A week or so ago I explored a lot of little alleys and lanes in Seaton village. Once upon a time it was a village, named for John Colborne, 1st Baron Seaton, who was Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836. The land here was originally settled and farmed by loyalists Colonel David Shank and Captain Samuel Smith. Eventually, George Crookshank acquired the property and he laid out the plans for a village here in the 1850’s; it wasn’t developed until around 1888 when the area was annexed by the City of Toronto.
Today it is the rectangular section of Toronto north of Bloor street to the CNR train tracks by Dupont and between Bathurst and Christie streets. It is part of The Annex.
When I started to write this blog post my plan was to focus on how all lanes are the same yet different. Their characteristics usually reflect the neighbourhood around them and the way the lanes are used. Every lane has a personality.
below: Vermouth Lane, one of the greenest lanes I’ve seen in Toronto. Why? Probably because there are no garages in the lane, except for the two that were beside me when I took this picture. The backyards that are on this lane are not big. There are one or two houses that have made room in their backyard for a car, but that takes up most of the space. The lane itself is also rather narrow.
below: In contrast, Col David Shank Lane (there’s that name again!) ends at a wide alley behind the stores and services on Dupont. It’s a working alley.
But that’s only stating the obvious, isn’t it?
Like the city around them, lanes are a mix of old and new, interesting and bland, plus well kept and neglected.
They are the less public side of city life.
below: As I looked for things that make alleys different, I kept finding little details like the old blue plant pot with its contrasting orange wall.
below: The textures and bright colours in the design made by aging paint on a garage door caught my eye.
below: A vegetable garden dominates the backyard.
below: A simple plant in a window in Tandy Murch Lane. Walter Tandy Murch (1907-1967) was a painter who was born and raised in the area. His mother, Louise Murch (nee Tandy), was a popular singing teacher
below: Through a hole in the wood, a glimpse of what lies beyond.
below: Abandoned plumbing fixtures lead to all kinds of jokes – outdoor plumbing
below: A once proud tree
below: A garage door that stands alone and not in a row with others.
below: Possibly a Rorschach test? A brown face is what I see. Do you?
below: And another test – can you find the paintbrush?
Not sure how it got there! Or how it’s staying there!
below: This could become a game. An “I Spy” kind of game. I spy a face.
below: Or perhaps we could play peek-a-boo?
And this is where I am going to leave you…. until another day when I walk more lanes and find more little details, more differences, to make me smile. And then we’ll play again!