Archive for the ‘history’ Category

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.

Another nice day, another ramble.

below: My starting point the other day was Castle Frank subway station (Bloor Street East, close to the top of Parliament Street).  This station opened in 1966 although the entrance that you see in the photo was an addition that was added only a few years ago.

photo taken from sidewalk on north side Bloor Street East, just outside of Castle Frank subway station, looking west towards downtown. Subway station in the foreground, high rise buildings in the background

below: An interesting round window in the station entrance.  You can see part of the window in the picture above, peaking from around the side of the tree trunk.

a round window with a metal grille inside. Grille is made of trapezoid shapes in a repeating pattern.

below: The subway “tunnel” between Sherbourne and Castle Frank stations isn’t really a tunnel at all.  This view surprised me – I know that I have driven under this structure on Rosedale Valley Road.  I don’t recall knowing that it was for the subway.

Downtown Toronto is in the distance. The subway tunnel between Sherbourne and Castle Frank stations is in the foreground. It's really a covered bridge as it passes over Rosedale Valley Road.

below: “It’s never too cold for rainbow shoelaces.”  Sage advice for the winter time.

words spray painted on a low concrete fence, It's never too cold for rainbow shoelaces.

below: Graffiti under the bridge…  even though I am drawn to bridges I didn’t go down the hill to investigate.  That can be another blog post at another not so muddy time.   This spot can be accessed from the Rekai Family Parkette which is at the SE corner of Bloor and Parliament, tucked in between Bloor and St. James Cemetery.

graffiti under the arches of a bridge, white skull painting, lots of trees, winter time but no snow. No leaves on the trees, brown ground.

below: More graffiti seen from the parkette.

graffiti on the side of a concrete bridge, based on the letter P C and E.

below: St. James Cemetery was opened in July of 1844 at a time when the population of Toronto was around 18,000 and most of them lived south of Queen Street.   The cemetery would have been out in the country but now, more than 150 years later, the cemetery is in the middle of the city.  There are 89,000 interments here including two of my great x 2 (or 3?) grandparents and some of their descendants (they’re not shown in the picture though!).

many tombstones in a cemetery, different shapes and sizes, a couple of crosses, a couple of rectangles with rounded tops, a tall one in the shape of a skinny keyhole, trees in the background, no leaves

below: A little reminder that Christmas wasn’t all that long ago.

a small statue of an angel sitting on a pedestal in a cemetery, a Christmas wreath in green with red bows and brown pine cones is behind the angel.

The fastest route from Castle Frank to Cabbagetown is straight down Parliament Street.  But of course, the direct route is rarely the one that I take.  The area is full of little alleys and lanes and they all call to me.

below: These animals are part of a mural painted in support of Riverdale Farm which is nearby.

on Darling Lane (street sign in the picture), a mural of two horses, part of a larger mural featuring farm animals

below: Reading the news, many newses.

a street art piece, a bench and man are painted on a wall, the man is holding a newspaper that is a made of paste ups of the word news many times.

below: In Flos Williams Lane there are a number of stenciled words.  “Guilty until proven rich” I first saw here a couple of years ago.  I don’t walk this lane very often so I’m not sure how long ago the other sayings appeared.

below: Like most walks, there were interesting windows to be seen.

two windows on a red brick house with stone foundation, basement window and first storey window. The upper one has a red curtain

below: …and doors too. A very bright orange door!

a very bright orange front door.

below: But unlike most walks, there was a giant gecko or lizard.

a life like model of a giant green gecko on the small roof over a window of a pet store.

One of the appeals of Cabbagetown is the number of older houses, many of which are heritage buildings.

below: This house was built in 1858 and its first resident was Charles MacKay, a customs official who lived here from 1858 to 1865.  The infill line of townhouses behind it are a much more recent development.

an old historic brick house with black and white trim, a small statue in the front yard, set back from the sidewalk, large tree,

below:  Cabbagetown has more of these ‘workers cottages’ or ‘gothic cottages’ than anywhere else I’ve walked.   This arrangement of three identical houses in a row is especially rare (but not unique, at least not yet).

a row of three gothic cottages joined together, all pale yellow with dark green trim

below:  This cottage is in the middle of another threesome but they are not identical.  The yellow door on the pale blue house is a wonderful colour combination.  A little bit of sunshine.

a gothic cottage painted pale blue with white trim,also a bright yellow front door.

below:  Even though it has been renovated and an addition added to the back, this house still retains some of its historical roots.

a renovated and modernized gothic cottage with an addition out the back.

below: And more history…  I was attracted to this building by the beautiful double doors.  Once I was close to the house, I noticed the ghost sign hiding behind the tree branches. The Daily Herald is no longer but it the mark it made here remains.   A mysterious mark though because I can find no record of such a publication.  In fact, probably “the sign had been part of a play or film that the home’s owner was involved in and he installed the sign on an act of whimsy.”  (source, bottom of page)  You gotta love whimsy!

an old brick building, two storeys, now a house, with double doors in a dark teal colour. Ghost sign above the window that says Daily Herald

below: Whimsy you say?  Bright pink flamingo whimsy in a store window.   They look like they’re ready for a rainy day.

three bright flamingo heads as umbrella handles in a shop window. Pink flamingos and pink umbrellas.

below:  There were also some store windows that were a bit more serious.

store window, selling statues of religios figures, many statues of Mary and Jesus.

below:   I think that Carlton and Parliament is one of the most colourful intersections in the city and I always enjoy passing this way.  This is the view if you are standing in the middle of Carlton street and looking east towards Parliament.

looking down Carlton street towards parliment, brick stores directly ahead, some cars on the street,

below: This large colourful mural on the wall of Cabbagetown Corner Convenience,  NE corner of Carlton and Parliament, has become a landmark since it was painted by Ryan Dineen in 2005.

mural on the side of a building in cabbagetown. people in old fashioned clothing plus swirls of colour. street scene beside it, people on sidewalk walking in front of stores.

below: The 506 Carlton streetcar makes its left turn from Parliament.   It’s never a quick and easy turn.  In fact, it’s usually frustratingly slow.

TTC streetcar, Carlton car, turns from Parliament street onto Carlton, stores, sidewalk and people in the background, reflections in street car windows.
And in case you were wondering, yes, you can find cabbages in cabbagetown. This big one is on the Cabbagetown mural on the side of the LCBO building.

painting of a cabbage in a mural

And yes, there is a lot more to Cabbagetown than this…
and I will use that as an excuse to return another time!

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

 

Tucked into a space between City Hall and the Court House, is a construction site.  Up until recently it was a parking lot.  Soon it will be a new Court House.  Like all construction sites in Toronto, it is surrounded by hoardings to separate it from the streets and sidewalks.
a yellow digger, not working at the moment, sits in a vacant lot, slightly snow covered, the back of Toronto City Hall is in the background.

On two sides of the lot, the hoardings have been covered with a mural that was commissioned by Infrastructure Ontario.  It is “Picturing the Ward”and it is an exhibit about the area that once existed here, The Ward.  It was an area where many immigrants first settled.  It was roughly in the rectangle formed by College St., Yonge St., Queen St., and University Ave.   In the 1830’s it was home to Blacks escaping slavery, it saw waves of Irish, Eastern European Jews, Italians, and Chinese to name a few.

On the west side (along Centre Avenue), there are old photos, newspaper clippings, and stories of individuals who once lived in the area.   The content was collected and curated by the Toronto Ward Museum, a new ‘museum without walls’  in the city.   PATCH (part of The STEPS Initiative) designed and installed the mural.  The stories are in both English and French.

below: A segment of the mural with a story titled “Hungering for Success”.   It is the story of Edward and Donna Pasquale nee Bernardo.  Both were born in Italy and both were brought to the Ward by their parents.  They met here and married in 1918.  Edward and his brother Pamphilo founded Pasquale Brothers store on Elm Street.   During WW2 Pamphilo spent three years imprisoned in an internment camp in Petawawa along with other Italian, German, and Japanese Canadians that the government considered enemies of the state.  Edward remained in Toronto running the store.

part of larger mural, small tree branch in front, tall office building behind, mural has old photos in blue tones as well as a lot of words about the history of the area

below: The newspaper story from ‘The Toronto Star’ of 3rd October 1907 describes the death of Mrs. Hazleton, a widow with two children, who was hit by a car at Yonge & Bloor.  The car was driven by Mr. F.E. Mutton.  Yes, back then the driver of the car was named in the newspaper.

old photos in blue tones on a mural, along with a picture of an old newspaper clipping describing an automobile accident at Yonge & Bloor in which someone died.

below: The middle section is a collage of cyanotypes (an old photographic process which results in blue pictures) produced by PA System (aka Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson) .  The images are of artifacts uncovered during the excavation of the area along with some heirlooms contributed by former Ward residents.  A couple of CBC people were braving the cold that day too!

part of mural on a snowy corner, photos in blue tones, a CBC cameraman and reporter are standing on the sidewalk in front of the mural

below: The south side of the hoardings are along Armoury Street.  This section is called, These Stories Are Not Unlike Your Stories. Old photographs of the area have been reproduced in shades of blue.  Orange ‘bubbles’ contain stories.  Most of the photographs are from the City of Toronto Archives although some come from private sources.

part of a larger mural in Toronto, blue photos, with words written in large capital letters, These Stories Are Not Unlike Your Stories

below: On one side, the pictures are printed in reverse and the accompanying words are in French.  The French stories are translations of the English ones.

part of larger mural, reprints in blue tones of historical photos from city archives of ould buildings from the part of the city called The Ward that was demolished in the 1950's to make way for new City Hall

below: The people who lived in The Ward were poor and their housing was sub-standard.  In 1911 a report by the city’s Department of Health described how bad the living conditions were for the people here.  Largely because of that report, demolition of the area started soon after to make space for office towers and government buildings.  I’m not sure how long parts of The Ward survived, but it was in the 1950’s that the original Chinatown along Elizabeth Street was demolished to make way for Nathan Phillips Square.

part of larger mural, reprints in blue tones of historical photos from city archives of ould buildings from the part of the city called The Ward that was demolished in the 1950's to make way for new City Hall

below: Some of the orange bubbles contain quotes from descendants of former residents of the area.  The bottom quote is: “My mom use to say, ‘We were all poor.  No one had anything.  It was normal.  Everyone was in the same position so we didn’t worry about it too much.'”  by Brian Banks, grandson of John & Mary Colestock, former residents.

 

part of larger mural, reprints in blue tones of historical photos from city archives of ould buildings from the part of the city called The Ward that was demolished in the 1950's to make way for new City Hall

below: There is still a lot of work to be done on the site!   The mural will be on view until at least October of next year. If you are interested in the details of the mural, more about the people featured, or the events described, then the best place to start looking is the section of the Toronto Ward Museum website that is devoted to this project.

two red diggers on top of a pile of dirt on a snow covered vacant lot, large multirise buildings in the background