Archive for the ‘people’ Category

Twice this week I have come off the subway at Dundas station, and twice I have come to the surface to the sound of protest chants.

The first time it was a Free Tibet march as it proceeded up Yonge street.

a police man, with back tothe camera, stands in the middle of the street to block traffic as a Free Tibet march passes by on Yonge Street, protesters with flags and signs,

below: “Don’t forget Mr. Lingsta Tseten Dorjee, activist for non-violence.  It’s been 5 years since we lost Lingsta Tseten Dorjee”.   The banner then goes on to list Dorjee’s five demands including the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.

a group of young men marching in a protest, Free tibet. carrying a banner with a lot of words in both Tibetan and English, one is wrapped in a Tibetan flag, some are wearing free tibet hats,

below: More protesters with signs and placards. “Free Shokjang now”.  Shokjang is the pen name of a Tibetan blogger who was detained by the Chinese authorities in March of 2015.

people carrying protest signs, free Shokjang now, release the panchen lama

protesters walk up Yonge Street with Tibetan flag and signs, one man has a megaphone

This afternoon, it was blue flags that I saw.  They are the flags of East Turkistan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.  On a map you’ll find it as Xinjiang in the most westerly part of China, right next the the “stans” that became independent after the break up of the USSR (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, etc).   The name says autonomous but there is no self-rule or self government for the Uyghurs. 

For a brief time in 1949 it was an independent country but it was invaded by communist China that same year.   Historically, East Turkistan is part of central Asia.  The people are not Chinese but are more closely related to the Turks.  The Uyghurs are the indigenous group of East Turkestan.

below: “Stop forced abortion, Freedom for East Turkistan”

women holding the blue and white flag of East Turkestan, also a sign that says stopped forced abortion in East Turkistan, wearing head scarves

below: “Islamic scholar Mohammed Salih killed in Chinese concentration camps.  We want justice.” Muhammad Salih Hajim, 82, died in custody back in January, about 40 days after he, his daughter and other relatives were detained in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province.    They were held without charges being laid.   He was the first to translate the Quran into Uyghur.

a black man with a suitcase has stopped to talk to people protesting for a free East Turkistan, he is pointing to one of the signs and a man is explaining something to him

at a protest for free East Turkestan, protesters hold a banner that says China, Stop Massacre of Uyghars

Also today, and just around the corner… A few minutes later I ran across another protest.  This one was at the corner of Gould and Victoria streets, at Ryerson University.   It was a quiet, civilized affair – more like a dance than a protest.

below: Both sides of the right to abortion debate were present.

people protest for and against the right to have an abortion.

below:   The anti-abortion sign would be turned, the ‘file not found’ sign would be moved in front of it, repeat every couple of minutes.

protesters at a right to abortion protest, anti and pro sides, both with a large sign.

below: It seemed to be a debate or a dialogue rather than a protest even though the people involved might disagree.   For such an emotional and polarizing subject they were being respectful and engaging.  At least they have the right to protest…. and to counter protest.

protesters at a right to abortion protest, anti and pro sides, both with a large signs.


The St. Patricks Day parade in Toronto is usually just a small parade – certainly not as big and crazy in places like Boston or New York City.  Part of the problem might be the fact that the weather is usually cold.  This year the parade was 6 days before St. Patricks Day.  I’m not sure when it started or how it happened, but Toronto’s parade is on the Sunday before the actual day.    At least the sun was shining this year.  It may be a small parade but those who show up, either to watch or to participate, seem to have a good time.   A few photos from this year’s parade:


below: Police on horseback led the parade.  Here they are passing the TV cameras.

three toronto policemen on horseback at the front of a parade, as theypass by the press and a large microphone boom

below: Carlton, the Toronto Maple Leafs mascot, was there. Once upon a time, the Maple Leafs were known as the St. Pats and they wore green uniforms.

Carlton, the Maple Leafs hockey team mascot in a St. Pats jersey waiting for the parade to start, working the crowd.

below: 32 flags, one from each of Ireland’s 32 counties.  The GAA is the Gaelic Athletic Association. 

A group of young people walking in the St. Patricks day parade, holding a banner and everyone is holding a flag from a Irish county. GAA Colour Party, 32 county flags.

below: Five Deloreans (cars) parked by the flags for the parade, before joining it at the end.  This is directly across Bloor Street from where the TV cameras were.   Deloreans were made near Belfast but for only a short time in the early 1980’s (1981- 1983).   About 9200 cars were produced.  The Delorean company went bankrupt in December 1982.

a man stands on a sidewalk, leaning on a barricade, lots of large Irish flags, a delorean car with its door open is across the street

below: Carrying Donegal County flags

three men carrying flags in the St. Patricks day parade, walk past a church, many people on the sidewalk, pavement, watching the parade go by

below: Doug Ford, now the leader of the Ontario PC party joined the parade.

Doug Ford, St. Patricks day parade, wakls towaards the people on the sidewalk to shake hands, politician, politics,

below: That’s quite the hair – he insisted that it was natural but I think it’s because of the green beer…..

two people sitting on the sidewalk watching the St. Patricks Day parade, a red head woman with long hair and a man with a curly bright green wig, both are smiling, both dressed for cold weather,

three teenagers selling candy at the parade, all dressed in green hats and other St. Patricks day stuff,

three kids sitting on little plastic stools watching a parade,

below: Maybe it’s true,  maybe everyone is Irish on St. Patricks day.

5 Asian women (Korean?) watching St. Patricks day parade, posing for the camera, all with shamrock green things aon their heads so only their faces stick out, the word Irish is written on each shamrock


below: What would St. Patricks day be without a leprechaun or two?

a man in a leprechauin costume walking in a parade.

a group of people sitting on the sidewalk as a parade passes by on Bloor Street in Toronto

On Saturday Toronto FC, Toronto’s pro soccer team, won the MLS (Major League Soccer) championship when they beat the Seattle Sounders 2 – 0 in the finals.  To celebrate, there was a parade from Maple Leaf Square, near the Air Canada Centre, up Bay street to Nathan Phillips Square.

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, police escort at the front of the parade

kids sitting on a float, waving tfc flags, dressed in red and white

float being pulled by a car in the tfc parade on Bay Street, December 2017

The team was founded in 2005 and began playing in 2007.   They were the first Canadian team in Major League Soccer.  Since then, 2 other Canadian teams have joined the league, Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact.  There are 22 teams altogether.

below: A line of photographers join the parade

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, photographers walk in a line in front of one of the banners in the tfc parade up Bay street to celebrate thesoccerteam's championship win

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, men holding a banner

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, young boy helping to hold a banner as they walk in a parade

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, a group of men fans wearing red and white tfc team scarves

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, a group holding a banner as they walk

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white,

a reporter holding a microphone, interviewing a couple who are watching the Tornto FC parade, she is holding a large red 2 and he is holding a large red 3, the number 23,  They are wearing tfc hats andscarves and sweatshirts

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, a man wearing a large tfc team flag

below: Outside Nathan Phillips Square.

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, crowd in front of Nathan Phillips Square, team and fans on open top double decker red bus, two policemen on horses,

below: She had the action happening right in front of her – including me!

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, group holding three large flags

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, father with young child on his shoulders as he takes a selfie, tfc scarf

below: The team players made their entrance into Nathan Phillips Square with lots of people lining the barricades.  You’ll notice that I have no photos of the players themselves.  It was just too crowded.   Besides, I have more interest in the fans and supporters!

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white,

below: ‘All For One’ in the Toronto FC motto.

people in Nathan Phillips Square, including all along the south ramp. Banner over the entrancethat says, All For One, which is the tfc motto

Toronto FC parade, people dressed in red and white, wearing red and white toque and scarf and waving a tfc team flag

The space in front of City Hall was crowded!  Hundreds of fans in red and white filled most of the available spaces around the Christmas Fair booths.  They also lined all the upper ramps and walkways.  There were speeches and then…..  I will admit to running off to find a warm drink in a warm place instead of sticking around to listen!  I don’t follow soccer but considering the size of the crowd today plus the fact that attendance at a TFC game averages over 27,000, many others do follow it…..  soccer has definitely found a home in Toronto.

from the back, a youngman holds out a flare

women in a crowd of Toronto FC supporters in a parade

four boys in red and white at a parade

I arrived at the protest in time to see a very large Palestinian flag being held up by some of the crowd.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

The recent decision by Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was the issue that sparked yesterday’s protest.  I missed the largest part of the gathering but there were still quite a few people in front of the court house on University Avenue – or more importantly, across the street from the American Embassy.

The flag was  rolled up from both ends.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

City TV dropped by as well.  Every time anyone came near the reporter, she stopped and waited for people to pass. Then she started over.    This was take 5 or 6 and once again, she stopped seconds after I took this picture.  I’ll assume that she eventually got her story.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

below: Two flags.  Palestine. Canada.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

below: “Trump Embassy in Jerusalem…. stupid idea”

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave.

below: The image of Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey, on his back and a Turkish flag in his hand.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave. - with Turkish flag as well as flag with image of Erdogan on it

below: A group has their picture taken with the Lebanese flag.

protest at Trumps decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, University Ave. A group is gathered around a man holding a Lebanese flag.

group of men in a line, kneeling, praying, outside,

Traces left behind, reminders of the past

oldworn sign painted above the door to a store


Along Spadina on a cold November day – from King to College.

below: A streetcar passes by, down the middle of the road with young trees growing alongside the tracks.  In the background is an old white brick building  with rounded brown arches over the upper windows that now houses the Furama Cake & Dessert Garden – one of the many restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries along this stretch of Spadina.

a new ttc streetcar on Spadina, down the middle of the street, with young trees growing along side the tracks, old brck building in the background, some cars,

 Construction of Spadina Avenue began in 1815.  It was always a wide street, running between Bloor and Queen.

Spadina, and neighbouring Kensington market, was the center of Jewish life in Toronto in the early 1900’s with synagogues, delis, tailors, a Yiddish theatre, and more.  About 80% of Toronto’s Jews lived in the area.   It was also home to the garment district (also known as the fashion district) with its numerous furriers, clothing factories and warehouses – what we’d probably call sweat shops today.

below: The northeast corner of Dundas and Spadina, June 1930 showing the sign over the door of ‘The Standard’ a Yiddish theatre that opened in 1921.  It was converted into a (mainstream) cinema in 1934 and renamed ‘The Strand’.   Another renaming occurred in 1941 when it became ‘The Victory’.  Twenty years later it became the Victory Burlesque.  The doors closed permanently in 1975.  Photo found on Bygone Theatre website.

vintage black and white phot of the sidewalk and front of Jewish cinema at the corner of Dundas and Spadina in 1930. old cars parked in front,

below: This plaque is on the west side of Spadina, just north of King Street.  It describes the contributions of Benjamin Brown (1890-1974), architect, to the area.

Benjamin Brown, one of Toronto’s first Jewish architects, designed more than 200 buildings throughout his career.  Born in Lithuania, he came to Canada as a child.  Brown graduated from the University of Toronto’s architecture program in 1913.  He was partners with architect Robert McConnell until 1921, when he set up an independent practice.

Commissioned largely by members of Toronto’s Jewish community, Brown’s projects ranged from parking garages and gas stations to apartment houses and factory lofts.   His Tower Building (1927) and Balfour Building (1930) on Spadina Avenue at Adelaide Street formed a gateway to Toronto’s garment district.  Other well known buildings by Brown include the Hermant Building (1929 on Dundas Square, the Primrose Club (1920) and the Beth Jacob Synagogue (1922), the first Toronto synagogue designed by a Jewish architect.  Brown retired in 1955.

toronto historic sites plaque to benjamin brown

Both the Tower Building and the Balfour Building still stand.  The later, pictured on the plaque is on the NE corner of Spadina & Adelaide.  It was named for Arthur J. Balfour, British statesman, the author of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that pledged British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

below:  This is ‘Uniform Measure/Stack’ by Stephen Cruise and it includes that giant thimble on a stack of buttons,  a few button shaped tree planters, and a tape measure carved into the sidewalk as it goes around the corner (you can see a bit of it at the bottom right of the photo).  This tribute to the garment district, or rag trade if you want to call it that,  dates back to 1997.   A few years ago the tape measure was painted yellow – but not by the artist.  It has since been cleaned up.  Recent sidewalk work has scarred the tape measure but most of it remains intact.

public art on the corner of Richmond and Spadina, giant thimble and giant buttons

below: Another piece of garment district history – an old Singer sewing machine as an ornament above a narrow alley between two buildings.

an old SInger sewing machine sits on a beam that crosses a small alley bewteen two buildings, it's about 8 feet above the street level

In the 1960s and 70s, the Jewish population moved out and the Chinese moved in.  In keeping with the changes that were occurring on Spadina, The Victory was sold in 1975 and subdivided  into shops on the main floor and a Chinese language cinema upstairs, first named the Golden Harvest and then the Mandarin. This cinema closed in 1994.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the city demolished a large section of land to make way for the new city hall.  At that time, Chinatown was centered around Dundas and Elizabeth streets.  Many of the Chinese who were displaced by the construction moved west along Dundas to Spadina.  Although many of the Chinese businesses and residents have moved north to Markham & vicinity, this stretch of Spadina is still considered to be Chinatown.

below: A panda eating bamboo, painted by Murals by Marg with support from Chinatown BIA & StreetARToronto.

mural on a wall of a panda bear sitting on the ground and chewing on bamboo

below: Another Chinese themed mural, with tags unfortunately.

orange bikes parked outside a building that had a mural of a Chinese scene that has been tagged over.

below: This caught my attention – Does it look like fresh ginger?   And no, there was nothing in front of the sign either.  Smile.

box of pineapples for sale outside a Chinese grocery store, the sign by the box says fresh ginger

below: Even on cold days you can buy fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk outside the Chinese grocery stores.

a woman is buying tomatos from a vendor with a large table of tomatoes outside a Chinese grocery store on Spadina, in CHinatown.

below: Feeding the pigeons.

a man is feeding pigeons outside on a cold day. He is wearing a heavy coat and a hat.

below:  This is an old display of CD’s mounted on a wall inside a window of an empty store.  The window is dirty but if you step into the recess of the entrance way, you can see the possibility of reflection, light and colour playing together.   This was actually the first picture that I took when I walked up Spadina the other day.   After I saw this window I started paying closer attention to other empty stores.

design and pattern made with many old CD's mounted on a wall inside the window of an empty store.

There are quite a few empty stores and sections of Spadina are quite grubby looking.  As I mentioned above, many of the Chinese businesses have move on and once again the area is the middle of a change.

below: Someone cared enough to paint this delicate birdcage and ivy scene on the wall.  Doesn’t it make you wonder who did it?  and why?  and what happened to them?

looking through a window into an abandoned and empty store, leaves have blown in and are on the floor.

below: A painted over intercom –  a remnant of the past.  But the plywood that the intercom was mounted on is partially torn away to reveal an even older, more hidden, past.     Does anyone live or work at 437 anymore?  What lies behind the door?

exterior wall, brown paint, number of 437 above the door, cracked wood plywood beside the door, old and broken intercom system that has been painted over, next door window is a store, with mannequin head on a shelf

below: This little place had a short life as a store – but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.   I think that once upon a time it was an 8 Eleven (play on 7 Eleven stores) but that was long ago and I know that it closed before I first saw this space.    How easy it is to forget.

very small building with door and window papered over.

below:  As I passed by this window, I thought to myself “How cute, pikachu.”  Then I stopped and went back.  No, not pikachu.  Part of the seedier side of Spadina Avenue.

articles for sale in the window of a store

below:  Layers.  On the left, hoardings around an old building being demolished and on the right, a staid brick building.  Behind them is a newer development with its bright east wall.

street scene, Kensington, with hoardings for demolition, a building from the70's and a newer apartment building in the background with bright coloured squares on the side.

cracked brick wall and decorative carving, on upper storey of an old building

a pair of Bell telephone boxeswith a grey wall behind


candle in a pumpkin carved into a spider jack o'lantern

Another year of jack o’lanterns and giant spiders

a giant spider halloween decoration in front of a house

and other creative spooky and creepy decorations.  Clowns and pumpkin heads.

life sized skeleton in a front yard, one with a creepy clown face and one with a pumpkin head

And even bunnies can be fearsome.   Bunny with baseball bat.

three life sized skeletons in a front yard, a rabbit mask on one which is also holding a baseball bat, a pumpkin head, and one with a bear mask that is half brown and half black

It’s a time for dressing up in costumes and having fun….  for kids

kids in Halloween costumes laughing together

…. and for adults (night time photos taken on Church street)

below: What’s scarier than Donald Trump?  Three Trumps! Thrice the thrills.

three men in suits and ties with large cardboard Donald Trump faces

a group dressed up for Halloween, night time, street party, 2 women, 2 men, toy guns, gangsters and burlesque.

woman in black with large black antlers stand against a wall, an older man is looking at her

a large inflatable dinosaur costume, a death ghoul costume, and many people standing around them posing for photos at a night time halloween party on Church St., toronto

posing for photos in Halloween costumes

Not everyone was scary – look at these cute and cuddly animals!

a group in full animal costumes pose for a photo, a walrus, a shark, a cat, a leopard,

a man wearing a cowboy hat with a sheriff's bagde, and a skull mask checks his phone while standing outside pizza pizza, window lit up and people inside including a man making pizza

two men in gruesome halloween masks and baseball caps


two people dressed as smurfs for Halloween, a large smurfette and a smaller male smurf with a red hat

Even Marilyn stopped for a picture.

a man dressed in drag as Marilyn Munro with blond wig and white dress, posing with an Asian woman


a young man in purple jacket and white face with the word damaged written across his forehead

a young woman poses as a black faced zombie between two men with creepy clown masks on

an Asian woman with black cat ears poses with a man in white boa and very large day of the dead head hat

close up of a person in a furry, hairy monstrous mask with bloody fangs

a boy with his arm made up to look like his hand is fallen off

people walking past a window, dark outside, reflections of the traffic in the window

It was a rainy commute home for many people last night.  Not too miserable though, just enough drizzle to bring out a few umbrellas and create some wonderful reflections to play with.

woman with umbrella in the foreground, traffic on a rainy night in the background

two white cars in front of a stopped streetcar, 514 Cherry, new streetcar, in front of the Elephant and Castle bar on King Street, people sitting on the streetcar are visible, dark outside, wet and rainy evening

city street on a rainy night, pedestrians on the sidewalk, traffic, trees with autumn foilage, dark blue sky, lights in highrises

lights reflecting on a wet street, crosswalk