Archive for the ‘doors’ Category

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!

I was meeting a friend at Queen and Church for walkies and coffee last Monday. I was there a few minutes early so of course I took a few pictures while I was waiting. I had come across King Street because the streetcars tend to be faster on King these days. Plus, it was a nice day for a walk.

below: Looking north up Church Street from Richmond.

looking north on Church St. from Richmond Street, stores, street, people, street scene,

below: Metropolitan United Church is on the NW corner of Queen and Church. Even if you aren’t religious, there is something inspiring about the architecture. In this case, the setting adds to the grace and beauty of the building.  Usually there are people around but it was surprisingly quiet that day (too cold outside?)

front of Metropolitan United Church, with the snow covered park in front, snow, large trees, red door

below: Take a few more steps towards Metropolitan United and then turn around. This is the view that awaits you. The intersection of Queen and Church from a different angle.

looking at the intersection of Queen and Church, through the park, with yellow building and other stores in the background

below: As I walked back to the intersection, this man walked in front of the streetcar. I think that he called himself either Cowboy Bob or Cowboy Bill.

man in long coat and hat stands in front of a TTC street car with his arm up in the air.

below: Church #2. Jarvis Street Baptist Church.

Jarvis Street Baptist Church, from diagonally across the intersection

below: Yes, there are a lot of churches in this section of downtown. This is the third (and last for today’s blog) but there are many more. Grace Church through the trees.

park, in winter, with large mature trees, in the background is Grace Church, brick building with green roofed steeple

below: A stop at Allan Gardens conservatory for warm and a washroom. If this picture is looking a little fuzzy around the edges, my camera lens kept steaming up faster than I could wipe it off.

inside shot at Allan Gardens conservatory, with two people looking at the plants, glass roof, large yellow flowers

below: Every Christmas, the conservatory at Allan Gardens is decorated with many amaryllis plants. The other day, many were looking a little worse for wear. These buds were a few of the exceptions. At some point (soon?), the Christmas plants will be switched out for spring plants.

close up of two small red amaryllis buds at the bottom of a red and white amaryllis.

below: Barrel cacti in differing sizes in the Allan Gardens conservatory.

4 barrel cacti of differing sizes in a semi-circle in a conservatory, glass house, with some succulents in front and some taller cacti behind

below: And just around the corner from Allan Gardens there is this painted cactus (or is it a succulent?) standing in the cold.

a metal telephone or traffic box on the sidewalk that has been painted with a picture of a cactus.

below: This part of Church Street is now in McGill Granby Village. There is even a lovebot on the pole.

street sign for Church St., with the top part being McGill Granby Village

below: “Enough is enough”, a large Church Street mural.

large mural on the side of a two storey building, with metal fire escapes on the side of the building as well. Mural is enough is enough, rainbow flag and other things

below: On Church Street, another redevelopment victim.

old, large, three storey red brick house with boarded up windows, about to be redeveloped, people walking past on the sidewalk, winter, street scene,

below: And just up the street, another.

an older two storey house house boarded up with construction hoardings in front, looking at it through a park with large trees, winter

below: Trucks, construction, and condos. Ho hum. Been there, done that.

large truck parked on a street with tall buildings behind, and a large billboard with a KFC ad on it

below: One set of construction hoardings has been decorated with kids’ paintings.   Bright and cheerful.

white construction hoardings with childrens paintings on it. a painting of a soccer ball, kids playing, words too

below: Through the layers

looking in a window, people sitting inside, looking through the window on the other side as well, a large tree is reflected in the window too

below: Icicles!

older yellowish brick building with green bay window, with icicles on the eaves of bopth roof and window

below: Trudeau senior looks down on the world.

 a large black and white picture of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the window of the Ryerson Image Center, with a tree in front of it, some snow on the tree

below: The guys over the entrance to the Chang School at Ryerson are wearing little puffy white hats.

stone sculpture of the door of the Chang School at Ryerson, two men with interlocking arms, looking at each other, wheat, apples, and other produce in their hands, covered with snow


below
: As we walked past Yonge Dundas Square, I stopped, took another look, and then said: “Isn’t that a new sign?”. My walking partner replied that she wasn’t sure. Neither was I.

Yonge Dundas Square, men working on sign

I happened to walk past Yonge Dundas Square again yesterday, and yes, there is a new sign. A big one.

below: “It’s OK to be scared, just take a deep breath” as the fourth panel of the new sign is installed.

a large crane is putting part of a new light sign in place at Dundas Square, large billboards and lighted signs behind, people walking past, street scene

below: Working on the new sign. That billboard on the left, 98.1 CHFI is all Christmas music? Still? In February?

two men on a lift are working on a new elevated sign at Dundas square

C’est too for now friends!

Traces left behind, reminders of the past

oldworn sign painted above the door to a store

 

Along Spadina on a cold November day – from King to College.

below: A streetcar passes by, down the middle of the road with young trees growing alongside the tracks.  In the background is an old white brick building  with rounded brown arches over the upper windows that now houses the Furama Cake & Dessert Garden – one of the many restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries along this stretch of Spadina.

a new ttc streetcar on Spadina, down the middle of the street, with young trees growing along side the tracks, old brck building in the background, some cars,

 Construction of Spadina Avenue began in 1815.  It was always a wide street, running between Bloor and Queen.

Spadina, and neighbouring Kensington market, was the center of Jewish life in Toronto in the early 1900’s with synagogues, delis, tailors, a Yiddish theatre, and more.  About 80% of Toronto’s Jews lived in the area.   It was also home to the garment district (also known as the fashion district) with its numerous furriers, clothing factories and warehouses – what we’d probably call sweat shops today.

below: The northeast corner of Dundas and Spadina, June 1930 showing the sign over the door of ‘The Standard’ a Yiddish theatre that opened in 1921.  It was converted into a (mainstream) cinema in 1934 and renamed ‘The Strand’.   Another renaming occurred in 1941 when it became ‘The Victory’.  Twenty years later it became the Victory Burlesque.  The doors closed permanently in 1975.  Photo found on Bygone Theatre website.

vintage black and white phot of the sidewalk and front of Jewish cinema at the corner of Dundas and Spadina in 1930. old cars parked in front,

below: This plaque is on the west side of Spadina, just north of King Street.  It describes the contributions of Benjamin Brown (1890-1974), architect, to the area.

Benjamin Brown, one of Toronto’s first Jewish architects, designed more than 200 buildings throughout his career.  Born in Lithuania, he came to Canada as a child.  Brown graduated from the University of Toronto’s architecture program in 1913.  He was partners with architect Robert McConnell until 1921, when he set up an independent practice.

Commissioned largely by members of Toronto’s Jewish community, Brown’s projects ranged from parking garages and gas stations to apartment houses and factory lofts.   His Tower Building (1927) and Balfour Building (1930) on Spadina Avenue at Adelaide Street formed a gateway to Toronto’s garment district.  Other well known buildings by Brown include the Hermant Building (1929 on Dundas Square, the Primrose Club (1920) and the Beth Jacob Synagogue (1922), the first Toronto synagogue designed by a Jewish architect.  Brown retired in 1955.

toronto historic sites plaque to benjamin brown

Both the Tower Building and the Balfour Building still stand.  The later, pictured on the plaque is on the NE corner of Spadina & Adelaide.  It was named for Arthur J. Balfour, British statesman, the author of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that pledged British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

below:  This is ‘Uniform Measure/Stack’ by Stephen Cruise and it includes that giant thimble on a stack of buttons,  a few button shaped tree planters, and a tape measure carved into the sidewalk as it goes around the corner (you can see a bit of it at the bottom right of the photo).  This tribute to the garment district, or rag trade if you want to call it that,  dates back to 1997.   A few years ago the tape measure was painted yellow – but not by the artist.  It has since been cleaned up.  Recent sidewalk work has scarred the tape measure but most of it remains intact.

public art on the corner of Richmond and Spadina, giant thimble and giant buttons

below: Another piece of garment district history – an old Singer sewing machine as an ornament above a narrow alley between two buildings.

an old SInger sewing machine sits on a beam that crosses a small alley bewteen two buildings, it's about 8 feet above the street level

In the 1960s and 70s, the Jewish population moved out and the Chinese moved in.  In keeping with the changes that were occurring on Spadina, The Victory was sold in 1975 and subdivided  into shops on the main floor and a Chinese language cinema upstairs, first named the Golden Harvest and then the Mandarin. This cinema closed in 1994.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the city demolished a large section of land to make way for the new city hall.  At that time, Chinatown was centered around Dundas and Elizabeth streets.  Many of the Chinese who were displaced by the construction moved west along Dundas to Spadina.  Although many of the Chinese businesses and residents have moved north to Markham & vicinity, this stretch of Spadina is still considered to be Chinatown.

below: A panda eating bamboo, painted by Murals by Marg with support from Chinatown BIA & StreetARToronto.

mural on a wall of a panda bear sitting on the ground and chewing on bamboo

below: Another Chinese themed mural, with tags unfortunately.

orange bikes parked outside a building that had a mural of a Chinese scene that has been tagged over.

below: This caught my attention – Does it look like fresh ginger?   And no, there was nothing in front of the sign either.  Smile.

box of pineapples for sale outside a Chinese grocery store, the sign by the box says fresh ginger

below: Even on cold days you can buy fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk outside the Chinese grocery stores.

a woman is buying tomatos from a vendor with a large table of tomatoes outside a Chinese grocery store on Spadina, in CHinatown.

below: Feeding the pigeons.

a man is feeding pigeons outside on a cold day. He is wearing a heavy coat and a hat.

below:  This is an old display of CD’s mounted on a wall inside a window of an empty store.  The window is dirty but if you step into the recess of the entrance way, you can see the possibility of reflection, light and colour playing together.   This was actually the first picture that I took when I walked up Spadina the other day.   After I saw this window I started paying closer attention to other empty stores.

design and pattern made with many old CD's mounted on a wall inside the window of an empty store.

There are quite a few empty stores and sections of Spadina are quite grubby looking.  As I mentioned above, many of the Chinese businesses have move on and once again the area is the middle of a change.

below: Someone cared enough to paint this delicate birdcage and ivy scene on the wall.  Doesn’t it make you wonder who did it?  and why?  and what happened to them?

looking through a window into an abandoned and empty store, leaves have blown in and are on the floor.

below: A painted over intercom –  a remnant of the past.  But the plywood that the intercom was mounted on is partially torn away to reveal an even older, more hidden, past.     Does anyone live or work at 437 anymore?  What lies behind the door?

exterior wall, brown paint, number of 437 above the door, cracked wood plywood beside the door, old and broken intercom system that has been painted over, next door window is a store, with mannequin head on a shelf

below: This little place had a short life as a store – but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.   I think that once upon a time it was an 8 Eleven (play on 7 Eleven stores) but that was long ago and I know that it closed before I first saw this space.    How easy it is to forget.

very small building with door and window papered over.

below:  As I passed by this window, I thought to myself “How cute, pikachu.”  Then I stopped and went back.  No, not pikachu.  Part of the seedier side of Spadina Avenue.

articles for sale in the window of a store

below:  Layers.  On the left, hoardings around an old building being demolished and on the right, a staid brick building.  Behind them is a newer development with its bright east wall.

street scene, Kensington, with hoardings for demolition, a building from the70's and a newer apartment building in the background with bright coloured squares on the side.

cracked brick wall and decorative carving, on upper storey of an old building

a pair of Bell telephone boxeswith a grey wall behind

 

This post features some of the doors that caught my eye as I walked a few alleys this past week.

below: It was the colour of the plant outside the gate that I liked –  It’s almost a perfect match with the colour of the fence.

apotted plant, small tree with dark green leaves and teal leaves sits outside beside a teal blue fence and gate

below: These grey metal doors are a common sight as are metal staircases.  Were the boards an attempt at a wall?  A hiding place under the stairs?

back of a concrete block building in an alley, steel grey door, also small horizontal window with metal grille and air conditioner, metal stairs to upper story painted black, with some black pieces of wood making partial wall beside the stairs.

below: You can get your laundry done in this alley. There is even a bench to sit on while you wait.

lane entrance to a coin laundry, two grey doors, white bench outside the doors.

below: At first I thought that this was a strange place to put a door. Very awkward! Then I realized that it was probably just an old door that was being used to fill in the gap between the garage and the neighbouring building.

an old white wood door used as part of a fence

below: An interesting texture

brown wood door, beside chain link fence. textured wood panel beside the door.

below: And last, another common sight, scrawls on the wall.

pink brick building with grey metal door, lots of scrawl graffiti on the walls, one litle blue man roughly drawn by the door

It’s been a few months since I did a blog post about doors.  If you like doors, you might want to check out a couple of previous posts:

  1. Spadina Open Doors
  2. Late doors (of Mt Pleasant cemetery)

If you go to Norm 2.0’s blog feature Thursday Doors,  there are links to even more doors that other people have blogged about.   Check them out!

Yesterday I was out near Dundas West and Dufferin to visit an art gallery, the Stephen Bulger Gallery, as they have a showing of photos of the Union Station renovation by Larry Towell.  I don’t have any photos from that exhibit, but it is on for another week if you’re interested.

a woman is looking at clothes on a rack that are for sale outside a store, chalk board syas You Babe, other people on the sidewalk, store in background is Elite Plumbing and Heating

Instead, I have photos from the walk that I took afterwards.  I started walking west on Dundas and south on Dufferin, looking for interesting doors, windows, and stores.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Of course, I was distracted (alleys!) along the way (graffiti!) but I have tried to stick to the architectural shots for this post.  Sort of.  In no particular order….

below: There was a car parked in front of this building so I cropped off the bottom.  The optical illusion covered the whole front of the building.  It’s definitely unique!

the front exterior wall of a building is decorated with a painting of 3D cubes arranged in an optical illusion

below: Two people walk past a forest of trees and shrubs.

lower part of a brick building has been covered with a mural that is orange background, and cut out (wood) flat green trees in various shapes. A real tree grows in front of it, a metal traffic box is painted with a scene of two people walking with the same orange background

below: Lisboa Hardware and Building Supplies with many household items on display outside – including barbecues, watering cans, and carpets. Old paintings linger on the tile wall.

The entrance to the Lisboa Hardware and building supply store with lots of household merchandise outside

below: A blue bike is parked in front of the french doors of the Black Dice Cafe.

a blue bike is parked outside the glass windows and door of the black dice cafe

below: A very typical two storey house in this part of Toronto.  This was the predominate style of architecture of residential buildings at a certain time – late 1800’s and early 1900’s I think (and maybe longer?).    I like the Canadian flag in the window and the new tree in the tiny front yard.

a girl on a bike rides past the entrance to an alley. Behind her is a two storey house in tan coloured siding, with darker tan trim, bay window, Canadian flad in the doorway,

below: On Dufferin Street, an increasingly common scene as glass towers pop up all over the city.  The west side of Dufferin Street, just north of Queen.

In the background, two large high rise buildings, modern, in the foreground, a row of older two storey houses

below: A similar scene on a smaller street nearby.

a row of two storey houses on a small street with a two aprtment blocks behind them.

below: Distractions in an alley – this one was a dead end (with the dead end behind me).  One of the disadvantages of having your garage in an alley like this is that getting your lawn mower from the garage to the yard involves a bit of a walk.    But look at all those doors and windows in buildings that look like they’ve been painted from the same palate.

a man walks a lawn mower down a short alley, garage doors on both sides of him as well as in front of him, back of houses behind the garages and taller apartment buildings behind that.

below: Another alley with a different character.  An open door covered with graffiti, balconies above the garages, and what is that?  – a TTC pole at the top of the stairs?

view down an alley,

below: The entranceway of an older brick low-rise apartment building on St. Clarens Ave.

The entrance to a three storey apartment building, with wood railings on fake balconies and some brick work too

below: Another distraction!  A crochet bombed pole beside a bright pink wall.

a utility pole is wrapped in crocheted squares in many colours, the house beside the pole is bright pink

below: I happened upon this cute little free library too –    so cute and whimsical with its big eyes keeping watch.   There has been some controversy about these in Toronto recently.  One owner of little library was ticketed for violating a city bylaw that disallows structures on a person’s property within 3.5 metres of a sidewalk.  It was ordered removed within 14 days or a $100 fine would be levied.   Yesterday City Hall decided not to pursue this.

a little free library in front of a green coloured house. Inside the window of the library are two large googly eyes

below: Nearby was another little free library with a little latched door.  It seems that here you can also pick up a pair of shoes along with a book!

white box on stilts, a little free library, trees and shrubs around it, a pair of shoes on the sidewalk in front of it.

below:  Did I find Toronto’s smallest house?

a car is parked in front of a very small one storey house that is between two large and taller houses,

below: Somewhere in the jungle is a front door or two!  A shared sidewalk to squabble over in the winter – who gets to shovel it.

two overgrown front yards with a sidewalk down the middle, a semi divided brick house in the background.

below:   Gates.  I’ve never understood the reason for little gates like these.  Back in their youth they probably looked quite trim and proper.  Now they are sagging and rusted and showing their age; perhaps that’s a reflection of their owners?  Not a complaint – a rusted gate has great photographic potential.

a fence across the front of two houses, each with their own sidewalk and gate.

 

below: Fire damage that is now being repaired.  The neighbours seem to have built a thriving shrine (good luck charm?, religious offering?  is there a name for these?) beside their front door.

A row of houses where one is damaged from a recent fire.  Burned front door.  Windows have been boarded over, a skip for garbage isin front, workmen on the site

below: We have our share of ugly doors on ugly walls.

two white doors side by side on a dirty concrete block wall that someone has written the words In Toronto it's okay to hate transvestites

below: Have a seat

two grey wicker chairs in front of two adjacent white doors on a concrete wall. the building beside is orange

below:  On Dufferin Street between Dundas and Queen – Once upon a time this house was totally decorated in pink and white.  Some of it remains – the arch in front of the door as well as the fence at the side of the house.  Now it is bigger, squarer, and uglier.   Even the grominator graffiti on the wall can’t overcome the ‘boringness’ of the renovated structure.

sqaure two storey brick house under renovation, with pink and white metal fence around it. a grominator graffiti on the side

below: I don’t want to end this post on an ugly note, so here’s a cheerful bright yellow door!

yellow door on a rust house

Sunny September days make good walking in the alleys days.   Here are some of the walls I saw and the compositions that they make.  The textures of wood and metal, bright colours as well as subdued ones, the effects of light and shadow, as well as shapes and patterns – these are some of the things that catch my eye and make me stop.  Throw a little nature into the mix and the following photos are the result.

part of an old wood door that is part dark turquoise and part blue, with a rusted latch holding the two doors together and closed

a vine with two red leaves hangs in front of a grey wall, sunny day so there are shadows on the wall fromother plants that aren't in the picture

three small windows in a wall, the top part of the wall is brick and the bottom is plaster that has been painted white

old rusty downspout with part of a wire coat hanger wrapped around ut, in front of a grey shingle covered wall that has been partially covered with purple spray paint

trunks of three trees growing in front of an old white building with a green door. windows in door are covered with plywod and a piece of plywood is nailed over parts of the lower half of the doors to keep them closed.

a bashed up grey metal door with splotches of light and shadow

part of a bright red double metal door in a brick building

a bright turquoise door in a building that has been painted white - some of the old brick shows throw the peeling paint.

part of a brick wall that has old windows bricked over in a different brick, an old window with old wood frame, unpainted, some graffiti on the wall

corrugated plastic panels on angle in front of concrete block wall with window covered with plywood

white drips of paint on a wood garage door, metal door handle

chainlink fence in front of rows of construction equipment

a grey plaster attempt to patch a broken rusted metal panel on the side of a garage - rust in shades of yellow and brown, a painted green stripe

red, white, and blue spray paint on three wood slats of a fence, tied together with string, some nails sticking out

paste up of a man's face over a wood door, door and wall have blue and red splotchy spray paint on them

The 16 storey Concourse Building at 100 Adelaide Street West was built in 1928. It was an Art Deco building designed by Martin, Baldwin and Green.  Recently, the building as amalgamated into a new 40 storey office tower.  The Concourse Building was gutted but the south and east facades were saved.  Also saved was the entranceway (portal) that was designed by J.E.H. MacDonald, one of Canada’s Group of Seven painters.

entrance to 100 Adelaide West, a stone building, with brass decorated doors and mosaic pictures decorating it. The concourse building, with stone relief work between the third and fourth storey windows as well

below: The entrance is 2 storeys high, topped with a Roman arch.   The rectangular panel above the door contains the four elements, earth (produce from the fields), air (stars and birds), fire, and water (fish swimming).

entrance to 100 Adelaide West, a stone building, with brass decorated doors and mosaic pictures decorating it.

below: The mosaics under the arch represent Canadian industry and nature.   Here, ship building and aircraft are depicted.

two of the panels designed by J.E. H. MacDonald on the Concourse building, a ship with sails, and an airplane

below: On the other side, a steam shovel and what looks like lightning in the sky.

two of the panels designed by J.E. H. MacDonald on the Concourse building, a steam shovel in action, and a panel with a lightning bolt

below: The stone panels surrounding the door are carved with motifs of grapes and grape vines.

a square panel of stone carved with grapes and grape vines

below: All seven mosaic pictures under the arch.

the panel of mosaic pictures under the arch, a lamp hanging down from the center,

This is a #Thursdaydoors post.  Lots of other blogs participate so if you are interested in doors of all kinds, check out this link.