Archive for the ‘alleys’ Category

July is still hot and still humid.  Not complaining though – it’s just part of my excuse as to why I haven’t posted much recently.  Yesterday morning I managed to get myself out the door around 7:30 so I could walk comfortably – without drowning in sweat.

below: Getting ready to walk.

looking out the window of a Starbucks, backwards writing on the window, a dog tied to a tree, a bike,

I followed the morning light but still trying to stay away from places that are too familiar.   The following pictures are in no particular order.

below: With hands on hips, in an alley near Queen & John.

a woman walks down an alley, away from the camera, metal fire escape staircase is above her, brick buildings beside her

below: Vincent Van Gogh has taken up a position on Dundas Street across from the AGO.  This 8′ x 8′ sculpture sits in front of the Mayberry Fine Art gallery.  It is the work of Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard who recently had an exhibit at that gallery. Fafard has other works in the city – he is the artist that produced “The Pasture” which is the seven life-sized bronze cows outside TD Centre.  I don’t have a photo of the cows for this blog post, but if you don’t know the piece (or want to see it again), here is a link to an article about them.

large square blue and yellow artwork that looks like the face of Vincent Van Gogh in front of a building with pillars and front steps. A young woman is walking by

below: A large flower in an alley doorway.

painting of a large flower on a door in an alley

below: Beside the flower is a black and blue butterfly.

spray paint street art mural of a blue and black butterfly

below: A heart bursting with colour on Cayley Lane.

garage and garage door painted in mural with a red heart in the center, surrounded by pink, purple and blue triangles

below: Black face, white face. What emoji face are these?

graffiti on wall and on wood pole, both are faces with mouth and two round eyes

below: Harriet Boulton Smith is the ceremonial name for the section of John Street between Queen Street West and Stephanie Street.  Harriet Smith was the last owner of “The Grange” and Grange Park.  When she died in 1910, she left her home and seven acres of land to the Art Museum of Toronto (AMT).  The site is now the home of the Art Gallery of Ontario.  She also bequeathed the family art collection to the AMT.    This section of John Street was once the driveway to the Grange.

Toronto street sign for John Street, also called Harriet Boulton Smith Way

below: He lost his head in the lane.

a headless cardboard cut out of a Toronto Blue Jay baseball player, in a doorway, in a lane.

below: Taking the bathroom stall with him.  The toilet paper holder is empty though.

a man carries a metal divider from a bathroom, with toilet paper roll holder still attached, carrying it on his shoulder

below: One of my favorite windows.  Sunday was the day of the French vs Croatia soccer/football World Cup game and there was a group of France supporters gathering on Peter Street to watch the game.  Apparently the party after the game, celebrating France’s victory, spilled out onto the street afterwards but unfortunately I missed it.

the window of Nickys coffee shop, on red brick wall, with two women walking past, both are carrying French flags

below: Old rusty metal barrels and butterflies.

a tree grows behind old rusty metal barrels and a wall painted blue with little butterflies painted on it.

below: The ice cream “mane” is still there.  I frequently walk down an alley and wonder if I’ve ever been this way before… and then I spot an old friend and recognize where I am.  That was the case when I spotted the ice cream guy (mane?  why mane?).  I think he dates from 2014.

street art painting in a laneway of a man in white uniform and hat, holding popsicle in one hand and ice cream cone in the other, words say ice cream mane

below: Same alley as the ice cream man, perhaps the same vintage originally?  The white swirls and the ‘love’ came after I think.

old street art, paint fading, of a blue man's face, and the word love

below: 24 hour public parking on the large sign, private parking on the small pink one but no one’s parking there anyhow.

parking lot, white wall behind, parking lot attendant booth covered in signs, 24 hour public parking, private parking,

below: Pasteups on plywood hoardings.  A love love love lovebot and a blessed urban ninja squadron amongst others.

paste ups on plywood hoardings,

below: Reflections

reflections of City TV building in a puddle

below: Large mural behind Queen Street West (south side) featuring queens of different sorts – cards, chess and people at the minimum.  “Queen Street West” designed and painted by Christiano De Araujo near the end of 2017.

large mural on the side of a building in an alley, theme is Queen Street west, queen of hearts heart, musicians,

below: Looking south on Soho Street towards Queen.  On the right is the new Mountain Equipment Coop store under construction.

looking down street towards Queen Street West

below: Street art in the greenery

street art in an alley

below: Lines. Electrical lines.  Horizontal lines of the stairs.  Vertical lines of the buildings.

metal staircase on upper level, street lights, electrical wires,

below: The next two photos are of a large mural on the back of a new building.  The first picture shows the figures on the right hand side of the mural.  Figures in action.

below: The Umbra building is clad with vertical lines made from a material that takes on different colours depending on the light.

building, umbra store, vertical lines on exterior of a material that changes colour depending on the light

below: Who is she?

below: Bent metal bracket

bent metal bracket on a white (painted) wood utility pool

Today, Monday, the sky looks stormy.  Perhaps a good thunderstorm will take away the humidity.  Whatever the weather, I’ll be back soon!

It was quieter than usual when I walked down Graffiti Alley today.

  There were some guys painting a new street art piece

a street art piece in progress, man spray painting,

below: Elicser (and someone else) painting

elicser paints a person on a wall, another man is beside him, also spray painting street art in Graffiti Alley

The first thing that happened on my walk was that I was yelled at by the woman inside this ‘tent’. She obviously didn’t like the camera in my hand so she screamed how was stalking her and harassing her. So I took a picture.

graffiti on the wall

Not the best way to start a walk. Grump. Grump.  But it could have been the heat and humidity….

graffiti of a star with a frown

Or maybe because it was the day that Doug Ford officially became premier of Ontario.

Or maybe because someone has littered Graffiti Alley with numerous stencils of this kind…. this is the largest.

Mood – it certainly affects the way you look at the world. Grump. Grump.
Then along comes a little lovebot to make you smile.

stickers on a metal box, urban ninja squadron, also one with words that say Choose people who choose you

graffiti on a wall, and orange door with graffiti and stickers, Graffiti Alley

And maybe all is okay after all.

I know that this isn’t the first time that I have blogged about alley doors (previous alley post, Nov 2017) and I know that I tend to take a lot of pictures in alleys so I hope that you aren’t rolling your eyes right now.  I’m not sure that I’ve found anything “wow” or anything completely new, but here we go with a little bit of rust, a splash of paint and a dose of weathered …..

below: A dead end alley with three levels of doors.

looking down an alley to the back of a triplex (three storeys high) with fire escape stairs and balconies with railings

below: Lots of rusty hinges and peeling paint

rusty hinge on wood door with paint peeling

below: Not an inviting place to sit and chat!

door in an alley with a chair in front of it as well as bags of garbage and two bright red and yellow cushions

below: Something to catch an eye – a bright red door amidst the greys and browns.  If you look closely, there is a bird roosting on the door.

below: Look up!  And watch your step.

below: An alley with some colour in blues and greens…. and even a few straight lines.

below: Are you wondering if something’s missing?  Where are all the graffiti covered doors?

mural of a black man in purples and reds on a concrete block wall, with three signs posted on his face

Ahhh…. here we are. 

below: Part of Graffiti Alley.   A birdo eye peeping over a wall.

alley with low buildings, lots of graffiti and street art

below: An eagle’s head

street art painting of an eagle's head

below: Another birdo, this time a rooster head and a ??? tail.   Cock tail?

birdo mural of a rooster on a garage door

below: There really is a door under there.  A very narrow door.

old wood door in an alley covered with tags and graffiti

below: Another narrow door.  This one is adorned by something purple, something that looks like a head but isn’t a head.  More heads, as pasteups on either side of the door.

door in an alley with street art in purple and teal, two paste ups, on on either side of the door

below: A solitary bird on a shadowy tree.

below: I think that there was once a red heart on that door.

yellow building (shed? garage?) in an alley painteed white with light teal door with graffiti on it

below: Mass confusion on the wall, the door, and the window.  Many people have left their mark here…

closed door in alley covered with graffiti

below: …. and here too.  The door as a canvas that comes already framed.

closed door in alley covered with graffiti , framed by other street art and murals

below: Maybe the Pink Panther is suffering from writer’s block, pacing back and forth waiting for inspiration.  Or he can’t find the doorbell?  He forgot his key?  No one’s home.   Abandoned.

painting of the pink panther cartoon character standing beside of real door covered with a metal grille

This is another Thursday Doors post inspired by Norm 2.0’s blog.  You can check out Thursday Doors  for links to even more doors that other people have blogged about.   Take a wander over!

Last weekend

a three D sculpture of a man's face, on a wall, outside, graffiti, forlorn expression on his face

This weekend

the word believe is written in yellow ribbon that has been woven into a chainlink fence around a tennis court, two women on a bench to the side of it, park,

I hope that you all had a great weekend!  It was fabulous to be out and about enjoying the warm weather – everyone is happier when the sun shines and the snow melts!  The following pictures were taken today when I was out walking along Queen West, people watching as I went.

street art graffiti that says vida in large letters along the side of a metal staircase, upper story of an orange brick building

below: Street artist SKAM and his graffiti tag.   The original was painted in 2012 and had not been tagged over or messed up too much.  Some of the paint was peeling so it was time for a make over.

street artist skam is painting text graffiti (his name, tag) in greens and blues on a wall in Graffiti Alley

below: Part of the latest Uber5000 mural is reflected in the window as SKAM paints.

two young women walking on the sidewalk, both with skateboards and Starbucks drinks, summer clothing,

a woman with magenta hair is standing on the sidewalk, back against a wall.

below: Trinity Bellwoods Park  (This is also where the ‘believe’ in yellow is woven into the chainlink fence – photo above).

an older couple sitting on a bench in a park, talking to each other, the man is using his arms expressively

below: The albino squirrel of Trinity Bellwoods Park – he’s up here somewhere!

a boy looks up a tree, a white albino squirrel is headed down the other side of the tree trunk

below: Found him!

a white albino squirrel is on the ground beside a small tree with daffodils starting to grow up beside, a young boy is walking towards the squirrel

below: Reaching for a coffee

a window with mannequins in long dresses, teal and magenta fabric, reflections of woman passing by with a coffee cup in her hand

below: Walking the dog!

a family goes for a walk in the park, dad is pushing the stroller, mom on phone, young daughter pulling a pink leash with a toy dog on it.

a man outside, standing on sidewalk, with a plate of food and a cup of coffee,, with his phone in his hands

below: It wasn’t a happy day for everyone.

An older Chinese woman is pushing a cart with a large clear plastic bag full of empty aluminium cans, a Chinese man with a similar cart is behind her, other people out walking  on the sidewalk

below: Smoking room

an older woman in pink running shoes and leopard print fuzzy jacket is sitting in a bus shelter, smoking a cigarette,

two women standing on the sidewalk near lots of parked bikes. One is wearing a short floral skirt and the other is in skimpy white shorts and low necked white top

below: Supporting the locals.  It’s also play-off time of the year and this year both the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs are still in the playoffs in their respective sports.

three flags hanging outside a window, a Raptos flag (Toronto basketball) and a Maple Leafs flag (Toronto hockey) as well as a rainbow pride flag

Welcome spring!

a small black and white daisy drawing on a sticker on a wall that is covered with bright paint

graffiti words on a wall, black sharpie, Save us

It’s early April and we’re all tired of winter but it lingers on.   How are you coping?  Yes, you!

Cameron House mural on Queen Street West, woman in pink blouse is looking beyond the window to a man walking past.

below: Is this wishful thinking?  or maybe just a little too optimistic?

chalkboard sign on the sidewalk outside of a store on Queen Street West, sign says Spring is here

below: Spring is in the air?  They forgot the question mark.   Is the cat reacting to the disconnect between the sign and the reality? … or maybe  its expression is because it’s just realized that it’s sitting beside a book about Justin Trudeau?

sign in a store window that says spring is in the air. also some stuffed animals

These were the only signs of spring that I saw yesterday as I walked although I noticed that someone was trying to cheer things up.  Not sure how long these have been sitting outside.  They’re looking a little weather worn and grubby.  Hope may be wearing a bit thin?

small leafless shrub in the front yard of a house, small yellow fake flowers strung through the branches, the flowers are old and dirty.

below: Elsewhere yellow birdies were playing hockey.

two women are having their picture taken in front of Uber5000's mural about Toronto in the winter, little yellow birdies playing hockey.

Spring was elusive but what I did spot were a couple of stikmen that I don’t remember seeing before.   I also noticed more smiley hearts popping up in unexpected places again. First, some of the hearts…

smiley heart on pink wall with red spray paint lines around

pink smiley heart on a wall with lots of other colours, street art

small black line drawing of a heart on a metal pipe on a wall, pipe has been painted orange and red to blend in with a street art piece

below: Cool Woodstock makes an appearance too (a yellow birdie of a different kind).  I don’t think she’s too happy to have a bird sitting on her head.

street art on garages, a small yellow Woodstock cartoon character with black sunglasses, on top of a black drawing on white of a girl screaming, a little smiley heart and the word love is beside her ear.

below: The guitar player is now playing with heart.

part of mural of a guitar playing in shades of orange and red. A white piece of paper has been stuck on his chest, with a black smiley heart on it.

And the stikmen….

a broken stikman painted greyish blue on a greyish blue door where the paint is peeling and the wood is fraying

stikman on a white and blue wall

below: Instead of wooden, this stikman is a drawing in a frame.

picture of a green stikman in a little frame, on a wood gate, by a black and white stencil of a man's head

below: Is that a little orange head of a stikman in the bent frame?

….. and then back inside for some warmth!

interior of a coffee shop, people sitting at tables, people sitting on the bar by the window, a TTC streetcar is outside, passing by

I  will leave you with one last look at a window full of yellow chicks and Easter bunnies, hope for spring (Hope springs eternal? Hopes of spring are eternal?).

looking into a store window, that is decorated with little bunnies in Easter clothing, with little yellow chicks and paper flowers

I know, I know, Valentines day has come and gone.
But this week I kept seeing hearts and other signs of love in many of its forms.
There’s nothing wrong with sharing a little love, right?

Especially the love where the heart is full and ready to explode in colour.

the front of a garage is covered with street art. A bright red heart is in the middle from which coloured geometric shapes eminate outwards and cover the entire front of the building.

Love is witty… or it just can’t spell because love fogs the brain.  Love is blind after all.

dark brown garage door,metal, with white spray paint words that say love @ first site

Love is solid and strong

a small concrete love bot stands on the grass beside the garden in front of St. Patricks church, winter, no leaves on the small tree, stone church

Love is weak and hides in a corner.

metal staircase, outside, running diagonally across the back of a building, a shopping cart under the stairs with a box in in, a door in the wall under the stairs, both door and wall are cover in graffiti including a large orange swath and a bright red heart

Some hearts are jaded.

on a utility pole in Graffiti alley, there are 4 paper hearts in pink and purple, with words written on them - I love me, no luv,

Sing a song of romance
A pocket full of lies
Four and twenty belittlements
Baked in a pie
When the pie was opened
All hell broke lose
When ranting, and tears, and screaming, and all sorts of incriminations….
You know the story.

“All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.” Oscar Wilde

beside a street art painting of the pink panther, standing with arms crossed (but head missing in the photo) is a utility pole with three paper hearts attached to it, two are light blue and 1 is orange. The hearts have writing on them, bye bye, friendzone, kill me

“If love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?” Lily Tomlin

on a utility pole in Graffiti alley, there are 4 paper hearts in pink and purple, with words written on them - bed bugs, sk8 me, its you not me,

“Go forth.
the tellers of tales
and seize whatever
the heart longs for.
Have no fear.
Everything exists.
And everything is true.
And the earth is only
a little dust under our feet.”
W.B. Yeats, “The Celtic Twilight”

small black and white stencil on a concrete block wall. An adult penguin is standing with its head bent over looking at a small black and white cat that is looking up at the penguin

Tdot, an affectionate nickname for Toronto.

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

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

below: Love but Think.

graffiti words on a garage door, love but think

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

below: Mother and child.

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

below: Batman and Robin, oh dear.

orange stencil, batman kissing robin the boy wonder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May all your walks be lovely!