Archive for the ‘landmarks’ Category

While walking on Yonge Street on the day of the Pride Parade, I noticed that the St. Charles tavern clock tower was visible once more.  Also on that day, I heard someone ask the person beside them what the tower was.  The answer was something like, “I don’t know what it is but it looks interesting.”  I went back this weekend to take some pictures – not quite so many people in the way!

below: The St. Charles as it was back in the 1950’s.  It was built by Charles Hemstead who had made his money in real estate and horse breeding.  Hemstead sold it in 1958 but it continued as the St. Charles until 1987.

black and white photo from 1955 of the St. Charles Tavern and it's clock tower on YOnge Street

photo credit: 1955. Photo by James Salmon, originally found  at Toronto Public Library. I found it online at Toronto.com in an excellent article about  the history of the building and its role in the LGBQT community.

I have always associated the tower with the St. Charles Tavern but I now know that the tower pre-dates the St. Charles by many decades. It was built as part of Fire Hall Number 3 in the 1870s. Although the fire hall is long gone (it was replaced by the fire hall on Grosvenor Street in the 1920’s), the clock tower has survived several changes of ownership.  It is also going to survive the next change which, of course, is the building of a large glass and steel condo on the southwest corner of Yonge & Grosvenor.

below: The site has been cleared.  Looking south from Grosvenor.

construction site, downtown Toronto, clock tower of St. Charles tavern, tall condos, construction equipment

below: Looking north up Yonge Street towards Grosvenor.  The yellow scaffolding is holding up the brick facade of 480 and 482 Yonge Street.  It too will be incorporated into the new development.  Can you count how many new condos there are? Did you notice that the two clock faces say different times?

looking north up Yonge Street towards Grosvenor, clock tower still there, yellow scaffolding holding up the facade of an old brick building

The clock kept time until 1969.  It had been maintained by the city up until then.  Repairs and upkeep stopped when the city decided that the cost was too much.   Maybe it will function once again in the near future.

St. Charles tavern clock tower stands on a construction site as a woman on a bike cycles past

below: An archway has been built into the back of the clock tower.

close up of the lower part of clock tower, with archway that has been constructed at the back

looking up, condo towers and the clock tower from the St. Charles tavern

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.

Demolition of Honest Ed’s has begun.

sign on construction oardings that says warning: gentrification in progress

below: Sign of the times that says: “If you’re reading this it’s too late”.

part of exterior wall of Honest Eds with posters pasted on to it. One poster says If you are reading this

below:  Looking through the window to the rubble inside.   The staircases remain but the floors and walls are gone.

building being demolished, back wall gone, starting on the interior, looking through a window on side wall, to see the exposed insides, staircases, and rubble

below: Spray painted on the fence, “toujour dans mon coeur”.  Forever in my heart.

side of Honest Eds building, Markham street side, green fence around it, spray paint words on fence, toujours dans mon coeur

below: From behind. The section to the east of the alley is still intact and the alley is still accessible.

part of Honest Eds is still standing and part is demolished

below: The view from Markham street.

two front end loaders work to demolsh the back part of Honest Eds as well as sort and clear the rubble

sgn that says Sidewalk closed pedestrians use other sidewalk, beside Honest Eds on Bathurst street as they get the building ready to tear down

Now that Honest Ed’s stands empty, the walls and windows have become home to advertising posters and graffiti.  Here is a sample of what was there yesterday.

below: Love mix #2 says “Music is the best way for me to say I love you”.

graffiti man drawn with two cassette tapes, one as head and the other as body, love mix #2,

below: Hermes 24 Eau de Parfum at $1500 per ounce.  Not sure what “extrait” means!

advertising posters and graffiti on a wall, graffiti is a mock ad for perfume at $1500

below: Urban ninja squadron and planet_selfie get together!

urban ninja squadron man with planet_selfie character in red with red helmet, pasteup on a wall

below: Topsy turvy wall. The puzzle pieces weren’t put together correctly!

graffiti on a plywood covering

below: Another ‘Diversity is Hope’ pasteup

diversity is hope pasteup with picture of black woman with dreadlocks

below: There are a few of these “Why didn’t Drake save Honest Eds” posters on the walls.  This is the only one that has been added to with “He had $2.00 less then (sic) God” and “He made 1 billion”.

Why didn't Drake save Honest Eds poster that someone has written on

below: You are free!

you are free is written in black paint on an old glass case on the outside of Honest Eds

below: Pasteup of Heath Ledger as The Joker

Heath Ledger as the Joker, paper paste up of the head and shoulders

below: Red and glittery gold.

red paper paste up with gold glitter all around it.

two paste ups on a red wall

old glass case for posters, red frame around the glass, posters stuck on the front of the glass

advertising posters and graffiti on a wall, graffiti is a mock ad for ladies watch at $3150. ad is woman holding a pine cone

advertising posters and graffiti on a wall, graffiti is a mock ad for men's shirts at $389

Once again, the last Sunday of the month was Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market.  There was a large turnout this past weekend!  Lots of people, music, food, sunshine, and good times.

below: Dancing in the steet

a small group of men are playing instruments and singing Spanish songs, a crowd of people have gathered to watch, outdoors, on a street, some of the people have started dancing on the street

Two men stand beside their bikes talking, a woman in a straw hat an dsunglasses sits behind a table with a yellow table cloth with items for sale on the table

a large number of people in an alley. A banner over the alley says Kensington Flea Market and Beer Garden

below: A song, a mandolin, and a Polish Boy Scout belt buckle?

two musicians, one is playing a mandolin and singing the other is just singing, they are both sharing the same microphone

below: She is showing lots of courage!

a mannequin sits on an upper balcony but only her legs and feet show in the picture, hanging from the balcony are some pieces of paper with the word courage written on them

a young man drills out the center of a pineapple while two women blend the chunks into juice. The juice is then poured back into the hollowed out pineapples and sold as a drink

a head mannequin in a store window, with an orange piece of fabric wrapped aroungd her head. Other fabric in the window. also two people reflected in the glass

two men with baseball caps are sitting on yellow Muskoka chairs on a sunny afternoon. One is facing the camer - he is holding a piece of paper in one hand, he is yawning.

below: A quiet corner for a good book

double entrance to semi-divided house, both doors are open, there are bookcases beside the doors. In one of the doorways, a boy in a green t-shirt sits and reads

looking into the window of a bakery/restaurant. Three people are sitting at a table that looks out the window. One is one his phone and the other two are looking out the window. The sign on window, in red lettering is Ricas tortas,

items for sale on a table outside, three shoes (no pairs), one gold, one red velvet and one patterned, on a purple table cloth. Also for sale, two round orange lamp shades

below: Numbers on the alley by #whatsvictorupto

an alley in Kensington with a painting by #whatsvictorupto on the ground - numbers

below: Drinks – the changing nature of Kensington market is reflected in the food and drink that is available.  There is now a large South American influence in the area so products like Inca Cola and Chicha can be bought.

sample of drinks for sale at a food stall at a street festival, nestea, coke, water, some soft drinks as well as south american products like chicha (purple) and

below: A poser bunny still lurks in an alley.  Everything around him as changed be he remains.

an old poser bunny on a wall in an alley

below: Sign on phone – Stop busting our phone!  Outside the Moonbean Coffee Shop

a small phone booth outside a coffee shop with a patio. Some people are sitting on the patio, Moonbean coffee. On the phone is a round white hand written sign that says Please stop busting our phone

a man looks at sunglasses at a table outside where they are for sale. The sign says Pedstrian Day Sale, sunglasses ten dollars, straw hats ten dollars

an old green and white pickup truck parked in a driveway in Kensington Market, beside a store with a very faded sign that barely says King of Kensington

below: Who you callin’ a pretty boy?

an ugly white dog, on a leash, is looking at the camera, outside, on the street, with the legs and feet of some people

items in the window of a store, as well as on a table set up outside the store

below: The Joker and a friend.

in an alley, two graffiti pieces. One is a pasteup, realistic and detailed drawing of Heath Ledger as the Joker and the other is a quick black line drawing of a man's face

If you go looking for Henry Moore at the corner of Dundas and McCaul, you will be disappointed.

green construction fence around a small part of the sidewalk at the corner of Dundas and McCaul, equipment inside, one small gingko tree, building says Art Gallery of Ontario

Instead, you have to walk around the corner.

yellow pedestrian crossing sign that has been altered to look like 2 art students, one with a cardboard tube and the other with a portfolio case

After residing at the corner of Dundas and McCaul since 1974,  Henry Moore’s sculpture “Large Two Forms” was moved to the newly renovated Grange Park on the 3rd of June.   Grange Park is behind the Art Gallery of Ontario as well as OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University).

 the Henry Moore sculpture, Large Two Forms, in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario , a couple on a bench beside it

The new setting suits the sculpture.  There is more room for people to interact with the sculpture and the park makes a more picturesque background for those who like to take photos.

 the Henry Moore sculpture in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario - Large Two Forms, with the blue wall of the AGO in the background

a girl in orange shorts and purple shoes stands on top of the Henry Moore sculpture in Grange Park behind the Art Gallery of Ontario

I’d be interested in knowing if the AGO has any plans for the now empty corner at Dundas and McCaul.  Was the construction pictured above just to remove the platform that the sculpture used to be on?  Or is there more to it than that?

Also, I don’t mean to spoil your fun, but how long will it be until a “do not climb” sign appears in Grange Park?   I’m not advocating for one – I just know how the city acts on things like this.   Part of me says, “Quick, get your selfie from on top of the sculpture while you can!”

A little extra that I discovered this morning.   As I wrote this blog post I kept thinking about “Down By the Henry Moore”, a song from my past.   All I could recall was the title.   I found a great version of it on youtube –  the song was written and sung by Murray McLauchlan and was released in 1974.   The Henry Moore referred to in the song is the one in front of City Hall but the video on youtube has some fabulous old picture of Toronto!  Many thanks to john allore who made the video and uploaded it to youtube.  I really enjoyed seeing the old images, down memory lane and all that.   If you are interested, this is the link;  it will open youtube in a new page.  You may have to suffer through a few seconds of ads and you have my apologies for that.

A walk along the Don River.

The Don Valley Brick Works (or Evergreen Brickworks) is an old clay quarry and brick factory that operated between 1889 and 1984.  Today the site consists of 16 heritage buildings and an adjacent 16-hectare public park known as Weston Family Quarry Garden that includes wetlands, hiking trails, and wildflower meadows.

below: Interior of the kiln building.  Some of the kilns have been removed to create a larger open area and year round event space.

large ceiling pipes, exhaust system for old brickworks kilns, some of the old kilns as well

below: anser faces on the exterior yellow brick wall.

yellow brick wall with two large blue anser faces on it, as well as part of the word Toronto in yellow bricks

below: The Brickworks “living map” of Toronto is looking very healthy.  It is “Watershed Consciousness” by Ferruccio Sardella and it depicts the rivers and ravines in the city.    Some of the greens are looking a little tall (like they don’t belong there? a few strays?).

a pink chair and a yellow chair sit in front of a sculpture that is a metal relief map of Toronto, green plants grow in the areas of the map that are ravines and green spaces in the city

below: Bullrushes growing in the wetland area around the pond.

narrow brown bullrushes growing amongst the reeds in the wetlands at brickworks

below:  Ideas!  I’ve been meaning to find the end of this bridge and walk at least part of it – if I do, I’ll let you know!  It’s the bridge that you see beside the Brickworks.  It was built in 1928 and is 335m long.   It is part of the Don Branch of the CPR and it ran from Leaside Junction to the downtown core until the line was closed in 2007.

two people walk across an unused railway bridge

After a short visit at the Brickworks, including a quick bite to eat at the Farmers Market, we headed south.  The first part of the walk was back along Bayview to Pottery Road since Brickworks is on the west side of the Don River and the trail is on the east side.  I didn’t take any pictures – walking along a major road that doesn’t have a sidewalk needs all of your attention.   There is a bike path that parallels Bayview on the east side but getting to it was either a long detour or a dash across the road and over a barrier.   We made the decision to stay on the west side and cross with the lights at Pottery Road.

below: Although the path is through the ravine and it runs beside the Don River, it also runs adjacent to the Don Valley Parkway.  There are only a few places on the trail where you can see the highway but there is a constant rumbling noise from the cars passing by.

cyclist on a path, riding away from the camera, fence to the left of him/her, green signs on the Don Valley Parkway to the far left. exit sign for Bayview and Bloor.

below: This is the same railway line as the bridge shown above but farther down the valley.  A very makeshift bike crossing.

two cyclists walk their bikes across loose pieces of plywood over unused railway tracks

below: Standing at the same spot as the above photo, but turned around 180 degrees… You can see how overgrown the old tracks are.

looking along an abandoned railway line, overgrown tracks, trees on either side, apartment buildings far away in the distance

below: Two different railway lines run down the Don River Valley.   The line shown here, the CN Bala subdivision line,  is very active including use by GO trains that service the Oriole, Richmond Hill, and Newmarket route.   The Bala subdivision tracks continue all the way to Sudbury.

a cyclist walks his bike over a gravel travel under a bridge that has just been renovated, another bike rider is dismounting

below: A quiet spot by the abandoned tracks.

an old rusted side of a railway trestle bridge, lots of greenery from the trees growing around it, a man is standing at one end of the bridge, unused tracks
below: There are a few spots along the trail where there was damage from the high water levels in the spring.  Most if the problems are with the banks od the river.  The trail itself is in good shape.

an orange plastic fence runs between wooden stakes, danger, marking the parts of a riverside trail that got washed away or damaged in high water in the spring

below: Kayaking on the river.

a yellow kayak with two people in it passes under an old railway bridge that has graffiti on it. Don River

below: Keeping an eye on the water level.

surveillance camera on a tall pole, aimed at rulers and markers on the far side of a river, keeping an eye on the water level

cyclists on a path through the trees, a bridge support is beside the path

a big white happy face graffiti on a bridge support

below: Does anyone know what the 6 drum shaped things are?

two boys ride bikes past the Mill Street Junction hydro station, fenced in area with danger signs,

below: Standing on the old metal bridge across the Don River at Eastern Avenue, looking south.  When the Don Valley Parkway was built, it cut through Eastern Avenue.  Eastern was rerouted, swinging north a bit before crossing over the DVP and splitting into Richmond, Adelaide, and Eastern. (depending in which direction you’re travelling).   If you stand on the bridge and look directly east, there is still a road there that dead ends at the highway.  It is now Sunlight Park Road and it is provides access to the BMW dealership that you can see as you drive past on the DVP.

metal work of the side of a bridge frames the view of a river and trees and city buildings, Don River, abandoned bridge

I couldn’t see any park in that area so I decided that if there is a Sunlight Park it’s teensy tiny.  Luckily I didn’t stop there – I did some research and discovered that Sunlight Park was actually the first baseball stadium built in Toronto.   It was built in 1886 and was first known as the Toronto Baseball Grounds – four storeys, wood, and the home of the Toronto baseball team from 1886 to 1897.   And where is Sunlight in all this?  The stadium became known as Sunlight Park after the Sunlight Soap factory that was built by the Lever Brothers in 1900/01 in the same area.   The stadium was demolished in 1913.

below: The building in the background was the Lever Brothers (the Unilever) soap factory.  There is now a sign on the building that says firstgulf.com – they are the development company that owns the site.  NOW magazine published an interesting story about the building as it looks at the moment (with lots of great pictures!).  The path through the striped underpass joins the Don River Trail to Corktown Commons.

two men walk through a park towards an underpass under a railway track, factory in the background.

 Stay safe.  Protect the plants (and the humans!)

altered sign. Instead of saying Protect the Plants it now says Protect the humans.