Posts Tagged ‘city’

What to do on a cold day when the wind is vicious and blows right through you?   It blows through my hat, my ears and my brain.  It makes my head hurt.  Not the ideal walking day even with all my winter layers on.   I have been thinking about my walk along Sheppard Avenue and some of the issues with public transit and while doing so I realized that I had never been on the Scarborough Rapid Transit.  With all the talk about Sheppard subway vs LRT, I decided that maybe I should check it out.  So instead of a walk, I went for a ride and took the SRT to McCowan and back.

First I had to get to the SRT which starts at Kennedy subway station.

reflections of a woman in a red jacket sitting on the subway, reflected in the window beside a woman who is standing on the platform

At Kennedy I was a lost tourist as I searched for the route between the subway and the SRT.  Here the SRT trains run above street level so it took a couple of escalators and some stairs to reach the platform.

below: Standing on the platform and waiting for the train.  Kennedy station is at Kennedy & Eglinton and I think that this is the view looking east from there.

SRT tracks curve away from platform, outside, apartment building in the background, some snow on the tracks

below: The train arrives.

platform at Kennedy SRT station with people waiting as a blue train arrives

below: Leaving Kennedy station.   The first part of the route is north and runs parallel to the CNR & Stouffville GO line train tracks.     The red and white cars are the original colour from when the SRT opened in 1985.  In 2015 the TTC began painting the cars blue to match the colour scheme that now goes with “Line 3” on the TTC maps.  They also began two switch over the name of the SRT to Line 3 Scarborough.

the Scarborough RT train as it leaves Kennedy station, the track curves so you can see the front of the train out the window

below: I wasn’t the only tourist on the train!  After being on the subway, it felt a bit like being on a toy train.  The cars are smaller.  The trains are powered by linear induction motors which are quite different from conventional motors.  They push themselves along the tracks using alternating flat magnets.   That’s a very simplistic description of the science of induction motors but I’m sure that you can use google to find more information if you are interested!

looking down the length of an SRT car, two young women are looking out the back window. seats down either side, red on one side and blue on the other

below: The Scarborough RT,  also referred to as TTC line 3, covers  6.4 km on its route from Kennedy station to McCowan station.  There are six stops, Kennedy, Lawrence East, Ellesmere, Midland, Scarborough Centre, and McCowan.  Note the blue colour on the map!

a map of the SRT route is on the wall behind two red seats of an SRT car, view out the window is not easy to see but it is the platform at Lawrence East station

below: Ellesmere station. Apparently it is the least used station in the system, less even than Bessarion.

interior wall of Ellesmere station, covered (plastic?) glass wall, large black letters saying Ellesmere, and a bright red bench, snow on the curved translucent roof

faded TTC symbol on the exterior of a rapid transit vehicle

below: Looking out the back window.  The tracks are standard gauge whereas the subway runs on tracks that are wider so the TTC can’t run their subway cars on these tracks.

looking out the dirty window at the back of a SRT vehicle, tracks and some cityscape

below: This is the view at McCowan station, the end of the line. Although it was a very quiet ride to McCowan, the train was full on the ride back to Kennedy with Scarborough Centre being the most crowded station.   It took 40 minutes to go from McCowan to Bloor/Yonge.

a SRT train is stopped at McCowan station,

***

blurry person standing on the platform at Greenwood station, with reflections of people sitting on the subway

reflections in the subway window along with people sitting on the train

I thought that I would see if I could find door pictures today.  When I first stepped outside, I wasn’t sure what that meant.   I just knew that it was a beautiful day and that I would find an answer to my doorish quest.   “Que sera sera” as Doris Day once sang.

Well, what is a door?

door: nounA hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier at the entrance to a building, room, or vehicle, or in the framework of a cupboard.

doorway: noun. An entrance to a room or building through a door.

Well duh, I think most of us know what a door is, at least in the literal sense.   As an image just a door on its own is often blah, B O R I N G.   There are exceptions of course, but if that was all I was looking for today, I wouldn’t be taking many pictures.

an ornate double door with windows in both doors, red brick house, stairs to the doors. closed.

I also think that most of us realize that “door” is so much more.   We find them intriguing. Door metaphors abound.  Open doors are opportunities and invitations, think “My door is always open”, or  “When one door closes, another one opens”.  Closed doors are mysteries, obstacles, or dead ends.   We talk about not knowing what goes on behind closed doors.

below: Closed for good. No mystery here, just a dead end.
With a smile for being upside down.

the front door of a small apartment complex that is about to be demolished. There is a blue metal fence in front of it with a danger due to demolition sign on it. The sign is upside down.

A closing door has a slightly different imagery – “slam the door in his face”, or “show someone the door”, or “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”.   Can you picture the scene in a movie where the hero walks into a strange room only to have the door close behind him.  Can you see the look on his face when he hears it being locked from the other side?

Doors, and their cousins gates, are both entrances and exits.    Entrances to buildings and rooms.  Entrances to other worlds such as “at death’s door”.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to illustrate ‘entrances to other worlds’.  

below: But maybe this entranceway leads to something exotic?    That’s a better explanation than ‘someone went to Home Depot and bought lots of cheap corrugated plastic’.   It juts out like a sore thumb from an otherwise well maintained, nice looking house.

an old brick house painted turquoise with green trim. wrought iron fence in front. A corrugated plastic covering has been made to cover the entrance to the basement door. the covering comes out from the house to beyond the fence, all the way to the sidewalk

Doors are associated with privacy, protection, and control.   We feel more secure when we lock our doors.   Closed doors, especially locked ones, can keep things in or keep things out.  Closed doors separate, open doors connect.

below: Waiting at the door.   I can’t decide if he’s patient or impatient.  Perhaps bored?

a white metal door on a white concrete wall. A bright ornage line drawing of a man standing in front of the door with his arms crossed.

 

Back doors are private, hidden from view.  The expression “through the back door” suggests sneaking around.  Front doors are part of the face that we show the world.   They can be welcoming or not, a lot like the people who live behind them. 

below: Or they can just be a long way up.  How are your knees feeling today?

a small narrow one storey house. Many steps to get up the hill to the front door. The incline has been covered with patio stones.

side yard and side entrance to a wood clapboard house with one window on the side at ground level.

below: A bright red chair brightens the picture.   I wonder who usually sits there?

a bright red chair sits on the sidewalk beside the entrance to a building. The door has a large window which is covered by a curtain on the inside

below: Another bit of cheerful red.

a small house painted blue with white trim, a bright red door.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.”

crooked concrete steps and metal railing lead to a front door.

below: Another closed door waiting for demolition.
How many people have passed through those doors since 1913?

blog_blue_church_door_1913

below: I’ve always been fascinated by the sign above this door.

an older woman in a bright red jacket stands on a corner waiting for a green light. On the other side of the street is the Emerald Isle Seniors Society

below: This door seemed to be out of place on the Danforth… it’s an entrance to the apartment above, not to the hair salon on the left.   I like to think that she keeps watch over the doorway.

blog_etched_glass_beauty_salon

below: These two doors (especially the green one) caught my eye as I walked along the Danforth.   On my first pass I had the wrong lens on my camera.  After changing lenses, I doubled back.   Just as I was getting ready to take a picture of the two doors together, the one on the right opened.  Dilemma – to shoot or not to shoot.  I’m not brazen enough to shoot someone in the face so to speak; this over the shoulder and hope it works shot is only second rate (or third!).   I only include here so I can briefly go off on a tangent and mention my #1 problem with door shots.  People.   Pointing my camera at someone’s house often makes me feel uncomfortable and I have no desire to have any kind of confrontation, even a friendly one.

two doors, one faded green and one greyish black . a man with a rather large stomach is standing in front of the latter.

below: What to do with leftover tiles.

a door with 1242 on it, brownish colour, green door frame, the wall on one side is covered with small mosaic tiles in squares

below: A contrast in colours.  The door is in the picture but it’s become just an element in the composition.

a green door is beside a large store window. The interior wall is painted yellow, the sun is shining in the window and the blinds are partially open and partially down

below: This is the last of the Danforth door photos that I took today.   Again, the doors are just elements; the mailboxes provide the focus and the interest.

three black mailboxes with mail in them, between a white door and a black door.

below: Doors are part of a building.   What you can do with a door is often limited by the structure of the house.

a small white house with a large tree in front of it, winter, but no snow

Having said that,  if you walk around the city there is a lot of variety.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through all the permutations and combinations that I saw today!  I’ll limit myself to a few (sometimes I can do that!).

below: A few stone steps lead to a simple white entrance.

a red brick house with a white rectangular doorway. driveway beside the house leads to a garage with a white door.

below: A study in compare and contrast – the wonderful result of semis where next door neighbours with dissimilar tastes, habits, and decorating ideas share a common wall.

a semi divided house, on the left, a bright yellow door. On the right, an open porch with lots of clutter.

Many steps and many hours later I find myself nearing the end of this post.  It’s been a bit of a ramble, both in the route that I walked today and in the thought processes that helped create this post.    I hope that I have entertained you at least a little bit.    And with one final photo I will close the door on this post.    Last one out turns out the lights.  Adios.

looking down a street to an T-intersection. Two houses across the intersection with a large truck parked in front of them. A man is sitting in the truck and looking at the camera

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”  John Barrymore

Tucked into a space between City Hall and the Court House, is a construction site.  Up until recently it was a parking lot.  Soon it will be a new Court House.  Like all construction sites in Toronto, it is surrounded by hoardings to separate it from the streets and sidewalks.
a yellow digger, not working at the moment, sits in a vacant lot, slightly snow covered, the back of Toronto City Hall is in the background.

On two sides of the lot, the hoardings have been covered with a mural that was commissioned by Infrastructure Ontario.  It is “Picturing the Ward”and it is an exhibit about the area that once existed here, The Ward.  It was an area where many immigrants first settled.  It was roughly in the rectangle formed by College St., Yonge St., Queen St., and University Ave.   In the 1830’s it was home to Blacks escaping slavery, it saw waves of Irish, Eastern European Jews, Italians, and Chinese to name a few.

On the west side (along Centre Avenue), there are old photos, newspaper clippings, and stories of individuals who once lived in the area.   The content was collected and curated by the Toronto Ward Museum, a new ‘museum without walls’  in the city.   PATCH (part of The STEPS Initiative) designed and installed the mural.  The stories are in both English and French.

below: A segment of the mural with a story titled “Hungering for Success”.   It is the story of Edward and Donna Pasquale nee Bernardo.  Both were born in Italy and both were brought to the Ward by their parents.  They met here and married in 1918.  Edward and his brother Pamphilo founded Pasquale Brothers store on Elm Street.   During WW2 Pamphilo spent three years imprisoned in an internment camp in Petawawa along with other Italian, German, and Japanese Canadians that the government considered enemies of the state.  Edward remained in Toronto running the store.

part of larger mural, small tree branch in front, tall office building behind, mural has old photos in blue tones as well as a lot of words about the history of the area

below: The newspaper story from ‘The Toronto Star’ of 3rd October 1907 describes the death of Mrs. Hazleton, a widow with two children, who was hit by a car at Yonge & Bloor.  The car was driven by Mr. F.E. Mutton.  Yes, back then the driver of the car was named in the newspaper.

old photos in blue tones on a mural, along with a picture of an old newspaper clipping describing an automobile accident at Yonge & Bloor in which someone died.

below: The middle section is a collage of cyanotypes (an old photographic process which results in blue pictures) produced by PA System (aka Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson) .  The images are of artifacts uncovered during the excavation of the area along with some heirlooms contributed by former Ward residents.  A couple of CBC people were braving the cold that day too!

part of mural on a snowy corner, photos in blue tones, a CBC cameraman and reporter are standing on the sidewalk in front of the mural

below: The south side of the hoardings are along Armoury Street.  This section is called, These Stories Are Not Unlike Your Stories. Old photographs of the area have been reproduced in shades of blue.  Orange ‘bubbles’ contain stories.  Most of the photographs are from the City of Toronto Archives although some come from private sources.

part of a larger mural in Toronto, blue photos, with words written in large capital letters, These Stories Are Not Unlike Your Stories

below: On one side, the pictures are printed in reverse and the accompanying words are in French.  The French stories are translations of the English ones.

part of larger mural, reprints in blue tones of historical photos from city archives of ould buildings from the part of the city called The Ward that was demolished in the 1950's to make way for new City Hall

below: The people who lived in The Ward were poor and their housing was sub-standard.  In 1911 a report by the city’s Department of Health described how bad the living conditions were for the people here.  Largely because of that report, demolition of the area started soon after to make space for office towers and government buildings.  I’m not sure how long parts of The Ward survived, but it was in the 1950’s that the original Chinatown along Elizabeth Street was demolished to make way for Nathan Phillips Square.

part of larger mural, reprints in blue tones of historical photos from city archives of ould buildings from the part of the city called The Ward that was demolished in the 1950's to make way for new City Hall

below: Some of the orange bubbles contain quotes from descendants of former residents of the area.  The bottom quote is: “My mom use to say, ‘We were all poor.  No one had anything.  It was normal.  Everyone was in the same position so we didn’t worry about it too much.'”  by Brian Banks, grandson of John & Mary Colestock, former residents.

 

part of larger mural, reprints in blue tones of historical photos from city archives of ould buildings from the part of the city called The Ward that was demolished in the 1950's to make way for new City Hall

below: There is still a lot of work to be done on the site!   The mural will be on view until at least October of next year. If you are interested in the details of the mural, more about the people featured, or the events described, then the best place to start looking is the section of the Toronto Ward Museum website that is devoted to this project.

two red diggers on top of a pile of dirt on a snow covered vacant lot, large multirise buildings in the background

This is another meandering blog post… a post about being out and about on yet another wonderful autumn day, going wherever my feet and eyes take me.

below: The first picture of my day was this intriguing wall made of old wooden doors.  Bathurst Street.

a tall narrow wall about three storeys high made of old white doors.

below: A small elicser mural tucked away at the end of a parking lot.   The man has his back to the viewer but I can’t figure out what’s behind him or what he might be doing.

small mural on a fence, a man's head is back to the viewer

below: The leaves have fallen off the vines to reveal a yellowish creature with his baseball cap askew.

graffiti painting of a yellow animal like creature wearing a blue and yellow baseball cap. The creature is yellow. On a red brick wall, with spots on its back

below: Toronto’s tallest icon framed by a construction crane.

CN Tower in the distance, condo construction in the foreground, with a red crane

below: And on a similar note, a vacant lot cleared and ready for the next stage of its life.

a box beside a fence that has been scrawled over with blue spray paint. Behind it is a fence around a vacant empty lot. There are some small trees growing in front of the fence.

below: No more cranes here (and not many vacant lots either for that matter).  A view showing how much development there has been on the south side of the railway tracks.   Fort York is between the tracks and the condo towers.

a VIA Rail train passes by on one set of many tracks, in the background is Fort York and then a series of new condo buildings.

below: And what’s this? An old blue canoe beached on the tracks?

looking at the scene from a above, a blue canoe has been used to plant plants in. It lies across an old railway track, a chainlink fence separates the canoe from the main railway tracks that still function.

below: Standing guard over Bathurst Street, Fleet street and the Lakeshore, is one larger than life gold replica of a Royal Newfoundland Regiment and his fallen silver American foe. A sculpture by Douglas Copeland entitled “A Monument to the War of 1812”, a nod to nearby Fort York and the history of Toronto.

Douglas Copeland's sculpture of two tin soldiers, a gold one standing with backpack on and rifle in hand, and a silver one lying on its back on the ground, uniforms circa War of 1812, seen from the back, figures are much large than life sized and they are on a corner at an intersection, Bathurst St. and Fleet St.

below: My favorite example of bad grammar still exists!  Off-leash dog area at Coronation Park.

a wood fence around a dog park, in autumn with lots of leaves on the ground, on the fence is a white sign with black letters re the Toronto municipal code 608,

A beautiful day in the park.  A slight November nip was in the air but it was sunny and the sky was a brilliant shade of blue.  Coronation Park is named in honour of the coronation of King George VI who was crowned on 12 May 1937.  At that time nearly 150 trees were planted here.

Apparently, an oak tree was planted to honour the king.  Surrounding it, a ring of silver maples was planted.  This was to symbolize the countries of the British Empire.  I wish I had known that bit of trivia before I walked through the park because now I am curious if these trees are still there.   Some of the trees are quite substantial.

below: Long shadows for the morning sun, low in the sky.

morning in the park, autumn, trees with some leaves still on, many leaves on the ground, wood railing fence, shadows, Lake Ontario, path, Coronation Park.

below: Looking back towards the city center, past the empty docks of the National Yacht Club to the residences on Stadium Road.   A small group of people were making a video in the dog park.

morning in the park, autumn, trees with some leaves still on, many leaves on the ground, wood railing fence, shadows, Lake Ontario, path, Coronation Park. a small group of people in the distance are filming a video

below: This Victory Peace Monument was unveiled on 14 November 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War 2 and honour those who died in that war.   It was designed by John McEwen; the bronze pieces resemble the bow of a ship.

Metal partial cylindrical shapes on a concrete circular monument. World War 2 memorial

below: On the inside of one of the bronze pieces is a map of eastern Canada and the Atlantic Ocean.  Each boat on the map represents a ship or U-boat that was sunk during the war.  The Canadian ships are located on the map at “their last known position”.  I hadn’t realized that so many ships were lost so close to North America.

relief map of eastern Canada and the Atlantic Ocean, in bronze on a WW2 memorial. Little ships are shown on the ocean where they were sunk during WW2.

Trees were also planted to represent the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (WW1) and its units as well as those who fought in the Fenian Raids of 1866-1870, the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, and the Boer War (1899-1902).  Once upon a time, brass plaques were placed at the foot of each tree to indicate the units the tree stood for.  If any plaques remain, I didn’t see them.

below: Another memorial is close by, a  “Memorial to Lieut. Tommy Hobbs gallant British Canadian soldier in the Great War 1914 – 1918.  Died on active service November 10, 1940.  Beloved and remembered by his comrades.”   Tommy Hobbs was involved in the creation of this park.

a memorial in a park made of a small pile of rocks. The top rock is inscribed, memorial to Tommy Hobbs, died 1940, in Coronation Park

below: A little farther on I noticed another rock, one that was painted red.   The bronze plaque on the rock says that 20 trees have been planted here in commemoration of the G20 Summit held in Toronto in 2010.

a large rock with a bronze plaque on it. The rock has been crudely painted red

below:  A 30 foot tall Inukshuk stands looking out over Lake Ontario.  Approximately 50 tonnes of mountain rose granite was used to create the Inukshuk, which was made by Inuit artist Kellypalik Qimirpik from Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

a tall stone inuksuk on a raised mound of warth

below: Streetcars across the baseball outfield.

Looking across the outfield of a baseball diamond towards a street. A line of mature trees by the street with two red and white TTC streetcars on the street, condo towers behind.

below: A closer look at that brown octagonal structure in the middle of the streetcar loop for the 509 and 511 cars.  Apparently it’s the Queens Wharf lighthouse, one of a pair built in 1861.

a brown structure, the Queens WHarf Lighthouse, sits on a patch of grass beside TTC streetcar tracks in front of a new condo.

The lighthouses marked the entrance to the Toronto Harbour from 1861 until the Western Channel was built in the early 1900’s.   This one stood on Queen’s Wharf which used to be at the foot of Bathurst Street, adjoining Fort York.  The wharf was built by the military; in 1833 it was a pier 42 feet long.    The pier no longer exists; a hundred years ago it was buried under what is now Bathurst Quay.

below:  A picture of an historical map (1886 or 1887) of the area showing Toronto Harbour, Fort York and the railway lands.  Queen’s Wharf is the pier on the left.   At that time, Front Street was the southern most street in this part of the city.   All the present day development south of the train tracks is on reclaimed land.

picture of historical map of part of Toronto Harbour from 1886, showing Fort York, Front St., and Bathurst St., and the railway lands and wharves into Lake Ontario,

below:   Taken from google maps, what the layout of the city looks like now.   As you can see, there have been many changes!

present day map taken from google maps of Coronation Park and Bathurst Quay including Fort York

Lake Ontario in the foreground, trees in Coronation Park in the middle and Toronto skyline in the distance with the CN Tower and a large Canadian flag.
a sticker of a rainbow in a heart shape. A small purple heart is in the center, then a blue heart is drawn around it, moving outwards in rainbow colours.

Just before Dupont Street ends at Dundas West, it passes under a set of railway tracks…
and of course another underpass means another mural.

It is an Art Starts project “honouring the Junction and paying homage to its industrial past rooted in the railway and celebrating its development as a diverse neighbourhood oriented community. ”  Lead artists Joshua Barndt and Jamie Bradbury along with 5 youth artists took 4 weeks to complete the mural.

mural on a concrete wall beside a sidewalk, just before the road goes under an underpass - large purple triangel, drawing of a locomotive and a couple of gears

The mural was funded by the City of Toronto’s Graffiti Transformation Program.

mural on a concrete wall beside a sidewalk, just before the road goes under an underpass, gears, plus a stylized industrial machine in black and blue

mural on a wall showing a picture of worker in a hard hat, reaching upwards, standing on a pile of bicycle wheels.

mural on the wall of an underpass, in the Junction, on Dupont, a line drawing of a railway car, with a large blue bike superimposed on top of it, a person holding a stop sign,

Cycling is used as a theme and as a way of traveling from the past to the future in the mural.

mural on the walls of an underpass, orange metal bridge, mural of cyclists riding their bikes

mural under a bridge of people riding bikes

a wall of an underpass curves as it exits the railway bridge. on the curve is the continuation of a mural that was painted on the walls of the underpass. Windmills and bikes.

mural on a curved concrete wall, beside an intersection, showing windmills with bike parked in front, and a forest with some animals in it, fox and wolf

below: The final panel in the mural, a future friendly city.

part of a mural, the word city is used to make a futuristic urban scene in blue tones. The future is friendly.

logo of two black gears side by side with the words Art Starts written across the middle of them. a small graffiti painting of a girl's head with a heart above it

The Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway, commonly just called the Gardiner, has been in the news a lot lately.  This 18 km stretch of road between the city and the lake was completed in 1965 after years of planning and building.  At the time that it was built, Toronto’s waterfront was largely industrial and there wasn’t much objection to having a 4 to 6 lane expressway, with many sections elevated, built there.   The railway had begun the process of dividing the city from its waterfront a hundred years previously.

As the city changes and grows, more and more people live in the downtown core.  Industry has moved out and residents have moved in.  For so long the land south of the Gardiner as well as under the Gardiner was neglected, especially from a city planning point of view.  But now, the city is looking differently at that swath of land.  The far east elevated section between the Don Valley Parkway and Leslie Street was demolished in 2001 and there have been calls for the next section (Jarvis to the DVP) to be demolished as well.   There has been some controversy as to whether to demolish it or move it… and if move it, where to? I am not even sure what the plans are at the moment.   On the other hand, the western section of the elevated expressway (Strachan to Spadina) will remain standing.  Work is underway to refurbish the structure – the city doesn’t want any more stories of pieces of concrete dropping onto cars beneath!  Plans are being implemented to use the land under the Gardiner much more efficiently.  To make it work for the public.

The Bentway is the name that has been given to this new park, or public space, beneath the Gardiner Expressway from Strachan 1.4 kilometres east to Spadina. The first phase is due to open Canada Day 2017 and it involves the stretch between Strachan and Bathurst.  Many of you have probably driven on the Gardiner but do any of you know what is under it now?  Let’s take a look.

below: The Gardiner passes over Strachan Avenue which  in turn passes over the railway tracks.

bridge over a street, many orange and black construction cones down the center of the road, some pedestrians on the sidewalk

below:  On Strachan Ave looking west.   Condo development in this area has extended right to the railway line.  The Exhibition GO train station is in the distance.  You can also see the Gardiner to the left of the tracks.  Here the north side of the under part of the expressway is walled in and the enclosed space is used by Exhibition Place.  At this time there is no plan for the Bentway to extend this far; I have used this photo to provide more context as to the location of the park.

railway tracks in the center of the picture, condos on the right. On the left is the elevated Gardiner expressway, but under it is a concrete wall that makes it look more like a concrete building than a road

below: A closer look at the Gardiner on the west side of Strachan Avenue.  Maybe there is potential to expand the park westward? to Exhibition GO station? And by the way, those concrete structures holding up the expressway – those are called ‘bents’ and that is why the park is called what it is.

a dirt road runs alongside the Gardiner Expressway, some condos in the distance

below: This photo was taken as I stood on Garrison Common and looking towards Strachan Avenue.  This will be the western end of the new park. You can see the underside of the Gardiner as it passes over Strachan Ave which in turn is also a bridge.  This bridge once crossed the Grand Trunk Railway tracks that were built in the 1850s.  New entrances to the park are planned that incorporate the present sloped embankment of the bridge.

The elevated Gardiner Expressway passes over Strachan Ave which in turn has a bridge over what used to be a rail line. The bottom part of the bridge is covered with graffiti. The whole area is a construction site at the moment.

below: A quick aside:  It’s a slightly different angle, but here is a photo of the Strachan Avenue bridge from 1959, before the Gardiner was built.  I suspect that there has been upgrades made to the bridge since then.  Photo credit: R.L. Kennedy, found online (also a good source for the history of the Grand Trunk Railway in Toronto).  Garrison Common is to the right.

vintage photo from 1959, GTR tracks pass besidde Garrison Common park and under the bridge at Strachan Ave

Garrison Common is the green space surrounding Fort York.  It will abut (be continuous with?) the new Bentway.  Fort York is a National Historic Site and on its 43 acre site are original buildings from the War of 1812 as well as an 1813 battle site.  Did you know that the Americans beat us here in 1813 and controlled the city of York (as Toronto was known then) for a few days?

below: The new Fort York Visitors Centre is now open. There is still being work done both inside and outside, but it is open to visitors. For so long the fort was hidden away and difficult to get to; it is nice to see it receiving more attention.

entrance to Fort York, under the Gardiner, still a construction site but nearing completion

below: Jake from Park People, one of the groups helping to design the new park, stands under the Gardiner as he talks to a group of us on a tour.    Here, by Fort York, the Gardiner is the equivalent of 5 storeys from ground level, the highest it reaches as it crosses the city.

a man is standing in front of a group of people on a walking tour, he is standing under the Gardiner Expressway where it is 5 storeys above ground level.

below: Standing on the grounds of Fort York.  The Bentway will be beyond the stone wall.  You can get a good idea of the spacing between the bents.  These spaces are being referred to as ‘rooms’ and there are 55 of them between Strachan and Spadina.

from the grounds of Fort York looking south to the Gardiner and the condos built beyond it. Grass field in the foreground.

below: One obstacle is the fact that Fort York Blvd passes under the Gardiner on a diagonal.  Plans are to build a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the street.  Also in the photo, note the TTC bus – Fort York and vicinity are finally on a bus route.  Route 121 runs between the Portlands and Fort York via Union Station.

fort york blvd is in the foreground, a TTC bus and a car are on it, the Gardiner is to the right and a short condo building is in the background along with the CN tower

below: The section under the Gardiner Expressway between Bathurst Street and Fort York Blvd is not city owned. It is owned, and has already been developed, by the Onni Group who built the Garrison at Fort York condominiums on either side of it.  This is the eastern end of phase 1.

evening, low angle sunlight shines under the Gardiner Expressway where it has been developed with paving stones and some large rocks.

below: Northbound traffic on Bathurst passes under the Gardiner.

some traffic on Bathurst street on a rainy day, as the street passes under the Gardiner Expressway, condos on the right, construction hoardings on the left.

Phase 2 of the park’s development involves land between Bathurst and Spadina. This is an area that is undergoing a lot of changes at the moment, i.e. a lot of construction.

below: Immediately south of the Gardiner on the northeast corner of Bathurst and Lakeshore is a construction site.  Demolition of the old 1928 Loblaws warehouse building is now complete.  The facade of the old building was disassembled rather than demolished; after cleaning and refurbishing of the bricks, it will be rebuilt in its original location.  Two condo towers are planned for the space between Loblaws and the Gardiner.  Yes, more condo towers to face the Gardiner and add to the tunnel effect that you get when you drive on the expressway.

construction site in downtown Toronto, Gardiner Expressway runs behind the site, rubble in the foreground, a few remaining remnants of the old Loblaws building that was there, high rises in the background.

below: The development of this site is a collaboration between a number of developers.  I found a photo of one rendition (source) of what the space under the Gardiner will look like here in the future.  Public space including a cafe are part of the plans.  Check back in a couple of years to see what really happens here!

artist's rendering of what a planned development for under the Gardiner would look like, part of a larger condo and retail development.

below:  Standing on Bathurst Street, looking east along what will be Housey Street.  This is just north of where the Loblaws development (above) will be.  As you can see, you can’t walk there yet.

the elevated road, the Gardiner Expressway passes over a construction site on the right, a new street being built on the left.

below: Southeast corner of Bathurst and Fort York Blvd.  This is the section of land just north of Housey Street.  Construction hoardings and cranes – familiar sights in this area.  It also means that taking photos of under the Gardiner here are difficult!

late afternoon, long shadows, yellowish tint to the photo, looking east from Bathurst, south of Front, north of the Gardiner, wood construction hoardings with posters on it, many orange cranes, some condos already built, a woman jogging past, cars on the street.

below: Development north of the Gardiner between Bathurst and Dan Leckie Way.

construction site under the Gardiner, cranes and condos being developed on the left, CN tower in the fog in the distance.

Dan Leckie Way is a north-south road that runs under the Gardiner just east of Bathurst.  It is the western boundary of Canoe Landing Park.  This park is north of the Gardiner and the Lakeshore.

below: ‘Tom Thomson’s Canoe’, by Douglas Coupland sits at the highest point of land in the area; it’s almost at the same level as the Gardiner and is very visible as you drive by.   This park extends down the hill.

The end of a large red canoe, an artwork by Douglas Coupland called 'Tom Thomson's Canoe' sits in a park, high above the surrounding scenery. Looking southwest towards the elevated Gardiner Expressway and the condo developments south of it.

below: Looking the other way from the same vantage point. The street running under the Gardiner here is Dan Leckie Way . Up until this point the Lakeshore is south of the Gardiner.

The elevated Gardiner Expressway with traffic is in the middleground, some trees and parkland in the foreground, and condo developments in the background.

At Dan Leckie Way, the Lakeshore is still south of the Gardiner and the space under the expressway is wide open.   By Spadina, one major block east, the situation changes.   The Lakeshore splits and westbound traffic lanes go north of the Gardiner and eastbound lanes stay south.  Shortly after Spadina, the Lakeshore runs under the Gardiner and there is no room for any further development under the road.

below: Standing on Spadina, just south of the Gardiner and looking west.  Here there is a lot of road to cross for pedestrians on Spadina.  Not only has the Lakeshore split to run on either side of the Gardiner, but there are also ramps between the Gardiner and the Lakeshore.

major road with traffic under an elevated expressway in a city, long ramp from the upper level to the lower. Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Blvd in Toronto, at Spadina looking west

below:   Still on Spadina, and still looking west, but now under the Gardiner.  The space under the road is not as high as it was previously.  Its lower and darker and not as inviting.   It will be interesting to see what phase 2 of the Bentway development will look like in this space.  I am not sure when it will to be finished but I will keep an eye on it!

under an elevated section of the Gardiner Expressway, at Spadina.

As for the eastern Gardiner, what does that look like?  Well, that’s a whole other blog post!

 Project: Under Gardiner  On this site you’ll find detailed maps and diagrams of this area as well as information about the plans for the various sections of the space.

 

 

 

Graffiti and street art, sometimes it stays around a while and other times it disappears, hidden by someone else’s work.   Tags and words also appear where they often shouldn’t.  When I walk an alley that I’ve seen before, I never know what to expect but there is always something to discover to make it worth a repeat visit.   So it was this morning when I found myself back at Scarfo Lane.  Back in Nov 2014 (a year and a half ago!  … time flies by!) I posted about some of the street art and murals that I saw there.   Most of it is still there.

Today’s contributions follow – at least one is new and the others I’m not sure about, I might have omitted them last time.  The whims of the day and of the photographer.

below: Blue cool nature meets red hot city, friends, joined together & working together. Mural by ‘Insect Cabaret’ which is the name that artists Aisha Ali and Andalah Ali have given to themselves and their work.

a mural on a garage door, a blue figure on the left and an orange figure on the right. Blue represents nature and red represents the urban city

below: Swimming in the lane.

marine scene street art on a garage door in a lane, a red octopus, a green turtle swimming and a ship in the distance

The next two are from the same garage door.

colourful mural on a laneway garage door

colourful mural on a laneway garage door

And in case you’re curious  –

below: The blue bird and bird houses are still as bright as they were before…

blue faced animal wearing clothes and walking upright, with pole over shoulder, 3 bird houses hanging from the pole. A bluebird is sitting on the front of the pole, mural on a garage door in a lane

below: … and the little red birds are still floating along on their logs

part of a mural on a garage door in a laneway, a purple headed animal creature wearing a blue top and holding onto strings attached to floating logs with little red birds on them.