecommunications boxes. In Toronto, they’re usually located at street intersections, close to the traffic lights, or close to a group of buildings. Some utility boxes are vertical, about 2 meters in height, some are wide, about 2 to 5 meters in width. They have door handles or locks that the technician opens when they need to check or work on the wiring or system signals inside the box. The artists are commissioned to design and paint their artworks on the surfaces outside of these boxes. The default box colour is grey. The artworks make the boxes look more interesting and attractive. I hope this helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Astrid February 18, 2023 / 3:31 pm

        Oh thanks. Now I guess I understand.


  22. Antoinette Truglio Martin February 18, 2023 / 6:21 pm

    I can’t decide. They are all wonderful.


    • Natalie February 18, 2023 / 7:10 pm

      Thank you, Antoinette. I’m pleased you like all five boxes.


  23. Terri Webster Schrandt February 18, 2023 / 6:30 pm

    I just love that your community has so many interesting and gorgeously decorated utility boxes, Natalie! The “raining cats and dogs” box is my favorite!


  24. Sofia Alves February 19, 2023 / 3:53 am

    These are wonderful, Natalie. I love the crane one, but they are all really good.


    • Natalie February 19, 2023 / 1:04 pm

      Thank you, Sofia. I’m pleased you like them all. The crane looks both dramatic and graceful.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Suzanne@PictureRetirement February 19, 2023 / 7:38 am

    Hi Natalie, our town has done this with a selection of bird photographs, but I like this idea much better – each one is individual, colorful, and creative. I like the cat with the umbrella.


    • Natalie February 19, 2023 / 1:07 pm

      Suzanne, The cat’s expression is adorable. I like how these artworks are designed by individual artists. I discover so many talented artists in the city and their styles.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. dawnkinster February 19, 2023 / 9:49 am

    Wow! Those are really beautiful. I’ve noticed one box painted something like these in a town just to the north of us. And one year we drove through a town on Lake Superior that had painted all their boxes…can’t remember what the town was now, but if I were to look at a map I could probably pick it out…it was on the way to Deluth MN.


    • Natalie February 19, 2023 / 1:11 pm

      Dawn, Painting utility boxes is catching on in cities and towns. I’m pleased you like these designs. Thank you for stopping by.


  27. Maria February 19, 2023 / 11:24 am

    Your weather sounds lovely and the painted boxes are great! I can only imagine, (or perhaps I can’t?) what’s going on in the artists minds. Thanks for a great post. Enjoy your evening.


    • Natalie February 19, 2023 / 1:12 pm

      Maria, It continues to be spring-like today (high 6C). I’m pleased you like these boxes. Have a great week ahead!


  28. csuhpat1 February 19, 2023 / 2:10 pm

    Glad that you are having nice weather. I love them all but the pets one is the best. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.


    • Natalie February 19, 2023 / 6:13 pm

      Thank you, Patrick. The pets design is adorable and well-liked. Have a great week!


    • Natalie February 19, 2023 / 9:56 pm

      Marsha, I’m pleased you adore all these boxes. I’ll post more as I organize them into small batches. Thank you for your coffee share. I’ll be over to your blog now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha February 20, 2023 / 3:07 pm

        🙂 It’s so smart to organize them and post smaller numbers of pictures.


        • Natalie February 20, 2023 / 3:59 pm

          It’s more manageable for me as the blogger to post smaller number of pictures. I hope it also works well for my blog readers (short post, quick read, a few interesting images).

          Liked by 1 person

            • Natalie February 20, 2023 / 5:03 pm

              That’s great! Thanks for your feedback, Marsha. Hope your week is going well.


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