Archive for the ‘construction’ Category

more changes, more demolition

From Leslie to Cherry, Commissioners Street runs through the middle of the Port Lands, or at least it used to. The re-making of the mouth of the Don River involves a new waterway that cuts Commissioners into two sections.  This blog post is a quick look at the east side.

Toronto blue and white street sign for Commissioners Road, also a sign for Port of Toronto

below: TTC streetcar leaving Leslie Barns at Leslie and Commissioners- celebrating 100 years.

TTC streetcar leaving Leslie Barns, sides are decorated with pictures commemorating 100 years of the TTC

below: There are a lot of cement mixers in the area!

cement plant on Commissioners Road, cement truck parked in front

cement concrete facility

below: Canada Post has a large presence in the area too.  A series of images of stamps featuring Canadian birds, such as this black-capped chickadee, decorate the exterior wall of one of their buildings.

picture of Canada Post  stamp with a chickadee on it

 

port a pottie by a wall holding back a pile of sand

below: Portlands Energy Center on the other side of the Shipping Channel.   This is natural gas powered electricity generating facility.  It also has a steam turbine generator that allows it to make electricity using steam from waste heat.

gas powered electric station on the shores of the Shipping Channel in the port lands, large white building with 2 tall smoke stacks

below:  Commissioners Street now ends at Saulter

end of Commissioners Road, chainlink fence, road taken up, Toronto skyline behind

below: The new bridge has been delivered and sits at the western end of Commissioners, on the other side of the gap.  Soon(?) that gap will be part of the new route of the Don River.

in the distance, new bridge for Commissioners Road, end of Commissioners Road, chainlink fence, road taken up, Toronto skyline behind

port lands construction with city skyline behind

below: Looking north on Saulter Street towards Villiers Street.  Metal beams from the Gardiner are being lowered to the ground.

looking north on Saulter street towards demolition work on the gardiner

below: New utility poles on Saulter, with another view of the Gardiner demolition.

new utility poles at a construction site, hydro poles

below: Saturday traffic on Villiers.  The Lakeshore is closed on the weekends to facilitate the dismantling of the Gardiner.  Yes, it does cause traffic issues and confusion!

construction zone along Villiers Street, concrete barricades separating car traffic from cyclists, blue fence around construction, demolition of the Gardiner Expressway, skyline in background

below: Looking north on Don Roadway from Villiers

looking north on Don Roadway from Villiers, demolition of Gardiner

very large crane on Don Roadway, Gardiner demolition

red and white danger due to sign, danger due to noise

below: Some of the concrete bents from the Gardiner still stand as does the curved elevated ramp from the Gardiner to the DVP.

motorcyclists wait for traffic light at intersection of Don Roadway and Villers, construction behind them, removal of eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway

below: An abrupt end

ramp to Don Valley Parkway is still in place but the Gardiner is gone except for a couple of bents

below: Crane demolishing a concrete bent beside the Keating Channel.

demolition of the Gardiner, yellow crane, by Keating channel

below: An older photo from 2015 showing the Gardiner Expressway on the north shore of the Keating Channel with the Lakeshore below. The yellow crane in the image above is close to where the blue barge is in this picture (but on the shore side!).   The supports for the Gardiner over the mouth of the Don River are metal (the greenish coloured two on the right side of this photo), not concrete like the others.  These metal supports is at the right edge of the photo above.

from 2015, photo of Gardiner along the north shore of the Keating channel

photo taken in 2015

demolishing concrete bents under the Gardiner, catching debris in nets and on sliders that direct rubble to piles

below: When the steel beams are removed, they are first trimmed and cut in half.

men helping a crane to direct a girder down to the ground while another machine breaks another girder to get it ready to go in truck

below: They are then hauled away to another site where they are cut down even more.

truck taking away girders that have been removed

below: Standing in the middle of Lakeshore Blvd and looking west. Remains of the Gardiner.

taken from center of Lakeshore - Lakeshore looking west from Bouchette, middle of Gardiner demolition, road surface is missing but steel structure is still there

below: Side view, Lakeshore with remnants of the Gardiner rising up beside.  Soon to be gone.

side view, Lakeshore looking west from Bouchette, middle of Gardiner demolition, road surface is missing but steel structure is still there

cyclist rides on the sidewalk past construction site in Port Lands, Gardiner demolition

McDonalds drive-thru with demolition…. yes, I’ll have fries with that.

Mcdonalds drive thru lanes with a black car, in front of two apartment buildings now empty and getting ready to be demolished

The demolition hasn’t really started yet but the buildings are empty and the grounds interiors are being cleared out.

blue construction fence around a pile of rubble outside of an apartment building getting ready to be demolished, old concrete, twisted metal, red bike,

empty apartment building at 1555 Queen East

pile of rubble outside of an apartment building getting ready to be demolished, old concrete, twisted metal,

below: Sidewalk along Eastern Avenue, looking east towards Lower Coxwell

sidewalk along Eastern Avenue, green grassy boulevard, empty apartment buildings behind chainlink fence

below: At Lower Coxwell and Eastern there is a gap in the old fence and overgrown bushes that leads to what once was a parking lot. The building in the background is one the ones being torn down.

path through old rusty fence and overgrown hedge to vacant lot that used to be a parking lot, empty building in the background

below: There are some cool old parking meters still standing

a pair of old coin fed parking meters still standing on their metal pole in an abandoned parking lot

below: The old parking lot is behind a row of businesses on Queen East

beind the buildings on the south side of Queen East, near Coxwell, Subway, Canadian Dry Cleaners,

below: Looking northeast towards Queen East and Coxwell

view from a vacant lot at Lower Coxwell and Eastern, looking northeast towards Coxwell and Queen East intersection

brick apartment building with balconies, empty, some broken windows, some white debris in a pile in front, blue construction fence

yellow arches mcdonalds sign pointing to drive thru, open 24 hours, in the background, 2 brick apartment buildings that are empty. blue construction fence between, buildings are about to be demolished

Another Crosstown update…. The first of the new LRV trains are going through tests on the eastern end of the Crosstown line where the tracks are above ground. Work continues on the underground portion. Although Eglinton Avenue isn’t as much of an obstacle course through orange cones as it used to be, there is still a lot of work to be done. This is what it looks like at the moment at Eglinton West and Oakwood.

below: Still working on Oakwood station.

large blue crane above a construction site, building the new Oakwood Crosstown station on Eglinton West

below: Looking west along the north side of Eglinton from Oakwood

looking west on Eglonton Ave west at Oakwood.  Construction of Oakwood station on the right hand side,

below: Asian Massage Therapy Center seems to have survived the upheaval but many storefronts are empty.

shops on Eglinton West behind construction for Crosstown, Asian Massage Therapy Center, and en empty store for lease.

a mother and daughter stand with a shopping buggy waiting for a traffic light on Eglinton West at Oakwood, stores, traffic, man on bench on sidewalk

below: Dodging orange cones and traffic

looking west on Eglinton Ave west at Oakwood.

below: Canadian Korean Buddhist Association and Nadines Hair Studio along with some good news perhaps – an “opening soon” sign on Betta Yaad seafood catering.  If google is correct, ‘yaad’ is Jamaican patois for ‘home’.

Canadian Korean Buddhists Association storefront on Eglonton West beside Nadines Hair Studio and Bettayaad Taste seafood

below: The River Restaurant & Bar beside Weemedical Society.

The River Restaurant and other business behind barricades because of Crosstown LRT construction on Eglinton

below: Peoples Choice Grocery, Casual International Hair Salon, and a few porta-potties

Peoples Choice Grocery and more, store on Eglinton West

The most exact information that I can find for an opening date for the Crosstown LRT is 2022.

below: Southeast corner of Adelaide & Peter

Southeast corner of Adelaide and Peter, all tall buildings

below: West side of Peter at Adelaide

West side of Peter at Adelaide.  New tall buildings except older beige building on the northwest corner.

below: Still standing – Second Empire style from the late 1850s, with a mansard roof that was added a little later. Just north of it, a 47 storey condo is being constructed.

old pale beige brick house from the late 1850s with brown mansard roof at the northwest  corner of Peter and Adelaide.  empty, boarded up, with some tags on it, metal exterior staircase from ground level to second story, Second Empire style

below: On the hoardings at this construction site on Peter, is “Toronto Makes Good” a photo exhibit hosted by JAYU and The STEPS Initiative that features the work of nine young people (ages 18 – 29).

hoardings at a construction site, large red and white sign on top that says made in Toronto, a parking meter machine on the sidewalk, two large photographs on the hoardings, part of an exhibit

below: “Swing Summer Away” by Johnny Wu. Taken at the CNE

Photograph on slightly reflective hoardings, black and white, CNE swings with people on the ride,

below: “Toronto Waterfront Silhouette” by April Beatson. Taken at one of the wave decks near Harbourfront.

hoardings on construction site, black and white photo of a skateboarder in the air above the wave deck on Toronto waterfront, reflections of the cars and buildings around in the black parts of the photo

below: “Members of a Nicaraguan Dance Troupe” by Tenzin Dorjé.  Taken at a performance at Mel Lastman Square.

photograph on hoardings, three women of Nicaraguan dance troupe in long colourful dresses, green, yellow, and orange, also with flowers in their hair

photograph on hoardings, three women of Nicaraguan dance troupe in long colourful dresses, red, yellow, and blue, also with flowers in their hair

below: “Game 6” by Stephen Attong. Raptors fans celebrating on the streets of Toronto after the team won their first NBA Championship.

black and white image of Raptors victory party on the streets of Toronto, on hoardings

parts of two photos that are exhibited adjacent to each other on construction hoardings. on left is people at street party after Raptors won the NBA series and on the right is a close up of a woman's face in profile

hoardings on Peter street, with covered walkway on sidewalk, photo exhibit on the hoardings

Other photographers with images on the hoardings: Holly Chang, Leilah Dhoré, Nawang Tsomo, Radha, and Sherry Yu.

below: Saving the old facade

yellow metal scaffolding to keep up the brick facade of an old building while the rest of it is demolished.

below: Some things can’t be saved.

old wood steps covered with a faded, well worn, carpet in greens and browns

windows of an empty building, one is broken.  Words pastries written on one window and word lunch written on broken window

chainlink fence and gate at construction site, remnants of interior wall still show old walls that were once pale yellow

2 round paper paste up slaps on a pole.  The upper one shows a map of the world with the Atlantic Ocean in the center, the lower one is the round part of an eye

Or, approximately Finch and Weston Road

utility pole with police red light camera, no standing sign, a TTC bus stop, and a street sign for Finch Ave West in Emery village

Today, the intersection of Finch and Weston Road is a mess. Metrolinx is preparing to start construction on the Finch LRT, more than 12 acres on the southeast corner is being totally rebuilt, and water mains along Finch are being upgraded. The intersection also has the misfortune to lie in a hydro corridor.

below: Looking west on Finch at Weston Road.

intersection of Finch and Weston Rd., looking west on Finch, construction, traffic, hydro poles,

below: Canadian Pacific tracks cross Finch just east of Weston Road
red Canadian Pacific engine pulls a train across a bridge over Finch Ave West on its way northward.  Traffic under the bridge, also some construction work, a crane and a large truck blocking some of the lanes

below: Emery train station just after 1900. This was a a flag station built for the Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway in 1870 (i.e. trains only stopped if you flagged them down). In the early 1880s the line was acquired by the Canadian Pacific Railroad.   Photo source: Toronto Public Library

vintage black and white photo of a small wood building, Emery train station, with a woman holding a baby in the doorway and a man holding a hat in his hand standing on the tracks getting ready to flag down a train

Like the rest of the GTA, development here began as a village that supported the surrounding farms. In 1796, Isaac Devins and his wife Mary Chapman were given 200 acres of land, south of what is now Finch Ave from Weston Road to Islington. Devins had worked with Governor Simcoe as a superintendent on the construction of Yonge St.   Two of their grandsons opened businesses near the corner of Finch and Weston Road. – one was a blacksmith and the other a carriage maker.  A brick schoolhouse came shortly after 1850 and the Methodist church followed in 1869. A post office was established in 1879… and Emery was officially a village.

below: 1902 photograph of Isaac Devins house.  Source: Toronto Public Library

black and white photo of Devins homestead at Finch and Weston Road.

Celebrating the history of Emery are some plaques on display at a couple of bus stops on Weston Road.  The one below describes two musicians with local roots, Claudio Vena and Alfie Zappacosta.  Both men have streets named after them.

historic emery plaques at bus stop celebrating Claudio Vena and Alfie Zappacosta, two musicians

below: Finch West Mall was built in 1971 on the southeast corner of Finch and Weston Road on what had previously been farm land.  Step-brothers Aubrey Ella and Orrie Truman had farmed here since 1930.  …. but you can’t go shopping there any more.   [transcription of the text can be found at the bottom of this post]

A plaque by a bus stop in Emery describing the history of the Finch West Mall

below: Development notice sign at the site of the former Finch West Mall.  The proposal includes 5 towers, 2237 residences ranging from bachelors to 3 bedroom, some retail, and a park.  All rentals.
Blue and white toronto development notice sign at Finch and Weston Road

below: Construction is only in the early stages so there isn’t much to see


fence around construction site, parking lot, no left turn sign on its side, green fence

large yellow and orange signs guide pedestrian track through a busy intersection with a lot of construction

below: Preparations for the construction of the Finch LRT are underway.

below: But not always well thought out – here sidewalk access ends but the only way to go is to cross Finch in mid-block with no help

Empty glass drink bottle lying on ground, Sof Drink, carbonated beverage, pineapple flavour, Jamaican flavour

Also like many places in Toronto, Emery has become very multicultural.

below: African Food & Groceries as well as Comida Colombiana

part of a strip mall on Finch West, laundry, African food groceries, Erica beauty salon, Comida Colombiana Latino Americana,

below: A Vietnamese restaurant and a West Indian grocery store

two highrise apartment buildings in red brick with white balconies, strip mall in front with 6 businesses, a vietnamese restaurant, Ali Babas fast food, a west indian grocery, a mattress store, and a convenience store

below: North York Sikh temple

sikh temple in a two story plaza, beside Beck and Aps beauty supply and salon, and Makola Tropical foods, and employment agency

below: Confusion?

many signs beside a sidewalk, new tires, rotors and pads, Plaza Latina, milvan shopping centre, a bus in the background

 

below:  More restaurants and businesses

Sign for B & T plaza, 2437 Finch West, with many businesses listed, Anatolian fine foods, Malado Sushi & korean food, Sendas Money transfer, Chay Hoa Dang Flower Lantern Vegetarian restaurant, PePeyee(dot)com, Nash hair salon, etc

below: Ghanaian Presbyterian Church, since 1994 (as seen from Finch Ave)

Ghanaian Presbyterian church, light grey concrete structure with front in a triangle shape, cross on top of the tallest middle section, three flags in front - Canada, Ontario and Ghana

below: Prayer Palace

exterior of Prayer Palace

below: Lindylou park

A man sits on a bench in a park beside an apartment building

a large willow tree beside a playground and three apartment buildings

below: Emery Creek south of Finch
Emery Creek and shrubs in the foreground, new condos and older apartment buildings in the background

below: Finch Avenue West, looking eastward towards Weston Road

Finch Ave West looking east towards Weston Road, townhouses on the south side of the street, orange and black construction cones on both sides of the street, some traffic, apartment buildings in the background

below: Slightly closer to Weston Road (from Lindyloou park looking northeast)

Lindylou park looking northeast towards finch and weston road, apartment building, Burger King, McDonalds

below: Not taken from the same spot but also Finch Avenue West, looking eastward towards Weston Road in 1958 when Finch was still a dirt road.  The brick building is Emery Public School (built 1914); and it looks like it had a portable in the yard… and is that an Elmer the Safety Elephant flag?  The school was demolished shortly after the picture was taken.  Photo source: Toronto Public Library, photo by James Victor Salmon

below: Farther east, now past Weston Road. If you go even farther you will come to Hwy 400
intersection of finch with arrow and signet, construction, a long TTC bus us waiting to turn left, one woman walking on sidewalk

below: Most of the area north of Finch is zoned for light industry including this business, the making of prefab concrete staircases. With all the condo development in the city at the moment, there must be a lot of demand for these stairs!
light industrial area of the city, factory that makes prefab concrete staircases with lots of the product in piles of 4 or 5 staircases lying around outside

sign on a chainlink fence wishing a merry christmas and happy holidays to essential workers - you essential to us,

red and white danger due to sign altered to read danger due to climate change

below: Another vacant lot
vacant lot for sale

*****

Transcription of Plaque (above):

“Emery’s first large indoor shopping complex was built in 1971. It was called the Finch West Mall and was located on the southwest corner of Finch and Weston Road… Prior to the mall being constructed, the land was used for farming. A farmhouse, barn, and some other farming structures remained on the property up until the construction of the mall began in the early 1970s. Aubrey Ella and Orrie Truman built a farmhouse on the lot in the 1930s just south of the intersection of Finch and Weston Road. During this time, the entire property permitted wide range agriculture with even an arena for sheep.”
“The opening of the Finch West Mall in 1972 was a big hit for the community. A sizable Towers outlet first appeared but it swiftly merged into a Zellers retail store. Zellers was the principal leaseholder located at the far north end of the mall. Safeway Canada quickly decided to build a grocery store connected to the south end of the mall.”
“In 1973, McDonald’s restaurant was added onto the site but as a separate building situated at the far south of the property. It was one of the first McDonald’s restaurants opened in Canada along with another outlet at Dufferin and Wilson. This McDonald’s even featured an outdoor sitting patio with six stone tables made out of lightly coloured presses marble complete with matching benches. Close to this historical marker was a dirt trail that was upgraded into a long set of wooden steps that permitted pedestrian entrance onto the site.”
“On occasions local bands were permitted to conduct live concerts right in the mall.”
“When Zellers shut down their store in the 1980s, Canadian Tire quickly opened an outlet to take its place. However, they too decided to close their doors at the turn of the new millennium. The commercial banks began moving out and countless other stores too. The mall had ceased to have sound commercial value and disappointingly started to become an endless array of dollar stores.”
“The owner of the mall (Medallion Properties) recognized these telltale signs and thought it might be ideal for a development upgrade which could inspire financial resurgence within the general community. The City of North York Planning Department made a recommendation to establish a Business Improvement Area (BIA) to stimulate economic recovery.”
“With the organized structure of the Emery Village BIA in place, city staff suggested creating a new secondary plan for the entire general community…The mall was demolished in 2006.”

*****

One of life’s unexpected coincidences… I didn’t read the text before I took the picture so it wasn’t until a few days later that I saw the name Orrie Truman. I have Trueman ancestors in this area… was he related? Orrie Truman was Orrie Levi Richard Trueman. I don’t know where the name Orrie comes from but Levi and Richard were his grandfathers, Levi Coulter and Richard Trueman. William Mellow Trueman married Eleanor (Nellie) Coulter and Orrie is their son. William died shortly after and Nellie subsequently married Ella. Going back a generation, William Mellow Trueman is the son of Richard Trueman and Rebecca Mellow who happen to be my great great great grandparents. My great grandmother, Ina Rebecca Moore was named after Rebecca Mellow, her grandmother. Ina would have been Orrie’s first cousin. Question: What relation am I to Orrie Trueman?

 

lowrise townhouses, red brick, with large pine trees

A few weeks ago I read a blog post about Agincourt history in Bob Georgiou’s Scenes from a City.   It reminded me that I had once tried to walk that area but I only got discouraged because of weather (grey, damp) and nostalgia.  Sheppard Avenue just east of Kennedy now has this large concrete underpass (Metrolinx/GO trains) which was a shocking change from my childhood memories.  My parents were living here with their parents when then met and my paternal grandparents remained in the neighbourhood until they passed.  One of my great-grandfathers lived on Agincourt Drive in a house that backed onto the railway tracks.

sheppard avenue east just east of kennedy road, with GO train bridge overpass, all concrete, with access road to Go station on the left

This time round, I waited for a sunny day before I tried walking here again.   For the most part, I walked Sheppard Avenue East between Kennedy and Brimley and the photos below are what I saw – what you see there these days.  If you are more interested in the history of the area, then you need to be reading Bob’s blog as mentioned above.

Let’s walk!

a man with a red backpack walks along the sidewalk in front of some small businesses, a condo building in the background

below: The area’s Asian character is very obvious.

Asian store front windows

below: Nutriever?

nutriever label in an ad in a store window, canada flag on the label too

below: West Highland Creek, north of Sheppard

waterway with concrete sides, graffiti on the walls, some water,

pink and white text graffiti on a canal wall

below: Are you in the market for a used truck?

looking across the street to a used truck lot, tall condos in the background

below: If not a truck, how about a car? I passed at least three used car lots.

honest used car sales at the corner of Reidmont and Sheppard

a grey apartment building in the background, a house as auto sales, cars parked in front, used car lot,

Top ten auto, used car sales, white trailer, yellow and black checkered flags

below: The old Agincourt GO station has been demolished and a new one is being built.

2 fences, one on either side of a pedestrian pathway through a construction area at Agincourt GO station

signs on construction fence at Agincourt GO station showing picture of new station

side of a house, orange construction fence, ELlis Don sign, metal railling

below: Bell Canada (It’s a white building)

white Bell Canada building in Scarborough with big round vents on the side

below: In a front yard on a nearby street….. I have many questions.

a small tree, some metal rungs, a bike tied up near top of tree, grey sculpture on the ground

below: Looking east just before Midland Avenue

intersection of Midland and Sheppard East, on Sheppard, looking east,

below: Part of the reason that Sheppard and Midland looks so empty is this vacant site on the southwest corner.  There was once a Lumber King Home Centre here, then it was a flea market and used car lot, but now it’s an empty building on an otherwise vacant 4.7 acres.   A plan for 80 townhouses and a park was filed back in 2015 and seems to have been winding its way through the development process ever since.

chainlink fence around an empty and abandoned store with yellow and white front, large vacant parking lot in front, a security sign is upside down on the fence

old weathered framing around a sign, now empty, in front of a vacant lot

chainlink fence with rusty mailboxes, a lot of garbage has blown up against the fence

below: A quick rest at the intersection where there are actually some people.   I miss interacting with the people that I see as I walk around… and I’m sure that you’ve noticed the lack of people in these blog posts.

corner of Midland and Sheppard East, a Midland bus is northbound, bus shelter with 2 people across the street

 Also, re the TTC – this is Sheppard Avenue, home of the Sheppard subway, or is it LRT now?  As I was researching development at 4181 Sheppard, I discovered that Metrolinx has been applying for easements along Sheppard in preparation for anything that might be built on that street.

two women getting on a Sheppard TTC bus at Midland

below: There is always something to remind us of life’s situation these days, such as this ad that was on a bus shelter.  I liked the hashtag at the end, #PracticeSafe6ix

poster in a bus shelter, Covid-19, how it isn't over yet, practice safe six

below: Knox United Church was built as a Free Presbyterian church in the 1840’s but became Knox United in 1925.   This was when the Presbyterians merged with the Methodists to form the United Church of Canada. (Although not all Presbyterian churches went along with the merger).

side of red brick church with cemetery between church and road, smell steeple, Knox United church

below: Agincourt Baptist Church

blog_agincourt_baptist_church

below: There is a second overpass in the area.   The CPR tracks pass over Sheppard between Midland and Brimley, just west of Canadian Pacific’s Toronto Yard.

looking along Sheppard East from the railway underpass

below: On this overpass is a mural by elicser

mural by elicser on the concrete wall of a C P R overpass in Scarborough

part of an elicser mural, a woman with a red rose in her hair sits on a man's shoulders, a woman in a pink dress is also in the picture

below: Running parallel to the south side of the CPR line and Sheppard Avenue is a large industrial complex belonging to the International Group of Companies.

steel tanks, rail line, industrial area

industrial site with metal tanks, a storefront with Chinese signs in front and to one side

advertising signs along a fence, spa for 15 dollars, a Chinese furniture store, a pink poodle picture

signs along Sheppard Ave East
Chinese halal buffet restaurant with bright red sign,
a small skinny flower store on Sheppard

below: Toronto has 85 BIAs (Business Improvement Areas) including Sheppard East Village which includes Sheppard between Midland and Markham Road.

street signs and banners on utility poles, Sheppard East Village, Fulham Street, Brimley Road,

below: At Glen Watford and Sheppard there is a large new Seniors residence planned.

sign advertising live music and dancing in front of a strip mall that is about to be redeveloped

below: In the meantime, there are empty stores.

Dragon centre, Chinese market, now closed and empty, empty parking lot and two small dead cedar trees

below: North Scarborough Memorial being renovated but the old gate remains.

old gate in front of North Scarborough Memorial centre, now renamed, indoor swimming pool

below: Agincourt Elementary School.  Built in 1915 as a Continuation School, (grades 9 and 10) but used as an elementary school since Agincourt Collegiate was built in 1930.

Agincourt Public school, two storey square brick building built in the early 1900s as a high school

large trees in front of a red brick school, Agincourt Collegiate

residential street in Agincourt, brick houses, Ross Avenue street sign

a house in a residential neighbourhood being renovated

below: (Snow)man down! You’d be tired too if you had to stand outside all winter!

below: Mystery ‘All Way Stop’ in the Walmart parking lot.

a stop sign is leaning against the back of a billboard so that no one can see it from the road

 Yonge, Eglinton, Avenue, Chaplin.

Some habits die hard and some rules aren’t meant to be broken including the unwritten rule that a photowalk begins at a coffee shop.  Was it the best. coffee. ever.?  I’m not sure.  It was good; it would have been even better if I’d been able to drink it inside!  Also good is the fact that there are independent coffee shops that are still open and I hope that they survive (and thrive?) until the summer.

sign on sidewalk advertising a coffee shop that says best coffee ever also mulled wine

below: Long north up Yonge Street from Lola (L O L A Lola), towards Eglinton.  Back to Midtown.

looking northup Yonge Street, from Lola Rd., towards Eglinton Avenue

below: Yonge and Manor Road, looking northeast.  One of the remaining Midtown buildings that date from the original development about 100 years ago.   In 2016/2017 a massive list of buildings in this area was put forward as considerations for “Main Street Block” heritage designation including this one at 2075 Yonge at the corner of Manor Road East.   In the resulting report, mention is made of “the three-storey scale, the glazed commercial storefronts with apartments in the upper floors, and the elaborate Tudor Revival styling typical of those dating to the interwar era in North Toronto.”  I haven’t done any more research to determine if any of these buildings were actually added to the heritage register.

at the corner of YOnge and Manor Road, looking north east

below: Northwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton.  Still mired in Crosstown construction.

intersection of Yonge and Eglinton

below: Walking west on Eglinton through a maze of cones and detours.

Eglinton Ave west sidewalk through Crosstown construction, lots of orange and black cones, pedestrian detour signs

below: Looking back towards Yonge and Eglinton.

Eglinton Ave west sidewalk through Crosstown construction, barriers on both sides, narrow, tall buildings at Yonge and Eglinton in the background

below: Consulting.

behind that metal bars of a construction barrier, workmen are consulting a paper

below: Part of the pedestrian detour on the north side of Eglinton takes you through Eglinton Park. This photo is from May 2020 so you can’t see the ice and snow that was there a few days ago!

Pedestrian detour for crosstown subway and l r t construction, orange sign with arrow pointing right, leading pedestrians through the park

below: View of the city, looking east towards Yonge Street from Eglinton Park (May 2020)

view of city skyline from Eglinton Park - looking east towards Yonge & Eglinton. Tennis courts in the foreground

below: Decorated hoardings at Eglinton Park.

green plywood hoardings around Crosstown construction, with artwork on them, painted designs on wood

below:  Rendered drawing of the future Avenue Road Crosstown station.

picture on green hoardings, an image of what Avenue Road subway station is going to look like when its finished

below: Avenue Road Crosstown station as it is now.

metal support beams for construction of new Avenue Road subway station, Crosstown
below: What it looked like in early May last year. Not much change is there?  I was disappointed to see how Eglinton Avenue looks just the same as it has for years.  At the surface it appears that there has been no progress. I’d love to be able to see what was/is happening down below as I know that the work didn’t stop for Covid.

Photo from May 2020, construction of Avenue Road subway station

red octagonal stop sign that now says stop racism

below: No running, no diving. Sigh. Although it makes sense that there’s no diving in the shallow end, it’s just another reminder that this has been a year of “no”.

outdoor waterslide at an outdoor pool closed for the winter, sign that says no running, no diving

below: One of the many architectural styles on Avenue Road

square residence on Avenue Road, two storey, duplex or fourplex, snow,

three older houses on Avenue Road, winter time

below: Chaplin Crescent views

houses in winter, large tree, with tall condos in the background.

below: And back to Yonge Street –  For lease, a former Starbucks at Yonge and Davisville.  This is one of 25 locations in Toronto that closed at the beginning of February and one of the approximately 300 closed across Canada.   This was always a busy place but maybe it was dependent on commuter traffic as it is by the Davisville subway station.  The list of 25 closed Starbucks’ is heavy on mall locations and those on the heavy commuter routes.

 

Starbucks, now closed, in an older building at Yonge and Davisville, for lease sign iin the window

The building started its life in 1894 as J.J. Davis’ general store and post office built on land owned by John Davis ­— the same Davis that gave the name to the tiny community of Davisville.  When I was researching the building, I found the following three photos.  First, J.J. Davis Store, ca 1900.  Home of the Davisville Post Office 1894-1913.

J.J. Davis Store, about 1900

below: The same corner, 1951.  Note the old bus on Davisville (and all the people waiting to get on it!).   The Chaplin Groceteria is now the Fresh Buy Market but the building is almost exactly the same 50+ years later.  The hydro lines have been buried since 1951.

photo of the northeast corner of Yonge and Davisville, back when there was a flower shop on the corner

below: I have been trying to reconcile the information that I found online:

  1.  The J.J. Davis Store was built in 1894,
  2. The first post office was in Davis’s store,
  3. John Davis died in 1891.

Then I found the photo below.  It was taken in 1981 and is of a building, Host Rent a Car, at the corner of Yonge & Imperial (one block north of Yonge & Davisville).   The library notes: “In the 1870s, this was the site of T. G. Crown’s Grocery, Flour and Feed Store and the first Post Office in Davisville.” Davisville Village Walk, North Toronto Historical Society, 1984, p. 5.    Therefore, two stores (that still exist) and two “first” post offices … and a mix-up somewhere.

  I like the fact the T.G. Crown’s store was on Imperial street!

old black and white picture, 1981, of host rent a car shop at Imperial and Yonge, in Toronto, old two storey house

The above three black and white photos are online, from the Toronto Public Library

seating and snow outside the backdoor of a white house with a green roof

With many thanks to Karen for accompanying me.  Sorry, no photo – totally forgot…. We’ll have to make good on our vow to walk again!

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

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!

people standing on the cherry street bridge taking pictures of the new bridge

The latest attraction is the new Cherry Street bridge pictured here just after its arrival by barge from Nova Scotia where it was manufactured by Cherubini Group.   It’s a shiny white steel bridge with a red racing stripe.  It is 57 metres long and wide enough to carry LRT tracks and a pedestrian walkway.  Another identical bridge to go beside it for road traffic comes later.

new Cherry street bridge on a barge in the Keating channel, just arrived from Nova Scotia, CN Tower and Toronto skyline in the distance

construction ahead sign off to the side beside a chainlink fence with weeds growing behind it, afternoon sun is shining through fence

below: Digging up the city. Sometimes it seems like we are living in one big construction zone.

in the foreground, a red digger digs soil in the port lands, the CN Tower and toronto skyline in the distance

Cherry street in the midst of construction

The bridge is not the only “sight” at the Port Lands.  There is also a photography exhibit of pictures taken of the buildings before they were demolished.  ‘Framework’ by Vid Ingelevis and Ryan Walker.  This is part of the CONTACT Photography Festival that was originally scheduled for May.

below: Interior, 130 Commissioners Street (Coopers Iron and Metal, an old metal recycling facility).  The photograph is mounted on the roll-up door of one of the ESSROC cement plant silos –  now a heritage site.

large photo of an empty old warehouse mounted on an exterior metal door

below: Cleaning the streets.  The ESSROC silos dominate the streetscape here on Cherry Street (looking north towards the condos in the Distillery District).

three tall silos that were part of essroc cement plant, now a heritage site in the port lands, a street cleaner is parked on the road, two condo towers in the distillery district can be seen in the background

below: The back of one of the few remaining buildings as seen from Cherry Street.   It fronts onto Munitions Street.

back of an empty building, vacant lot behind, graffiti on walls

below: Cherry Street bascule bridge in the upright position.   Most of the Framework exhibit is down the center of Villiers Street on top of the remains of the old railway line. There are five panels like this one, each with a picture on both sides.

large photo being displayed outside at Port Lands, part of Framework exhibit by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker

below: Most of the Port Lands redevelopment is occurring behind fences.

a wire gate on wheels in front of a construction site

piles of dirt, film studio, hydro wires,

below: A very large spike!

giant spike sticking out of an old piece of wood,dirty, on ground, in construction zone

hydro poles and wires in the distance, piles of dirt in the foreground

below: 130 Commissioners Street, September 2019

large photo being displayed outside at Port Lands, part of Framework exhibit by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker

below: Abandoned gas station with its rusting gas pump.

old gas pump at now abandoned marine gas station beside the Keating channel, Gardiner Expressway, CN Tower and Toronto skyline in the distance

below: 99 Commissioners Street, July 2019

large photo being displayed outside at Port Lands, part of Framework exhibit by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker

an old round rusty Viking brand sprinkler alarm on the outside of a building

corrugated metal cladding on a building with a window and an old rusty sign with graffiti on it

below: 97 Commissioners Street, August 2019

large photo being displayed outside at Port Lands, part of Framework exhibit by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker

below: Commissioners Street closed to traffic.

road closed sign in the middle of the street, commissioners street in the port lands

Commissioners street construction in the port lands

below: Control room, Cherry Street bridge, July 2019

large photo being displayed outside at Port Lands, part of Framework exhibit by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker

a bike leaning against a tree, the Keating channel behind it, as well as Port Lands construction.

a window with on old rusty metal grille covering it, and a white bucket hanging by a chain

below: 130 Commissioners Street, September 2019

large photo being displayed outside at Port Lands, part of Framework exhibit by Vid Ingelevics and Ryan Walker

draped black fabric forms a fence at a construction site, CN Tower and Toronto skyline in the distance

a vine with dried berries and leaves grows on a barbed wire fence

below: An old Urban ninja squadron sticker on a TTC bus stop sign

an old urban ninja squadron tbonez sticker on a ttc pole

below: Dump truck on Villiers Street

dump truck on road in Port Lands, construction

a tree with crooked branches in front of an Ellis Don blue fence around Port Lands construction site, CN Tower and Toronto skyline in the distance

Later: Just before sunset, the new bridge in the Keating Channel.  It has since been rotated ninety degrees into the proper alignment for the new segment of Cherry Street.   This job was made it easy by the fact that the bridge was mounted on a large turntable on the barge.  It now has to be welded into place.   The old bastule (lift) bridge now in place is slated for demolition in late 2021.

cherry street bridge and portlands from above

‘Framework’ will be on display until August 2021.