Albert Jackson Lane is a small alley that runs south from Harbord Street.

upper storey door with metal stair case and its shadows. White door. Red flower box on railing outside door.

below: What is happening to Harbord Fish & Chips? (Albert Jackson Lane is on the right).

small brick building painted white was Harbord Fish and Chips, sign is gone and the building is being renovated

below: Looking down the alley, the first impression is that it is rather nondescript but a few bits of colour suggest that walking down the lane might be worth the effort.

looking down a short alley, Albert Jackson Lane, with garages lining both sides, the backs of houses at the end including one that is being renovated

below: A purple and teal fish by birdo, aka Jerry Rugg

birdo mural on a garage door, orange background, fish swimming behind a stone, fish is teal and tail is purple and teal striped

below: Part of “Secret Garden” by Emily Kouri

mural by emily kouri from 2012 on a garage door, in pinks and blues with yellow circles with butterflies in the circles

below: An older mural that completely covers the garage and the fence on both sides.  I am not sure who the artist is.

older mural on garage and fence on both sides, covers the whole thing, in oranges, browns, and greys,

below: This character is well known – a poser bunny.

poser bunny and text, pink bunny, pink text, on light blue background, text is on garage door, bunny is on wall beside door

below: The Toronto skyline and its reflection in Lake Ontario in a mural by Mel Coleman.

a mural of Toronto skyline reflected in Lake Ontario, stylized, by Mel Coleman in Albert Jackson Lane, painted on a garage door

below: A talking head, a square head on TV.  I love the bunny ears on the TV – who has those anymore!

on a beige garage door, a white rectangle painted and on that, black drawing of a man with with a square head on TV, a lamp is beside the television

below: At the end of the alley, a house with major renovations in progress.

row of backs of houses from lane, house in middle has windows removed and hole in the walls being enlarged

This is another blog post about Croft Street, a short street that runs between College and Harbord streets just east of Bathurst.   It has changed a lot since I first wrote about it in 2013.  The corner of Croft and College Streets was home to the mural commemorating the fire of 1904 – it is long gone.  In between then and now, the south end of Croft was spruced up with colourful murals and planters in 2016.   These are a few pictures that I took as I walked up Croft yesterday (after dodging construction stuff and workmen at College).

 

below: A mural by Elicser is at the northeast corner of College and Croft.

elicser mural on Croft street, man in doorway with a drink in a pineapple in his hand, other person sitting with hand over face

below: Praying mantis mural

mural of a large praying mantis on a wall

below: Croft is not immune to the construction/renovation craze that we’re in the midst of.

a digger and a blue porta-potty in a vacant lot construction site, with a row of backyards and backs of houses behind

below: The fire station tower at College and Bellevue is now visible from Croft street.

the fire station tower at College and Bellevue is visible beyond a vacant lot and a street of houses and backyards

below: Looking up Croft Street.  One of the garages now has a Raptors logo and the one next to it is being renovated.

Croft street alley with garages on the left, and apartments above some of them, a mural of a man's face where the bottom half has been painted over with white paint

below: Some of the 2016 murals and planters are still in place.

garage doors with murals in Croft street

a simple painting of a blue bird on a branch of leaves

below: Looking north across Vankoughnet Street

a very small white house at the corner of a street and an alley, a view up the alley

door with glass panel with white tape over one of the bottom corners, walls painted in yellow, pink, and blue splotches

below: A door to nowhere

2 storey building. Garage door covered with a tag graffiti on the bottom, a white door surrounded by brown shingles on the upper floor.

below: We are the future and we don’t want any junk mail

a wood wall and door in an alley painted red and brown, the number 74 on it twice, a mail slot with white paint around it to make slot look like mouth with tongue stuck out, no junk mail written too, a picture of a man on the door with the words we the future

below: The door with the metal strapping is still there.

a narrow brown door with metal strapping grid on it beside a garage door with red, yellow, and blue stripes, wall is covered with green shingles

below: A large grominator on a brick wall

a large grominator graffiti on a brick wall, blue eyes

below: Morning glory flowers and vine growing up a street sign pole.

a street sign pole with morning glory flowers and vine growing up it, one way sign, speed control zone sign, no parking signs,

below: More flowers, red rose stenciled onto a garage door

red rose stencil street art on a garage door

below: Garage doors painted by Bruno Smokey and Andrea Manica

garage doors with murals on Croft Street including one by Bruno Smokey

below: A fun ride in vibrant colours by dudeman

a fun mural of an old car by dudeman, in reds and oranges with front grille and radiator in blues

behind tall weeds, a painting on metal attached to a utility pole, painting of a bird, a red back sandpiper

at Harbord street entrance to Croft street, a woman on a bicycle waiting for traffic, Central Tech school across the street, a mural for the store Just For Her beside the cyclist

below: He may be blue but he’s smiling.

below: Preening and posing or just walking past.  Saturday afternoon in Graffiti Alley.

people in graffiti alley, walking, posing for photos, murals, art,

a man spray paints a street art piece in an alley, small red step stool ladder with some cans of spray paint

mual in alley with skull with gold halo

back of a building, in an alley, covered with street art. On top is a large white orek in white, green garbage bins in front

below:  It comes with words, a quote from Al Capone: “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun, then you can with a kind word alone”.   A mural by Madmaxxoner

mural in an alley doorway, portrait of Al Capone in shades of grey, wearing a fedora, accompanied by words

below: A series of urban ninja squadron stickers on a pole

urban ninja squadron stickers on a post

below: A grey face on a door, part of a mural by elicser

elicser mural on a wall including a door that is painted with a large face in grey tones

below: Square face with a four pointed crown, drawn on orange

on an orange background, a black line drawing of a square face with four point crown on head and 4 vertical lines as teeth

a bright orange mini cooper is parked with another car in a small parking lot with two murals, one by hello kirsten and a large portrait by janus

large text street art in silver with blue and red highlights

below: So we meet alley drinking in fact(?) at 2 pm on a Teusday (sic Tuesday) it’s cool(?) and I have a half size bottle of wine some of us are in love and some us can’t be.  We break off spinning in all directions and haven’t stopped since.  And on top of it all is a paranoid sticker in his pink briefs.  Make of it what you will.

a small sticker with paranoid written on it as well as a graffiti that is all words

below: Posing at the end of the alley

three people taking selfies at the Portland Street end of graffiti alley

below: Set-up for a selfie

a man has set up a tripod to take a selfie of him positioned between two large faces painted in an alley

below: More of someone else’s selfie, this one in the partial darkness.

side view, man posing in a doorway in graffiti alley, top part of him is in dark shadow

below: Smoke break

an older man in a fedora sits on a ledge covered with street art as he smokes a cigarette

below: An uber5000 painting of blue cat painting a yellow birdie with a predatory camera bearing down on them.

street art by uber5000, a yellow birdie, a blue cat and a characterization of a camera as a face with large mouth and sharp teeth, also with long tongue sticking out. words say gimme a break clik clik clik

below: We are all human by Kaun

below: More sharpie words, this time about the atomic power of prayer.   Oh dear, I googled it and it’s a thing.

words written in sharpie on green and yellow graffiti

below: Paper paste-up telling us to eat more or proclaiming the presence of eatmore?

Over the span of just a few years I have watched as street art went from questionable legality to mainstream; now it’s jumped to very trendy.  From vilified to Yorkvillified?

man working at a table, with reflections of a mural in the window, looking through the window

below: This large mural was created by Kazakhstan born, Montreal-based, Ola Volo.

mural of a woman with long hair, stylized, in red, yellow and black and white

two murals on two different walls of a building

below: Close up of part of the mural by Whatisadam

close up of a mural, a man and a woman are leaning together for a kiss. Woman has bright red lipstick.

below: Mathieu Bories, also known as Mateo, works on the woman’s blue and yellow head scarf.

a man is on a ladder as he paints a mural of a woman with henna coloured stencils all over her face, and a blue and yellow head scarf,

a man, street artist Mateo, spray paints a mural as he stands on a ladder. He's wearing a respirator, painting with blue paint

shoes on a ladder with the eye of a mural looking at them

below: This OK is coming unstuck, peeling off the wall.  This mural was painted by Ben Johnston whose work often features text that looks 3D

on the side of outdoor steps, a blue mural with the word OK in black and white such that it looks like the letters are curling up at the ends, 3 D effect

below: This staircase, with artwork by Getso, is going to turn into a instagram hotspot.   Her shoes may be famous already!  Actually, I took a quick look through a few possible hastags while writing this post but so far there haven’t been too many images of people posing here.

a young woman sits on the railing of an outdoor staircase that has been painted with street art. A man is taking a pictrure with his phone of her feet against the artwork

below: Across the back wall, above the upper level, is a long mural by Mr. Brainwash that is supposed to look like a wall of graffiti

part of a mural made to look like a wall of graffiti including a mona lisa, a man with a camera in triplicate,

mural made to look like a wall of graffiti including a pink marily munroe, a woman in brown and white dress and bonnet, the word i love you written in red,

below: Up on the scaffolding working on Mickey Mouse and his orange ears, is Xray aka Brian Lanier.

a man in an orange vest is up on scaffolding as he paints a mural, two other men are looking at finished murals

a man sits on scaffolding as he paints a mural, LED spotlights are in the foreground

below: I think that it says love, a mural by Peru143

small mural by street artist peru that says love in very stylized and abstract letters

below: The streaks and splotches of colour are part of the wall that was painted by Risk.  It is also the space surrounding the entrance to the Taglialatella Gallery.  It was this gallery, along with INK Entertainment, that brought together the artists to paint the murals and many of them have pieces for sale in the gallery.   I appreciate that the gallery is supporting street art and that artists can make money from their work but there is a heavy presence of commercialism around this enclave of murals that makes me uncomfortable.

window of gallery with the exterior walls painted in pastel colours

a woman in an art gallery, is standing by two pieces that use neon lights. One is large red heart as part of a painting with an image of Charlie Chaplin meant to look like a wall of graffiti, with a yellow neon light in a heart shape

two pictures on a gallery wall, in red, black and white, on wallpaper that is red and beige intricate floral pattern

mural with a pink marilyn munroe, the words i love you in red, mural, Cumberland private wealth

…murals that is.

construction fence around a building being built, also a small beige house with white trim. Between the two is an entrance to an alley, there is a mural on the wall of the house, in the alley

On Euclid Avenue just south of College there is a lane that runs towards Palmerston Avenue.   I am not sure if it has a name (Paese Lane is the extension of this lane on the other side of Euclid).   As you can see, there are now some murals in this lane.

murals in an alley,

below: Pinks and blues combined in a mural by Getso

a mural of black lines making circles and other irregular shapes filled in with pinks, purples, and blues

below: An unfinished mural by Adrian Hayles

partially finished mural by Adrian Hayles, in yellow, a face and some text

below: A portrait of Greta Thunberg by Meaghan Claire Kehoe.

mural in an alley, large portrait of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager advocating for action on climate change, painted by Meaghan Claire Kehoe

below: A dark haired woman in a blue head scarf with a purple conehead flower by drippin_soul aka Kalkidan Assefa

mural my drippin_soul of a woman in blue head scarf beside a large pinkish flower

below: Raccoons have taken over this part of the alley! A mural by Emily May Rose

raccoon mural by Mily May Rose, raccoon on top of garbage cans, climbing on roofs, spray painting, inside garbage bins

two raccoons from a mural by Emily May Rose,

below: (across the lane from the ones above) This little green guy is up to no good!  Great ready for an explosion!  Perhaps life’s a blast?

small green guy with big ears painted on a wall, orange shirt and blue pants. Hands on a trigger to start an explosion

 

Also referred to as the “Blues Mural”.

At Bloor and Brunswick, by the entrance to Leah Cohen Lane there is a new mural that pays homage to Brunswick House whose walls it is painted on.    The three storey brick building dates from 1907 but there was  a “Brunswick House” pub/hotel on this site from 1876 to 2016.  It is now a drug store.

whole mural part of a mural, the band of story tellers, a group of musicians all with blue skin, with bikes in front of it, by Leah Cohen Lane

The mural was painted by @drippin_soul aka Kalkidan Assefa and @komiolaf aka Komi Olaf

part of a mural, the band of story tellers, a group of musicians all with blue skin, female singer holding a yellow microphone

At one point in history, one of Toronto’s most popular venues for jazz and blues was Albert Hall which was upstairs at the Brunswick House.

part of a mural, the band of story tellers, a group of musicians all with blue skin, drummer with drum set and big puffy black hair

part of a mural, the band of story tellers, a group of musicians all with blue skin,

part of a mural, the band of story tellers, a group of musicians all with blue skin, hand of keyboard player with yellow ring with a heart on it

I didn’t know it at the time I took the photos, but apparently the piano keys are fitted with NFC chips.  If you visit the mural,  you can use your Android phone to interact with the mural to learn more about the blues, the building, and the people who played there.

part of a mural, the band of story tellers, a group of musicians all with blue skin, accordion player wearing a hat

part of a mural, the band of story tellers, a group of musicians all with blue skin, bass player wearing a hat

With support from the City of Toronto and the Bloor Annex BIA

A grey day. The kind of day that when it starts to rain you head to a subway station, only to have the rain stop before you get there. So you walk more. Then it rains again so you buy an umbrella and minutes later the rain stops. So you walk more.

below: Southwest corner of Yonge & Wellesley

a shoe store, a massage parlour, and a convenience store, on the southwest corner of Yonge & wellesley, old brick buildings on Yonge with newer taller condos behind

below: Northwest corner of Yonge & Wellesley

northwest corner of Yonge & wellesley, old brick buildings on Yonge with newer taller condos behind - Not Just noodles restaurant

below: Marks left behind, traces of lives once lived there.

on the side of a brick house, two storey, Victorian, the remains of marks left behind on a house that was demolished, new development going up beside it

below: Do you think that there will ever be a time when we can walk downtown without encountering construction zones?

two orange signs saying sidewalk closed, and arrows, barriers on street to form a passage for pedestrians on the street, two people walking by

below: If it’s a gaggle of geese or a parliament of owls, what’s a group of cement trucks?

five or six cement trucks parked on a side street

reflections in glass windows downtown

a sign stenciled beside a doorway that says Anything can b iced. Window beside it, with a woman sitting inside by the window

below: A new large mural by birdo at Dundas & McCaul

Dundas street, near McCaul, coffee shop and artist supply store, with a large mural by birdo above it

below: Same mural, different angle

the corner of Dundas and McCaul with a large mural by birdo looking over it

below: “Keep going” at the Children’s Healing Garden outside Sick Kids Hospital on University Avenue.

chalk writing on a low concrete wall in a small park that says keep going

below: You can do anything

chalk words on a concrete path in a park that say you can do anything

below: A large hole on University Ave

construction site, hole in the ground, a digger in the hole, one wall of the hole is a light orange colour. The Duke of Cornwall pub is on the other side of the street across from the hole

below:  There was a Dragon Festival at Nathan Phillips Square this past weekend.

arches over the pool at Nathan Phillips square with old city hall behind, and a red and gold dragon head (very large) on display for dragon festival

below: Friday was a rather quiet day at the festival, probably because of the weather.

large and colourful inflatable dragon in front of city hall, at Nathan Phillips square, for dragon festival
below: But there was lots of different food available including skewers of octopus

pieces of octopus on skewers, ready to cook

below:   There were also these fried potato spirals on sticks that are available at every festival and street function.

potato spirals, fried and on sticks, looking a pilie of them from the end

below: Hot dog vendor on Queen Street

hot dog and sausage vendor on Queen street, woman under umbrella buying something, woman working inside the booth, a man sitting behind, many signs advertising their food

view down a lane with large buildings on both sides

below: Snowmen?  This is “Born and Raised” designed by Studio How-to-See.

sculptures on sidewalk, snowmen, beside a new condo, one snowman has lost its head

below: The tallest snowman is 5 “snowballs” high, or 17 feet tall.    Oh no! The snowman in the middle has lost its head.  What would Olaf say?

tall snowman sculpture on sidewalk beside glass and steel condo, with people walking past

below:  Of course early September means TIFF.  King Street West closed and many people were walking or hanging out there trying their hand at celebrity spotting.  We are all groupies during TIFF.

two young people working in a red booth for bubly drinks, both smiling and one is giving a thumbs up

below: I wouldn’t know a famous actor or director, or anything like that, if they came up to talk to me.    My attempts to follow the crowd to get celebrity pics weren’t very successful. This is the kind of photo that I ended up with –  The eye belongs someone called Jason who is taking a selfie with a father and daughter.    I didn’t linger long on King Street.

someone is talking a selfie with a girl in a green jacket who is being held up by her father, a pro photographer is also taking their picture

below: Having King Street closed didn’t help the traffic on nearby streets.  Mind you, this is normal for Toronto especially around rush hour.  Stand at any intersection downtown and you’ll find many instances where cars block traffic when the traffic lights change.

a man walks his bike across the street, between cars who are blocking traffic, also a woman with an umbrella gets ready to start across the street too

below:  The driver knew I was there taking pictures.  It didn’t make much difference.

a woman crosses the street on a green light, traffic is jammed because a car has got stuck in the intersection on a red light

a young black woman with pink dreadlocks and a lot of rings on her fingers is on her phone as she passes by, in the background is a couple standing on the sidewalk having a conversation, the woman is holding a bouquet of flowers

below: Paste ups on Richmond Street.   I find these mesmerizing.  I love the positioning of the eye and the way that it is staring at you .

2 paper paste ups on a wall, both are the same, in grey tones, the lower part of a face with one eye beside it

below: And my last stop that day, a quiet charcoal drawing by Olexander Wlasenko at the Arbozzo Gallery at 410 Richmond Street.

a charcoal drawing of a woman by Olexander Wlasenko on the wall of an art gallery

Now, all that’s left is the pink umbrella that I bought, still unused.