row of stores and cafes on Danforth, covered with street art, the Only Cafe,

My walk the other day started with a coffee and a croissant from Broadview Espresso, just north of the Danforth. It was a bit chilly and damp to be eating & drinking outside but that’s the way of the world at the moment, at least in Toronto. At least walking helps keep you warm! Anyhow, just outside the coffee shop was a sidewalk unicorn painted by whatsvictorupto. There was one on each of the 4 corners of the intersection of Broadview and Pretoria. Here are two of them.

painting of a unicorn on the sidewalk, a blue unicorn surrounded by 4 blue hearts, all on a pink background, the work of whatsvictorupto

painting of a unicorn on the sidewalk, a brown unicorn head and neck with white mane and horn on a green background

whether you’re walking

upper part of a mural on the Danforth of a man walking on a map of the area, around two windows of the building on which it is painted.

Part of a mural by Monica on the Moon

or on a bike

on the side of a Chinese restaurant, a mural of a woman on a bike. She's holding the handle bars but her legs are straight out behind her. She's wearing a red dress and has long black hair. There are three signs on the restaurant, First, Indian Hakka Chinese Food, second, 7 dim sum, and third, we deliver

there’s always something to see along the Danforth or behind in its alleys.

a utility pole on the street decorated for Greektown, in blue and white vertical stripes and an oval with the words Greektown on the Danforth along with a Roman column

There are windows to look in

two shelves with head mannequins, wearing different wigs, covid masks, hats, and halloween masks

below: A great assortment of Covid masks

fabric covid masks for sale in the window of a store

below: Multilingual covid signs on the window of the Greek grocery – where shelves with oregano, tomato paste, pasta, coffee beans, grape juice, eggplant, and candy are all display.

the window of a Greek grocery store, with food, also signs re covid rules in Greek. for sale, oregano, Nescafe coffee, tomato paste,

There is more street art and graffiti to find, sometimes at your feet

below: Grounded Together, A painting by Caitlin Taguibao on the sidewalk

a painting on the sidewalk, a circle with words grounded together, pictures of women with plants and flowers, a dog chasing a bird.

and sometimes closer to eye level.

below: Skull and sticker

large dark blue stencil of a skull in profile on a blue newspaper box. There is also a sticker that says end white supremacy

Posters with social/political messages can also be found.

below: End White supremacy above, and now a poster re stats in Toronto “Black people in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by the police”. Source: from the Human Rights Commission, 2018.

a poster on a metal utility pole with a graphi to illustrate how black people are more likely to be shot and or killed by the Toronto police

In this case, wake up and see the climate crisis. A faded bee on pink juxtaposed with the black, red, and white butterfly painted on the street box.

2 posters on a utility pole plus a painted street box behind. One poster says climate crisis wake up disobey. The other poster has a pink bee

below: I get the no peeing part. I suspect that those aren’t eggs and this is a warning? or a threat?

wood fence, exterior light, and a sign, picture of man peeing with a red line through it, below that is picture of a pair of scissors and two eggs.

And then there is artwork of a different kind – on the front of St. Irene Chrisovalantoy Greek Orthodox Church built in 1974

2 pictures, exterior, front of Greek Church, white walls, with a Greek flag flying between the two of them

2 pictures, exterior, front of Greek Church, white walls,

stained glass over the front entrance, from the inside

stained glass window over the front entrance of Greek Church

Even on a grey day there are colours to be found, not just in the artwork and stained glass windows, but in the nature around us.

below: Some sunshine in bloom

a sunflower in bloom

below: autumn vines with a street art background

autumn coloured vine leaves cover a wall that has street art painted on it

below: This tree dominates with its abundance of red leaves. You may have also spotted the murals in the background.

Felstead Park, a tree with a lot of red leaves on it, as well as on the ground below it, dominates the picture

below: These are the murals in the second Butterfly Laneway project (2018). Check this link (metamorphosis in the lane) to see all the murals.

trees in autumn colours, with butterfly murals on the garages beyond the park

below: One of the murals is carefully put aside while work is done on the back of this house.

a house, seen from the back, being renovated, backyard is also being fixed up, fence between house and park has been removed, but garage door with mural on it has been preserved

below: More renovations. Apparently, people staying home because of covid = a boom in home renovations. Both Home Depot and Lowes reported increases in revenue for the second quarter of 2020, both were more than expected.

2 houses side by side, one with pale blue siding on upper floor, the other with yellow siding, both with porches in the front, the one n the right is being renovated and has a bin out the front

old car and old garage in front of a large new modern house

below: The unusual roofline and trim on these two houses caught my eye. I also love the fact that they are attached yet have a distinct character of their own. Brick vs stone, little peaked roof over the door vs. green and white metal awning, rectangular window vs bay window. Like identical twins trying to be their own person.

two adjacent houses with barn like rooflines, one in brick and the other in stone,

Danforth subway line, Donlands station. Ten years ago, it was decided that Donlands station needed a second exit and that it would be on the corner of Strathmore and Donlands, One building, 17 and 19 Dewhurst would have to be torn down to make way for the new exit. 19 Dewhurst was sold to the city in 2018 and just last year the property at 17 Dewhurst was expropriated.

through a chainlink gate, front yard is square concrete patio stones, yellow front door

front yward is overgrown, white railing on porch, dark porch and front door

Across the street at 14 Dewhurst, the old Temple Baptist Church (1925) is being redeveloped as condos, the Sunday School Lofts.

large old brick church, Temple Baptist church, is being redeveloped as residences, plus an addition added to one side of it

The home remodeling business may be doing well but the restaurants are hurting. As of the end of October, indoor dining in Toronto was prohibited.

below: Abyssinia restaurant. One of the many different ethnic restaurants along the Danforth. Although it is still referred to as Greektown, and the Greek influence is still strong, you can eat a wide range of foods from different cultures. As you move east along the Danforth, there is a strong African (especially Ethiopian) presence.

a man pushes a stroller along the sidewalk past a store and the Abyssinia restaurant on the Danforth

below: Did you know that gourmet cinnamon rolls was a thing? Did I run across the street to buy one? (Almost!!).

a woman walks past Cinnaholic, a store selling gourmet cinnamon rolls

below: The northwest corner of Danforth and Donlands. You can choose between halal chicken and pizza, or dim sum.

northwest corner of Danforth and Donlands, two storey brick

Other little graffiti stickers, posters, and paste-ups:

below: Another flying bicycle

stencil on paper on a utility pole, in orange and black, a girl riding a bike, with wings on her back

below: Mad Dog Wrecking Crew

2 graffiti stickers on a Canada Post box, the top ones says gewn snail, the bottom one is an abstract drawing in black and white

below: A very sad man

paper pasteup on a metal pole, sad man

below: Checkerboard sneaker and a big tooth-ed skull by mr. Toon.

two stickers. the bottom one is a skull by mr. toon and the top one is a no laces, slip on sneaker in black and white checks

below: The paper is torn but it is: “She clasped my face in her bones and kissed silence into my mouth” a quote by Amiri Bakara (I saw one exactly the same in Kensington last summer).

paper pasteup on a metal pole, top is a skull looking down, bottom is a man looking up, with words

below: With a car parked in its mouth

dripping paint in blue and red on a wall with a hole in it, two eyes drawn above the rectangular hole. A car is parked on the other side of hte wall and shows through the hole

below: Does the blue haired woman know whats lurking behind her?

two wig mannequin heads in a store window. the one in front has pale turquoise hair, the one in the back has black hair.

Happy November – let’s keep walking and see what we can see along the way…. and in case you need help…!

display of eye glasses in the window of a store

Comments
  1. icelandpenny says:

    Ohhhh I miss walking the Danforth! But your walks are the next best thing. About Victor: he must be the same sidewalk artist (“Not street artist,” he told me firmly, “sidewalk artist”) I met years ago, responsible for the series of ornate letters of the alphabet at various Danforth street corners, and also for the wonderful tape measure (later removed by officialdom) he coiled around the thimbles etc on Spadina celebrating the one-time rag trade

    • Mary C says:

      Yes, those are Victor. He is definitely still busy. Pity about the tape measure – it was a wonderful improvement over what the artist (who did the buttons and thimbles) did with a tape measure.

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