Archive for the ‘general Toronto’ Category

traffic signs at an intersection, at Lakeshore Blvd East, two one way signs pointing in the opposite directions, an elevated expressway also in the picture

“There’s more than one way” describes the above picture quite nicely but it’s probably a stretch to say that it’s  relevant to this blog post at all.   Not that that’s ever stopped me!  The other day I stood at this intersection (Lakeshore and Sherbourne I think) trying to decide which way to go.  I went straight ahead because that’s what the traffic signal told me to do.  I obeyed.  “When in doubt, go with the green light”, is one of my ‘rules’ when I’m walking.

below: The artistry of hydro towers and wires framed by the Lakeshore and the Gardiner.

a view between the Gardiner and Lakeshore with the roads framing the top and bottom of the picture. Hydro towers and wires are the main part of the image

below: Shattered glass

shattered glass still in place

below: Part of “Site Specific” by Scott Eunson & Marianne Lovink, on Sumach Street at Eastern Ave.

rusted metal cut out, part of a public art installation, cut outs look like houses, polished steel cutouts below the rusty ones.

below: The view inside the streetcar.  A new 514 Cherry car was wrapped in a light blue ad.
I have no idea what it was advertising.

looking into the window of a streetcar, people sitting,

below: There are a number of this “eye” balls in the playground part of Sherbourne Common.

a large white sphere with a black circle in the middle, on a metal pole. Background is out of focus

below: Changing the billboard.  The image is printed on a large piece of vinyl (plastic? something similar?) and held to the frame by ropes.   Or at least that’s what it looked like.  It was quite a distance up so it was difficult to see exactly what they were doing.

two men are changing the ad on a very large billboard. One man is below and the other is above and he is passing a long rope to man below.

below:  Graffiti.  Two words.  In yellow.

in yellow paint, graffiti, words fuck trump written on a metal box on a sidewalk

below: Chairs.   Blue chairs.  Three blue chairs plus one reflection.

three old blue plastic chairs with metal rusty legs sit on the concrete porch of a commercial building. Windows behind them. one of the chairs is reflected in the window

below: A drab door on a drab wall.

drab double glass doors on a drab light brown brick building with a sign that says public parking with arrows pointing to the door, The sign is above the door.

below:  An entrance to a different parking lot.

looking through a parking garage to a lighted entrance with people carrying bags and returning to their cars

below: Numbers on the concrete.

close up of the side of a concrete structure on a ramp of an expressway, there are two number sequences there. In stencil it says R42-78 and in stickers, AJ48

below: More numbers.  Another code that I can’t crack.

black and orange construction cone site beside a kerb on which numbers have been spray painted in orange

below: Stonework details on an old bank building.

architectural details on an old bank building, a fancy column top (ionic?), some carvings in the stone work.

below: Another old building – now that the north building of the St. Lawrence market has been demolished, the rear of the St. Lawrence Hall has been exposed.  It’s quite a pretty building.

the rear of the old St. Lawrence Hall building, with a bright blue wood hoarding fence in front of it. a woman is walking past

below: Interior, St. Lawrence market

the interior of the St. Lawrence market, looking towards the north entrance, with the large arched window over the doorway

below: And when you’re in front of the St. Lawrence market, isn’t it obligatory to take a picture of the Gooderham building?   A Toronto iconic view.

the Gooderham building, built in the flatiron style, with glass towers behind it, downtown Toronto

below: Another icon, the CN Tower, as seen through the Distillery District from Cherry Street.
That’s a fabulous orange door!

Cherry street entrance to the distrillery district, looking west towwards the CN tower, brick road, overhead lights, bright orange door in the background,

below: Postage stamp art at 234 Adelaide East by Joanne Tod and Jon Reed.  The whole installation includes 12 images including a 1930 painting by Lawren Harris (2nd on the left) which was issued in 1967.   To the right of it is a stamp honouring the Alouette 2 research satellite.  In between those stamps is Queen Elizabeth, a fixture on Canadian stamps for so many years.   The old post office which was built in 1834 is nearby.

public art in front of a condo building that is a ribbon made of metal, flat, etched with a series of vintage Canadian postage stamps images

below: Walls.  Shored up walls of the construction hole in front of a wall of glass.

a blue crane inside a hole that is a construction site for a new condo, with many glass tower condos in the background.

below: Last, symmetrical? steps in the buildings.

a building under construction in front of another building

 

May all your lights be green!

Another reason why I haven’t posted recently?  I’ve been sick.  Icky sick; can’t get out of bed sick.  This morning was the first time that I’ve walked Toronto streets in many, many days.

It was a beautiful blue sky morning but I made a mistake and stopped for coffee first.  Clouds rolled in and we were back to greyness by the end of the first mug.  Argh.   Maybe back inside for a secong mug?

In the end I’m glad I got my momentum back.  I walked streets I’ve walked many times before but I walked it with a long lens in hand.  I started searching for details that I’ve missed before as well as shots that are easier (and sneakier!) with a lens zoomed out to the max.

In no particular order….

below:  The front of Betty’s on King street.  These magnets have been here for a while now although their numbers may have magnified.  In hindsight, I should have gone over and written something like, “Hi my name is Joe and I’m the Prime Minister of Canada”.

store front, front of Bettys bar and restaurant, with grey door. Walls are magnetic and they are covered with kid's letters of the alphabet magnets.

below: The bright colours of this exposed wall caught my eye.  It’s been revealed because of the demolition of a building at Victoria and Lombard and I suspect that it will get covered up again in the near future.

a large construction site at Victoria and Lombard, one wall of a neighbouring building has been exposed that is orange and white

below: This is a closer view of the men in the photo above.  I hadn’t purposely taken their picture but I like the portrait look of the picture.  A kind of Mike Rowe’s ‘Dirty Jobs’ image comes to mind.

two men working on a construction site

below: Banner for the Pacific Junction Hotel.

banner made of flags for the Pacific Junction Hotel strung in a tree on the sidewalk

below: Drink Coca-cola

a red and white drink coca cola sign sign hangs in a window of a bar

below: Sitting together in silence.  Black and white.  Alive and not alive.
Both aren’t moving and both don’t see me.

a man sits on a bench in a small park, wintertime, a snowman is at the other end of the bench

below: I have always been intrigued by these vertical windows at St. James Cathedral, especially with the winter trees in front of them.  I’ve taken pictures here before but none have been satisfactory.  This one is certainly not perfect but the sense of scale that the woman provides is a big help.

vertical stained glass windows of St. James cathedral, from the outside in winter, a woman is walking past.

below: These two small ionic-ish columns help support an archway over the door.

a small column with an ionic like capital, embedded in a brick wall. The column looks to be supporting an arch over the doorway

below: A bit of a rant.  At one point did it become acceptable for people to be sleeping on the sidewalks?  How did we learn to walk past?  When someone walks past a person sleeping in the middle of the sidewalk, what thoughts go through their head?  Is there a solution?  Or is so normal now that we don’t consider it a problem?   This man was right in the middle, there was no easy way to avoid him, but avoid him we did.

people walk by on the sidewalk as a homeless man sleeps under blankets on the corner.

below: Trying to cross King Street.

a man in a red jacket is waking two dogs, waiting to cross King Street, with St. James in the background. traffic, and parked cars too.

below: An exposed support beam, two wood planks on end sandwiched between steel I beams.

on an exterior brick wall, the end of a support beam is visible. the beam consists of a wood beam on end between two steel I beams

below:  High on a brick wall he suffers in anguish as the pigeons keep pooping on him.

carved stone piece high on a brickwall, exterior of a building, relief sculpture of a man's face with his hair made to look like long leaves that surround his face

below: A bit of a cliche.  Walking the dogs in the park on a winter day.

a woman walks three dogs on the path through St. James Park on a winter day, snow, no leaves, some buildings in the distance

below: The Christmas lights are still wrapped around the trees in St. James Park.

a string of red LED Christmas lights is wrapped around the trunk of a tree

below: Two mis-matched windows side by side.  Old brick, rusty metal.

an old brick building with two windows.

below: Above 10 Toronto Street is this royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom.   The unicorn represents Scotland and in the royal coat of arms for Scotland, the lion and the unicorn are reversed.  You’ll also noticed that the unicorn is chained.  Apparently this is because in legend, the unicorn is a dangerous beast.   I’m not sure what this says about Scotland!  The words on the banner below the lion and the unicorn say “Dieu et Mon Droit” (= God and My Right).  The words around the middle circle say “Honi soit qui mal y pense”.   This is the motto of the Order of the Garter and it translates to ‘shame upon him who thinks evil of it’.

sculpture of a coat off arms above 10 Toronto Street, a lion and unicorn and a motto in Latin.

below:  This is the building that used to house Starbucks on King Street near George Brown College.  Many months (more than a year) ago there was a fire in the building and Starbucks closed down.  The windows and doors were boarded up and then nothing happened.   That looks like the makings of scaffolding lying on the sidewalk so maybe some renovation work is about to begin.

a man walks past a boarded up doorway

below: A ghost building outline.

The ghost outline of a building, in white, on a black brick wall. Tree branches without leaves hang in front of the wall.

below: An octopus runs up the stairs. Or would it slither?

a blue drawing of an octopus on the second storey exterior wall, beside a metal stair case (fire escape?)

below: Passing by the five faceless naked men who silently and stoically watch over the intersection of Queen and Victoria.  A sculpture “Full Circle” by Peter von Tiesenhausen.

wood sculpture of naked men in a circle with their backs inward, at Queen and Victoria streets, two men walking past the sculpture

below: I also met James Beaty this morning.  He too stands silently but he is tucked away in a dull and quiet corner so he doesn’t get much to look at.   The original James Beaty was born in Ireland 1798 and came to Canada as young man.   He was a leather merchant, he established the newspaper ‘Toronto Leader’ in 1852,  and in 1867 he became a federal politician.

a black bronze statue of James Beaty, standing with a folded newspaper under his arm, about life sized,

below: Any idea what this might be?  Dancing figure?

small black and white stencil

below: It was a puddle jumping, slushy kind of day.  I’m sure that there are lots more of those ahead!

reflections of trees in a puddle on a path that has snow and ice on it was well

below:  There are always more paths to walk and more chances to see what’s around around the next corner and through the gate!

looking down a driveway that passes under a very high square arch to the street beyond. Cars are parked on the street and a pedestrian walks by

 

Happy New Year greetings to one and all!
May you walk many miles and explore many places.

a happpy new year sign hangs from the ceiling in a window, the view from the window is in the background, the Toronto skyline with the CN Tower and Lake Ontario

In the lead role, the hero of our story, the Tim Hortons coffee cup, a bright red Canadian icon with its usual black top and brown sleeve.  He gets around.  The city is his playground.  Whether it’s standing out against a minimalist black and white background….

an empty red Tim Hortons coffee cup sits on a white ledge on a white wall with a black door on either side of it.

or trying hard to fit into the colours of the city.

painting of stems with leaves, stylized, with a red Tim Hortons coffee cup at the bottom of one of the stems.

There are times when he’s on top of the world. King of the castle so to speak.

a red tim horton cup on a grey metal box on the street, traffic including a TTC streetcar are in the background

.. and he rides in style with his private seat on the TTC.

an empty red tim hortons coffee cup lies on a red TTC streetcar seat. No one is sitting there.

But it’s not always an easy life. Sometimes he’s down in the dumps facing hurdles that are too high.   He’s left feeling abandoned and neglected.  Vacant.

a tim hortons cup discarded onto a gravel section of a vacant lot, behind a chainlink fence

And he has even considered ending it all.

a red tim hortons cup standing on the ground beside a green rubbish bin

But he’s an urban guy.   He knows that life is what you make of it.

a red ti hortons coffee cup sits on a ledge, people around it, all with their backs to the cup

 And there are always others just like him that he can count on for a chat or for a shoulder to cry on.

Two red Tim Hortons coffee cups beside two water supply

He has many fine traits.  He can be a curious fellow but he knows his limits.

an empty red tim hortons cup lies discarded on the ground, beside yellow police tape

He knows that sometimes you have to be patient… but that doors usually open.

a red tim hortons coffee cup sits on the stone step in front of a double set of doors. on a street

He’s frequently warm and often ready to lend a hand.  In case of fire, he’s there!

a red tim hortons cup sits on a red shelf beside fire emergency equipment

You’ll find him in many places around the city, watching, waiting, and keeping an eye on the situation in his own quiet way.  He too is part of this city.

a red tim hortons coffee cup sits on top of a grey Honeywell meter outdoors

Casting by Tim Hortons.
No cups were disturbed in the making of this story.
Look for the sequel, ‘A Tim’s Christmas’ playing in a street near you.

 

a variety store on a corner of 2 streets in a mostly residential area. Green awning on one side of the building, an orange umbrella stands over the corner. sign on store says Sunshine Variety.

So excited!  So happy to be able to walk on the sunny side of the street and not be struck down by heat stroke!

below: You could say that we’re walking on cloud nine at the change of weather.

metal cutout figures of people walking, alongside a chainlink fence as part of an art installation

This past Sunday was a great day for a walk.  Luckily, it was also the day that Penny (author of ‘Walking Woman’ blog) and I had set aside to explore westward from Christie subway station.   Actually, we were going elephant hunting.  Well, it started off as an elephant hunt, but it turned into a treasure hunt – a treasure trove of Toronto quirkiness.

shadows of a railing along the side of a street with no sidewalk, just narrow space between the fence and the kerb, green bike lane. At the top of the photo is a shadow of a pedestrian walking, backpack on.

Eureka! As it turns out, it was also a great day for elephants to hang around outside.  This is Sally, a lifesize fiberglass elephant that stands nearly 3 metres tall.  She’s been standing here since 2003 and despite a little crack at the top of her trunk, she’s looking pretty good for her age.

a large white plaster? elephant stands in the frontyard of a house, tree beside it, bikes parked behind it. Residential street.

It was also a good day for gorillas to sit in trees.  A shout out to the man who was standing under this tree talking on his phone, oblivious to this furry creature above him.  The same man who gave me a strange look when I walked over with my camera, but then who shared a laugh with me when he too looked up and saw the monkey.

a large stuffed gorilla sits in the V formed by a tree trunk and a large branch of a tree, gorilla is wearing red boxing gloves.

Quirky treasures like woolly headed scarecrows.

a scarecrow in pink shirt and wooly hat stands high over a garden, between a garage and a fence in an alley.

below: Tartan columns holding up shady porches.

a shady porch at the front of a brick house with two columns painted in black and red tartan, or plaid.

below: Pet waint at Lansdowne subway station.

a sign that says pet waint on a sign that says Toronto in front of Lansdowne subway station entrance

below: A solitary dandelion in a lawn of astroturf. Even fake grass isn’t immune to the ubiquitous dandelion.

a single dandelion grows in a lawn of astroturf (fake grass) where it meets the concrete sidewalk

below:  We encountered many Little Free Library boxes.  This is not just a Toronto phenomenon and I’d have to say that it is beyond the “quirky” stage.  There is now a Little Free Library organization where you can register your library.  They claim to have over 40,000 registered libraries in over 70 countries.

a woman in a white baseball cap is reaching into a 'little free library' shelf of books outside a house

When I checked their website, I found a map of Toronto locations.   There are the libraries that are registered with the organization; I know that there are more than what is on this map.  What the map does show though is that these little libraries are numerous and that they are spread around a lot of the residential areas of the city.

map, from google maps, of the locations of little free libraries in the city,

below: Quick, get your Valentines Day roses while they’re still on sale!

a sign in front of a store selling plants and flowers that says Valentines Roses on sale, 10% off

below: The middle way, in case you’re lost?  There was a man standing there, the middle man so to speak, but he didn’t hang around long enough for me to get his picture.

two houses with a small walkway between them. Someone has written mid on one side and dle on the other so together they spell middle

below: Figures watching over a front yard, including angels and a buddha.

upper part of a statue of a young girl with decorated wall behind. Coloured picture of a biblical scene, 2 small angel statues and a buddha statue

below: And of course, what’s a Toronto walk without a lovebot?

lovebot and a lovebot nintendo gameboy on a wall above a graffiti bird with a word bubble that says everybody got a hungry heart

Near the end of our walk, we passed what is known as the Terracotta House.

house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them. upper part of front of house

This house was built in 1905 by John Turner, a builder.  In the late 1800’s terra cotta tiles went out of style and there was a glut of them on the market.   Mr. Turner was using up excess stock that he had on hand?  Or advertising his business?  Or just taking advantage of a cheap material?   Whatever his motives, the house is still standing and is still a unique piece of architecture more than 100 years later.  I wonder what his wife thought of it?

house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them.

detail of house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them.

May all your walks, or cycles, be on the sunny side …

part of a mural called Strength in Numbers, on a wall, a painting of two cyclists. One is a black man with dreadlocks and the other is a woman in a polka dot dress with a box on the back of her bike.

… no matter how long they are!

an old tree trunk has been turned into a support for many little arrow shaped signs that point the direction to cities around the world along with how many kilometres it is to those cities.

close up of a phone tucked inside a sandal, beside an orange yoga mat. People around are doing yoga outdoors,

5th annual yogathon at Yonge Dundas Square

A banner that says Yogathon rise for a cause hangs over a crowd who are standing with their arms in the air as part of the activity

A smiling woman outside, with sunglasses on, in a crowd of people

a group od people outside, all with bums up in the upward dog position (I think). All doing yoga in a yogathon

a young Asian man with his arms up in the air, doing yoga positions, with a large group of people

a young Asian woman with big sunglasses, palms together and fingers spread, doing yoga with a group of people outdoors

group of people on their mats doing yoga outside together

a man stands in the middle of a group taking a picture, the rest of the group is on the ground, on their yoga mats, doing yoga at a yogathon, outdoors,

a woman with her eyes closed in the downward dog yoga position as she participates in a yogathon with many others, outside

young black woman, close up of head and shoulders, with arms raised doing yoga

bare feet on yoga mats, legs in leggings, photo cropped so there are no bodies in the picture

a woman with her hands up at chin level, palms facing outwards

a group of people practising yoga outside

young asian man in sunglasses and white t-shirt

Two men, one in focus in the foreground and one fuzzy in the background. they are both wearing orange t-shirts that say yoga warrior on the back.

back of a woman's head, long braid down her back, arm up in air as she does yoga

people standing on yoga mats, hands together, palms pressing together looking like they are praying

a man in red shirt and blue pants is standing tall, others around him also standing in yoga position, a boy is sitting on the ground with his legs crossed and looking at something in his lap

a young boy is staring at something (it was a man and his dog, but those aren't in the picture)

#riseforacause | #yogathontoronto | #riseforacausetoronto

July is almost over – yes, summer is flying by.
So far, it’s been a good one!

below: Staying cool and having fun in the Yonge Dundas square fountains

young children play in the fountains at dundas square

below: A giant bite from a giant watermelon slice

a woman attempts to take a bite out of another woman who is wearing a giant watermelon costume

below: A Bay Street hug and kiss.

a photo shoot on Bay St., downtown Toronto. The bride and groom are kissing on the crosswalk in the middle of the intersection. People turning to look.

below: An impromptu serenade

a young man plays a guitar for a mother and daughter, sitting on the edge of a planter outside. Another woman is watching

below: Watching the entertainment at the waterfront – it’s magical

a magician entertains a crowd on the waterfront, many people are watching, men, women and kids

below: Making comfort at Afrofest, Woodbine Park

a couple are lounging on a large light blue foamy thing, amongst a crowd at an outdoor music festival

below: A Canada Day kiss.

A man in a red cowboy hat in the foreground on the right, a couple kissing on the left. People watching a show on a stage in the background with Canadian flags and a banner that says Happy Canada Day

below: Leave your message by the outdoor facilities!

Two lines of Johnny on the spots, facing each other, in the middle is a small message board on a metal pole, outdoors, green leaves above

below: A mother and daughter stroll on the waterfront

A mother and daughter in sarees walk hand in hand along the waterfront. Paddle wheeler boat for scenic tours behind them, mother on a phone

below: Posing, Pride fun

Pride weekend, two policemen with rainbow sunglasses and small rainbow flags pose with two men in drag, wearing green dresses, one in a curly blond wig and the other in a black wig

below: Blowing bubbles by the lake.

A family sits by the lake, two young sons in matching fedoras. Mother is yawning, father and one son have backs to camera, other son is blowing bubbles towards the camera

Happy August everyone!

Many legs and feet on a red carpet outdoors. People dressed for hot weather, only face in the picture, a young girl looks bored as she looks at the camera