The other day I was walking a section of Dufferin Street,  I came across this Heritage Toronto plaque in a little park at Dufferin and Briar Hill.

Heritage Toronto plaque for the community of Fairbank

“European farmers began a community here in the early 19th century on land that was included in the 1805 Toronto Purchase treaty between the Mississauga of the Credit River and the British Crown. When a post office was established in 1874, the area was named Fairbank after a farm belonging to settler Matthew Parsons.
By 1881, about 17 families lived in the community, near the present-day intersection of Dufferin Street, Vaughan Road, and Eglinton Avenue. The Fairbank Wesleyan Methodist Church was constructed in 1889 with bricks made in a local kiln, the building still stands across the street. When he died in his nineties in 1924, Isaac Dollery, a carpenter and early settler, had witnessed his community evolve from a farming outpost to a suburb of Toronto.
Land in Fairbank was subdivided in 1890, coinciding with the construction of the Belt Line Railway commuter line. The railway made travel to Toronto easy, yet the line failed financially and ceased operation in 1894, after only two years.
Between the world ward, residential development grew and the streetcar arrived in Fairbank in 1924. Industries such as the Paton-Baldwin Knitting Works and Fairbank Lumber and Coal Co. also opened in the area. Fairbank was part of the City of York until amalgamation with the City of Toronto in 1998.

below: This is the church mentioned in the plaque – now part of the United Church.

exterior of Fairbank United Church, red stone church, on Dufferin Ave

sign outside Fairbank United Church, in lights, that says Let's end this together, Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Cough into your elbow.

below: By the time I had finished walking, I wanted to know more about Matthew Parsons and the community of Fairbank.  I found this map showing property owners with some of the modern streets added.  It looks like its original source was the book, “Historic County Map of York County”, published in 1860 as part of a series of map books covering the early counties of what is now Ontario.

old map showing location of Dufferin Ave, Glencairn, Briar Hill, and other streets in relation to original land owners in the area

Matthew Parsons bought the farmland in 1835 when he was only 19 years old.  Originally he owned 200 acres of land in a rectangle bounded by Glencairn, Dufferin, Eglinton, and Keele.

below: The intersection of Dufferin and Eglinton in 1919

old black and white photo of dufferin and eglinton in 1919 showing narrow dirt roads and farms

photo credit: From the City of Toronto Archives, but found online on the Fairbank Village BIA website. Follow this link if you are interested in more of the history of the area.

My walk that day did not cover all of Matthew Parson’s farmland and at one point I wandered farther east. Some of the pictures that I took that day include the following.  In general, to the east of Dufferin is residential and to the west is light industrial (as well as warehouses and wholesalers).

below: Glencairn and Caledonia, the western end of Glencairn.

a little white house with teal or turquoise trim, with signs advertising business of a psychic

below: Like everywhere around the city, you never know what kinds of posters or stickers you’re going to find on the poles.  I’m not too sure how fast they come, but they’re discreet apparently.

a sticker on a ttc bus stop pole that says believe in one love

street signs at the corner of Dufferin and Tycos

hydro poles and concrete barrier blocking access to street behind

two low rise warehouses, one is Janet Ladieswear with faded pictures of women's clothing in the window, sign beside it for Fashion Cage ladies clothing wholesale,

a fence with a no trespassing sign, with industrical building behind

below: A building with symmetrical curved walls, a hint of art deco in the architecture.   It is empty and available for sale or lease like a lot of buildings in the area (southwest of Glencairn and Dufferin)

front of a low rise brick building with curved exterior walls on either side of the entrance way

low rise brick light industrial building with an old boat parked beside it

below: Tucked in amongst the industrial buildings is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Menbere Berhan Kidest Mariam ( Saint Mary) Cathedral, consecrated in November 2012.

below: East side of Dufferin at Glencairn.

strip mall, plaza on Dufferin

below: Chalkboard notices in the window on Dufferin Street

two chalkboard signs in the window of a store

below: Trilingual car sales people.

used car lot with trilingual sign,

a row of parked cars, light trucks, and ambulances behind an auto mechanic shop

a bunch of fake flowers tied to a pole at an intersection, beside a metal box that has been painted with flowers

below: The Easter Bunny may be faded but its still happy!

happy easter bunny sign in the window of number 2841

below: She has been dancing for them, in the same spot, for so long that time has stopped.

sign in front of a framing store, epty frame on top and an old faded picture on the bottom

below: Two roses for Darosa.

a metal sidewalk box painted with two pink roses

below: Southeast corner of Dufferin and Glencairn

stores on the corner of

below: Glencairn and Marlee

a sign that says men hair cut fifteen dollars, beside the sidewalk in front of a plaza

windows, looking through 2 sets of windows, through an empty store on the corner

below: Looking north on Marlee

sidewalk lined with wood utility poles with wires, a sign for Variety store with store that sells DVDs

restaurant, white wall, three windows and old sign advertising lunch special

below: I don’t purposely go looking for redevelopment projects but I keep stumbling on them wherever I go.  This is near Glencairn and Marlee where a group of houses are all boarded up.

house, bungalow, boarded up and empty, for redevelopment

below: The backyards of these houses are adjacent to the backyard of the house above.  They are all going to be replaced with a midrise condo.

blue and white development notice in front of a small white house and a vacant lot, to be replcaed with 8 storey condo

below: As well, the strip mall, or plaza, on the other side of Marlee will be demolished.

old sign on the side of brick store that says customer parking in faded red letters and then it lists the stores in that plaza

below: Home of the Toronto Theosophical Society.

sign outside a brick building says Toronto Theosophical Society

below: A lovely old Chevrolet (early 1940s?)

old red chevrolet car parked in a parking lot
white wall, brick, painted, four large colourful flowers painted on it, 2 pink and 2 orange. Also a red heart with turquoise lines above and below, street art

below: The Allen, looking north from Glencairn.  Technically it is the William R. Allen Road but no one calls it that.  At Glencairn it is an expressway.  The road was part of the Spadina Expressway proposed in the 1950s – Metropolitan Toronto was formed in 1954 and highway building was one of its priorities.  The Spadina Expressway would join downtown with the 401 highway at the new Yorkdale Mall.    The more northerly part of the road was built prior to 1971 when the project was cancelled.   Here, at Glencairn, the road site had only been leveled and it became known as the ‘Davis Ditch’, after Bill Davis the Ontario Premier at the time.  It wasn’t until 1976 that the stretch between Lawrence and Eglinton was finished.

looking north on the Allen Expressway from the bridge over it at Glencairn, some traffic on the road, a subway track northbound on the tracks between the two sections of the Allen

below: The south entrance to Glencairn station (the north entrance looks exactly the same and is located directly across the street).  It opened in 1978.   Note the coloured glass roof.

Glencairn subway station south entrance on the side of Glencairn bridge over the Allen Expressway

below: There is a yellow glow in the interior from the stained glass roof.  The skylight roof has been refurbished; Rita Letendre’s artwork “Joy” had become very faded since its installation in 1978 .

interior of Glencairn station, escalator going down, colour yellow from the glass roof that is being refurbished

After Glencairn crosses over the Allen Expressway, it continues east all the way to Yonge Street.

orange and black traffic cones and a lane closed, orange sign with black arrow telling traffic to move to the right

There’s a video on the internet of a kangaroo hopping down the street in deserted downtown Adelaide Australia and there are photos of other animals that have taken to roaming urban streets now that many people are staying at home.   I thought of these things as I drove downtown today.  Not because I saw animals.  Not because the streets were quiet and empty.  No, instead I wanted to compare these animal sightings to the proliferation of orange and black traffic cones as well as dump trucks and other machinery.  It seems like the city has taken this time to block more lanes for construction than usual – I may be imagining things but I doubt it.

below: Driving east on Adelaide

looking east on Adelaide

below: Demolition on Jarvis

partial demolition of an old house on Jarvis street, facade is left standing, no glass in the windows, can see other high rise downtown buildings through the window holes

below: Maud Street

workman with stop sign directing traffic in front of a construction site

below: Lombard Street

street, downtown Toronto, with traffic cones

below: I think that they are looking at me but how can I be sure?

paper paste up graffiti of faces and eyes by Jeremy Lynch on metal boxes on the sidewalk, with construction workmen in the background

My destination this morning was Graffiti Alley.  There were no tourists there today but there were trucks blocking the alley.  More construction nonsense.

a large semi truck is parked in Graffiti Alley and is taking up the whole width of the lane

below: In fact there were two trucks

a large white truck is parked in the narrow Graffiti Alley totally blocking it

construction site on Richmond street backing onto Graffiti Alley with lots of walls covered with street art and murals

below: A new Nick Sweetman mural – a purple rhinoceros

Nick Sweetman mural of a rhinoceros

below: This mural is not new but it is the first time that I have seen it with no cars parked beside it.

large mural by globe, smoky, and done of a bird house on purple background with green tag text

below: Graffiti Alley now tests positive for the novel coronavirus, the green variety.

part of a mural in Graffiti Alley, a silver tag with a green corona virus with open mouth, white teeth and yellow eyes

chainlink fence in front of a backyard with a bit of green grass, white building with a bright blue door

a person waiting beside a bus shelter on Queen West, seen from the back including reflections in the glass of the shelter

below: KFC sits empty.   That’s not a coronavirus victim – it was empty before we all started staying home.

empty KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Queen Street west

below: A message from 525 and 523, Stay Safe!  (actually it’s from T-bonez).

wall and doors to numbers 533 and 535 covered with street art including an urabn ninja squadron character with a face mask on with the words stay safe

Stay safe and
stay healthy!

bus stop and shelter on Don Mills Road at Wynford, Crosstown construction and high rises in the background

I’ve been keeping an eye on the old IBM building at the corner of Don Mills and Eglinton. It was built in 1951 as IBM’s Canadian manufacturing plant and head office.

It’s been empty for a long time but recently work has begun on the site.

east side of old IBM building at Don Mills and Eglinton, low rise yellow brick, horizontal windows, empty and ready for demolition

The IBM complex sits on 60 acres and the whole site will be redeveloped in the coming months.  The white tower in the background is also on the site, right beside the CPR tracks that mark the northern boundary.

piles of metal from demolition of building

below: A Canada goose struts near one of the entrances to the old IBM building that is being demolished.

solitary Canada goose walking on the grass beside the parking lot for old IBM building, demolition of one of the entrances in the background

an entrance to the IBM building on Don Mills Road being demolished

below: 1954

an old black and white photo of the IBM building on Don Mills Road in 1954

photo credit – taken from ‘Urban Toronto’ online article about this development

below: Apparently the plan is to build a mix of residential and commercial buildings on the site ranging from 3 to 44 storeys.  A new community centre and park are also included in the planned Crosstown Community.

corner of Don Mills and Eglinton during Crosstown construction, IBM building in the background

In terms of construction and development, this intersection is very busy as it is also the location of the future Science Centre LRT station.  It has been a mess for so long that I can’t remember how long it’s been.  There are  signs of progress starting to emerge from the chaos so perhaps there is hope for a 2021 opening of the Crosstown LRT.

below: The new bus bays on the northeast corner are starting to take shape.

west end of the new bus bays at Eglinton and Don Mills, under construction, glass walls and roof

below: More of the NE corner.

vacant lot on Eglinton Ave by Great Canadian Superstore at Don Mills, edge of Crosstown construction site

concrete barriers being stored on a vacant lot, one ornage and white cone too

below: Looking across Eglinton towards the Mormon church and other buildings on the south east corner.

construction on Eglinton at Don Mills, Mormon church in the picture - Church of Latter Day Saints

below: A sign of the times.  Covid-19 dos and don’ts.

signs re covid-19 on a green fence around a construction site

below: New tracks being laid where the LRT comes back to the surface east of Don Mills Road (looking east towards the DVP).  The Science Centre station is underground even though the tracks on both the east and west side are above ground.

construction of the Crosstown l r t, tracks being laid on the above ground portion of the line, near Eglinton.

below: From the NE corner (black building is/was the Ontario Federation of Labour) looking south.  All buildings are on the east side of Don Mills Road.

from the northeast corner of Don Mills and Eglinton looking to the south east corner, Foresters building, another older office building and two newer condos.

below: A sidewalk, temporary, lined with cones, along Eglinton.

line of orange and black traffic cones on both sides of the sidewalk along Eglinton through Crosstown construction zone

There are other buildings being torn down.  The building in the background is 1200 Eglinton Ave East.  It was an office building with a parking structure beside it.   This is the view from Wynford Drive.

two concrete buildings from the 1970s or 1980s, one behind has started to be demolished, a parking lot and large tree between the buildings

The same building a few days later when I went back to check on the demolition’s progress.  The parking structure is now just piles of rubble and more of the exterior walls of the other building are gone.

green machery demolishing a parking structure that is now just piles of rubble, beside another building that is partially demolished

lower levels of a building that has been partially demolished, all the exterior walls have been removed, leaving just the interior walls

below: The large, almost empty, parking lot behind the Bell building on Wynford.

large yellow arrow painted on the surface of a large parking lot, only a few cars

below: With a few exceptions, most of the buildings around Wynford are products of the 1960s and 1970s.

three storey white concrete building with the width of the floors increasing as you go upwards

low one storey building with two large windows with blinds closed, no cars in parking lot

two trees in front of a concrete building with lots of narrow vertical windows

a red brick one storey light industrial building

below: Another empty parking lot.  This picture was taken on a Saturday afternoon which might explain the lack of cars but as I drive around the city I see lots of empty parking lots even during the work week.   A sign of the times.

bent metal pipes as a railing, painted in yellow and black, empty parking lot beyond with a couple a buildings in the background

below: Looking across the Don Valley Parkway

tree silhouette (no leaves) in front of a glass building that is reflecting the blue of the sky

below: CPR tracks behind Wynford.

graffiti, tags, along the concrete embankment beside the CPR tracks, apartment buldings can be seen over the wall

below: Rusty metal spirals, tightly wound, found amongst the gravel along the train tracks.

a pile of rusted spiral pieces of metal formed from drilling into the sides of railway tracks, lying in the gravel beside the tracks

a set of three railway lights at 2042-1 pole, lights are arranged vertically, one on top of the other

edge of parking lot that it empty, with railway tracks behind, a wall with graffiti, and an apartment building in the background

below: Looking east along the tracks just before they cross the DVP.   If you follow the tracks, they lead you to the CPR marshaling yard at McCowan and Sheppard.   So, that’s where I went next…. (scroll down!)

a lone chair sitting in the grass beside the railway tracks, shrubs behind the chair, early spring, no leaves on the shrubs

along the railway tracks, shrubs, and an old wood utility pole with glass knobs

It’s easy to view railway tracks from bridges, in this case from a bridge on Finch Avenue East between Markham Road and McCowan.  The is CPR Toronto Yard.

seen from a bridge, two bright red CPR train engines on tracks, beside the watch tower

It is a marshaling yard, also known as a classification yard, which is where railway cars are separated onto one of several tracks and joined with other cars with the same destination.

boxcars and tankers waiting on tracks at the CPR yard

Sitting on over 400 acres, CPR’s yard in Scarborough is one of the largest in Canada.  There are 311 switches and about 140km of track on which freight cars are shunted between tracks.   The site was opened in 1964.

across the tracks, lots of red CPR engines, with skyline behind

seen from a bridge, a train passes below, engine, flatbed cars, a tanker, and a boxcar

…but getting to track level can be more of a challenge.

below: It sometimes involves getting lost and having a chat with a security guard or two (but not until after you have a few good wall & shadow pictures)

a security guard walks down a road between two white metal buildings

below:  In other places, access is simple.

a small dead pine tree in front of a large puddle in a parking lot, a line of red boxcars behind it

a man in a safety vest stands beside two boxcars, one yellow and the other orange,

three tanks on towers above train cars at CPR yard

below: I’ve never thought too much about graffiti on trains until today – How many miles has this little guy traveled?  Where did he come from and who painted him when?  How many people have seen him as he shuttles back and forth across the country (or perhaps farther than that?)?

the graffiti on the side of a red boxcar

below: Looking right back at you!

graffiti on the side of a train car - painted pale blue with two big eyes that seem to be looking at the viewer

reddich colour boxcar with pink and blue blobs, graffiti

below: A westbound train leaves the yard at McCowan Road.

two bright red CPR engines at the front of a train, black tanker cars behind, as it crosses over the bridge at the entrance to the CPR railway yard

below: Back in 1964 the community of Browns Corners was at the corner of Finch Avenue East and Markham Road(not to be confused with the other Browns Corners on Woodbine Ave and Hwy 7).   There are no more traces of the community or the farms that surrounded it.

trucks parked beside a long low grey building, in the distance. in front is a vacant lot

I only walked around part of the yard and I didn`t take very many pictures of the buildings that are there – seniors residence, medical clinic, a few offices, etc.

pattison billboard beside a street, on a vacant piece of land
a bus shelter on the side of a street, with vacant land behind and a large billboard advertising a radio station

the backs of trucks parked by a vacant lot

I would like to end this blog post with one building that I saw that was different.

below: The Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centre is nearby.  I think that I have it right – the Sathya Sai Organization is not a religion but a “universal approach to life” whose teacher and spiritual leader is Sathya Sai Baba.   Each of the five petals in the flower contain a word or phrase: truth, right conduct, peace, non violence, and love.

 

Sri Sathya Sai Baba centre

below: There was a column-like structure near the door topped with a large lotus flower.  The base was square and on each were printed words.  “Offer all bitterness in the sacred Fire and emerge grand, great and Godly.”

part of the base of a column with words that say offer all bitterness in the sacred fire and emerge grand, great and godly

below: “Remember the wheel of Cause and Consequence of Deed and Destiny and the Wheel of Dharma that rights them all”.  I assume that the other two sides also had inscriptions but I couldn’t see them because of a fence with a locked gate.

part of the base of a column with words that say remember the wheel of cause and consequence of deed and destiny and the wheel of dharma that rights them all

Back on McCowan and back home… (still no TTC in my life)

a row of cars for sale, seen from the back

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

We all need some light and colour these days. So I went through old files and found these colourful pictures of the newest TTC subway stations that I took back in February, on Family Day actually. It seems like a long time ago!

below: Escalators, Pioneer Village subway station

escalator and the wood wall beside it with windows with red frames, light coming in windows

below: From the outside looking in, Pioneer Village station

red walls, exterior and interior,

below: Hwy 407 station.  Artwork by David Pearl.

oval shape window at highway 407 subway station, painted in turquoise and oranges, escalator

light coming through coloured glass and bouncing colours off walls and reflective surfaces inside subway station

below: The pinks, yellows, and blues from the coloured windows shine and bounce off surfaces

subway station, ground level, lots of window and sunlight

below: Little lights dance around the ceiling and upper part of the walls.  This effect is caused by the artwork in the ceiling – a circular opening that you can just see in the upper left corner.

turnstiles

below: Looking straight up into the skylight with it’s many-sided walls that are covered with reflective material.

many sided opening in a ceiling, sides covered with reflective material so the light bounces around, many reflections,

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.  Vaughan station.

 

reflcetive ceiling

shiny reflective ceiling at TTC subway station

below: Curved, reflective ceiling, Vaughan station

curved metal ceiling reflecting blue lights, entrance way to subway station, Vaughan

below: Finch West station with its very shiny red hexagonal wall tiles and coloured panes of glass.

escalator and levels of Finch west subway station, lots of coloured panes of glass, greens, and oranges,

 

below: No colours at York University station, but lots of windows and lots of natural light.

light shining through large windows into interior of York univeristy subway station, escalators, people coming up escalators,

Staying on the side of caution, I haven’t been on the TTC for almost two weeks.  Instead, I have been using this time to venture into areas where it’s easier to drive to including some parts of the city where I rarely (if ever) go.   This is the story of yesterday’s adventure.

below: Two old rusty acorn-style street signs.

street signs, 2 old acorn signs, for Maclennan Ave and Rosedale Heights Drive, rusty

concrete wall between hillside and sidewalk, houses and trees above, street below

a man jogging past concrete wall and elementary school, at bottom of ramp to pedestrian bridge, street lamp above the ramp

below: On the concrete embankment below the elementary school is a very faded mural.

on an old faded mural of white flowers, someone has written in blue, love is love, and also a purple heart has been drawn

below: I doubt this car was a new model the year this mural was painted…. maybe? LOL

old faded mural of a small white car

sidewalk splits, half goes to ramp up to a pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks and half follows the road that curves and goes under the bridge beside the tracks, blue railing

below: Two together, locked beside each other.  Below are the CPR tracks, the same ones that run through the middle of the city from West Toronto, past the Junction and through to the railway yards at McCowan Road in Scarborough.

2 combination locks locked on a chainlink fence on a railway bridge

below: A small sliver of land between the tracks and the street, just big enough for a narrow house.

view from pedestrian railway bridge, Summerhill Ave., with houses, tracks, street, and trees, early spring

very narrow brick house has been gutted and has no windows

houses and yards as seen from a railway bridge

below: Magnolia buds in a front yard.

magnolia buds on a tree in a front yard

below: A very old pine tree in Chorley Park

large old pine tree in chorley park

below: Chorley Park was once the site of the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor.

large houses in the background, park with large mature trees in the foreground, Chorley Park in Rosedale

below:  It was built in 1915 and was modelled on various chateaux of the Loire Valley in France.  In 1937 it was closed down for financial reasons – during the Great Depression of the 1930s,  the annual costs of heating and electricity were the subject of political debate.   The federal government bought it, using it first as a military hospital and then as RCMP headquarters.  In 1960 the city of Toronto purchased the property, tore down the building, and developed the site as a park.

old black and white picture of a mansion, Chorley Park, stone, long curving driveway, three storeys, many chimneys,

below: From Chorley Park there is a path that winds down the hill to part of the Beltline Trail and the Brick Works park beyond that.

winding path down the hill from Chorley Park to the Beltline trail and Brick works park

below: Part of the path down the hill is being rebuilt.

orange plastic fencing around site where a new path and trail are being made down the side of a hill with lots of trees, early spring, no leaves

Mud Creek as it enters the brick works park and widens to a pond

below: Mud Creek.  It was about here that the word ‘dun’ popped into my head; that was definitely the word of the day…  dull greyish brown colour.   Mud creek, dun views.

old rock wall along the banks of Mud Creek, trees, path,

below: Maybe dun but that doesn’t mean uninteresting.  It won’t be long until there are leaves and then lots gets hidden and houses like this get more of their privacy back!  I’ll gladly stare while I can 🙂  I wonder if anyone uses those stairs?

the back of a house under construction, at the top of a hill on a ravine, trees and dead leaves on the ground, early spring,

below:  Governors Bridge passes over the trail that I share with very few people and about as many dogs as people.

Governors Bridge, where Governors Road passes over the Beltline trail, early spring, no leaves on trees, one person jogging on the trail, path,

below: The street art on the concrete pillars of the bridge look fairly fresh.

part of a bridge, concrete supports with street art on them, a culvert where the creek comes back to the surface, creek, ravine, no leaves on the trees,

Quick diversion to the top of the bridge!

below:  The bridge itself is very plain and the best part of being on it is the view. You can see (barely!) the red brick chimney of Todmorden Mills just below the two taller buildings on the left. That places those buildings at Broadview and Pottery/Mortimer which means that this view is more to the west than to the south.

below: Straight down to the path below. I shot this one blind and was pleasantly surprised to see a bright hat add a bit of life.

2 people walking on path through trees, taken from a bridge high above them

And back down again (you can pretend that I jumped off the bridge)

below: Just a bit farther north the trail passes under the railway tracks.   You might recognize this as a railway bridge as all the Toronto railway bridges over ravines were built in a similar style (and probably all about the same time).

path under a railway bridge, very high, a man walking his dog on the path, lined with trees with no leaves because its early spring

below: The last bridge on the Beltline before it reaches Mt Pleasant cemetery is this one, Cat’s Eye bridge.

below: Unfortunately, that’s where you have to leave the trail for the time being as the path is being refurbished all the way to Moore Ave.

construction, re-doing of path along the Mud Creek

below: The Moore Avenue entrance is blocked for construction – Mud Creek Restoration Project Reach 6,  completion date, summer 2020.

Beltline trail at Moore Ave., blocked by fence because of construction, no entry signs,

And so we leave the path there and make our way back through the neighbourhood to find my car.

three older houses on a street, the one in the middle has been gutted to the other walls, side only, open roof, new beams beinginstalled for a third storey

older houses, three, the one n the middle is white with blue trim and two large trees growing right in front of it

below: Someone wrote this on the pavement on the Cat’s Eye bridge.  I hope they’re wrong!

written in white chalk on greyasphalt are the words no future

Scarborough Bluffs Park on sunny but windy Sunday afternoon in March.

Scarborough bluffs, cliff by Lake Ontario

The red twig dogwood is looking redder and the trees are barely starting to bud.

a couple walking together on a path at park, with tall grasses and leafless bushes beside

signs in a park, Scarborough bluffs, that say danger unstable soils and naturalized area do not disturb

2 teenagers climbing a cliff face at Scarborough bluffs

a few people standing on a path in a park with cliffs behind them

Scarborough bluffs, cliff by Lake Ontario

The water and air are still cold enough that icicles form on the overhanging branches that get hit by waves.

a woman with black hair and weraing a blue winter coat is taking picture of icicles with her phone, waves crashing against the rocks along the shore below the tree with the icicles

icicles on a branch that overhangs Lake Ontario

a woman with black hair and wearing a blue winter coat is taking picture of icicles with her phone

men in the water with wet suits on as they try to surf in Lake Ontario

a woman in a white parka is watching men surf in rough waters and high waves of Lake Ontario

two women in winter clothes sitting on a blanket on rocks by the lake, one is pointing at something

shoreline of Lake Ontario, rocks and trees, early spring, no leaves,

Another walking day, another part of the city to explore.  Sometimes I find new places to wander around but the other day I went back to Sheppard Ave East to see what other changes are happening.   This is a section of Sheppard Ave that is living in the shadow of Yonge Street developments.  It’s an area of mixed residential and commercial.

below: Sheppard Ave East looking west towards Yonge Street from Willowdale Ave.

Sheppard Ave East looking west from Willowdale Ave towards Yonge street

below: A smaller bungalow, and architectural “style” that was common along here.

old white bungalow with side fireplace and chimney wall, exterior

below: Some of the bungalows are being replaced by much larger houses, especially in the side streets behind Sheppard.

large new house being built in Willowdale, on Maplehurst Ave., in place of a small bungalow like the house beside it

below: More signs of  the times, no kids playing outside in the playgrounds of the schools and day care centres.

black fence around playground with some toys but no kids

below: A CTR rabbit trying to run away.

a painting on a metal street box, of a rabbit running, by c r a

below: This front door with it’s clean and ornate door frame has always fascinated me.

white door on small porch with black railing. door has fancy white trim with details on top

below: 176 Sheppard Avenue East has been empty for a while.   I found information about the development here on different websites.  One of the sites stated that the new building would be ready to move into in 2019.

front door of abandoned building at 176 Sheppard Ave East with collection of garbage on overgrown front step

below: A vacant lot

orange cone o n its side in front of a vacant lot

below: This is the same vacant lot as there was nothing to prevent me from wandering in.

vacant lot

below: The front of Dudley Court at 166 Sheppard Ave East.   I have driven past here a few times this year and I keep thinking that I should check it out before it disappears.  The orange “tree protection” fence was a more recent addition. Maybe part of the reason why there is no development proposal sign here is that it’s been about 20 years since the owners started “negotiating” with the city about what was going to be built here.

front of Dudley Court from across the street, a 1960s brick three storey apartment building, overgrown pine trees in front, also construction fence

closer look at closed and boarded up front doors of Dudley Court

below: The back of Dudley Court from the vacant lot mentioned above.

behind 166 Sheppard Ave East, row of empty garages, with new glass building behind as well as apartments from the 1980s and 1990s

metal wire fence around an empty parking lot and row of garages with broken brown doors

below: What surprised me is that there are actually 3 apartment buildings that are empty.  The plywood is there to protect the trees that are between the apartments and a ditch.  The “ditch” continues underground under Sheppard and then south through a small park towards the 401.

plywood fence around trees to protect them from construction and demolition, on walkway beside 166 Sheppard Ave East

below: There is a pedestrian walkway on the west side that continues north a couple of blocks.

old ready for demolition with newer glass buildings in the background building

below: Sheppard Ave looking east

Sheppard Ave East looking east from Kenneth & Leona streets

below: Sheppard Ave looking west.  An evolution of sorts… at first there were small houses that became offices; now they are being torn down.

Sheppard Ave East looking west towards Yonge street from Kenneth and Leona streets

below: Some of the mid-sized buildings that were developed in the 1970s and 1980s are also “moving upward”.  In this case, to 11 storeys with 55 residential units and lower floor retail.  It is currently home to medical offices.

development notice on the front yard of a commercial (office) building from the 1970s

below: Once upon a time this was a Pizza Pizza.  Then it was for sale.  Next, it provided headquarters for an election campaign.  And now?  Possibly in limbo?  All that I could find is a 2017 rejection from the city for a 10 storey development on this lot and the one adjacent (where The Beer Store is now).   The official plan calls for lower buildings as you move away from Yonge Street.  In the meantime you can call it an eyesore.

parking lot, empty, and painted over pizza pizza sign in front of empty building

below: But not everything is ugly!

a street box painted with a red bird and an orange bird in green bushes, Tim Hortons behind as well as street scene at Willowdale and Sheppard Ave East

***

a row of single family houses on a street, large tree, cars in driveways, behind are 3 or 4 large twll condo buildings

a small white bungalow with a single car garage with a black garage door, awning over the front door, tall tree in front yard, black roof

yellowish colour bungalow with black front door, a window on either side of two, 2 dormer windows in roof, a red single car garage door,

Getting used to this “social distancing” thing but not the “stay at home” part.   A walk in the park seemed like a good way to mix the two – get a little exercise without running into too many people.

below: Keeping his distance

a man sitting on a bench in a park

It’s close to March 21st and the beginning of spring.   Actually this blog post started to take form after I parked my car and wandered aimlessly a few yards.  I was standing on a path in a ravine wondering which way to go… but why was I here?  I heard a bird, and then I heard another.

below: A robin snacking on sumach

a robin perched on top of a cluster of sumach buds and is leaning over to eat one

below: A female downy woodpecker

female downy woodpecker on a small tree

below: A little chickadee

chickadee sitting in a red dogwood, early spring, bright red branches, no leaves

below: It’s not a bird nor is it a sign of spring,  but it sat still enough to let me get my camera focused through the branches.

black squirrel sitting among tree branches, holding something in its mouth

below: The red dogwood branches have started to become more vibrant.

bridge over creek, sumach and dogwood bshes, winter to early spring, no leaves

below: Pussy willows have opened up their fuzzy white buds.  A definite indicator of spring.

a few thin branches of pussy willow

below: There weren’t many tree buds but this tree (and others of its type) were an exception.

small clusters of pink buds at the end of branches and twigs on a tree

below: There was a train too!  A different kind of sign of life.

park and trees in the foreground, early spring, with train on bridge in background

young birch tree

a purple graffiti heart painted on the concrete support at the bottom of a large metal trestle

Spring, and a walk in the park.  Sometimes it’s just the little things….  including someone to share your space.

a couple walks together over a small pedestrian concrete bridge

below: Reflections in the Wilket Creek

reflections of lifesaving equipment beside the Wilket Creek