Archive for the ‘windows and walls’ Category

Sort of like window shopping but different….

three grey femail mannequins dressed in pale blue in a store window

below:  Peering through the window at the remains of Yuk Wing cleaners on Gerrard St. East

interior of now closed dry cleaners, looking through the front window of Yuk Wing cleaners, pale green counter, old signs, still remain

below: Sometimes you can’t look in the window – something is in the way!  It wasn’t until I was looking at the picture on my computer that I noticed that the newspaper is in a language that I don’t understand.   I typed the headline to the left of the heart into google translate, “Niemiecka chemia zapanuje nad swiatem” and it told me that the words were Polish and translate to “German chemistry will dominate the world”.  The article is about the purchase of Monsanto by Bayer.

a small red heart is painted on the window of a store that is now empty and newspaper covers the inside of the window.

below: A portion of the black cowboy silhouette remains in the now empty Tortilla Flats restaurant.

looking in the window of an empty restaurant, green and black walls, red bench, bike, top part of a silhouette of a cowboy on the wall

below:  The effects of morning light shining into the Thai Luna restaurant.

looking into the window of the Thai Luna restaurant, sun behind, shadow of the words of the window show up on the maroon coloured bench, black tables

below: More morning sunlight, this time it leaves traces of fried chicken.

looking into the window of a fried chicken restaurant, chair upside down on table, words on the window show up on the floor because of the sunlight coming in the window

below: Strutting in the window with miniature camels

looking in the window and doorway of a womens clothing store in the Eaton Centre, mannequins in the window, saleswoman in the door,

below: Laundry day, with 24 hour surveillance

looking in a laundromat window, people, washing machines,

below: The chicken, and its head, really was that colour.

looking in a restaurant window, meat hanging in a windiw including a rather yellow chicken, some ribs,

below: What little remains.

looking through a window into a large open space, some construction equipment is against the far wall, large door open across the room

in the window of a store, dirty window, brother sewing machine, with small barbie doll standing against it and leaning against a large spool of pink thread

More words!

below: You’re awesome!

large white letter across a roof line that say you're awesome

below: Embrace peculiarity

side a garage plus wood fence beside it painted with abstractr shapes in reds and oranges, with the words embrace peculiarity written in blue cursive writing

below: Love will win 🙂

on the side of a grey metal box, written in black, with a smiley face under the words, love will win

below: I love you!

graffiti on a brick wall, red heart with words I love you, instead of the word love there is a white heart

below: A mural with a pink skate boarding raccoon with a hockey stick and a Blue Jays baseball cap.  Also words of encouragement (or at least that’s how I’m going to interpret them today), Keep Pushin.  It’s actually an ad for Kadence World, a store that is opening up on Ossington, a place where art, music, and skate boarding all converge.

large yellow letters that say keep Pushin, on a mural with a pink raccoon wearing a blue jays baseball cap, looking at a wrist watch with a dollar sign on the face,

below: And last, a final Buh Bye

yellow stencil on a sidewalk, in cursive writing, buh bye

Saturday, December 17th 2017
The day six new TTC subway stations opened.

So, of course, off we went on a subway adventure….  An exploration of the TYSSE, or in other words, the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension.   I have presented the stations in order that I visited them, from north to south – Vaughan, Highway 407, Pioneer Village, York University, Finch West, and Donwsview Park.  It’s not every day that new subway stations come along… and these have been a long time coming!

 

below:  The northernmost station on Line 1 is now Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

map of line 1 of the TOronto subway system, with red "you are here" arrow at the top left hand side, for Vaughan subway station.

below: ‘Atmospheric Lens’ by Paul Raff Studio is the artwork that is incorporated into the roof of the station.  It features skylights and reflective panels.  The yellow is reflections from a glowing disk mounted on top of the elevator shaft – you can’t actually see the disk, just its reflection.

reflective ceiling of Vaughan subway station, with people going up the escalator towards it, taking pictures.

escalators and shiny walls of Vaughan subway station

below: Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station, from the outside

exterior view of the dome like Vaughan TTC subway station, some snow on the ground, some people standing around outside the doors.

The rest of the ‘metropolitan centre’ needs a bit of work… as does the parking that this orange sign mentions.   I was surprised at how undeveloped that this part of Vaughan is.  This is the view to the east of the station.  On the west there is a development of “big box” stores some of which have just been built.  Smart Vaughan – get the subway and then build around it rather than disrupt an already built city with years of construction and the consequent traffic problems (i.e. building the Eglinton Crosstown link)

suburbia - empty field with orange sign that says Subway parking. one tall building, a gas station, a street,

All six stations are quite deep and all six require two escalator rides to get to street level (or you can climb a lot of stairs!… stairs are not always an option though).  There are plenty of elevators.

people on a very long escalator at one of the new TTC subway stations in Toronto

below:  The walls are concrete beside the subway tracks.  Each station has its name on the wall similar to this at Highway 407 station (just south of the 407 at Jane Street).

concrete wall of the subway, with words highway 407 on the wall, at the new Highway 407 subway station TTC

below: A large coloured glass window dominates the area at the top of the escalators (by the bus station) at Highway 407.   This artwork is by David Pearl and is one of two pieces that he did for this station.

people standing and looking at a large painted window, abstract in yellows, turquoise andpink, large window, at subway station, sunlight outside

below: Highway 407 has a large GO Transit bus terminal as well.  There is still some work to be done on that part!  The worrisome part of all this is that the two stations at the end of the line are transportation hubs designed to help those commuting into Toronto.  Yes, they funnel even more people into an already overcrowded subway.  Note to the city of Vaughan – please use this as an opportunity to increase the reasons why people would commute north!

unfinished part of the subway station, indent in wall with sign tickets billets but the niche is empty except for two large black and orange striped construction cones

below:  One of the entrances to Highway 407 – the center window is the same as the coloured window above (it looks much better from inside!).  On either side are GO Transit bus terminals.  Behind me when I took the photo is a large parking lot for about 600 cars.   Functional but not necessarily pretty – it may look better from other angles but it was a cold day and it seemed like a long walk to get to the other sides).

people walking towards the entrance to HUghway 407 TYSSE station, a low concrete and glass building.

below: The new bus loop at Pioneer Village Station.  There are actually 2 bus terminals here – one for the TTC and one for YRT buses.   This station is on Steeles between Jane and Keele.   Originally this station was going to be called Steeles West – mercifully the TTC actually showed some creativity and came up with a better name.  All the ‘West’ stations drive me crazy.

exterior at new Pioneer Village TTC subway station at Steeles Ave., new bus loops with wood overhangs, still under construction

below: Coming up the escalator in the Pioneer Village station towards the large light in the ceiling.   The dominant features of the station are the large vertical windows and the red and wood cladding.   The red and wood are continued to the exterior as well.

interior of Pioneer Village subway station, top of one of the escalators, vertical windows looking outside, some red glass as accents, a large light artwork on the ceiling, people on the escalators

below:  Close up of part of the exterior.

abstract of the exterior walls of Pioneer Village subway station, red panels with wood roof and grey steel beams

below: Looking up into one of the skylights

abstract geometrics, triabngles and diamonds, reflective surfaces in a cone shaped skylight, in blacks and blues,

below: The main artwork at Pioneer Village station is “LightSpell” by German artists Tim and Jan Edler.   It’s an interactive installation that also helps provide light in the station.  This photo shows some of the 40 elements that make up the installation. By lighting certain sections of each element, letters of the alphabet can be formed, and in turn, words can be written.   Numbers and other special characters can also be lit.  In addition, the intensity of the light can be automatically controlled to maintain a constant light level in the station.   There are also a lot of speakers on black poles in this area but that is a mystery for another day.

art installation, LightSpell by Jan andTim Edler hangs over th escalator at Pioneer Village TTC subway station,

below: Inside York University station which is right on campus.  The stairs and escalators to the trains are in the center.  On both ends of the curved structure are the exits.

large round high window of concourse level of new York University subway station, snow on the ground outside, people inside

looking down the escalator at York University station,

below: At Finch West station there are bright and shiny red hexagonal tiles on many of the interior walls.  (Argh, there’s that ‘west’ again)

shiny red hexagonal shaped tiles line the wall beside an escalator at the new York University subway station on TTC line 1

below: As you go up to street level, you are greeted by a flood of coloured light.

people on an escalator, red hexagonal tiles on the wall beside them, lots of streaks of pink and yellow light above them at the top of the escalator, Finch West subway station TTC, toronto

below: The light comes from tall sunlit windows of different colours.  Stripes of grey and white tile on the floor and ceiling add to the slightly surreal effect.

people passing through Finch West station with its tall vertical windows covered in colours, pink, blue and yellow, also with its stripes of white and dark grey tiles
Expect to see many photos taken at this station in the future!  The light and colour makes for some interesting effects.

coloured glass at Finch West station

coloured glass at Finch West station

man standing in front of coloured glass at Finch West station

… and I have probably gotten carried away.  There’s still one more new station so let’s take a look at it – Downsview Park.

below: Looking up…

looking up over the heads of some people going up the escalator at Downsview Park subway station

below: … and looking waaaay down at Downsview Park station.

looking down two levels of the new Downsview Park subway station, long escalator and flight of stairs

below: Eventually (soon?) GO trains between Union Station and Barrie will connect with the subway here.   The subway actually runs under the GO railway tracks here.  The street level of Downsview Park station is two halves, one on each side of the GO tracks.

 

looking out a set of glass doors that is locked closed with a danger sign on the door.   Future GO transit exit at Donwsview Park TTC subway

below: I am going to end with this.  Part observation and part editorializing –  a sign seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  I look at this and think of old pictures I have seen of the Yonge line when it was first built.  It serviced parts of Toronto like Davisville and Summerhill that were of fairly low density but the city and/or province had the foresight to build that far north anyhow.  If you read the TTC websites about these new stations, there is a lot of talk about planning for future development and making that future development transit friendly.  A great idea.  Now, let’s apply that thinking to Scarborough…. and what do you get?  A lot of naysayers with arguments about density.  Grumble grumble oh how poor we are.   And don’t even get me started on Mike Harris and how he cancelled the Eglinton line in 1995.  Twenty two years later we’re building it at extra cost and with extra traffic disruption.  Sigh.

GO Transit and TTC subway sign in the middle of snow covered field

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

 

It’s early November and autumn is here – I think.   Some leaves, like on the locust and maple trees below, have turned colours and begun to fall but others remain green and on the tree.  After the warm than usual October that we were fortunate to have, the weather has turned to grey and damp and all too seasonally November.   Luckily, a heavier coat and a scarf is all that is required – so off we go!

autumn street scene with locust tree with yellow leaves, sidewalk, some dead leaves on the ground, grass still green, orange leaves on the tree in the background

below: I spotted these little rusted Coke and Sprite signs on a house on Christie street.   Like the autumn leaves, the weather has changed their colours and I especially like the pale turquoise that the Sprite bottle has become.  It nicely matches the trim on the neighbour’s house.

three old rusted advertising signs for coca cola and sprite, metal signs, upper level of a building

below: Another example of the effects of time on metal.  A little less rust here but there are some interesting shapes and forms created by the peeling paint.

metal corrugated metal wall, close up detail of peeling green paint and rust

below: Looking into a shop window to see a sad and lonely cat.  Sad eyes?  or are they eyes of a cat dreaming of the outside world and wishing it wasn’t relegated to a shelf of old and empty things.

looking into a window of an antique store, a porcelain cat, sitting upright, with sad look on its face, on a shelf with empty bottles and jugs

below: More old, but certainly not sad.   It’s a bright, shiny and obviously well-loved Chrysler.

an old orangish brown Chrysler car parked in a driveway, front facing the street,

below: Advice to heed.

red words painted on the side of a white building in an alley, words say - When you love someone, let them know

below: No wise words here – just scrawls and tags.  But isn’t the orange a fantastic colour for a wall?

orange stucco wall with graffiti on it.

below: Tiny! A teensie tiny little house with a lawn that’s sparse but neatly kept.  Once you start looking for these little treasures, you realize that there are quite a few of them in Toronto.  I wonder if anyone has documented them?

very small one storey house between two large houses, green lawns, sidewalk in front,

Warning – tangent ahead!  This reminds of a children’s story called “Benjamin Budge and Barnaby Ball” written by Florence Heide Parry.  It’s a story of two men living in two different houses.  Benjamin was a very big man living in a very small house while Barnaby was a very small man living in a big house.  The illustrations of Benjamin squeezing into his mini sized house were wonderful (by Sally Matthews).  Of course, to live happily ever after the two men trade houses.

“Benjamin Budge was a great big man,
A great big huge TREMENDOUS man,
But his tiny house was so very small,
There wasn’t room for him at all!”

below: Benjamin Budge sleeps ‘in’ his bedillustration by Sally Matthews of a picture of a large man sleeping half on the floor and half on his tiny bed in his tiny bedroom. From the children's book Benjamin Budge and Barnaby Small

below: Veering back to the subject of architecture… this style of apartment building was very common in the 1920’s.  Three storeys, no elevator and probably no parking but with charming little details in the brickwork.  If I remember correctly, this building is on Bathurst street just south of Dupont.

three storey brick apartment building with central white door entranceway

Little vegetable gardens in both back and front yards are very numerous here, probably because of the combination of the large number of Italian and Portuguese immigrants who settled here and the popularity of ‘urban farming’ – veggies instead of grass. Being November, there were only a few remnants of this year’s harvest – a few tomato plants here and some Swiss chard there.

below: One back yard still has all its wooden stakes standing on guard. A forest of stakes.

chain link fence in front of a large number of wooden stakes that were used in a vegetable garden earlier in the season, but now autumn so there are no plants

below: Another way to garden in the city!

patio outside a house is covered with plastics bins of different kinds, all of which have been turned into planters, autumn now so plants no longer alive but boxes and coolers and bins remain.

below: Xena the warrior princess still watches over Vermont Avenue. She’s faded a bit since I last took her picture two years ago. You can see her (and others) in Neighbourhood watch good guys that I posted in 2015.

altered neighbourhood watch sign, with a picture in the center,

 There are lots of lanes and alleys in Seaton village (this part of the city).   One of last year’s blog posts ‘same, same, but different‘ is about some of the lanes.  There is some street art in these alleys but not too much – here are a couple from yesterday’s visit.

below: Art follows life or is it vice verse?

red leaves on a vine growing in front of a white fence that had a mural of birdhouse and plants and flowers painted on it.

below: Flowers? Or just smudges on a pole?

smudges on a metal pole that look a bit like flowers

below: Playing basketball beside Toronto – a rather lopsided photo I’m afraid.

basketball hoop above a garage door that has a large map of Toronto, in blue and green painted on it.

white garage door with some of the rectangles painted in turquoise, orange and purple, with swirls under the rectanagles that look like G's

semi circle covering bottom half of garage door, looks like bald head with a few curly hairs growing upwards from the scalp

mural on an exterior wall outside Kos restaurant on Bathurst Street, the mural is in the front of the restaurant by the patio, no one sitting outside, blue umbrellas are down.

below: Herringbone pattern made from bricks.

chevron pattern (herring bone pattern) of bricks on a driveway, some autumn leaves on the bricks

below: A rather forlorn looking bench and seat outside the laundromat.

front of a laundromat. blue sign that says coin laundry, an old bench and an old chair sitting outside by the front door. two windows through which you can see the washing machines

below: A newspaper rack decorated with a garland of fake ivy.  Insert fake news reference here ….

a newspaper rack outside a corner convenience store, the newspapers (there aren't many) are held down with bricks, the rack is decorated with a fake ivy garland

an old chair on a porch, side view.

looking through a park to a street with a blue house and a red house, cars parked in front, autumn leaves,

below: Today I’m going to end on a dangerous note.  Keep walking and Stay safe!

construction site with a danger due to sign that has been altered to say danger due to life

International Market in this case refers to an area in Toronto, approximately around the intersection of Dufferin and Eglinton West.

street sins on a pole, a one way sign, plus two signs with street names, Belgravia Ave and Dufferin Street, both with orange tops that have the words International Market

There is definitely a diverse (as in multicultural) feel to the area

below: … such as Jamall, Carribean Custom Tailor

older building, with some green around the doors, sign says Jamall Carribean

below:  and the Lady Ann Superstore African Boutique with the adjacent Centro Cultural Latino American.

storefront, Lady Ann Superstore African Boutique with a mannequin, child size, on the sidewalk outside dressed in red African style clothes.

Because Eglinton Avenue runs through the area….

 

street scene on Eglinton Ave with bus shelter, utility pole, street signs, stores, and billboard

there is a lot of upheaval caused by construction of the Eglinton Crosstown line.

wire fence in front of a construction site, lots of dirt, street and buildings in the background.

below: Completion of the subway/LRT isn’t scheduled until 2021.  That seems like a long way off doesn’t it?

a surveyor at work, behind construction fence and cones and in front of stores, Chamsine, and Shantys take-out, which are two storey brick buildings

below: A subway station is being built at Oakwood Avenue.   Because the space is too small for a conventional crane like the ones you see all over the city, this green horizontal structure is being used instead.  It is supported by the metal beams and can slide along the top rail.

a large horizontal crane stretches over a vacant lot where a subway station is being built

below: Rendering of Oakwood station that I found on the Eglinton Crosstown website.

drawing of Oakwood Crosstown station, design plans, taken from Crosstown website.

below: Immediately south of Eglinton is a small lane, Reggae Lane.  Welcome to Reggae Lane was the second mural painted here.  You can see the original Reggae Lane mural in the background.  I blogged about it when it was first painted two years ago.

view looking down an alley, cars parked behind buildings, two murals, Welcome to Reggae Lane,

below: Some of the concrete planters on Eglinton have old black and white photos on the sides.  This was an Art Starts project.

a small tree grows in a concrete planter in front of a grocery store

below: The pictures are small and difficult to see but they are historical photos of the area – stores, people, parks, etc.

small, old black and white photos reproduced and mounted on the side of a concrete planter outside

below:  One of many restaurants on Eglinton, the Budapest Restaurant and Biguly Bar, obviously Hungarian.

a car parked in front a Hungarian restaurant, the Budapest

below: There is also Uzbek cuisine, the Taj Restaurant.   Uzbekistan is one of the “stans” found in central Asia (near Afghanistan) that gained independence from the former Soviet Union 25 years ago.

a blue food truck is parked in front of the Taj Restaurant, an Uzbek restaurant

below: A yellow phone booth?

a public phone, small yellow phone booth mounted on a blue brick wall

below: Faded memories of years gone by.

looking in the window of a store that sells photo frames and such, an old TV sits in the window too. The pictures are all faded to shades of blue and purple

below: The Popular Car Wash – a great price for a car wash.

an old sign for popular car wah, $5.99 in front of a gas station

I’ll leave you with a few more images of the area.  It’s seen better times but it was an interesting place to walk around.   There are signs of improvement – and we’ll see what impact the subway has once it’s finally finished.

street scene with construction cones and signs, some traffic, sidewalk, pedestrians, and stores,

a window of an empty store that is covered with posters

5 black mailboxes arranged vertically in a row between two doors.

three storey brick building with stores on the ground level, traffic in front,

open door of an electronics store, with some speakers and other electronics on display outside too

looking across Eglinton Avenue to some stores, construction traffic cones in front,

Yesterday I was out near Dundas West and Dufferin to visit an art gallery, the Stephen Bulger Gallery, as they have a showing of photos of the Union Station renovation by Larry Towell.  I don’t have any photos from that exhibit, but it is on for another week if you’re interested.

a woman is looking at clothes on a rack that are for sale outside a store, chalk board syas You Babe, other people on the sidewalk, store in background is Elite Plumbing and Heating

Instead, I have photos from the walk that I took afterwards.  I started walking west on Dundas and south on Dufferin, looking for interesting doors, windows, and stores.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Of course, I was distracted (alleys!) along the way (graffiti!) but I have tried to stick to the architectural shots for this post.  Sort of.  In no particular order….

below: There was a car parked in front of this building so I cropped off the bottom.  The optical illusion covered the whole front of the building.  It’s definitely unique!

the front exterior wall of a building is decorated with a painting of 3D cubes arranged in an optical illusion

below: Two people walk past a forest of trees and shrubs.

lower part of a brick building has been covered with a mural that is orange background, and cut out (wood) flat green trees in various shapes. A real tree grows in front of it, a metal traffic box is painted with a scene of two people walking with the same orange background

below: Lisboa Hardware and Building Supplies with many household items on display outside – including barbecues, watering cans, and carpets. Old paintings linger on the tile wall.

The entrance to the Lisboa Hardware and building supply store with lots of household merchandise outside

below: A blue bike is parked in front of the french doors of the Black Dice Cafe.

a blue bike is parked outside the glass windows and door of the black dice cafe

below: A very typical two storey house in this part of Toronto.  This was the predominate style of architecture of residential buildings at a certain time – late 1800’s and early 1900’s I think (and maybe longer?).    I like the Canadian flag in the window and the new tree in the tiny front yard.

a girl on a bike rides past the entrance to an alley. Behind her is a two storey house in tan coloured siding, with darker tan trim, bay window, Canadian flad in the doorway,

below: On Dufferin Street, an increasingly common scene as glass towers pop up all over the city.  The west side of Dufferin Street, just north of Queen.

In the background, two large high rise buildings, modern, in the foreground, a row of older two storey houses

below: A similar scene on a smaller street nearby.

a row of two storey houses on a small street with a two aprtment blocks behind them.

below: Distractions in an alley – this one was a dead end (with the dead end behind me).  One of the disadvantages of having your garage in an alley like this is that getting your lawn mower from the garage to the yard involves a bit of a walk.    But look at all those doors and windows in buildings that look like they’ve been painted from the same palate.

a man walks a lawn mower down a short alley, garage doors on both sides of him as well as in front of him, back of houses behind the garages and taller apartment buildings behind that.

below: Another alley with a different character.  An open door covered with graffiti, balconies above the garages, and what is that?  – a TTC pole at the top of the stairs?

view down an alley,

below: The entranceway of an older brick low-rise apartment building on St. Clarens Ave.

The entrance to a three storey apartment building, with wood railings on fake balconies and some brick work too

below: Another distraction!  A crochet bombed pole beside a bright pink wall.

a utility pole is wrapped in crocheted squares in many colours, the house beside the pole is bright pink

below: I happened upon this cute little free library too –    so cute and whimsical with its big eyes keeping watch.   There has been some controversy about these in Toronto recently.  One owner of little library was ticketed for violating a city bylaw that disallows structures on a person’s property within 3.5 metres of a sidewalk.  It was ordered removed within 14 days or a $100 fine would be levied.   Yesterday City Hall decided not to pursue this.

a little free library in front of a green coloured house. Inside the window of the library are two large googly eyes

below: Nearby was another little free library with a little latched door.  It seems that here you can also pick up a pair of shoes along with a book!

white box on stilts, a little free library, trees and shrubs around it, a pair of shoes on the sidewalk in front of it.

below:  Did I find Toronto’s smallest house?

a car is parked in front of a very small one storey house that is between two large and taller houses,

below: Somewhere in the jungle is a front door or two!  A shared sidewalk to squabble over in the winter – who gets to shovel it.

two overgrown front yards with a sidewalk down the middle, a semi divided brick house in the background.

below:   Gates.  I’ve never understood the reason for little gates like these.  Back in their youth they probably looked quite trim and proper.  Now they are sagging and rusted and showing their age; perhaps that’s a reflection of their owners?  Not a complaint – a rusted gate has great photographic potential.

a fence across the front of two houses, each with their own sidewalk and gate.

 

below: Fire damage that is now being repaired.  The neighbours seem to have built a thriving shrine (good luck charm?, religious offering?  is there a name for these?) beside their front door.

A row of houses where one is damaged from a recent fire.  Burned front door.  Windows have been boarded over, a skip for garbage isin front, workmen on the site

below: We have our share of ugly doors on ugly walls.

two white doors side by side on a dirty concrete block wall that someone has written the words In Toronto it's okay to hate transvestites

below: Have a seat

two grey wicker chairs in front of two adjacent white doors on a concrete wall. the building beside is orange

below:  On Dufferin Street between Dundas and Queen – Once upon a time this house was totally decorated in pink and white.  Some of it remains – the arch in front of the door as well as the fence at the side of the house.  Now it is bigger, squarer, and uglier.   Even the grominator graffiti on the wall can’t overcome the ‘boringness’ of the renovated structure.

sqaure two storey brick house under renovation, with pink and white metal fence around it. a grominator graffiti on the side

below: I don’t want to end this post on an ugly note, so here’s a cheerful bright yellow door!

yellow door on a rust house