Archive for the ‘general Toronto’ Category

Welcome back!

I spotted this image and knew that it was going to be part of today’s theme.

the word see is in block letters on a tinted window, some sky is reflected in the window as well

It was a beautiful summer Sunday today – a great day to get outside and walk around.  Although I started my walk by looking for little details, I ended up finding a lot of colour along the way.   Cheerful colours that I want to share with you.

below: Colours like this red van parked in the partial shade of a tree.

the side of a bright red van, with some leaves and shadows from a small tree

below: Or the blue of the sky.   Streetcar wires – hard to ignore when you’re downtown.

streetcar lines held together with a ring, the blue sky behind them.

below: The painting of a young woman’s face on the wall of the Cameron House was partially obscured by construction equipment as the work on Queen Street West water pipes continues.  I tried to find a way of taking her picture without the obstacles.  Pink and flesh tones.

close up of a wall painted with the face of a young woman, showing lips and cheeks and part of nose

below: Instructions that are hard to miss!   Not sure which one is the doorbell though!

ring doorbell sign in large pink letter

below: I very carefully lined up the picture on the metal box (painted by elicser) with the diamond pattern on the Pizza Pizza wall when along came a streetcar.  Photobombed by a streetcar.   What is the girl holding?  I’ve passed her many times (she’s on the corner of Queen St. West and Spadina) but I’ve never looked closely at her.  I always assumed that it was a mug with something hot in it – doesn’t that look like steam?  Tonight I realized that it’s a smartphone and that’s not steam, it’s light.

a metal box on the sidewalk is painted by elicser, a young girl in a red shirt and blue jeans, holds a black phone, behind her is the orange diamond tiles of a Pizza Pizza restaurant, the very front of a streetcar is on the left.

below: To take good pictures doesn’t require a fancy camera.  Great photos have been taken with phones and bad photos have been taken with expensive equipment and I’m sure that’s not new to you.  I only mention it because where equipment sometimes matters is the type of pictures that can be produced.  Today I was walking with a telephoto lens that was useless for things close to me but fabulous for distance.  Best distance – across the street, like the photo below.   It was the bright blue and white stools that caught me attention.  It wasn’t until I was lining up the shot that I saw the people (an added bonus!).

white, teal, and blue metal stools beside a wood table, in the window of a restaurant, in the sun, a man is sitting with his back to the table.

below: While on the subject of stools, these were close by the ones above.   In this case I cropped out most of the people.   Keep it simple and keep those shoes in the center!  I just want to add that different cameras or different lenses impact how I look at the world when I walk.   Do I zoom in on details? Or do I go for the wider story?

yellow metal stools, men, onw standing and one sitting on the stool with his feet in turquoise shoes, resting on a bar of the stool.

below: More yellow. Yellow gas pipes.  They are everywhere.

along an old brick exterior wall, there are two yellow gasline pipes that are held onto the wall with clamps

below: Flowers in bloom but no idling here.

floors overflow from a hanging basket on a telephone pole, ivy on the wall behind it, also some traffic signs, one says no idling and the other says no vendors.

below: Green.  Shadowy.  Incomplete.

part of a green sign, with white letters that say restaurant.

below: This is almost too cliched (add the accent to get the correct spelling!).   But when the two taxis drove into the picture I had to take it as an “orange picture”.  You can add the comment about Toronto’s two seasons here – I know you know it!

street scene, two orange and green taxis drive by a construction site with orange traffic signs, arrows saying the right lane is closed.

below: Purple wall with a doll.  I’m going to assume that it is a lost doll.  Someone dropped it and didn’t notice and then someone picked it up off the ground and tucked its arm into the wire to keep it safe and visible.

purple wall, graffiti onthe wall, also a chain runs horizontally across the bottom of the picture. A toy doll with no clothes has its arm tucked into a green wire.

below: The colour of the curtain in the window above a store caught my eye and then I noticed the book holding open the window.   Oops another case of ‘look again’.  It’s not a book, it’s a box that once held a Razor kick scooter.

a window above a store is held open with a book

below: Abstract.  I vaguely remember painting something similar back in Junior High.  It involved masking tape and I never got the lines right.  The paint always leaked under the tape.  Do you recognize the building?

abstract composed of a red roof, a grey textured wall and a building with three tones of blue windows

below: Behind the painted metal grille is a small colourful Stikman in his little frame.

a small brightly coloured stikman in a tiny wood frame is behind a metal grille that is rusty.

below: I will admit that my first reaction when I saw this, small and close to the ground, was “I’ve found Jesus”.  Not as bright and cheery as the other pictures but alas brown and grey are colours too.

dirt on an exterior wall that looks like the top part of a person

below: And last, the perfect colour at the end of a walk… a beer on a patio with a friend.

a Bettys glass, full of beer, in the sun

#mycuriouseyes

A large part of the inspiration for this blog post came from participating in a week long photography project called ‘My Curious Eyes’.  Each day we were challenged/encouraged to find interesting things to photograph based on prompts such as shape, colour, and texture.  Part of the project was to photograph things that we hadn’t noticed before, or to look at ordinary things in a different way.

Today’s blog is going to be short as well as different from previous posts.

below: It’s a selfie!

reflections of a TTC streetcar in the window of a pale blue building.

I have been playing and/or experimenting with taking photos with my phone as I ride on TTC streetcars.  It’s a bit of a game: Is there anything interesting?  Am I fast enough to catch it?  and more importantly….  How dirty are the windows today?

But I’m not going to post the pictures here, except for one above.   Instead, I have put all the pictures on a website:  http://www.asiwalktoronto.com/500series.html  I am trying to see if I can develop some sort of “snapshot” of the city as seen from a slightly different angle than usual.

Thanks for taking a look!

Monday’s walk was a meandering route downtown, once again going where my feet and eyes take me.  No particular plan in mind and no set destination…   just trying to explore where I haven’t been recently.   No theme jumped out and tapped me on the shoulder but a few “stories” emerged.

below: There is now a 3D sign between the CN Tower and the Aquarium that says Canada 150.

a young boy is leaping from the D of the 3D Canada 150 sign in front of the CN Tower, and is leaping onto the top of the A. His hands are on the top of the A, one foot is one the side of the A and the other foot is near the top of the D

below:  …and another 3D sign by the CN Tower (you can see part of the back of the Canada 150 sign through the tree). I wonder how many there are in this city now?   Another bit of information (trivia?) – this area is called Bobbie Rosenfeld Park and has been since 1991. Fanny (“Bobbie”) Rosenfeld was a Canadian athlete who won two track medals  in the 1928 Olympics.   She also played softball and hockey in the 1920s and 30s.  When arthritis force her to stop playing she turned to sports journalism, working for the ‘Globe and Mail’ until her retirement in 1955.

3D sign for the CN tower with tourists taking pictures in front of it. Canada 150 3D sign in the background as well as some people sitting around on benches

One of the routes from the CN Tower into the downtown core of the city is via the Skywalk, a glass enclosed elevated walkway over the railway tracks.  The next few photos were taken as I walked that route.

below: A Toronto species of woodpecker in its native habitat – a forest of glass and steel. This artwork was completed in 1997 and is the creation of Dai Skuse and Kim Kozzi who together are known as Fastwurms.

large sculpture of a woodpecker on a pole in the foreground, many glass skyscrapers condos in the background

below: The above photo was taken from a quiet little terrace that I accessed from the Skywalk. Now you can see just how big the woodpecker is!  The ‘tree trunk’ pole is 30m high.  What you can’t see is the second woodpecker who is on the other side of the pole and slightly farther down it.

a concrete terrace, with benches and planters with purple flowers, lots of condos in the background, one person standing there

below:  The glass of the Skywalk creates some interesting reflections and shadows.  The glass was fairly clean the other day when I walked through it.  I have seen it when it’s been quite dirty and it’s not a pretty sight.

reflections of a woman walking on the Skywalk between Union Station and the convention center, with views of the street below and buildings beyond also in the frame
reflected in the red glass of the entrance to the CN tower are two women walking

below: Union Station, looking east from the Skywalk.   The new roof over the station platforms is taking shape.  Someday soon I’m going to have to take a look at the insides of the station; I can’t wait for all the renovations to be completed.

union station as seen from the west, from the skywalk, with open air tracks as well as the covered platforms. New roof over the platforms, tall buildings in the background

below: Part of the south “wall” along the railway tracks.

buildings reflected in another glass building right beside the trains tracks south of Union Station

below: Looking east from lower Simcoe along the south edge of the Gardiner Expressway.   The podium of the new condo under construction at 10 York Street is quite the wedge!

construction of a tall condo beside the gardiner expressway. The bottom of the condo is a wedge shape to maximize the space available

below: I played a bit on google maps street view and this is what I found for the above scene (taken Nov 2016).  If you compare the photos (above & below), it’s obvious that one of the ramps for the Gardiner Expressway has been demolished.   The eastbound exit to Yonge/York/Bay was removed a couple of months ago.  If you are a regular user of the Gardiner, I’m sure you have already experienced the consequences of this!

screenshot of google maps street view of Lower Simoce stret just south of the Lakeshore, one of the offramps for the Gardiner, a new condo under construction

below: Standing on the same spot, but turning around 180 degrees – looking west from Lower Simcoe.  An old ramp in the foreground…. and what looks like new construction in the background.  Those are new bents (the structures that hold up the road).

under one of the Gardiner Expressway ramps, with new bents being built for a new ramp in the background.

below: To get a closer look at what was happening here, I ventured around to the other side .  This is the view from closer to Rees Street. There is car on the old ramp so it must still be open (onramps still functional, just the offramp was removed).

two "cherry pickers" parked in front of new bents being constructed for a new ramp for the Gardiner Expressway

below: The trees are growing at Canada Square (Harbourfront), but so are the condos.  Yes, this new building is the same one with the wedge shaped lower floors.

view from Canada Place (Queens Quay West) with a clump of birch trees in the foreground and 3 highrise buildings in the background - two older ones and one in the middle that is under construction.
below: Also at Canada Square, there are three large photographs by Johan Hallberg-Campbell, a series called “Coastal”.   This one of them:

a large photograph of a run down building, northern, on the side of a concrete structure that is an entrance to the underground parking

below: More of Hallberg-Campbell’s work can be seen inside in the Artport Gallery (Harbourfront building) – here, many photographs with simple wood frames are mounted on a wall that is covered with large images.  “Coastal” is the product of the artist’s travels to coastal areas of Canada, from Newfoundland to northern Manitoba to British Columbia and many places in between.   Life on the edge, so to speak.  (Note: gallery show ends 18th June)

three colour photos in simple light wood frames mounted on a wall that is covered with large images

below: It’s not art but sometimes the line between public art and advertising campaigns is fuzzy.

a man walks on the sidewalk below a largef ad for Apple watches.  The photo is cropped so that the only part of the ad that shows is a hand on the handle bar of a bike.  A bright turquoise watch is on the person's wrist

Not all is shiny and new.   And that’s the way it should be.

metal grille, part of a barricade along the side of a parking structure, rusted,

parking structure on the top, old door and wall on the bottom. A wood picnic table in disrepair is in front of the door

This morning’s blog post is a mixed up mashed up collection of some of the pictures that I have taken in the past few days. The theme running through the post is “sunny days and people making the most of it.”  It seems like an appropriate subject for a grey morning!

below: #duckman, one of the many ‘performers’ outside the Eaton Centre on Yonge Street.

a young Japanese man is dressed in a yellow body suit, seated on a stool on the sidewalk on Yonge Street, he is playing the drums - actually 5 empty plastic upside down buckets, with #duckman written on the buckets

below: The beginnings of a new mural on Queen Street West.

motorcycle in the foreground, a man painting a white outline of a rose as part of a mural on the side of Canada Convenience store on Queen West, a few people watching him paint

below: This weekend was the annual Riverdale ArtWalk at Jimmie Simpson Park and Community Center.

a man stands holding up a painting (bottom of painting is resting on the ground), more painting displayed on the wall behind him, at the outdoor Riverdale Artwalk art show and sale

below: Dancing to the drums of Venice and Kevin who are playing as past of an event to raise money to fight sickle cell disease.

a young woman dancers at the bottom of the stage steps at nathan phillips,  two people are beating drums on the satge

below: Four singers – they’ve just finished performing on the stage at Yonge Dundas Square as part of the DesiFEST celebrations.

four female singers are smiling, they've just finished a song, performing at Yonge Dundas square as part of Desifest, all 4 are of South Asian descent

below: A sign of the times.

a blackboard sign on the sidewalk in front of Brioche restaurant that says we serve Covfefe. People walking on the sidewalk,

below: It wasn’t just the people who were dressed for summer.

two little white dogs on a leach, both have pink and white frilly dresses on.

below: Gardening season has begun!  The vacant lot beside Nick Sweetman’s mural has been turned into a Garden Centre.

garden plants for sale, outdoors, in front of a large mural, bees, by Nick, on Queen st east

a front yard with gardening supplies, and pots of plants on the front steps

below: With their backs to the windows … but it looks like they’re dressed for summer

two mannequins with their backs to two windows, both dressed in red clothes

people riding down the escalator at the Eaton Centre, a large screen is playing a slideshow of summer pictures as part of an advertising campaign.

a mother helps her young daughter reach down and touch the water in the fountain at Nathan Phillips square

A detour, with pictures

Posted: April 22, 2017 in general Toronto

Not much blogging has been happening here because once again I’m on the road.  At the moment I’m spending a few days in Sophia Bulgaria.  Winter decided to give us one last blast of snow and frigid temperatures so I hid away in the National Gallery for a while the other day.

below: Three pictures. Not the brightest or the best but I was looking at the overall composition and trying to illustrate the general appearance of the rooms.  From left to right: 1. The Blue Door by Dimitar Arnaudiv (1933-1989), 2. Composition with Child by Radenko Misevic (1920-1995) and 3.  Guest by Ivan Kirkov (1932-2010).

Most of the rooms featured Bulgarian artists.  There was a few other European artists represented… a couple of Delacroix sketches and some old Dutch school painters to mention a few.

below: A larger than life statue of a painter in front of a large painting.  I couldn’t find any sign that named the painter but in one corner there is some Japanese (Chinese?) writing.  The statue is “Figure of Dechko Uzunov” by Dmir=tar Boikov (1927-2000)

Other interesting paintings and sculptures….

below: Threat by Georgi Chapkanov (b. 1943)

below:  The bust is “Portrait of Alexander Apostolov” by Nikola Chavdarov (1931-1966) and the painting is “Portrait of Valeri Petrov” by Naiden Petkov (1918-1989)

And ending on a colourful note –

below: Zoev’s House in Karlova by Nikola Tanev (1890-1962)

That’s just a brief look at some of the Bulgarian art that I have seen on my travels.  I’m not sure how much I will be blogging over the next while…. but stay tuned!  You never know (and neither do I!)

traffic signs at an intersection, at Lakeshore Blvd East, two one way signs pointing in the opposite directions, an elevated expressway also in the picture

“There’s more than one way” describes the above picture quite nicely but it’s probably a stretch to say that it’s  relevant to this blog post at all.   Not that that’s ever stopped me!  The other day I stood at this intersection (Lakeshore and Sherbourne I think) trying to decide which way to go.  I went straight ahead because that’s what the traffic signal told me to do.  I obeyed.  “When in doubt, go with the green light”, is one of my ‘rules’ when I’m walking.

below: The artistry of hydro towers and wires framed by the Lakeshore and the Gardiner.

a view between the Gardiner and Lakeshore with the roads framing the top and bottom of the picture. Hydro towers and wires are the main part of the image

below: Shattered glass

shattered glass still in place

below: Part of “Site Specific” by Scott Eunson & Marianne Lovink, on Sumach Street at Eastern Ave.

rusted metal cut out, part of a public art installation, cut outs look like houses, polished steel cutouts below the rusty ones.

below: The view inside the streetcar.  A new 514 Cherry car was wrapped in a light blue ad.
I have no idea what it was advertising.

looking into the window of a streetcar, people sitting,

below: There are a number of this “eye” balls in the playground part of Sherbourne Common.

a large white sphere with a black circle in the middle, on a metal pole. Background is out of focus

below: Changing the billboard.  The image is printed on a large piece of vinyl (plastic? something similar?) and held to the frame by ropes.   Or at least that’s what it looked like.  It was quite a distance up so it was difficult to see exactly what they were doing.

two men are changing the ad on a very large billboard. One man is below and the other is above and he is passing a long rope to man below.

below:  Graffiti.  Two words.  In yellow.

in yellow paint, graffiti, words fuck trump written on a metal box on a sidewalk

below: Chairs.   Blue chairs.  Three blue chairs plus one reflection.

three old blue plastic chairs with metal rusty legs sit on the concrete porch of a commercial building. Windows behind them. one of the chairs is reflected in the window

below: A drab door on a drab wall.

drab double glass doors on a drab light brown brick building with a sign that says public parking with arrows pointing to the door, The sign is above the door.

below:  An entrance to a different parking lot.

looking through a parking garage to a lighted entrance with people carrying bags and returning to their cars

below: Numbers on the concrete.

close up of the side of a concrete structure on a ramp of an expressway, there are two number sequences there. In stencil it says R42-78 and in stickers, AJ48

below: More numbers.  Another code that I can’t crack.

black and orange construction cone site beside a kerb on which numbers have been spray painted in orange

below: Stonework details on an old bank building.

architectural details on an old bank building, a fancy column top (ionic?), some carvings in the stone work.

below: Another old building – now that the north building of the St. Lawrence market has been demolished, the rear of the St. Lawrence Hall has been exposed.  It’s quite a pretty building.

the rear of the old St. Lawrence Hall building, with a bright blue wood hoarding fence in front of it. a woman is walking past

below: Interior, St. Lawrence market

the interior of the St. Lawrence market, looking towards the north entrance, with the large arched window over the doorway

below: And when you’re in front of the St. Lawrence market, isn’t it obligatory to take a picture of the Gooderham building?   A Toronto iconic view.

the Gooderham building, built in the flatiron style, with glass towers behind it, downtown Toronto

below: Another icon, the CN Tower, as seen through the Distillery District from Cherry Street.
That’s a fabulous orange door!

Cherry street entrance to the distrillery district, looking west towwards the CN tower, brick road, overhead lights, bright orange door in the background,

below: Postage stamp art at 234 Adelaide East by Joanne Tod and Jon Reed.  The whole installation includes 12 images including a 1930 painting by Lawren Harris (2nd on the left) which was issued in 1967.   To the right of it is a stamp honouring the Alouette 2 research satellite.  In between those stamps is Queen Elizabeth, a fixture on Canadian stamps for so many years.   The old post office which was built in 1834 is nearby.

public art in front of a condo building that is a ribbon made of metal, flat, etched with a series of vintage Canadian postage stamps images

below: Walls.  Shored up walls of the construction hole in front of a wall of glass.

a blue crane inside a hole that is a construction site for a new condo, with many glass tower condos in the background.

below: Last, symmetrical? steps in the buildings.

a building under construction in front of another building

 

May all your lights be green!

Another reason why I haven’t posted recently?  I’ve been sick.  Icky sick; can’t get out of bed sick.  This morning was the first time that I’ve walked Toronto streets in many, many days.

It was a beautiful blue sky morning but I made a mistake and stopped for coffee first.  Clouds rolled in and we were back to greyness by the end of the first mug.  Argh.   Maybe back inside for a secong mug?

In the end I’m glad I got my momentum back.  I walked streets I’ve walked many times before but I walked it with a long lens in hand.  I started searching for details that I’ve missed before as well as shots that are easier (and sneakier!) with a lens zoomed out to the max.

In no particular order….

below:  The front of Betty’s on King street.  These magnets have been here for a while now although their numbers may have magnified.  In hindsight, I should have gone over and written something like, “Hi my name is Joe and I’m the Prime Minister of Canada”.

store front, front of Bettys bar and restaurant, with grey door. Walls are magnetic and they are covered with kid's letters of the alphabet magnets.

below: The bright colours of this exposed wall caught my eye.  It’s been revealed because of the demolition of a building at Victoria and Lombard and I suspect that it will get covered up again in the near future.

a large construction site at Victoria and Lombard, one wall of a neighbouring building has been exposed that is orange and white

below: This is a closer view of the men in the photo above.  I hadn’t purposely taken their picture but I like the portrait look of the picture.  A kind of Mike Rowe’s ‘Dirty Jobs’ image comes to mind.

two men working on a construction site

below: Banner for the Pacific Junction Hotel.

banner made of flags for the Pacific Junction Hotel strung in a tree on the sidewalk

below: Drink Coca-cola

a red and white drink coca cola sign sign hangs in a window of a bar

below: Sitting together in silence.  Black and white.  Alive and not alive.
Both aren’t moving and both don’t see me.

a man sits on a bench in a small park, wintertime, a snowman is at the other end of the bench

below: I have always been intrigued by these vertical windows at St. James Cathedral, especially with the winter trees in front of them.  I’ve taken pictures here before but none have been satisfactory.  This one is certainly not perfect but the sense of scale that the woman provides is a big help.

vertical stained glass windows of St. James cathedral, from the outside in winter, a woman is walking past.

below: These two small ionic-ish columns help support an archway over the door.

a small column with an ionic like capital, embedded in a brick wall. The column looks to be supporting an arch over the doorway

below: A bit of a rant.  At one point did it become acceptable for people to be sleeping on the sidewalks?  How did we learn to walk past?  When someone walks past a person sleeping in the middle of the sidewalk, what thoughts go through their head?  Is there a solution?  Or is so normal now that we don’t consider it a problem?   This man was right in the middle, there was no easy way to avoid him, but avoid him we did.

people walk by on the sidewalk as a homeless man sleeps under blankets on the corner.

below: Trying to cross King Street.

a man in a red jacket is waking two dogs, waiting to cross King Street, with St. James in the background. traffic, and parked cars too.

below: An exposed support beam, two wood planks on end sandwiched between steel I beams.

on an exterior brick wall, the end of a support beam is visible. the beam consists of a wood beam on end between two steel I beams

below:  High on a brick wall he suffers in anguish as the pigeons keep pooping on him.

carved stone piece high on a brickwall, exterior of a building, relief sculpture of a man's face with his hair made to look like long leaves that surround his face

below: A bit of a cliche.  Walking the dogs in the park on a winter day.

a woman walks three dogs on the path through St. James Park on a winter day, snow, no leaves, some buildings in the distance

below: The Christmas lights are still wrapped around the trees in St. James Park.

a string of red LED Christmas lights is wrapped around the trunk of a tree

below: Two mis-matched windows side by side.  Old brick, rusty metal.

an old brick building with two windows.

below: Above 10 Toronto Street is this royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom.   The unicorn represents Scotland and in the royal coat of arms for Scotland, the lion and the unicorn are reversed.  You’ll also noticed that the unicorn is chained.  Apparently this is because in legend, the unicorn is a dangerous beast.   I’m not sure what this says about Scotland!  The words on the banner below the lion and the unicorn say “Dieu et Mon Droit” (= God and My Right).  The words around the middle circle say “Honi soit qui mal y pense”.   This is the motto of the Order of the Garter and it translates to ‘shame upon him who thinks evil of it’.

sculpture of a coat off arms above 10 Toronto Street, a lion and unicorn and a motto in Latin.

below:  This is the building that used to house Starbucks on King Street near George Brown College.  Many months (more than a year) ago there was a fire in the building and Starbucks closed down.  The windows and doors were boarded up and then nothing happened.   That looks like the makings of scaffolding lying on the sidewalk so maybe some renovation work is about to begin.

a man walks past a boarded up doorway

below: A ghost building outline.

The ghost outline of a building, in white, on a black brick wall. Tree branches without leaves hang in front of the wall.

below: An octopus runs up the stairs. Or would it slither?

a blue drawing of an octopus on the second storey exterior wall, beside a metal stair case (fire escape?)

below: Passing by the five faceless naked men who silently and stoically watch over the intersection of Queen and Victoria.  A sculpture “Full Circle” by Peter von Tiesenhausen.

wood sculpture of naked men in a circle with their backs inward, at Queen and Victoria streets, two men walking past the sculpture

below: I also met James Beaty this morning.  He too stands silently but he is tucked away in a dull and quiet corner so he doesn’t get much to look at.   The original James Beaty was born in Ireland 1798 and came to Canada as young man.   He was a leather merchant, he established the newspaper ‘Toronto Leader’ in 1852,  and in 1867 he became a federal politician.

a black bronze statue of James Beaty, standing with a folded newspaper under his arm, about life sized,

below: Any idea what this might be?  Dancing figure?

small black and white stencil

below: It was a puddle jumping, slushy kind of day.  I’m sure that there are lots more of those ahead!

reflections of trees in a puddle on a path that has snow and ice on it was well

below:  There are always more paths to walk and more chances to see what’s around around the next corner and through the gate!

looking down a driveway that passes under a very high square arch to the street beyond. Cars are parked on the street and a pedestrian walks by