The other day I discovered that there is a small gallery on the 3rd floor of Ryerson’s School of Image Arts.  If you want to find it too, it’s in a building that it’s in is attached at the ground floor level to the Ryerson Image Centre on Gould Street.   At the moment, there is a small exhibit of photos by Avard Woolaver.

the back of a man looking at a wall in a gallery, old photos of Toronto

below:  The photos are ones that Woolaver took in Toronto in the late 70s and early 80s.

old photos of Toronto from the 1980s by Avard Woolaver.

below: This photo is one of Woolaver’s – it is looking towards the northwest corner of Spadina and Queen Street West.  For those of us who lived in Toronto at the time, it’s a bit of nostalgia.  Somethings are very familiar – the older TTC buses, the car styles, and a lot of the architecture, for example.   This photo in particular lends itself nicely to the game of ‘Spot the Differences’….. compare this with

photo by Avard Woolaver of Toronto in the 1980s, this view is the north west corner of Queen and Spadina

below: …..this. Here is the same intersection, at a similar angle, last week.   The large brick building is still there but without a billboard.   The poles are no longer wood but they are covered in posters and remnants of posters – so no change there.    The street signs have been updated and there is now a streetcar lane in the middle.   All in all, I was surprised how little had actually changed in 30ish years.

the northwest corner of Queen and Spadina in 2018, pedestrians, buildings, street scene

below: I found this photo online (originally from the Toronto City Archives, 1950?) but before we can play another round of ‘Spot the Differences’, we have to identify these buildings?  Any ideas?

vintage photo of 357, 359, and 361 Yonge street, black and white, 3 storefronts,

below: Here is the same location in the 1980’s (not a photo from the exhibit).  Not too many changes.   The building that housed George Richards Men’s shop, 361 Yonge Street, was replaced by a dull and boring two storey brick building but the other changes were just to the facades and the owners/tenants.   The tavern is still a tavern and the drug store is still a drug store.  The large brown building on the top right that you can only see part of is Ryerson College.   Unfortunately the Wrigleys ghost sign on the taller building on the left has been covered.

357, 359, and 361 Yonge street in the 1980s including the Zanzibar tavern

photo source BuzzBuzzNews online

below: Fast forward another 30 years.  The Zanzibar is all bright lights and dazzle while the building that housed the drug store is now for sale.  Ryerson is now a University and has expanded out to Yonge Street – that’s the large blue building in case you are not familiar with the area.

Yonge stree, easy side, just north of Dundas, about 357, 359 and 361 Yonge Street including the Zanzibar Tavern. The blue glass wall of Ryerson University behind the Zanzibar,

below: If you pull back a bit, and look just a bit farther north on that stretch of Yonge Street, you’ll see that there are many empty buildings

yonge street, between gerrard and dundas, most storefronts are closed and boarded up waiting for redevelopment of that stretch

below: … including what was until recently the XTC clothing company.  It looks like it has gone through a number of ‘renovations’, not all of which were good.  Some traces of its original brick facade can be seen at the top but at street level it is (was?) a mess.

empty two storey building, once was X T C clothing store

 There is a plan to build a 98 storey mixed-use building on this site including just over 900 residential units ranging in size from 520 to 2000 square feet.    It will be the tallest residential building in Canada.   In the promotional material for YSL Residences, as they will be called, is this: “The epitome of luxury living, designed to elevate the fortunate few who will call it home.”


below:  Back to Ryerson, also on the 3rd floor of the School of Image Arts, there was a small series of photographs like this one hanging on the wall in the hallway.  There was no sign as to the name of the artist that I could find either on the wall or online.   I quite like the technique and the resulting image.  Two ideas melded into one.  Two time frames in one frame.  Two artistic styles combined to create another.

a photograph on a gallery wall, a hand holding a photo printed on glass in the middle of another photo, superimposed landscapes

If you are interested in Woolaver’s work, you can find more on his blog.

There are a few exhibits showing at the Ryerson Image Centre at the moment but the one that I want to highlight today is “Rich and Poor” by Jim Goldberg.  Goldberg took portraits of people in the San Francisco area in their home environments between 1977 and 1985.  They are divided into two sections, “rich” and “poor”.

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: Each portrait is accompanied by a comment from the person being portrayed, in their own handwriting.  This woman, Nell, provides the wonderful quote: “If you want to stunt your growth, be rich.”

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: The pictures are fascinating, and the words reveal more details of the subjects.  “My wife is acceptable”.   The poor woman.  In the picture she is off to the side and almost disappears into the background as she looks at the floor.   I thought of the words ‘abject’ and ‘woeful’ when I first saw her but I think that maybe the best word to describe the look on her face is ‘blank’.

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: Whether you’re rich or poor, or more likely some where in between, what you say about yourself if you were the subject?

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

This show continues until April 8th

As you walk down Augusta Ave., you may spot this familiar face:

mural of a head and shoulder of a young man, by P.S., in an alley

It, like all the others in this blog post, is signed P.S. The background in the one above looks very much like the work of J. Chiale.

below: A very red face and the traces of a moustache.

mural of a head and shoulder of a young man, by P.S., in an alley, very red face

below: More stylized and almost abstract, very purple too.   The door with its circuit board and honeycomb patterns says no entry.

mural of a head and shoulder of a young man, by P.S., in an alley, purple face, beside a door that has street art on it too

below: A couple at the end of the alley.   Love is golden.

Twice this week I have come off the subway at Dundas station, and twice I have come to the surface to the sound of protest chants.

The first time it was a Free Tibet march as it proceeded up Yonge street.

a police man, with back tothe camera, stands in the middle of the street to block traffic as a Free Tibet march passes by on Yonge Street, protesters with flags and signs,

below: “Don’t forget Mr. Lingsta Tseten Dorjee, activist for non-violence.  It’s been 5 years since we lost Lingsta Tseten Dorjee”.   The banner then goes on to list Dorjee’s five demands including the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

a group of young men marching in a protest, Free tibet. carrying a banner with a lot of words in both Tibetan and English, one is wrapped in a Tibetan flag, some are wearing free tibet hats,

below: More protesters with signs and placards. “Free Shokjang now”.  Shokjang is the pen name of a Tibetan blogger who was detained by the Chinese authorities in March of 2015.

people carrying protest signs, free Shokjang now, release the panchen lama

protesters walk up Yonge Street with Tibetan flag and signs, one man has a megaphone

This afternoon, it was blue flags that I saw.  They are the flags of East Turkistan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.  On a map you’ll find it as Xinjiang in the most westerly part of China, right next the the “stans” that became independent after the break up of the USSR (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, etc).   The name says autonomous but there is no self-rule or self government for the Uyghurs. 

For a brief time in 1949 it was an independent country but it was invaded by communist China that same year.   Historically, East Turkistan is part of central Asia.  The people are not Chinese but are more closely related to the Turks.  The Uyghurs are the indigenous group of East Turkestan.

below: “Stop forced abortion, Freedom for East Turkistan”

women holding the blue and white flag of East Turkestan, also a sign that says stopped forced abortion in East Turkistan, wearing head scarves

below: “Islamic scholar Mohammed Salih killed in Chinese concentration camps.  We want justice.” Muhammad Salih Hajim, 82, died in custody back in January, about 40 days after he, his daughter and other relatives were detained in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province.    They were held without charges being laid.   He was the first to translate the Quran into Uyghur.

a black man with a suitcase has stopped to talk to people protesting for a free East Turkistan, he is pointing to one of the signs and a man is explaining something to him

at a protest for free East Turkestan, protesters hold a banner that says China, Stop Massacre of Uyghars

Also today, and just around the corner… A few minutes later I ran across another protest.  This one was at the corner of Gould and Victoria streets, at Ryerson University.   It was a quiet, civilized affair – more like a dance than a protest.

below: Both sides of the right to abortion debate were present.

people protest for and against the right to have an abortion.

below:   The anti-abortion sign would be turned, the ‘file not found’ sign would be moved in front of it, repeat every couple of minutes.

protesters at a right to abortion protest, anti and pro sides, both with a large sign.

below: It seemed to be a debate or a dialogue rather than a protest even though the people involved might disagree.   For such an emotional and polarizing subject they were being respectful and engaging.  At least they have the right to protest…. and to counter protest.

protesters at a right to abortion protest, anti and pro sides, both with a large signs.


The St. Patricks Day parade in Toronto is usually just a small parade – certainly not as big and crazy in places like Boston or New York City.  Part of the problem might be the fact that the weather is usually cold.  This year the parade was 6 days before St. Patricks Day.  I’m not sure when it started or how it happened, but Toronto’s parade is on the Sunday before the actual day.    At least the sun was shining this year.  It may be a small parade but those who show up, either to watch or to participate, seem to have a good time.   A few photos from this year’s parade:


below: Police on horseback led the parade.  Here they are passing the TV cameras.

three toronto policemen on horseback at the front of a parade, as theypass by the press and a large microphone boom

below: Carlton, the Toronto Maple Leafs mascot, was there. Once upon a time, the Maple Leafs were known as the St. Pats and they wore green uniforms.

Carlton, the Maple Leafs hockey team mascot in a St. Pats jersey waiting for the parade to start, working the crowd.

below: 32 flags, one from each of Ireland’s 32 counties.  The GAA is the Gaelic Athletic Association. 

A group of young people walking in the St. Patricks day parade, holding a banner and everyone is holding a flag from a Irish county. GAA Colour Party, 32 county flags.

below: Five Deloreans (cars) parked by the flags for the parade, before joining it at the end.  This is directly across Bloor Street from where the TV cameras were.   Deloreans were made near Belfast but for only a short time in the early 1980’s (1981- 1983).   About 9200 cars were produced.  The Delorean company went bankrupt in December 1982.

a man stands on a sidewalk, leaning on a barricade, lots of large Irish flags, a delorean car with its door open is across the street

below: Carrying Donegal County flags

three men carrying flags in the St. Patricks day parade, walk past a church, many people on the sidewalk, pavement, watching the parade go by

below: Doug Ford, now the leader of the Ontario PC party joined the parade.

Doug Ford, St. Patricks day parade, wakls towaards the people on the sidewalk to shake hands, politician, politics,

below: That’s quite the hair – he insisted that it was natural but I think it’s because of the green beer…..

two people sitting on the sidewalk watching the St. Patricks Day parade, a red head woman with long hair and a man with a curly bright green wig, both are smiling, both dressed for cold weather,

three teenagers selling candy at the parade, all dressed in green hats and other St. Patricks day stuff,

three kids sitting on little plastic stools watching a parade,

below: Maybe it’s true,  maybe everyone is Irish on St. Patricks day.

5 Asian women (Korean?) watching St. Patricks day parade, posing for the camera, all with shamrock green things aon their heads so only their faces stick out, the word Irish is written on each shamrock


below: What would St. Patricks day be without a leprechaun or two?

a man in a leprechauin costume walking in a parade.

a group of people sitting on the sidewalk as a parade passes by on Bloor Street in Toronto

On exhibit now at Artscape Youngplace is a photo documentary on seniors in Toronto called ‘Focus on Our Elders’.  It is being shown in the 3rd floor gallery until the 17th of March.   There are 24 panels in the exhibit, one for each participant in the project.   The main feature of each panel is a portrait of the individual and it is accompanied by at least one other photo of something relevant to the participant’s life, as well as text that tells some of the stories of their lives.

a man looking at panels on the wall of a gallery, focus on our elders photo documentary project, 3 panels on the wall, one for each of three participants with a portrait plus words from an interview with them.

With thanks to Penny for taking this picture!

The project was funded my Myseum of Toronto and is part of their 3rd annual Intersections festival.

description of the focus on our elders project

two people hanging pictures in an art gallery

Link to The 6ix Clicks websit

The other day I headed towards Dupont and Dundas West because I heard about a mural that I didn’t recall having seen.  Here it is … and more.

below: The most westerly part of the mural is on the north side of Dundas West where Old Weston Road and Annette Street meet.

mural on a wall beside a busy street

mural with a bird, chicakdee or sparrow beside a large orange tiger lily

mural, large painting of a tiger lily and a sparrow


It continues along the side of the railway underpass on Dupont (it’s a confusing tangle of streets here!)

car stopped in traffic under railway bridge, driver is looking at the mural that is painted under the underpass

….and on the stairwell up to the West Toronto Railpath.

part of a mural, a robin and an orange rose, outside, beside a staircase

colourful mural outside beside a staircase, large flowers and leaves including an orange maple leaf

It was a gorgeous day so I walked around a bit more, of course!

below: On Dundas West

street art of a young person writing on the wall with red letters that say it's just a phase

below: A row of houses with wonderful facades.  You don’t many like that anymore! .. at least not on houses.

older two storey row houses with facades that extend above the roof line,

below: These fooled me at first.  Interesting black and white photos looking grubby and worn… with a small McDonalds logo on the bottom right.   The photo on the bottom left also has a few words in small print that give away the fact this is a McDonalds promotion.  I don’t think I’ve seen any like these elsewhere – or have I missed something?

4 large black and white photos of people eating hamburgers, that is actually a mcdonalds ad

below: The large black metal staircase at the end of the footbridge over the tracks at Wallace Ave are gone.  The replacement stairs are dull and bland.  This change was meant to accommodate new development on Wallace.

new stairs at the end of a footbridge over the train tracks at Wallace street in Toronto, beside the West Toronto Railpath

below: Railpath window reflections.

reflections of the sky in a window

below: Also on the West Toronto Railpath, someone has hung this colourful ‘curtain’ on the fence in order to add a splash of colour to a sitting area.  Once upon a time there were more chairs here.  And a table if I remember correctly.

fabric hanging from a rope beside a footpath, large green cylinder stoarge unit behind it.

below: One of two chalkboards installed by crazydames where people have written notes to cyclists imploring them to slow down and use their bells.  I totally agree!  Just before I came upon this, a man on an electric bike came up behind me, silently and fast.

large chalkboard on an orange brick wall with notes to tell cyclists to slow down and ring their bells.

below: This little gnome still stands by the entrance to a convenience store.  This guarden gnome has been here (Bloor West) for a few years.

a small gnome painted on the wall beside a door to a convenience store. The door is open and people are walking past

below: Reduce, reuse, recycle – here the R used is reuse.   Truck and tractor parts and other bits and pieces craftily arranged and put to use on the outside of the Farmhouse Tavern.  It should look better in a couple of months!

planters on an exterior wall, made of truck and tractor parts

below: A fairy in a garden of mushrooms.

a mural of a fairy, woman, with wings, holding something in her hand and looking upwards, in a garden with large mushrooms,

graffiti on a black wall, white bird like head on pick square

One last look at part of that mural!

mural with flowers, shadows in front

part of a mural, large light purple flower with yellow center and dark pink at inner most part of petals