construction site, with posters on the hoardings, tall white, grey, and red building in the background.

Almost two years ago I wrote about the murals and street art on Bulwer street.   Somethings have changed and some of the murals have disappeared.  For instance, the area bounded by Bulwer, Soho and Queen streets is now a construction site instead of a parking lot.   I walked here yesterday, a holiday Monday, and discovered that there were no parked cars blocking views of the street art.  I also discovered a tour group stopping to talk about something on the street but I was too far away to hear what they were talking about (something about bricks on the buildings?)

below: An unobstructed view of the David Suzuki and Atlantic salmon mural by Kevin Ledo, painted in 2016 as part of the “Love Letters to the Great Lakes” mural project.

david Suzuki and the atlantic salmon mural by Kevin Ledo, a very large 24 foot by 64 foot mural, large head of David Suzuki

below: The mural, a collaboration between Elicser and Indigo, hasn’t fared as well.  As you can see, the bottom portion has sadly been tagged over.

large mural by elicser of kids, bottom part has been covered with three large tags.

upper part of a mural by elicser showing a boy in an orange t shirt holding a small green sprouting plant in his hands.

view of the back of stores and residences on Queen street as seen from the street behind, street art and graffiti on the old garages, tree, large buildings in the background.

below: Part of a mural by horus.

part of a larger mural, green swirls, a fish with big teeth

below: A 2017 creation by sightone, breakin’ atoms, a memorial to Vandel.

text graffiti by sightone, pinks and purples and red

below: A collection of items attached to the schoolyard fence.  Metal pans and a shoe form?

old metal pans attached to a chainlink fence at a school

 

below: The CN Tower, a metal staircase, and some graffiti.  The back building looks very old, especially the windows.

back of old brick buildings, some graffiti, orange metal stair case, CN TOwer in the background

below: Another bit of “old” is this Toronto Hydro building with its very high fence and gate.  Is it still in use?

chainlin fence and gate around on old two storey brick building that was part of Toronto Hydro

old no parking sign, rusty, on fence in front of old Toronto Hydro building

One last little bit – this stikman is still here – weathered but still standing.  Once upon a time he was covered with a circuit board design but that layer has peeled away.   Aging but ageless.

an old stikman on a wall by a door with a rusty hinge

Happy Victoria Day!
Happy 2 4 long weekend.
More correctly, I hope that you had a good weekend!

close up of street art on a wall, that someone has written in black marker, I feel good.

This blog post is the result of a walk through Mt. Pleasant cemetery, down the ravine behind Yonge Street that goes under St. Clair East and the Summerhill railway bridge.   After crossing Mt. Pleasant Road, take the right at the fork in the path to go uphill on Milkman Lane.  This brings you out of the ravine close to Glen Road.  Follow Glen Road south to Sherbourne subway station.

below: Lots of shades of red, green, and yellow in the cemetery.

Small red maple (or Japanese maple) tree in the cemtery, also a forsythia bush and other green leafed trees.

I will dedicate this post to the man that I met on the path near the St. Clair bridge.  He had many questions about the path and where it went.  He was in awe that such a place existed in the city and was so excited to find it.  He couldn’t linger though because he was on a break from work.

below: Blossoms on an Arnolds crab apple tree,  Malus X Arnoldiana  (the tree had a label, cemetery)

pink crab apple blossoms

below: Dense clusters of fragile pink and white petals on a Japanese Flowering Cherry Prunus Serrulata.

dense cluster of pink and white cherry blossoms

red maple leaves in contrast with the blue sky

below: The chains of humankind?  Or something creepier?  Please don’t put anything like this on my tombstone regardless of what they symbolism might be!

relief sculpture on a tombstone at mt pleasant cemetery, person with arms folded over top of head.

below: It was very quiet and surprisingly green on the path.  I had procrastinated about walking in the ravines because I didn’t think that spring was far enough along.  Surprise!  Spring has sprung very quickly – the leaves have been popping out all over the place.   May is a fantastic month – everything comes alive so quickly.

path through the woods with a wooden rail on the left side

below: Walking on Park Drive, under Glen Road, following the Yellow Creek.

path through the woods in a Toronto ravine, green trees, above is a bridge

below: It looks like a throne under the bridge!

an old stuffed arm chair on a stone pillar under a bridge with graffiti on the bridge supports

a chipmunk on a wood rail

below: Yellow Creek, near St. Clair.

an old tree has fallen across a creek, small amount of water in the creek

path through the woods, ots of trees of differing sizes

below: Wildlife!

a fly on a leaf

below: Fungi growing out of a rotting log on the forest floor.

brown fungi mushrooms growing out of a dead log on the forest floor. flat topped, dark brown spots,

below: Mushrooms of a more colourful variety

street art painting on a concrete pillar on a bridge, pink and blue mushrooms, tall and skinny

below: Under St. Clair.

street art under a bridge with names pansr and use spray painted on

below: I didn’t see any real ones that day.  You can spot this one close to Sherbourne subway station.

street art painting of a blue jay

Bring on summer!

looking down Hazelton Ave towards Yorkville Ave., two older houses, now used as commercial businesses, one half painted blue and the other half is red.

It’s still May and the CONTACT Photography Festival is still on so I am still trying to see as much as possible.   Yesterday afternoon I went wandering in Yorkville where there is lots to see and do besides a couple of CONTACT exhibits.

below: Captain Canuck.  I started with the TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library.  It wasn’t that long ago that I was there (April I think) but the exhibit has changed.   It is now ‘Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity’.  Isn’t Captain Canuck the most famous Canadian superhero?  He first appeared in 1975.

painting of Captain Canuck, from the chest up, one arm raised to shoulder height

below: Not so well known – The cover of the book ‘Nelvana of the Northern Lights’ by Adrian Dingle (1911-1974).   Nelvana was Canada’s first female superhero; she first appeared in 1941, a few months before (American) Wonder Woman.  Nelvana’s superpowers included turning invisible and traveling at the speed of light along a ray of the Northern Lights.  According to Wikipedia, she “visited lost kingdoms under the ice, journeyed to other dimensions, and fought against the Axis Powers during World War II, eventually taking on the secret identity of secret agent Alana North.   Her last adventure was published in 1947.

book cover, book called Nelvana of the Northern Lights, a comic book by Adrian Dingle, 15 cents, 68 pages, hard cover

below: This structure was built in 1876 as a Carpenter Gothic Revival Style church – the Olivet Congregational Church.  It has been the home of the Heliconian Club since 1923.  This women only club was formed in 1909 and is still active today supporting women in the arts.  There is a photo exhibit on there at the moment but viewing is by appointment only (it is a club not a gallery after all).

pale blue wood building, originally a church, now the home of the Heliconian Club on Hazelton ave. Bright blue doors, two, rose window,

below: For CONTACT, the Lomas Gallery on Yorkville Ave is featuring a few large photos of cityscapes that are full of tall buildings.  The one behind the red couch is ‘NoMad New York’ by Christopher Woodcock.

Lomas Gallery in Yorkville, bright red oval shaped couch in front of a wall with a large photo of a city scene, lots of skyscrapers with lots of windows, by Christopher Woodcock, plus words on the wall that say Contact Festival, City Obscure, Windows on either side of the wall with people passing by

below: On the wall beside is ‘[a]DCLXI’ by Amyn Nasser.

on a gallery wall, Lomas Gallery, a large photo, [a]DCLXI by Amyn Nasser of a wall of glass skyscrapers with lots of windows, on the wall beside is another photo in which Nasser's photo is reflected.

below: It’s not a sculpture or a statue, but this red faced mannequin caught my eye. Maybe next time he’ll remember his sunscreen.

two male mannequins in a mens wear store window, one has a very red face, also a picture of a man in a black suit with a bright blue background is in the window

below: The clock tower of the Yorkville firehall. One side seems to missing its clock face.

the clock tower of Yorkville fire station with a reflective glass building behind it. A Canadian flag is flying on top of the firehall clock tower.

below: Brendan Meadows’ black and white portraits hang on the walls of the Liss Gallery in an exhibit titled ‘Ipseity’.  These were printed as silver gelatin selenium-toned lith prints by Bob Carnie from negatives made from digital images.  The images were also  manipulated with the Sabatier effect (solarization); this results in an image that is wholly or partially reversed in tone. Dark areas appear light or light areas appear dark.

interior shot, Liss Gallery, frames black and white portraits on the walls

below: Posters on hoardings add a little life at street level to the construction sites in the area.  This set features businesses and sites in the area including the ROM.

posters on hoardings in front of a construction site - picture of the ROM at night, picture of the interior of a menswear store, man trying on a suit

below: Some colourful art deco style posters.

art deco posters on hoardings in front of a construction site

art deco posters on hoardings in front of a construction site inclujding a Vogue picture

below: Prepared for anything!  With a yellow duckie, handcuffs and binoculars, Batman and his Robin hand puppet prepare to take on the forces of evil!  These are sculptures by Patrick Amiot.

a metal junk sculpture by Patrick Amiot, outside, by the front door of an art gallery, batman, with a very small robin in one of his hands.

below: Part of the Miraim Schiell gallery is devoted to Amiot’s work.

a wall mounted artwork by Patrick Amiot of a man ice fishing with his dog, created from junk

an artwork on a gallery wall, by Patrick Amiot, of the front of a Spadina TTC streetcar, crowded with driver, man, and dog,

below: This large RCMP mountie and his dog stand behind the gallery.

metal junk sculpture by Patrick Amiot of a mountie and his dog, outside, behind a gallery in Yorkville

below: Enjoying the wonderful spring afternoon on Cumberland.

outside, park in Yorkville, tall trees with leaves just coming out, spring, people sitting on chairs under the trees, talking, reading, phones, drinking,

statue of a bear outside, life size, a painting in a glass enclosed box is behind him

below: Oh.. that second mountie that I alluded to in the title of this post – he was on the wall at the Alter Ego exhibit.  This one.   Just don’t call him Dudley Do-Right.

large picture of a mounti on a horse with a gun in his hand, on a wall in a gallery

below:  This is either ironic or sad.  The first few lines of text say “In the the 1960s and 1970s, Yorkville village was the heart of Canada’s bohemian, counterculture community”.  As I took this picture a new Bentley with dealer plates drove past.  I looked around and the ‘counterculture’ of 40 to 50 years ago has been replaced by designer boutiques, high end stores, fine art galleries, and restaurants with linen napkins.  Not a lot of music happening here.  Full transcription is below.

plaque to Yorkvilles music scene, Heritage Toronto black and white plaque, from 2016

“In the the 1960s and 1970s, Yorkville village was the heart of Canada’s bohemian, counterculture community. More than 40 clubs and coffee houses nightly featured folksingers-songwriters, including Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young, who performed some of their first compositions in these smoky venues.
Yorkville’s first coffee house, Club 71, was opened by Werner Graeber in 1959. By 1964, Yorkville had become a nurturing environment not only for folk music, but also for pop, blues, and later, psychedelic rock. Hippies and teenagers flocked to these unlicensed venues, which offered an alternative to Yonge Street bars.
Yorkville was also home to three sound-recording studios, taping major acts such as The Guess Who, Lighthouse, and Ann Murray. With its vital role in fostering a wealth of talent, the Yorkville scene inspired a generation of songwriters and led to the rise of a new Canadian sound.”

outside pizza pizza, man inside eating, another man outside looking at mural on the wall

A trip to Toronto Islands on a sunny spring day.
Photos and stories – an eclectic mix of history and nature that resulted from wandering around the eastern portion of the islands.

below: From the ferry, looking toward the glass and steel of the city.

sail boats in Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, in front of the Toronto skyline with highrises and skyscrapers also ship moored at Redpath Sugar refinery

Toronto Islands is a collection of at least 12 small islands.  In the early years the island archipelago was really a peninsula of sandbars and ponds; it was connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sandy shoreline. This landform was created over centuries by the action of waves, winds and lake currents – washing away portions of the Scarborough Bluffs and depositing this material to the west in a five-mile-long hooked shape. This process of natural “landscaping” continued until the spring of 1858, when a particularly powerful hurricane created a channel four to five feet deep through the peninsula.  By June of that year, the Eastern Gap was a waterway, and the Toronto Islands came into being.

below: On the ferry between the city and Centre Island.

people lined up along the front railing of a ferry from Centre Island to the city of Toronto, looking at skyline and taking picture of it. Toronto is in the background.

The first buildings on the islands were the Blockhouse Bay garrison built in the 1794 by the British at Gibraltar Point – it included a blockhouse and storage structures.  A second blockhouse and a guard house were built soon after, only to be destroyed by the Americans in the Battle of York in April 1813.   The lighthouse at Gibraltar Point built in 1809 still stands (sorry, no photo).

In 1833 Michael O’Connor built a hotel on one the islands.  He used a horse-drawn boat to ferry customers across from the mainland to his hotel.  At that time, there was still access by road but it was a toll road.  In 1836 it cost sixpence for every four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses.  Smaller ‘vehicles’ paid less.   In 1858 the hotel (now Quinns Hotel) was destroyed during the same hurricane that turned the peninsula into an island.  The hotels were destroyed but the islands remained popular.  With no road access, ferries were needed and many people ran private ferry services until they were bought out or amalgamated into the Toronto Ferry Company in 1892.  It was privately owned until 1926 when it was purchased by the City of Toronto for $337,500.

ferry, ceiling is full of orange life jackets, railings along edge, Lake Ontario, benches to sit on but no people

blue abstract from two blue doors with cut out where handle should be

Many houses and businesses, (hotels, restaurants, bowling alley, laundry, theatre etc) were established over the years from Hanlon’s Point in the west to Wards Island in the east.   Today, residences are only in the eastern section of Wards Island and on Algonquin Island.

The Ward’s Island community began in the 1880s as a settlement of tents. Up until then, that eastern end of the islands was mostly wetlands.  The first summer colony on Ward’s in 1899 consisted of just eight tenants, each of whom had paid a fee of $10 rent for the season. The number of tents grew each year.  In 1913, the city felt it necessary to organize the community into streets. The evolution from tents to cottage structures progressed in stages with the building of floors, the addition of kitchens and then porches, resulting in the creation of the homes.

two houses on Wards Island, small wood housses, one bright blue and the other is white

grey wood siding on house with white door and small porch. Two yellow and metal chairs on the porch

In 1953 the municipal government changed their policy toward the Toronto Islands landscape and its residents. Businesses were removed and the systematic demolition and burning of homes began.  More of the islands became parkland.    There are 262 houses on Wards and Algonquin Islands today, down from about 630 residences on all the islands.  The last of the Lakeshore houses was removed in 1968 but traces of them still remain.

wood boardwalk along the foreground of the photo with a concrete path leading away from it, into an overgrown area

part of old concrete breakwater, once there was house here, number 170 embedded in the concrete

below: The pier on the Lake Ontario side.

metal fence in the foreground, beach, pier and Lake Ontario in the middle and background

below: Sandbags along the shore.  Last spring there was a lot of flooding here and the island was closed to visitors – sort of.  Ferries didn’t run and the park facilities were closed.  The islands are very flat and low so it doesn’t take much extra water to flood.

large white sandbags along the shore, beach on the other side, Lake Ontario in background with a row of rocks as breakwater a short distance from the shore, sign on the beach

sign fallen over and under water, surrounded by rocks, Lake Ontario

below: There is a small amusement park, Centreville, on Centre Island.

CN tower in the background, people on the Skyline ride at Centre Island passing over water, with large boats docked farther up the river

below: Island transport that can be rented if you don’t want to walk.

people cycling in 2 quadricycles, a four wheeled bicycle like vehicle, on paths,

the orange and white wall tile pattern of Pizza Pizza with a red bike parked in front of it.

below: Boats moored QCYC (Queen City Yacht Club), one of the three yacht clubs on the islands.

sailboats moored at a wood dock, QCYC

below: Sakura trees in bloom.   The trees were donated by the Sakura Project.  The aim of this project was to strengthen Japanese Canadian relations by planting cherry trees in visible locations across Ontario.   Between 2000 and 2012,  3,082 trees were planted at 58 locations.  The trees on Centre Island were planted in 2011.

path, sakura (cherry) trees on either side with their pink and white blossoms, other large trees around them with pale green of new leaves

below: Catkins from a red alder tree.  They almost look like raspberries packed tight together.

red fuzzy blossoms droop from the end of a tree branch

new yellowish green flowers on a tree, also leaf buds just opening,

ants in the bud on a tree

below: An early family of Canada geese.

family of Canada geese, 2 adults and 7 or 8 fluffy little goslings swimming in the water

below: The pier at the eastern end of Wards Island is bad need of repair.  To the right is the entry into the Eastern Channel (or Eastern Gap).

broken concrete pier into Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, with Toronto skyline and CN Tower in the distance

below: Looking over to Algonquin Island.  Once upon a time this island was just a sandbar.

waterway, orange life ring and ladder on one side of the river, houses and docks, and boats on the other. r

two people standing on the shore of Center Island, looking at the Toronto skyline and taking pictures of it.

and back to the mainland.

people exiting a ferry, from above

… and vicinity

The Bentway is a new park being built under the Gardiner Expressway between Bathurst and Strachan.  I walked it almost two years ago when the park was only in the planning stages.   I thought that I’d take a look at it again the other day.  Originally, it was supposed to be ready last summer so it’s a bit behind schedule.  Surprised?

Walking south on Strachan from King, and whoa, there are changes happening here too.  Cranes everywhere.  Holes in the ground.   How many people are employed in the construction industry in Toronto?  in the GTA?

below: Looking eastward from Strachan Avenue, immediately south of King Street.

looking east from Strachan, immediately south of King, past older brick buildings to the CN Tower and city skyline

below: The view from a few metres farther south on Strachan.  The metal grid covers the railway tracks and supports the retaining walls on either side.  It also makes an interesting pattern.  These tracks turn northward – they are used by the UP Express to the airport and GO trains to places like Georgetown and Barrie.   There’s the CN Tower again – just in case you’re a CN Tower junkie like me.  I can’t resist taking pictures of it, especially when I find new angles, new foregrounds.

looing over the railway tracks to city skyline and CN Tower, construction of new building on the right

below: Immediately south of the train tracks is Ordnance Street.  Until recently it was a sleepy little dead end street of light industrials.

cement truck on street in front of construction site, cranes, fences, building about 20 storeys high

below: Ouch! Look at all those transformers on the poles.

 

white crane in the background, many hydro utility poles, with large grey cylindrical transformers on each of them

below: The east end of Ordnance Street is at Strachan.   It doesn’t actually end there, but continues on the west side as East Liberty Street.  This is the eastern edge of Liberty Village.

the NW corner of Strachan Ave and East Liberty Street, construction site with fence and hoardings.

Sorry, we haven’t got to the Bentway yet.  If you are a Torontonian you should now have your bearings and know at least approximately where you are.  Not far to go now.  It’s a beautiful day and we’re walking slow!

The Ordnance Street development is on a triangle of land with one side as Strachan Avenue and the other two sides as railway lines.

below: You’ll have to take my word for it that the construction on Ordnance Street is just behind the bushes on the left.   These are the tracks that run to the west and the bridge over the tracks is at Bathurst Street.  By this time, the two sets of tracks have come together as they approach Union Station.

railway tracks and CN Tower

below: One of the first views of the Bentway.  More construction.  I was standing on Strachan when I took this picture.  This is the beginnings of a new entrance to the Bentway – a large staircase down the hill from the street.  The steps are wide to allow for multiple uses – a place to gather, a place for entertainment.

construction under the elevated Gardiner Expressway, making a large set of stairs down from Strachan Ave to Grenadier Common near Fort York

below: This end of the Bentway parallels Garrison Common.  The Ordnance Street development can still be seen but there is also another structure being built on Garrison Common side of the railway tracks.

construction of an elevated ramp beside a park from a distance, with condo building going on behind it

below: A closer look.  It appears to be a ramp to a pedestrian/cycle bridge that will cross the tracks and join Ordnance Street to the Bentway, Fort York, and the streets/paths to the south.  I also really like the billboards – one with graffiti and the other is empty.

billboard beside construction of an elevated ramp beside a park

below: The new rusty entrance to the Fort York Visitors Centerentrance to Fort York visitors centre, rusted metal panels on exterior walls and as covering over doorway

 

below: Just beyond the visitor’s center, the Bentway is closer to completion. There was a skating rink here this past winter.

concrete path winds under the bents and pillars of the Gardiner Expressway

below: Also here is an installation by Dana Claxton called ‘Forest of Canoes’.  Colourful images of canoes on the concrete pillars.  Light-wise, they are probably best seen in the morning but that’s not when I was there.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - grey canoe on black background

The Bentway follows the shoreline of Lake Ontario that existed before landfill was used to create a space for the railway lines.  Canoes were once an essential means of transport.  Now their images sit on concrete pillars that hold up the Gardiner Expressway where thousands of cars pass by every day.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - blue canoe

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway - cedar strip canoe

below: In the bottom left corner of this picture is what looks like a bluish blob.  My apologies to the artist for calling it a blob but I’ll blame it on the lack of light and therefore, the lack of detail, in the photo.  This is another art piece.  It is ‘Future Snowmachine in Kinngait (Colossus)’ by Janice Qimirpik, Moe Kelly, Embassy of Imagination, and PA System.  Embassy of Imagination is a collaboration between PA System (Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka) and youth in the Cape Dorset community of Kinngait.  This sculpture started with small playdough models of snowmobiles made by Qimirpik and Kelly.  They were then scaled into a larger than life sculpture.

at the Bentway, Dana Claxton's 'Forest of Canoes' art installation of pictures of canoes on the concrete supports of the Gardiner Expressway

The next part of the Bentway is under construction and there is still no pedestrian crossing across Fort York Blvd and is passes diagonally under the Gardiner.   There is (was?) one in the plan.

below: This sculpture is on the corner of Fort York Blvd and Grand Magazine Street.  It is ‘Fountaingrove’ by Carlo Cesta and Nestor Kruger, 2014.  It sits above the Garrison Creek Culvert that carries the now buried creek to the lake.  Like the name states, it represents water in fountains.   Of course there is a white crane hiding behind it.

part of a metal twisty sculpture, condos behind, blue sky, sun spot

below: Just west of Bathurst Street

blue surface, window relief sculpture in it, other side is artifical rock, under the Gardiner Expressway, lock stone ground,

below: Getting cosy.  Condos rise up right beside the Gardiner Expressway.  If you’ve driven across the Gardiner, you’ll know just how close some of the buildings are to the traffic.   How useful is a balcony if it’s metres away from a highway and from all those cars and trucks?  They keep being built and people keep buying them.

below: I couldn’t resist all the yellow and orange bits and pieces!

yellow circular bike rack, bikes, condos,

below: On the east side of Bathurst is the construction of a new Loblaws.  It never ends does it?

construction site that is partially covered by the Gardiner Expressway

This blog may have been a bit heavier on construction photos than you were expecting, especially since the title was about canoes. There was just so much work going on in that area that it was hard to avoid.  The next time that I walk this area it will probably be totally different… unfortunately new buildings are a lot duller to look at than construction sites so there may not be many photos!

on grey construction hoardings, a sign tat says post no bills. Someone has added 4 stencils of different Bills, Bill Murray, Bill Clinton.

Dana Claxton canoe image at Bentway, Forest of Canoes, multicoloured, bright colours,

I know that this isn’t the first time that I have blogged about alley doors (previous alley post, Nov 2017) and I know that I tend to take a lot of pictures in alleys so I hope that you aren’t rolling your eyes right now.  I’m not sure that I’ve found anything “wow” or anything completely new, but here we go with a little bit of rust, a splash of paint and a dose of weathered …..

below: A dead end alley with three levels of doors.

looking down an alley to the back of a triplex (three storeys high) with fire escape stairs and balconies with railings

below: Lots of rusty hinges and peeling paint

rusty hinge on wood door with paint peeling

below: Not an inviting place to sit and chat!

door in an alley with a chair in front of it as well as bags of garbage and two bright red and yellow cushions

below: Something to catch an eye – a bright red door amidst the greys and browns.  If you look closely, there is a bird roosting on the door.

below: Look up!  And watch your step.

below: An alley with some colour in blues and greens…. and even a few straight lines.

below: Are you wondering if something’s missing?  Where are all the graffiti covered doors?

mural of a black man in purples and reds on a concrete block wall, with three signs posted on his face

Ahhh…. here we are. 

below: Part of Graffiti Alley.   A birdo eye peeping over a wall.

alley with low buildings, lots of graffiti and street art

below: An eagle’s head

street art painting of an eagle's head

below: Another birdo, this time a rooster head and a ??? tail.   Cock tail?

birdo mural of a rooster on a garage door

below: There really is a door under there.  A very narrow door.

old wood door in an alley covered with tags and graffiti

below: Another narrow door.  This one is adorned by something purple, something that looks like a head but isn’t a head.  More heads, as pasteups on either side of the door.

door in an alley with street art in purple and teal, two paste ups, on on either side of the door

below: A solitary bird on a shadowy tree.

below: I think that there was once a red heart on that door.

yellow building (shed? garage?) in an alley painteed white with light teal door with graffiti on it

below: Mass confusion on the wall, the door, and the window.  Many people have left their mark here…

closed door in alley covered with graffiti

below: …. and here too.  The door as a canvas that comes already framed.

closed door in alley covered with graffiti , framed by other street art and murals

below: Maybe the Pink Panther is suffering from writer’s block, pacing back and forth waiting for inspiration.  Or he can’t find the doorbell?  He forgot his key?  No one’s home.   Abandoned.

painting of the pink panther cartoon character standing beside of real door covered with a metal grille

This is another Thursday Doors post inspired by Norm 2.0’s blog.  You can check out Thursday Doors  for links to even more doors that other people have blogged about.   Take a wander over!

Stained glass windows and churches go hand in hand. The church of St. Simon and St. Peter on Bloor Street East is no exception.  The church was built as St. Simon the Apostle, on the northern fringe of the city in 1887-1888.  The congregation grew rapidly and the church was expanded in 1892.   Its earliest stained glass window dates from 1899 and the most modern window was installed in 1997 – 100 years of history.   Some of the windows in this church, and the stories they tell, are shown below.

below: Saint Simon and Saint Matthew, 1927, Robert McCausland Ltd., Dedicated to the memory of Augustus Perrine Burritt (1868-1925).     Traditionally, saints are portrayed with their ‘attributes’.  Here,  Simon holds a saw and Matthew holds  a purse, or bag of money.   Matthew was a tax collector before he became an apostle.  No one really knows much about Simon and there are many conflicting stories about how, when, and where he died.  One story is that he died by being sawn in two in Persia.  Whatever the history,  now if you see a painting or a statue of saint and he’s holding a long saw, then you’ll know that it’s Simon.

Augustus P. Burritt’s wife, Jean Bell Smith, outlived him by many years.  She lived until 1969.  They are buried together in Mt. Pleasant cemetery.   She is Jean B. Smith Durland on the tombstone so she must have married a second time.   I may be flying away on a tangent, but there is CWSGA (Canadian Women’s Senior Golf Association) trophy called the Jean Burritt Durland trophy.

stained glass window, two panels, one with St. Simon and the other with St. Matthew,

McCausland of Toronto is the oldest surviving stained glass studio in North America. In fact, five generations of McCauslands have overseen the work of the firm from 1856 to the present.

“Joseph McCausland, glass stainer, house, sign, and ornamental painter, established his business in 1852, and added the stained-glass works in 1857, being the first of its kind in the city.   He is now employing over fifty hands.  Mr. McCausland was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in 1829 and came to Toronto in 1836.” from
History of Toronto and County of York, Ontario vol 1, 1885. (source)  The stained-glass works mentioned here was the Canada Stained Glass Works in Toronto.  Although the bulk of McCausland’s work was for churches in the Toronto area, they made windows for churches elsewhere, for a lot of government buildings (University College, City Hall, B.C. parliament in Victoria), and for commercial buildings such as the Bank of Montreal at Yonge & Front.   In 1881, Joseph’s son Robert took over the business and it has remained in the family ever since.

below: The Dorcas window – Dorcas distributes bread to the poor, by Robert McCausland Ltd. in 1921, dedicated to the memory of Martha Bolton Wilkes (d. 1919). Dorcas (or Tabitha in Hebrew or Aramaic) was a seamstress who clothed the poor as well as fed them. After she died, a miraculous prayer by Peter the Apostle brought her back from the dead. She has become a symbol of charity.

three panel stained glass window at St. Simons church

Martha Wilkes was the wife of Robert Wilkes (1832-1880), a politician and businessman. Robert drowned at Sturgeon Point with two of his children in August 1880, Florence Alexandria (age 15) and Bertie Cooke Wilkes (age 12). The family is buried together in Mt Pleasant cemetery.

An account of the death of Robert was given in the Canadian Methodist Magazine vol 15, January to June, 1882. “The sad disaster lacked no element of the tragical and pathetic. In the month of August, 1880, Mr. Wilkes and his family were spending a few summer holidays at Sturgeon Point, a beautiful health-resort on Sturgeon Lake. On the 16th of the month, his only son and second daughter, aged, respectively thirteen and fifteen, were bathing in the lake, while their father rowed a small boat near at hand. The lad, attempting to reach his father’s boat, sank beneath the water. Mr. Wilkes plunged in to rescue him, and found himself beyond his depth. His daughter Florence, rushing to their assistance, got also beyond her depth, and thus all three perished in full view of the shore. Mrs. Wilkes who was an eye-witness of the dreadful tragedy, rushed into the water and was with difficulty prevented from losing her life in a futile attempt to save those so dear to her. Prompt efforts were made to rescue the bodies, but, alas! the spark of life had fled. Although that of Florence was still warm, yet every attempt at its resuscitation was in vain.”

 

below: There are a few other McCausland windows in St. Simons church.  This is a detail from one of them, the Te Deum window, named for the prayer that contains the words “To thee all angels cry aloud”.

close up of stained glass window, angel, cherub heads, and words that say To thee all angels

below: Saint Cecilia, by Sarah Hall, 1997.   Saint Cecilia is the patroness of musicians and she is in the center, flanked by two trumpet bearing angels.  It’s difficult to see in this photo, but under the music notes, at the very bottom of the window, are the words “From har-mo-ny from heav-nly har-mo-ny This u-ni-ver-sal frame be-gan”.  Each syllable matches a note.   They are also the first two lines in a poem written by John Dryden in 1687 called  “A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day”.

stained glass window by Sarah Hall in St. Simons church, 3 panels each with an angel

below: These windows by Gerald E. Tooke (b. 1930), four panels, each an illustration of a miracle performed by Jesus.  On the very left is the marriage at Cana where water was turned into wine.  Next is the feeding of the multitudes with bread and fish.  Second to the right is the healing of the blind man and last is the Resurrection.  These date from 1965 and are dedicated to the memory of Anna Alfreda Waller (d. 1964) and her husband (d. 1949).   [There’s a turn – usually it’s the wife whose name gets lost!].

set of four stained glass windows in deep hues of red and blue with some yellow and green, by Gerald Tooke, at St Simons church

below: Memorial to the Women of St. Simons 1883-1983, by Stephen Taylor.   Maybe you see her as a  Mother Earth figure as the root of all that grows or maybe you see her as a woman in bondage.   She almost looks like she’s bound to a cross.  The carnations above her are symbolic – according to a Christian legend, carnations grew from Mary’s tears as she watched Jesus carry the cross and, hence, they became associated with motherly love.

stained glass window by Stephen Taylor, memorial to the women of St. Simons, with a woman in the center, roots wrapped around her and greenery growing out from her,

detail of stained glass window, feet and large pink and blue flowers.

For a more complete story about stained glass and the windows of St. Simons, there is a pdf here