Posts Tagged ‘bronze’

Right now, the section of Sheppard Avenue East between Yonge and Leslie streets is a mix of old, middle aged and new – a hodge podge of sizes, styles and uses.   It’s neither ugly nor pretty.  It’s not sure if it’s city or  suburban.

below: The intersection of Bayview and Sheppard from the southwest.

main road with traffic, coming to an intersection, with a tall building in the background

You’ll probably never hear anyone say, “Hey, let’s go for a walk along Sheppard”.  So why was I there?   I’ve driven along this stretch many times but I have never walked it.  Have I been missing something?

below: A short distance west of Bayview is the modern brick St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church, or ÁrpádHázi Szt. Erzsébet Római Katolikus Templom according to their sign.  Sunday mass is in Hungarian.   If you are driving past on Sheppard Ave, it’s easy to miss the simple steeple and cross that marks this building as a church.

steeple of St. Elizabeth of HUngary RC church, modern brick building with simple cross on the top

below: A large mosaic adorns one of the exterior walls.

mosaic on the exterior brick wall of St. Elizabeth of Hungary RC Church showing St. Elizabeth and two people kneeling beside her.

below: A small shrine is in front of the church.

small picture of Mary and baby Jesus in bright colours, on a small shrine in front of a church

below: The south entrance to Bayview subway station.  There are no escalators at this entrance  – instead, there is an elevator and a LOT of stairs.

south entrance to Bayview subway station with tall residential buildings behind and a construction site beside

below: The artwork at Bayview station is by Panya Clark Espinal, titled ‘From Here Right Now’.  Half an apple lies on the platform.

art on a subway platform, a line drawing of a very large apple that has been cut in half, on the wall and floor of the station

below: A salt or pepper shaker on the wall.  I’ve only shown two of the images in the series.  There are 24 in total and they are scattered throughout the  station.

art on a subway platform wall, a salt or pepper shaker in black on white tiles

below: There is a small park behind the south entrance to Bayview subway station, Kenaston Garden Parkette where I saw this tree in bud.   The first signs of spring are always wonderful to see.   Today it’s -12C outside so I hope the tree is okay.

pussy willow buds on a tree

below: This little park was designed by Wilk Associates Landscape Architecture and it incorporates a large number of rocks including a glacial boulder found on the site.   A bronze sculpture of a tree clinging to a rock  by Reinhard Reitzenstein is one of the features of the park.

small sculpture in a park of a sapling on a rock with its roots growing over the surface of the rock

below: If you stand in the park and look east,  you can’t miss the construction.

small sculpture in a park of a sapling on a rock with its roots growing over the surface of the rock - crane and construction site in the background

a convex mirror beside a black and yellow caution sign, condos are reflected in the mirror

the front and side of a large truck is in the foreground, right side, with a construction site beyond

Construction is everywhere on Sheppard Avenue.

below: All of the houses on Cusack Court are now gone.  Only the ‘No Exit’ sign remains.

a construction site where the houses on a a whole street have been demolished. The no exit sign for the street still remains., the site is behind a chainlink fence

a banner of the Canadian flag has fallen over and is lying on the ground behind a chainlink fence

below: The single family homes on the south side of Sheppard are slowly being demolished to make way for condo developments.  At the corner of Sheppard Ave East and Greenbriar  the proposed development of 184 residential units is the subject of an OMB prehearing on the 8 May 2017  (case number PL161113).

a boarded up house, split level, built in the 1950s, is in the foreground, condos and apartment buildings are behind it

below: Five houses are empty and waiting to be demolished to make way for two buildings, 11 and 6 storeys, mixed use (i.e. retail at street level) and incorporating a few townhouses.  In other words, the same old same old.

a boarded up house, split level, built in the 1950s, is in the foreground, condos and apartment buildings are behind it

below:  I said “same old same old” above because these types of buildings are popping up all over  many major roads that are outside the downtown core.  I suspect that Sheppard Avenue will be lined with structures like this one that’s already been built on the north side of Sheppard.

across the street is a 10 storey residential building, cars on the street, small trees in the foreground

Many people make the argument that there isn’t the density to support a subway along Sheppard.  I am of the opinion that if they’re not wrong now, they soon will be.   Development and public transit are dependent on each other, a symbiotic relationship if you will.   If you are affected by the construction along Eglinton for the new Crosstown line, you might agree that waiting for density only increases the problems and inconvenience (and cost?) of building new subway lines.   Also, have you seen photos of what the area around Davisville or Finch (and others) stations looked like when the subway opened there?   What is the required density?  Why do we want to funnel even more people towards the overcrowded Yonge line anyhow?   Is there an end to the questions we can ask?

And that’s another reason for my walk here…. to make note of the construction that is occurring whether we agree with it or not and to document some of  the changes.

below:  Two low rise apartment buildings.

two three storey brick apartment buildings with balconie in the front, taken from across the street

below: Once upon a time there were a lot of these little houses along Sheppard (even more so on the west side of Yonge Street).  At least one of these is still used as a family home but most are now offices or businesses.

a few small brick houses on the south side of Sheppard Ave

below: The north entrance to Bessarion station

looking across the street to the small north entrance to Bessarion subway station, with a small two storey plaza beside it

below: Looking east from Bessarion.  You can see as far as the condos on Don Mills Road.

looking west from Bessarion subway station towards Leslie Street and beyond,

   There is a reason that you haven’t seen many people in these pictures and it’s not because I waited for people to get out of the way.   Sheppard Avenue is a “major arterial road” under Toronto’s road classification system and traffic movement is its major function.  20,000+ cars are expected to use it every day.

I don’t like to say it, but why would you be walking along Sheppard anyhow?

below: Bayview Village parking lot at the NE corner of Bayview and Sheppard.

parking lot of a mall, Bayview village with surrounding buildings in the background.

As you might know, scroll down to the next blog post to see some pictures of Bessarion station!

 

Sculptures by Ken Lum.

I was walking up Bay Street yesterday when I stopped.  Out of the corner of my eye I had caught a glimpse of a sculpture that I had never seen before.  It is ‘Two Children of Toronto’ by Ken Lum, 2013.

Two children, a boy and a girl, sit opposite each other, some distance between them.

two children of toronto, a sculpture by Ken Lum, two children seated on pedestals, about 25 feet apart, along the side of a walkay, with a concrete building beside them. The children are looking towards each other

What you can’t see in the above picture is that there are words in bronze mounted on the wall.  The words say: “Across time and space, two children of Toronto meet”.  The two kids are looking towards each but not each other.

sculpture, Two Children of Toronto by Ken Lum in a downtownwalkway with a concrete bulding beside it, girl's face

below: Both children are wearing clothes from bygone days.

sculpture, Two Children of Toronto by Ken Lum in a downtownwalkway with a concrete bulding beside it, looking towards the girl, with Bay Street and Canadian Tire store behind

below: But the boy’s clothes are more Chinese looking.

sculpture, Two Children of Toronto by Ken Lum in a downtownwalkway with a concrete bulding beside it, a boy is seated on a concrete pedestal.

After my walk the other day, I started researching Ken Lum.  I discovered that he has another sculpture nearby, and fortuitously, it was one that I took some pictures of back in December.  It is “Peace Through Valour” located at the NW corner of City Hall property.  Winston Churchill is standing close by.

a sculpture called Peace Through valour by Ken Lum, outside on a snowy day. A square piece with a soldier standing guard at each corner. On top of the flat squsre is a model of a town in square blocks (no details on the buildings).

It commemorates the 93,000 Canadians who fought in the Italian campaign of WW2 and was dedicated in June 2016.   A Canadian soldier stands vigil at each corner of the memorial.  The top of the 7 foot x 7 foot square is a topographical map of Ortona, a town in Italy that was a scene of a battle at Christmas time in 1943.  Ortona is on the Adriatic coast and its streets were narrow which made it difficult for Allied forces to liberate the town from Nazi Germany.

two soldiers stand vigil at the corners of a memorial, sculptures,

Money for the sculpture was donated by the Italian-Canadian community.

two soldiers stand vigil at the corners of a memorial, sculptures,

The first time I saw the latest art installation in the Canary District I was in a car and only got a quick look at it.  I couldn’t figure out what the mess was all about.  It wasn’t until I went back on foot to take a closer look that I could appreciate what the artists were trying to do.

Located at Front and Bayview is the ‘Garden of Future Follies’ by Hadley Howes and Maxwell Stephens (Hadley & Maxwell and the Studio of Received Ideas).  It is a sculpture garden and there are 7 sculptures in this garden.  Each sculpture is a mashup of pieces from different sculptures around Toronto.  Aluminum foil ‘molds’ were used to replicate portions of over 80  different monuments and architectural features.  These portions were then put together in a whole new way.

public art installation on Front St East, various pieces of sculptures put together wrong, people with more than one face, legs in pieces, bronze pieces in 5 groupings on the sidewalk

From an interview with the artists:

“Sir John A. Macdonald’s nose is assembled along with the eyes of artists Frances Loring and Florence Wyle, the chin of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, and Northrop Frye’s hair; Jack Layton’s smile is one of seven that grace a figure lounging atop a reconstituted mantel from the library at Osgoode Hall; a bell from St. James Cathedral’s famous collection is perched on a cannon from Fort York; while nearby a suitcase from the Memorial to Italian Immigrants acts as a plinth for a collection of hats from various bronze heads.”

Now you can play spot the pieces!  But you won’t find any hockey sticks.

blog_man_three_heads_statue

So far I haven’t seen anyone taking selfies here but I think it would be a great spot for them!

part of a public art installation outdoors created by piecing together fragments of other statues cast in bronze , man and hammer

fragments of horse and feet statues embedded in the sidewalk

part of a public art installation outdoors created by piecing together fragments of other statues cast in bronze

part of a public art installation outdoors created by piecing together fragments of other statues cast in bronze, hands, top of a column and a laurel leaf

part of a bronze sculptture, a naked bum with a hand beside it.

part of a public art installation outdoors created by piecing together fragments of other statues cast in bronze

below: No one will ever call it beautiful, playful yes, but not pretty.

arrangement of statue pieces to form a sculpture garden, Garden of Future Follies by Hadley and Maxwell.

a face is upside down on a statue made from bits and pieces of other statues

 

Happy Mothers Day!

I didn’t write this blog post specifically for Mothers Day even though it’s about four women, Mary Pickford, Edith Cavell, Florence Wyle, and Frances Loring.  Just because they are women doesn’t mean that they are mothers, in fact only one is.  Mary Pickford adopted two children.  I also didn’t intend to write a blog post on the merits of motherhood vs childlessness so I am going to say nothing further on the subject!

The first woman can be found at the corner of University and Elm.  Here, there is a a bronze portrait bust of Mary Pickford that was sculpted by Eino Gira in 1983.

bust of Mary Pickford with her hand on her cheek, in front of Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, red brick hospital behind her in the photo

The plaque beside her says:

Born in 1893 in a house which stood near this site, Gladys Marie Smith appeared on stage in Toronto at the age of five.   Her theatrical career took her to Broadway in 1907 where she adopted the name Mary Pickford.  The actress’s earliest film “Her First Biscuits”, was released by the Biograph Company in 1909 and she soon established herself as the international cinema’s first great star.   Her golden curls and children’s roles endeared her to millions as “America’s Sweatheart”.  She was instrumental in founding and directing a major film production company and starred in over fifty feature-length films including “Hearts Adrift”, “Pollyanna” and “Coquette”.  For the last named film she received the 1929 Academy Award as the year’s best actress.

below: Just up the street, next to one of the entrances of Toronto General Hospital, is a memorial to British nurse Edith Cavell (1865-1915) and to all the Canadian women who served as nurses in WW1.  The memorial  was installed at University Ave and College St. in 1921 but later moved to its present location.

A memorial to British nurse Edith Clavell and the Canadian nurses of WW1, a bronze plaque mounted on a stone tablet. Picture of Clavell between two upright but wounded soldiers.

In memory of Edith Cavell and the Canadian nurses who gave their lives for humanity in the Great War.  “In the midst of darkness they saw light”

Cavell had been working in Brussels when WW1 broke out.  After the Germans invaded Belgium, Cavell helped wounded Allied soldiers escape to the Netherlands.  She was caught by the Germans, charged with treason, and executed on 12 October 1915.  She became the most well known woman casualty of WW1.

The above memorial was designed by Florence Wyle.  There is a memorial to Wyle and her partner, Frances Loring (also a sculptor), in a small park at the corner of Mt Pleasant and St. Clair.

below: bronze bust of Florence Wyle, by Frances Loring

bust of Florence Wyle, a Canadian sculptor, in a park

below: bronze bust of Frances Loring, by Florence Wyle

bust of Frances Loring, a Canadian sculptor, in a park, in the shade of a large tree

below: There are a couple of small statues by Wyle in the same park, including this one.
“Young Girl”, about 1938.

bronze statue titled "Young girl", showing a girl from the thighs up, holding up a cloth that is wrapped around her body but her breasts are bare

Loring and Wyle are responsible for a number of sculptures around the city.  Two of these used to be on the Bank of Montreal building at the northwest corner of King and Bay. It was built in 1887 by architects Marani and Morris and demolished in 1968.  The building featured a series of sculptures representing the Canadian provinces that were done by a number of artists.  Frances Loring sculpted the panels for Ontario and Quebec.  When the Bank of Montreal building was demolished, all of the panels were moved to the grounds of the Guild Inn in Scarborough where they remain today.

Quebec sculpture - A stone relief sculpture from a series on provinces of Canada, originally on a Bank of Montreal building in Toronto. They were rescued when the bank was demolished and moved to the grounds of the Guild Inn in Scarborough. By Canadian artist Frances Loring. A naked woman upright, with a cloth over her shoulders and looking upwards

A stone relief sculpture from a series on provinces of Canada, originally on a Bank of Montreal building in Toronto. They were rescued when the bank was demolished and moved to the grounds of the Guild Inn in Scarborough. By Canadian artist Frances Loring. Ontario is in the picture, as a man surrounded by symbols of industry such as large gears and architectural plans

The dapper, larger than life Alexander Wood has stood on his corner at Church and Alexander streets for 11years now.  The bronze statue by Del Newbigging was unveiled in May 2005.

Wood came to Upper Canada from Scotland and settled in Toronto (known as York at the time) in 1797.  He was a successful merchant, magistrate, and lieutenant in the York militia.  The plaque on the granite pedestal tells his story.

 

statue of Alexander Wood, a young man with long coat, and a hat in his hand. The statue is on a large square pedestal so his feet are close to eye level.  Below the statue is a plaque detailing his life as early settler of York, of being a gay, and of being involved in a scandal in 1810.

“Militia Officer, Businessman, Public Servant, Justice of the Peace, Gay Pioneer

Alexander Wood came to Canada in 1793, settled in York in 1797 and started a mercantile business, one of only three stores in York at that time. Within a year he was a lieutenant in the York Militia; he was appointed magistrate in 1800 and by 1805 was a Commissioner for the Court of Requests (a senior planning officer). He was involved in a homophobic scandal in 1810 and fled to Scotland, but in two years he was back in Canada and resumed his duties. In spite of ridicule and discrimination he had a successful career in public service: he was on the executive of nearly every society in York, often as treasurer; he was manager of several businesses and acted for clients in land transactions. Wood died in 1844 at the age of seventy-two while in Scotland. The British Colonist paper called him one of Toronto’s ‘most respected inhabitants’.”

***

There is another bronze plaque on the back of the pedestal, complete with shiny bits.  This plaque adds more details to the story of the 1810 scandal that Wood got himself into.

plaques on a statue. The top is of a man with his pants lowered, the bottom is the story of the scandal that led to Alexander Wood having to leave Canada.  The bare bum on the plaque is shiny from repeated rubbing by passers by.

“1810 The Scandal
In 1810 a woman reporting a rape to Magistrate Wood said she had scratched her rapist. Wood inspected several suspects privately, requiring them to undress. To avoid the scandal caused by his unconventional behaviour, Wood fled to Scotland. After two years he returned to Canada but suffered ridicule and discrimination for the rest of his life.

Alexander Wood 1772-1844
Militia Officer, Businessman, Public Servant, Justice of the Peace, Gay Pioneer”

***

In 1810, word had spread quickly around the town (of 700) and Wood had become known as the “Inspector General of Private Accounts”.    The worst of the scandal blew over while Wood was in Scotland; he was back in York in 1812 and resumed all his previous occupations, including magistrate. At that time, “molly’ was a derogatory word for a gay man and he was nicknamed Molly Wood.

In 1826 he purchased 50 acres of land east of Yonge St. and north of Carlton St. in the neighbourhood where his statue now stands.  It is also the “Village”.  In Wood’s time it was referred to as ‘Molly Wood’s Bush’.  Wood remained in Toronto until 1842 at which time he returned again to Scotland where he died two years later.

A walk towards Davisville subway station on a grey day.

below: At the corner of Mt Pleasant and Davisville stands the sculpture ‘Wind Bird’ by Sorel Etrog.  Etrog (1933-1914) was a Canadian artist, writer and sculptor.

 

a bronze sculpture of a thin figure with short arms reaching up. stylized, almost abstract. no facial features on the head that seems to be looking upwards

I have passed this little figure many times and today I finally decided to take some pictures of it and make a walk of it.  I have always thought that she was a forlorn little creature.   With her arms outstretched, empty,  reaching for something that never appears.  She needs a hug or at least a  warm scarf to keep the chill away.

below: After leaving Wind Bird empty handed yet again, I walked west towards Yonge Street.  Off the street and amongst some trees I saw this sculpture.   It is one that I have never noticed before.  A collection of metal pieces is suspended from the top of a lopsided metal frame, more parallelogram than rectangle.

rust coloured metal sculpture in front an apartment building. The sculpture is a large metal frame that looks like a cube but made of parallelograms and from the top is suspended a bunch of metal pieces.

below: On closer inspection, the metal bits are actually flat human forms with their heads in the center and feet flung outwards as if spinning around a central axis.  I know enough physics to know that either centrifugal force or centripetal forces (or both) are at play here.  But I don’t know enough to know the right answer.

close up of a sculpture of flat metal people shapes, forming a circle with their heads, their feet sticking out like in a centrifuge.

below:  Next door are these two metal shapes.  There isn’t much to it, is there?  What it does have is it’s own little park area and walkway.  I didn’t have to get my shoes muddy if I wanted to get closer.

A sculpture that is just two rectangular metal boxes upright, joined together and on a slight angle. In a small park in front of an apartment building at 141 Davisville in Toronto

below: There is a path that ran on the west side of the above building, 141 Davisville, to Balliol Street.   This tall sculpture stands beside the path.  I am not sure who the artist is.  Is it a couple embracing? Or a totem pole of abstract forms?  Or just something that looked good to the artist’s eye?

tall columnar sculpture somewhat resembling a totem pole, all in grey, beside some trees in front of an apartment building.

below:  Next, from across Balliol, this sculpture caught my eye.  It is ‘Grand Odalisque’ by Sorel Etrog.

Grand Odalisque, a sculpture by Sorel Etrog sits on a wood pedestal in front of the entrance to an apartment building.

below: I’m rarely satisfied with photos taken of public art in front of buildings.  The background is always to cluttered or messy.   I played with various angles for ‘Grand Odalisque’ and I found this one.  The sculpture is quite phallic now that I look at it.

Grand Odalisque, a sculpture by Sorel Ertog sits on a wood pedestal . Looking across Balliol from behind the sculpture. The scene across the street is a few men standing in front of a construction site where a new condo is being built

The phallic nature of the sculpture is possibly ironic .  Odalisque has a few meanings and connotations, but all involve women.  In fact, ‘La Grande Odalisque’ is a famous painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres in 1814.  In French, ‘grande’ is the feminine form of the adjective and ‘grand’ is the masculine.  Ingres used ‘grande’ for his female nude and Etrog used ‘grand’ for his sculpture.  Is there a connection?  Or just my imagination?

below: La Grande Odalisque.  You’ll have to visit the Louvre in Paris if you want to see the painting.

picture of the painting 'La Grande Odalisque' by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1814

The next stop along Davisville was the Al Green Sculpture Garden.  Al Green was a builder,  a founder of Greenrock Property Management, and in later life a sculptor.   It makes sense then that the small garden that bears his name, and is home to some of his sculptures, is between two of Greenrock’s apartment buildings.

below: ‘Leaning Torso’ by Al Green.

Al Green sculpture

below: ‘Embrace’ by Al Green

Al Green sculpture, The Embrace

below: ‘Landing Sculpture’ by Carl Lander (aka Carl Bucher), 1970.  They look like little red spaceships hovering in the air, or as the name suggests, coming in for landing.  Father and son alien ships come for a visit.
Lander (1935-2015) was a Swiss artist who lived in Canada for a couple of years in the early 1970s.

sculpture in front of an apartment building, two red shiny things that look like alien spaceships

below: Another sculpture by Sorel Etrog in the foreground.  Behind it is ‘Greenwin’ by Maryon Kantaroff, commissioned in 1973 by Greenwin Developments.

two tall thin sculptures, one by Sorel Etrog in the foreground and a greenish bronze by Kantaroff in the background.

And last, and very definitely least….

below:  You tell me.  Christmas balls on top of a fence?

three silver Christmas ball ornaments are attached to the top of a chain link fence

below:  Once you’ve figured out the whys and the wherefores of the above, you’ll be happy to know that there is another mystery.  A bagel?  A donut?  Squirrel food? Bird food?  But also a  ring?
These are on the fence that runs between Yonge St and the subway line near Davisville station.

a moldy partially eaten bagel or donut sits on top of a fence pole on a chain link fence

‘Solid State’ an exhibit of sculptures made from found material that are then cast in bronze, by An Te Liu at the Toronto Sculpture Garden on King Street East.  This is one of the Nuit Blanche installations that is still on view.  It is co-produced by MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art) and the City of Toronto.

 

below: Three sculptures.  From left to right are: 1. Meta-matic, 2. Tourist, and 3. Ascension

Three sculptures by An Te Liu in a sculpture garden, on pedestals in front of an ivy covered wall.

below: Vegetable, Mineral

A metal sculpture by An Te Liu on a grey stone pedestal with another grey stone behind it

below: Remains of the Day

A metal sculpture by An Te Liu lying on a flat grey stone.