Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

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

Shorter day light hours + autumn weather (no snow yet!) = an evening of playing with light and shadow.  I came out of the subway at Queen station and decide to “chase the light”.  It was a perfect evening for a walk and I wanted to make it last as long as possible.   For the most part I stayed on Queen Street although I will admit to straying onto Shuter for a block or two.  It’s not the prettiest part of the city but every place has potential, from a photographic perspective anyhow.

below: The new (replacement) pedestrian walkway over Queen Street that will link the Eaton Centre with The Bay.

glass pedestrian bridge over a street, Queen Street, with traffic and people as well as an ambulance, late afternoon

below: City reflections in both glass and polished stone.

reflections in a stone and glass building

below: The curve of street car wires at Queen and Church.  A wall of peeling paint, as well as a ghost sign, provides the backdrop

the curve of the streetcar wires in front of a wall that was painted white but the paint is peeling to reveal the brick below.

below: The east wall of St. Michaels Cathedral (RC) with reflected light, as seen across a construction site.

one end of St. Michaels Cathedral with reflected light falling on it, new buildings and construction surround it

below: The same church from a slightly different angle.

close up of part of a church roof and window with reflected light on it.

below: Angels

wooden angel cutouts decorate the roofline of a small building

below: Pigeons, old Bell phones and the Moss Park Discount Store.  Not so much light here but I liked the wall.

two Bell telephone booths, small version, mounted on a wall with street art painted on it, beside the window of a convenience store with a 649 ad in the window. Sign over the window says Moss Park Discount Store

below: A long way from home.

people standing on a corner waiting to cross the street, including a woman dressed in blue who is using a walker, plus two Morman men in their white shirts and black ties.

below: A large double billboard is black beside the old building.   The building is at the corner of Ontario Street and Brigden Place.   It was built in 1911 as a 4 1/2 storey warehouse for the Newell Company and their Dominion Envelope Company.  It was one of three buildings that they owned in the area.   After WW2 the building was purchased by J.D. Carrier Shoe Company (the ghost sign!).  Today it has been renovated as lofts and studios.

evening light shines on an old white brick building, a large billboard as seen from the end, is in front

below: A small section of the back of the Moss Park Armoury, a Canadian Forces building constructed in the 1960’s.

part of a wall, vertical stripes of brick sections and white sections, narrow windows in the white sections, 3 windows in total

below: A quick break from chasing light…. you never know what you’re going to encounter downtown, and of course you have to stop and take advantage of the opportunities when they arise, so here we have a slight diversion!  I’m going to assume that the background of their pictures is much better than the background of this picture!

a bride and groom embrace while three photographers take their picture. on a sidewalk of a city street

below: As evening falls, the lights come on in the bus shelters.
You can thank (or curse) Astral Media for that.

a lit advertisement in a bus shelter of two men in Roots clothes, a young man sits on the bench in the bus shelter while two people walk past it on the sidewalk

below: King Street and Queen Street merge just before they pass over the Don River and the Don Valley Parkway.   The green railing in the photo below is on the bridge over the DVP, the buildings and cranes are on the other side of the river.

evening light, cityscape with many construction cranes, light poles and utility poles and wires, evening,

below:  Upstairs, downstairs.  Looking west along King Street from the Don River.

looking along King street from beside ramp over the railway tracks - light under the bridge shows someone sitting there, city scene in the rest of the photo

Once the light fades beyond a certain point, contrast is limited and dullness creeps into the resulting photos.  It’s too late for well lit photos and too early for pictures of city lights.  But it’s a great time to stop and find some dinner!

I was out earlier this evening, venturing out to a gallery opening on Avenue Road near Dupont.  It wasn’t meant to be a photo taking adventure but it was a sunny evening and rather than wait for a bus on Avenue Road, I started to walk.   It didn’t take long before the camera came out (yes, I usually have it with me!).  Have I walked here before?

a yellow traffic sign in front of a store window. Window is lit and has two female mannequins in it. Sign says Turning traffic must yield to pedestrians.

On Avenue Road just south of St. Clair West there are quite a few older apartment buildings and most are in good shape.

below: It’s nice to see that this building is being renovated.

old 6 storey brick apartment building that is undergoing renovations, bottom few storeys are covered in scaffolding.

below: Most of the apartment buildings in the area are mid to low rise.   If I remember correctly, the building on the right is the tallest  (and newest?)

three midrise apartment buildings.

side of an apartment building with a decorative panel running up the center.

below: You don’t see brickwork or stone details like these on newer buildings.

detail of the brick and stone work on an older apartment building. There are three stone women lying under each oriel window, diamond patterns in the brick on the exterior as well

below: Looking southeast, generally towards downtown, as you come down the hill on Avenue Road.  The bright green and red on the left is the De Lasalle College playing field.

view of downtown Toronto skyline from Avenue Road, just south of St. Clair.

below: Mural along the side of the lead up to the railway bridge.
The signature is Leventhal ’96

mural painted along the side of a wall that is part of the embankment for a railway bridge Mural is a country scene, grass and fields, a farm in the distance and a couple of trees.

below: Under the railway tracks.   I thought that the blue tiles were a nice feature – are there other tiles like this under any other Toronto bridges?

under a railway bridge, steel girders above, street passes under, across the street the lower part of the wall is blue tile, a man on a bicycle is passing by

two women walk past a brick house with green wood features, porch, windows, garage door.

below: The turret (steeple?) of De Lasalle College

De Lasalle Callege building, an old brick house with a turret , trees, lawn,

below: One of the entrances to the Mayfair Apartments.

decorative entranceway for the Mayfair apartment building. Woood doors, carved stone above and beside the door

below: Another of the entrances (there was at least one more).  The stonework is similar but the old light fixtures are still in place.  In the picture above, you can see the holes  where the lights once were.

entrance to the mayfair apartments. 396 Avenue Road, stone work and old light fixtures

below: Old wood door on Avenue Road.

old wood door with mailbox and number 280

below:  The first signs of a republic… I had heard about the Republic of Rathnelly  but I didn’t know anything about it, including its location.    Back in 1967  the residents of the officially seceded from the rest of Canada, originally as a form of protest against the proposed Spadina Expressway that would have physically divided the community.    The founders named their republic after Rathnelly Avenue which runs parallel to Avenue, one street to the west.   Rathnelly Avenue was named after William McMaster’s birthplace of Rathnelly, Ireland.  (McMaster Avenue is there too).  William McMaster (1811-1887) was a founding president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce between 1867 and 1887.  He was also a senator.   The special street signs were designed in 2012.

Toronto street sign that says Poplar Plains Cr and also says Republic of Rathnelly

below: A painted sign on the side of The Avenue Diner (at Davenport Road).  It was closed when I walked by so I’ve made a note to myself to go back and see if the interior has changed much since 1944.

old faded mural painted on wood on the exterior side wall of the Avenue Diner. shows people sitting at a lunch counter with an employee behind

below: Across the street from The Avenue Diner is the Havana Coffee Bar. The old building still has a ghost ‘Tamblyn’ sign on it.  To me, Tamblyns was a drug store but was it something else prior to that?  I can’t read the smaller word below ‘Tamblyn’ on the building.  …. A quick check and the answer is ‘no’ – Gordon Tamblyn opened his first pharmacy in 1904 and by the time he died in 1933, he had a chain of about 60 stores.

old building with ghost sign on the upper storey, Tamblyns, bottom part now a dry cleaners and the Havana bar and grill.  A bus shelter is beside the building and some people are waiting for a bus.

…and then I found myself in Yorkville but that’s a whole different story!

a very large fake diamond ring, single stone, sculpture size, about 3 feet in diameter, stands in front of an old fashioned clock in front of some stores

Another nice day, another ramble.

below: My starting point the other day was Castle Frank subway station (Bloor Street East, close to the top of Parliament Street).  This station opened in 1966 although the entrance that you see in the photo was an addition that was added only a few years ago.

photo taken from sidewalk on north side Bloor Street East, just outside of Castle Frank subway station, looking west towards downtown. Subway station in the foreground, high rise buildings in the background

below: An interesting round window in the station entrance.  You can see part of the window in the picture above, peaking from around the side of the tree trunk.

a round window with a metal grille inside. Grille is made of trapezoid shapes in a repeating pattern.

below: The subway “tunnel” between Sherbourne and Castle Frank stations isn’t really a tunnel at all.  This view surprised me – I know that I have driven under this structure on Rosedale Valley Road.  I don’t recall knowing that it was for the subway.

Downtown Toronto is in the distance. The subway tunnel between Sherbourne and Castle Frank stations is in the foreground. It's really a covered bridge as it passes over Rosedale Valley Road.

below: “It’s never too cold for rainbow shoelaces.”  Sage advice for the winter time.

words spray painted on a low concrete fence, It's never too cold for rainbow shoelaces.

below: Graffiti under the bridge…  even though I am drawn to bridges I didn’t go down the hill to investigate.  That can be another blog post at another not so muddy time.   This spot can be accessed from the Rekai Family Parkette which is at the SE corner of Bloor and Parliament, tucked in between Bloor and St. James Cemetery.

graffiti under the arches of a bridge, white skull painting, lots of trees, winter time but no snow. No leaves on the trees, brown ground.

below: More graffiti seen from the parkette.

graffiti on the side of a concrete bridge, based on the letter P C and E.

below: St. James Cemetery was opened in July of 1844 at a time when the population of Toronto was around 18,000 and most of them lived south of Queen Street.   The cemetery would have been out in the country but now, more than 150 years later, the cemetery is in the middle of the city.  There are 89,000 interments here including two of my great x 2 (or 3?) grandparents and some of their descendants (they’re not shown in the picture though!).

many tombstones in a cemetery, different shapes and sizes, a couple of crosses, a couple of rectangles with rounded tops, a tall one in the shape of a skinny keyhole, trees in the background, no leaves

below: A little reminder that Christmas wasn’t all that long ago.

a small statue of an angel sitting on a pedestal in a cemetery, a Christmas wreath in green with red bows and brown pine cones is behind the angel.

The fastest route from Castle Frank to Cabbagetown is straight down Parliament Street.  But of course, the direct route is rarely the one that I take.  The area is full of little alleys and lanes and they all call to me.

below: These animals are part of a mural painted in support of Riverdale Farm which is nearby.

on Darling Lane (street sign in the picture), a mural of two horses, part of a larger mural featuring farm animals

below: Reading the news, many newses.

a street art piece, a bench and man are painted on a wall, the man is holding a newspaper that is a made of paste ups of the word news many times.

below: In Flos Williams Lane there are a number of stenciled words.  “Guilty until proven rich” I first saw here a couple of years ago.  I don’t walk this lane very often so I’m not sure how long ago the other sayings appeared.

below: Like most walks, there were interesting windows to be seen.

two windows on a red brick house with stone foundation, basement window and first storey window. The upper one has a red curtain

below: …and doors too. A very bright orange door!

a very bright orange front door.

below: But unlike most walks, there was a giant gecko or lizard.

a life like model of a giant green gecko on the small roof over a window of a pet store.

One of the appeals of Cabbagetown is the number of older houses, many of which are heritage buildings.

below: This house was built in 1858 and its first resident was Charles MacKay, a customs official who lived here from 1858 to 1865.  The infill line of townhouses behind it are a much more recent development.

an old historic brick house with black and white trim, a small statue in the front yard, set back from the sidewalk, large tree,

below:  Cabbagetown has more of these ‘workers cottages’ or ‘gothic cottages’ than anywhere else I’ve walked.   This arrangement of three identical houses in a row is especially rare (but not unique, at least not yet).

a row of three gothic cottages joined together, all pale yellow with dark green trim

below:  This cottage is in the middle of another threesome but they are not identical.  The yellow door on the pale blue house is a wonderful colour combination.  A little bit of sunshine.

a gothic cottage painted pale blue with white trim,also a bright yellow front door.

below:  Even though it has been renovated and an addition added to the back, this house still retains some of its historical roots.

a renovated and modernized gothic cottage with an addition out the back.

below: And more history…  I was attracted to this building by the beautiful double doors.  Once I was close to the house, I noticed the ghost sign hiding behind the tree branches. The Daily Herald is no longer but it the mark it made here remains.   A mysterious mark though because I can find no record of such a publication.  In fact, probably “the sign had been part of a play or film that the home’s owner was involved in and he installed the sign on an act of whimsy.”  (source, bottom of page)  You gotta love whimsy!

an old brick building, two storeys, now a house, with double doors in a dark teal colour. Ghost sign above the window that says Daily Herald

below: Whimsy you say?  Bright pink flamingo whimsy in a store window.   They look like they’re ready for a rainy day.

three bright flamingo heads as umbrella handles in a shop window. Pink flamingos and pink umbrellas.

below:  There were also some store windows that were a bit more serious.

store window, selling statues of religios figures, many statues of Mary and Jesus.

below:   I think that Carlton and Parliament is one of the most colourful intersections in the city and I always enjoy passing this way.  This is the view if you are standing in the middle of Carlton street and looking east towards Parliament.

looking down Carlton street towards parliment, brick stores directly ahead, some cars on the street,

below: This large colourful mural on the wall of Cabbagetown Corner Convenience,  NE corner of Carlton and Parliament, has become a landmark since it was painted by Ryan Dineen in 2005.

mural on the side of a building in cabbagetown. people in old fashioned clothing plus swirls of colour. street scene beside it, people on sidewalk walking in front of stores.

below: The 506 Carlton streetcar makes its left turn from Parliament.   It’s never a quick and easy turn.  In fact, it’s usually frustratingly slow.

TTC streetcar, Carlton car, turns from Parliament street onto Carlton, stores, sidewalk and people in the background, reflections in street car windows.
And in case you were wondering, yes, you can find cabbages in cabbagetown. This big one is on the Cabbagetown mural on the side of the LCBO building.

painting of a cabbage in a mural

And yes, there is a lot more to Cabbagetown than this…
and I will use that as an excuse to return another time!

Exploring streets and lanes I don’t think that I’ve walked before… or at least I don’t remember them!
Following every possible alley.
Then one turns a corner and becomes a dead end.
Frustrating to have to turn around and retrace my steps but rarely is it a waste of time.

 

 

looking down an alley, an abstract mural of triangular shapes is on one wall

below: There really isn’t much to this graffiti but at least there’s a creative (albeit gruesome) use of the garage door knob.   The poor guy is shocked and probably in pain as he’s stabbed in the eye.   I’m not sure if the other fellow is screaming or laughing loudly.

two stupid line drawings on a white garage door

below: Flash, glare and a happy light bulb.

light bulb graffiti with a text graffiti incorporated into it.

below: A blackburn giant squirrel covers a garage door.

a squirrel mural by blackburn. greyish brown squirrel on magenta background, fills the garage door

roughly drawn head with hair on one side, brown eyes, and an X for a mouth

a row of second empire style two storey houses as seen by looking down an alley towards the street. A red car is parked on the street

 

beige wall on top, rust coloured wall below, with orange splotches. Orange metal trash bin on ground, two window in upper part, both recessed. One with a bike and one with flower pots.

Let’s start with the intersection itself.   It’s where the 504 King car turns north to Broadview station and it’s where Jillys dominated the corner for many many years, more than 30 years in fact.    Does anyone admit to lamenting the loss of Jillys 2 years ago?  The building has stood on the corner for 124 years and was also home to the Broadview Hotel although I doubt it was the kind of hotel you’d book your mother into (well, at least not my mother!).   Believe it or not, this isn’t a condo development.

intersection, TTC street car turning left, a grey car near the intersection, a few pedestrians, a large building wrapped in black netting as the building is being cleaned and renovated.

below: Instead, the New Broadview Hotel, built by Streetcar Developments, will have 57 rooms, a rooftop bar and a ground floor restaurant.   It will look approximately like this (from Broadview):

drawing of the New Broadview Hotel being renovated to incorporate an 124 year old brick building, new glass portion at the top of the building.

There was a reason I chose this intersection, and it wasn’t Jillys.  I went looking for a new mural but I didn’t know exactly where it was.   While I was looking, I explored and took some pictures because that’s what I do.

It wasn’t this street art painting I saw in an alley,

text street art painted on a garage door

or this painting way up high beside a parking lot,

upper level of a store, backing onto a parking lot, painting on the exterior wall of rays eminating from a center circular source

or this woman in a lane.

streeet art picture of a woman in pink and purple

I passed by Debre Selam St. Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.  Such a long name!  All over Toronto there are churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship for a lot of different religions.  I am not sure how many there are but I’d love to find out.  This Orthodox religion was new to me so of course I had to look it up.  I learned that it was once part of the Coptic Orthodox Church which has existed since the 4th century.  It split off in 1959 but remains a member of the Oriental Orthodox family.  The church has 38 million members in Ethiopia.  This church on Broadview is not the only one in Toronto, there are at least 2 others.  I’m not sure how many people in Toronto are members of the church, or attend services here. (additional note:  It’s located beside the Royal Canadian Curling Club which I think is a great juxtaposition).

front of a white building, two storeys, with round top windows, two flags flying by the door. Sign says Debre Selam St. Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Small cross above the entranceway

The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes have their building just up Broadview from the Ethiopian church.  They aren’t a religion but I had no idea what they were.  When I think of “orders” of buffaloes I think of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble and their Loyal Order of Water Buffalo.   Apparently the “Buffs” have been an organization since 1882, originating in London England.   According to Wikipedia, “Membership is open to all males over the age of 18 who are willing to declare that they are “true and loyal supporters of the British Crown and Constitution”. Discussion of politics or religion is strictly forbidden at gatherings, as is gambling.”  The building looks like it was once a school…. looking for ideas where to start looking for its history?  Oh, that word ‘antediluvian’ – it means ‘before the flood’ as in the flood in the Old Testament, that one with Noah’s Ark.

brown brick builgin, one storey with peak roof, small veranda in front, blur front door, Canadian flag out front, sign above door says Royal Antidiluvian Order of Buffaloes.

I noticed some quirky things like this window.  Any guesses as to what it used to be?

window of a coffee shop where some of the letters have been removed. It now says Kids Bar. Shadows of the letters are on the blind that covers the inside of the window of the now closed shop

Dark Horse Expresso Bar

I walked through Joel Weeks park where I came face to face with a fox.

a small sculpture of a fox on top of a rock. The fox seems to be looking right into the camera

We exchanged glances for a moment or two but its interest was elsewhere ….
perhaps this rabbit?

sculpture of a fox on top of a rocl. Carved into the rock is a relief picture of a rabbit and some flowers

Also in the park, four little squirrels with a giant acorn!

a sculpture in a park of a giant acorn with the point pointing upwards, 4 small squirrels are at the bas of the acorn trying to hold it up

All it needs is a Scrat to come along and steal it!

cartoon character Scrat from the movie 'ice age' holding onto an acorn

Whoa, a little off track!

When I still couldn’t find the mural, I bought a cup of coffee and a bite to eat at Merchants of Green Coffee (no picture I’m afraid) and did the research I should have done previously.   Coffee finished, then mural found.

below: Riverside Pollinator Mural by Nick Sweetman.  (3 photos)

part of a mural, a large bee

a man is painting a mural, this part is a honeycomb with some bees on it. Dark blue background.

large mural, Riverside Pollinator mural, by Nick Sweetman, of a large bee, a clock, clock gears, a few small bees, a honeycomb and a flower and a very large tree

below: I also noticed this.  I know that that’s tomorrow but for those of you who are keen and read this blog soon after it was published, you may still have time to get there!   Free cake too!  It’s at 777 Queen Street East.

a poster is stuck into a sidewalk planter, advertising a launch of a mural on Saturday 10th September.

As I walked north towards Dundas Street, I found myself on the grounds of Queen Alexandra Senior Public School and Seed Alternative School.  Here is door 5.   An excellent example of unkempt 1950’s and 1960’s public building architecture.  I don’t mean to belittle the school and the people involved in making it work.  I just think that it’s a sad looking place; schools should be inviting.

blue double doors in a drab brown brick building, with brown metal inserts covering what was once a large window above the door. Two small windows remain.

One could probably do a photoessay on the condition of the building and what it says about Toronto’s attitudes to school construction and maintenance, and perhaps by extension, what it says about Toronto’s attitudes to public buildings in general.

three windows arrange horizontally in a brick wall. windows are not high

a box in front of a wall of a school has been painted with the word choose and two white hands.

While we’re on the subject of architecture, there is a mix of lots of types in this area of the city.  There are still lots of older houses, many of which have been renovated.

below: Side by side, old and new.  ‘Second Empire’ architecture featured mansard roofs and dormer windows, both of which are seen in these old rowhouses.  This style originated in France and arrived in Canada in the mid 1800’s where it seemed to remain popular for some time.

old brick rowhouses to the right, with a large tree in front, and new construction of row houses on the left.

below: This house is a variation on the Workers Cottage (or Gothic Cottage style).   A peaked roof over a central front door with one window on either side is the characteristic look of this style.   This one is interesting in that it is actually the end one in a row of three.

workers cottage, or gothic cottage, behind a large hedge

below: I could go on and on about architecture.  Instead, here’s one last picture of a jumble of styles (or non-styles!).  Take a look around at the buildings that you see.  Toronto doesn’t have much variation when it comes to the structure of the buildings, especially the older ones.  We do know how to make them look unique though!

two semi detached houses with mansard roofs, one with a purple front door and one with a black front door.

green second story door at top of metal exterior staircase, on a wall that is a different shade of green

green ivy leaves poke their way through the gaps in a blue weathered wooden fence

black and white sticker graffiti on the side of a Bell telephone box

A walk down Brock Ave, well sort of.  I don’t think I’m capable of walking in a straight line.

 

Brock Avenue, just north of Bloor, the Haven Espresso Bar, a tiny little place with good coffee. I don’t usually start my walk with a cup of coffee but I was intrigued by the smallness of the space.

below:  This is the mural on the wall beside the coffee bar.  It’s just the word Haven but there are some interesting details in the letters.

two chairs and a small table in front of a wall with a mural on it. The mural is the word Haven. Each letter is decorated in a different way.

Close up of the letter V in blue on a larger mural that spells haven. Different shapes and colours of jewel stones are painted in the point of the V.
White ducks or geese in silhouette flying on a bright blue sky, a close up of a mural. Amongst the birds are some buttons with the word Joy on them.

 

below: The local park is called Susan Tibaldi Parkette, named for a woman who was active in the community. This cheerful toucan overlooks the park.

street art mural of a toucan on the side of a garage that faces a park

There are a few painted walls and garages in the area around the park.

  below: Including this spud bomb covered garage door.

Garage door covered with spud bombs street art

garage door, half greed and half red, with black letters diagonally across it

mural on a garage door, of two hands reaching for each other, in the style of Michaelangelo, with the word Chase written below on a brown banner.

below: On a wall, ‘Building with the Gods, James Massey R.I.P’

Blue curvy lines on the bottom, a pair of blank white eyes in the middle and a scarab like creature in the middle of the top section.

part of a garage door mural woman in pink walking, green man's head talking

garage door mural of red poppies by bright blue sky.

part of a mural high on a bright wall painted black. An ice cream cone and other sweet things.

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light blue geometric lettering graffiti on a background of two toned pink triangles.
below: I spotted this on a pole just before I headed south.  A little bit of sparkle to brighten the day.

Small graffiti piece of a paper cut out dragonfly with sequins glued onto it's body and a small part of the wing.

The area south of Bloor was once the village of Brockton.  Back in 1812, one hundred acres of land from what is now Queen Street, north to Bloor Street, and west of Dufferin Avenue was granted to James Brock (yes, a relative of Sir Isaac).  After James died, his widow Lucy had a road built that run down the center of the property.  This road was Brock Avenue.  She subdivided the property and sold the lots to smaller land holders.  This settlement became Brockton.  In 1884 it was annexed by the city of Toronto.

below: Colourful cat and mouse games on a wall just south of Dundas.  I couldn’t find any ‘signature’ on the wall and I haven’t been able to find out who painted this.  I’d love to know.

large mural of a cat chasing a mouse done in bright colours.

below: Malabar Ltd.  It looks unkempt and I thought it was abandoned.  The gate to the parking lot was open and there were a couple of cars parked behind the wall.  A quick search online and I discovered that this site is still operational, but only serves the professional opera and theaters industry.

box like brick building with square awnings over the windows, large empty parking lit beside it, white and blue fence behind the parking lot, taller apartment building beyond the fence.

Two stickers on a metal pole beside a railway bridge. The top sticker says Love Skateboards and it has picture of a skateboard on it. The lower sticker says Bunk Bed has a Posse and a black and white drawing of a man's head is also on it.

After passing under one of the greyest, dingiest railway bridges, I came to a street – not sure what it was!

A Toronto street sign in blue and white that is covered with a vine

I checked a map – it’s Cunningham Ave.

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But it afforded me an unobstructed view.
A view of the CN TOwer and the Toronto skyline from north west of downtown. Railway tracks are in the foreground.
I looked around a bit but there wasn’t much of interest on my side of the tracks and I wasn’t about to cross over!  I did notice that there is graffiti on the track side of the wall around the Malabar parking lot.  Something to explore another time… when I don’t have to dodge trains!

Short Union Pearson express train as it passes by

As the leaves fall off the trees, the houses are hidden less.  I like looking for older and/or unique architectural details that are now easier to spot (and take pictures of!)

below: The first time I saw one of these “half houses” I was quite surprised (it’s behind the large tree).  I now realize that there are a number of them in the city but it was still a fun find.

looking up an alley towards a street with some old houses. There is a large tree and behind the tree is a house that looks like it was cut in half vertically

below:  Brick and wood trim details being preserved and restored on an old house.

An old square two storey brick house undergoing restoration.

details of the carved wooden trim on a brick house being restored.

below: There are a number of old square houses in the neighbourhood.

an older square brick house on a corner of a residential street in Toronto.

below: A house with an old second storey wooden structure.  I don’t think it can be called an oriel window but I don’t know any other architectural term to describe it.

second storey wood structure protruding from house, almost the width of the house, with three vertical windows in it. A small balcony is above it.

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below: Although it’s not as easy to see in this picture, this house also has an old window and wood structure.  The fence around the neighbour’s yard is probably not as old as the porch, but it to is from a bygone era.  Is it from the 1960’s?  I suspect that they were very trendy at one time although I have seen this sort of design more as balcony railings than as fences.

a large brick semi-detached house with trees around it in fall foilage. The side of the house closest to the camera has a glassed in porch. To the left is a small house with a black metal fence around the front yeard. The fence has diamond shaped black metal pieces joined together in squares.

below:  Symmetrical but not symmetrical

A group of row houses. In the middle are two semis that share a peaked roof but the semis are totally different. One has a pink roof the other has a brown roof. One is white and the other is green. One has a front porch but the other doesn't

below: The back of Bike Pirates, a DIY bike workshop on Queen West, has a mural by Jonny Cakes.

In a laneway, painted by Jonny Cakes @thehalfdecent, the wall of a workshop, shed or garage, is painted with a big skull wearing a red bike hat. Two white cats, one on a unicycle and one on a bicycle, and the words BIKE PIRATE written over the door.

below: Someone’s got a leg up!

A fake leg, bent at the knee, with fake blood along the top of the thigh, attached to a wall over a door, the leg protrudes from the wall.
Up over a door that is…. this door in fact.

A red door with some items attached to it - a squished ping pong ball, an old dirty grey glove with a clip attached to the end of one finger

 

below:  And there were a few other little amusements along the way.

Someone hsa taken a red marker to a no dumping sign so now it reads grnoom dumping. The sign is nailed onto a post and there is an old blue truck parked behind the post.
scrawled in cursive writing with black spray paint on a white garage door are the words love yourself

close up of two stickers on a blue and white bike route sign. One sticker is a brown one with the words Vote Spud and a picture of skull wearing a floppy hat. The other is a red cartoon character

part of an old wood door, plywood wall beside the door with a black line drawing of a worm like creature with a big head with four eyes and a smiling mouth

small paper taped to a hydro pole on a residential street. On the paper are typed the words: WHy doesn't Harper want a parliamentary oversight of his security and police forces? Could it be because Hitler didn't want it either? Why do young people run away from Canada to join ISIS?

A car with a Virginia state licence plate that says Chil Out