many trees with trucks wrapped in Chirstmas lights

Trees wrapped in lights.

.

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

.

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

.

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.

Welcome to Kensington market!

tall pole to mark Kensington market area of Toronto, with a globe on top. Circling the globe are objects like a shirt, a piece of meat, things that represent merchandise in the market

It’s very different here before the stores open and there aren’t many people out and about.

a metal post on Spadina with chinatown painted on it, 2 large black and orange traffic cones

vietnamese restaurant on the corner of Spadina and Nassau,

a man walks his dog along the street past the back of a truck where another man is unloading

window of Sunwah fruit market in Kensington before the store opens, no food on display

across the street, people are getting a fruit and vegetable store ready to open up, putting food on display outside. in the foreground is a metal bike stand with graffiti slaps on it, including a urban ninja squadron and soap ghost, wash your hands

plywood over a glass door, with spray paint words that say hindsight is 20 20 see you in hell 2020.

entrances to a couple of stores in Kensington, painted stairs, an uber 5000 yellow birdie coming out of an egg for egg bae cafe, also old anti Rob Ford picture with we can't af ford this.

looking in a store window, little Christmas trees made in cone shapes with fuzzy and shiny items.

garbage man hauling blue bin towards back of truck, garbage day in Kensington, mural on the side of one of the stores, empty fenced in patios,

boxes of juice sitting outside a store that hasn't opened yet.

store fronts & windows, small tiles on exterior wall, orange metal gate,, closed, with stairs behind it

front of old smartwear store, now closed and empty, very dirty glass on windows and doors

2 old mattresses left on the sidewalk, leaning against a small tree. big happy face spray painted onto one of them along with the message stay safe

paintings on the glass on the window of a store, we grind fresh, peanuts, almonds, picture of a hand and a grinder

front of yellow painted store, army surplus store in Kensington, lots of little signs in the window,

turquoise door with window it. window is covered with pictures, entrance to store is small sidewalk that is covered with a temporary portable tent like structure,

in a store window, a cow statue wearing a mask, and a fat Santa Claus

in a store window, at the bottom are 4 head mannequins with sunglasses and or black balaclavas on display

a head mannequin in a jewellry store window, with a red covid mask on

building covered with street art, two storeys, windows above, store below. Greys. panels covering store windows are all covered with painting too

balcony over lucky money restaurant, full of plants and bright ywllow and green flower pots.

below: Do you remember Mr. Cod and Chinese Leader Mao?

concrete wall behind store, with words that say remember chinese leader

below: Fancy bath tubs galore on the shower curtain in the window.

mural of a blue cat in front of the orange-ish rising sun (or setting sun?)

a small two storey house with garage at the end of a short lane, no parking is painted across the top of the garage, an apartment building behind the houses makes up all the background

below: Yin and yang in the corner with tbonez and Cosmo Cam

posters and paste ups on a wall in Kensington,

yellow gas pipes on the outside of a building, with some street art and graffiti on the walls as well

street sign street art
graffiti stickers on the back of a street sign

mirrors in the shapes of bricks glued on top of some bricks on an exterior wall in an alley, also a fence with graffiti

small brass coloured circle with carvings on it, attached to wood utility pole among hundreds of old staples

graffiti on a wall

stickers on a grey metal box, feelings bot, tbonez, a drawing of a womans face

small stciker on a metal box, a skeleton is pointing a gun

This view was captured while walking north up Spadina towards Baldwin. It’s a much quieter street these days and looking a little forlorn.

storefronts on Spadina ave., a large yellow sign with red chinese characters for Tap Phong trading company, empty sign, storefront with metal gate covering entrance,

At the southwest corner of Baldwin & Spadina the hoardings around 374 Spadina are still there. They seem to have been there forever now. Once again the site has been sold, if the internet is to be believed. Apparently, there is an OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) approved plan for a two storey restaurant there. I wondered how long that has been on the books so I googled it – early 2007.

wall with street art that has been tagged and defaced

Last spring this wall was painted as a tribute to Andre Alexander, aka Hip Pop Art who died in October 2018. Small pieces remain.

graffiti and posters on a wall that were painted over in silver gray paint but you can see traces through the paint. including a sign for a pop up store

The hoardings around that site, along with the covered sidewalk along the south side of Baldwin have been tje canvas for an ever changing selection of posters and artwork. The other day it was this circular piece by John Brown that was tacked to one section of the wall.

a painting tacked to construction hoardings, signed John Brown Toronto artist, on black paper, a circle with four main things inside it, first nations symbols

In case you’ve always wondered what was behind those hoardings…. Some demolition has occurred as the fire damaged, water damaged, and destroyed just through neglect parts have mostly been removed.

street art on metal boxes on sidewalk in front of a vacant lot with partially destroyed building on it

partially demolished house in an otherwise vacant lot, behind fence, staircase with wall and ceiling gone, graffiti on it,

Obey Bill Gates and other messages on a temporary plywood wall in Kensington – a 2020 wall.  Wash your hands.  6 feet apart, 6 feet deep, 6 degrees of isolation/separation.

plywood fence with graffit on it, words, obey bill gates. Also words that say it's just a muzzle, obey

Africism and more obey.  86 Nassau sits empty behind the plywood as the fence evolves.  Stop burning my ancestors.  We live here.

bikes locked in front of a plywood makeshift fence around an empty storefront at 86 Nassau street in Kensington, signs and graffiti on the fence, artwork, protest

Again, it’s just a muzzle.

sidewalk in Kensington, cars parked on the road side, trees and houses on the other. bikes parked in front of a fence

Fish, bees, sneakers, some gloomy characters. …

pictures on a plywood fence outside, graffiti

… and some familiar faces among the crowd.

black and white posters and slaps graffiti on a plywood fence, urban ninja squadron, sketchrat, forget,

Another COVID cancellation is the Christmas Market at the Distillery District.   This year’s offering is “Winter village”, a down scaled version of past years’ festivities.

evening photo, distillery district, decorated for Christmas, large snowflakes projected onto the side of an old stone building

The lights are up, the tree is gorgeous, and the atmosphere is almost Christmas-y.

evening photo, distillery district, decorated for Christmas, large Christmas tree, sign Gooderham and worts over the road, strings of white lights

evening photo, distillery district, decorated for Christmas, a street lamp that looks like an old gas lamp, with a wreath and a big red bow, beside a mens wear store with a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in it

evening photo, distillery district, decorated for Christmas, people taking pictures, people walking

evening photo, distillery district, decorated for Christmas, a couple walking, a woman pushing a stroller

lights reflected in a window, green window frame, on old brick building, also a puffy winter jacket hanging in the window

patio outside a restaurant window, wreath on window, snow on the table on the patio, metal table and chairs, old brick building in distillery district ,

an art gallery window from outside, evening,

evening photo, distillery district, decorated for Christmas, the words art is love in big block letters, outside the window of an art gallery with a painting in the window

metal sculpture in a window, made with metal wire, many spiral shapes

pictures in a gallery window, most pictures are of faces

looking in the window of a restaurant wherre the cashier is dancing

I’m going to say that I actually prefer this year’s less crowded version.

Walking from Main Street east along the Danforth, with a diversion or two to see what we can see…..

part of a street art mural, a big eye, blue in the middle

a row of three two storey brick stores on the Danforth.  Flat roofs, one in the middle is a computer repair shop.  A small tree covers the front of one store, Danforth market is on the far right

furniture store in old two storey building on the Danforth   with three big windows with save $ $ signs, old building with sagging roof.

old two storey brick building on Danforth, stores, pharmacy, walk in clinic, and carpet store, your carpet connection with rolls of carpet in the window

gas station, two pumps, star self service gas, cars parked behind at auto mechanic shop, top quality auto and cars r us toronto, open sign

woman walking on Danforth at Madeleine, past star self service gas station, large sign with price of gas as 98 cents a litre, computer store on opposite side of street

large sign on pole, stiches outlet, beside a driveway, stores across the street, divine photography

empty storefront on the Danforth

looking through the window of an empty store, pegboard, interior window, and wood paneling on some walls

looking through a large window of a store to see almost empty interior, a chair is there along with a rack for hanging clothes. people and cars are passing by on the street

empty store, for lease sign in the window, looking trhough to other side of street, as well as reflections from window, white bench on sidewalk, yellow truck parked on street

A cosy nook for a pigeon

a pigeon has found a place to sit on a broken opening above a door to lightmans store, glass door with brown paper covering it, white wood frame, painted, number 3270 in different colours

Milk plus convenience store with bright red and white sign saying milk plus milk plus. sign in window that says please do not steal

bar window, with Molson Canadian advert with red maple leaf, also coca cola sign with beer prices listed

signs on exterior of store, Formula 1 store, sells candles and religious items, also sign advertising Liqui Moly motor oils, additives, and car care from PJC Autoworks

below: Come on in and choose a wig while you wait for your like new used tires to be installed!

on a fence beside a store, advertising used tires for sale , like new, at thirty five dollars each. also a sign for visual beauty hair supply with a list of some of their products

Not all skeletons are kept in the closet.

Looking into a building trhough window, a skeleton is on display

hand painted sign on a chain link gate that says do not park in front door

In the category of “the unexpected”, old military vehicles.

old drab green military truck and ambulance with red cross symbol parked in front of a building

Small houses!

street scene - all the houses are small bungalows, large trees in the front yards, cars parked in driveways

intersection of Sneath and Lucy, in Scarborough, small houses,

small bungalow with small porch and flowers on the porch

below: This very small house with the big front yard, and a very overgrown yard at that, sits empty and alone.  “Danger do not enter” and “Private Property” signs are on the front door.   If you can get as far as the front door.

very small house with large front yard, yard is overgrown with long grass and weeds, boarded up with signs in the window

empty boarded up house with danger sign onthe front door

… even more overgrown and even more difficult to find the front door!

 a front yard so overgrown with trees and greenery that you can hardly see the car in the driveway. The house is entirely hidden

an old car in an overgrown backyard, behind chainlink fence

A warning sign of a different sort.

sign in the shape of a dog bone, on a door, that says ring doorbell and run, the dog needs exercise

no parking sign on a brick wall, partially in english and partially in another language with a different alphabet

four orange and green taxis parked in front of a building that has a sign that says Oakridge Seniors Bocce Club

two men in lifts working high up on metal beams on a construction site

looking north on a side street towards Danforth, large multi storey apatment building

bungalow in the foreground, highrise apartment building in background

And last but not least, a patriotic splash of summer colour from July when I took these photos for the greyer days of November that we now find ourselves in.

lots of roses growing on a rosebush beside a white fence

canada flag design on plastic windmill in a planter in a backyard

Immediately south of the Danforth , the CNR tracks cross Warden Avenue. A heritage mural was painted there a few years ago.

a white pickup truck makes a turn at an intersection with a GO train going over a bridge in the background

The wall on the west side was painted first. In the centre is a portrait of Elizabeth Simcoe. In August 1793, Elizabeth Simcoe wrote that the bluffs reminded her of the limestone cliffs in Scarborough England. Apparently that led to the bluffs being called Scarborough Highlands. Scarborough village became the settlement near the Scarborough bluffs.

mural by De Anne Lamirande, portrait of Elizabeth Simcoe, in blue dress with white collar, large hat,

To the left of her is a painting of the Scarborough bluffs.

part of mural on side of railway underpass, Scarborough bluffs and Lake Ontario

And to the right, a steam train at the station.

one end of a mural showing a steam train coming into a station where a group of people are waiting

On the east side, a painting of the stone Bell estate house built in 1830 is in the centre. Although it is known today as the Bell estate, the original builders were Richard and John Thornbeck who obtained 100 acres on that site in 1828 (near presentday Warden and St. Clair). In 1861 this 4 bedroom house was occupied by Richard Thornbeck, his wife, six children and his widowed mother.

mural on railway underpass on Warden Ave by De Ann Lamirande, old stone house, Bells estate,

Thornbeck sold the house to William Bell in 1882. It was then home to a line of Bell decendents for over a century. It was Bell’s Scarborough Dairy from 1931 to 1943 when it was purchased by Donlands Dairy.  Part of the property was later owned by Beckers Milk who had a milk processing plant there until 1995.  In 2012 the house was empty and boarded up.

part of a mural, a black and white cow in a farmyard, behind a cedar rail fence, in front of an orange barn

cow, farmyard scene in a mural, beside sidewalk on railway underpass

below: On delivery, with horse and wagon from Mitchells. Arthur Mitchells Grocery store was an early landmark in the community of Birchcliff. It was on the corner of Kingston Road and Birchmount.

a man on a horse drawn carriage making deliveries, part of a mural

The mural was painted in 2012/2013 by De Anne Lamirande with help from Andrew Horne and Emelia Jajus

bronze city of toronto plaque describing the mural on Warden ave

This mural illustrates the Bell estate’s beautiful fieldstone house built in 1830, just east of Warden Avenue which was designated as a historical site in 2011 and still stands today. Established on the property was Bell’s Scarborough Dairy which flourished from 1931 to 1943. The A.H. Mitchell Grocery Store was located on Kingston Road and made deliveries in this area by horse and buggy. The centre columns feature Oak trees, the red Canadian Maple and Birch trees which represent the Oakridge and Birchcliff communities.

[note: Oakridge is north of the tracks while the community of Birchcliff is to the south]

With collaboration from City of Toronto and Mural Routes

A silly title for a post about four east end murals on the Danforth by two artists. But diving right in…

On the side of the Chopsticks Restaurant is a mural, “Pollination of Oakridge” painted by De Anne Lamirande.

northeast corner of Danforth and Byng in Scarborough, a row of four brick two storey storefronts with apartments above. Chopsticks restaurant is on the corner, it has a large mural along its west wall, flowers and a monarch butterfly. Next to restaurant is a barber shop and then an empty store. Danforth Auto Parts is at the east end

Two pink lilies in the middle with purple asters on both sides. Bees and a monarch butterfly.

pink lilies in a mural with purple flowers and butterflies painted by De Anne Lamirande, at the corner of Danforth and Byng in Scarborough

below: Monarch butterfly in the purple asters.

from a mural, monarch butterfly in the middle of purple asters flowers

Nearby, is a mural on the side of the old Imperial Plumbing Supplies store.

on the side of a now empty Imperial Plumbing store is a mural by Basil Dwayne Jardine jr of a scene

A blue jay on a tree branch, a vintage gas pump, and a train that seems to be saying “I think I can, I think I can”, painted by Magic F. Wong (Magic Finnga Wong, Basil Dwayne Jardine Jr)

train in a mural

below: Even some bright flowers are having problems cheering up the sad looking door and window.

door with old blue awning above it, in the middle of a mural, 3 bright orange mailboxes beside the door

We’ve now covered the chopsticks and the plumbing so that just leaves us with a couple of owls keeping a watchful eye on the Danforth:
One in front of a birch tree and a night time sky…

an owl and white tree on blue background, mural

by De Anne Lamirande

and one with soft brown feathers. It almost looks cuddly although I’d be wary of that beak.

an owl mural

by Magic F Wong

Recently I was in the area east of Danforth and Main when I had one of those moments where I stop and say to myself “I’ve been here before”.   I recognized some of the street art in the lane  (see Alleyway of Dreams, 2016).  For this blog post, I have started with the artwork that I didn’t remember on the assumption that it is newer.   The murals that remain from 2016 all seem to be in good shape.

below: A collage of pictures called “Against All Odds” in the shape of a map.

collage of pictures and images on an exterior cement wall

below: On the same wall as the above is this mural of a swan.  My apolgies to Alika, Angela, Dylan, Molly, Serval, Bandi, Ludo and Weal (?) whose names I chopped off.  To the right of the swan, and behind a parked car is a piece by Mediah.

mural of a swan with a list of names to the left and a piece by mediah to the right

below: A hummingbird with a red hibiscus flower.

mural of a hummingbird with a red hibiscus flower

garages in an alley with garage doors that have been painted with street art, the garage in front has a light greens side door with two birds sitting on a braanch painted on it

Love birds of a different colour

street art painting of two birds sitting on a branch, a yellow bird and a blue bird with a white head.

below: There had been a fire in the back of a furniture store not long before I walked the alley this summer.

rubble, the result of a fire, sits in a pile behind a store in an alley, part of a chair sits on top

below: A black cat in the moonlight, sitting on some very curly branches.  This row of fences was painted in 2016.

mural on a fence in an alley, a black sitting on a tree branch with curly branches, moonlight behind the cat

below: This blue pug was here previously but the rabbit that was once beside it seems to have disappeared.

mural in mostly blue of a pug's face, dog with red tongue and brownish eyes, on wood
mural of a tiger's face on a garage door

below: The blue rhinoceros with the whimsical horn hasn’t moved either.

mural of rhino head and horn on a garage door in an alley, rhinoceros

below: Stay Out is still sprayed on the old wood door but now it has a new lock.  The blue 666 is also an addition.

old wood door beside metal garage door, outside, in an alley, large words spray painted on door that say stay out 666

large green plastic bag on the ground filled with wood palletts, in an alley, in front of a garage door with street art on it

below: “Bee Haven” from 2014.  One of the earliest bee/pollinator murals in the city.

mural of a hand holding a plant growing in a flower pot, plus bees,

bee with blue body and bum in a mural

hand holding a flower pot that is cracked because the root of the plant is growing, in a mural

below: Signatures.  The mural was painted by Elie J. Saad, Sarah Van Dusen, and Curtia Wright with help from Community Centre 55 kids.

back of a store on Danforth with apartments above

This post might have been more appropriate for Remembrance Day but unfortunately I missed it by a few days.  But it is never inappropriate to remember and honour those who fought for Canada in overseas wars.

cars parked and a man sitting in front of mural in the side of Royal Canadian Lion branch 73, Oakridge Branch, poppies, a yellow airplane, beside an alley,

There is a mural that features lots of red poppies reminiscent of those growing in Flanders Fields during the First World War and now the symbol of remembrance every November.

lots of red poppies in flanders fields on a mural beside a legion hall, also a row of medals painted under a window

This mural is on the south wall of the Royal Canadian Legion branch 73 (Oakridge Branch) on Robinson Ave., just north of the Danforth, in Scarborough. It can be seen from the Danforth

mural in the side of Royal Canadian Lion branch 73, Oakridge Branch, poppies, a yellow airplane, beside an alley,

It was painted by Magic F. Wong aka Basil Dwayne Jardine jr. in the fall of 2016.

a yellow airplane, single jet, open cockpit, in a mural by magic f wong

a black silhouette of a soldier kneeling, the Royal Canadian legion crest and motto lots of red poppies in flanders fields on a mural beside a legion hall, also a row of medals painted under a window