I first started walking the streets with a camera sometime in 2011.   At that time Instagram was still a baby; the photo sharing platform of choice at the time was flickr.  Flickr still exists but there are many more choices now.  Back in the day there was a Toronto flickr group that had meetups once a month.  The meetup, there’s another concept that has exploded with the internet.  There are now meetup groups for any photography genre that tickles your fancy.  Ten years ago, you met through flickr and that is how I found Toronto Photo Walks. They walk (or walked pre-COVID) on alternate Saturdays, rain or shine, somewhere in the city.   My first walk with them was February 2012, almost exactly 9 years ago.   If you check their website, you”ll see that COVID-19 has played havoc with their group and there haven’t been any walks for a year now.  I miss my phellow photogs so the other day I walked with one and this is where we ended up.

 

below: If you’ve been in the Distillery District this winter (or any of the past few winters), you might recognize this cheerful fellow.

tall fake snowman with a red and white striped scarf, in the distillery district

below: At Mill and Trinity, the omnipresent blue and white Notice sign.  Apparently a developer has applied to build a 31 storey building (on top of the existing old brick structure) with 392 hotel rooms.  I wonder if they are happy that they didn’t just finish this a year ago?  Ontario hotel occupancy rate hit a low of 15.3% in April 2020 and had barely started to recover when the second lockdown hit.  As an aside – if you like stats, you’ll like the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport research pages!

blue and white city of toronto development notice in front of old brick building in distillery district

below: One industry that is booming is the film business.  Often you can see movie trucks at the corner of Mill and Cherry.  This land is owned by the province and is awaiting an affordable housing development of some sort.

movie film crew trucks on the corner of Cherry and Mill streets

two people buying coffee and muffins from a food truck in a lot with many other white trucks

below: The old Foundry site, actually a group of heritage buildings at the former Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company on Eastern Avenue that are more than 100 years old.

glass windows of the old foundry building

The problem?  It sits on provincially owned land.  The province can pull stunts like changing the zoning without city approval (or knowledge).  It can turn one foundry building into 3 towers of max 141m high  (30 storeys is approx. 100m so 141 m is TALL!).  One of them has to be rental apartments but can’t have parking – there’s to be a commercial parking structure instead.  Hey let’s build affordable housing by making them pay for parking!  Here is the government website with the proof – Ontario Regulation 595/20

bench on sidewalk in front of old foundry building

Fast forward to late January.  Demolition of the foundry begins with no warning to the neighbourhood.  There is a rezoning order but no actual plans drawn up or developer named.  As far we know, the province still owns the land but refuses to say exactly the plan is because, well, probably because there is no plan or because the province is selling out to a developer.  Name your poison.   The province just says “affordable housing” and we’re supposed to go oooh and ahhh.

old foundry building behind hoardings, new condo in the background

Just around the corner (on Mill Street) three towers of 761 rental units are being built at the moment (no photo, it’s all behind hoardings so far).

machinery in front of old foundry building that demolition was started on, and then stopped

below: Heritage Toronto plaque, 2012, Dominion Wheel & Foundries Ltd., Manufacturing Complex

plaque at former Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company on Eastern Avenue

These four buildings were once part of a larger Dominion Wheel & Foundries Ltd. complex. By 1913, the company had constructed its first building, 169 Eastern Ave. on this site. As a manufacturer of railway equipment, rolling stock, and foundry and machinery supplies, Dominion Wheel & Foundries expanded with the growth of the nearby railway companies. By the 1940s, the buildings stretched from this location to Cherry Street, replacing two former residential streets. The firm’s remaining warehouse (#169)m foundry building (#153, built 1951), office building (#171, built 1930), and machine shop (#185, built about 1935) are now among the few remaining reminders of the extensive impact the railway industry had on this area.

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Anyhow, lots of protest, lots of noise.  Demolition was halted.  An Ontario Divisional Court justice temporarily stopped the province from demolishing the heritage buildings.

4 hand drawn posters protesting the demolition of the old foundry building

below: Just behind the Foundry, an almost completed condo.

new condo in Canary district almost finished construction,

below: Workers remove the protective layer from the mirror-like panels on the underside of the overhang (see yellow area near the bottom of the condo in the above photo).  This feature parallels the mirrors on the “ceiling” of Underpass Park which is close by.

workmen working on a lift, working on mirrored exterior overhanging roof on a new condo

flat bed truck carrying machinery, and little red car on street, man holding slow stop sign by construction site , man on sidewalk walking two small dogs

below: Poster paste up graffiti at Underpass Park (you can see the new condo I mentioned above in the upper right corner).  Good advice whether you take it literally or as a metaphor.

poster graffiti on a piller in Underpass Park, poetry on it

black marker scrawl graffiti on a concrete post, drawing of man's face and head with words about smoking

below: Looking northwest at the corner of King and Sumach

corner of kIng and Sumach, looking northwest, Central Auto mechanic on the corner

below: A few metres further west along King.  Traffic passes under Richmond and Adelaide streets.

TTC streetcar on King as it goes under the Richmond Street overpass from the Don Valley Parkway

below:  Looking northwest from Sackville Park.

looking west through Sackville Park, to city buildings behind, snow on ground

below: ghost sign

ghost sign that says groceries, under a cracking layer of concrete, on a wall with a couple of windows

below: Waiting for the streetcar.

King street 504 TTC streetcar, person sitting onrailing and waiting for streetcar

man making a delivery , a box, on a bike, KIng street,

below: Architectural detail on a corner of St. Lawrence Hall.   That’s quite the expression on the poor fellow’s face.  The harrowed look of someone who has spent too much time in lockdown?

small relief sculpture high on a wall of the St. Lawrence Hall

below: In contrast, this guy looks like he’s having a great time!

a small dog is looking out the open window of a black car

Did you ever think that we’d still be mired in this pandemic a year later?

below: A reminder that this pandemic has been hard on a lot of businesses –  sign on a window, “Dear Customers”

sign in a restaurant window

Dear customers, We have decided to close this weekend to re-assess for the future…

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below: Lining up to buy groceries, masked and keeping distanced.

people lined up waiting to get into No Frill grocery store, keeping the 2 metres apart

On a storefront window, something positive: hearts for the things we love – “my dog”, “mac & cheese”, “movie popcorn”, etc.

pink post it notes with words, beside big pink heart, in the window of a store, notes all say what people love

below: Pam Lostracco artwork on hoardings.

painted hoardings of a couple sitting on a bench, a child on a bike, some Canada geese, by Pam , around a construction site

workmen by the entrance to a construction site, with concrete mixer backed into the site

below: View of the CN Tower from Lower Sherbourne, just north of Lakeshore/Gardiner and immediately south of Hydro One’s Esplanade Transformer Station.  Unfortunately, that is not a public path; it is behind a locked gate.

graffiti on the wall around the hydro substation, lots electrical stuff, with CN Tower and downtown buildings in the background

below: Chairs in the median.

two chairs in the median on the Lakeshore, under the Gardiner at Lower Sherbourne

below: Queens Quay at Lower Sherbourne, looking west towards downtown.

looking west on Queens Quay from Lower Sherbourne, construction,

below: Queens Quay at Lower Sherbourne, looking east towards the old Victory Soya Mills Silos.  They were built for Canadian Breweries’ soya bean processing plant in 1944.  Ten years later the site was sold to Proctor and Gamble who renamed them the Victory Soya Mills Silos.   One last change of ownership occurred in 1980 when Central Soya Mills purchased them.   They have been empty since 1991.  Other buildings on the site have been demolished but the silos remain, now a heritage building but surrounded by a large vacant lot.

looking east on Queens Quay from Lower Sherbourne with old concrete silos in the distance, lots of orange and black traffic cones in the middle of the street in the foreground

below: The mill with its three silos before it closed in the early 1990s.  The silo that still stands is the one in the back, not the two closest to the water.   In this picture, you are looking southeast; the Port Lands are in the background and the Cherry Street bridge is on the left at the very edge.  There isn’t much traffic on the Gardiner Expressway!

old colour photograph of Victory Soya Mills with Port Lands behind

below: Sugar Beach

sugar beach with pink umbrellas, looking northwest to the city, new glass highrise beside redpath sugar

black and white sticker graffiti on a pole

sticker graffiti on a pole

My thanks to Vicki for walking with me that day.  We’ve walked many miles together in the past but I don’t think that we’ve ever walked alone (maybe?)

reflections in a window downtown

below: As an aside, after walking with Vicki, I looped back around to my car.  This construction site is on Adelaide where the brick facade of the old building is being preserved.   More to explore another day!

construction site, Adelaide street, new condo building, but with retention of the old facade

poster on the outside of a store, blue wall, picture of a tree and words that say Love your hood, Birchcliff village

Birch Cliff, where one of the predominant themes is birch trees.

mural of birch tree trunks

Such as this mural on the side of the public school.

Birch cliff public school, a two storey red brick building, with a large mural of birch trees on one exterior wall

The other theme in this stretch of Kingston Road seems to be the blue and white Toronto notice of development signs and the consequent empty buildings.

Lenmore Court, an older brick apartment complex, with a blue and white Toronto notice of development sign on it

banner, density has to make sense, protest agains Atlree developers and their plan to redevelop Lenmore Court

two posters on a wood utility pole, protesting redevelopments in the neighbourhood

small mural of birch trees beside Scarborough bluffs, on outside wall beside a window with a protest sign in it. Poretesting redevelopment of parts of Kingston Road with buildings that are too big, too tall, too wide

three empty storefronts at 1557, 1559 Kingston Road, two storey buildings in shades of grey

three old two storey brick storefronts, one is Cheers restaurant painted bright red, the other is Barbers by Nature

beside a new condo building, older smaller buildings on Kingston Road, Lakeview Tavern,

looking across the street to Majestic Auto service and Fallingbrook garage, two businesses that share a building

side entrance and car door of Fallingbrook garage, mechanic, service entrance, now with a development notice sign on it

The old….

three storey red brick apartment buildings with large trees in front, one apartment has red curtains

… and the new. This is the only building that is close to being finished.   If the drawings on the development signs are to be believed, there will be several more in the neighbourhood just like it in a couple of years time.

six or 7 storey new condo development in birch cliff

below: Kingston Road is quite close to Lake Ontario. At this point the only thing between the road and the water is the grounds and golf course of The Toronto Hunt Club, a private members only club.

trees, in winter time, with snow on the ground, with Lake Ontario in the distance, Scarboruogh Hunt Club grounds

below: On the side of Legion 13 on Kingston Road is this large mural.  Painted in memory of Max Silverstein, by John Hood with help from Alexandra Hood and Asif Khan, 1991. Restored in 2010 by Blinc Studios.  It’s also part of the Heritage Trail murals, a Mural Routes project.

large mural on the side of Legion 13 building on Kingston Road, parade of soldiers

Plaque beside the mural says: “Scarborough Rifle Company marching to the Niagara Frontier, June 1, 1866. In 1862 the Scarborough Rifle Company was organized with headquarters in a school at Eglinton Avenue near Markham Road. It was the first of several militia companies formed in York County. The company was rushed to the Niagara frontier three times in 1865 and 1866 to defend Canada against the Fenians. The Scarborough Rifle Company later became No. 1 Company in the 12th Battalion of Infantry, the forerunner of Queen’s York Rangers.”

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below: A smaller mural on the right hand side of the above one features portraits of two men, Captain Norris and Lieutenant Taber, soldiers in the Fenian Raids of 1866.

mural on side of Legion 13 building, two portraits in oval frames, Norris and Taber, Fenian Raids history

below: Another Heritage Trail  mural – “Mitchells General Store” by Phil Irish, 1998.  Mitchells store was one of the first businesses established in the Birch Cliff area.  The same store is mentioned in another Scarborough history mural just a bit north on Warden Avenue (see Scarborough Bells)

a mural on the side of a building, inside an old fashioned store with a man behind the counter and a woman shopper

yellow metal bucket hanging from a tree with evergreens and a red ribbon, also three gold christmas balls hanging with the bucket

below: An elaborate home for the birds with a tiny outpost below.

a large white bird house with a red windmill on it, behind a wrought iron fence, and a for rent sign on the fence

below: Ready for social distancing when you’re feeling down in the dumps.

an old beige arm chair, with snow it, outside beside industrial garbage bins

Molson Canadian flag outside a bar, also muskoka chairs and a carved wood bear, a Canadian flag too.

below: Buster’s ready to play

carved wooden bear, Buster, with Canada flag hockey shirt on, holding a hockey stick,

below: This guy needs a beer

posters and signs on the door of a bar

below: Looking in a window – framed pictures, old records, a trunk and a tripod.

looking in the window of a junk vintage store, framed pictures on the wall, a shelf of old records, a trunk, and other stuff

windows and entrance of Sharons Variety store on Kingston Road

below: A Beckers store, you don’t have to be that old to remember Beckers do you?  The original Beckers Milk Company was founded in 1957; they had five convenience stores that were open 7 days a week, 14 hours a day.  By 2006 when the company was sold to Alimentation Couche-Tard, there were 500 stores.  Most were converted to Macs convenience stores stores.  In 2013 the Beckers label was brought back and apparently there are now 45 Beckers stores.

row of two storey brick storefronts including a Beckers store with a birch tree mural on it

an old gas station that is now a used car dealership, with many cars parked outside in the snow

cars parked outside in the snow at a used car lot

below: St. Nicholas Anglican church, opened 1917.

St Nicholas church, red brick, no steeple, but a pointed roof

old two story brown brick building on Kingston Road

red wall, exterior of Fashion Sushi

below: An idea for a future walk!

Warden street sign, with traffic signals, also a sign pointing south to the Waterfront Trail

 

scarborough toronto street sign, Sandown Lane, Cliffside

Sandown Lane runs behind the buildings on the north side of Kingston Road, west of Midland Avenue in Scarborough.

back of a store & apartment, in an alley, building is brick painted pink, stairs to upper level doors, snow on the ground

I was walking here because I was on the lookout for a series of murals by B.C. Johnson that have been painted over the past few years.

murals on a wood fence between two properties, in an alley, woodland animal theme, a deer, a moose,

B.C. Johnson is the person responsible for first painting the rainbow arch beside the Don Valley Parkway – way back in the 1970’s.  I blogged about the Moccasin Trail, which leads to the arch, last year.  Just in case you’ve never seen it, here it is from last fall:

the rainbow bridge on the east don trail, a semi circle arch tunnel painted like a rainbow

Back to Sandown Lane….

B C Johnson mural of an old car surrounded by sunflowers in an alley

below: A deer with large antlers, a man fishing.

two garage doors side by side in an alley with murals painted on them, a deer with antlers on the left and a man fishing in a river on the right

below: Sunflowers and butterflies by the gate on a (real) door.

sunflowers and butterflies on a summer day, and a gate made of birch branches, a mural in an alley by Bc johnson

brown metal door on concrete block wall, pink planters with fake sunflowers in them, a bench with snow on it beside the door too

a blue pickup truck with one tire missing, parked in a vacant lot, in front of a farmyard scene mural with fields and a pond

mural, front of an old rusty car with a white chicken standing on one fender

chairs and round table outside, in back of building, in an alley, also patio umbrella, folded up

from the outside, a window in a concrete block wall, window is full of books, sign spray painted on wall that says no parking, will tow

below: Waterfalls

two murals in a lane, waterfall theme for both of them, the work of B C johnson

a woodlands theme mural on a wood fence between two properties in a lane, a tree trunk in the mural matches the large tree behind the fence

an old rust coloured Lincoln Town Car parked in an alley, garage doors behind it are covered in murals by bc johnson

small mural with butterflies and flowers in an entrance to a passageway, some orange and white cones in front of the mural

below: That’s an inventive way to advertise your handyman business!

an advertisement for a handyman, a large hand up in a tree with a paintbrush

three panels on a wood fence in a laneway with murals on them, animal them, tiger in the center, also an elephant, snow in front of the fence, the back of houses behind

double car garage in an alley with murals painted on them, owl theme,

table and chairs behind a building in an alley

While I was in the area, I walked back along Kingston Road.

in the median, Kingston Road, a sign that says Cliffside Village, red brick apartment building behind

I have walked this portion of Kingston Road before.  There are many large Mural Routes paintings of historic Scarborough scenes.  They can be seen in the 2017 blog post, Cliffside murals, so I won’t repeat them here except for this one photo:  ‘H.M. Schooner, Onondaga c. 1793’ by Jeff Jackson 1992.

mural routes mural on Kingston Rd, historic scene, schooner Onondaga

below: Back in 2017 this was a sushi restaurant and it was covered on all four sides by ‘Let’s Take a Walk on the Wildside’ painted by B.C. Johnson the year previously.  Some of the scenes from that mural can be same in the same Cliffside blog post linked to above.

empty restaurant, benazi, on a corner lot, murals on the buildings behind it

entrance to a store 2258, with a painting of an old airplane over the door

wooden fence around a patio, with two old paintings that are faded and peeled so you can't tell what they were pictures of, in the background, an empty blue metal frame that once held a sign for a store

a red wall in front of a building, mailboxes on it, 8 mailboxes, also two buzzers under a sign that says Supt Bob

below: Tara Inn, the Irish Pub, beside the Banglabazar Supermarket.

looking across Kingston Road to a stip mall with an Irish pub and the Banglabazar store,

storefront on kingston Road in Cliffside, barber shop, closed because of covid, faded pictures of mens heads show casing hair styles in the window,

looking in the window of a shoe repair business with a for sale sign in the window

looking in a store window, a large picture of a woman looking back out, with a sign on the window re opeings and closings for covid 19

looking in the window of a store, a mirror with an ornate silver colour frame, Christmas bells attached to it with ribbons and greenery

below: St Pauls United Church, near the west end of Sandown Lane.

front of St. Pauls United Church in Cliffside Scarborough, narrow green steeple, round glass entranceway, stairs leading from the sidewalk to the church

below: A Roman Catholic church, Saint Theresa, Shine of the Little Flower at Midland and Kingston Road.   The church was built in 1966 to replace a smaller one, also built in a Spanish style, from 1933. The Church was dedicated as a Shrine in honour of St Therese of Lisieux, a saint who had been canonized in 1925.

white church at Midland and Kingston Road, Saint Theresa Parish, Shrine of the Little flowers, red cermaic tile roof, arched doorways and windows

A mild January turned into a frigid February but that shouldn’t slow us down should it?  So I bundled up and drove to Mimico to meet a friend – what? we haven’t seen each other for over a year?  2020 has taken its toll.   At least it’s easier wearing masks in cold weather!

Toronto street sign for Mimico village, Melrose street,, on the same pole is a banner above it that says happy holidays

below: Two murals by Jim Bravo. On the right, “Down Creek Way” 2012. On the left, “Morning Ice Harvest” 2014. Both are part of the Lakeshore Arts Project

two historical murals on the side of a building, one is boys ice fishing and the other is people swimming in the creek

below: A watery mural with a large duck bottom as it paddles by on the side of Birds and Beans Coffee Shop. Another Lakeshore Arts Project; it was designed by Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson and painted with the help of a crew of youth & community members coordinated by Paula McDines.

picture of a mural as seen from across a park, street scene as well. snow, winter,

below: Mural on the side of Calibreze Pizza on Lakeshore Blvd.

mural on the side of a two storey brick store on Lakeshore in Mimico, sign says Calibreze Pizza.

mural on the side of a building, cars parked in front of it

mural

The northern boundary is the Gardiner Expressway.  Here, stairs from the street running parallel to the Gardiner up to Royal York Road before it becomes a bridge over the expressway.

concrete retaining wall beside Royal York Rd, with stairs going up to road level, also a small tree

below: Signs on the outside

signs on the door of Jimmys coffee shop, wear a mask, wear it right, and other covid notices

below: … and old photos on the inside.  Jimmys Coffee, Royal York Road.  Hanging out inside was verboten but a few minutes of warmth was appreciated.

large photograph on a coffee shop wall of a welcome to mimico sign beside an old phone booth with someone inside it

inside Jimmys coffee, a sign on the bar that says our resolution drink more coffee damn it

below: Who can resist a unicorn poop cookie?

cookies for sale at a coffee shop, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with pink sprinkles called unicorn poop cookies

below: Signs of Covid.  Prior to the most recent lockdown there was talk about “big box stores” being allowed to stay open while smaller businesses had to close.  At the moment, even “big box stores” are closed.

window of a tattoo shop, rattan blinds closed, painted on window is sign that says big box tattoo, wolves throne, can we open now?

below: Bag full of work.

traffic box on sidewalk painted as back of a person in a red and white striped shirt with a backpack on. outside of backpack are words bag full of work, Red van on road, and houses behind that, snow on the ground,

below: Moooooove me….  I’m tired of getting splattered with slush when cars get too close!

back cow sculpture, lifelike, beside the street, in front of a butcher shop in Mimico.

small blue boat on a trailer parked by garage in an alley behind multiplex houses 3 storeys high, red brick.

below: A cold and wet seat.

a chair in the driveway by an alley, in the snow, cars, chainlink fence behind the chair.

sign beside the red doors of Crossroads Christian fellowship church that says All welcome Sunday service and bible studies cancelled

below: Just out of the picture, and making a lot of noise, was the same dog that’s in this picture.

glass door and windows of storefront with signs and pictures. picture of a small dog,

below: Tibetan prayer flags adorn the fence. Each colour represents an element; white symbolizes air, red is fire., green is water, yellow is earth, and blue is wind. They also represent directions – North, South, East, West and Center. As the flags flutter in the wind, they emit positive spiritual vibrations enabling the wind to carry away the prayers and wishes. As the prayers drift away, the colours fade.

colourful Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags strung outside a store

two three storey apartment buildings side by side

houses on a residential street

four motorcycles under individual covers and parked outside in the snow

old square white building on Royal York Road, now a flower shop,

below: Mimico is home to a large GO facility, the Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility.  It didn’t look too inviting!  It might be worth some research so that on a warmer, sunnier day we could go exploring.

outer wall of Willowbrook GO facility in Mimico. Large walls,

below: It’s difficult to see, but the door on the left has a “women” sign on it.   His and hers.

two white port a potties beside a parked truck container back part

What had started as a sunny morning, turned into a grey low-light so we headed to the lake to see if we could find more sun, or at least better light.

below: Part of Humber College Lakeshore Campus.   These buildings were built in the late 1880s as “cottages”, part of the Mimico Asylum (later known as the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital).   Almost a hundred years later the site was shut down.  At that time, there were 280 patients, down from a peak of 1,390 in 1950.

from a distance, Humber college brick buildings, lakeshore campus, snow and bare trees

below: The site was leased to Humber in 1991 and since then these four buildings have been completely renovated to suit Humber’s needs.

Humber college brick buildings, lakeshore campus, snow and bare trees

below: Humber College is surrounded on three sides by Colonel Sam Smith park and one of the features of the park is an outdoor skating loop.  This year, online registration is needed for a time slot at all rinks – unless you’re lucky enough to arrive when others have cancelled or have been unable to show up.  (As an aside – they have a washroom for weary walkers in need!)

people at skating rink, outdoors. one is secutiy and others are waiting their turn to use the ice. pink letters on sidewalk that denote place for those with reservations to line up

two kids skating, one is pushing the other who is holding onto a blue plastic support

Another feature of the park are the waterfront trails along the shores of Lake Ontario.

two canada geese in the water, up close

below: Comfy sofa at the ready?

many mallards and canada geese in the water, trees on the shore, an old sofa is perched among the trees, facing the water, winter, snow,

mallard ducks with their heads down,m on Lake Ontario

ice and icicles on a fallen log on the rocks beside Lake Ontario, some snow and bare trees in the background

frozen pond with snow and bare trees

Toronto skyline from Colonel Sam Smith park, lake ontario in between

winter scene, beside Lake Ontario, bench in park facing the water, some bare trees around it

We never did find more light that morning.  But if you’re in the mood for hot chocolate bombs or other sweet goodies we might have found the place for you!

photographer taking a picture of a store window, masks, baking things, red hearts,

below: As I was driving home after the walk, I came across this scene:

a zamboni on the back of a tow truck, travlling on a toronto street

 

A cold and frosty afternoon walk westward along a windy Queens Quay to Harbourfront with a detour to Union Station to warm up.  It was below zero, but only single digits so it can’t be that bad, right?

below: New construction, Lower Jarvis at Queens Quay East, beside Sugar Beach

new building being built at Lower Jarvis and Queens Quay, beside Sugar Beach

below: Redpath Sugar on Queens Quay East

redpath sugar processing plant on Queens Quay in Toronto

below: “Whaling Wall”, 1997, on the side of Redpath Sugar, one in a series of 100 murals painted by Robert Wyland that feature whales and other seal life.

whale mural on the side of Redpath sugar warehouse

below: Looking north up Yonge Street from Queens Quay

looking north up Yonge street from Queens Quay, tall buildings, not much traffic, a TTC bus,

below: Ice just beginning to form on the water.  Although it’s almost February, Lake Ontario remains unfrozen – at least up until last Thursday when this picture was taken.  That was also the coldest day of the winter that we’ve had so far.  A lot more of the harbour, and lake, should be frozen now!

ice starting to form in harbour where the Toronto island ferry is docked

below: Looking north up Bay Street from Queens Quay

below: Lakeshore & Gardiner at Bay Street.

below: There’s a new walkway over Bay Street that joins Union Station and the GO bus terminal.

below: Looking south from the new walkway.  On the right is the old postal sorting station, then Air Canada Centre, and now totally rebranded as the Scotiabank Arena.

below: It also offers new views into windows!

looking into window of MLSE entertainment, from above,

below: Towards the new GO Terminal.  When I wandered through it was just me and two security guards.

below: The first of these that I have seen, inside the new GO bus terminal.

vending machine selling disposable masks for two dollars each

below: The old GO Terminal

below: It was very quiet in front of Union Station, especially subdued for late on a weekday afternoon.

below: Remembering the 2019 Raptors team.

street sign for Brmener Bl that has been turned into Raptors way to celebrate their 2019 NBA championship. The sin is red and white inside of the usual blue and white

below: York Street at Bremner, with the base of the CN Tower peaking through.

below: Looking into the lobby of a new building at 10 York Street, designed by Brad Golden & Co.

looking into the lobby of a condo building, through a large glass wall, some art inside including a large wall panel that looks like crinkled shiney gold paper, some reflections,

below: “Iceberg” in Canada Square, with the CN Tower in the background. This sculpture, that you can walk through, also has sound and lights.  The latter would probably be better seen a little later in the day!

metal sculpture called Iceberg in Canada Square with the CN Tower in the background

below: Dewit L. Petros, “Untitled (Overlapping and intertwined territories that fall from view III)”, on the south wall of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.  This was part of the 2020 Contact Photography Festival.

large photograph by Dewit Petros on the south wall exterior of the power plant contemporary art gallery

below: “Sonic Runway” a light-art installation on the waterfront created by Warren Trezevant and Rob Jensen.

rings with a pinkish colour surround a walkway, a woman is walking through them, on the waterfront, a boat is docked beside the walkway

And then home to warm up again!

This post grew out of the last walk that I took with my mother.  It fit the criteria of being close to her house, had a route where we didn’t double back, and was somewhere that neither of us had walked recently.   Our route was The Donway, the circular road that encompasses the intersection of Don Mills Road & Lawrence Ave.  We drive through it or past it frequently but as you know, the world looks different when you get out of your car.

Painted sign tht says Don Mills, in front of Don Mills Sceondary school. Each letter is a different colour with decorations on them (pictures) painted by students

Developed between 1952 and 1965, the suburb of Don Mills was very much a “planned community”. The history of its development is online so I am not going to dwell on that aspect.  I was more interested in what it looks like now – what changes are happening there?  What looks just like it did 60 years ago?

We started at the library.  [As an aside, this where I had my first job.  I was 15; I hated it; I lasted two months.  My apologies to all librarians. ]

below: Don Mills Library.  In 1956 the land was purchased at Lawrence and Donway West for a new library.  It was opened in 1961 and renovated in 1994.  A few years later it was added to the inventory of North York’s Modernist Architecture.  You can download the brochure that lists, with pictures, the more than 200 buildings on this inventory from an ERA Architects website(but be patient!)

part of Don Mills library, built in the late 1950s

below: The old and the new.

Donway West, older low rise apartments on the right, taller and newer condos on the left

below: A new playground in front of construction where the Don Mills Arena once stood.

playground in the front, construction behind that, and Scarborough skyline in the distance

The original Don Mills plan called for higher density inside the Donway Circle with lower density & single family homes outside the circle.  These condos are withing the circle, adjacent to the “Shops at Don Mills”.

construction site

orange construction cone beside a fence with a green construction cloth covering over it

below: The old post office (postal station) building is gone too.

now vacant lot beside Shops of Don Mills where old post office building was demolished

three storey red brick apartment building on the corner of Don Mills and the Donway with traffic light

low rise apartment building with trees and grassy space beside it

front of apartment building

1960s Don Mills residences, red brick

 These new townhouses sit outside the north east quadrant of the circle.

new grey townhouses being built on the Donway in Don Mills

I don’t think that anyone is going to claim that the original architecture in the area was “pretty” but these grey things are unsightly if not stupendously ugly.

new townhouses being built in Don Mills

below: Each of the quadrants of The Donway has a church.  In the NE is Donway Baptist Church (also in the inventory of NY Modernist Architeture).   The new townhouses seem to dwarf the church.

Donway Baptist church, built in the late 1960s, brick building

below: Don Mills Covenant United Church in the NW portion of The Donway.

front of Don Mills United Church

below: The front of Don Mills Secondary school where many small trees have been planted.  There’s at least one apple tree and one cherry tree .

front of Don Mills Secondary School, many new trees have been planted in front of the school

a few locks, rusted, on the chainlink fence around Don Mills Secondary school, playing fields and basketball hoops in the background

below:  This style of bungalow must have been very popular as tens of thousands of them were built, not just in Toronto, but in other towns and cities as well.

Don Mills bungalow with stairs up to center entrance

below: The car port, another Don Mills feature that helped make housing affordable at the time.

A-line roof bungalow with car port

below: A family of raccoons has found a home in Don Mills too!

a tree trunk, about 6 feet high, with a section carved out and a raccoon family painted on it.

a white (dry) bird bath or fountain with a statue of a girl and fairy, girl is holding a Canadian flag.

My apologies if the greyness of the photos makes you think that Don Mills is a grey kind of place.  Blame the weather – there hasn’t been a lot of sun this January.

 

a man walks down graffiti alley

below: Dynamic Duo so to speak, a T-bonez Robin to a Batman of a different sort.

black and white poster paste up in graffiti alley, urban ninja squadron with another character in a cape and super hero outfit

graffiti, 5 orange stencil figures on a white pole, one hand with two fingers up in a peace sign all with faces added in black sharpie

below: A collection of stickers and pastups – urban ninja squadron (TCF), spud, a blue Bentoghoul, and others

pasteups and stickers on a wall in graffiti alley

below: There is love in this lane

love sign on a pole, with a heart, street sign as well,

as well as broken hearts

graffiti, red broken heart on white circle

below: Playing games with Psiconauta on a pole while the little purple figure gives a peace sign.

urban ninja squadron sticker on a pole, little figure stencil in blue on wall beside it

below: T-bonez clad in pink and red with T-smoke on his back.

graffiti alley, urban ninja squadron paste up, t bonez in pink and red

below: Stay warm folks!

urban ninja squadron t bonez character with words stay warm

stickers and paste ups on a wall in graffiti alley

urban ninja squardon paste ups

black lives matter words on a wall with an urban ninja squadron t bonez in a pink suit and holding a red daisy with one eye in the center, graffiti alley

below: …. and a spudbomb too

pasteups and stickers on a wall in graffiti alley

below:  Flower Power. Many daisies by Life© popping up in Graffiti Alley (or at least they look like daisies).  “Consciousness watching the world”.

small sticker of a daisy with red petals and an eye in the center, on a wall already covered with painted street art

stickers and paste ups in graffit alley

small sticker of a daisy with yellow petals and an eye in the center, on a wall already covered with painted street art
orange daisy with an eye in the center and the word life written many times around it

below: Until next time… keep your eyes open!

pasteup of a photo of a man's face, with beard and moustache, other scribbles around the face

Howdy!

little metal character made of found objects and rusty metal, hat, fishing net, overalls,

There are rumours of a vaccine being available but at the rate at which people are being inoculated, we’re going to be living this socially distanced life for a few (many?) more months.  To help alleviate the feelings of isolation without jeopardizing anyone’s health, I have started walking with friends in their neighbourhoods.  My previous post, about Glendon College, was the result of a walk that I took with my mother and it was that afternoon that I decided to make a point of walking with friends more often.  The result of the first of these walks, near South Kingsway & Bloor, is what you see here.

yeard decorations of two small metal bikes, one blue and one yellow, in front of a house with Christmas wreath on the door and other Christmas greenery decorations too

stret of houses and large trees across from Rennie Park, single family homes, residential area, large trees, winter, no leaves, some snow on the ground.

bench in park, snow on ground, large tree, lots of long shadows,

a melting snowman with a blue and black plaid cloth around it, looks a bit like a large bid witha sharp curved beak

below: Rules of the rink for these Covid-19 times.

outdoor skating rink at Rennie Park, winter, with two signs regrding the rules for outdoor rinks during covid times, a few people are skating

outdoor skating rinkm some people getting ready to skate, enclosed rink for hockey etc with more natural rink beside it

child in red pants and blue winter coat pulling a sled across a park, houses and trees behind it

looking down a hill towards a park with a playground, backyards and houses beyond that. orange snow fence, railings of the stairs going down the hill

two adjacent two storey houses with lots of white statues and fountains in the front yards

white statues in front of a house

A little house!

older smaller house beside a larger newer one

older light grey stucco house on lot with grass and large trees

chainlink fence beside a path through the woods in early winter, no leaves on trees, some snow on the trail

below: Be careful where you walk!

wooden bridge over creek, ground at end of bridge has been flooded, hill onthe other side of the bridge with aprtment buildings (low rise) on top

below: Evidence of beaver activity!

beside a pond, thin layer of ice on the water, dead leaves on the ground, some medium sized tree trunks, one that a beaver has tried to take down

below: The muddy path beside Catfish Pond

path beside a pond that is muddy, boards placed on top of mud to make it passable

below: Morningside High Park Presbyterian church, built 1917.

front entrance and steeple of Morningside High Park, a stone church built in the Gothic style in 1917

below: In the distance, highrises near Bloor West and Keele

street curving downhill towards park, city skyline ion the background, a house or two beside the road

small white house behind a large pine tree and between two larger houses, on a small hill with stairs leading up to it

below: High Park

below: The very north end of Grenadier Pond.  Work is underway to remove invasive species of plants from this part of High Park and replace them with native vegetation.

a man is going down a long set of stairs towards a park, winter time,

and back up the stairs to Bloor West

older small apartment building from the 1920s, brick,with white wood trim and balconies

With thanks to Alice for being my tour guide.

a woman taking pictures in the woods, winter

The main entrance to Glendon College is via Lawrence Avenue on the west side of Bayview; here Lawrence becomes the driveway for the college.   The first building that you see is glass with the word welcome in several languages etched into it.   On the left is “boozhoo” which is Ojibwe, “she:kon” is Mohawk, and “tansi” is a greeting in Cree.

glass wall of newest Glendon college building, glass with the word welcome in different languages etched onto it, reflections in the glass

In 1924, Edward Rogers Wood (1866-1941) and Agnes Euphemia Smart (1868-1950) moved into the house that they had built on 84 acres of ravine land at the north end of Bayview Avenue,  in what was then suburban Toronto.

below: Glendon Hall now, on a grey winter day.

Glendon Hall, in winter, the old house on campus of Glendon College built in the 1920s

When Agnes Eupemia (Phemie) died in 1950, she left the estate to the University of Toronto to be used for a university botanical garden.  Ten years later U of T gave the site to the newly formed York University to use as their main campus.

below: Another of the older buildings at Glendon

old bungalow house on Glendon college campus, winter, green tile roof, white walls, black shutters,

below: Residence building being renovated.  They were built in the late 1960s.  Glendon College has just under 3000 students but the campus was very quiet (on a Sunday in January 2021).

residence building, Glendon College, three storey red brick building with windows

below: Lionel Thomas (Canadian,1915-2005), The Whole Person, 1961 metal mounted on the exterior of one of the buildings on the College campus.

metal 2 dimensional sculpture by Lionel Thomas mounted on a red brick wall, title is The Whole Person, a man is holding a burning lamp

below: Metal sculpture by Ray Spiers (b. Canada 1934), Untitled 1, 1975

metal boxes with open ends, sculpture on the ground, with snow, Glendon campus, by Ray Spiers in 1975

below: Sculpture of a more temporary nature.

small, partially melted snowman with stick arms,

residence building, Glendon College, winter, path, large trees

The main part of the campus is up high, above the ravine formed by the west branch of the Don River.  At the bottom of the hill is the pool and tennis courts as well as access to trails along the river.

below: Athletic Center and bridge over the Don River

single lane bridge with wide sidewalk and bright red metal barricades on side, brick building in the background, trees, winter,

 

path in woods in winter, with orange snow fence lining the walkway

2 dogs on a snow covered path in the woods

below: The end of Lawrence Avenue on the east side of Bayview.

the end of Lawrence Avenue at Bayview, the Bayview bridge crossing the ravine far above

below: Under the Bayview bridge which was originally built in 1929 with financing help from E.R. Wood, and expanded in the early 1960s.

concrete pillars with some graffit on them, holding up a bridge, over snowy ground

below: Before 1929 this is where traffic crossed the Don River.  The bridge, Watson’s Bridge, was built in 1895.   In the distance, you can see the Chedington condos; they sit where a house for Muriel Wood once stood.  E.R. Wood built the house (also called Chedington) for his daughter in 1927-28 but it was destroyed by fire in 2009.

single lane unpaved road through woods, and then over old bridge, winter

below: Watson bridge, built 1895

an old concrete bridge over the Don River by Bayview, some graffiti on it, seen through the woods in winter, no leaves on the trees, over the Don River,

below: Beyond Bayview the paths were very icy so we didn’t venture much farther that day.

ice on the path, beside creek, in woods,

More details about the history of the Bayview bridge can be found on a City of Toronto website.   They have lots of pictures!

 

 

many trees with trucks wrapped in Chirstmas lights

Trees wrapped in lights.

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It’s late December and the Christmas season is upon us. The winter solstice has arrived with its short day light hours… If you can call the greyness of today “day light”.

light display at Yonge Dundas square, a tree made of globe shapes, santa in his sleight, a hanakah menorah,

Santa in his sleigh, Yonge Dundas Square

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christmas lights and stars on the arches over the skating rink at Nathan Phillips square, with the large Christmas tree covered in blue and white lights behind. Also, part of the towers of city hall are lit blue

Nathan Phillips Square

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red flood lit metal barricade beside rink at Nathan Phllips Square, with a big red bow on it as well as a sign that says do your part, stay 2 metres apart, covid sign

a young couple learning to skate together at Nathan Phillips, after dark, holding hands, hesitant but upright

Like Decembers past, The Bay has installed holiday displays in some of their windows. Unlike past years, there are no elves or Santa, or even any human form. The robots have taken over and everything has been automated.

christmas light display in Hudson Bay store windows on Queen Street, barriers with signs saying don't forget to social distance

a shiny white robotic arm packages candy canes into boxes, an h b c window display, striped candy canes,

Candy canes are packed

 

one of the H B C windows, shiny red robots pack toys into white boxes with red ribbons, production line,

and toys wrapped, with a beep and a whirr.

 

a giant hand moves shiny small round objects, robot, holiday window display at h b c store at Queen and yonge.

Ornaments are crafted with A.I. and a software update.

 

H B C holiday window display, a computer with Santa's list of children and their wishes for Christmas presents

Even Santa’s wish list is machine made.

 The elves have been kidnapped? Or just sickened with Covid. We’ll probably never know (does Siri know?) but it seems rather fiendish and cold to remove the “human touch” in a year where we’re all 2 metres apart and not hugging anybody.

blue lights on a tree light

arches and big candy canes, frame for lights outside Eaton Centre, but lights not on.

people at Yonge Dundas Square after dark

the window and glass door display of posters at a Circle K convenience store, in the evening, lights on,

Stay warm
Stay safe
And may your Christmas be as bright as possible.