Toronto is a city of surprises; a city of variety.  If you are bored with one street, just walk another block or turn at the next intersection and chances are you’ll encounter something different.  The scenery will change.  For instance, on Dundas West you leave the downtown core just after University Ave., walk past OCADU, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Grange Park… next, through a section of Chinatown at Spadina and then immediately into the Kensington Market area.   Just south of Kensington is the redevelopment of Alexandra Park….  and you’ve only walked a few blocks.

traffic signs and pedestrian crossing signs on Dundas with downtown highrise in the background and Ocadu banner on pole

below: The newly renovated OCADU annex building on the southeast corner of Dundas and McCaul is now called the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion.  The curve of the roof contrasts nicely with the sharp edges of the neighbouring buildings

Rosalie Sharp pavilion on the southeast corner of Dundas and McCaul, shiny metal facade on the building,

below: The northeast corner of Dundas and McCaul is yet another hole in the ground.  The Art Gallery of Ontario and Rosalie Sharp Pavilion are in the background.  I am beginning to feel like a broken record player when I mention yet another condo construction site (tangent – is there a 21st century equivalent to “broken record player”?).

construction site, orange plastic, hole in the ground, St. Patricks church on right, AGO in the background, at Dundas and McCaul, northeast corner

below: The demolition of the buildings on Dundas West opens up new views of St. Patricks RC Church.

on Dundas West, just east of McCaul, hoardings around a construction site with St. Patricks RC Church behind

below: Around the corner from St. Patricks, is Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and its bilingual signage and beautiful red door.

entrance doorway to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, red wood door, signs on right side in English, signs on left side in Chinese

below: Krispy Kreme (yes, they still exist!) and Jimmys Coffee on McCaul in almost identical buildings.  Like twins but with a dash of their own personality.

old buildings on McCaul street, two remaining rowhouses, three storeys, one is Krispy Kreme at street level, the other is a Jimmys Coffee. A larger squarer brick building on the right, also three storeys

below: Thing 1 and Thing 2 running down the alley

mural with Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Sr. Suess Cat in the Hat book

below: …but not this alley.   That’s a lot of stairs!

Toronto downtown alley backs of houses, exterior stairs up to third floor, fences, brick, concrete,

below: Each building has it’s own character from years of changes and modifications as people come and go.  They may not be good looking but they are often unique – someone’s little piece of the city.

back of houses in alley, tree, fence,

below: Front yard patio

loveseat and armshair outside on grey mat, door to building is double red door, storefront,

below: Critters in the window

three stuffie toys in the middle window of a bay window set in a beige stucco house, behind a wood fence, rusty metal roof on bay window

below:  An old TTC streetcar loses its load.  By the looks of it, this image will disappear once the ivy comes back to life in a few weeks.

painting on concrete wall of a TTC street car leaning over and people falling out

Super star written on the window of a hair salon in china town, large red Chinese letters too, reflection in the window

below: Put together by the ‘Long Time No See Photo Project’, “Chinatown, the Best” is a collection of portraits that highlights seniors in the Chinatown area along with their thoughts and opinions on what makes Chinatown great.

Chinatown poster series on residents, in windows and door on Dundas

below: The posters are on display over eight locations on Spadina and Dundas West.

Chinatown poster series on residents, in windows and door on Dundas

Left to right:
1. Come and work out in Chinatown.
2. Chinatown is my looking glass. Newcomers come thru finding support to enter Canada & I go back thru to understand where my ancestors and I come from. Keep Chinatown strong!
3. Chinatown is my ancestral village. In 1892 Great-Grandfather Charlie Yep laid down family roots in Montreal – but the early years of international racism gave way to self-loathing Kungfu? Chinesey food? Aiiyah!! Standing defiant in a martial arts pose is a testimony to overcoming my denial. I am Chinese-Quebecois Canadian. Au bout!
4. For making Chinatown the Best, Lily draws on her spiritual energy medicine knowledge to develop a healing relationship with the living landscape and its inhabitants to foster the restoration of the area’s sluggish energetic anatomy and amplify its vibrational health and wholeness.
5. deu say lin yeung im ah im duck!

below:  In another Chinatown window is this display – pictures of food with four old black and white pictures.

picture in window in Chinatown, collage of food photos and old black and white photos. One black and white is old Shanghai Bund

below: The picture on the far right depicts Shanghai Bund and river waterfront so it is possible that the other photos are also of Shanghai?  Or at least cities in China?

close up of a picture of sliced meat on a platter, as well as two old black and white photos. Photo on right is Shanghai Bund with boats docked along the river shore.

below: Another window with pictures – this time The Kensary, a cannabis store in Kensington.

window of the Kensary cannabis store in Kensington, full of Toronto landmarks

below: A close up of part of the window showing Casa Loma, Roy Thomson Hall, Hughs Room, the El Mocambo, the Silver Dollar, Massey Hall, and gabled Victorian era houses

close up of picture in window of The Kensary, Toronto landmarks, Casa Loma, Roy Thomson Hall,

below: Hoardings on Spadina where a skeleton reaches out for passers-by.

man on sidewalk on Spadina, walking past hoardings with graffiti and street art and adverts, one mural is a large skull with outreached bony arms,

below: Kensington view of the CN Tower

CN Tower in background, large hydro wood structure in foreground, view from Kensington

below: Facilities at Bellevue Park – more than just “all gender”

a blue and yellow porta potty covered in macabre street art, in bellevue park

in blues, mural by elicser of an older man with white beard, a hook for a hand, smoking a pipe, wearing a cap

a dead end in an alley where all the fences and gates are covered with murals, a large tree, the backs of two storey houses in different materials and colours, brick, wood,

below: Wanted poster for Putin the war criminal

two stencils on hoardings, one is a pink woman's head and the other is a wanted poster for putin, war criminal, Russian leader for his invasion of ukraine

street art on hoardings with word war, black hands and red flames, yellow building tower,

below: There’s at least one Maple Leafs fan left!

sticker on a pole, a stick figure person with a happy face and a realistic blue Maple leafs hockey jersey

bke parked at bicycle stand with graffiti slaps on it, across street from fruit and vegetable market with green walls and red and white striped awning, Kensington market area of Toronto

poster graffiti of a white skull on black background, large red border, on a pole, with alley street art in the background

a woman taking pictures of street art in an alley

below: Jumblefacefoto collages

two large jumblefacefoto collages on walls of empty storefront, open door, with large sign saying coming soon, someone has written in black marker, large letters, freedom in back

in an alley, a door painted black, part of a callligraphy mural with black writing on magenta and orange background

below: Alexandra Park redevelopment progresses. Dundas West is the northern edge of the 16 acre site owned by TCHC (Toronto Community Housing Corp). Most of the original units that were built in the 1960s are now gone.

orange digger working behind a fence, beside older brick apartment building, sign on fence that says you are not your mistakes.

on a pole, twp graffiti slaps, on top is an intricate line drawing of flowers and on the bottom is a bruha, intergalactic in many colours

below: Apparently it’s okay to be white. Actually it’s okay to be brown, or black, or any shade in between too.

on the back of street traffic signs, two slaps. On top is one with words It's okay to be white, and on the bottom a small face with a round surprised mouth

below: Anarchist piano lessons?

poster on hoardings that says Anarchist piano lessons

below: “They say death takes you to a better place but I doubt it”  Me?  I’m in no hurry to find out.

square slap graffiti, small, with text crammed into it that says They say death takes you to a better place but I doubt it

small black and white sticker of a screaming face, on a pole with street art, beside a wood utility pole with lots of orange paint

on a wooden fence, a sign that says warning CCTV cameras, surveillance, you are being watched

… and Graffiti Alley

stencil graffiti, words that say met u in toronto written twice in a circle around a happy face, yellow on black, sprayed on a brick wall in Graffiti Alley

in Graffiti Alley, on a door, a big pink heart with love written in cursive through the middle of it

below: Northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

northeast corner of Spadina and Queen in a snow flurry,

early morning, storefronts on Queen West, fruit market, empty store, lots of cardboard boxes on sidewalk waiting for trash pickup

below: Mannequins on orange

mannequins in Joe Fresh window, orange background, kids clothes

sidewalk scene on Queen West, bus shelter with Queen West advert, green P parking sign, some stores,

below: Queen Street westbound approaching Bathurst

TTC streetcar westbound on Queen West approaching Bathurst, snow falling, other cars waiting for red light,

below: It’s always nice to see that there’s at least one Lovebot still hanging out in Graffiti Alley.

in Graffiti Alley, a lovebot pasteup up hgh, love bot and a bunch of balloons

below: On the door, a jumblefacefoto collage

jumblefacefoto collage paper pasteup on door in graffiti alley in the middle of a text throw up street art

below: Reach out and touch someone

Bell phone booth covered with stickers, plus a fake bony hand holding onto the receiver, in Graffiti Alley

below: Open your eyes

brick wall with paper pasteup graffiti, open your eyes, a jumblefacefoto

below: Are you smiling?  Are you happy?

old KFC building, empty, with graffiti painted on wood leaning against the building, black letters on white that say In a passive society smiles are not the faces of happy people R "2022"

TTC streetcar at Queen and Spadina, in the snow

an older couple walking on sidewalk on Queen West waiting for greenlight at Bathurst by taccorito restaurant

below: Southeast corner, Queen & Niagara

early morning, yellow lights on in plant store on Queen West, a woman walking past,

below: Same intersection slightly later in the morning and from a slightly different angle

people on the sidewalk at queen west and niagara, traffic lights, woman pushing stroller, Japanese mural in the background, chive plant store in the foreground

two storefronts in old brick building, Queen West, Park Avenue Cleaners and Shanti Baba

photograph on exterior of store, group of people standing together, number 789 Queen West is next door

t bonez urban ninja squadron paste up of him in yoga pose

mural of a naked upper body with arms up and flowers around the head with words turn off your mind

below: Windigo Army piece

street art painting of an indigenous man with long black braid, wrapped in a white and black blanket, with yellow and red aura around him

below: A little orange character pasted to a pole; the work of kode_dipz aka Kyara Cabrera Fong

kode 905 slap graffiti little orange character with green face and tummy, on a pole

below: Because of the construction of a new condo at Richmond and Augusta there has been scaffolding in a section of Graffiti Alley. The other day some of it was being dismantled. This woman is more visible now but some of the bars remain.

mural of a woman with a cloth covering her head, behind scaffolding bar,

below: Life©️ one eyed red daisy supersized

black and orange traffic pylons beside the entrance to Graffiti Alley with a red one eyed daisy painting by life co beside it, then a row of paintings on hoardings

graffiti and street art on plywood hoardings that got switched around

4 faces found in different pieces of street art, all cartoonish, including a one eyed pink monster with oozing body,

below: Part of UBER5000’s Toronto mural.

large uber5000 Toronto mural in Graffiti alley, lower portion of it, behind chainlink fence

below: By luvs – a woman and her dog, with duplicate vision

part of a mural by luvs of a woman's head and a bulldog beside her, duplicate eyes and sunglasses that she's looking over, on a garage door in rush lane

two women walking their dogs in a snow storm on Spadina

from inside, a man walks past window of Le Gourmand bakery cafe on Spadina

below: A properly worn mask…..

window of flashback vintage, a mannequin in brown jacket and blue dress, mask needed sign on door

a collection of dolls in a store window with yellow metal grille in front

What is creepier?  Dolls or mannequins?

two images of mannequins in a window, one in pink and the other in red with red hair, both with large bows in their hair

below: Poetaia wants to know what you’re up to, wink, wink.

sticker graffiti on a wood utility pole that says What are your plans for the weekend?

below: Peeling paper makes the gold words difficult to read

grid of painted paper on top of street art, peeling at edges

below: There’s a yellow eye and possibly a blue one too?

paper collage face with yellow eye,slightly peeling at the edges

two mailboxes on a black door, 555 is salmon colour and 557 is black

two stickers on a metal pole on the topis a picture of a man's head with word think and on bottom is t bonez with finger over mouth as in saying shhh shush

small sticker graffiti on pole

small black and white sticker graffiti on pole, picture of man in a mask holding shoulders of a woman

Two new murals have appeared in Graffiti Alley and Rush Lane, both in reaction to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s Russia.  First:

mural in Rush Lane in blue and yellow, text in Cyrillic alphabet, bird, white dove with branch that is half yellow and half blue

part of a mural, white dove of peace with a branch in its claws that is half blue and half yellow representing Ukraine

crow-like bird with beak open wide as it makes noise, top part blue and bottom part yellow, for Ukraine

UPDATE: The above mural is a group effort.  The bird, a nightingale, was painted by Nick Sweetman.  That link should take you to an instagram post that describes the thinking behind the mural.  It also lists mr_tensoe2SpyOne, and TwiceBorn as the collaborators.

below: … and second, a painting that has already been scribbled on.

street art portrait of Putin in grey tones, wearing a baseball cap that says Make Russia Great Again, background is half blue and half yellow for Ukraine. It has already been scribbled on

Here are a few photos from a recent visit to Craven Road, one of my favorite streets.   The last time I posted about it was “Craven Road once more“, in May 2019.  That’s almost three years! – it doesn’t seem like that long ago but then again I find that COVID has really messed with my sense of passing time.  Anyhow, it’s always interesting to see what remains, what’s new, and what has just been rearranged.

below: Part of the fence

Craven Road art on a wood fence

below: Back in 2019 the clock read 12:10.  Time has passed.

found objects displayed on wood fence on Craven Road, green clock, angel figure,

Craven Road art on a wood fence, a black dog portrait, with snow in front

below: The sheep have been here for years (since at least 2015) and they are starting to show their age.  The other two images are recent additions.

Craven Road art on a wood fence, an old ripped painting of a flock of sheep in the snow, an orange sign that says Every Child Matters, and a night scene painting

below: Abstracts in blues

Craven Road art on a wood fence, small abstract paintings in shades of blue and purple

below: An upside down Q for the little red man.

found objects displayed on wood fence on Craven Road

below: I am hoping that the painting on the right says “The Great White North” …

Craven Road art on a wood fence, partially buried in the snow, blue circles around a green face

below: Even the mask has a mask

objects attached to a wood fence, a yellow plastic mask, small rubber boots, an old calculator, a small piano keyboard, a portrait of Marilyn Munro

a wood fence with many objects displayed on it, guitars, pictures, other found objects

below: Rubber boots, rubber gloves and a white hat make for a dashing figure.

found objects displayed on wood fence on Craven Road

found objects displayed on wood fence on Craven Road, two black guitars and some rainbow flags

found objects displayed on wood fence on Craven Road, diamond shaped mirror with markers to draw on it

below: Some newer landscapes

small landscape paintings displayed on a wood fence outdoors, Craven Road

paintings on wood fence

torn canvas, portrait of a dog lying on a porch, attached to a wood fence outdoors

below: …. and last, another two oldies of the feline variety.

 canvas, portrait of a cat lying on a rug, attached to a wood fence outdoors

painting on canvas, goldish color cat, on a wood fence

man with dog, people sitting inrestaurants, window reflections, man walking out of restaurant, street scene

below: Leslieville mural on the west wall of Dave’s Hot Chicken, Queen Street East location.

Leslieville mural on the west side of Dave's Hot Chicken restaurant

below: I spotted a very similar piece of paper downtown but with words about knowledge and ignorance (see previous blog post). I wonder how many of these are tacked up around the city?  These words can be attributed to American economist and social theorist, Thomas Sowell (b. 1930).

stapled to a notice board on the sidewalk is text graffiti with words about responsibility

“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody’s responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.”

 

below: Beside Jimmy Simpson Park there are four stainless steel pennants, each with a word – coursing, disappearing, trembling, and returning.  These are part of a series of three installations called “Time and a Clock” by Eldon Garnet in the area.

people walking on sidewalk, walking past 4 metal poles holding up words in metal

below: Jumblefacefoto collage paste-ups.

large jumblefacefoto collage paste up on a wall on Queen Street East, 3 vertical panels

below: Boston Discount Store with it’s red and white KitKat advert

Boston Discount Store with its red and white kit kat advert on sign, on Queen Street East

below: posters and protests and one very muscular man three times.

posters on a metal utility pole

below: Queen and Jones Pawnbrokers

Pawkbrokers shop on Queen East, metal grille covering windows, people walking past,

below: Eddie’s Convenience with a range of tests available.  I first read it as though Eddie was also selling pregnancy tests!

signs in the window of a convenience store, covid test, pregnancy tests, in home self test,

below: It’s now been 2 years since COVID was declared a pandemic.

a window full of covid masks on sale on display at a convenience store

below: Queen East mishmash of rooflines. Newer boxy construction butting up against older original half gables with their gingerbread still intact.

a row of stores on the south side of Queen East, with different rooflines after various alterations over the years

below: In a lovely older brick building with little architectural details, Fortune Smoke & Gifts Store along with Butchers of Distinction

In a lovely older brick building, Fortune Smoke & Gifts Store along with Butchers of Distinction

below: Busy Street runs parallel to Queen, one block north. It was once a very busy street.

beside some large trees, a Toronto blue and white street sign for Busy Street

But now it is much quieter. Some of the buildings on the north side were once stables for the teams of draft horses that delivered the goods from the nearby Queen Street stores.

street scene, a woman by her car, some houses, Busy street is one block long,

below: The horses have long disappeared and the buildings have been repurposed.

entrance to thunder thighs costume ltd, with green awning over brown double doors.

intersection on Queen East with billboard, mural, traffic lights, sidewalk, pedestrians,

below: Another little upper storey addition above Cask Music and Samaira’s.

cask music store and samaira's on queen east, with a small recently added upper level, people on the sidewalk in front of the stores,

below: Moving up in an alley

prefab white metal structure as upper storeys on older brick building, with exterior stairs to the alley

below: Ubiquitous

construction fence leaning outward, posters, porta potty, construction site

below: Feelings boi graffiti paste-up

feelings boi sticker on the side of a parking meter

small graffiti on a white concrete wall, blue lips, dark blue sunglasses stencil,

It seems like it’s been a long winter with more extended periods of colder temperatures as well as never ending snow.  Last weekend was the first sign that maybe spring would arrive this year …. before the snow came back!  Here are a few things that I saw on my walk last Sunday while out enjoying some warm sunshine.

below: A sign of the times; a sign for the coming spring.

wood letters on wood fence that say Outside We Will Live Again

CN Tower with Gardiner Expressway in front, signs for exit for Bay, York, and Yonge streets,

below:  There is still a large parking lot on the corner of Rees and Queens Quay.  It may be the last piece of undeveloped property along this part of the waterfront.

parking booth at parking lot on northwest corner of Rees and Queens Quay, tall condos and aprtments in the background, also the Gardiner Expressway

below: Clearing away the piles of snow.

a front end loader removes snow from the waterfront, with the Empire Sandy, boat, parked right beside

below: The skating rink beside the Power Plant is melting quickly.  The designs painted on the concrete below provide a bright contrast to the towers of glass and steel nearby.

ice melting on skating rink by power plant, pink and blue designs painted on the concrete below, highrises in the background, looking northeast from walkway by waterfront

below: Same spot as above but this time looking northwest.

melting ice on the skating rink, looking northwest

below: On the south wall of The Power Plant, a large image of the artist, Sasha Huber, on top of a Swiss mountain.

large picture on the outside, south, wall of the The Power Plant. A picture of the artist, Sasha Huber, planting a sign and plaque for Rentyhorn, renaming a Swiss mountain.

“Rentyhorn” (2008) is part of a campaign to rename Agassizhorn, a Swiss mountain peak. Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) was a Swiss glaciologist who became convinced that Blacks were an inferior species and that he could prove it. Renty was an enslaved woman who was one of a group forcibly photographed by Agassiz in his attempt to prove his theory. There is more of this story, and more of Huber’s work, on display in the gallery.

below: Reflections and distortions in the windows of The Power Plant.

reflections of Canada Square in the glass of the north wall of the Power PLant

below: Queens Quay

cyclists ride by on Queens Quay, past a box on the sidewalk painted in an abstract design

below: “Compartment Earth” in the lobby of RBC WaterPark Place building on Queens Quay.   It is 16,000 pounds of stainless steel; a sculpture by American artist Roxy Paine.

large metal spherical shaped sculpture in the glass surrounded lobby of rbc waterpark building on Queens Quay

below: Work continues on the park, Love Park, that replaces the old York Street exit ramp from the Gardiner Expressway.

waiting to cross Queens Quay at York, by black hoardings around redevelopment of Love Park,

large letters, L O V E spell love on black haordings, letters are decorated in abstract patterns in pink, yellow, and blue

below: Esmaa Mohamoud‘s large image titled: ” The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us, By Us)” covers 37 x 144 feet (or 11 x 44 metres).

a very large photo of two men high on a wall overlooking the street, Bay street, a group of three people with luggage is walking by

below: Looking up to the blue sky.

reflections and angles on large tall gkass buildings, lots of sky and cloud reflections

below: Part art, part health, this is “Visoleil” in the lobby of the new CIBC Square.  A glowing circle of light to lift the spirits during the grey of a Toronto winter.   I went on a Sunday and the doors were locked so I couldn’t get closer.  Unfortunately, it’s probably gone by now as it was scheduled to be removed on 11th March.

large round white light, lit, inside the entrance of an office building, behind glass, art exhibit, Glowing Orb

below: Also at CIBC Square, “Light Stolen from the Sun” by Steve Driscoll.   This new CIBC building on (by the new GO Station and across from Union Station) has been under construction for a few years now.  It isn’t quite finished.

behind construction fence, coloured glass ready to install inside a new office building

below: Looking through the front window you can catch a glimpse of this magnificent piece of backlit glass.  Apparently there are twelve.  This is something that I am definitely going to come back to see!

looking in the window of the new CIBC building in downtown Toronto, interior glass windows, very tall, of a scene with red leaves on tree and blue sky,

below: Street closed.  Construction.

Lower Simcoe street closed to traffic because of construction

below: More construction, King and John.

a man walks across intersection of John and King, with construction

below: Development notice on Crocodile Rock… yikes, 68 storeys proposed at Adelaide and Duncan.

blue and white city of toronto development notice on wall of Crocodile Rock

below: Northeast corner of Adelaide and Duncan

northeast corner of intersection of Adelaide and Duncan with Crocodile Rock bar on the corner

below: Hoardings on Lower Simcoe street – “A Stroll Through the City” by Camilla Teodoro

pictures painted on hoardings around building

below: Looking west on Front Street from Bay with Union Station, CN Tower, Royal Bank building, and the Royal York Hotel.

Front Street in front of Union station

below: In Simcoe Park (Front Street), there is an aluminium sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor.  It was installed in 1995.

public art, mountains, amid the trees (real) in Simcoe Park

below: Outside Metro Hall, a banner promoting COVID-19 vaccination in kids.

city of Toronto banner promoting vaccination of kids against covid

below: Snarky graffiti – “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

text graffiti on white paper pasteup

below: Signs on traffic construction cones

beside construction equipment, orange and black traffic cone with yellow poster that says At what cost?

on the sidewalk by a construction sign,orange and black traffic cone with yellow poster that says You're Not Alone

by painted curb between road and bike lane, orange and black traffic cone with yellow poster that asks Two Weeks?

below: Protest posters and graffiti. Anti condo development & corrupt landlords. Mercury contamination of water.

graffiti and posters on the side of a red metal newspaper box on the sidewalk. I'm feeling blue sticker, and an anti development poster saying greed is bad

posters and graffiti on a metal box

pasteup graffiti on metal box on sidewalk, eyes, text,

Shona Illingworth at The Power Plant

This blog post looks at a portion of one of the exhibits now on at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. “Topologies of Air” by Shona Illingworth was commissioned by The Power Plant; it involves some video pieces that I have not included here. “Amnesia Museum” is a series of small works exploring how memory and forgetting intermingle. A sample (with apologies for the poor quality of the image):

two pieces of artwork on a green wall. by Shona Illingworth, part of her amnesia museum series

below: Paintings from “Topologies of Air”

Three images by Shona Illingworth at Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

an image by Shona Illingworth in an art gallery from her Topologies of Air series

below: The full title is “The Right to Live Without Physical or Psychological Threat from Above” and it fills a wall.  Across the top the images are related to satellites and the solar system.  Images of people and human activity are on the bottom.  The words fill the air gap between the two.

part of a full wall covered with words and black and grey images, on psychology of air space and the struggle for human rights to have no interference from above - such as military, drones, etc

Some of the text:
“Airspace also encompasses shared radio frequencies, our electromagnetic commons. Each drone is operated by a team of a dozen or hundreds who watch video and audio-track cell phones. Companies operate powerful algorithms in military command centers half a world away to decide who is a combatant and is not. But never forget that these are almost indistinguishable from the algorithms that are used by Facebook and Twitter to categorize us and profit from us. There algorithms are often staggeringly inaccurate. The margins of error built into these powerful databases are huge. ” and
“Humans need protecting. We’ve got an air gap. We’ve always lived with an air gap, which is simply the unconnected world. The ability to conduct your activities of any kind, in any way you want, without any form of connectivity, surveillance or control.”

We can argue as to whether or not this wall is art;  we can argue as to the validity of some of the statements.  But as I stood looking at the wall, it was thoughts of Ukraine that went through my head.  The idea that air supremacy over that country was being fought over at that moment and that the Russians would love to control those skies.  Not for the first time. Countries have used air power throughout recent history, from the time of the invention of the zeppelin and the airplane through to the introduction of drones into the modern arsenal.

We can also argue over the merits of living in a connected world but I’ve already ventured far from the focus of this blog. I’ll just end with three short notes. First, without a connected world, you wouldn’t be reading this. And second, how do you separate the good uses from the bad? Lastly, is this art’s role?

The Airspace Tribunal website

Power Plant Contemporary Art website

…at the Forks of the Don

If you’ve driven on the Don Valley Parkway you’ve probably seen them, the big grey structures that look like teeth.  They are just south of Don Mills Road, on both sides of the DVP.  Over the years, the trees and shrubs have been growing around them so they don’t stand out as much as they did when they were first installed in 1998.

below: On the west side of the Parkway

an old and rusted city street sign, maximum 30 km/h begins, with elevated wetlands sculptures behind

The structures were designed by Noel Harding (1945-2016) and are constructed out of recycled polystyrene and acrylic. Financing was provided by a group from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association.

large concrete containers, planters, on a small hill with small trees, winter,

Their purpose is to help purify polluted water from the Don River watershed.

below: On the west side, the third planter stands alone, looking a bit like the back end of an elephant.

large grey planter for wetlands water purification, looks like the back end of an elephant, with four stumpy legs

large container on right with spout to concrete planter on the left, in the background, seen between the two concrete planters, an old cement bridge and a highrise apartment in the distance

below: The three concrete structures form a line on the east side of the DVP.

looking across traffic on the Don Valley Parkway to the other set of elevated wetlands sculptures

They can be accessed by following the trail that goes under the highway and follows Taylor Massey Creek.  If you follow this route, you end up walking generally east and you can walk for miles through the ravine system that runs under O’Connor Drive, through Taylor Creek Park and on to Warden Woods Park.

roadway curves to the right and passes under the Don Valley Parkway, traffic crossing over the bridge, winter time, snow on the ground, Forks of the Don where Taylor Massey Creek joins the Don River

Forks of the Don – where rivers come together, trails go in all directions, and even the railway passes through.

below: Stairs up to Don Mills Road and Gateway Blvd,

stairs leading up, to an apartment building, trees, winter

below: Or take the ramp that passes under Don Mills Road beside the tracks.

blue sign on a concrete pillar that says Don Mills Road, beside a metal ramp walkway under a bridge, Lower Don Trail

below: Looking southbound towards Union Station.

vehicle on train tracks approaching an underpass, where Don Mills Road crosses the tracks

below: From here the tracks follow the Don Valley east and then north.  They pass under Don Mills Road once more, just south of York Mills Road, before heading to Oriole GO station.

looking through gaps in a chainlink fence, a railway vehicle on the tracks below, looking eastward from Don Mills Road, apartment buildings in the background

below: This part of the Lower Don Trail really is a nexus, or hub, in the ravine path system.  Trails also lead northwest to the Science Center and Wilket Creek Park.

three people walking across a snow covered park towards highrise buildings

below: Choose kindness

colorful sticker on metal railing, lots of one eyed faces with big teeth on the back of a van with words choose kindness

heart painted on metal rail, graffiti, left side is red and right side is blue

a car drives over an old semi circular concrete bridge over the Don River, Gateway Blvd apartment building in the background

road bridge, concrete, above a river with a parth beside the river. Rusted metal railings on both sides of the path, green metal beams under the bridge, winter, sone snow, no leaves on the trees, Lower Don Trail, under Don Mills Road

below: “Passage”, an art installation by Labspace Studio under the Don Mills Bridge – part of the PanAm Path project.

public art under a bridge, halves of red canoes appear to come out of the wall, 8 of them in a line

below: Southward on the Lower Don Trail where you can walk all the way to Lake Ontario.

lower don trail, looking south, with DVP on one side and trees on the other, apartment building in the background.

below: If you are interested, this is a map of the PanAm Path, one of the projects from when the PanAm games were hosted here in Toronto in 2015.  The Forks of the Don is in the center by the pink X.  Something to consider exploring in the spring!?

city of Toronto map of the PanAm Path that crosses the city.

*****
plaque describing the elevated wetlands sculptures

“The elevated wetlands are functional sculptures, symbols of the integration of the plastics industry, art and environmental stewardship. The sculptures were developed through a partnership between the City of Toronto, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, and artist Noel Harding.”

“The sculptures draw attention to the importance of wetlands as an ecosystem. A solar powered pump lifts water from the Don River into a series of raised “planters” where native wetland plants and trees naturally remove pollutants from the water. Recycled plastics are used as soil substitute to promote vegetative growth. From the smallest container, water is emptied into a natural land based wetland, and flows back in to the Don River. The surrounding area has been naturalized through volunteer tree plantings to create a natural buffer between the sculptures and the Don Valley Parkway. “

 

a small pink knitted heart is tied to the branch of a small tree

Winter Stations 2022

a sign by path at beach that says don't feed the foxes

From late February through to the end of March is Winter Stations on Woodbine Beach along Toronto’s waterfront.

Toronto waterfront, by Ashbridge Bay, Lake Ontario, winter stations 2022, people and dogs on the beach with a few art installations

below: “The Hive” by Canadians, Kathleen Dogantzis & Will Cuthbert

Hive, at winter stations 2022,

looking through the coloured plexiglass panels of Hive, an art installation on Woodbine Beach

below: Designed by a team from Daniels Faculty of Architecture, U of T, “Introspection”.

Introspection, art installation at Woodbine Beach designed by University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design team of – Christopher Hardy, Tomasz Weinberger, Clement Sung, Jason Wu, Jacob Henriquez, Christopher Law, Anthony Mattacchione, George Wang, Maggie MacPhie & Zoey Chao, Lead by Assistant Professor – Teaching Stream Fiona Lim Tung

part of "Introspection" an art installation, red box on the waterfront with reflective insides

inside Introspection , reflecrive surface, art installation

below: Designed by a Turkish pair, Cemre Önertürk and Ege Çakır is “Enter-Face”.

two Muskoka chairs sit in the ice at Woodbine Beach, with art installation Enter-Face behind them

below: The structure on the left has circular openings on one side and a translucent panel on the other (lakeside) – you can through but the resulting view is slightly distorted. On the taller structure, there is a reflective material.

on Woodbine Beach, an art installation called Enter-Face by Turkish design team, MELT, Cemre Önertürk & Ege Çakır

view from outside of Enter Face, an art installation at winter stations

below: “S’winter Station” was designed by a team from Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science.  The circular openings on the surface panels were made from beach towels, an object more associated with summer than with winter.

a woman with blue paper? beside art installation designed by Evan Fernandes, Kelvin Hoang, Alexandra Winslow, Justin Lieberman & Ariel Weiss, Lead by Associate Professor Vincent Hui from Ryerson

a woman and a dog on the beach, under the overhang of an art installation, S'winter station,

below: “One Canada” by a team from School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph.  The “One” in the title is for the combining of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous together as one.  Seven rings representing wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth.  Orange (for National Day of Truth and Reconciliation) ropes weave the rings together in a pattern echoing those used to make drums.

on the waterfront, beach, with lake behind, an art installation.

part of One Canada installation at Winter Stations, close up of orange cords that form the frame, people and dogs and beach in the background. Design team: Alex Feenstra, Megan Haralovich, Zhengyang Hua, Noah Tran, Haley White & Connor Winrow, Lead by Assistant Professor Afshin Ashari and Associate Professor Sean Kelly

mannequin in a window wearing a shiny yellow sai and holding a heart shaped evening purse with shiny beads on it

 The alley and parking lot behind the south side of Gerrard Street between Rhodes Avenue and Craven Road has a lot of street art.  Most of it was described back in November 2015 in a post titled:
Udlaakut, good morning (Inuit for good morning).

below: Mural by Timmy Drift aka Tim Schjins

mural of many faces with big mouths and white teeth

murals on the back of businesses on Gerrard street, beside a snowy parking lot,

below: A newer painting is this Alley Cats mural which is over 14′ high and is the work of Swizzle Studios (aka Rob Elliott and Andrew Horne)

large mural in a Little India alley, three white cats looking up at a yellow bird on a ledge

below: Jim Bravo and Ema Ciobanico (2020) painted murals with Little India Bazaar themes over two buildings – one on the NE corner of Gerrard and Ashdale and the other across Gerrard on the SE corner.

at the intersection of Gerrard and Ashdale, two buildings across the street from each other, both with Little India murals by Jim Bravo

below: On the northeast corner of Gerrard and Ashdale is the west wall of Kohinoor Foods – people with balloons, flags, and lotus flowers.

mural by Jim Bravo on the wall of Kohinoor Foods on Gerrard East

mural by Jim Bravo on Ashdale in Little India with the word Bazaar (as in Little India Bazaar), flowers and people holding balloons

mural by Jim Bravo on Ashdale in Little India with the word Bazaar (as in Little India Bazaar), flowers and people holding balloons

below: Visual noise and friends, slaps in an alley.

stickers and pasteups on a white wall. Urban ninja squadron t bonez on one knee with a large missle launcher on one shoulder

below: I have blogged about this mural before – Four-D by Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson at Gerrard and Woodfield, 2013.

below: An elephant above the vape shop

mural of an elephant on the upper level of a store

below: Mr. Monopoly tries to run away with the loot (by kransky)

street traffic, or Bell, box with a running Mr. Monopoly

below: Another mural!  This one was painted by Catherine Cachia

little india bia sponsored mural on the side of a building

below: Two of a series of different coloured ‘banners’ that have cut out images in them.

green and pink banners in Little India

below: Buddha seems to be happy to hang around here.

buddah statue outside a store window

metal chairs and tables stacked against storefronts on sidewalk in Little India

painted planters on the sidewalk on Gerrard St., in the winter with some snow

below: “We’re all in this together”  Still Covid days.

door at 1299, with signs in the window, We're all in this together

signs in the window of a door of a store in Little India

looking through the clear side of a bus shelter at Coxwell Ave., looking west along Gerrard St.

below: Northeast corner of Coxwell and Gerrard/Eastwood

pink two storey building on the northeast corner of Coxwell and Eastwood, with construction in front, Coffee Time on the lower level is closed and windows papered over

below: Halal Meat Shop at Glenside

Halal Meat store on Gerrard

below: Lazy Daisy’s Cafe has been temporarily closed since Christmas while they “transform”.

doorway to Lazy Daisy coffee shop, closed with sign on door

below: Mural at the Black Pony (formerly the Flying Pony)

exterior of Flying Pony Cafe, with snow covered patio furniture and mural that says You're Here

gold and cololurful little statues in a store window

red saris and male clothing with gold and beads decorating it

looking in the front window of a bead store

in a window, a green, red and white flag with beaded shapes hanging in front

old sign at 1301 Gerrard East, sidewalk in winter,

yellow sign on gate of Buddhist temple that says sorry we're closed until further notice

below: Looking west along Gerrard at Greenwood.

people sitting in bus shelter, winter, at corner of Gerrard East and Greenwood, looking west along Gerrard, Daisy Mary and Pizza Pizza as well