Written in big bold letters – STRONG SMART UNITED

Those three words are what you see first as you walk down Lansdowne just north of Queen Street.  This striking wall is the beginning of a group of murals and street art paintings that now adorn some of the walls and doors in an alley on the north side of Queen Street West.   The paintings were done last weekend by a group of women artists.   The walls had been primed previously by four high school students (and organized by the Toronto Police Services).

mural with the words strong smart united written in rainbow colours, big block capital letters

below: Shapes and colours by controlartdelete (aka Rachel Wilmshurst)

abstract shapes, circles, rectangles, by controlartdelete

below: Emily May Roses’s women

mural by emily may rose of various women's faces, in black and white and pink, long black hair, pink head scarf, pink dress, short hair,

below: Abstract houses and greenery by Jieun June Kim

blocks in a mural look like abstract houses and circles for trees, by Jieun June Kim

below: Two kneeling women and a long necked bird with wings spread by Caitlin Taguibao

mural on a garage door in orange, black, white and green of a bird with wings spread, standing on flowers, with a woman kneeling behind each wing

below: Monica on the Moon, “Over the mountains under the stars”

a monica on the moon mural with a woman getting on a motorcycle in grey tones except for the helmet which is red. the words Over the Mountains and under the stars are written over the motorcycle

below: A colourful mural by _muisca_ (aka Daniela Rocha)

Spanish or South American themed woman with large sun shaped headdress and colourful dress by muisca

below: Unfortunately, this one has already been defaced, including the signature.

mural in an alley laneway

corner of a building in a lane showing the street art on two sides

below: Desert woman theme, by mska

a blue car is parked in front of a mural of a face with desert symbolism, a large cactus is in the mural beside the face

below: Geometric shapes, colours, and patterns, by hellokirsten (aka Kirsten McCrea)

mural by hello kirsten, shapes and geometry,

below: Left – by originalsmilez (aka Julieta Arias).
But on the right, help! I don’t know (do you?)

2 square street art paintings on an alley fence, one is a woman with a wand-like object in her hand and the other is swirls of colours

below: Looks a bit like a brightly coloured Picasso – the work of huntoland (aka Renato Hunto)

picasso like painting of round people in pieces, in bright colours, mural in a lane

below: My apologies but this another one where I don’t know who the artist is

mural on a wall in Toronto alley, part of #womenpaintTO

below:  … and this one as well I’m afraid

stylized throw up type graffiti

below: A elicser figure outside the door.  Elicser is definitely male – was this mural already here?

elicser street art piece in a lane, a face with another face with multiple eyes that might be part of the first's head or might be separate

below: Shades of pink with blue lips, by toest (aka Sarah Gilmore).

a smal street art painting by toes of a pink flower and a woman's head, long dark hair with streaks of pink, blue lips, and eyes closed

below: On a seriously cracked wall there is now a pink flower inside a green triangle surounded by a circle,  by CVBinns (aka Courtney Binns)

pink flower in a green triangle surrounded by a circle, street art

below: Long flowing hair and with eyes closed, a mural by carolannapilado

mural, black background with faces with eyes closed and flowing stylized hair

below: A collaborative effort between auralast (aka Monique Aura) and chiefladybird (aka Ogimaa Kwe Bnes) – mother and child with the city beyond.

mother sitting holding child (baby) in First Nation like theme, black city skyline in the background, by auralast and chiefladybird , yellow background with flowers

below: Also in the lane there are two urban ninja squadron paste ups by Tbonez

a tbonez urban ninja squadron pasteup of the ninja in the jaws of a shark, another paste up of a dog (cat?) is looking at the ninja

a tbonez urban ninja squadron pasteup - standing with hand up and fingers crossed, has a shadow

below: Looking east along the alley. The first road is Macdonell Avenue.  Lansdowne is in the distance.

a woman walking her dog in an alley, another woman walking away from the camera

This project was supported by the StreetARToronto program, Toronto Police Services and the Drake Hotel.  I talked briefly with a policewoman who was in the alley at the same time that I was – there is hope that the lane to the east of Lansdowne can be painted in the future.

Before then, a second all women street art jam and mural will be happening in Little India (1460 Gerrard Street East) at the end of August.   The street art jam will be on the weekend of August 26th and 27th and will showcase the Woman in the Walls mural being painted at that time.

#womenpaintTO

a man walks away from the camera as he walks down an alley that has graffit and street art on the garages and buildings

Sometimes graffiti and street art have a short life span.  Many taggers don’t care about what they are tagging over.  Street art can also be “interactive” in that stickers and paste ups can get “added” to a piece.   Anyone with a marker can have their say.  On the bright side, new murals get painted and new paste -ups appear.  And that is why I go back to the my favorite alleys every once in a while.  This morning I walked the Milky Way again.

two stickers on a pole in an alley. one is a pink and purple striped tail of an animal disappearing down a hole. the other is a white face with angry expression and cigarette in mouth

below: The Parkdale mural by Race Williams is still looking good.

mural in magenta and turquoise that says greetings from parkdale, large magenta streetcar in the mural by Race Williams

below: The naked women are a bit more modestly dressed than they once were .

street art mural of three naked women. Someone has painted white over the private parts

The most noticeable change is the fact that many pieces are now at least partially covered by greenery – small shrubs and tall weeds have proliferated and are looking quite healthy.

below: This lion is looking more and more like the king of the jungle even as the words faded and peel.

tall weeds and small shrubs grow in front of a painting of a lion (from the Lion King) painted on an unused doorway in an alley

below: The small aliens at the top of the building are now in the shade of a fast growing tree.

small aliens painted along the top of a building are now partially covered by the branches and leaves of a small tree

below: And the larger aliens on the fence really need a hair cut now.

space alien mural painted on a corrugated metal fence are now partially covered with vines from the top and weeds from the bottom.

below: A large pink peony (at least that’s what it looks like)

street art painting of a large pink peony

below: The fence around the garden.

wooden fence around a backyard that has been painted with garden scenes, cabbages, flowers, sun, and a donkey

a line of black and green rubbish garbage bins along a wall that has street art on it, picture of a boy with a spray paint can in his hand along with some text , stairs leading up to the upper level of the building as well

text graffiti on two buildings in an alley

Previous Milky Way posts
Back to the Milky Way – Sept 2015
Walking the Milky Way – Oct 2014

metal gate that has rusted. large numeral 47 on it as well as some graffiti scrawls

Across the back of a row of stores in Port Union there are some doors that have been painted over with a mural.  These are some of them:

a maural painted on a wall and door, historic scene, women in period costume (early 1900s?) sitting on the grass with some baskets, old fashioned car behind them.

door at back of store covered with mural, grass, people on bikes, looks like bikes are headed to the door

 swan swimming in the lake, a mural on the back door of a KFC restaurant

They are all part of the same mural.  The mural is so big that I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing unless I made a very long skinny panorama – which I decided against.   I think that you should get a good idea of what the whole mural looks like from the following set of photos.

below: The mural tells the story of Port Union starting with a First Nations settlement in the area.

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - First Nations people in canoes on the river with teepees and people on the shore

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - two brick buildings, houses, a group of women sitting outside with baskets on the ground, a vintage car

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union -

below: North end of the Port Union mural.  The mural faces the parking lot of a complex consisting of the Port Union Community Centre plus a library and Charlottetown park.

left side of a large mural showing the history of Port Union, first nations, first white settlers, up to the early 1900s

below: The railway comes to town.

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - a steam engine pulls a train into the station

a woman pushing a stroller with a toddler in it, with 2 dogs on leashes walking in the park, a group is having a picnic in the background

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - this time, the Port Union waterfront park is featured, cyclists on the bike path, a skateboarder, people enjoying the park, 3 entrances to the backs of stores, including Audreys flowers and Councillor Ron Moeser's office. a

below: And that brings us back to the swan and KFC at the south end of the mural.

two doors at the back of a KFC restaurant, lake side scene, a large white swan on one of the doors

two doors at the back of a KFC restaurant, lake side scene, a large white swan on one of the doors

This mural was painted by Blinc Studios and was part of Mural Routes.  Artists are: Allan Bender, John Nobrega, Azadeh Pirazimian, Jesse McCuaig, Chris Brown, Frances Potts, and Melissa Bessey.

Other blogs that feature doors can be found at Thursday Doors, courtesy of Norm 2.0.  (see the little blue link between the end of the blog post and the comments section).

 

If you go looking for Henry Moore at the corner of Dundas and McCaul, you will be disappointed.

green construction fence around a small part of the sidewalk at the corner of Dundas and McCaul, equipment inside, one small gingko tree, building says Art Gallery of Ontario

Instead, you have to walk around the corner.

yellow pedestrian crossing sign that has been altered to look like 2 art students, one with a cardboard tube and the other with a portfolio case

After residing at the corner of Dundas and McCaul since 1974,  Henry Moore’s sculpture “Large Two Forms” was moved to the newly renovated Grange Park on the 3rd of June.   Grange Park is behind the Art Gallery of Ontario as well as OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University).

 the Henry Moore sculpture, Large Two Forms, in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario , a couple on a bench beside it

The new setting suits the sculpture.  There is more room for people to interact with the sculpture and the park makes a more picturesque background for those who like to take photos.

 the Henry Moore sculpture in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario - Large Two Forms, with the blue wall of the AGO in the background

a girl in orange shorts and purple shoes stands on top of the Henry Moore sculpture in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario

I’d be interested in knowing if the AGO has any plans for the now empty corner at Dundas and McCaul.  Was the construction pictured above just to remove the platform that the sculpture used to be on?  Or is there more to it than that?

Also, I don’t mean to spoil your fun, but how long will it be until a “do not climb” sign appears in Grange Park?   I’m not advocating for one – I just know how the city acts on things like this.   Part of me says, “Quick, get your selfie from on top of the sculpture while you can!”

A little extra that I discovered this morning.   As I wrote this blog post I kept thinking about “Down By the Henry Moore”, a song from my past.   All I could recall was the title.   I found a great version of it on youtube –  the song was written and sung by Murray McLauchlan and was released in 1974.   The Henry Moore referred to in the song is the one in front of City Hall but the video on youtube has some fabulous old picture of Toronto!  Many thanks to john allore who made the video and uploaded it to youtube.  I really enjoyed seeing the old images, down memory lane and all that.   If you are interested, this is the link;  it will open youtube in a new page.  You may have to suffer through a few seconds of ads and you have my apologies for that.

A walk along the Don River.

The Don Valley Brick Works (or Evergreen Brickworks) is an old clay quarry and brick factory that operated between 1889 and 1984.  Today the site consists of 16 heritage buildings and an adjacent 16-hectare public park known as Weston Family Quarry Garden that includes wetlands, hiking trails, and wildflower meadows.

below: Interior of the kiln building.  Some of the kilns have been removed to create a larger open area and year round event space.

large ceiling pipes, exhaust system for old brickworks kilns, some of the old kilns as well

below: anser faces on the exterior yellow brick wall.

yellow brick wall with two large blue anser faces on it, as well as part of the word Toronto in yellow bricks

below: The Brickworks “living map” of Toronto is looking very healthy.  It is “Watershed Consciousness” by Ferruccio Sardella and it depicts the rivers and ravines in the city.    Some of the greens are looking a little tall (like they don’t belong there? a few strays?).

a pink chair and a yellow chair sit in front of a sculpture that is a metal relief map of Toronto, green plants grow in the areas of the map that are ravines and green spaces in the city

below: Bullrushes growing in the wetland area around the pond.

narrow brown bullrushes growing amongst the reeds in the wetlands at brickworks

below:  Ideas!  I’ve been meaning to find the end of this bridge and walk at least part of it – if I do, I’ll let you know!  It’s the bridge that you see beside the Brickworks.  It was built in 1928 and is 335m long.   It is part of the Don Branch of the CPR and it ran from Leaside Junction to the downtown core until the line was closed in 2007.

two people walk across an unused railway bridge

After a short visit at the Brickworks, including a quick bite to eat at the Farmers Market, we headed south.  The first part of the walk was back along Bayview to Pottery Road since Brickworks is on the west side of the Don River and the trail is on the east side.  I didn’t take any pictures – walking along a major road that doesn’t have a sidewalk needs all of your attention.   There is a bike path that parallels Bayview on the east side but getting to it was either a long detour or a dash across the road and over a barrier.   We made the decision to stay on the west side and cross with the lights at Pottery Road.

below: Although the path is through the ravine and it runs beside the Don River, it also runs adjacent to the Don Valley Parkway.  There are only a few places on the trail where you can see the highway but there is a constant rumbling noise from the cars passing by.

cyclist on a path, riding away from the camera, fence to the left of him/her, green signs on the Don Valley Parkway to the far left. exit sign for Bayview and Bloor.

below: This is the same railway line as the bridge shown above but farther down the valley.  A very makeshift bike crossing.

two cyclists walk their bikes across loose pieces of plywood over unused railway tracks

below: Standing at the same spot as the above photo, but turned around 180 degrees… You can see how overgrown the old tracks are.

looking along an abandoned railway line, overgrown tracks, trees on either side, apartment buildings far away in the distance

below: Two different railway lines run down the Don River Valley.   The line shown here, the CN Bala subdivision line,  is very active including use by GO trains that service the Oriole, Richmond Hill, and Newmarket route.   The Bala subdivision tracks continue all the way to Sudbury.

a cyclist walks his bike over a gravel travel under a bridge that has just been renovated, another bike rider is dismounting

below: A quiet spot by the abandoned tracks.

an old rusted side of a railway trestle bridge, lots of greenery from the trees growing around it, a man is standing at one end of the bridge, unused tracks
below: There are a few spots along the trail where there was damage from the high water levels in the spring.  Most if the problems are with the banks od the river.  The trail itself is in good shape.

an orange plastic fence runs between wooden stakes, danger, marking the parts of a riverside trail that got washed away or damaged in high water in the spring

below: Kayaking on the river.

a yellow kayak with two people in it passes under an old railway bridge that has graffiti on it. Don River

below: Keeping an eye on the water level.

surveillance camera on a tall pole, aimed at rulers and markers on the far side of a river, keeping an eye on the water level

cyclists on a path through the trees, a bridge support is beside the path

a big white happy face graffiti on a bridge support

below: Does anyone know what the 6 drum shaped things are?

two boys ride bikes past the Mill Street Junction hydro station, fenced in area with danger signs,

below: Standing on the old metal bridge across the Don River at Eastern Avenue, looking south.  When the Don Valley Parkway was built, it cut through Eastern Avenue.  Eastern was rerouted, swinging north a bit before crossing over the DVP and splitting into Richmond, Adelaide, and Eastern. (depending in which direction you’re travelling).   If you stand on the bridge and look directly east, there is still a road there that dead ends at the highway.  It is now Sunlight Park Road and it is provides access to the BMW dealership that you can see as you drive past on the DVP.

metal work of the side of a bridge frames the view of a river and trees and city buildings, Don River, abandoned bridge

I couldn’t see any park in that area so I decided that if there is a Sunlight Park it’s teensy tiny.  Luckily I didn’t stop there – I did some research and discovered that Sunlight Park was actually the first baseball stadium built in Toronto.   It was built in 1886 and was first known as the Toronto Baseball Grounds – four storeys, wood, and the home of the Toronto baseball team from 1886 to 1897.   And where is Sunlight in all this?  The stadium became known as Sunlight Park after the Sunlight Soap factory that was built by the Lever Brothers in 1900/01 in the same area.   The stadium was demolished in 1913.

below: The building in the background was the Lever Brothers (the Unilever) soap factory.  There is now a sign on the building that says firstgulf.com – they are the development company that owns the site.  NOW magazine published an interesting story about the building as it looks at the moment (with lots of great pictures!).  The path through the striped underpass joins the Don River Trail to Corktown Commons.

two men walk through a park towards an underpass under a railway track, factory in the background.

 Stay safe.  Protect the plants (and the humans!)

altered sign. Instead of saying Protect the Plants it now says Protect the humans.

buildings with lots of glass, on stilts, built over the water at Ontario Place

After parts were shuttered 40 years ago, Ontario Place has re-opened to the public.  The spherical Cinesphere and the buildings that are over the water are not open but the grounds are.

below: Canadian and Ontario flags fly along the docks of the Ontario Place Marina.

flags line the walkway leading from the dome shaped cinesphere at Ontario Place,

below: Double trouble.   Hot x 2

close up photo of a small part of the side of the cinesphere building, showing the metal bars that form the exoskeleton structure of the spherical building

below: Those are some very big boats!

four or five very large yachts are moored in the harbour along Toronto's waterfront, highrises in the background

There is also a new park, Trillium Park, that has been built on the eastern end of Ontario Place.  It is 7.5 acres of green space with a 1.3 km trail (the William G. Davis trail) winding through it.

below: Trillium Park provides new angles from which to view the CN Tower and the Toronto skyline.


couple, man and woman, sitting together, on a grassy hill. The CN Tower is behind them.

below: It is also a spot from which to watch airplanes as they take off from Billy Bishop Airport.

a man in a red baseball cap sits on a rock, his bike parked beside, while watching a pOrter airlines plane take off from Billy Bishop Airport

below: Sunbathers

two people lying on a blanket on a grassy area in a park, trees in the background

below: Rock climbing

a boy stands on top of a pile of rocks, his father is beginning to climb up the rocks to reach him

purple cone head flowers

a woman sits on a rock wall, looking out over Lake ontario, there are boats on the water and a sea gull flying past

below: Water levels in Brigantine Cove, like all of Lake Ontario, are higher than usual.

an electrical plug in station stands in the water by a flooded dock at Brigantine Cove, Ontario Place, with sailboats in the background.

below: There are still some traces of the amusement park rides that were once there. There is no water in the boat ride, but the bilingual warning signs are still on the rocks. “Keep hands, arms and head inside boat. Stay seated.”

a woman standing between two rocks pretends to be riding in a boat as she points to a sign that says

below: Tbonez (urban ninja squadron) must have been to Ontario Place recently

a urban ninja squadron sticker on the side of a metal staircase that was painted brown but the paint is peeling off

below: Crochet street art, marine life, discovered clinging to the underside of a small wooden bridge.
This picture is upside down.

crocheted sea creatures clinging to the underside of a wood bridge

below: A painting of a man painting and of his shadow painting.

painting on a cylindrical building, of a man on a ladder, painting, also his shadow

below: And last, music events are held at Echo Beach, a section of Ontario Place.  The day that I was there a steady background noise from the electronic (techno?  I’m out of date on newer music genres) music permeated the park.  You couldn’t escape it.   This isn’t the best picture but I didn’t get very close – my poor head!  I was interested in the palm trees but I couldn’t get the right angle.   There are other music events happening this summer so maybe you can time your visit to coincide with music that you like!

 

Sometimes when you search for one thing you find another.

The other day I posted pictures of the Cliffside murals in Scarborough.  When researching, them I discovered that there are other murals in Scarborough thanks to Mural Routes.  Of course, I had to go exploring!

Murals are often in parking lots or in alleys.  Last weekend I found one in a cemetery.   “Building the Addition to the Wesley Methodist Chapel, Highland Creek, Winter 1867” is on the side of a building that abuts the Wesleyan Methodist cemetery on the east end of Old Kingston Road.

below: Most of the mural.  Design and artwork by John Hood , assisted by Alexandra Hood and Zeb Salmaniw, 1994.  There is a small portion of the mural missing in this picture.  On the right is a panel that tells the story of the mural.

mural, winter scene, from about 1867, adding an addition, wood frame, onto a church, old house and store in the background. cemetery around the church, trees.

This is what the words say:

The following is an extract from the ‘The Christian Guardian’, a Methodist newspaper:
Your numerous readers will be glad to hear of the success of the Wesleyan Methodist Church at the Highland Creek, on the Scarboro’ Circuit. The above church was found to be entirely too small for the accommodation of its increasing congregation. The friends therefore decided to put an addition to the church 18 feet by 24 feet. It was re-opened and dedicated to God by divine service last Sabbath…” Wm. Tredway, Scarboro Dec 20, 1867
This mural depicts this event as it may have appeared from the northeast corner of this cemetery, looking southwest, across Old Kingston Road in mid November of 1867.

below: The William Tredway mentioned on the mural opened his first general store   at the corner of Eglinton Ave & Kingston Rd.  In 1865 he sold it and started over with a store on Old Kingston Road at Morrish Road.   It is this second store that is shown in the mural.  Tredway sold that store in 1878 to devote himself to politics as well as a career as a Justice of the Peace.

part of a mural, historic scene, old store with name W. Tedway above the door, people in period costumes, circa 1867. winter scene

part of a mural, horse drawn wagon, one man sitting at the front of the wagon, another man standing at the rear loading the wagon with lumber

men up on the roof of a new addition on a building, constructing roof joists, winter scene, old fashioned

below: The bronze plaque near the entrance to the cemetery.

bronze plaque on a stone wall in the Wesleyan cemetery on Old Kingston Road, Highland Creek, Scarborough

“This Highland Creek burying ground dates back to the reign of George III prior to 1800. On this site stood Wesleyan Methodist Church 1865-1891 merged with Bible Christian Methodist Church 1863-1891 which became Centennial Methodist in 1891 and later Centennial United Church 1925, plaque erected 1967, Centennial of Canada’s Confederation by Centennial United Church of Canada and Wesleyan Cemetery Board. “

The cemetery consists of a 1/2 acre plot.  Back in 1834 it was part of 500 acres that was acquired by Jordan and Melinda Post in trade for their 15 acres at King & Yonge.   Some of the stones predate 1834 and as mentioned on the plaque, there was a burying ground here before 1800.  The oldest stone might be that for William Pearce, son of John and Susan who died 18 Aug 1813 at age 11 years & 5 months.   Local legend says it became a burial ground when a passenger on a passing stage coach died there.

a real tombstone, surname Littlejohns, in a cemetery, with a mural in the background showing a woman kneeling by a grave in the winter, small amount of snow, no leaves on the trees

Jordan Post (1767-1845) and his wife Melinda (nee Woodruff, abt 1780-1838) were both born in Connecticut but were married in York (Toronto) in 1804.  Jordan was a watch maker and when he arrived in York in 1802 he was the first watch maker in the town.   He had other businesses as well but he probably made most of his money speculating in land.  In 1834 he moved to Scarborough township, to the location of this cemetery, where he built a sawmill.  Both Jordan and Melinda are buried here along with an unknown number of others, including other Posts and Woodruffs.   There are stones for 76 people including Ann (d. 1903) and Edward Littlejohns (d. 1887) pictured above.

below: An interesting juxtaposition – The real monument on the left is for Edith, infant daughter of Henry and Eleanor Lanktree, died 26 Sept 1872 at age 16 months.   The bottom part of other stone also mentions Henry and Eleanor Lanktree but I can’t read the inscription on the top part.

two real but old and weathered tombstones in a cemetery, with a mural of trees in winter around a cemetery where a woman sits by a grave

The church is no longer there.  It once stood next to the location of the mural with the cemetery around it.  Today the cemetery is maintained by the community.