Archive for the ‘history’ Category

The other day I discovered that there is a small gallery on the 3rd floor of Ryerson’s School of Image Arts.  If you want to find it too, it’s in a building that it’s in is attached at the ground floor level to the Ryerson Image Centre on Gould Street.   At the moment, there is a small exhibit of photos by Avard Woolaver.

the back of a man looking at a wall in a gallery, old photos of Toronto

below:  The photos are ones that Woolaver took in Toronto in the late 70s and early 80s.

old photos of Toronto from the 1980s by Avard Woolaver.

below: This photo is one of Woolaver’s – it is looking towards the northwest corner of Spadina and Queen Street West.  For those of us who lived in Toronto at the time, it’s a bit of nostalgia.  Somethings are very familiar – the older TTC buses, the car styles, and a lot of the architecture, for example.   This photo in particular lends itself nicely to the game of ‘Spot the Differences’….. compare this with

photo by Avard Woolaver of Toronto in the 1980s, this view is the north west corner of Queen and Spadina

below: …..this. Here is the same intersection, at a similar angle, last week.   The large brick building is still there but without a billboard.   The poles are no longer wood but they are covered in posters and remnants of posters – so no change there.    The street signs have been updated and there is now a streetcar lane in the middle.   All in all, I was surprised how little had actually changed in 30ish years.

the northwest corner of Queen and Spadina in 2018, pedestrians, buildings, street scene

below: I found this photo online (originally from the Toronto City Archives, 1950?) but before we can play another round of ‘Spot the Differences’, we have to identify these buildings?  Any ideas?

vintage photo of 357, 359, and 361 Yonge street, black and white, 3 storefronts,

below: Here is the same location in the 1980’s (not a photo from the exhibit).  Not too many changes.   The building that housed George Richards Men’s shop, 361 Yonge Street, was replaced by a dull and boring two storey brick building but the other changes were just to the facades and the owners/tenants.   The tavern is still a tavern and the drug store is still a drug store.  The large brown building on the top right that you can only see part of is Ryerson College.   Unfortunately the Wrigleys ghost sign on the taller building on the left has been covered.

357, 359, and 361 Yonge street in the 1980s including the Zanzibar tavern

photo source BuzzBuzzNews online

below: Fast forward another 30 years.  The Zanzibar is all bright lights and dazzle while the building that housed the drug store is now for sale.  Ryerson is now a University and has expanded out to Yonge Street – that’s the large blue building in case you are not familiar with the area.

Yonge stree, easy side, just north of Dundas, about 357, 359 and 361 Yonge Street including the Zanzibar Tavern. The blue glass wall of Ryerson University behind the Zanzibar,

below: If you pull back a bit, and look just a bit farther north on that stretch of Yonge Street, you’ll see that there are many empty buildings

yonge street, between gerrard and dundas, most storefronts are closed and boarded up waiting for redevelopment of that stretch

below: … including what was until recently the XTC clothing company.  It looks like it has gone through a number of ‘renovations’, not all of which were good.  Some traces of its original brick facade can be seen at the top but at street level it is (was?) a mess.

empty two storey building, once was X T C clothing store

 There is a plan to build a 98 storey mixed-use building on this site including just over 900 residential units ranging in size from 520 to 2000 square feet.    It will be the tallest residential building in Canada.   In the promotional material for YSL Residences, as they will be called, is this: “The epitome of luxury living, designed to elevate the fortunate few who will call it home.”


below:  Back to Ryerson, also on the 3rd floor of the School of Image Arts, there was a small series of photographs like this one hanging on the wall in the hallway.  There was no sign as to the name of the artist that I could find either on the wall or online.   I quite like the technique and the resulting image.  Two ideas melded into one.  Two time frames in one frame.  Two artistic styles combined to create another.

a photograph on a gallery wall, a hand holding a photo printed on glass in the middle of another photo, superimposed landscapes

If you are interested in Woolaver’s work, you can find more on his blog.

A morning exploring some of the art galleries at the University of Toronto.

below: Robarts Library, a large concrete building, is part of the University of Toronto and is their main humanities and social sciences library. It opened in 1973 and has been called Fort Book ever since.

intersection of Harbord and St. George streets, Robarts Library, large concrete building

I have walked past this library many times but I have never gone inside. What I didn’t know about this building is that it is also home to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.  It is named after a Thomas Fisher (1792-1874), who came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821 and settled by the Humber River.  In 1973, his grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated many books to U of T .  Since then, the library has grown to approximately 740,000 volumes including hundreds of versions of Alice in Wonderland in many different languages.  They also collect manuscripts, photographs,  and other rare materials.   You can search their holdings online.

below: The view from the 4th floor observation deck.

interior of Thomas Fisher Rare Book library, looking down from the upper level to the tables below. Shelves of books line all the walls, ceiling is open to 4 or 5 storeys up , large central light fixture

At the moment, the Thomas Fisher Library has an exhibition called “Fleeting Moments, Floating Worlds, and the Beat Generation: The Photography of Allen Ginsberg”. Ginsberg (1926-1997) is known for his poetry but he also took pictures. The Thomas Fisher library has the largest collection of Ginsberg prints in the world.

exhibit of photos by Allen Ginsberg displayed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at U of T, some black and white photos in a case, some books too, shelves of books in the background

below: Mr. Ginsberg took bathroom mirror selfies.  I wonder what he’d think of instagram?

picture of a black and white photo taken by Allen Ginsberg of himself sitting naked and cross legged in front of a bathroom mirror

Ginsberg became friends with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, and the trio later established themselves as the main players in the Beat Movement with their unconventional writing and wild (for the times) lifestyles.  Ginsberg’s first published work was “Howl” in 1956.  It was called “an angry, sexually explicit poem”.   The San Francisco Police Department declared it to be obscene and arrested the publisher.  The court ruled that it was not obscene.  I can see it being “ahead of its time” in 1956 but today it’s fairly tame.

The opening lines:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of

cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,”

below: Three books about The Beats.

display in a glass top case, three books by Alan Ginsberg, the one in the middle has a yellow cover and is The Beats

The Ginsberg exhibit continues until the 27th of April.

A short walk through part of the St. George campus….did I mention that it was snowing at the time?… to another art gallery on campus.

snow is falling, snow on the ground, tree in foreground, also black wrought iron fence, looking across the playing field of the U of T St. George campus to a building, tower,

below: We passed a moose standing in the snow.

a flat metal sculpture of a moose stands in a small space beside a tree, snow on the ground, snow falling from the sky. public art

The second gallery was the Art Museum at Hart House.   One of the exhibits showing there is “Figures of Sleep”.  Straight from the gallery website is this description of the exhibit: ” [it]…considers the cultural anxieties manifest in the popular and critical imagination around the collapsing biological function of sleep under economic, social and technological transformation”.  What it is is a collection of videos, photographs, and artwork depicting sleep, i.e. people sleeping by a number of different artists.  This exhibit ends on 3rd March.

below: Watching videos of people sleeping

a person watching a large video display in an art gallery

below: She’s very life like.  She’s also much smaller than life sized but even so, she was a bit creepy. “Untitled (old woman in bed)”, 2000-2002, by Ron Mueck.

very realistic and life like scupture of an old woman with grey asleep under a blanket with her head on a pillow

below: “Dream Catcher” by Rebecca Belmore, 2014 .  This wall hanging is quite large.

dream catcher by Rebecca Belmore, a large wall hanging of a person sleeping on the sidewalk, under a blanket with a picture of a lion on it.

below:  The Malcove Collection is in the same gallery.  The collection includes about 500 pieces, not all of which are on display at the moment.  Dr. Lillian Malcove (1902-1981) was born in Russia just before her parents emigrated to Canada and settling in Winnipeg.  She graduated from the University of Manitoba with an M.D. and then spent most of her adult life as a Freudian psychoanalyst in New York City.  Over her life time she amassed a collection of art that she bequeathed to U of T.

wall display cases in an art gallery, religious pieces on display, old, antiquities

below: From the Malcove collection, ‘Male Dedicant’, made of limestone, Coptic, late 4th century or early 5th century

antique stone carving (relief) of a man with curly hair, both hands raised, one hand holding a spherical object and the other hand holding a cross

below:  Detail from “The Burning Bush”, 19th century.

very old painting, religious, virgin mary and baby jesus in the center surrounded by other religous scenes


below: Last but not least, and having nothing to do with art, is this plaque on a wall near the art gallery at Hart House.  It commemorates the relationship between the Canadian and Polish Armies during WW1.  A transcription of it appears below.


plaque on an exterior brick wall commemorating the role of the Polish Army

In the early months of 1917, twenty three Polish probationary officers were trained here by the staff of the Canadian School of Infantry in Toronto.  They were the forerunners of more than 20,000 North American volunteers of Polish descent who were trained in Canada (mostly at Niagara on the Lake) to serve in the French Army, ultimately commanded by Joseph Haller.  The existence of this Polish Army in France went far to assure the presence of Poland at the Peace Conference at the end of the war and played a significant role in the reconstitution of a reunited and independent Poland after 123 years of partition. 
The Canadian Polish Congress has placed this tablet to commemorate the ardent Polish patriotism of so many Polish volunteers from the United States and Canada.   The Congress also wishes to honour the Canadian officers who trained the volunteers, including notably Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Lepan of the staff of this university and his principal subordinates, all from this university as well as Major C.R. Young, Major H.H. Madill, Major W.F. Kirk and Major F.B. Kenrick. A.D. 1990


a bike parked outside an old brick building on St. George campus of U of T, snow covered

More information about:

Allen Ginsberg exhibition

Figures of Sleep, and others, at Hart House Art Museum

Illustrations of the holdings of the Malcove Collection


There are a group of photography exhibits now showing at the Ryerson Image Centre.  Two of them showcase older photos of Canada.  The largest exhibit is ‘Faraway Nearby’ and it consists of photographs of Canada from the New York Times photo archive…   25,000 vintage photos of Canada taken over the past 100 years have been gifted to Ryerson by Chris Bratty in honour of his father Rudolph (Rudy), a property developer in the GTA.   ‘Faraway Nearby’ is a wonderful selection of them covering a wide cross section of subjects.

vintage black and white photo of people in bath suits standing on diving boards beside a lake

below: There is a section devoted to tourist type photos that you would find in the travel section of a newspaper.  Yes, that’s an RCMP officer standing beside the car, a convertible with California plates.  I’d say it was kitschy to have the RCMP guy there but even today the red uniform of the RCMP is iconic; they are featured on many postcards and souvenirs.   Tourists still take photos with them I’m sure.

photo in an exhibit of a group of tourists in a convertible car with California plates parked beside the road and overlooking a mountain lake. An RCMP officer stands beside the car.

below:  Oh dear, Highland dancers and Native Americans all dressed up.   Is that the Banff Springs Hotel?  The exhibit taken as a whole is a fascinating look at Canadian history; how far we’ve come in some respects and how we haven’t really changed in others.

vintage black and white photo of a highland dancer with a line of native Americans in traditional dress behind her. Some teepees in the background, also a hotel.

below:  Loggers clearing their way through a sea of timber that is being guided into a newsprint mill in Hull Quebec, about 1946.  Unknown photographer.  (Almost all the photos are by ‘unknown’).

vintage black and white photo of two shirtless men on legs with poles as the move logs and timber by river to a newsprint paper mill on the other shore.

Being a newspaper, a large number of the subjects were political such as this photo of Joe Clark, Prime Minister of Canada from June 1979 to March 1980, on a visit to Cameroon  in the summer of 1979.

black and white photo from 1979 of Joe Clark, then Prime Minister of Canada, riding in a motorcade with the President of Cameroon, in Cameroon.

below: Prime Minister Trudeau (the first one) meeting President Nixon, “Tricky Dick”, of the USA.  Love the sunglasses! (or is that just a trick of the lighting?).

vintage photo of Richard Nixon, President of the United States, greeting Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

below: While on the topic of the Trudeau’s, here’s Margaret with Fidel Castro.  Castro is holding Margaret’s youngest son Michel.  The photo was taken in Havana in 1976 when the Trudeau’s were in Cuba on a 4 day state visit.

vintage black and white photo of Margaret Trudeau and Fidel Castro. Castro is holding one of the Trudeau sons.

below: There are also some photos taken during various Royal visits.  Here are a group of men by Lake Nipigon in 1919.  The man holding the dead duck (3rd from the left) is Edward, Prince of Wales (b.1894 – d.1972).   He was 25 years old in this picture.   On 20 January 1936 he became King Edward VIII but he abdicated the throne in December of the same year after reigning for only 326 days.

a vintage black and white photo of a group of men in northern Ontario, by a lake, one is holding a duck that has been shot

below: A photo by an unknown photographer for the Canadian War Records Office and the American Press Association, Vimy, France, April 1917.  The description of the photo reads: “Giving Fritz some of his own pills.  Canadians firing a German 4.2 on the retreating Boche.  Some of the guns left behind by the retreating Germans were in excellent condition, and the Canadians at once  undertook to return some of the shells to their former owners in the most effective manner.”

vintage world war one photo

below: A slightly lighter look at war, this time WW2.  Photograph by Nat Turofsky (d. 1956) for Alexandra Studio.  Distributed by the Star Newspaper Service and the New York Times.  Location unknown. 1939.  Nat and his brother Lou were well known Toronto photographers in their day. Back in 2009, The Torontoist published an excellent story about them and the Alexandra Studio which they owned.

The description of the photo reads: “Shouldering guns instead of hockey sticks.  Member of the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team, led by Bob Davidson, Goalie “Turk” Broda, and “Sweeney Shriner, marching into the trenches at a machine gun target range during a military training session.  The team is in constant training so that they will be ready for duty if called to the colors.”

vintage photo of men in Maple Leafs hockey sweaters walking through war trenches


The second, and smaller, exhibit is ‘The Notman Studio:  1858-1915’.  William Notman was a photographer based in Montreal who traveled across Canada documenting what he saw.   He was also a studio photographer who took hundreds of portraits.   This is a small sample of his work.

below:  ‘Ice Castle’ about 1857, Montreal Quebec, Albumen print.

old photo of a large ice castle

below: ‘Esquimalt Dry Dock’, 1887, Victoria B.C. Albumen print.   You’ll have to pardon the reflections in the pictures.  The glass in the frames acts like a mirror and although I have tried to minimize the amount of reflection, getting rid of it entirely was not always possible.

vintage photo, 1887 ship being built, wood, in Victoria B.C.

below: Standing outside his teepee with his rifle and his horse.

vintage photo of a native American man in traditional clothes holding a rifle and a horse and a lead. Standing outside a teepee

below: There were a series of Cariboo Hunting photos.  They were small and all focused on the two men.   Especially considering their age, they are in excellent condition and beautiful to look at.

vintage photo of two men hunting caribou. Resting with their rifles.

below: ‘Little Champlain Street’  1890, Quebec City.   I looked for photos of Toronto in the collection that was on display but there weren’t any.

vintage albumen print photo, 1890, Little Champlain street in Quebec City. row houses, kids in the street

below: There is an incredible amount of detail in the above picture so I cropped it quite a bit to highlight some of the details.   The shabby brick and plaster row houses, the solitary street light, the planks that form the narrow road, and the kids wearing hats as they keep an eye on the photographer.  Although it is Quebec City, I can imagine parts of Toronto looking quite similar at the time.

details of a vintage photo, street scene, kids, row houses,

In case you were wondering, albumen prints refers to a process whereby the photographic paper that is used to print the images from a negative was made using egg whites.  The main constituent of egg whites is the protein albumen.  It is sticky and forms a glossy finish when it dries.  The stickiness of the albumen is used to bind salt (sodium chloride, your basic table salt, or ammonium chloride) to the paper.  Once the paper dries, it is dipped into a solution of silver nitrate thereby making the paper sensitive to UV light.   This method was developed in 1847 and was the first commercially viable method of producing photographic paper.  It remained in use until the 20th century.

By the entrance to the Notman exhibit is this wonderful, and still relevant, quote attributed to William Notman: “To consider Photography a mere mechanical art, is a great mistake.  The too prevalent desire for cheapness, and the ease with which a little may be done in Photography, has induced many to embrace the profession lacking the necessary qualifications…”

Both exhibits continue until 10 Dec 2017.

Across the back of a row of stores in Port Union there are some doors that have been painted over with a mural.  These are some of them:

a maural painted on a wall and door, historic scene, women in period costume (early 1900s?) sitting on the grass with some baskets, old fashioned car behind them.

door at back of store covered with mural, grass, people on bikes, looks like bikes are headed to the door

 swan swimming in the lake, a mural on the back door of a KFC restaurant

They are all part of the same mural.  The mural is so big that I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing unless I made a very long skinny panorama – which I decided against.   I think that you should get a good idea of what the whole mural looks like from the following set of photos.

below: The mural tells the story of Port Union starting with a First Nations settlement in the area.

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - First Nations people in canoes on the river with teepees and people on the shore

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - two brick buildings, houses, a group of women sitting outside with baskets on the ground, a vintage car

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union -

below: North end of the Port Union mural.  The mural faces the parking lot of a complex consisting of the Port Union Community Centre plus a library and Charlottetown park.

left side of a large mural showing the history of Port Union, first nations, first white settlers, up to the early 1900s

below: The railway comes to town.

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - a steam engine pulls a train into the station

a woman pushing a stroller with a toddler in it, with 2 dogs on leashes walking in the park, a group is having a picnic in the background

part of a larger mural showing the story of Port Union - this time, the Port Union waterfront park is featured, cyclists on the bike path, a skateboarder, people enjoying the park, 3 entrances to the backs of stores, including Audreys flowers and Councillor Ron Moeser's office. a

below: And that brings us back to the swan and KFC at the south end of the mural.

two doors at the back of a KFC restaurant, lake side scene, a large white swan on one of the doors

two doors at the back of a KFC restaurant, lake side scene, a large white swan on one of the doors

This mural was painted by Blinc Studios and was part of Mural Routes.  Artists are: Allan Bender, John Nobrega, Azadeh Pirazimian, Jesse McCuaig, Chris Brown, Frances Potts, and Melissa Bessey.

Other blogs that feature doors can be found at Thursday Doors, courtesy of Norm 2.0.  (see the little blue link between the end of the blog post and the comments section).


Sometimes when you search for one thing you find another.

The other day I posted pictures of the Cliffside murals in Scarborough.  When researching, them I discovered that there are other murals in Scarborough thanks to Mural Routes.  Of course, I had to go exploring!

Murals are often in parking lots or in alleys.  Last weekend I found one in a cemetery.   “Building the Addition to the Wesley Methodist Chapel, Highland Creek, Winter 1867” is on the side of a building that abuts the Wesleyan Methodist cemetery on the east end of Old Kingston Road.

below: Most of the mural.  Design and artwork by John Hood , assisted by Alexandra Hood and Zeb Salmaniw, 1994.  There is a small portion of the mural missing in this picture.  On the right is a panel that tells the story of the mural.

mural, winter scene, from about 1867, adding an addition, wood frame, onto a church, old house and store in the background. cemetery around the church, trees.

This is what the words say:

The following is an extract from the ‘The Christian Guardian’, a Methodist newspaper:
Your numerous readers will be glad to hear of the success of the Wesleyan Methodist Church at the Highland Creek, on the Scarboro’ Circuit. The above church was found to be entirely too small for the accommodation of its increasing congregation. The friends therefore decided to put an addition to the church 18 feet by 24 feet. It was re-opened and dedicated to God by divine service last Sabbath…” Wm. Tredway, Scarboro Dec 20, 1867
This mural depicts this event as it may have appeared from the northeast corner of this cemetery, looking southwest, across Old Kingston Road in mid November of 1867.

below: The William Tredway mentioned on the mural opened his first general store   at the corner of Eglinton Ave & Kingston Rd.  In 1865 he sold it and started over with a store on Old Kingston Road at Morrish Road.   It is this second store that is shown in the mural.  Tredway sold that store in 1878 to devote himself to politics as well as a career as a Justice of the Peace.

part of a mural, historic scene, old store with name W. Tedway above the door, people in period costumes, circa 1867. winter scene

part of a mural, horse drawn wagon, one man sitting at the front of the wagon, another man standing at the rear loading the wagon with lumber

men up on the roof of a new addition on a building, constructing roof joists, winter scene, old fashioned

below: The bronze plaque near the entrance to the cemetery.

bronze plaque on a stone wall in the Wesleyan cemetery on Old Kingston Road, Highland Creek, Scarborough

“This Highland Creek burying ground dates back to the reign of George III prior to 1800. On this site stood Wesleyan Methodist Church 1865-1891 merged with Bible Christian Methodist Church 1863-1891 which became Centennial Methodist in 1891 and later Centennial United Church 1925, plaque erected 1967, Centennial of Canada’s Confederation by Centennial United Church of Canada and Wesleyan Cemetery Board. “

The cemetery consists of a 1/2 acre plot.  Back in 1834 it was part of 500 acres that was acquired by Jordan and Melinda Post in trade for their 15 acres at King & Yonge.   Some of the stones predate 1834 and as mentioned on the plaque, there was a burying ground here before 1800.  The oldest stone might be that for William Pearce, son of John and Susan who died 18 Aug 1813 at age 11 years & 5 months.   Local legend says it became a burial ground when a passenger on a passing stage coach died there.

a real tombstone, surname Littlejohns, in a cemetery, with a mural in the background showing a woman kneeling by a grave in the winter, small amount of snow, no leaves on the trees

Jordan Post (1767-1845) and his wife Melinda (nee Woodruff, abt 1780-1838) were both born in Connecticut but were married in York (Toronto) in 1804.  Jordan was a watch maker and when he arrived in York in 1802 he was the first watch maker in the town.   He had other businesses as well but he probably made most of his money speculating in land.  In 1834 he moved to Scarborough township, to the location of this cemetery, where he built a sawmill.  Both Jordan and Melinda are buried here along with an unknown number of others, including other Posts and Woodruffs.   There are stones for 76 people including Ann (d. 1903) and Edward Littlejohns (d. 1887) pictured above.

below: An interesting juxtaposition – The real monument on the left is for Edith, infant daughter of Henry and Eleanor Lanktree, died 26 Sept 1872 at age 16 months.   The bottom part of other stone also mentions Henry and Eleanor Lanktree but I can’t read the inscription on the top part.

two real but old and weathered tombstones in a cemetery, with a mural of trees in winter around a cemetery where a woman sits by a grave

The church is no longer there.  It once stood next to the location of the mural with the cemetery around it.  Today the cemetery is maintained by the community.

subtitle: Hanging out in front of Queen’s Park

There is a collection of statues in the front of Queen’s Park.  With the exception of the statue of Queen Victoria, they are of men who helped shape Toronto, Ontario, and Canada in the early years.    I was going to spend some time writing about what each person did but this post started to become very dull.  I don’t mean to diminish the accomplishments of these men, but reading a summary of their lives isn’t the most interesting way to spend time.   If you want to learn more about any of them, I’m sure you can find much more information online!

First, the monarch.  Queen Victoria.  She was born in 1819 (almost 200 years ago!) and became Queen in 1837 when just 18 years old.  She reigned for more than sixty years until her death in January of 1901.   Her husband, and father of her 9 children, was her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.   The fact that her statue’s here is no surprise.  Queen’s Park was named in her honour after all – it was opened by her son Edward in 1860.  The statue though didn’t appear here until 1902, after her death.  It was designed by Mario Riggi.

statue of Queen Victoria in bronze. She's seated, wearing crown and holding mace/staff

Also in the front of the parliament buildings are the statues of six other historical figures:  Sir John A. Macdonald, John Graves Simcoe, Sir Oliver Mowat, George Brown, John Sandfield Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie, and Sir James Whitney.  Most people would recognize Sir John A. Macdonald as the first Prime Minister of Canada and some Torontonians might be familiar with the contributions of Mr. Simcoe to their history, but the other four men, who are they?

Let’s start with John Sandfield Macdonald (no relation to Sir John A. )   He was born in Glengarry County Upper Canada in 1812.  He was the first Prime Minister (Premier) of Ontario, starting with Confederation  and the formation of the province of Ontario on 1st July 1867.  He held that position until 1871.  The sculpture is by Walter Allward, 1909.

statue of a man, John Sandfield Macdonald, in front of the parliament buildings at Queens Park. An Ontario flag is reflected in the windows of the building.


Next,  Sir Oliver Mowat .  He was born in Kingston Ontario in 1820.  In 1840 he moved to Toronto to study law but in 1857 he was elected a Liberal member of the Legislature of the Province of Canada.  He held various government positions at both the provincial and federal levels up until his death in 1903.  He took part in the Quebec Conference of 1864 which led to Confederation in 1867.  He was the third Prime Minister (Premier) of Ontario after John Sandfield Macdonald and Edward Blake (who was leader for less than a year and has no statue).  He led from 1872 to 1896.     During his almost 24 years as leader of the Ontario Legislature he introduced the secret ballot in elections and extended suffrage beyond property owners.  He also created the municipal level of government.  Between 1897 and his death he was a Senator and then the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.  This monument was unveiled in 1905 and was also designed by Walter Allward.

black statue of a man, Sir Oliver Mowat, standing with a book in one hand, and the other hand behind his back. The figure is on top of a grey stone rectangular column, autumn tree in the background.

below: Sir James Whitney was a member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly from 1888 until his death in 1914.  For the later part of those years he was the Premier of Ontario – he was elected four times as Premier.  The statue was sculpted by Hamilton MacCarthy and was unveiled in 1927

statue of a mna with his right arm extended, Whitney, in front of the parliament buildings at Queens Park.

I’ve also included William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861) with this group of men even though his statue is more to the west of the parliament buildings than in front of them.   He was the first mayor of Toronto (1834) although he was only mayor for a year.   He was also a leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837.

statue of William Lyon Mackenzie, shown from the waist up and missing his arms, trees in leaf behind him,

below: The oldest man of the lot is John Graves Simcoe (1752-1806), founder of the city of Toronto, the designer of Yonge Street, and one busy man in his time.

statue of a man in bronze standing on a grey stone column, yellow tree behind him. He's got a sword in one hand, with its point on the ground and he is leaning on it slightly

And last, the most well known of the men, Sir John A. Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada.

statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada, on a grey day, in front of the Ontario Legislature at Queens Park in Toronto,




It was a foggy morning when I walked down McCaul Street.
The CN Tower had its head in the clouds.

looking south on McCaul street towards the CN tower, the top of the tower is covered in low cloud.

below: As I walked south on McCaul, this wall caught my eye.  It’s in an alley that runs perpendicular to McCaul but it can be seen from the street.

A quote by Voltaire in large capital letters, Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.

below: There are a number of small lanes and alleys in the area and like most alleys, there was graffiti to be found such as these two animals – a whale and a bird having a friendly chat.

Two roughly drawn graffit animals on a wall, a duck and a whale, both in white paint with red details

below: Bugs Bunny is easy to find; he’s on McCaul.

mural of bugs bunny lying on the ground, head on elbow, eating a carrot

below: Just around the corner from the Wascally Wabbit is the Cat in the Hat from the Dr. Suess book of the same name.  This time, the cat’s mischief involves a can of spray paint.   Extra info: yes, you can still get Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Toronto.

mural of the cat from the cat in the hat, the kids book by Dr. Suess, he's holding a can of spray paint.

below: More Dr. Suess, this time Thing 1 and Thing 2.  They are on the same mural as the Cat in the Hat and are running towards him.

thing 1 anf thing 2 from Dr. Suess Cat in the Hat in a mural on the side of a building.

below: Once upon a time you could smell fresh bread when you walked down McCaul but now Silversides bakery sits empty.

empty brick building, with ghost of sign that said Silversides in cursive writing,

below: Old row houses on Baldwin Street.  Most of the remaining old houses on Baldwin, especially those close to McCaul, have been converted into restaurants.

row houses on Baldwin street, three storey old brick houses with gabled roofs. One is now a restaurant.

below: A cheerful yellow house – another example of the older houses in the neighbourhood.

a small yellow bungalow is between two largeer and taller houses. It has a hedge in front and a yellow awning over the front door.

below: More colours…. evenly divided in pink and yellow.  They share a gable and a porch, both of which have interesting details in the woodwork.

a semi divided house, one side pink and the other side yellow, the gable of the house belongs half to one side and half to the other

below:  There’s not as much paint on these houses.  Instead, there is two coloured  brick pattern on all walls of the front of the house.  I wonder how many other houses have brick patterns hiding under their paint?

large semi divided brick house with a center gable and woodedn porch, also wooded oriel window over the front door.  Two colours in the brick work, eachhouse has painted wood a different colour

below: The sign beside the door says: Chinese Seniors Health & Recreation Association of Ontario.  An old Bell telephone booth sits on the corner.

old Bell telephone booth in front of a large semi divided three story house, painted white, fence in front, bikes parked against fence

below: The blue wall of the Art Gallery of Ontario as seen from the other side of Grange Park.  Grange Park has been under renovation for a number of months now but it is looking like it is close to completion.  Part of the renovation has involved creating a new space for Henry Moore’s sculpture, Large Two Forms, which sits on the corner of Dundas and McCaul at the moment.   The couple in this photo caught my eye because she’s in shorts and he’s in a parka with the hood up.

two people are walking up a wide path in a park, Grange Park, with the blue wall of the Art Gallery in the distance

below: Another Grange Park upgrade is the playground.

new playground in Grange Park with the box on pencil structure of OCAD behind it.

below: A lonely urban tree hiding amongst the clutter on the sidewalk.

a lonely tree grows out of a square of dirt on the sidewalk, street scene around it.

below: A large mural celebrating the Ride to Conquer Cancer covers the wall beside the entrance to the parking lot of Princess Margaret Hospital.

very large mural for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer showing scenes from a fund raising bike ride. Men and women and their bikes

below: This is painted in a slightly different style than the one above!

a mural showing a scantily dressed large breasted blonde woman kneeling amongst red mushrooms.

below: Sitting beside the anser face.

two pieces of street art, an anser face on one side, and a painting of a long haird blond woman sitting in a chair beside it, her back is to the viewer

below: More faces, this time two faces merged into one.

a line drawing graffiti of two faces merged into one, 2 noses, trhee eyes, two mouths,

below: Someone also has a homonym problem.

graffiti on a metal box on the sidewalk says I new this would happen. the words don't fit across the box and the en in happen are written below it

below: Not just a poser bunny, but an honest poser bunny.

a green piece of metal attached to a wood hydro pole with a white drawing of a poser bunny on it.   The word honest in white letters is written beside the bunny

below: A lone survivor.  The Richard Purdom House is the last house standing on this stretch of McCaul.  Richard Purdom was the architect and original owner of the house (1877).  It is a heritage building that “displays features of the Italinate style”.  Most of the buildings around it are hospital buildings (Mt. Sinai and Princess Margaret).  There is usually a car parked in front.

old brick house in front, modern hospital buildings in the background

below: Another bit of history – the bell tower of St. George the Martyr Anglican Church stands near the south entrance of Grange Park.   The original church first opened its doors here in 1845.  It could seat 750 people and the tower was topped with a spire that reached 150 feet.  In the early morning of 13 Feb 1955, the church burned.   The new church is behind the tower and part of the grounds is now a garden dedicated to the memory of the old church and its early congregations

old brick bell tower of a church.  The church burned down many years ago, leaving the tower.  A new church was built behind but you can't see it in the picture

below: Just before the end of the post…  I’m throwing in one window picture because every walk needs a window as much as this wall needs a fresh coat of paint!

two windows with brown frames on a cream coloured wall with the paint peeling to reveal the red brick beneath

Toronto street sign, McCaul St.