Archive for the ‘general Toronto’ Category

This blog post is a result of a walk from last week, from Dundas and Jarvis to Jones and Gerrard – from downtown into Leslieville/Riverdale on a beautiful day for a walk.   As usual, I strayed onto a few alleys along the way.   The pictures below may or may not be in sequential order but it doesn’t matter, does it?

below: Although many of the buildings around it have been demolished, Filmores Hotel remains.  I’m not sure if that’s a comment on the ownership of the building, or its use.

Filmores Hotel with large sign above the hotel and a black and white sign over the front entrance, old brick building

Once upon a time, e.g. in 1916, Dundas Street only existed westward from Ossington.   There was no Dundas Street downtown or in the eastern part of the city.  After WW1, a collection of smaller streets were widened and joined together to form Dundas Street as far as Broadview.   That is why there are these curves in the street between George and Sherbourne.

construction on dundas street, a vacant lot where a building was demolished, construction equipment and a dump truck working at the site, old building beside

below: Maybe it was once someone’s large house?  Now it’s looking a little run down but it’s still home to George’s Pizza and George’s BBQ.  The one on the corner is Piassa Injera and Takeout which is Ethiopian.

a large old victorian brick building, once a large house now divided up, 3 restaurants at street level, Georges Pizza, Georges BBQ, and one in a foreign alphabet, Ethiopian restaurant Piassa Injera

below:  Looking back towards downtown and the wall of glass and steel that has been erected.

dundas street east, looking back towards downtown from Sherbourne street, new condos and highrises in steel and glass overwhelming the older shorter buildings on Dundas such as Filmores Hotel and Georges pizza

below: The True Love Cafe at the corner of Sherbourne and Dundas. It’s had a fresh coat of paint and the hearts on the exterior wall have been fixed up. Only the sign needs a little TLC.

the True Love Cafe on the corner of Dundas and Sherbourne, purple walls on exterior ground floor, large red awning over entrance,

a man with a cane in one hand, and pushing a bike with other walks down an alley. he also has a backpack on his back

below: The redevelopment of Regent Park continues.

reflections in hoardings that are covered with a picture of yellow curtains and brown wood, sidewalk beside the hoardings and a wood structure over the sidewalk

below: New buildings in Regent Park.

looking through the window of a building under construction, concrete walls, some black pipes, also in orange paint the word exit with an arrow


below:
I stopped for a drink at Daniels Spectrum where I came across an interesting exhibit…. A sample of some of the photographs on display at Daniels Spectrum. They are part of a project, #ShootForPeace, by Yasin Osman. Each features youth from Regent Park with the theme of the exhibit being family and how family can be defined.

6 black and white photos of people on a wall in a gallery, photos of Regent Park residents, by Yasim Osman

below: One of the stained glass windows from St. Bartholomews church, in memory of Sister Theresa, 1891-1988.  I’ve walked past this church many times but this was the first time that I went inside.   It is a small, quiet church with some nice stained glass.

stained glass window in St. Bartholomews church

below: Graffiti on a wall.

graffiti on a red brick wall that says Space is Fake

below: Walking her dog on the Don River trail.

looking down from a bridge, a woman walks her black dog along a path beside the Don River, also train tracks running parallel to the path and river

below: Looking north towards the Gerrard Street bridge.

brige over the Don River, earl spring, no snow or ice but no leaves yet on the trees, Don Valley Parkway, road, to the right of the river, looking north towards Gerrard street

below: Looking south along the Bayview Extension to the new development in the East Don Lands.

looking south on Bayview street from Dundas as it passes large metal hydro poles, also new development (condos) in East Don Lands, fire truck on road

below: Just east of the DVP a truck was offloading new cars including this black Rolls Royce.

a brand new black Bentley car being unloaded from a truck

below: Same car, looking east towards Dons Milk store

new rolls royce parked on the side of a street after being unloaded from a truck

below: Waiting for summer

a faded red canoe leans against a wood fence in a backyard

In the early 1950s, the City of Toronto began a new road project to extend Dundas eastwards from Broadview to Kingston Road to serve as a new four-lane traffic arterial, intended as an alternative to Gerrard and Queen. Nine streets were widened to form the new Dundas street and in some cases, alleyways were used to connect these streets, and this is clearly visible as garages and backyards continue to front on to Dundas near Jones Avenue.

row of garages facing onto the street, backs of houses and a very large tree

open garage door with a window at the back of the garage, other garage beside it has closed door, can also see back of the two houses

a blue bike leans against a chainlink fence, behind it is a piece of street art that says happy days are here again, with painting of a man walking

Dundas Street is a major thoroughfare in the city – there aren’t many family homes that front onto it.    Jones, other hand, is a residential street.  The houses are an eclectic mix, most of which are fairly modest – or less.

an open gate leading to an entrance, a few stairs up to a porch

below: Flat roofs on small, narrow rowhouses with tiny front yards.

two storey row houses with flat roofs,

below: Half white and half yellow.

a semi-divided house, one side white and the other side yellow

porches on houses

below: Once upon a time, Toronto street signs were these blue and white metal signs that were attached to the buildings on the corners.  They are hard to read from the street!  Beginning in the 1950’s they were replaced with the signs that we are more accustomed to seeing.  There are still quite a few of these old ones spread out around the city in older neighbourhoods.   It is rare to find a house with two signs.

two old Toronto street signs, blue metal, attached to a house at Jones Ave and Sproat Ave

below: An ad for W.N. McEachern & Sons Ltd. that appeared in the Toronto Star on 26 April 1912 (online source).   They developed a few areas in the east part of Toronto including Eastmount Park which was between Danforth and Gerrard on the east side of Jones.

newspaper ad from 1912 in the Toronto Star

row houses in brown, white, and grey

below: Near the corner of Jones and Gerrard, surprise, surprise, a hole in the ground.

a construction site, a hole in the ground, with backs of houses behind the find surrounding it

below: Before I end this post, one last cute little white house tucked in between two larger brick residences.

a tiny, narrow, two storey house beside a larger brick house

Safe walking everyone!

below: Sometimes I love fences!

a medium sized black dog stands behind a chain link fence beside a white pickup truck

a red truck parked in an alley with a lot of stuff beside it

The Last Day of February

below:  These boots are made for walking… walking through the snow and slush on a sunny day.

reflection in a shiny stainless steel panel of a person in pink boots walking on a snowy and slushy sidewalk

February has come to a close but it’s still winter and there’s still lots of snow on the ground.  There was a bit of a respite from the cold the other day but rumour has it we’re headed back to some very cold temperatures in the near future.  Of course, slightly warmer temperatures mean slush and puddles on the streets and sidewalks of Toronto.

below: The CN Tower is reflected in an oily puddle.

the CN tower is reflected in a large puddle with a bit of an oil slick, on a sidewalk downtown Toronto

below: The cows don’t seem to mind the snow!

two sculptures of cows lying down, snow covered lawn,

below: And the dogs at Berczy Park are all sporting scarves!

a light scarf is tied around the neck of a sculpture of a dog

below: Slow thaw.  Melting and dripping down the window.

looking through a drity window that has melting ice on it and something red behind it is out of focus

below: Rust and snow

close up of rusty bicycle gears and chain, bike is parked in the snow

below: Outside smoke break shadows.   Brrrrr

a man in a suit and tie is standing outside, his back to a bright turquoise wall, he is looking at his phone and has a cigarette in the other hand, shadows,

below: Sun and reflections, southwest corner of King St and University Ave

buildings on the southwest corner of University Ave and King Street, traffic lights, entrance to St. Andrew subway station

below: Flip yourself around….  and now looking north up University Ave past the northeast corner of University and King Street West.

looking at the northeast corner of King Street and University Ave., entrance to St. Andrew subway station, a man is coming up the stairs and out of the station, Canada Life building and other tall buildings in the background

below: Wet tree branches glistening in the sun

trees with no leaves in front of a building that is reflecting another building

below: More tree branches, but soft and feathery this time

winter, snow on tree, dead leaves on tree, wispy leaves, in front of a rust coloured building

below: These two little birds now watch over the dogs in Berczy Park.

two yellow birds, not real, little sculptures, perched on the bar of a street lamp

below: A section of a picture on display at Union Station.  It is part of an exhibit called “A Thousand Paths Home” and is the work of Torontonian Yung Yemi aka Adeyemi Adegbesan aka SoTeeOh.  A write up of his work appeared in Afropunk.

part of a picture on display, art work, Union station,

below: There were also some real people at Union Station, or at least parts of people.

looking along a wall at Union station, there are photos on the wall, part of an exhibit, between the pictures there are recesses in the wall with benches and people sitting on the benches, only their legs show in the photo

below: Looking north up Lower Simcoe Street towards the railway bridge

Lower Simcoe Street, looking north from Bremner Blvd, GO train on the trains on the bridge above the street

below: Salt and dirt and slush and snow, yes, the city in winter.

part of a very dirty blue car, parked in the dirty brown slush at the side of a street, snow, winter time,

below: It’s nice to still find lovebots!

large lovebot sticker on the back of a sign. Three lovebots in different shopes, with the words uploading love

yellow sign on sidewalk that says Caution Falling Ice Overhead

Falling snow and ice from above, and slush under foot. That was February.

a white star on the dark sidewalk, with dirty slush on top of it in blotches

I was standing at the corner of King and Spadina waiting for the red light to turn green.  I looked up and saw the CN tower partnered with a crane and enmeshed in streetcar wires.  A bit cynical maybe, but that combination of images struck me as a good representation of what Toronto is at the moment.  There are even a few new buildings in the background.

CN tower, blue sky with some clouds, a construction crane and lots of streetcar wires. There are some glass condo buildings in the background. Street sign that says King St., traffic lights

Minutes later, I was walking up Spadina when I came across this mural.  It is on the side of the Strange Love Coffee shop – perhaps that’s why it says “We don’t take naps”. It was designed and painted by Ben Johnston and Dirty Bandits (aka Annica Lydenberg)

mural in shades of pink and purple that spell the word toronto, superimposed on it are pale grey letters that say we don't take npas, on the side of a grey building,

All we need now is a blue and white “Notice of Development” sign.

Presenting an eclectic compilation of images so

Have a seat!

below:  But maybe not here, even if they are two comfy sofas!  Comfy but wet.

two burgundy sofas on the sidewalk

Meandering on a day early in November

while the trees were still showing their last hurrah of colour.

colourful leaves, red and yellow leaves on trees in a residential neighbourhood, Neepawa Street

This mural is on Roncesvalles is partially obscured but is still a welcome splash of colour and vibrance.

a man walks by a mural on a fence, a peacock feather and a pink flower

   I love the raccoons!  Pink raccoons

test graffiti on a garage in an alley, also with a pink raccoon painted above the garage door

and blue raccoons on street art that I haven’t seen before.

street art on a garage door in an alley, large heart shaped face with big eyes and red lips, also raccoons,

Crooked lines,

garage doors and fences in an alley, autumn, trees with gold and yellow leaves, as well as leaves on the ground

tight spaces,

small walkway between two light purple buildings that leads to the entrance to another residence

and old glass.  All kinds of alterations.

sign on an old house, now a commercial property, that says Alteration Fast & Best All Kinds Of

old red brick building on Dundas West, sign that says Downtown Rental

 Peeling paint on diamonds  (once red?)

paint peeling on wood, three layers of wood with upper two layers cut in diamond shapes

and water drops on leaves (definitely red).

red leaves of a plant, wet from the rain, in front of a bright turquoise wall

One very pink car.  Whiskey for Whiskers.

pink car in parking lot

Uber 5000’s yellow birdies and friends are still on the side of Tommy’s Gift & Variety.

Uber5000 mural on the side of Tommys

And next door you Coffee and breakfast at Tina’s while your tax returns are prepared.

restaurant and store, rainy day, wet sidewalk and street in front of it, Tina Coffee and Breakfast restaurant, and Tommys Gift & Variety, pink door between the two, two storeys, lots of windows in the storey above Tina's.

 Semi neighbours

two attached houses in the Junction, one painted red brick with dark blue roof and the other light brown with dark red roof and bright red trim, small white picket fence in front of the red house, metal fence in front of the brown house (beige actually)

at the edges of gentrification.

building on the corner of Perth Ave and Bloor West, pale purple paint, a bright yellow happy face graffiti, a sign advertising Drake Commissary

Lights over the train tracks

looking across the train tracks to an old building with street art on the lower level, lights on metal posts over the tracks, tight mesh fence beside the railway as well

and graffiti beside.

graffiti on the concrete bridge supports, Dundas St West over the railway tracks, taken from the West Toronto Railpath

A fine and dandy tractor

a red toy tractor, old fashioned, in the window of fine and dandy on Dundas Street, white back drop behind the tractor, the building is dark grey

and a great idea

words painted on a garage door that say gratitude goes viral

She’s gone green but she’s got the blues.

a paper paste up of woman's face in green and blue (green skin and blue hair) on a very black wall and door

and Ontario’s now orange.

row of stores on Dundas Street, one on the end has a map of Canada painted on the exterior wall, with orange background.

A family outing

an adult bike locked to a ring, two kids bikes and a toddlers push car locked to a second ring, on a sidewalk on Dundas West, cars and buildings in the background.

below: The building with the giraffe pattern on top, at Bloor and Dundas West, is still there.

giraffe building at Bloor and Dundas West, with traffic and pedestrians in front
giraffe pattern brown and gold wall on top and brown below, movie posters and a bike

below: The murals painted by Wallnoize are still there. They were painted in the spring of 2015 and I posted a lot of photos of them shortly after that.

people walking on a sidewalk that passes by a long mural painted by wallnoize, many small murals joined together, apartment buildings with large trees with yellow autumn leaves in the background, Bloor West,

below: The murals run under the Bloor Street underpass (railway tracks overhead), on both sides of the street.

a woman walks along a wet sidewalk under a train bridge, railling on one side, street art on the wall on the other side.

below: The new MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is now open on Sterling Road. The renovations to the old Tower Automotive building aren’t totally complete; most of the area is a construction site. But the museum opened earlier this year. Access from the West Toronto Railpath is available.

chainlink fence along a path leading from West Toronto Railpath to Sterling Road, with new MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in the background, what used to be the Tower Automotive Building

But hey! Why stop here?…. more about the new MOCA follows ……

 

below: The sign over Kensington but I guess that’s obvious.

metal sign above the buildings, says Kensington in capital letters

Kensington pics from a warmer Saturday morning earlier in September.

 

below: Liz says eat more cheese

old framed black and white photo of Queen Elizabeth, on top it someone has given her a word bubble that says eat more queso (Spanish for cheese), in the window of a cheese store

below: A smoke and a phone.  Swiping right or left?

a woman in a white blouse sits on a bench ooutside a restaurant, on a wood bench, smoking a cigarette

below: A homemade sign

a hand made stop sign, red octagon, with the word stop in large white letters and racism written in black letters underneath

below: Well dressed Swiss Misses

3 half mannequins dressed in tops, standing in two old containers that say swiss miss puddings

below: Walls and skin

a young woman with blue hair and many tattoos is looking at her phone as she sits on a kerb

below: Just a part of the van.  If you’ve been to Kensington you may have seen this van – it’s totally covered with stickers.

part of the side of a white van that is covered with stickers

below: Churro chairs

two metal chairs outside a churros place

below: Morning coffee.  Saturday mornings in Kensington begin quietly.

the patio in front of Moonbean coffee shop, with two men sitting at tables

below: Faded and forgotten

two fake sunflowers, very faded, in a window, between the glass and the bamboo blinds,

below: These poser bunnies are a recent addition to the street art in Kensington

poser bunny mural on a brick wall, a pinkish bunny and a yellow one, the yellow bunny is holding a bottle of alcohol

below: Mona Lisa and her fruit basket still look out over Kensington Ave.  She still hasn’t eaten that banana.  The black and white part of this now iconic mural (with the banana) was painted more than 30 years ago.  The rest of the fruit was added after.

realistic mural of Mona Lisa holding a basket of fruit, high on a wall in Kensington

below: Looking a little frayed around the edges, like some of us at the end of the hot summer!

red and white striped awning above a store, tattered

the side of a building covered with graffiti

below: Not long ago there was only Mary in this window. Jesus is now keeping her company.

the window of Crows Nest Barber with a statue of Mary and a statue of Jesus in the window

Amen

The summer of the heat continues into August.  It’s still hot and humid.   But it was also the long August weekend, Simcoe Day or something like that,  so there was lots happening around the city.

I went searching for breezes and I walked on the shady side of the street as much as possible, often as the drops of sweat ran down my back.  A few stops in air conditioned stores (indoor window shopping) and a cold drink break or two made the days bearable.  It helped that, as usual, there was lots to see!

below: Be curious … and stay curious.

on a graffiti covered wall, a stikman picture with the words be curious written across it in white

below: Jumping skate boarders at Dundas and Bathurst

two young men skate boarding, both jumping at the same time, arm in air,

below: Casimir Street mural on Dundas (near Bathurst)

a man cycles past a pale yellow house on Dundas St that has has a bright coloured mural across the bottom of it, text, in blues and pinks

below: Sitting by the pool

a man site on a bench, in silhouette, with an outdoor pool in the background with people sitting around it

below: A shady spot for reading.

a woman sits outside a coffee shop reading a book. the window of the coffee shop is open and there are 4 people sitting inside

below: A front yard full of tall yellow flowers

many tall yellow flowering plants in the front yard of a white house

below: Not everyone has a green thumb.  A rose is still a rose even in death.

outside a window with white window frame, on beige house, a plant pot with dead roses

below: An even sadder window sits behind a metal fence.  Plywood.  Waiting for demolition.

behind a metal fence, an old house with a boarded up window

below:  Sitting in the painted window, Graffiti Alley. It looked like they were filming a music video.  I’m not too sure what they thought of me (I didn’t think that I was disturbing them, long lens used).

graffiti alley, a group is shooting a music video, black man in on window sill lip synching the words while a woman films

below: A quiet spot for a cigarette.

a man with a yellow t shirt sits on a back step in an alley and smokes a cigarette

below: Red hot.

a man leans against the wall in a doorway of a building, the building is all red including the doors

below: An old mattress and head board lean against the side of a house.  Great juxtaposition here as the mural is called ‘Lust’

an old mattress and white head board lean against the wall, outside, of a house that has a large mural painted on it of legs with feet in bright red high heeled shoes

below: Jelly window on Queen West – What is a modern doughnut? Especially one spelled the old fashioned way? The store was closed, so it’s still a mystery.  Beautiful painting on the door.

front window of Jelly, a modern doughnut store on Queen West, small tree in front of it

below: Cycling in the jungle.  I say ‘jungle’ because I see the lion and think “King of the jungle” but lions don’t live in the jungle so maybe I need to rethink that caption.  Cyclist as prey?  Bikes on safari?

a bike is parked beside a mural with a lion on it

below: Prince is now at Kensington Market. A purple Prince.

a poster with the picture of Prince on it, on a pole, up high beside sign saying Kensington Market

below: Graffiti in Kensington. Frowning while watching them fight. Little black figures with rifles. Are they angels that are shooting back or devils?

graffiti, black stencils of men with rifles and angles with rifles, shooting at each other, about 20 to 25 of them on a wall beside a brown frowning face drawn on yellow

below: More violence. What happens when you pull this pin?

small black stencil of a hand grenade on a fence, the top of the grenade is a girl's head in profile, with a ponytail

below: It’s wedding season which mean wedding photo season.  Picture perfect.

a bride adjusts the groom's collar, long white dress with lacey sleeves and veil tied back on the bride. groom is in a blue suit

below: Or maybe even wondering why?  (I hope not!)

a bed of flowers in a garden, red and white begonias. The red flowers make the shape of a question mark. In the background are a bride in a white dress and a groom having their wedding photos taken.

below: Honest graffiti

behind a green hedge is a wall with graffiti on it

below: Blue wall in rectangles of glass.

three two storey houses on a street with a tall building behind with blue windows, mostly glass

below: Missing a black glove anyone? Tucked behind the wire.

a black glove has been left on some wires by a wall with street art on it

below: Lots of wires.

a utility pole with a lot of wires coming out from the top of it in front of a pale grey wall with a window that is reflecting the blue sky

below: Reflections and lots of stuff including the painted lady in the House of Energy, Augusta Avenue.  Life.

window of a store in Kensington market area, mannequin sitting cross legged that has been painted

below:  Death. How many skulls in the window?

skulls and other things in a shop window, with a bike parked outside

below: Lots of smiles

two faces, black line painted on a white background, smiling faces,

I’ll be smiling more once the temperatures cool. I think that it’s been hot long enough that I can complain about it – perhaps even long for winter? How Canadian of me!  In the meantime, as long as there is shade I’ll keep walking (and sweating!).

below: Waiting for the green light.

a group of scantily clad black women wait to cross University Ave

Eastern Avenue, the Studio District apparently. This is east of Broadview.

Toronto street sign that says Studio District, Eastern Avenue

This weekend is Doors Open Toronto – one of the buildings that I toured was Filmport – not very interesting actually when studios and sets are closed to the public.  I did get to see some of the rooms where the actors hang out when they’re not filming and where they have lunch.  ‘Kim’s Convenience’ is filming there at the moment.

outside a film studio building, large door labelled studio 2, closed doors, some woodworking tools and materials by the door

below: Two older buildings.  In the foreground is Consumers Gas Building, now home to Avenue Rugs.  In the background is one of two identical buildings now used by the City of Toronto.   433 Eastern Avenue is one of four sites in the city – here they house street cleaners and other city trucks, they monitor traffic, and produce street signs like the one at the top of this blog post (transportation services) – for the southeastern part of the city.   Other city departments also have offices here.

two brick buildings on a street

The next three photos are from the same mural.  It was painted in 2016 by Omen with help from Five8, Horus, and Peru.  It tells the story of city building, from the planning stages – blueprints and architectural drawings, through the construction phase to the final product.

blue mural of blueprints on the side of a building

mural of cranes and construction sites on the side of a building, painted by Omen,

mural of Toronto at night with lots of lights, CN Tower,

below: The Tasty Restaurant sign is still there although it is now missing the round coca-cola discs at each end.  Someone must have realized that they were worth something.   All the red from the sign is gone and the words have turned to rust.  Does anyone have any idea how long ago this restaurant went out of business?

old rusty sign that says Tasty Restaurant. there is a round spot on the left where a coca-cola sign used to be, windows are overgrown by shrubs beside the building

below: Another oldie but goodie, Gales Snack Bar.  More than 80 years old in fact.

gales snack bar, exterior

below: A closer look reveals a closed sign in the window.  It’s still in business but I was there too early.  On Saturdays it doesn’t open until noon so I just missed it.   Next time!

Gales snack bar, close up of window, green curtains, closed sign

details of a chainlink fence and the old plywood and metal sheeting behind it. peeling paint and rusty metal

below: What’s hiding in the grass?  A blue fish?  A pink flamingo?  A Christmas wreath?

an overgrown front yard with very tall grass and one red tulip. Front of house has a brown window box, paint peeling, with plastic flowers and other stufff in i

There are a surprising number of houses between Queen East and the Lakeshore (Eastern runs parallel to those street, in between them) in this area.  Most are old but well looked after and many of those that have seen rough times are being renovated and fixed up.

older houses, semi, ready to be renovated

two storey row houses on McGee Ave, lots of large tress, house painted orange,

below: This photo was taken from the parking lot of the old Weston bakery on Eastern Avenue.  The site is about to be developed into condos.  The Wonder Condos.  With Wonder being written like the word on the loaf of bread.  That bland white bread.

row of three storey victorian style brick houses

alley view, rear of old three storey brick buildings, apartments on top, stores below, cars parked,

below: A vacant lot waiting for its turn.

vacant lot with one small concrete structure on it, one small window in the back of it.

below: The Portlands Railway Spur, looking east from Morse Street and along Lakeshore Blvd.

railway tracks running parallel to road, traffic,

I didn’t find Babylon

green sign with a large white arrow pointing right. on the arrow is written the word babylon

below: .. but I found a bike. Did anyone lose one?  Beware of bike eating trees!

an old bike that had been left beside a tree, over the years the tree has grown around the pedals and gears of the bike

graffiti, purple background, green glob gooey ghost guy with open mouth and big teeth