Archive for the ‘waterfront’ Category

The other day, later in the afternoon, I was driving along the Lakeshore when I noticed that perfect lighting on the south side of the Keating Channel.  I’ve done blog posts about the Port Lands development but I hadn’t looked at it from the other side.  A quick change of plans – a parking spot nearby and a walk along the Lakeshore.  This is some of what I saw that day.

below: At the bottom of Cherry Street

Cherry street railway building

below: At the corner of Cherry and Lakeshore.

old concrete silos as seen from Lakeshire and Cherrt, with Gardiner Expressway above

below: Along the Lakeshore, looking south towards Port Lands at Cherry.

yellow fire hydrant in front, guard rails along the side of Lakeshore Blvd, with Lafarge silos in the background

below: The Gardiner curves slightly northward as it aligns with the Keating Channel.  Lakeshore Blvd takes a wider turn and comes out from under the Gardiner for a few brief moments before slipping back under as both roads parallel the channel.

Gardiner Expressway curves to the left

below:  On the south side of Lakeshore, there is no sidewalk here but the grassy area is wide enough…..

shadow on the grass beside the Lakeshore

below:  Walking here offers a different view of the Port Lands.  The “smokestack” on the right is the old Hearn Generating station.

Keating Channel, looking east

below: Some of the buildings that remain on Villiers Street.

looking across the Keating Channel to a low rise building, square dock juts into the channel

old buildings still remaing on Villies Street as seen from across the Keating Channel

below: Panorama of Keating Channel being developed, 1916, before there was much on the Port Lands and  Cherry Street was just a one lane dirt road.

panorama - 1914 picture of building of Keating channel to divery mouth of Don River to Lake Ontario, black and white vintage photo, also Port Lands before they were developed

below: Keating Channel, 1916

1914 picture of building of Keating channel to divery mouth of Don River to Lake Ontario, black and white vintage photo
The original plan for the diversion of the Don River called for a more curved mouth of the river before it joined the Keating Channel.  But the British American Oil Company who owned the land fought that idea.  Instead, the 90 degree turn that still exists today was built to avoid crossing B/A property.

below: A few years after the channel was upgraded (1934)…  From vacant land to a forest of BA oil tanks. There are railway tracks along the edge of the channel.  From Wikipedia: “In 1908, with 8 shareholders, B/A built Canada’s third refinery on 3 acres on the eastern waterfront in Toronto. The company refined imported crude oil and its main product was kerosene; a then-useless by-product was gasoline, which was dumped into a swamp.”

photo of Keating Street

Photo by Arthur Beales. Toronto Port Authority Archives, PC 1/1/10769. Found at Wikimedia Common

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below: BA refinery with the Don River on the right, 1931.  There were still storage tanks here in the 1960s when the city was building the Gardiner Expressway.

1931 photograph, vintage, black and white, of British American oil refinery just north of the Keating Channel and just west of the Don River,

Photo source: Library and Archives Canada, online

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below: This rusty “fence” isn’t going to hold anyone or anything back.  I had visions of tumbling into the icy channel if I went near it.  I think that just looking at it made it wobble.

old rusty metal barrier between the Keating Channel and the road, with some weeds and gravel

below: There are still places to tie up your boat

a large metal piece beside keating channel, for tying off boats who want to park there,

below: A big tap? It’s attached to a pipeline but is it functional?  (It doesn’t look like it).  There is a lot of infrastructure buried under the Lakeshore, sewer lines, water mains, electricals, etc., but this looks like a piece of history.  Pleased correct me if I’m wrong!  Also – if you plan to explore here, there are stretches where the only option is to walk right beside the road.

old rusty large valve for a pipeline, beside Lakeshore Blvd,

below: Likewise, the box structure is probably there to protect the rest – but what are they?  Valves of some kind?

old metal pieces of hardware, pipes and valves?, rusty, beside the Keating channel

lone building onthe other side of the water, surrounded by construction at ground level.  boarded up, two storey building

construction in the background, blue digger, vacant land, and the Keating channel in the foreground, ducks in the water

below: Looking north to Canary District and West Don Lands development.  The oil tanks are long gone.

Canary district development from the Lakeshore, looking north,

below: Looking up from Lakeshore, under both the Gardiner and the ramp from the DVP

view from the Lakeshore looking up to the Gardiner Expressway and the underside of the ramp from the Don Valley Parkway to the Gardiner, 3 levels of concrete pillars and roadway.

below: Looking west from Don Roadway along the Keating Channel to the new Cherry Street bridge.

view from the Don Roadway back to the new Cherry Street bridge, looking west, with the Gardiner to the right, Keating channel with thin layer of ice on it, docks and a few buildings on the Port Lands side of the channel

below: Intersection of Lakeshore and Don Roadway.

at the intersection of Don Roadway and Lakeshore Blvd, traffic cones and a blue sign that says sidewalk closed ahead

below: Two metal transmission towers standing side by side.  Geometrical, straight lines, yet lace-like.

two tall metal hydro poles with lots of blue sky, power plant in the distance, and looking very small

below: From the Don Roadway, northbound and homeward

street art on the concrete bents holding up the ramp from D V P to Gardiner Expressway, walking path beside, with a man walking his dog,

close up of part of electrical station equipment, with water tower in the background with word Ponds written on it

chain link fence with a design woven into it with different colours, artwork, shrubbery with no leaves (winter time), billboard on an expressway in the background

I first started walking the streets with a camera sometime in 2011.   At that time Instagram was still a baby; the photo sharing platform of choice at the time was flickr.  Flickr still exists but there are many more choices now.  Back in the day there was a Toronto flickr group that had meetups once a month.  The meetup, there’s another concept that has exploded with the internet.  There are now meetup groups for any photography genre that tickles your fancy.  Ten years ago, you met through flickr and that is how I found Toronto Photo Walks. They walk (or walked pre-COVID) on alternate Saturdays, rain or shine, somewhere in the city.   My first walk with them was February 2012, almost exactly 9 years ago.   If you check their website, you”ll see that COVID-19 has played havoc with their group and there haven’t been any walks for a year now.  I miss my phellow photogs so the other day I walked with one and this is where we ended up.

 

below: If you’ve been in the Distillery District this winter (or any of the past few winters), you might recognize this cheerful fellow.

tall fake snowman with a red and white striped scarf, in the distillery district

below: At Mill and Trinity, the omnipresent blue and white Notice sign.  Apparently a developer has applied to build a 31 storey building (on top of the existing old brick structure) with 392 hotel rooms.  I wonder if they are happy that they didn’t just finish this a year ago?  Ontario hotel occupancy rate hit a low of 15.3% in April 2020 and had barely started to recover when the second lockdown hit.  As an aside – if you like stats, you’ll like the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport research pages!

blue and white city of toronto development notice in front of old brick building in distillery district

below: One industry that is booming is the film business.  Often you can see movie trucks at the corner of Mill and Cherry.  This land is owned by the province and is awaiting an affordable housing development of some sort.

movie film crew trucks on the corner of Cherry and Mill streets

two people buying coffee and muffins from a food truck in a lot with many other white trucks

below: The old Foundry site, actually a group of heritage buildings at the former Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company on Eastern Avenue that are more than 100 years old.

glass windows of the old foundry building

The problem?  It sits on provincially owned land.  The province can pull stunts like changing the zoning without city approval (or knowledge).  It can turn one foundry building into 3 towers of max 141m high  (30 storeys is approx. 100m so 141 m is TALL!).  One of them has to be rental apartments but can’t have parking – there’s to be a commercial parking structure instead.  Hey let’s build affordable housing by making them pay for parking!  Here is the government website with the proof – Ontario Regulation 595/20

bench on sidewalk in front of old foundry building

Fast forward to late January.  Demolition of the foundry begins with no warning to the neighbourhood.  There is a rezoning order but no actual plans drawn up or developer named.  As far we know, the province still owns the land but refuses to say exactly the plan is because, well, probably because there is no plan or because the province is selling out to a developer.  Name your poison.   The province just says “affordable housing” and we’re supposed to go oooh and ahhh.

old foundry building behind hoardings, new condo in the background

Just around the corner (on Mill Street) three towers of 761 rental units are being built at the moment (no photo, it’s all behind hoardings so far).

machinery in front of old foundry building that demolition was started on, and then stopped

below: Heritage Toronto plaque, 2012, Dominion Wheel & Foundries Ltd., Manufacturing Complex

plaque at former Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company on Eastern Avenue

These four buildings were once part of a larger Dominion Wheel & Foundries Ltd. complex. By 1913, the company had constructed its first building, 169 Eastern Ave. on this site. As a manufacturer of railway equipment, rolling stock, and foundry and machinery supplies, Dominion Wheel & Foundries expanded with the growth of the nearby railway companies. By the 1940s, the buildings stretched from this location to Cherry Street, replacing two former residential streets. The firm’s remaining warehouse (#169)m foundry building (#153, built 1951), office building (#171, built 1930), and machine shop (#185, built about 1935) are now among the few remaining reminders of the extensive impact the railway industry had on this area.

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Anyhow, lots of protest, lots of noise.  Demolition was halted.  An Ontario Divisional Court justice temporarily stopped the province from demolishing the heritage buildings.

4 hand drawn posters protesting the demolition of the old foundry building

below: Just behind the Foundry, an almost completed condo.

new condo in Canary district almost finished construction,

below: Workers remove the protective layer from the mirror-like panels on the underside of the overhang (see yellow area near the bottom of the condo in the above photo).  This feature parallels the mirrors on the “ceiling” of Underpass Park which is close by.

workmen working on a lift, working on mirrored exterior overhanging roof on a new condo

flat bed truck carrying machinery, and little red car on street, man holding slow stop sign by construction site , man on sidewalk walking two small dogs

below: Poster paste up graffiti at Underpass Park (you can see the new condo I mentioned above in the upper right corner).  Good advice whether you take it literally or as a metaphor.

poster graffiti on a piller in Underpass Park, poetry on it

black marker scrawl graffiti on a concrete post, drawing of man's face and head with words about smoking

below: Looking northwest at the corner of King and Sumach

corner of kIng and Sumach, looking northwest, Central Auto mechanic on the corner

below: A few metres further west along King.  Traffic passes under Richmond and Adelaide streets.

TTC streetcar on King as it goes under the Richmond Street overpass from the Don Valley Parkway

below:  Looking northwest from Sackville Park.

looking west through Sackville Park, to city buildings behind, snow on ground

below: ghost sign

ghost sign that says groceries, under a cracking layer of concrete, on a wall with a couple of windows

below: Waiting for the streetcar.

King street 504 TTC streetcar, person sitting onrailing and waiting for streetcar

man making a delivery , a box, on a bike, KIng street,

below: Architectural detail on a corner of St. Lawrence Hall.   That’s quite the expression on the poor fellow’s face.  The harrowed look of someone who has spent too much time in lockdown?

small relief sculpture high on a wall of the St. Lawrence Hall

below: In contrast, this guy looks like he’s having a great time!

a small dog is looking out the open window of a black car

Did you ever think that we’d still be mired in this pandemic a year later?

below: A reminder that this pandemic has been hard on a lot of businesses –  sign on a window, “Dear Customers”

sign in a restaurant window

Dear customers, We have decided to close this weekend to re-assess for the future…

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below: Lining up to buy groceries, masked and keeping distanced.

people lined up waiting to get into No Frill grocery store, keeping the 2 metres apart

On a storefront window, something positive: hearts for the things we love – “my dog”, “mac & cheese”, “movie popcorn”, etc.

pink post it notes with words, beside big pink heart, in the window of a store, notes all say what people love

below: Pam Lostracco artwork on hoardings.

painted hoardings of a couple sitting on a bench, a child on a bike, some Canada geese, by Pam , around a construction site

workmen by the entrance to a construction site, with concrete mixer backed into the site

below: View of the CN Tower from Lower Sherbourne, just north of Lakeshore/Gardiner and immediately south of Hydro One’s Esplanade Transformer Station.  Unfortunately, that is not a public path; it is behind a locked gate.

graffiti on the wall around the hydro substation, lots electrical stuff, with CN Tower and downtown buildings in the background

below: Chairs in the median.

two chairs in the median on the Lakeshore, under the Gardiner at Lower Sherbourne

below: Queens Quay at Lower Sherbourne, looking west towards downtown.

looking west on Queens Quay from Lower Sherbourne, construction,

below: Queens Quay at Lower Sherbourne, looking east towards the old Victory Soya Mills Silos.  They were built for Canadian Breweries’ soya bean processing plant in 1944.  Ten years later the site was sold to Proctor and Gamble who renamed them the Victory Soya Mills Silos.   One last change of ownership occurred in 1980 when Central Soya Mills purchased them.   They have been empty since 1991.  Other buildings on the site have been demolished but the silos remain, now a heritage building but surrounded by a large vacant lot.

looking east on Queens Quay from Lower Sherbourne with old concrete silos in the distance, lots of orange and black traffic cones in the middle of the street in the foreground

below: The mill with its three silos before it closed in the early 1990s.  The silo that still stands is the one in the back, not the two closest to the water.   In this picture, you are looking southeast; the Port Lands are in the background and the Cherry Street bridge is on the left at the very edge.  There isn’t much traffic on the Gardiner Expressway!

old colour photograph of Victory Soya Mills with Port Lands behind

below: Sugar Beach

sugar beach with pink umbrellas, looking northwest to the city, new glass highrise beside redpath sugar

black and white sticker graffiti on a pole

sticker graffiti on a pole

My thanks to Vicki for walking with me that day.  We’ve walked many miles together in the past but I don’t think that we’ve ever walked alone (maybe?)

reflections in a window downtown

below: As an aside, after walking with Vicki, I looped back around to my car.  This construction site is on Adelaide where the brick facade of the old building is being preserved.   More to explore another day!

construction site, Adelaide street, new condo building, but with retention of the old facade

A mild January turned into a frigid February but that shouldn’t slow us down should it?  So I bundled up and drove to Mimico to meet a friend – what? we haven’t seen each other for over a year?  2020 has taken its toll.   At least it’s easier wearing masks in cold weather!

Toronto street sign for Mimico village, Melrose street,, on the same pole is a banner above it that says happy holidays

below: Two murals by Jim Bravo. On the right, “Down Creek Way” 2012. On the left, “Morning Ice Harvest” 2014. Both are part of the Lakeshore Arts Project

two historical murals on the side of a building, one is boys ice fishing and the other is people swimming in the creek

below: A watery mural with a large duck bottom as it paddles by on the side of Birds and Beans Coffee Shop. Another Lakeshore Arts Project; it was designed by Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson and painted with the help of a crew of youth & community members coordinated by Paula McDines.

picture of a mural as seen from across a park, street scene as well. snow, winter,

below: Mural on the side of Calibreze Pizza on Lakeshore Blvd.

mural on the side of a two storey brick store on Lakeshore in Mimico, sign says Calibreze Pizza.

mural on the side of a building, cars parked in front of it

mural

The northern boundary is the Gardiner Expressway.  Here, stairs from the street running parallel to the Gardiner up to Royal York Road before it becomes a bridge over the expressway.

concrete retaining wall beside Royal York Rd, with stairs going up to road level, also a small tree

below: Signs on the outside

signs on the door of Jimmys coffee shop, wear a mask, wear it right, and other covid notices

below: … and old photos on the inside.  Jimmys Coffee, Royal York Road.  Hanging out inside was verboten but a few minutes of warmth was appreciated.

large photograph on a coffee shop wall of a welcome to mimico sign beside an old phone booth with someone inside it

inside Jimmys coffee, a sign on the bar that says our resolution drink more coffee damn it

below: Who can resist a unicorn poop cookie?

cookies for sale at a coffee shop, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with pink sprinkles called unicorn poop cookies

below: Signs of Covid.  Prior to the most recent lockdown there was talk about “big box stores” being allowed to stay open while smaller businesses had to close.  At the moment, even “big box stores” are closed.

window of a tattoo shop, rattan blinds closed, painted on window is sign that says big box tattoo, wolves throne, can we open now?

below: Bag full of work.

traffic box on sidewalk painted as back of a person in a red and white striped shirt with a backpack on. outside of backpack are words bag full of work, Red van on road, and houses behind that, snow on the ground,

below: Moooooove me….  I’m tired of getting splattered with slush when cars get too close!

back cow sculpture, lifelike, beside the street, in front of a butcher shop in Mimico.

small blue boat on a trailer parked by garage in an alley behind multiplex houses 3 storeys high, red brick.

below: A cold and wet seat.

a chair in the driveway by an alley, in the snow, cars, chainlink fence behind the chair.

sign beside the red doors of Crossroads Christian fellowship church that says All welcome Sunday service and bible studies cancelled

below: Just out of the picture, and making a lot of noise, was the same dog that’s in this picture.

glass door and windows of storefront with signs and pictures. picture of a small dog,

below: Tibetan prayer flags adorn the fence. Each colour represents an element; white symbolizes air, red is fire., green is water, yellow is earth, and blue is wind. They also represent directions – North, South, East, West and Center. As the flags flutter in the wind, they emit positive spiritual vibrations enabling the wind to carry away the prayers and wishes. As the prayers drift away, the colours fade.

colourful Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags strung outside a store

two three storey apartment buildings side by side

houses on a residential street

four motorcycles under individual covers and parked outside in the snow

old square white building on Royal York Road, now a flower shop,

below: Mimico is home to a large GO facility, the Willowbrook Rail Maintenance Facility.  It didn’t look too inviting!  It might be worth some research so that on a warmer, sunnier day we could go exploring.

outer wall of Willowbrook GO facility in Mimico. Large walls,

below: It’s difficult to see, but the door on the left has a “women” sign on it.   His and hers.

two white port a potties beside a parked truck container back part

What had started as a sunny morning, turned into a grey low-light so we headed to the lake to see if we could find more sun, or at least better light.

below: Part of Humber College Lakeshore Campus.   These buildings were built in the late 1880s as “cottages”, part of the Mimico Asylum (later known as the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital).   Almost a hundred years later the site was shut down.  At that time, there were 280 patients, down from a peak of 1,390 in 1950.

from a distance, Humber college brick buildings, lakeshore campus, snow and bare trees

below: The site was leased to Humber in 1991 and since then these four buildings have been completely renovated to suit Humber’s needs.

Humber college brick buildings, lakeshore campus, snow and bare trees

below: Humber College is surrounded on three sides by Colonel Sam Smith park and one of the features of the park is an outdoor skating loop.  This year, online registration is needed for a time slot at all rinks – unless you’re lucky enough to arrive when others have cancelled or have been unable to show up.  (As an aside – they have a washroom for weary walkers in need!)

people at skating rink, outdoors. one is secutiy and others are waiting their turn to use the ice. pink letters on sidewalk that denote place for those with reservations to line up

two kids skating, one is pushing the other who is holding onto a blue plastic support

Another feature of the park are the waterfront trails along the shores of Lake Ontario.

two canada geese in the water, up close

below: Comfy sofa at the ready?

many mallards and canada geese in the water, trees on the shore, an old sofa is perched among the trees, facing the water, winter, snow,

mallard ducks with their heads down,m on Lake Ontario

ice and icicles on a fallen log on the rocks beside Lake Ontario, some snow and bare trees in the background

frozen pond with snow and bare trees

Toronto skyline from Colonel Sam Smith park, lake ontario in between

winter scene, beside Lake Ontario, bench in park facing the water, some bare trees around it

We never did find more light that morning.  But if you’re in the mood for hot chocolate bombs or other sweet goodies we might have found the place for you!

photographer taking a picture of a store window, masks, baking things, red hearts,

below: As I was driving home after the walk, I came across this scene:

a zamboni on the back of a tow truck, travlling on a toronto street

 

… even though it was the end of September!

below: Up, up, and away… not!  The woman in the middle doesn’t seem to interested.  Perhaps she’s too busy taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity to sun bathe on the beach one more time.

two men with large kites are trying to get themselves up in the air, a woman in a bathing suit lies on the sand between them.

two women and a girl paddling in a yellow boat, a sailboat is in the background

below: Walking past Leuty Lifeguard Station.

three couples on the boardwalk, one couple is walking their dog

below: He decided to stay and relax a little while people watching.

a man lies on the grass and watches people passing by on the boardwalk including a woman in a bathing suit and red shoes while talking on her phone, in front of Leuty Lifeguard station

a family sits together on the beach, the youngest is a baby in mother's lap. stroller is beside them, empty lifeguard station too

a man pulls a wagon with a child in it through the sand towards Lake Ontario leaving ruts where the wheels have passed

people walking on the boardwalk at Toronto waterfront, including four kids on their bikes, four aside, blocking traffic

a couple sit on low chairs in the sand at Woodbine Beach, others are in the water swimming or on paddle boards

a group of young people in bathing suits and summer clothing having a picnic at the beach, some under a striped umbrella and some standing and sitting around an large inflatable pink flamingo

young people playing volleyball on the beach in the sane

a couple sits near the water, their bikes are parked on the sand beside a large piece of driftwood

an old woman in a long purple and white skirt and a scarf over her head walks along the boardwalk with her walker

below: … and (almost) last, a wedding party in the park… finding ways to have celebrations in the summer of Covid-19.

a wedding party in the park, other people sitting in the park and looking out towards Lake Ontario

below:  That’s one way of getting to the beach!

new blue Mclaren sports car parked ina parking lot at Woodbine beach, beside a white car and in front of a TTC bus stop

A long weekend in May (Two Four Weekend) + the first sunny warm day in a while + two months of “shelter in place” = people out enjoying Tommy Thompson Park’s trails and waterfront.

a couple sit on a rock by Lake Ontario

below: Flow Like a River

bikes parked against a fence with signs on it, with graffiti words that say flow like a river, in the background a mound of dirt with two young men standing on top of it.

below: Keep ur distance

a girl in a red bike helmet walks on top of a yellow concrete barrier

cyclists on a bike path, seen through tree trunks and long grass

below: Three people, three positions – up tall and straight, flailing legs middle, and collapsing feet at the end.    Also notable are the mounds of tangled rebar that dot the shoreline.

three young people trying to do headstones on the pebbles at the shore beside Lake Ontario, Tommy Thompson Park, with old rusty rebar in piles on the shore two, washed up old trees and roots,

father and child standing on rocks at the shore of Lake Ontario

below: She’s sitting on some very rounded rocks that have been shaped by the waves and water.  Are they chunks of man-made concrete and not the more solid  rocks formed by nature?

a woman looking at her phone, sitting on rocks by Lake Ontario, her bike is on the ground behind her

The park has come a long way since construction of the Leslie Street Spit started in 1959.  In the beginning, it was to be an area for “port related activities”.   In the early 1970s, it was decided that Toronto didn’t need an expanded port.  Since 1973, the focus has been on developing the area as a park but keeping as much “wilderness” as possible.  If you are interested in the history of Tommy Thompson Park, they have an excellent website with aerial pictures that show how the park has grown.

tall smokestack in the distance, a park in the foreground, with a bike path and cyclists running through the park, early spring

below: Nature slowly takes over, and the piles of rubble and construction waste that were used to help build the foundations of the park become grown over and buried.

grassy, rocky part of Tommy Thompson Park in spring with shrubs and trees just starting to bud

below: Late afternoon fishermen on their way in.

people walking on a trail in Tommy Thompson Park, early spring, trees just starting to form leaves

below: If you look closely, you might see that one of the bikes has a bell in the shape of a skull with red eyes.

4 bikes parked on the shore, among leafless shrubs, beside Lake Ontario

piles of rock, concrete bits, rebar, construction waste, forming parts of Tommy Thompson park

below: There were lots of noisy redwing blackbirds as well as many other kinds of birds – orioles, grosbeaks, goldfinches, robins, warblers, swallows, and sparrows.  During spring migration, up to 300 different species can be seen here.

a male redwing blackbird in a tree, making noise

long droopy buds on a tree, dark red on top and golden yellow on the lower parts, out of focus trees in the background

In the foregeound, trees and stumps in the water at the edge of the harbour, looking across the water to the Toronto skyline

two sailboats exit the marina harbour and pass by the Toronto skyline (seen from the east)

below: Construction on the east side of the park.  This is the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant Landform Project scheduled to be finished in 2025.  Three shore connected breakwaters and a headland/beach system are being constructed.

filling in part of Lake Ontario, walls of rocks with dirt between them

Work continues on the Port Lands redevelopment with more buildings being demolished to make way for the new mouth of the Don River.

view of portlands includingLafarge silos, gas tanks, and construction

below: Cherry Street bridge

Cherry street bridge over the Keating Channel, green metal bridge

below: Don Roadway looking north.  The southern part is now closed (south of Lakeshore Blvd)

a pile of tree trunks, recently cut down, on a road that is now closed

looking north on the closed portion of the Don Roadway, lumber pile in middle of road, large metal hydro poles,

below: Villiers Street at the Don Roadway.  A couple of old buildings remain on Villiers but many structures between Villiers and the Keating Channel are now gone, especially at the east end of the channel near the present mouth of the Don River.

Villiers street at Don Roadway, two school buses parked here, Gardiner Expressway in the background

below: Commissioners Street, looking east.  Everything in that block, on the south side, has been levelled – the blue and white building is on the other side of the Don Roadway.

Commissioners street in port lands, with road closed sign

a glass bus shelter behind a construction fence

below: The west end of Commissioners street

Commissioners street in the port lands, road closed, yield sign on road yield to oncoming traffic, black and orange traffic cones, a plywood booth for security guard to sit in,

below: Commissioners Street, north side

construction, signs on a wood pole, Toronto skyline in the background

TTC bus stop for route 72 on Commissioners street but pole is now in the middle of a construction site, lots of dirt, orange and black traffic cones, Gardiner Expressway in the background

below: T’nT grocery store is now closed.  The red sign by the door advertises Chinese New Year specials.

back of a large laker boat parked beside an empty parking lot

below: The same boat, the NACC Argonaut, but from the south, from Polson Street.    NACC = Nova Algoma Cement Carriers.  She was built in Japan in 2003 and converted into a cement carrier in 2017.  The next year she entered service on the Great Lakes.

ship parked in channel, beside an empty parking lot with a small booth for attendant of parking lot

below: As you can see more clearly here, the Argonaut was actually parked beside the Lafarge facility.  T’nT is behind the Lafarge Cement round towers (building on the left).

large empty parking lot in the foregraound, largare cement facitily in the background, with a large laker docked beside it

large laker ship docked beside Lafarge cement

below: Shipping Channel

two boats parked in the shipping channel, one is the white and yellow Iroquois

boats parked in the shipping channel

shipping channel, port lands

below: There are quite a few old railway crossing signs in the Port Lands for tracks that have been torn up or long unused. I am surprised that no one has stolen them.

old car parked beside an old railway crossing sign, for a railway track that is no longer there

below: Boats of a different kind –    RCYC (Royal Canadian Yacht Club) on Cherry Street.

a line of large sail boats in storage, on land, covered with tarps, masts in the air, no sails,

below: Cherry Beach

a woman walking her dog beside a forest, on a beach

No construction affects the beach but these days, people are keeping their distance. Since taking these pictures the beach may have been closed, I’m not sure. The parking lot will be closed for sure.

cherry beach with not many people and cherry lifeguard station

below: Unwin Street, looking east towards the old Hearn Generating Station

unwin street in port lands

hearn generating station from the west side

part of Hearn generating plant, upper level with watch tower

below: Another Port Lands view from above.  North of the Gardiner is the construction site for the rebuilding of the Gardiner.  To the south is the Port Lands with the tall smokestack/chimney of the Hearn.   The white building with the two chimneys on the far left is the Portlands Energy Centre, a natural gas powered electricity generating station.

view of port lands and gardiner expressway from above including hearn generating station

below: The entry to the Portlands Energy Centre which is the property of Hydro One.

closed and locked gate with warning signs on it

a concrete road barrier with blue spray paint words that say have a good day

This is the 6th annual Winter Stations art installation event at Woodbine Beach.  It was officially opened on Family Day, February17th.

below: Tying yellow ribbons on the yellow metal frame in “Mirage”, designed by Cristina Vega and Pablo Losa Fontangordo.  The orange frame is parallel to the lake and the yellow sections are perpendicular.    Depending on where you are standing, you see either a red transparent sun setting or a light and bright rising sun laying on the horizon.

5 people working, two up on ladders, Lake Ontario in the background, tying yellow ribbons on an orange metal frame, finishing touches on an art installation called Mirage

tying yellow ribbons on an orange metal frame, finishing touches on an art installation called Mirage

below: “The Beach’s Percussion Ensemble” by Centennial College while under construction.

woman holding a shovel, on beach, by some yellow and pink boxes, installing a public art display at Woodbine Beach

below: The end product.  There is now graffiti on the boxes

tagged and graffiti covered pink and yellow boxes stacked on the beach, art installation by Centennial College students.

below: and cowbells hung from the underside of boxes in a couple of places.

smal cowbells hang from the underside of a yellow box that is stacked on top of two other boxes, one yellow and one pink

below: “Kaleido­scope of the Senses” is a strong piece designed by Charlie Sutherland of SUHUHA (An architecture studio in Edinburgh).  People were lining up to take turns sitting on the lifegusard chair.

people lined up to take a look inside a portion of art installation at Woodbine Beach

a father lifts up a young boy in a red winter coat so he can sit inside an art installation over a lifeguard station at the beach

below: “Noodle Feed” by iheartblob was very popular on the Sunday before Family Day (the official opening of ‘Winter Stations’).   It wasn’t designed to have a jumping feature but that’s what all the kids were doing that day.  The fabric tubes are filled with straw.

a girl jumping off a lifeguard station onto rolls of fabric stuffed with straw, on the beach

below: When I returned to the beach a few days later, the installation was gone.

a metal frame lifeguard station, raised seat, with a red board against the back and a sign on the front that says do not jump off lifeguard chair

blue pole with two small signs, both with snow on them, the top sign just has the number 3 on it. the other sign has its back to the camera so it can't be read

Information about the installations can be found at winterstations.com

It’s been a while since I posted here mostly because I’ve been away.  But I’m back in Toronto and back to walking.  The other day didn’t start as planned!  A locked gate stood in my way.

winter scene, base of Bathurst street by old Canada Malting Co silos, black gate to Ireland Park path is locked, snow, bench,

Shortly after, I saw a sign …. I’m not sure that it references locked gates specifically, but at the minimum it’s a reminder to remain flexible.

an art installation on the exterior wall of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, words in pink letters written over an river landscape scene. the words say If you end up with the story that you started with, then you're not listening along the way.

As anyone Canadian city dweller knows, winter in the city rarely means white snow – the brown slush quickly takes over.   Here, at Spadina and Queens Quay, the road has been painted red to alert drivers to the fact that this is a streetcar lane.

new TTC streetcar turning left from Spadina to Queens Quay, slushy streets after snowfall, people waiting at bus stop,

Lake Ontario has only begun to freeze, and only in quiet protected places.  The first part of January was warmer than usual.  Even as I type this it is raining and all the snow is melting.  There probably isn’t much of this ice left this afternoon.

a couple of boats docked at wood docks, lakefront, waterfront, some thin ice in patches on the water between the shore and the boats. Lake Ontario

below: A “Danger due to” sign that has blown in from somewhere else but is just as relevant here as it is at any construction site.

Toronto red tug boat in the water with brocken bits of ice in the water, also a red and white danger due to sign that has fallen onto the ice of Lake Ontario

below: The Music Garden hibernating for the winter.

along the waterfront, view of CN Tower, with sculpture and dead or hibernating plants at Music Garden

below: Kayaks at Harbourfront resting for the winter months.

red, orange, and yellow kayaks on the ground for the winter, mostly covered with snow

below: The fire rescue boat was out and about the other afternoon.

yellow umbrellas and painted muskoka chairs in the snow at H T O beach, with red fire rescus boat just offshore

a large flock of sea gulls take flight beside Lake Ontario and in front of H T O beach

three people skating at an outdoor skating rink

Now on at the Harbourfront Centre is “Future Retrospectives” which is a group exhibition of works by artists and designers who use the past as a lens to look at the future (until 29th March).

below: The coloured shapes with the words, are the work of Hannah Claus.  They hang on a clear background so the installation on the wall behind shows through (also the work of Hannah Claus).  In fact, the two go together.  At first I thought the coloured shapes represented tombstones but in fact they are a replica of the plaque on Hochelaga Rock. This rock commemorates the village and people encountered by Jacques Cartier in 1535; it is on the McGill campus in Montreal.  It is also featured in the photos on the far wall. The English words (bottom half) start with “Near here was the…”.  More information.

Near Here was art installation or Harbourfront Artport gallery

below: Will we be able to understand a future time?  Also part of Future Retrospectives.

will we understand future time, video art with some other bits and pieces, Harbourfront Artport gallery

below: Timeless.  Eternity. Waiting for the bus.

three people at a bus shelter waiting for a bis, two are standing and one is sitting. They are underneath a large photo of stars and the night sky

below: This is ‘Loop’ an interactive “Winter Station” public art installation.  In past years, there have been 5 or 6 different art installations along Queens Quay as part of the Winter Station project.  This year, there is just this one which is located at York Street Park.   The circles are large enough for two people to sit face to face.  There is a metal bar which can then be moved back and forth between the pair.  This movement makes an inner circle spin and activates some lights.   It is the creation of Olivier Girouard ; it is scheduled to remain here until the 9th of February.

black circular structures that are part of an interactive art installation called Loop, arranged in a semi-circle at Yor Street Park, snow on the ground, trees with no leaves, no people there

below: Harbour Street, looking east towards Yonge Street from the elevated walkway that runs north from WaterPark Place, over the Lakeshore and under the Gardiner.

view east on Harbour Streeet from the walkway between Waterpark Place and Scotiabank Arena, construction of new high rises in the background, traffic,

below: Reflections on the walkway.

reflections of people walking in glass walled elevated walkway om downtown Toronto

below: After passing under the Gardiner, the walkway wraps around the west side of the second floor of the Scotiabank Arena (originally the ACC).

interior, Scotiabank Arena people on elevated walkway between Waterpark Place and Scotiabank Arena

below: The south entrance to Union Station, from the walkway.  This is also a good view of the new glass platform over Union Station (train shed roof?) – this is something that I need to check out in more detail.

Union Station entrance, a couple of people walking in front, Royal York hotel in the background, taken from elevated walkway beside Scotiabank arena

below: Also under renovation is the Bay Street exit of the Scotiabank Arena.  A new walkway between it and the building being constructed across the street is almost complete.  It is on the same level as, and immediately beside, the railway tracks.  This walkway will connect to the new Union Station bus terminal

from the inside, looking out, construction of the new exit, and new elevated walkway to building being constructed across the street

below: Exit onto Bay Street and look up!  Upward.  And to the future…. wherever that leads us.

looking up towards the sky at the Bay Street entrance to Scotianbank arena, wall of old arena, top of new building being constructed across the street,

I’d heard that there were some Christmas lights brightening up the sky at Kew Beach.   What I didn’t know then was that this is now an annual tradition;  it was started by DeClute Real Estate in 2007.  Since there was still some daylight left, I started my walk at Woodbine Beach, a bit west of Kew.

snow fence beside Lake Ontario at Woodbine Beach

below:  Small waves crash over the rocks at the shore.

slow mo pic of waves crashing over a rock at the beach

below: Leuty Lifeguard Station closed up for the winter.

Leuty lifeguard station in late afternoon, snow fence, some snow on the ground, lights on,

below: Ready to run

between a snow fence and Lake Ontario, a woman is in the process of throwing a ball for her dog who anxiously awaits the throw

long snow fence running parallel to the shore at Woodbine beach in December, some snow, no people

sunset behind Lake Ontario at Woodbine Beach, snow fence, some snow on the ground

 

below:  Once I got to the Kew Beach boardwalk I discovered that there are other reminders that it is now December.   And what could be more appropriate than some Christmas decorations to add some cheer ? Pine and poinsettias on a bench.

bench decorated with fake pine, pine cones and a red poinsettia flower

below: Bright red ribbons tied around a small tree.

 

ribbons tied around a small tree trunk and branch, one red ribbon and one red and white striped ribbon, Christmas decorations

below: Shiny Christmas ornaments hanging from branches and a wreath on a tree trunk.

a shiny silver ball, Christmas ornament, hangs from a small tree, in the background is a red ball also hanging from the tree, as well as a green Christmas wreath attached to the trunk of the tree

below: More signs that Christmas is soon –  Some of the trees along the bike path and boardwalk at Kew Beach have been decorated with Christmas lights.   As the daylight begins to fade, the Christmas lights become more noticeable.

late afternoon as it starts to get dark, along the bike path at Kew Beach, some Christmas lights on a few of the trees

below: Looking back towards the city as the sun goes down.

looking towards downtown Toronto from the boardwalk at Woodbine beach, sunset, orange colour with small clouds, some snow on the ground

 

below: The mood and atmosphere of the beach changes as it gets dark outside.  The light shining on the Muskoka chairs highlights the pink and green colours and almost makes the chairs look translucent.

after dark, lights shining on two Muskoka chairs beside the boardwalk at Kew Beach

dusk, Kew Beach, snow, lights, snow fence, and trees,

night, Christmas lights on a tree

after dark, Christmas lights on tree, lights beside path, snow on the ground, small puddles on path

The lights remain until well into the New Year.  More information can be found on the Light Up the Beach website.

 

shiny green Christmas garland wrapped around part of a snow fence

As August marches relentlessly along the daylight hours shrink.  One advantage of the shorter days is that sunrise isn’t at a time that starts with the number 5.   I’m not a morning person but I like to take morning pictures.

below: Pinkish sky as the sun rises.

sunrise over Lake Ontario, pinkish sky, water with some reflections, loght cloud cover,

below: There was an enormous flock of birds flying low over the water together.  Can you see the swimmer?

a verylarge flock of birds flies low over the water, over Lake Ontario, early morning. To the right, the birds are beginning to fly a little higher, clouds, morning sun trying to break through.

below: Ready for the day

two muskoka chairs, a red muskoka chair and a pink muskoka chair on the beach near the shore of Lake Ontario, Kew beach, sunrise with a few clouds in the sky

below: Reading on the beach…  just after 7 a.m.

a person in a black hoodie is sitting on a blue Muskoka chair, reading a book on the beach

below: A group of women on their paddle boards (not quite so early.  I had breakfast part way through my walk that morning).

a group of five women each on their own paddleboard, very calm water of Lake Ontario just off the shore, two re standing, two are sitting on the boards, and one is kneeling,

a lone small tree with no leaves on the shore, sand, large rocks to prevent erosion, beyond the tree is Lake Ontario with some sailboats on it

below: Mother and son.

a mother in wide brimmed hat and her son in a red hat sit by the shore, sand, water, sky,

below: At 11:15 the life guards row to their stations.

two men sit on rocks on the shore of Lake Ontario watching 3 life guard rowboats passing by

a couple on the beach playing with a volleyball

below: Kew Williams house, now on the grounds of Kew Gardens.  Kew Williams (1873-1956 ) built the house in 1902 on the grounds of what was then The Canadian Kew Gardens, a campground resort opened in 1879 by his parents, Joseph & Jane (nee Henry) Williams.   Joseph Williams sold the house and 20 acre property to the City of Toronto in 1907.   A year later the property became Kew Gardens.

Kew Williams house in Toronto, with small turret, and porch, gardens in front with lots of flowers

The gardens are very well maintained.  They are in full bloom at the moment and looking gorgeous.  I will leave you with a few pictures of flowers, colourful ones to brighten your day.

below: A stalk of lobelia cardinalis grows among the black eyed susans.

black eye susan flowers with their bright yellow petals and black centers. Growing amongst them is a stalk of bright red lobelius cardinalis.

below: A monarch butterfly finds a bright red flower.

a bright red flower with a monarch butterfly on it

below: A pink zinnia

a pink zinnia

below: Gaillardia pulchella, also known as firewheel or Indian blanket

bright red and yellow flowers

below: Three white daisies growing with smaller orange flowers

three white daisies among small orange flowers and lots of leaves