“Social norms has been reset to factory settings”

words written on a wall

I’m not sure what the above words mean or imply but I do know that we’ve all been impacted by Covid in one way or another.  The city seems to be moving along albeit more slowly than usual.  Sections of the city have fared better than others.  In fact, it would be very easy to portray segments of Toronto as being in trouble.

an old man walks up Yonge street past empty shops and a man sleeping in a doorway

Here the road is closed to vehicles for Open Streets (the last Sunday of September).

empty stores on yonge street, with a now leasing sign in the window

a woman walks past an empty store on Yonge street

We are missing events.  All those things that I like to take pictures at and blog about – the parades, the street festivals, and even the protests.  With more people staying at home, no tourists on the streets, and events going virtual, it’s a much quieter city.

below: This was the last weekend of TIFF and you wouldn’t know anything was happening.

a man with earbuds on walks past the TIFF lightbox theatre where a woman in a beige long coat and a black mask is standing by the door

below: In past years, King Street closes for TIFF activities.  This year there was none of that – no crowds jostling for a look at a celebrity or two, no booths selling things.

a round yellow circle around a bench on King Street, part of decorations for Tiff

below: These little “patios” have been carved out of some downtown streets to help restaurants stay open during these COVID days.  It’s a great idea for the warmer months.  Although the city now allows propane heaters on the street, I am not sure how many people are going to want to have dinner outside in December.

sitting on temporary patios on King Street

painting in front of Hey Lucy restaurant on King Street, woman sitting at a table with zebra print top, with a bottle and glass of wine

below: The Royal Alex Theatre is still set up for “Come From Away”

blue Royal Alex theatre on King street, with signs for Come From Away, line of multi coloured Muskoka chairs along the street

below: A nearby restaurant still has its St. Patricks Day green on display.

Happy St. Patricks Day sign in the window of a restaurant

below: Roy Thomson Hall in the foreground with downtown buildings in the background, as seen from Metro Hall.

Roy THomson Hall and downtown buildings as seen from Metro Hall

below: New public art on Adelaide… this is “Dreaming” by Jaume Plensa.   She’s three storeys high and I wouldn’t be surprised if she is dreaming of the days when we didn’t need masks.  How long until someone gives her a mask?

large three storey high white sculpture of a woman's face with her eyes closed, title is Dreaming and the artist is Jaume Plensa

below: Reflections with security guard

reflections of Jaume Plensa's Dreaming in a glass building

below: The steeple of St. Andrews Presbyterian church

steeple of St. Andrews Presbyterian church with trees in the foreground and condos in the background . Corner of Simcoe and King streets

below: Mother and daughter cycling together

mother and daughter in orange jackets on bicycles, stopped at a red light

a group of young people sitting at a table outside an A & W restaurant

a Jewish man stands outside a TIm Hortons talking to a woman who is sitting on the sidewalk pan handling. downtown Toronto

below: The cows are still in their pasture, unfazed by the changes around them.

 

cows, public art sculptures, lying on the grass with tall black office tower behind

below: The next two photos were taken while I was standing in among the tall black towers of the Toronto Dominion Centre.  The first view is to the southwest towards the CN Tower.

CN Tower seen between two black towers of TD bank

below: The second view is to the northeast.

below: The Canada Permanent building on Bay street is getting a cleaning.

scaffolding at the front, cleaned up stone facade of the Canada Permanent Building on Bay street

cleaned up stone facade of the Canada Permanent Building on Bay street

below: This is one of the Bank of Montreal buildings, also on Bay Street.

Canada Permanent Building on Bay street, with reflections of the building across the street in its large windows at street level

below: Window washers

window washers and reflections, looking through a glass building from back to ftont, escalators down, high ceiling,

below: Pearl Street, looking east.  Old brick buildings in the foreground with their modern counterparts shining in the background.

pearl street in downtown Toronto

below: The west end of Pearl Street.

old red brick building being preserved in downtown Toronto, with newer taller buildings surrounding it

below: I found a person!

a person is sitting on the steps of the staue on University Ave

below: Looking north up University Avenue

University Ave, looking northwest towards the Canada Life building and other tall buildings farther north on that street, trees still with leaves on the boulevard between the lanes of traffic

below: The Shangri-La hotel and Momofuko restaurant with it’s weird sculpture “Rising” by Zhang Huan at street level (also University Ave).  Masses of “peace pigeons” cover the surface.

Shangri La Hotel on University Ave as seen from across the street

in a rooftop garden, with glass building beside and reflections in those windows

below: Looking the other way on University Ave, south past Richmond to Adelaide and beyond.

intersection of King and University Ave in downtown Toronto

below: Preservation of a large brick facade on Adelaide.

construction site, preservation of large brick facade held up by rust coloured metal beams and scaffolding

blue construction fence around a hole at a work site, row of storefronts across the street in the next level and a tall apartment building behind that

construction site in downtown Toronto

below: Waiting for the lights to change

a man in a blue jacket stands in front of a large video screen at Queen and Bay, video of a man in an orange and white kayak is playing

below: Under the heading of “somethings never change”, there are always photoshoots in front of Osgoode Hall.   Presumably this photo or one similar can be found somewhere on instagram?

instagram photoshoot at Osgoode Hall

below: Arranging the veil.

photographer setting up a wedding photshoot at Osgoode Hall

below: With a the pigeon by the Eaton Centre.

windows of H & M store at yonge and Dundas, with femaile mannequins, sitting on the sidewalk in front of them is a man feeding pigeons, another man sits nearby

people walking on Gould Street, past a small yellow building

a folding chair and a small round table set up under a back porch behind a stone building, dark

reflections of a man in the window of a mens clothing store, two suits on display, one gray and one blue.

in the window of the Ryerson bookstore, mannequin wearing yellow Ryerson sweatshirt, dirty window, someone has drawn the picture of a man's face in the dirt

below: Mr. Ryerson keeps changing colour.  Apparently he was more red not that long ago.  Rather than remove the red paint, he was “cleaned up” by painting him this shade of green.  He probably doesn’t realize it but he’s become a controversial figure.  He may have been one of the first to establish public schools but he also played a role in the creation of residential schools for the indigenous population. Because of the latter, there has been some people advocating for the removal of this statue.

statue of Egerton Ryerson at Ryerson University on Gould Street, painted green, with some red paint graffiti as well as red hands

This statue was unveiled in 1889. It stands in front of an ivy covered building that started its life as Toronto’s first teacher’s college (1847).

below: Queen Street West

open sign in red and blue lights in the window of an adult store, beside white mannequin with very small black bikini bottoms and mesh top

below: This yellow birdie, at least in sticker form, may be on the verge of extinction.  An Uber5000 creation that can also be found on several of his murals around the city.

traffic signs on a metal pole along with a yellow uber 5000 birdie sticker
As I write this, the number of Covid cases in Toronto (and all of Ontario) have gone back up.  Although we were hopeful that we were wrong, was there ever any question that things would get worse before they got better?  Are we more complacent?  Maybe.  But let’s hope that we are also wiser this time around.

a man walks through a glass revolving door, reflections,

three masks on display in a store window.  One has a soccer ball pattern, another is pink with little strawberries.  The one in the middle is covered with a jumble of letters of the alphabet

Comments
  1. icelandpenny says:

    About the Ryerson statue (and the movement it illustrates): to ignore the harm someone has done is wrong, to ignore the good that someone has also done is equally wrong, it merely substitutes one bigotry for another. Once we start judging by all-or-nothing criteria, everybody stands condemned.

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