Archive for the ‘public art’ Category

We went exploring.  With a three year old.  A three year old who is starting to explore the world as only a three year old can.  One who gets joy from ‘balancing’ on the green line as we walked the Lower Don Path.

little girl in a pink jacket is wlking down a green line that is painted in the middle of a path, approaching an underpass under the railway tracks.

We were walking with a purpose – to find ‘Monsters for Beauty, Permanence and Individuality’ by Duane Linklater.  This is a collection of cast concrete gargoyles, replicas of those on Toronto buildings, that is now on the Lower Don Trail.  Last week I saw them from the subway as it passed across the Bloor Viaduct so I knew approximately where to walk.

The Lower Don Trail only has a few access points – we entered by Riverdale Park and walked north.

a hanging vine, autumn coloured, in front of the train tracks.

below: Renovations of the underside of the bridge at Bloor/Danforth have just been completed and already one piece of graffiti has appeared.

grey concrete bridge with black metal supports, part of the structure, with one graffiti face drawn in red

Just a bit farther north, and on the west side of the path we encountered the artwork.  It’s a scattered arrangement of some interesting pieces.  If left in place, some future archeologist of the future might stumble upon it and be totally mystified.

cast concrete sculpture of a seated woman with her head bent forward

Today I got myself tied up in knots as I fought with words as I tried to write this post.  How do I describe the thoughts behind the installation?  Should I talk about the meaning of gargoyles vs grotesques?

a few concrete gargoyles scattered on the ground by the Lower Don Trail, part of Duane Linklater's art installation.

But then I realize that I should just leave it be.    Be content.

a concrete block and man's head gargoyle, with moustache, folded arms holding a scroll or similar), about 2 feet square, Bloor Viaduct in the background

After all, what was more important was that the blocks turned out to be the perfect size for a three year old to stand on and roar like a lion.   We played.  And it was fun.

a young girl stands on top of a conrete block with the face of lion, she has her hands beside her mouth as she too roars like a lion

red sumach trees in the background with dead brown heads of plants growing in front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are always options….
and sometimes they are polar opposites.

a yellow construction fence in front of a stairs between two buildings, two signs on the fence, both are green arrows but they point in opposite directions.

Also, plans are made for changing.

I was going to go to Brookfield Place to see the World Press Photo exhibit – a good activity for a grey and wet day.  Just before I left, the rain stopped so I switched plans and turned the outing into a walk.   There was a protest in the afternoon at Queens Park, a march against white supremacy.  I knew that I probably missed it (it would have been wet!) but I went in that direction just in case there were still some remnants.  But all was quiet and the people were long gone.   So I wandered on.

below: In front of St. Regis College, a sculpture called ‘Homeless Jesus’ by Timothy Schmalz.  In memory of Joseph and Mary Benninger.

a sculpture of a cloth covered person sleeping on a bench, in front of a large window, with a white bench nearby

There is a small park at the corner of Bay and Wellesley with trees, water, and sculptures.

a small waterfall, over rocks, between two concrete fence around grassy areas, trees, small park

below: ‘The Three Graces’, 1971  by Gerald Gladstone (1929-2005).  Part of the Governement of Ontario Art Collection.

a fountain sculpture called Three Graces, in a circle, surrounded by a shallow pool of water

below: ‘Hunter With Seal’ c. 1966-1968.  Sculpted in Canadian black granite by Louis Temporale after a soapstone carving by Paulosie Kanayook.

stone sculpture of an Eskimo hunter with a seal, on a short stone wall, trees behind

below:  Workers in stone – surveyors, men with shovels and picks and wheelbarrows, and a scientist with a microscope.  Part of the artwork above the door of the old Stock Exchange Building on Bay street.

relief sculpture across the top of the door of the old Stock Exchange Building on Bay street, scenes of people working

below: At one point the sun even came out – shining on the almost blank west wall of Commerce Court North.   This 34 storey building was built in 1931 and at the time it was the tallest building in the British Empire and remained so until 1962.

large mostly black stone wall of a building with a large shadow, flowers in planters at the bottom as well as three people walking past

below: When the site was redeveloped in the 1970’s, Commerce Court North was preserved.  It is now surrounded by glass and steel high rises.

two people walk across a courtyard behind an old stone building that is surrounded by newer glass and steel high rises.

below:  The mama and baby elephants that stand behind Commerce Court are under wraps.  I could say something about going into hibernation for the winter but I think that they are in the midst of being renovated.

a sculpture in a public square is covered by grey plastic

below: Just down the street,  one of Toronto’s early skyscrapers is celebrating its 50th anniversary.      The black towers of the Toronto-Dominion Centre are icons of the Toronto cityscape.    They were designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.    The 56 storey Toronto Dominion Bank Building was completed in 1967.  Two years later the adjacent 46 storey Royal Trust Tower was finished.   The buildings are steel structures and are clad with bronze-coloured glass and black painted steel.

reflections in the black Commerce Court buildings, with a Canadian flag flying in front of the building.

below: Rocks? Large balls of wood? Plastic made to look like something else? They were inside and I was outside so I didn’t get a close up look.

three rock-like sculptures inside a window

In case you’re wondering, I did get to Brookfield Place.

glass ceiling of the Alan Lambert Galleria in Brookfield place with the world press photo exhibit underway, people looking at the posters

below: Photo is the winning photo in the people category, ‘What ISIS Left Behind’ by Magnus Wennman.  It shows a girl,  Maha age 5, at Debaga Refugee Center.

part of a world press photo display at Brookfield Place, with a picture of sick young girl, in the background, people are sitting in a cafe

below: Center photo is by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken and it was taken at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest at Lake Oahe at Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

photos at an exhibition at Brookfield Place (Alan Lambert Galleria), of portest of Dakota Access Pipeline, by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken

below:  Four coloured photos by Peter Bauza.   Third prize in the Contemporary Issues category – a series of pictures taken in the Jambalaya neighbourhood in western Rio de Janeiro where people squat in derelict apartment blocks that lack basic infrastructure.

display of photos in front of a store with a male mannequin dressed for fall, also a woman on the other side looking at the pictures

 

newspaper boxes in different colours in front of a large window of the BMO building, a city scape is etched into the window. Some reflections in the window too

 

 

The 16 storey Concourse Building at 100 Adelaide Street West was built in 1928. It was an Art Deco building designed by Martin, Baldwin and Green.  Recently, the building as amalgamated into a new 40 storey office tower.  The Concourse Building was gutted but the south and east facades were saved.  Also saved was the entranceway (portal) that was designed by J.E.H. MacDonald, one of Canada’s Group of Seven painters.

entrance to 100 Adelaide West, a stone building, with brass decorated doors and mosaic pictures decorating it. The concourse building, with stone relief work between the third and fourth storey windows as well

below: The entrance is 2 storeys high, topped with a Roman arch.   The rectangular panel above the door contains the four elements, earth (produce from the fields), air (stars and birds), fire, and water (fish swimming).

entrance to 100 Adelaide West, a stone building, with brass decorated doors and mosaic pictures decorating it.

below: The mosaics under the arch represent Canadian industry and nature.   Here, ship building and aircraft are depicted.

two of the panels designed by J.E. H. MacDonald on the Concourse building, a ship with sails, and an airplane

below: On the other side, a steam shovel and what looks like lightning in the sky.

two of the panels designed by J.E. H. MacDonald on the Concourse building, a steam shovel in action, and a panel with a lightning bolt

below: The stone panels surrounding the door are carved with motifs of grapes and grape vines.

a square panel of stone carved with grapes and grape vines

below: All seven mosaic pictures under the arch.

the panel of mosaic pictures under the arch, a lamp hanging down from the center,

This is a #Thursdaydoors post.  Lots of other blogs participate so if you are interested in doors of all kinds, check out this link.

 

 

four sections of four different brain sculptures

The second annual Brain Project is now on display across the city.  These are only a small sample of the brain sculptures that form the exhibit.  In total there are 100 brains in about 20 locations around the city.   There is a map on the Brain Project website if you are interested in visiting some of them.

 

below: One of the locations where you can see some of the brain sculptures is Nathan Phillips Square.

a line of sculptures on display, podius standing in the water of the fountain, arches, and 3D Toronto sign in the backgruond.

Descriptions of all the brains on display around the city, as well as notes on the artists responsible, can be found online.    You can vote online for your favorite brain.

below:  Circles of beads and sequins – circles representing wholeness and totality come together to form a complex mosaic like the brain itself.  “Unleash Your Mind” is by Kara Ross.

a brain sculpture on display in front of the 3D toronto sign, decorated with colourful circles of sequins

below: Sitting on top of a blue and teal brain is a blue jay in a nest – a sculpture by Ted Hamer that is called “Thinkubator”.  Here the brain is shown as an idea incubator where the bird symbolizes the idea.

close up of part oa brain sculpture, the brain is painted blue and teal and there is a blue jay sitting on a nest on top of the egg (the bird is part of the sculpture)

below:  “Vitale” by Molly Gambardella is dedicated to the artist’s grandmother who died of Alzheimers in 2016.   Vitale was her maiden name.

a sculpture of a brain decorated with hundreds of coloured pencils, some are point up and some are blunt end up, the colours of the pencils make shapes and lines on the brain

below: Three of the brains on display at the Distillery District.  In front is “Red Head” by Anitra Hamilton who glued pieces of chicken eggshells to the surface of the brain.  Red acrylic paint highlights the spaces between the eggshells.   In the middle is Cindy Scaife’s “Food for Thought”.  Broccoli, avocado, apple and walnut, all healthy foods,  play in the park.

brain sculptures as part of the Baycret Foundation's Brain Project on display outside at the Distillery District

below: Also at the Distillery District is a brain by Laura Bundesen, “Not Forgotten” is a collage of fabric embellished with lace and embroidery and beads.  It is in memory of her stepmother who suffered from dementia.

close up of a fabric collage on a sculpture, bits of fabric with flowers on it, some embroidered leaves and flowers, lace and trim too,

Part of the goal of the project is raise awareness of diseases like Alzheimers that affect the brain.  Another goal was to raise money  – the sculptures are sponsored by various people and corporations (such as Telus).  As well, most of the brains from last year’s exhibit have been sold.  Funds raised through this project are donated to Baycrest Health Services.

below:  Keight MacLean’s “Loss” illustrates the idea of memory and memory loss using a portrait of a person, a loved one.  Paint as the memory loss, obscures the picture.

outdoor display in a clear acrylic box, a sculpture in the shape of a brain, with the picture of a woman's face on the side, yellow paint drips down from the top of the brain.

people looking at brain sculptures.  one is pointing to them, the other is taking a picture of them.

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.

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.

Cliffside is an area around Kingston Road in the west  side of the city and the ‘cliff’ in the name refers to the Scarborough Bluffs.    The murals in this post are all on Kingston Road just west of Midland Ave.    They are the result of work of Mural Routes, an organization “dedicated to the creation, development and promotion of public wall art” since 1990.

below: ‘Spooners Garage’ by Phillip Woolf, 1992.   Art Spooner’s garage in Cliffside was built in 1926 (and rebuilt in 1947).   The mural has two parts, each showing a different time period.  They face each other.

mural of gas station, Spooners Garage, from the 1920s or 1930s

mural of gas station, Spooners Garage, from the 1920s or 1930s

below:  … and the later version

part of a mural showing a gas station from the 1940s or 1950s

part of a mural showing a gas station from the 1940s or 1950s

 

below: ‘H.M. Schooner, Onondaga c. 1793’ by Jeff Jackson 1992.  The Onondaga was built near Kingston in 1790 and it served with the Provincial Marine until 1797.  It was the ship in which John Graves Simcoe and his wife Elizabeth sailed across Lake Ontario to York (now Toronto) to establish the capital of Upper Canada.

 

painted mural of a schooner from the 1790s sailing on Lake Ontario

below: ‘Let’s Take a Walk on the Wildside’ by B.C. Johnson, 2016.   Canadian plants and animals cover all four sides of Ikki Sushi – herons, bears, moose, beaver, and fox among the pine trees. Creeks, swamp, and waterfalls can also be seen.

 

Ikki Sushi restaurant covered with a mural with scenes of Canadian flora and fauna,

back of restaurant with open door. Ikki Sushi restaurant covered with a mural with scenes of Canadian flora and fauna, inside of door is painted too

below: ‘Cliffside Golf Course’ by Dan Sawatzky, 1991.   Founded by George McCordick in 1931, the Cliffside Golfcourse was south of Kingston Road and overlooked Lake Ontario.    It closed in 1950.  The mural is faded and partially obscured by two trees.

two trees obscure a faded mural

below: The words on the mural tell the story of the golf course.

mural of two men golfing. One is swinging a golf club and the other has a golf bag slung over his shoulderh

red vintage car in a mural

mural, woman from the 1930's standing behind a vintage car and holding a set of golf clubs

The last two murals have appeared in a previous blog post that I wrote once upon a time when I didn’t know how many Scarborough murals there were.  Even now I’ve hardly scratched the surface.

below:  ‘The Half Way House’ by John Hood, 1990.  The mural is at the corner of Midland Avenue & Kingston Road which is where the inn and stage coach stop was located.   The  building was moved to Black Creek Pioneer Village in 1965.

mural depicting the Half Way House, an old inn that used to be at the corner of Kingston Road and Midland. Two men are sitting on the stairs in front of the mural

below: ‘The Bluffs as Viewed by Elizabeth Simcoe c. 1793’ by Risto Turunen, 1992.   The story is that Elizabeth Simcoe was so impressed by the view of the cliffs she persuaded her husband, John Graves Simcoe, to name the area after Scarborough England where there are similar cliffs.

Three cars are parked in front of a large mural of the Scarborough Bluffs, there is a small row boat on Lake Ontario in front of the cliffs.

There are more murals on old Kingston Road both to the east and west of these, but that will be a story for another day.

also see: Heritage Trail Mural 8 – Old Kingston Road