Posts Tagged ‘construction’

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!

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!

 

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

 

Peperonata Lane runs north from Harbord Street.    Most of the garage doors in the alley have been painted.  Some were painted as part of a Wallnoize project in 2013.

a lane running parallel to a park with garages on the other side, a line of large trees by the garages. Most of the garage doors are covered with street art

below: Take a seat… and see what kind of street art there is here.

a wooden chair is tied to a tree, autumn leaves on the ground, a row of garages in the background, a number of large trees,

below: A woman feeds the chickens.

mural on a garage door of a woman feeding some chickens in a yard with colourful laundry hanging out to dry, houses in the background, mural on a garage door.

below: This mural, done in 2009, is one of the older ones in the lane.

blog_mural_simple_houses_garage

below: A deer and a hawk

mural on a garage door, a deer and a hawk

below: Elicser people and a text painting by poise.

street art on a garage and fence by elicser and poise in a lane,

below: Split face on a fence, by fiya

blog_face_gate_halves_split

below: A poser bunny

a poser bunny and tag on a garage door in an alley

below: Multicoloured grumpy cat by shalak and clandestinos.

shalak and clandestinos painting of a colourful cat face and paw with claws, on a garage door and fence in a lane

below: Wrinkled man with fish in hand, by smoky

painting by street artist smoky of a wrinkled old man holding an ugly fish in his hand.

below: A garage door painted by miles.

street artist miles tag and colourful street art on a garage door

garage doors in a lane alleyway that have been painted with street art

 

 


From City of Toronto documentation on the naming of Peperonata Lane, November 2012:

“The residents whose properties border on the lane have provided the following background information on the proposed name:”
” …throughout each year, the Galle family, who’ve lived at 441Montrose (the east side) since 1972, includes many Montrose residents in their annual celebration of making the “sugo” or tomato sauce, the roasted peppers and peperonata party, and the spirited soppressata contest, which they bring from their home country of Italy. Everyone learns the old world techniques and celebrates their new life in our Canadian context.
To commemorate how our lives have been enriched by the Galles welcoming and generous spirits, and in keeping with the traditions they’ve taught us and that we’ve now made our own, we propose the lane be named “Peperonata Lane” as a way of celebrating their unsung contribution to our neighbourhood”.

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.

First I heard a rumour that the Art Gallery of Ontario was going to remove that sculpture from the corner of Dundas & McCaul, you know, the one that everyone climbs on and takes their picture with, the one near the AGO entrance.

Then I read about in a newspaper.

You know, that curvy bulky slippery thing by Henry Moore, the one with a title that’s almost as shapeless as the sculpture, “Large Two Forms” although no one calls it that.   Oh, what do they call it anyhow?

Then I read about it online.

people are walking on the sidewalk, a woman is sitting by a sculpture by Henry Moore, the Art Gallery Of Ontario is beside the sculpture, street and other buildings in the background, street scene,

It’s sat on that corner since 1974.  That’s 42 years.  Longer than the average Torontonian has been alive.
Can you say synonymous? …. as in synonymous with the corner of Dundas and McCaul.

Apparently it’s going to be moved to Grange Park.  That’s the park behind the AGO, the one that is being renovated.

The expression “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” comes to mind.
How about new public art for a renewal of the park?

fence around a construction site, a park that is being renovated

fence around a construction site, a park that is being renovated, the blue wall of the Art Gallery of Ontario is in the background.

But walking the site and looking at the plans made me start to think.  The sculpture is being moved into its own space in the park and as I looked at the drawings and the artist rendition of the future space, it dawned on me that the redesign of Grange Park was possibly (probably?) done specifically to accommodate the sculpture.  The Art Gallery owns Grange Park after all.  Toronto does a lousy job of placement of their public art so maybe I shouldn’t complain about this?

Maybe.

As I tried to take photos of the sculpture where it is, I was reminded of how the streetscape in Toronto gets short shrift.

blog_art_gallery_corner

Henry Moore competes with old poles as well as bus shelters that are designed to maximize Astral Media ads.  At least there isn’t a ghastly trash bin beside the sculpture.  And at least the art is solid enough and strong enough to hold its own.

But this is going to be a problem for any artwork that gets put on that corner.
Oh dear, assuming that something will replace Henry Moore?

Don’t mess it up even more AGO, don’t leave the corner empty.
We have more of a cultural memory than you give us credit for.

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.