It was a beautiful day on Monday when I visited the “Winter Stations” (scroll down to next blog post), cold but sunny.   I decided to walk north on Woodbine since I haven’t done that for a while.

below: Playing with mirrors while waiting for the washroom at Woodbine Beach because there is only one women’s washroom (why is there only one?)

a mirror shaped like a porthole with a green frame, on a bright blue wall, reflection of another porthole but on an orange wall in the mirror

below: From portholes to demolition holes – I made it as far as Queen and Woodbine where there is a large hole in the ground

at the intersection of Queen and Woodbine, a hole in the ground on the north east corner and a Pizza Pizza restaurant on the south east corner

… because just north of there I discovered alleys and small streets that I don’t remember walking.  Who can resist the allure of a red door?

looking down an alley in winter, two brown tire tracks for the cars, but lots of snow. Fences, trees, and a house on a street at the end with a red front door.

below: I went to Norway

street signs on a post. a one way sign pointing left, a green and white sign that says Norway Ave continues to the right ahead

below: And I passed the North Pole

a lawn decoration in a snow covered front yard, a flat wood snowman with red and white striped hat and scarf and a sign that says north pole

below: I even walked past this No Trespassing sign.  The old cars parked the house behind caught my eye but this was as far as I ventured.

a no trespassing sign on a wire fence, snow covered driveay, two old cars parked in the backyard, beyond the fence

When there is no planned route and you’re only following your nose or sticking to the sunny side of the street, you can run into some surprises.  There were a lot of older houses – here are a few of them:

below: There are still some of these Victorian rowhouses closer to downtown but I wasn’t expecting to find any here.   As it turns out, this was part of the village/town of East Toronto.  In 1888 it was a village with about 800 residents.  It became part of the City of Toronto twenty years later (and with 4200 more people).

two semi houses with gabled roofs and covered porches, from the 1800's. snowy street scene, large trees, winter

As it turns out, one of the streets that I walked on, Lyall Avenue, is a Heritage Conservation District.  The street was surveyed in 1884 and by 1888 a few houses were built on some of the fifty yard lots.  Most of the development occurred between 1909 and 1924.  It was definitely a middle class neighbourhood.   The full report published in 2006 appears on the City of Toronto planning department website.

an upper storey oriel window with curved edges

below: This house stands alone.  A very typical older Toronto house.

a typical old Toronto two storey house with peaked roof, reddish brick, two wondows upstairs, one large window downstairs, white front door with a small roof over the door, lots of yard

below: This tidy well-kept workers cottage can only be accessed from the lane.

a workers cottage that fronts onto a snow covered lane, grey vertical wood paneling on the outside, black roof

below: A white picket fence and wicker furniture waiting for spring.

a white picket fence in the snow, wicker chairs in the yard covered with snow

large two stroey brick houses, winter, street,

All of the above houses were north of Kingston Road where the lots sizes were fairly big.  South of Kingston Road, the houses are narrower and close together. (or joined together).

the backyards and back of houses in a row, winter,

below: This square, substantial sized brick building is on Kingston Road.  Between Woodbine Avenue and Main Street, Kingston Road runs along the crest of a ridge.

large old brick house on Kingston Road, three stories,

below: Newer residential buildings on Kingston Road.

part of three new buildings

below: 1922, looking west along Kingston Road from Main street.  That’s almost 100 years ago, and there were streetcars running here even then.  No cars, just a horse and wagon.

old black and white picture from 1922 of a dirt street with a street car track, hydro poles beside the road and a house

Photo credit: City of Toronto Archives. Found online in a ‘Beach Metro’ article where you’ll find more history of the area.

The next three photos are some of the typical two storey, flat roofed, brick, all in a row, stores and businesses that were built in Toronto in the early 1900’s and later.   If I remember correctly, these were all on Kingston Road.

a storefront trimmed in bright yellow and angled at the corner, intersection of Kingston Rd and Brookside

two stores, old architecture, two storey buildings with apartments on top

Perlux cleaners, old sign painted on side of building, convenience store, mounds of snow by the sidewalk

below: A warm and colourful summer scene painting behind a chainlink fence that surrounds the playground at  Kimberley Junior Public School.

colourful painting behind a chainlink fence in a school yard, winter, snow on the ground around it, picture is of three kids in large yellow hats, playing on green grass

below: Mural at Gerrard and Main.

karate, martial arts mural on a wall

below: The last architecture picture – this building with a turret at Kingston Road.  Here Main Street becomes Southwood Drive.

commercial building with a turret at an intersection

below: Looking north on Main Street from Gerrard.  Here the streetcar turns towards Main subway station.  The bus shelter in the middle of the street is definitely old style – one of the few remaining in the city.  From here Main street is a bridge over the railway tracks.

looking north up Main street from Gerard, streetcar tracks with a bus shelter in the middle of the street. old style bus shelter, Main street then goes up, as a bridge over the train tracks. Highrise apartment building in the background.

below: From the bridge, looking southeast over Danforth GO station. Prior to 1940, this was the location of York Station as well as the Grand Trunk Railway’s main freight yard.  The yard stretched along Gerrard Street and employed several hundred people.   At that time, Gerrard Street was called Lake View Avenue (could you see Lake Ontario from there?).

view from a bridge over railway tracks, Danforth GO station below, houses beyond. covered platforms between two sets of tracks

below: York station in 1890.  It was renamed Danforth in 1922 and demolished in 1974 to make way for the GO station.  The freight yard is to the right.

york railway station in 1890. train is letting off passengers

Photo credit: Toronto Public Library. The picture was found online in an article on Danforth station that appears on the Toronto Railway Historical Association website

 

below: Hanging out on the Danforth

large white sign with green GO logo, Danforth station. a group of pigeons is sitting on top of the sign.

 

But I didn’t hang out for long.  From here to Main Street subway station is only a few steps and that was enough walking.
My writing can be almost erratic as my walking!  I hope that I didn’t lose you along the way.

 

wooden chair outside, against the side of a house, snow on it.

panorama of Woodbine Beach on a February day, art installation in yellows and oranges, lots of people, snow on the ground, winter clothes, Lake Ontario, blue sky with one wispy cloud

This year there were five installations at Woodbine Beach for the annual ‘Winter Stations’ event.   Yesterday, February 18th, was the opening day.  It was also a holiday Monday, Family Day, and lots of people were at the beach.

below: Forest of Butterflies by Luis Enrique Hernandez of Mexico.

close up of orange and yellow shapes that make Firest of Butterflies

part of 'Forest of Butterflies' sculpture in the foreground, along with two boys who are looking at it In the background, standing on a hill of snow, is a man taking a selfie with his golden lab dog

below: The lake was very wavy and rough on Family Day. There was lots of water spraying onto the piles of snow and ice as the waves crashed against the shore.

standing on the snow and ice covered beach in February, wavy day, waves crashing against shore producing spray , people standing and watching

below: ‘Above the Wall’ designed by Americans Joshua Carel and Adelle York.  Climb the stairs and meet people on the platform at the top.

two wooden staircases meet at the top, above an old rusty corrugated metal wall, platform at the top for people to meet

below: ‘Chairavan’ by a team from Sheridan College.

red metal chairs that look like lifeguard stations, part of Winter Stations 2019 at Woodbine Beach,

a woman in a red parka is climbing onto an elevated red metal seat

a young woman in pink snow pants is kneeling on a red metal structure, outdoors, snow,

below: ‘Mind Station’, designed by Tomasz Piotrowski and Łukasz Chaberka from Poland.

the circular art installation 'Mind Station', wood, on the beach beside Lake Ontario on a winter day, two men walking towards it, trees in the distance

below: Interior view – stand on the stumps to look out holes in the roof.

three wood stumps stand upright on the ground, interior of art installation

below: One of the views from the roof.

looking out of a hole in the roof of 'Mind Station' art installation, towards Lake Ontario, other circular holes in the roof

a woman in a tartan scarf walks past 'Mind Station', an art installation at Woodbine Beach made of plywood

below: ‘Cavalcade’, designed by a group from Toronto: Victor Perez-Amado, John Nguyen, Anton Skorishchenko, Abubaker Bajaman + Stephen Seunwon Baik

cavalcadde art installation at Woodbine beach, cutouts of people walking

a man and his shadow and many life size cut out figures of people in bright colours

below: The construction phase

constructing an art installation on the beach in the winter, Woodbine Beach, Winter Stations, colourful life size plywood cutouts of people

man riding on a small machine that digs holes in the ground

 

Apparently, this was the 5th year for ‘Winter Stations’.  Previous years ‘Winter Stations’ blog posts:

Flotsam and Jetsam and others (2017)

Warming with everyone and their dog – almost (2018)

 

snow and ice accumulations along the shore of Lake Ontario, waves crashing into the shore

Mickalene Thomas was born in 1971 in Camden NJ.  She’s a contemporary African American artist now based in Brooklyn New York who likes to examine how Western art has treated women and beauty.   She celebrates black femininity and sexuality with her artwork – something that has been overlooked (or neglected).

below: Close examination of ‘I Learned the Hard Way’, 2010.  Embellished with rhinestones.

a man is looking at a large painting by Mickalene Thomas of a black woman sitting on a sofa. Two women in the foreground
close up of an artwork by Mickalene Thomas at the AGO, a black woman's legs, seated, crossed at the knee, embellished with rhinestones

below: Part of ‘Qusuquzah Une Tres Belle Negresse’, 2012 showing detail in the blue veil that runs diagonally across her face.

close up of a woman's face from a Mickalene Thomas painting, blue eye shadow, and a blue mesh veil diagonally across her face

below: ‘Living Room Tableaux’ (the seats and carpets) with ‘Los Angelitos Negros’ 2016 in the background.  The latter consists of videos playing on four monitors arranged horizontally.

a mother and young daughter sit on seats in a room at the Art Gallery of Ontario, watching videos by Mickalene THomas as part of her Femmes Noires exhibit

below: Also part of ‘Living Room Tableaux’ but from a different angle.  The painting on the wall is ‘Blues’, 2016 which was influenced by the movie “The Color Purple”.  Whoopi Goldberg (in the painting) was one of the characters in this movie which was based on the novel of the same name written by Alice Walker.   Based in rural Georgia in the early 1900’s,  it is the story of Celie Harris, a young black woman and the struggles that she faces.

furnishings, comfy armchairs and a carpet on the floor, turing a room at the AGO into a livingroom. On a wall in the background is a piece by Mickalene Thomas as a tribute to the Colour Purple

below: ‘Living Room Installation’.  This one is different from the one above – in a different room at the AGO.

people sitting, furnishings, comfy armchairs and a carpet on the floor, turing a room at the AGO into a livingroom, one wall has video (or videos) playing over its entire surface

below: Part of “Portrait of Kalena”, 2017.   The geometric face is a direct reference to the style used by Picasso in some of his work.  Picasso was inspired by the work of African artists so here Thomas is re-appropriating Picasso’s geometric and mask-like shapes.

a portrait of a black woman by Micklene Thomas where the face has been done in a Picasso-like style

Thomas’s website

The exhibit at the AGO ends on 24th March

I was standing at the corner of King and Spadina waiting for the red light to turn green.  I looked up and saw the CN tower partnered with a crane and enmeshed in streetcar wires.  A bit cynical maybe, but that combination of images struck me as a good representation of what Toronto is at the moment.  There are even a few new buildings in the background.

CN tower, blue sky with some clouds, a construction crane and lots of streetcar wires. There are some glass condo buildings in the background. Street sign that says King St., traffic lights

Minutes later, I was walking up Spadina when I came across this mural.  It is on the side of the Strange Love Coffee shop – perhaps that’s why it says “We don’t take naps”. It was designed and painted by Ben Johnston and Dirty Bandits (aka Annica Lydenberg)

mural in shades of pink and purple that spell the word toronto, superimposed on it are pale grey letters that say we don't take npas, on the side of a grey building,

All we need now is a blue and white “Notice of Development” sign.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “doors” post but as I was walking with my camera today, I noticed that a number of doors were catching my eye.  I’ve narrowed the selection down to a few pictures where snow plays a role.   None of them are the prettiest doors but I hope that you find at least some them interesting.

pale cream coloured building with white door frame around cream coloured door, snow in front, no steps in the snow to the door. No parking sign beside the door

below: For sale.  No tracks in the snow probably means no one has been by to take a look.   I tried to find the listing online and discovered that it has a bit of notoriety.  Toronto’s ‘The Star’ newspaper featured it in an article just a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently this “as is” bungalow is priced at $2,500,000.  Yes, 2 1/2 million. If I had known this when I walked past, I would have paid more attention and taken better pictures!  Check out the article!

small white building with snow in front, for sale sign in the door, yellow graffiti on the exterior wall to the right of the door, old chair behind the fence to the left of the door

white door in green house, awning over the top of the door, icicles hanging from the awning and from the roof

below: Watch your step!

white door in a brick building, no steps, bottom of door is a couple of feet above the ground level, snow on ground, worn path to another door at the edge of the photo

below: A blast of purple in an alley.

purple garage with purple door, snow in front

below: Another painted wall and door

exterior of a building, graffiti covers the wall, black and white tag on blue background. Door in wall is also covered in the blue

a blue tarp covers the front steps of a brick house, small fence between the front lawn and walkway, lots of junk in the front yard.

below: I am always fascinated by the chairs and tables that people leave on their porches and in their front yards.  It’s not quite coffee on the lawn weather yet though!

greyish stone house with dark red front entrance, small porch with dark green wood railing, table and chair left on front yard, covered with snow

Like the previous few doors posts, this is a  (little late) “Thursday doors” post – part of a series of door posts on a number of different blogs hosted by Norm 2.0.  As usual, if you want to see more doors, follow that link.  At the end of each of Norm’s posts there is another link that leads you to even more doors.   Lots of doors!  I wonder, how many doors are there in Toronto?  In the world?

I’ve decided to put together two exhibits that are on at the moment in one blog post.  The first is ‘Same Dream’ by Omar Ba at the Power Plant Gallery and the second is ‘Reflections of Love’ by a group of photographers next door at one of the  Harbourfront galleries   The two exhibits don’t have a lot in common except the close proximity of the two galleries and the fact that I saw them on the same afternoon last week.

First, Omar Ba was born in 1977 in Dakar Senegal.   He studied art in Dakar and then in Geneva where he now spends part of his time.

below: The large work in the middle of the gallery was painted in place.  That is Jesus on the cross.  The center figure has the word”Horus” painted beside it.  Horus was an Egyptian God who was usually depicted with a falcon’s head on a human body.   The painting depicts “a recurrent motif of birth, death and reincarnation across different cultures today” according to the description of the exhibit on Power Plant’s website .

gallery at Power Plant Contemporary, show of works by Omar Ba, large painting of Jesus and Horus in the middle of the room, a man sitting on a wood bench looking at some of the paintings on the wall

below: ‘Naufrage’ 2014.  Dictators, despots, and authority figures can be seen in many of his paintings, often mixed in with scenes of plants and/or animals.

Naufrage, a painting by African artist Omar Ba on display at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, a black man in uniform peaking out from behind a lot of plants and their stems

below: Similar to the one above, except hear the plants are based on fairly realistic human hearts with black aortas and yellow blood vessels.

Omar Ba painting of a man behind plants with human hearts on top of them

below: Ba’s paintings are full of small details as can be seen in this close-up of part of ‘Autopsie de nos consciences 2’, 2018.   Name the flags?

detail from an Omar Ba pinting, a black man holding an automatic rifle. The butt of the gun is covered with small flags from different countries

below: More details but from a different painting.

close up of a painting by Omar Ba of a boy's face in grey dots, wearing a patterned shirt

***

‘Reflections of Love’ is a photography exhibit on at Harbourfront for the month of February that features the work of five artists.

As you enter the gallery, the words on the wall say, “In honor of Black History Month, this thoughtful photography exhibit explores the many forms of love found within our black communities through reflections of self, identity and acceptance. Power within vulnerability and healing can only come through togetherness and conversation. This is a true celebration of exemplified strength in people with deep roots and heritage.”

below: On the back wall, a series of images by Stella Fakiyesi.  Fakiyesi was born in Nigeria and raised in Toronto.

part of art gallery at Harbourfront, wood floors, black bench in the middle, some photos on the two side walls, four large photos on the back wall, a series of four photos by Stella of the same black woman in a number of poses.

part of a photo by Stella Fakiyesi of a black woman, two images superimposed on one another

below: Photo by Sean Brown

photo by Sean Brown of a black woman wearing a green turban, a number of hands are tugging at her ears.

below: Photo by Jah Grey

black and white photo by Jah Grey of a black man holding a large round mirror over his head and in front of his face

below: Two photographs by Quil Lemons

two portraits by Quil Lemons, on the left is a black woman and on the right, three black girls

below: A closer look at the one on the right shows a wonderful tangle of three girls.

a close up of portrait of three girls by Quil Lemons

 

below: Three portraits by Yannick Anton

three photos by Yannick Anton hanging on a gallery wall. All three are portraits of black people with bright yellow backgrounds, one is a father and young son, one is a young girls and one is a young child with parents.

***

Happy Valentines Day!

smiley heart on pink wall with red spray paint lines around

A walk along Queens Quay West

My reason for walking along the waterfront was to see the 2019 version of ‘Ice Breakers’.  This year there are five art installations spaced out along Queens Quay.  The white PVC tubes you see in the photo below is half of one of these installations, Stellar Spectra.  The other half is identical and was behind me when I took this picture.  They are placed at each end of the little bridge.  These hollow structures were designed by Torontonians Rob Shostak and Dionisios Vriniotis.  There is room for a person or two inside and once inside, look up!  The tops of the tubes are covered with coloured acrylic.

Queens Quay west, street, pedestrians, high rises in the background, a white art installation made of vertical tubes

below: I was trying to think of a way to describe the bridge that sits on, but a picture paints a thousand words so here’s the bridge from a different angle.  You can also see the two white structures on the bridge in the background.  In addition, there are green signs on poles that once floated in the water but are now frozen in the ice.  The signs, like protest signs, are ‘Chroma Key Protest’ by Andrew Edmundson of Solve Architects.

Chroma Key Protest, green signs on poles floating in the water beside Queens Quay, from the back, backlit, road in the background and Lake Ontario in the distance

below: Twenty five green signs

CN Tower in front, waterfront condos in the middle and Chroma Key Protest in the basin of water in the foreground

below: A pair of long-tailed ducks enjoy an small bit of open water.

two long tailed ducks swimming in a patch of open water onLake Ontario, ice on lake in the background, two tires at the end of a dock are also in the picture

below: Another installation, ‘Tweeta Gate’ over a very icy path.   There were lots of barriers along the waterfront along with signs that warned of “no winter maintenance”.  It was very slippery.   These 10 arches are supposed to lead you to the waterfront but I didn’t see anyone brave enough to walk there.  ‘Ice Breakers’ remain until the 24th of February so there is still time for the ice to melt (it will, won’t it?) Each arch represents a different architectural style.   It was designed by Eleni Papadimitriou and Stefanos Ziras.

yellow arches over an ice covered path, art installation ice breakers, on Toronto waterfront,

below: ‘Connectors’ is an entanglement of four orange tubes made of drainage pipes – if you speak into one end, which of the other 7 ends is the sound going to come out of?  This was designed by Alexandra Griess and Jorel Heid from Hamburg Germany.

Connectors, a large art installation consisting of bright orange plastic tubes are jumbled up together

Connectors, a large art installation consisting of bright orange plastic tubes are jumbled up together

below: At H2O beach

a man is sitting on a red muskoka chair, under a large plastic yellow umbrella on H 2 O beach in toronto, in the winter, some snow on the ground. A large golden lab dog has his forepaws on the man's lap

below: The beach was fairly quiet.  It was also covered with a layer of ice.

view of H 2 O beach in toronto from the west, looking towards the Toronto skyline, winter, no leaves on the treees and some snow on the ground

below: More ice surrounds the base of ‘Tripix’, a structure that was designed by a group of Ryerson students.

art installation in H2O park, Tripix, a three legged arch struture in red and chrome

below: The panels that cover its surface are reflective and the angles in which they are arranged make for a kaleidoscopic effect when viewed from inside the installation.

view from inside Tripix

below: And yes, another CN Tower picture

the CN Tower in background, and a leg of art installation in H2O park, Tripix, a three legged arch struture in red and chrome

below: It’s not part of the ‘Ice Breakers’ series, but three large photographs are on display at Ontario Square.  These are the series “Our Desires Fail Us” by Sean Martindale and J.P. King.  They are mirrored images of Toronto garbage (mirrored in that one side of the photo is a mirror image of the other).

a large photo mounted on an exterior wall in Ontario Square, part of a series called Our Desires Fail Us by Sean Martindale and JP King. shows a pile of garbage

below: A close up look at one of the other photos  [art is garbage vs garbage is art? – sorry, couldn’t help myself]

detail of part of a large photo mounted on an exterior wall in Ontario Square, part of a series called Our Desires Fail Us by Sean Martindale and JP King. shows a pile of garbage

below: Recently, the off-ramp from the Gardiner Expressway that circled onto York Street was removed.  The bents that held the road up remain in what is now a park at the corner of York Street and Queens Quay.

four or five concrete bents stand in a vacant piece of land tht is being made into a park. the bents once held up an off ramp of the Gardiner Expressway

As I write this post, I keep wondering if I missed something because of the ice.  I might have to make a second trip if the temperatures warm up enough before the 24th of February.  In the meantime, don’t slip!

broken chunks of ice on Lake Ontario