Posts Tagged ‘empty’

Relentless

Ubiquitous

These are two apt words to describe construction in Toronto, or to be more precise, the tearing down of  older houses and building smaller condo units or townhouses in their place.  We are experiencing the downsizing of living space as land values continue climbing upwards.

I drove past this Bayview Avenue house on the weekend and was intrigued by the look of it – a pale yellow,  once grand older house now sitting empty.   Many of the mature trees that were in its front yard have been cut down so the house is now easily visible from the street.  I went back to that section of Bayview Avenue with my camera yesterday morning.

older two storey house, pale yellow, with black and white trim and black front door, mature trees in the front yard.

There wasn’t much of a chain across the front yard so it was easy to walk up to the house.  It looks like the front door hasn’t been used in quite some time.   The window appears to have an old fashioned storm window on the outside although the shutters look more modern.   I’d love to know the history of the house (How old is it?  I suspect that it was built when this section of Bayview was still on the fringes of the city and before Bayview became 5 lanes wide but I don’t know for sure.)

front door of an older house, number 2450, pale yellow walls, white frames around door and window, black door, black shutters,

Right next door is this large bungalow:

large bungalow set back from the street behind a few pine trees, brown roof, stone facing on the exterior, large lawn,

Originally built as a family home, this became the Bayview Hebrew School of the Arts in 2008.  The school is relocating and the building now sits empty.

nonsdescript white double doors as front entranceway of a house, flagstone steps and porch are buckling as is the ashphalt walkway leading to the front door.

looking through the front window into an empty building, looking through the back windows to the yard beyond.

Just up the street was this house.  It looks empty but there was a recycling bin beside the garage and some curtains in the windows so I didn’t wander up to the front door…. even though I really like that red door!  There was no chain across the driveway, nor were there any “keep out” signs.   Neither of those things would stop me, but they are good indicators that no one lives there anymore.   Google street view of this address is from August 2015 and at that time there was a for sale sign on the property.

bungalow set back from the street, large front yard with uncut long grass and a few mature trees, also a low wood fence,

The above are the “going” half of the title of this blog post.  The “coming” are these doors under construction; they too are on this part of Bayview Avenue.   Side by side front doors with a concrete layer between them – two of a row of five townhouses.  One day (soon?) someone will be able to walk in their front door and go up a level or two, to floors that haven’t yet been built.

from the front, street view, two of a row of townhouses under construction, plywood exterior with holes where the doors and windows are going to be.

This is the development that caused an uproar a year ago when they illegally clear cut two lots – cutting down about 30 large trees including a linden tree that was close to 150 years old in the process.  According to the City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 813, Article III, conviction for cutting down a mature tree  results in a “minimum fine of $500.00 and a maximum fine of $100,000.00 per tree involved in an offense; a special supplementary fine of $100,000.00 is also possible.” (source).

In October 2016, Format Group (the developers involved) paid a fine of $155,064.  This amount includes $657.30 per tree to cover city inspection costs and $116,600 for the planting of 200 new trees — mostly at other sites.

The two lots will be developed into 11 3-storey townhouses and 4 single family houses.  All units have already sold.

a row of townhouses being built, the lower floors are framed with plywood, the upper storey hasn't been started yet.

Before I leave the area, there is something similar going on across the street.

tree with yellow caution tape in front of an empty lawn with empty house in the background

First – there is this empty house sitting on a corner lot at Bayview and Wilket.  This one property is the future home of seven 3-storey townhouses as well as one single detached house.   Does anyone want to do the math on the potential profit – one house for 8 units in a time where even a townhouse sells for more than a million.

driveway and entranceway of a brick house that is now empty

Second – this sign has also appeared nearby. When I checked their website I found this description: “Located in north Toronto, The Bridle Path is synonymous with prestige and exclusive luxury. Known for its spectacular homes and refined neighbourhood character, it’s no wonder that this is the place that Toronto’s discerning elite prefer to call home. Now, on Bayview Ave. in the heart of the Bridle Path neighbourhood, Kingsmen Group is excited to introduce a new luxury townhome community that embodies the very essence of refined prestige living. Register today for more information coming soon.”

There is so much wrong with that paragraph.  I wouldn’t call this part of Bayview a part of the Bridle Path neighbourhood; you might be able to make an argument that it’s on the fringes of said neighbourhood but that would be stretching it.  “Prestige” and “luxury” are words that are so overused that they are almost meaningless with respect to Toronto real estate.   It seems silly to compare a townhouse on Bayview with the homes on the Bridle Path but I guess that’s what sells.  Actually, you could probably sell them without such a comparison!

sign advertising new townhouse devlopment by kingsmen Group inc.

Oh dear, I want to call this a Thursday Doors post so I’d best call it quits here.  I’ve probably already strayed too far off topic!  For more information on the Thursday Doors project see here.

Last week I visited what remains of Mirvish Village, that stretch of Markham Street just south of Bloor Street next to Honest Ed’s store.  As most of you know, Honest Ed’s closed at the end of 2016.  All the stores and businesses in the first block of Markham Street have now closed too.  The buildings still remain although they are empty and a blue temporary fence now separates them from the sidewalk.   I am not sure if they are going to be demolished, or the facades retained, when that area is redeveloped in the near future.   I was interested in documenting what remains and/or what is going to disappear as Markham Street undergoes yet another transition in its long and storied life.

Some of the photos that I took were of doors.  For a few weeks now I have been following the blog My Life Lived Full .  Joanne (the author of said blog) participates in “Thursday Doors” which is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.  I like doors and have many photos of doors.  I’m not sure I’ll be a regular contributor to “Thursday Doors” but I thought that I would add my collection of Mirvish Village doors to this weeks feature.  The following door pics were either taken last week when everything was empty or on the last day of 2016 when businesses were winding down.

below: The upper level was a gallery.  The words ‘No Man’ are still on the door.

a pile of green chairs in front of the steps up to a pale blue building, lower level is painted yellow.

feench doors painted blue with a small blue picket fence in front, two white chairs upside down in front of the door

single door with large pane of glass, reflections in the glass, snow on the porch, a pigeon standing in the snow

below: This is one of the photos from the 31st of December. Tintin is no longer there.

the door of a book store, with a cut out of Tintin beside it and a drawing of a creature with 4 legs and 4 arms, the hands are all holding something

grey door, white porch, crooked grey steps

two doors on a brightly painted buidling. a flower is painted around the door, blue paint,

the doors at the entrance to the Apiecalyps Vegan restaurant, whose symbol is a raccoon. glass doors, steps down from street level to the entrance

below: Entrance to the Victory Cafe with the Christmas lights still wrapped around the post and a clipboard in one of the windows.

two purple doors side by side at the top of 6 stairs, on a red brick building

below: The back of one of the buildings on Markham Street.  This photo was taken from the parking lot behind Honest Eds.

grey metal door at the top of a steep staircase, back door, upper storey of a beige building with windows covered with stuff on the inside

below: Honest Ed’s exit onto Markham Street with its overlapping and out of date shopping hours sign over the door.

exit doors of Honest Eds store, 2 sets of glass double doors, red walls beside, store opening hours painted above the door. Galss is covered from the inside

Someone has redone the signs in Bathurst subway station….
now they look like they belong at Honest Eds store!

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - the direction sign to subway and to exits.

… and when I came up to street level I discovered that the station has been decorated with Honest Eds type ‘adverts’ complete with awful puns

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, Our prices aren't always good but they're fare

…. including word play based on subway station names such as “Turnstiles, now museum, soon you won’t”.  Groan.  Smile.

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station are two signs, one says Presto no more change-o and the other says Turnstiles now museum soon you won't

below: The main entrance to the station now looks like an Honest Eds window.

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, The window beside the main entrance has been covered with fake ads.

below: They aren’t too easy to read in this picture, but the two signs on the left are, first, “Bacon & Eglinton $3.25” and second, “There aren’t any snakes on our tracks, St. Patrick banished them”.   Were you expecting better?  [laughing]

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, exterior of station by streetcar and bus loop has four signs in the windows that are puns based on the names of TTC stations.

Nearby is the real Honest Ed’s store, a landmark for many years.  Eighteen months ago, I posted some pictures of the store and at the end of that post I mentioned that the store was scheduled to close at the end of 2016.  Well, the end of 2016 is drawing nigh and Honest Ed’s is slowly winding down.  The decorating of Bathurst Station is part of the good-bye process.

At the moment, the interior of the store is a shadow of its former self.  It is still in business but the goods are getting scarce.  There are definitely still bargains to be had.  I have a new hat that I bought there today, red polar fleece, that set me back 50 cents… plus tax.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a bin of lipstick and other makeup. Someone has written the word Riley in pink lipstick on the side of the bin

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. A bin of men's underwear for $4.99

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. The bedding section is being torn apart and dismantled

below: Ed Mirvish and a crowd of shoppers back in the day.
The picture still hangs in one of the many corners of the store.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. An old picture of Ed Mirvish surrounded by a crowd of people hangs on a wall above a Bell payphone.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a few shower curtains on display as well as some checkered tea towels. The rest of the shelves and wall space are empty

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. ladies underwear in a bin for sale, surrounded by empty bins and wall space, lots of mirrors. Yellow caution tape marks off a section of the store that is now closed.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a black and white photo of a young woman on a wall beside a convex mirror showing the stairwell. also an ad printed right on the mirror for bradasol lozenges

below: Photo taken from the walkway between the two buildings that make up Honest Ed’s store.  Looking south.

looking down at an icy alley where four people are walking between buildings, sign on building says Honest Eds Annex,

below: From the same vantage point, but looking north.  From here I spotted a new mural.

looking down on an alley, there is a mural along the side of one of the buildings.

below: The mural is a large scale photo montage of people passing by the Bloor Street windows of Honest Ed’s. It catches the reflections of both the window contents and the life on the street.  It is “The Theatre” and it is the creation of Matthew Monteith.

part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo
part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo

part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. an old man with a cane sits on the steps between two sections of the store

Behold, I give you the Tim Hortons cup.  Empty.

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - in the snow on top of a grey wood railing in front of a store. A street art painting of a man with outstretched hands is in the background.

Always fresh.  Toujours frais.
They even come in a number of handy sizes, usually small, medium, large, and extra large.

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - on a wooden horizontal beam on a grey wall below a large red door, industrial building
They are found all over town,  compositional elements splashed onto the urban canvas.

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - on top of a dark green barrel that is beside a lighter green barrel, in front of a red brick wall that has been partially painted grey

Some are carefully placed little art installations.  They certainly didn’t get there on their own!

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - upside down on top of a metal pole that is about a meter high, in an alley, beside a gate

And others are willfully abandoned.   Often left on their own.  Alone.  Empty. Lidless.

a small red empty Tim Hortons coffee cup sits on the muddy ground outside the back entrance of an older grey brick apartment building

Sometimes they are found in groups.  Carried away and then forgotten.

a stolen shopping cart, black metal, sits on a piece of grass, beside the sidewalk, but behind a chained off driveway. In the top part of the cart are 4 TIm Hortons cups and in the bottom part, an empty coke can.

Sigh.  The Tims cup.  The omnipresent Tims cup.

One day I got tired of trying to decide whether or not to photoshop out a coffee cup that had been discarded on a sidewalk.  Maybe it would be better to take on a “if you can beat them, join them” attitude.  Instead of avoiding or removing cups, I should focus on them.  Make them part of the picture.  The redness of the coffee cups that Tim Hortons has been using recently adds to the appeal of making them the subject matter and not the subject of scorn and cause of exasperation.

I drove the back streets to Yorkdale yesterday.  It’s not something that I normally do; in fact I can’t remember the last time I drove those streets.   But I’m glad I did because I found another mural painted on an underpass.  Four sections of concrete wall,  four words in bright colours – Love, Home, Limitless, Heights.

part of a mural on an underpass. There are four parts to the mural and each part is word painted in large capital letters in many colours - the word love, actually it is love or love

Home – just to the right of the word ‘home’ was a large heart that unfortunately I missed when I took the next photo.  There was also a sign describing the story behind the mural.

This community mural was painted by youth from the neighbourhood, Rocco Ursino, Salim Yislam, Michelle Collin, Jaden Beckford, Tamika Smart, and Hassan Mohamed under the mentorship of Sean Martindale and Joshua Barndt.  Apparently it was inspired by a popular local expression “Love or Love” and tries to convey compassion, hopefulness and determination.  Needed sentiments as this neighbourhood undergoes major changes and revitalization.

part of a mural on an underpass. There are four parts to the mural and each part is word painted in large capital letters in many colours - the word home

This 2012 project was produced by Art Starts in partnership with Toronto Community Housing and office of councillor Josh Colle. Funding was provided by StreetARToronto and TCH.

part of a mural on an underpass. There are four parts to the mural and each part is word painted in large capital letters in many colours - the word limitless

The mural is on Ranee Avenue as it passes under the Allen Expressway.  It is also right by the south entrance to Yorkdale subway station.

part of a mural on an underpass. There are four parts to the mural and each part is word painted in large capital letters in many colours - the word heights, with the south end of Yorkdale subway station in the picture

When I parked my car I saw this telephone pole – Shoot for the stars.  Great advice!

Telephone pole with the bottom metre and a half painted blue with some yellow stars and the words Shoot for the stars.

And because one thing  always leads to another, I was parked on Flemington Road beside this – the remains of Zachary Court.

A small street with some mature trees growing beside it. There are a few rowhouses but the windows and doors are all boarded up.

The street is fenced off and the houses are empty.  Some of the windows are missing but most are boarded up.  This must be the neighbourhood redevelopment referred to in the description of the mural, or at least part of it.

rowhouses boarded up and fenced off in preparation for demolition

An old sign for community notices that is now empty because the area is fenced off for demolition

The end house in a row house complex has been started to be demolished.

There was another telephone pole with a happy picture painted on it but looking a little worn.

A telephone pole that has been painted on the bottom few feet. A bright blue sky with a cloud and a few birds flying, green grass and a couple of yellow flowers standing tall

There are two development proposal signs posted on Ranee Avenue that pertain to this area.  One of them is for a seven unit, three storey townhouse development on Ranee Avenue itself.  The other is for the demolition and replacement of 233 social housing units as well as the construction of 824 market value units serviced by a new public street.  The latter development involves a number of streets besides Zachary Court on both sides of the Allen Expressway (Zachary Court backs onto the west side of the Allen).

 

The Place, believe it or not, is here,
where Howard Park Ave and Lynd Ave meet Dundas West.

The new next to the old… the old square top, two storey brick stores built in rows that are still common in Toronto even though many are being replaced.

 

A row of two storey brick stores on Dundas West.  A convenience store, a laundromat, a cafe, and a boarded up store.  On the exterior walls of the convenience store are the words "Believe it or not, this is the place"

 

Development proposal sign

Bathurst and Robinson

an older two storey brick semidetached house at the corner of Bathurst and Robinson.  No other houses are next to it.

the sign says:
“…to permit the development of a nine storey mixed use building…..
….. consisting of ground and 2nd floors with commercial….
…. 28 residential units….
… zero parking spaces ….”