Archive for the ‘old buildings’ Category

Something new or something different.
And for sure, something’s changed.

below: Too cool for school. Dundas Square.

a young boy in sunglasses stands on one foot in front of a water fountain at Dundas square

sitting by the water at Dundas square, a mother and two kids, an older man in a hat is nearby

a man stands in dundas square, with a rolling suitcase in one hand

two men sit beside a store window with female mannequins in summer clothes, another man is walking past

below: The north east corner of Victoria and Lombard (looking north on Victoria).

downtown buildings

below: This building is on the north west corner of Victoria and Richmond.  It is the Confederation Life building, constructed in 1892.   According to Wikipedia, afire gutted the top floor of the building and destroyed the roof in June 1981 but the rest of the structure remained intact.

the top corner of an old red brick building with a green roof, with a new glass building behind it

below: A 1912 picture of the Confederation Life Building.  Photo source

vintage photo from 1912 postcard of the confederation life building at the corner of Victoria and Richmond streets. built 1892, large red brick building with ornate roofline

three buildings joined together, one red brick, one beige stucco and one a purplish brown. A small tree grows in front of them. Four windows.

below: Fran’s restaurant at the corner of Victoria and Shuter – a Toronto institution.

scaffolding around the building with an orange Frans sign on it - Frans restaurant at Shuter and Victoria streets

below: And just a bit farther north on Victoria is the Senator which is even older than Fran’s.  That’s a lot of food!

large mural on the side of the Senator restaurant, a man in glasses holds a steaming cup of coffee with plates of food in front of him, by his shoulder, bacon and eggs with toast as well as a plate with a sandwich and a side of salad. A third plate has a piece of chocolate cake

below: Signs on Victoria Street including a marvelous old Green P Parking sign.

signs, senator restaurant, public parking, and an old green _ parking sign

below: Protest poster with a message for Prime Minister Trudeau.  Will you compensate us for the mercury crisis?

large black and white poster on an empty building with plywood covering doors and windows.

below: Breaking my habit of not photographing people sleeping on the streets – it was the large green frog pillow that made me chuckle and reach for my camera.

a person is sleeping on their back on the sidewalk. Their head is on a large green frog pillow

below: And speaking of frogs, a group of them have appeared at College Park.   A group of frogs is called an army… but if these are actually toads then a group of toads is a knot.   Hmm…. frogs prefer water while toads live on land.  There are also differences in their eggs, tongues and teeth but the most noticeable difference is in their eyes.  Frogs have round eyes that bulge out.  Toads eyes are more oval and don’t bulge.  Conclusion – these are frogs searching for water.

two bronze sculptures of frogs in a park

Bronze sculpture of a large frog with a water pond (no water in it) behind it

below: Looking north on Yonge street towards Alexander.  The very tall building is at Yonge & Bloor.

looking north on yonge street towards alexander and bloor. tall buildings, old buildings, cranes, traffic

below: More Yonge Street.  Another juxtaposition of old and new; the opportunities for this kind of image are becoming commonplace.  Also,  I could probably take pictures on Yonge every day and still miss some of the changes.

a variety of ages of buildings on Yonge street from those built in the 1800s to modern glass buildings.

below: Plaid, paw prints, and pink

people at an intersection, a woman in a red and black plaid jacket and pink shoes

below: One is happier than the others.

a man and a young girl look out the window of a TTC streetcar with a poster on the side advertising Aladdin movie

below: Dundas Street, just west of University Ave., looking towards Simcoe and St. Patrick streets.

a cyclist with an otange shirt sits on his bike while looking at his phone. He's stopped behind an orange and black striped construction cone on the side of a street

below: North side of Dundas street, just west of Bay.

downton buildings with a construction zone

below: Who doesn’t like bacon?  I prefer mine a bit crispier.

a woman is dressed in a bacon costume and standing on the sidewalk on Dundas Street giving out flyers

a couple crosses a street by a streetcar, an Asian man and a woman in a teal head scarf

“Days go running and hiding
The weeks are going slippy and sliding
Years leave quicker every time they come”
from “When We Were Young” by Passenger

 

The other evening I was going to try some evening photography along the waterfront starting around Sugar Beach. As I walked down Lower Jarvis, this view caught my attention – looking west along Lakeshore Blvd.  It’s a view that has been changing very rapidly.    I counted at least seven cranes as I stood there waiting for some of the traffic to clear.

downtown Toronto, looking west towards all the tall buildings, looking along the Lakeshore with lots of traffic on it, many buildings in the foreground under construction with 7 cranes in the photo

below: Sugar Beach.   Unfortunately a film crew was already here so I didn’t stick around.

a group of people standing near the waterfront at sugar beach with its pink umbrellas and white muskoka chairs

below: One of the buildings to the east of Sugar Beach is a new George Brown College building.

looking up to a second floor of a building that has a very large window, three round tables and some chairs can be seen through the window

below: Film crew trucks ready to be loaded back up

the back of two large trucks with their doors open as cables, tools and other equipment for filming is being load back into the trucks

The strip of green that you see on the right side of the above photo is part of Sherbourne Common (at the foot of Lower Sherbourne Street).    From here east to Parliament is now being developed as East Bayside and is a continuation of the now completed development from Jarvis (Sugar Beach) to Sherbourne.   East Bayside is bounded by Queens Quay and Lake Ontario as well as Sherbourne and Parliament.  1800 residences are planned in this space.

below: Some of the condos are under construction.  Same old same old; yawn.  They may look a little more interesting from a distance, but at street level they are hopelessly banal.  If you want to buy a condo here, there are only a few left in the two buildings known as Aqualina and Aquabella.   In the latter, only 3 are available, starting at a two bedroom suite for 2.8 million.  Five million dollars will get you a three bedroom penthouse with two terraces but if you want to pay an additional 1 1/2 million you get 4,000 square feet on two floors (3 bedrooms and 2 terraces as well).

new condo development by the lake

below: At least the “linear park” and waterfront path is being continued eastward along Lake Ontario.

construction of a waterfront path

orange wheel barrows at a construction site beside a lake

below:  Work is also underway on Queens Quay East.   As a frame of reference, the tall building behind the billboard is in the Distillery District.  Lakeshore Blvd and the Gardiner run behind the buildings with the blue trim.

billboard, construction on queens quay east

What hasn’t yet been started is construction of two office buildings that will front on Queens Quay, called T3 Bayside.  They are going to be made of wood which should be interesting.

There has been a lot of talk for the past 12 to 14 years about extending streetcar service along this route.  So far a lot of planning and a lot of talk but that’s it.  An LRT right of way running along the south side of the street has been approved but the East Bayfront LRT project, (aka Waterfront LRT) has stalled because of the usual political shenanigans and financial hiccups.   A major part of the delay has been the question of how to link an East Bayfront LRT to Union station.  The present tunnel is barely sufficient for the streetcars that use it now.  Just recently (April 2019) the city released a report on how to address this issue.  I haven’t read it all yet (it’s 40 pages long) but the gist of it is that the city is considering two options – 1. rebuilding the tunnel or 2. building an automated people moving system of some sort and leave all streetcars out of the tunnel.

below: There is a small trench down the center of the street.

danger sign on construction zone in the middle of the street, Queens Quay, looking west along the street towards downtown toronto

Any ideas what’s being planned for the north side of Queens Quay?

two orange and black traffic contruction cones on the street in front of an old white industrial building with red door frames and a wood loading dock with yellow trim
metal framework that is holding up a large billboard

below:  Queens Quay turns towards Parliament Street.  The blue building is a Sidewalk Labs information centre.  The land that Sidewalk Labs wants to develop, Quayside, is close by – south of Lakeshore and east of Parliament.  It also includes the little strip of land between Queens Quay and Lakeshore, i.e. that answers my question above about what happens on the north side of Queens Quay.  There was some rumour (plan?) about Sidewalk Labs being involved in development of some of the Portlands but is that still on?    As to what their plans are or where they are at now, I have no idea.  That’s probably another blog post!

many orange and black cones on a stretch of road that is having work done on it

The other day I heard rumours of a subway protest – i.e. a protest over the potential uploading of the responsibility for the TTC from the city to the province.   On the 27th of March there was a “day of action” at 40 subway stations during the morning rush, starting at 7:30 a.m.

below: Walking toward Eglinton subway station with the sun shining from behind me. Golden glass.

condo development, crane, single houses in the foreground, near Yonge & Eglinton

I couldn’t find anyone at Eglinton station (was I too early?) but there were 4 people handing out leaflets inside Bloor station.  I also saw this guy with an OPSEU flag by Wellesley station.

a man holds an OPSEU (a union) flag outside Wellesleysubway station as he stands with a woman while someone is taking their picture.

So much for the idea of a blog post about this day of action.  But it was a beautiful morning so I enjoyed the walk down Yonge street.  I don’t often walk here that early and I was surprised how quiet it was.  The light was also interesting.

Yonge Street

below: A mix of old and new architecture, looking south towards the old St. Charles tavern clock tower that is being incorporated into a new development.

looking south on Yonge street on a sunny morning, sun is shining on the St. Charles tavern clock tower, tall buildings behind it

below: Near Yonge & Bloor.  Preservation of an old building… and very big crane.

old brick three storey building stands alone by a construction site as new development goes on around it. large crane in the background

two fire trucks parked on a street of high rise and midsized apartment buildings

below: Looking north from Dundas under a watchful eye.

people cross Yonge street on the north side of Dundas, a big picture of an eye is on a billboard looking down over the street

looking up at relief sculpture and column on an old building that says erected 1905, a new condo tower is behind it

reflections in the large window of a building, people, bikes, and old city hall

below: Looking north from Queen Street.  The Eaton Centre is on the left in the foreground.  Play the game of ‘name that building’ or ‘I remember when’.

looking up (north) on Yonge street,

a blurry streetcar as it stops at a stop where two people are waiting

people crossing the street in front of a streetcar that is waiting for a red light. At thewest side of intersection of Queen and University

people waiting for a streetcar on Queen at Bay, standing outside a TD bank that has a video screen with a very large woman on it.

below: This was the largest group of “protesters” that I saw.  It was more of an information session than a protest, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

people handing out leaflets and brochures at Osgoode station, on the sidewalk outside the station exit. University Ave

below: People headed to work as I started home.

inside Osgoode subway station, at platform level, one subway is just closing its doors getting ready to leave, people are headed up the stairs.

 

Exploring new places often leads to interesting finds.  I’m not sure if you think demolition/redevelopment sites are interesting, but I came across this one when I went to Moccasin Trail (next blog, scroll up).

An empty building.  The grey hoardings completely block the view of whatever is inside.

grey plywood fence in front of a three storey brick rental apartment building that is empty and will be torn down in a residential neighbourhood

I tried walking the perimeter, but there is no access or viewpoint.  There are actually two buildings.  Apparently one of the buildings was damaged by fire (arson) in 2008.  The buildings have been empty since 2011.

a tall tree, winter time, stands in front of a grey plywood fence in front of a three storey brick rental apartment building that is empty and will be torn down

The old sign still stands beside the fence. It is faded enough that I can’t read it, even with some manipulation in photoshop.  The building in the background is also part of the redevelopment plan.

old faded sign on grass side yard beside grey plywood fence around building about to be demolished. Across the street is another building from the 1950s or 1960s.

The year on the development proposal sign is 2013.  It also states that three buildings will replace the ones being torn down, one of 10 storeys and two of 4 storeys.  That was six years ago.   In March 2017 a plan was approved by city council for an 8 storey condo and a 4 storey rental replacement building.

Development proposal sign in front of a three storey brick apartment building.

When I saw the state of the building above, I started taking some pictures.  I thought the building was empty.  But then I heard music coming from one apartment.  Then a woman came out on to a balcony to hang up a blanket.

40 moccasin trail building, three storey apartment

Two years ago, back in March of 2017, 12 of the 34 units were occupied.   I am not sure how many people are living there now.   When it was first built, it was probably quite nice – very suburban, very Don Mills.  Now the building is in very poor condition but I’m sure that’s because the landlord is waiting to be able to demolish the building.

papered over window and old white door on apartment, overgrown saplings in front

crooked metal railings beside a concrete set of stairs, brown and white building behind.

concrete steps, side of a brick building

overgrown trees in front of an apartment

City of Toronto report on this site (May 2017)

two low rise apartment buildings, grass between them and a large tree

It was a beautiful day on Monday when I visited the “Winter Stations” (scroll down to next blog post), cold but sunny.   I decided to walk north on Woodbine since I haven’t done that for a while.

below: Playing with mirrors while waiting for the washroom at Woodbine Beach because there is only one women’s washroom (why is there only one?)

a mirror shaped like a porthole with a green frame, on a bright blue wall, reflection of another porthole but on an orange wall in the mirror

below: From portholes to demolition holes – I made it as far as Queen and Woodbine where there is a large hole in the ground

at the intersection of Queen and Woodbine, a hole in the ground on the north east corner and a Pizza Pizza restaurant on the south east corner

… because just north of there I discovered alleys and small streets that I don’t remember walking.  Who can resist the allure of a red door?

looking down an alley in winter, two brown tire tracks for the cars, but lots of snow. Fences, trees, and a house on a street at the end with a red front door.

below: I went to Norway

street signs on a post. a one way sign pointing left, a green and white sign that says Norway Ave continues to the right ahead

below: And I passed the North Pole

a lawn decoration in a snow covered front yard, a flat wood snowman with red and white striped hat and scarf and a sign that says north pole

below: I even walked past this No Trespassing sign.  The old cars parked the house behind caught my eye but this was as far as I ventured.

a no trespassing sign on a wire fence, snow covered driveay, two old cars parked in the backyard, beyond the fence

When there is no planned route and you’re only following your nose or sticking to the sunny side of the street, you can run into some surprises.  There were a lot of older houses – here are a few of them:

below: There are still some of these Victorian rowhouses closer to downtown but I wasn’t expecting to find any here.   As it turns out, this was part of the village/town of East Toronto.  In 1888 it was a village with about 800 residents.  It became part of the City of Toronto twenty years later (and with 4200 more people).

two semi houses with gabled roofs and covered porches, from the 1800's. snowy street scene, large trees, winter

As it turns out, one of the streets that I walked on, Lyall Avenue, is a Heritage Conservation District.  The street was surveyed in 1884 and by 1888 a few houses were built on some of the fifty yard lots.  Most of the development occurred between 1909 and 1924.  It was definitely a middle class neighbourhood.   The full report published in 2006 appears on the City of Toronto planning department website.

an upper storey oriel window with curved edges

below: This house stands alone.  A very typical older Toronto house.

a typical old Toronto two storey house with peaked roof, reddish brick, two wondows upstairs, one large window downstairs, white front door with a small roof over the door, lots of yard

below: This tidy well-kept workers cottage can only be accessed from the lane.

a workers cottage that fronts onto a snow covered lane, grey vertical wood paneling on the outside, black roof

below: A white picket fence and wicker furniture waiting for spring.

a white picket fence in the snow, wicker chairs in the yard covered with snow

large two stroey brick houses, winter, street,

All of the above houses were north of Kingston Road where the lots sizes were fairly big.  South of Kingston Road, the houses are narrower and close together. (or joined together).

the backyards and back of houses in a row, winter,

below: This square, substantial sized brick building is on Kingston Road.  Between Woodbine Avenue and Main Street, Kingston Road runs along the crest of a ridge.

large old brick house on Kingston Road, three stories,

below: Newer residential buildings on Kingston Road.

part of three new buildings

below: 1922, looking west along Kingston Road from Main street.  That’s almost 100 years ago, and there were streetcars running here even then.  No cars, just a horse and wagon.

old black and white picture from 1922 of a dirt street with a street car track, hydro poles beside the road and a house

Photo credit: City of Toronto Archives. Found online in a ‘Beach Metro’ article where you’ll find more history of the area.

The next three photos are some of the typical two storey, flat roofed, brick, all in a row, stores and businesses that were built in Toronto in the early 1900’s and later.   If I remember correctly, these were all on Kingston Road.

a storefront trimmed in bright yellow and angled at the corner, intersection of Kingston Rd and Brookside

two stores, old architecture, two storey buildings with apartments on top

Perlux cleaners, old sign painted on side of building, convenience store, mounds of snow by the sidewalk

below: A warm and colourful summer scene painting behind a chainlink fence that surrounds the playground at  Kimberley Junior Public School.

colourful painting behind a chainlink fence in a school yard, winter, snow on the ground around it, picture is of three kids in large yellow hats, playing on green grass

below: Mural at Gerrard and Main.

karate, martial arts mural on a wall

below: The last architecture picture – this building with a turret at Kingston Road.  Here Main Street becomes Southwood Drive.

commercial building with a turret at an intersection

below: Looking north on Main Street from Gerrard.  Here the streetcar turns towards Main subway station.  The bus shelter in the middle of the street is definitely old style – one of the few remaining in the city.  From here Main street is a bridge over the railway tracks.

looking north up Main street from Gerard, streetcar tracks with a bus shelter in the middle of the street. old style bus shelter, Main street then goes up, as a bridge over the train tracks. Highrise apartment building in the background.

below: From the bridge, looking southeast over Danforth GO station. Prior to 1940, this was the location of York Station as well as the Grand Trunk Railway’s main freight yard.  The yard stretched along Gerrard Street and employed several hundred people.   At that time, Gerrard Street was called Lake View Avenue (could you see Lake Ontario from there?).

view from a bridge over railway tracks, Danforth GO station below, houses beyond. covered platforms between two sets of tracks

below: York station in 1890.  It was renamed Danforth in 1922 and demolished in 1974 to make way for the GO station.  The freight yard is to the right.

york railway station in 1890. train is letting off passengers

Photo credit: Toronto Public Library. The picture was found online in an article on Danforth station that appears on the Toronto Railway Historical Association website

 

below: Hanging out on the Danforth

large white sign with green GO logo, Danforth station. a group of pigeons is sitting on top of the sign.

 

But I didn’t hang out for long.  From here to Main Street subway station is only a few steps and that was enough walking.
My writing can be almost erratic as my walking!  I hope that I didn’t lose you along the way.

 

wooden chair outside, against the side of a house, snow on it.

I walk past Davisville Junior Public School fairly often…. or should I say, I used to walk past it.

I didn’t think about it too much until I heard that it was going to be demolished – or was it going to be saved?  Maybe I should take some photos of it as apparently it has some architectural value, an early 1960’s Modernist building.   Then, back in November, a construction fence appeared around the property.   One of those metal wire temporary fences that you see all over the city.  So much for saving the building.

 

Photos from November:

west end of Daviville public school with it's coloured panels on the upper floor, basketball nets in front, pavement

side entrance of Davisville public school before it was demolished, modernist archtecture brick building,

back of part of Davisville public school through chainlink fence, before demolition

crooked chainlink fence posts at the corner of a schoolyard, with metal construction fence inside that, school in the background, large paved area in front of the school

The building was also home to the Metropolitan Toronto School for the Deaf as well as Spectrum Alternative School.

red roses stuck in a chainlink fence as a memorial tribute to the school that is being demolished, MTSD 1962 to 2018 where MTSD is Metropolitan Toronto School for the Deaf.

below: Notice on the fence, permit to remove 21 trees.   A new elementary school is being built on the site.  In the meantime (for 2 years), Davisville Junior Public is being relocated to Vaughan Road in what was previously the Vaughan Road Academy.  Originally, the plan was to build the new school on the property (there was a large playground) and then tear down the old (Globe & Mail Feb 2017)

city notice posted on fence, permit to remove 22 trees. Notice that 44 trees will be planted once the building on the site (new elementary school) has been demolished

below: I past by the site for the first time in a few months and discovered that most of the school is now demolished.  Only a small portion by the front entrance remains and I suspect that that won’t be around for much longer.

small part of a school remains, debris scattered on the snow, digger at work in the background, apartment building in the distance

broken fence, plywood fence, and the remains of a school that is being demolished

old front entrance of Davisville public school, lots of snow, broken walls as it is in the proces sof being demolished.

Fall, Leaves, Fall
“Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.”
by Emily Bronte

 

As the leaves fall, bare branches are left behind and on a sunny day they make for wonderful shapes and shadows.  Riverdale Park, Broadview side.

tree in Riverdale Park, November, Bloor Viaduct in the background, also some highrise buildings

below: The more common angle for photos taken at Riverdale Park, the angle with the Toronto skyline in the background.  I wasn’t as interested in the skyline yesterday, it was the trees and shadows that I was focusing on.

trees in Riverdale Park, Toronto skyline and CN Tower in the distance, grass, long shadows, no leaves on the trees.

below: There is a pedestrian bridge over the Don Valley Parkway that connects the two sides of Riverdale Park.  This is view looking south.

looking south from a bridge over the Don Valley Parkway road, with cars driving north and south, looking towards bridge at Dundas Street, Don River to the right,

below: Two cars and three bridges.  This is from the same bridge as above, but this time looking northwest over the Don River towards the Bloor Viaduct.  The CPR bridge is in the middle (with the graffiti) and the pedestrian bridge for the lower Don Trail is the orange-brown one.

two cars driving on the Don Valley Parkway, past the Don River and two bridges over the river. In the distance is the Bloor Viaduct, trees, and some apartment buildings.

below: While crossing Riverdale Park, I spotted this sign.  It’s behind a chainlink fence and partially hidden by shrubs and small trees.  From where I was standing I could hardly see any water that one might use for a rink.   There is a pond back there – it’s the pond at the bottom of the hill on the Riverdale Farm property.

surrounded by small trees, a wooden sign with yellow lettering that says Danger Skating Prohibited by law.

below: The irregular curves of the trees contrasted with the lines and diamonds formed by the staircase that leads down into Riverdale Park (or up from the park!)

looking down a hill covered by dead leaves, a set of stairs winds its way up the hill, some trees too

below: More trees – this time in the Necropolis cemetery.

Necropolis cemetery, some tombstones, a pine tree, a tree with autumn leaves and some trees with no leaves, green grass

below: A tree of a different kind.

the shadow of a tree and all its leaves on a wood fence in an alley

a small amount of snow and ice on the ground, some leaves that have fallen off trees and are on the ground.

Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
by Robert Frost
***

 

below: The Virginia Creeper leaves have turned and fallen and left the berries behind to dry and wither.  This plant is found all over the city, especially in the lanes and alleys.

blue berries on vines, no leaves, on a wood fence

below: Brilliant colour of the berries on the Bittersweet Vine. This plant produces a yellow berry that bursts open to reveal a red interior.

orange and red berries on vines, black background.

below: Another sign that it’s November, the snack bar by Riverdale Farm is closed for the winter.

the front door of Park Snacks, a building on a corner, pale turquoise with lots of decorative finishes, a wood door, pink and cream coloured trim,

below: An open gate, leading past the burning bushes to the front door.

a wrought iron fence and open gate in front of a brick house built in the workers cottage, or gothic cottage, style. Red leaves on burning bushes type shrub on either side of path leading to front door

below: A Lab patiently waits by the door.

red double door, front door of house, porch with pumpkins on it, also a dog, a labrador retreiver, lying on the porch

below:  Another front yard and another dog… This vintage fire hydrant, decorated as a dalmatian in a fireman’s helmet.  There is newer yellow fire hydrant closer to the sidewalk in the same yard so I suspect that this one is not functional.

vintage fire hydrant in a front yard, faded painting of a dog on it, face, and some blue spots, cap of hydrant is painted like a fireman's hat.

below: More silliness – a brick wall with a tiny window in what used to be a larger arched window.  Now it’s only big enough for a toilet paper roll.

a brick wall, an old arched window has been bricked in, leaving a small window, in the window is a roll of toilet paper

below: I’ll end this post with a couple of unicorns even though they have nothing to do with fall. But who doesn’t like unicorns? Especially when there’s a bit of awesomeness too.

in a shop window, two toy unicorns, a book about unicorns, and a book about the 100 things about being awesome