I arrived at the protest in time to see a very large Palestinian flag being held up by some of the crowd.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

The recent decision by Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was the issue that sparked yesterday’s protest.  I missed the largest part of the gathering but there were still quite a few people in front of the court house on University Avenue – or more importantly, across the street from the American Embassy.

The flag was  rolled up from both ends.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

City TV dropped by as well.  Every time anyone came near the reporter, she stopped and waited for people to pass. Then she started over.    This was take 5 or 6 and once again, she stopped seconds after I took this picture.  I’ll assume that she eventually got her story.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

below: Two flags.  Palestine. Canada.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

below: “Trump Embassy in Jerusalem…. stupid idea”

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

below: The image of Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey, on his back and a Turkish flag in his hand.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave. - with Turkish flag as well as flag with image of Erdogan on it

below: A group has their picture taken with the Lebanese flag.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave. A group is gathered around a man holding a Lebanese flag.

group of men in a line, kneeling, praying, outside,

Traces left behind, reminders of the past

oldworn sign painted above the door to a store

 

Along Spadina on a cold November day – from King to College.

below: A streetcar passes by, down the middle of the road with young trees growing alongside the tracks.  In the background is an old white brick building  with rounded brown arches over the upper windows that now houses the Furama Cake & Dessert Garden – one of the many restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries along this stretch of Spadina.

a new ttc streetcar on Spadina, down the middle of the street, with young trees growing along side the tracks, old brck building in the background, some cars,

 Construction of Spadina Avenue began in 1815.  It was always a wide street, running between Bloor and Queen.

Spadina, and neighbouring Kensington market, was the center of Jewish life in Toronto in the early 1900’s with synagogues, delis, tailors, a Yiddish theatre, and more.  About 80% of Toronto’s Jews lived in the area.   It was also home to the garment district (also known as the fashion district) with its numerous furriers, clothing factories and warehouses – what we’d probably call sweat shops today.

below: The northeast corner of Dundas and Spadina, June 1930 showing the sign over the door of ‘The Standard’ a Yiddish theatre that opened in 1921.  It was converted into a (mainstream) cinema in 1934 and renamed ‘The Strand’.   Another renaming occurred in 1941 when it became ‘The Victory’.  Twenty years later it became the Victory Burlesque.  The doors closed permanently in 1975.  Photo found on Bygone Theatre website.

vintage black and white phot of the sidewalk and front of Jewish cinema at the corner of Dundas and Spadina in 1930. old cars parked in front,

below: This plaque is on the west side of Spadina, just north of King Street.  It describes the contributions of Benjamin Brown (1890-1974), architect, to the area.

Benjamin Brown, one of Toronto’s first Jewish architects, designed more than 200 buildings throughout his career.  Born in Lithuania, he came to Canada as a child.  Brown graduated from the University of Toronto’s architecture program in 1913.  He was partners with architect Robert McConnell until 1921, when he set up an independent practice.

Commissioned largely by members of Toronto’s Jewish community, Brown’s projects ranged from parking garages and gas stations to apartment houses and factory lofts.   His Tower Building (1927) and Balfour Building (1930) on Spadina Avenue at Adelaide Street formed a gateway to Toronto’s garment district.  Other well known buildings by Brown include the Hermant Building (1929 on Dundas Square, the Primrose Club (1920) and the Beth Jacob Synagogue (1922), the first Toronto synagogue designed by a Jewish architect.  Brown retired in 1955.

toronto historic sites plaque to benjamin brown

Both the Tower Building and the Balfour Building still stand.  The later, pictured on the plaque is on the NE corner of Spadina & Adelaide.  It was named for Arthur J. Balfour, British statesman, the author of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that pledged British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

below:  This is ‘Uniform Measure/Stack’ by Stephen Cruise and it includes that giant thimble on a stack of buttons,  a few button shaped tree planters, and a tape measure carved into the sidewalk as it goes around the corner (you can see a bit of it at the bottom right of the photo).  This tribute to the garment district, or rag trade if you want to call it that,  dates back to 1997.   A few years ago the tape measure was painted yellow – but not by the artist.  It has since been cleaned up.  Recent sidewalk work has scarred the tape measure but most of it remains intact.

public art on the corner of Richmond and Spadina, giant thimble and giant buttons

below: Another piece of garment district history – an old Singer sewing machine as an ornament above a narrow alley between two buildings.

an old SInger sewing machine sits on a beam that crosses a small alley bewteen two buildings, it's about 8 feet above the street level

In the 1960s and 70s, the Jewish population moved out and the Chinese moved in.  In keeping with the changes that were occurring on Spadina, The Victory was sold in 1975 and subdivided  into shops on the main floor and a Chinese language cinema upstairs, first named the Golden Harvest and then the Mandarin. This cinema closed in 1994.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the city demolished a large section of land to make way for the new city hall.  At that time, Chinatown was centered around Dundas and Elizabeth streets.  Many of the Chinese who were displaced by the construction moved west along Dundas to Spadina.  Although many of the Chinese businesses and residents have moved north to Markham & vicinity, this stretch of Spadina is still considered to be Chinatown.

below: A panda eating bamboo, painted by Murals by Marg with support from Chinatown BIA & StreetARToronto.

mural on a wall of a panda bear sitting on the ground and chewing on bamboo

below: Another Chinese themed mural, with tags unfortunately.

orange bikes parked outside a building that had a mural of a Chinese scene that has been tagged over.

below: This caught my attention – Does it look like fresh ginger?   And no, there was nothing in front of the sign either.  Smile.

box of pineapples for sale outside a Chinese grocery store, the sign by the box says fresh ginger

below: Even on cold days you can buy fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk outside the Chinese grocery stores.

a woman is buying tomatos from a vendor with a large table of tomatoes outside a Chinese grocery store on Spadina, in CHinatown.

below: Feeding the pigeons.

a man is feeding pigeons outside on a cold day. He is wearing a heavy coat and a hat.

below:  This is an old display of CD’s mounted on a wall inside a window of an empty store.  The window is dirty but if you step into the recess of the entrance way, you can see the possibility of reflection, light and colour playing together.   This was actually the first picture that I took when I walked up Spadina the other day.   After I saw this window I started paying closer attention to other empty stores.

design and pattern made with many old CD's mounted on a wall inside the window of an empty store.

There are quite a few empty stores and sections of Spadina are quite grubby looking.  As I mentioned above, many of the Chinese businesses have move on and once again the area is the middle of a change.

below: Someone cared enough to paint this delicate birdcage and ivy scene on the wall.  Doesn’t it make you wonder who did it?  and why?  and what happened to them?

looking through a window into an abandoned and empty store, leaves have blown in and are on the floor.

below: A painted over intercom –  a remnant of the past.  But the plywood that the intercom was mounted on is partially torn away to reveal an even older, more hidden, past.     Does anyone live or work at 437 anymore?  What lies behind the door?

exterior wall, brown paint, number of 437 above the door, cracked wood plywood beside the door, old and broken intercom system that has been painted over, next door window is a store, with mannequin head on a shelf

below: This little place had a short life as a store – but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.   I think that once upon a time it was an 8 Eleven (play on 7 Eleven stores) but that was long ago and I know that it closed before I first saw this space.    How easy it is to forget.

very small building with door and window papered over.

below:  As I passed by this window, I thought to myself “How cute, pikachu.”  Then I stopped and went back.  No, not pikachu.  Part of the seedier side of Spadina Avenue.

articles for sale in the window of a store

below:  Layers.  On the left, hoardings around an old building being demolished and on the right, a staid brick building.  Behind them is a newer development with its bright east wall.

street scene, Kensington, with hoardings for demolition, a building from the70's and a newer apartment building in the background with bright coloured squares on the side.

cracked brick wall and decorative carving, on upper storey of an old building

a pair of Bell telephone boxeswith a grey wall behind

 

‘Straying Continents’ is a large hanging artwork that is on display at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum).  The artist,  El Anatsui, constructed it out of aluminum and copper wire in 2010.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

Thousands of recycled aluminum liquor bottle caps of different colours were cut and shaped (twisted or flattened) and sewn together with copper wire.  In some places the caps are flat and tightly packed while in other places they are twisted into rope-like pieces and loosely woven into the design.

below: The grey in the bottom part of the picture is the wall showing through. The lighting also creates shadows within the artwork.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

Viewed as a whole, it is a fascinating piece. It does look like two continents separated by an ocean.  At the same time, innumerable interesting compositions can also be found by looking at it in sections.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

recycled liquor bottle cap artwork

below: The piece doesn’t hang straight which creates folds, shadows, and more interest.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

below: It also provides material to play with.

abstract of circles and partial circles made from bottle cap artwork

 

I went on a whim.   No one has ever called me ‘fashionable’ when it comes to clothing!

I went not knowing what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised at what I encountered.   The majority of the exhibit consists of dresses designed by Christian Dior from 1947 to 1957.

people looking at the Christian Dior exhibit at the ROM, Royal Ontario Museum

Christian Dior was born in a seaside town in northern France in 1905.  He began his career in fashion by selling fashion sketches in the early 1930’s after a failed attempt to run an art gallery.  This led to a job as a design assistant with Paris couturier Robert Piguet.   His career took off after WW2 when he started his own business, House of Dior (Maison Dior), in 1947.

a red knee-length dress in the foreground, a black one in the background, also a black and white striped dress, part of a museum display of Christian Dior clothing

below: This simple but classy two piece dress with black cummerbund is from Dior’s 1948 autumn-winter collection.   It is made with black velvet with iridescent bead work.  The bottom part is a mid-calf length skirt with the same beading.   Actually, the words simple and classy describe most of the dresses here.

two headless mannequins with black dresses, upper parts only are shown, part of a ROyal Ontario museum exhibit dress in foreground has iridescent beads sewn on it

below:  Embroidery with beads and stacked sequins in intricate designs.

close up shot of the back of dress that is heavily ebroidered and beaded in blue and purple floral motifs

below: The fabulous colours of fabric samples – this is only a small part of the display of fabrics with “a silk warp and a dupion weft”.  Warp and weft are weaving terms – warp refers to the threads that run lengthwise down the fabric while weft refers to the crosswise threads.   Dupion is similar to silk but it is thicker and more uneven.

silk fabric samples of many different colour

below: This dress is made from the silk fabric described above.

pale blue grey silk Christian Dior dress in the background, a red and a black dress are in the background, ROM exhibit,

beige suit, jacket and skirt. Jacket has tailored waist and 6 very large mother of pearl buttons,

Christian Dior’s success as a designer and a businessman continued until 1957 when he died while on vacation in Italy.  Yves Saint Laurent spent a few years as the Artistic Director immediately after Dior’s death although he was only 21.  There have been countless designers and many changes since then but the the company still exists as part of LVMH.   I was surprised to learn that the full name of the company is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.  I also hadn’t realized that many of the luxury brands that we recognize the names of are actually controlled/owned by 3 companies: LVMH, Kering, and Richemont.  If you have a few minutes, take a cruise through wikipedia.

part of an orange dress with cloth covered orange buttons on both the front and side

below: There was a small display of jewelry, including this necklace by Maison Gripoix.   It is a string of lily of the valley flowers made from green and white handmade glass paste.   Glass paste, or pâte de verre, is made by mixing finely ground glass, binding agents, and colour.  The resulting ‘paste; is molded and then kiln fired.  Apparently the lily of the valley was Christian Dior’s “lucky flower”.

Dior necklace with green glass leaves and white flowers made of beads, gold as well, large and short

The exhibit is presented by Holt Renfrew and you can find it on the 4th floor of the ROM…. until 18 March 2018. In the meantime, you can find more information on the ROM website.

 

#ROMDIOR

Late in November, work was started on a new mural in Graffiti Alley

below: Working on the facial details

a man on a ladder painting a mural in Graffiti Alley,

below: The work in progress.

one man with video camera filming another man painting a mural in Graffiti Alley

It is a memorial (and tribute) to Mike “Wunder” Kennedy who was active in Toronto’s street art community.  He was the one who coordinated the painting of the large murals around Broadview and Gerrard that featured the seven new wonders of the world.  You can find pictures of these murals in a blog post from September 2016 .

below: Mike’s portrait when it was partially finished.

middle section of a partially painted mural, in honour of Mike Kennedy, his portrait.

The mural was painted by Getso, Sight, Arms, Wales, Tenso2, Braes, and CTRJ

 

painting the Mike Kennedy tribute mural

tribute memorial mural to Mike Kennedy in Graffiti Alley

below: The finished portrait.

Mike Kennedy portrait

mural, white dog, with a row of spray paint cans in front

I like to think that Mike would be happy with the results.

Recently I saw a blogTO article about “A massive Overwatch mural” that was being painted on King Street West.  I was curious so off I went to check it out.

below: Here is the mural.   Yes it’s big, but massive no.  When I think massive I think Phlegm’s mural at Yonge and St. Clair, or Adrian Hayles music murals near Yonge and College.   And whoa, what’s that in the bottom right corner?  This is an ad for a video game and this is a picture of Karya, one of the characters.   Under the heading of ‘you never know where things are going to lead’ – Overwatch is a multi-player team game where competitions are held and prizes won.  There is an Overwatch World Cup which was won by South Korea in both 2016 and 2017.  This year there was a Canadian team and they came second.  Yeah Canada!

mural on the side of a building with words join us overwatch. Blizzard entertainment is the sponsor. character from the game is featured.

below: Around the corner is another mural.  This one is painted onto the side of an old brick building by Omen514.  As you can see, it is part of the most recent ad campaign by Sick Kids Hospital to raise 1.3 billion dollars to rebuild the hospital starting with the building at Elm and Elizabeth streets.  The black and white of the mural matches the black and white of the video advertising.   Omen514 had help from Nick Sweetman, Earth Crusher, Poser, and Five S, all of whom are street artists as well.

mural on the side of an old building, black and white, by omen, an ad for Sick Kids hospital, 4 sick kids waiting for treatment.

below: … And another mural in the same neighbourhood.  This one is on the side of the Kiin restaurant (Thai) and as you can see, the name of the restaurant is in the mural.  Again, street art but not street art.  Whatever you choose to call it, it’s much more appealing than a blank grey wall.

mural on the side of Kiin restaurant, a purple elephant standing beside a river with four boats, flowers growing beside the river.

below:  Businesses, such as Champs Food Supplies pictured here, have been using murals to draw attention to themselves for a long time.

older small building Champs Food Supplies Ltd with a large new condo behind it, red car parked beside it, mural on the side wall

below:  It is still standing even as it’s being dwarfed by the condo developments around it.

older small building Champs Food Suplies Ltd with a large new condo behind it, red car parked beside it, mural on the side wall

below: And even farther back in time – This is the MacLean building that was built in 1914 (designed by George Wallace Gouinlock).  It is at 345 Adelaide St. West, and the sign is on the east side of building.   Hugh C. MacLean publications  was founded in 1909 by Hugh Cameron MacLean.  It published mostly trade journals such as ‘Footwear in Canada’. The company was bought by the Southam family and become Southam-Macleans… and then finally Southam Business Publications in 1964.  As it turns out, there were two MacLeans brothers in the publishing business,  Hugh and brother John Bayne MacLean who founded the MacLean publishing company that would eventually become MacLean Hunter – the home of MacLeans magazine before it was swallowed up by Rogers Media.

 

old brick building on Adelaide street, parking lot beside, cars in front, up on top storey (of 6) is an old ghost sign,two in one, one for Hugh C. Macleans publications and another that is too faded to read

below: This ghost sign is actually a double.    The words ‘head office’ can be seen by the word MacLean and there is a box to the left of that.  The number 33 is on the box and obviously means something.  I haven’t been able to decipher the rest of the sign.

old ghost sign,two in one, one for Hugh C. Macleans publications and anther that is too faded to read

And then there is street art that is just that, decorations on a wall.

mral on a low wall, two orange safety markes in front,

After I took the above photos and before I had finished writing this blog post, I came across another Sick Kids fundraising murals by the same artists as the one above.

below: Looking north up Broadview at Thompson street, just north of Queen.

mural on the side of an old building, black and white, by omen, an ad for Sick Kids hospital, 4 sick kids waiting for treatment.

below: The central portion of the mural.

mural on the side of an old building, black and white, by omen, an ad for Sick Kids hospital, 4 sick kids waiting for treatment.
below: In the mural the kids are collecting pieces of lumber, pipes, and concrete blocks.   This is similar to the ad where kids are “running through city streets and alleyways, gathering building materials and running to an empty piece of land ready for construction.” (source)

mural on the side of an old building, black and white, by omen, an ad for Sick Kids hospital, 4 sick kids waiting for treatment.

Tdot, an affectionate nickname for Toronto.

graffiti words, large, on a garage door in an alley, tdot,white on red background.

A lovely walk on a lovely afternoon discovering lovely things about love and affection.

below: Love but Think.

graffiti words on a garage door, love but think

stone statue of a girl seated, in front of a house that has a statue of Jesus in a niche in the outside wall as well as a ceramic religious scene

below: Mother and child.

under two hinges, on a post, in front yard of a house, a faded framed print of a mother and her baby

below: Batman and Robin, oh dear.

orange stencil, batman kissing robin the boy wonder

mural of a woman with very long wavy hair, side profile of her head and face, blue lips, blue eyelashes

below:  Some love is fleeting and some may be eternal but his love for Leila was never meant to last.

words on a garage door that say I love Leila. A big X is drawn through those words and beside it is written Honestly it wasn't meant to last

below: Even the insults sounded nice.  Except of course if the pizza had pineapple on it.

words scrawled on a wall in an alley that say Trump is a facist piece of pizza

below: And then there was this….  As it turns out these words are a line in the lyrics of a song but I’m still not sure why would write them on a door.

white words graffiti on a grey metal door that say When I do wrong I am with God

street art painting of a dragon, or monster, head with purple horns, green eye, and lots of teeth, seen from the side,

May all your walks be lovely!