Staying on the side of caution, I haven’t been on the TTC for almost two weeks.  Instead, I have been using this time to venture into areas where it’s easier to drive to including some parts of the city where I rarely (if ever) go.   This is the story of yesterday’s adventure.

below: Two old rusty acorn-style street signs.

street signs, 2 old acorn signs, for Maclennan Ave and Rosedale Heights Drive, rusty

concrete wall between hillside and sidewalk, houses and trees above, street below

a man jogging past concrete wall and elementary school, at bottom of ramp to pedestrian bridge, street lamp above the ramp

below: On the concrete embankment below the elementary school is a very faded mural.

on an old faded mural of white flowers, someone has written in blue, love is love, and also a purple heart has been drawn

below: I doubt this car was a new model the year this mural was painted…. maybe? LOL

old faded mural of a small white car

sidewalk splits, half goes to ramp up to a pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks and half follows the road that curves and goes under the bridge beside the tracks, blue railing

below: Two together, locked beside each other.  Below are the CPR tracks, the same ones that run through the middle of the city from West Toronto, past the Junction and through to the railway yards at McCowan Road in Scarborough.

2 combination locks locked on a chainlink fence on a railway bridge

below: A small sliver of land between the tracks and the street, just big enough for a narrow house.

view from pedestrian railway bridge, Summerhill Ave., with houses, tracks, street, and trees, early spring

very narrow brick house has been gutted and has no windows

houses and yards as seen from a railway bridge

below: Magnolia buds in a front yard.

magnolia buds on a tree in a front yard

below: A very old pine tree in Chorley Park

large old pine tree in chorley park

below: Chorley Park was once the site of the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor.

large houses in the background, park with large mature trees in the foreground, Chorley Park in Rosedale

below:  It was built in 1915 and was modelled on various chateaux of the Loire Valley in France.  In 1937 it was closed down for financial reasons – during the Great Depression of the 1930s,  the annual costs of heating and electricity were the subject of political debate.   The federal government bought it, using it first as a military hospital and then as RCMP headquarters.  In 1960 the city of Toronto purchased the property, tore down the building, and developed the site as a park.

old black and white picture of a mansion, Chorley Park, stone, long curving driveway, three storeys, many chimneys,

below: From Chorley Park there is a path that winds down the hill to part of the Beltline Trail and the Brick Works park beyond that.

winding path down the hill from Chorley Park to the Beltline trail and Brick works park

below: Part of the path down the hill is being rebuilt.

orange plastic fencing around site where a new path and trail are being made down the side of a hill with lots of trees, early spring, no leaves

Mud Creek as it enters the brick works park and widens to a pond

below: Mud Creek.  It was about here that the word ‘dun’ popped into my head; that was definitely the word of the day…  dull greyish brown colour.   Mud creek, dun views.

old rock wall along the banks of Mud Creek, trees, path,

below: Maybe dun but that doesn’t mean uninteresting.  It won’t be long until there are leaves and then lots gets hidden and houses like this get more of their privacy back!  I’ll gladly stare while I can 🙂  I wonder if anyone uses those stairs?

the back of a house under construction, at the top of a hill on a ravine, trees and dead leaves on the ground, early spring,

below:  Governors Bridge passes over the trail that I share with very few people and about as many dogs as people.

Governors Bridge, where Governors Road passes over the Beltline trail, early spring, no leaves on trees, one person jogging on the trail, path,

below: The street art on the concrete pillars of the bridge look fairly fresh.

part of a bridge, concrete supports with street art on them, a culvert where the creek comes back to the surface, creek, ravine, no leaves on the trees,

Quick diversion to the top of the bridge!

below:  The bridge itself is very plain and the best part of being on it is the view. You can see (barely!) the red brick chimney of Todmorden Mills just below the two taller buildings on the left. That places those buildings at Broadview and Pottery/Mortimer which means that this view is more to the west than to the south.

below: Straight down to the path below. I shot this one blind and was pleasantly surprised to see a bright hat add a bit of life.

2 people walking on path through trees, taken from a bridge high above them

And back down again (you can pretend that I jumped off the bridge)

below: Just a bit farther north the trail passes under the railway tracks.   You might recognize this as a railway bridge as all the Toronto railway bridges over ravines were built in a similar style (and probably all about the same time).

path under a railway bridge, very high, a man walking his dog on the path, lined with trees with no leaves because its early spring

below: The last bridge on the Beltline before it reaches Mt Pleasant cemetery is this one, Cat’s Eye bridge.

below: Unfortunately, that’s where you have to leave the trail for the time being as the path is being refurbished all the way to Moore Ave.

construction, re-doing of path along the Mud Creek

below: The Moore Avenue entrance is blocked for construction – Mud Creek Restoration Project Reach 6,  completion date, summer 2020.

Beltline trail at Moore Ave., blocked by fence because of construction, no entry signs,

And so we leave the path there and make our way back through the neighbourhood to find my car.

three older houses on a street, the one in the middle has been gutted to the other walls, side only, open roof, new beams beinginstalled for a third storey

older houses, three, the one n the middle is white with blue trim and two large trees growing right in front of it

below: Someone wrote this on the pavement on the Cat’s Eye bridge.  I hope they’re wrong!

written in white chalk on greyasphalt are the words no future

Scarborough Bluffs Park on sunny but windy Sunday afternoon in March.

Scarborough bluffs, cliff by Lake Ontario

The red twig dogwood is looking redder and the trees are barely starting to bud.

a couple walking together on a path at park, with tall grasses and leafless bushes beside

signs in a park, Scarborough bluffs, that say danger unstable soils and naturalized area do not disturb

2 teenagers climbing a cliff face at Scarborough bluffs

a few people standing on a path in a park with cliffs behind them

Scarborough bluffs, cliff by Lake Ontario

The water and air are still cold enough that icicles form on the overhanging branches that get hit by waves.

a woman with black hair and weraing a blue winter coat is taking picture of icicles with her phone, waves crashing against the rocks along the shore below the tree with the icicles

icicles on a branch that overhangs Lake Ontario

a woman with black hair and wearing a blue winter coat is taking picture of icicles with her phone

men in the water with wet suits on as they try to surf in Lake Ontario

a woman in a white parka is watching men surf in rough waters and high waves of Lake Ontario

two women in winter clothes sitting on a blanket on rocks by the lake, one is pointing at something

shoreline of Lake Ontario, rocks and trees, early spring, no leaves,

Another walking day, another part of the city to explore.  Sometimes I find new places to wander around but the other day I went back to Sheppard Ave East to see what other changes are happening.   This is a section of Sheppard Ave that is living in the shadow of Yonge Street developments.  It’s an area of mixed residential and commercial.

below: Sheppard Ave East looking west towards Yonge Street from Willowdale Ave.

Sheppard Ave East looking west from Willowdale Ave towards Yonge street

below: A smaller bungalow, and architectural “style” that was common along here.

old white bungalow with side fireplace and chimney wall, exterior

below: Some of the bungalows are being replaced by much larger houses, especially in the side streets behind Sheppard.

large new house being built in Willowdale, on Maplehurst Ave., in place of a small bungalow like the house beside it

below: More signs of  the times, no kids playing outside in the playgrounds of the schools and day care centres.

black fence around playground with some toys but no kids

below: A CTR rabbit trying to run away.

a painting on a metal street box, of a rabbit running, by c r a

below: This front door with it’s clean and ornate door frame has always fascinated me.

white door on small porch with black railing. door has fancy white trim with details on top

below: 176 Sheppard Avenue East has been empty for a while.   I found information about the development here on different websites.  One of the sites stated that the new building would be ready to move into in 2019.

front door of abandoned building at 176 Sheppard Ave East with collection of garbage on overgrown front step

below: A vacant lot

orange cone o n its side in front of a vacant lot

below: This is the same vacant lot as there was nothing to prevent me from wandering in.

vacant lot

below: The front of Dudley Court at 166 Sheppard Ave East.   I have driven past here a few times this year and I keep thinking that I should check it out before it disappears.  The orange “tree protection” fence was a more recent addition. Maybe part of the reason why there is no development proposal sign here is that it’s been about 20 years since the owners started “negotiating” with the city about what was going to be built here.

front of Dudley Court from across the street, a 1960s brick three storey apartment building, overgrown pine trees in front, also construction fence

closer look at closed and boarded up front doors of Dudley Court

below: The back of Dudley Court from the vacant lot mentioned above.

behind 166 Sheppard Ave East, row of empty garages, with new glass building behind as well as apartments from the 1980s and 1990s

metal wire fence around an empty parking lot and row of garages with broken brown doors

below: What surprised me is that there are actually 3 apartment buildings that are empty.  The plywood is there to protect the trees that are between the apartments and a ditch.  The “ditch” continues underground under Sheppard and then south through a small park towards the 401.

plywood fence around trees to protect them from construction and demolition, on walkway beside 166 Sheppard Ave East

below: There is a pedestrian walkway on the west side that continues north a couple of blocks.

old ready for demolition with newer glass buildings in the background building

below: Sheppard Ave looking east

Sheppard Ave East looking east from Kenneth & Leona streets

below: Sheppard Ave looking west.  An evolution of sorts… at first there were small houses that became offices; now they are being torn down.

Sheppard Ave East looking west towards Yonge street from Kenneth and Leona streets

below: Some of the mid-sized buildings that were developed in the 1970s and 1980s are also “moving upward”.  In this case, to 11 storeys with 55 residential units and lower floor retail.  It is currently home to medical offices.

development notice on the front yard of a commercial (office) building from the 1970s

below: Once upon a time this was a Pizza Pizza.  Then it was for sale.  Next, it provided headquarters for an election campaign.  And now?  Possibly in limbo?  All that I could find is a 2017 rejection from the city for a 10 storey development on this lot and the one adjacent (where The Beer Store is now).   The official plan calls for lower buildings as you move away from Yonge Street.  In the meantime you can call it an eyesore.

parking lot, empty, and painted over pizza pizza sign in front of empty building

below: But not everything is ugly!

a street box painted with a red bird and an orange bird in green bushes, Tim Hortons behind as well as street scene at Willowdale and Sheppard Ave East

***

a row of single family houses on a street, large tree, cars in driveways, behind are 3 or 4 large twll condo buildings

a small white bungalow with a single car garage with a black garage door, awning over the front door, tall tree in front yard, black roof

yellowish colour bungalow with black front door, a window on either side of two, 2 dormer windows in roof, a red single car garage door,

Getting used to this “social distancing” thing but not the “stay at home” part.   A walk in the park seemed like a good way to mix the two – get a little exercise without running into too many people.

below: Keeping his distance

a man sitting on a bench in a park

It’s close to March 21st and the beginning of spring.   Actually this blog post started to take form after I parked my car and wandered aimlessly a few yards.  I was standing on a path in a ravine wondering which way to go… but why was I here?  I heard a bird, and then I heard another.

below: A robin snacking on sumach

a robin perched on top of a cluster of sumach buds and is leaning over to eat one

below: A female downy woodpecker

female downy woodpecker on a small tree

below: A little chickadee

chickadee sitting in a red dogwood, early spring, bright red branches, no leaves

below: It’s not a bird nor is it a sign of spring,  but it sat still enough to let me get my camera focused through the branches.

black squirrel sitting among tree branches, holding something in its mouth

below: The red dogwood branches have started to become more vibrant.

bridge over creek, sumach and dogwood bshes, winter to early spring, no leaves

below: Pussy willows have opened up their fuzzy white buds.  A definite indicator of spring.

a few thin branches of pussy willow

below: There weren’t many tree buds but this tree (and others of its type) were an exception.

small clusters of pink buds at the end of branches and twigs on a tree

below: There was a train too!  A different kind of sign of life.

park and trees in the foreground, early spring, with train on bridge in background

young birch tree

a purple graffiti heart painted on the concrete support at the bottom of a large metal trestle

Spring, and a walk in the park.  Sometimes it’s just the little things….  including someone to share your space.

a couple walks together over a small pedestrian concrete bridge

below: Reflections in the Wilket Creek

reflections of lifesaving equipment beside the Wilket Creek

 

don't worry sticker on a pole

below: The garbage always leaks before you can get rid of the bag! A trashy Daught calm sticker.

daught calm sticker on a pole of a man in blue pants and sweatshirt holding up a leaking bag of garbage

below: Knome with an expression of alarm. a cute little sketchnate puppy and urban ninja squadron sprouted big ears when tbonez teamed up with srats (sketchrats). All on the side of a Canada Post mail box.

stickers on the side of red Canada Post mail box

below:  1. The woman with a heart for an eye (got her eye on love?) looks like the work of Italian street artist c_ska.  It also looks like she’s taking her temperature.  Another c_ska sticker is a naked backside (or is it?) on top of an urban ninja squadron.  Yes, you can make jokes about being on top.  2. Talking about jokes, playing on words is daught calm’s ‘be a tuber’ YouTube dig.  I guess that’s better than being a potato.   3. The little orange guy, pizza guy?  pizza face? is by sketch nate.

stickers

below: Red chick light bulb, lites creation.

sticker on a grey metal pole, a red con shaped bird over a light bulb

below: Looking for a drink?

white soda can, pop can, draawing on a sticker, on a graffiti covered wall

below: Brian has become an astronaut.

an astronaut shaped slap graffiti that someone has written the name Brian on

below: Morbid, Icey, etc. along with the bearded face of No love; Alone boy in black and white by ozokoh.  And of course, don’t worry.  It took a while…  but see that grey face and its mysterious signature? It’s a lino print by Brian (aka bodh.io)

stickers on the side of a phone booth

below: Tbonez with a new face

an urban ninja squadron sticker with a different face intead of tbonez

below: Urban Ninja Squadron as a climbing frame for a whole slew of little sketch nate characters.

urban ninja squadron sticker, in colour, on a blue background - side of a Bell phone booth

below: Forge fury, feelings boi, and a sad puppy (yee hop) by sketch nate.

4 stickers graffiti on the back of a street sign, a yellow forge fury wiggly line sticker, a black feelings boi with white line drawing, a small white dog by sketchnate

below: Pikachu and a pokeball…. and a pokemon character that I don’t know.

pokemon and poke ball sticker on a painted pole

people in graffiti alley

a man in a grey puffy jacket taking a picture of another man who is posing beside street art

This post will also appear in Eyes on the Streets, a street art blog.

I went walking on Monday, keeping my distance from others, to “collect” bits and pieces of evidence of what we’re doing and how we’re coping with this virus thing.  Some of this is a bit ghoulish (and has nothing to do with the virus) but hopefully some with make you smile.  Also,  I hope that in the days and weeks ahead we can look back on this as just a little blip in our lives.

below: A little sticker from sketch nate has been edited to say that only all of Toronto can judge me.  There were quite a few “don’t worry” stickers.

two stickers, one says don't worry, the other is a pair of praying hands and the words only gosh can judge me, by sketch nate. Someone has crossed out gosh and written all of T O

below: The Princess of Wales Theatre has shut down like all theatres in the city, no shows happening.  Keep Calm and Carry On – we’ll see how all this pans out.

sign outside the Princess of Wales theatre on King St in Toronto that says Keep Calm and Carry on

below: Another “stay safe” wish for the city.

people walking past the Rex on Queen Street, has sign over door that says

drawing on chalkboard outside, man asking magic ball am I stupid, then he realizes ball is really a bowling ball

below: They have no reason to panic.

mannequins dressed in outside clothing, long pants, hats, jackets, in orange and blue tones,

below: “Don’t argue with it” could pertain to many things including this social distancing that we’re all becoming experts at.

on a street art painting of a skate, someone has written the words

street art on a sidewalk box that says what will remain of us

below: Bugs is ready to fight the good fight.

part of a street art mural of Bugs Bunny with his fists up and ready to fight

painting on a box of a ghoulish figure

street art black and white pasteup of a face with eye still showing, torn a bit, sticker of a red octopus on top of the head

poster sign on door of Lush store explaining why they are closing

sign on a hand sanitizer dispenser explaingint why its empty and what to do about it

Wash your hands.

Stay healthy!

graffiti on a wall including the words Life's exit

A few white walls on a sunny shadowy day.

a white door on a white wall with blue sky, also a bird house above the roof, horizontal shadow across the front of the house

A metal wall with peeling paint and a few rust spots…  and then add an old basketball hoop to the composition.

metal wall, painted white, exterior, with some rust, also an old basketball hoop and its shadow

shadows on the wall of a white house

In the spotlight, spotlight, spotlight, spotlight… and on camera too?

side of a white garage with lights and security cameras

Twig and texture

white wood wall with metal strip, a twig in front, with texture and shadows