Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

There is no theme to this blog post.  It’s just a description of some of the things that I saw as I walked down Bathurst Street the other day after taking the 512 streetcar to St. Clair West station.   In a lot of ways its like other busy Toronto streets, some houses, a few corner stores, and an alley or two along the way.   A little bit of architecture and a little bit of history round out the story.

At St. Clair West and Bathurst, the northeast corner remains vacant. About four or five years ago there was a gas station and car wash on this corner.  St. Clair West subway station is just to the east, just beyond the trees on the right hand side.

northeast corner of Bathurst and St. Clair West, vacant lot, St. Michaels College in the background as well as a couple of highrise condos.

below: I went looking for an old photo of this corner and this is what I found.  It’s from 1924.  If the streetcar’s destination is Caledonia, then it is going westward.  In 1924, St. Clair was the northern edge of the city and very little development had occurred here.  It is interesting to note that the streetcar tracks came first, then the development.   In addition, I’d love to be able to read the sign about dogs but the resolution of the photo is not good enough.  An ad?  A sign saying no dogs allowed?  Or something else?

vintage black and white photo from 1924 of a streetcar on the St. Clair line stopped at Bathurst to pick up passengers.

below: Of course, no vacant lot remains that way for long.   At the moment, three 30 storey towers joined with a 6 or 7 storey podium has been proposed for the site but it is still in the re-zoning and planning stages.  The light brown building to the left is St. Michael’s College School (boys school).

blue and white city of Toronto development notice sign on a small hill, by some trees, in front of a vacant lot. Highrises in the background

below: New development on the southeast corner of this intersection is almost complete. People have moved into the units above while the finishing touches are put on the lower retail floors. Developments like this are all over the city. Developments that look great (maybe?) on paper but are lackluster and banal at street level.

street level of a new glass and steel building, empty retail space available for lease, just finishing being built

below: As I walked south on Bathurst, this mural caught my eye.

mural in a laneway, painting of many trees with red and yellow sky, dark brown earth, and a few small black figures, some words beside it

Words written beside the mural:
“Long before concrete and steel
Punctuated the landscape
The land was pure and natural
This mural acknowledges and honors 13 trees and 21 medicinal plants that have thrived here since time immemorial.”

The mural was funded by Toronto’s Start program (street art) and Na’Ma’Res Sagatay, a residence for indigenous men that is nearby.

close up of mural, large trees with wavy red and yellow sky, small black figures standing under the trees

I will admit that the main reason that I was walking in this area is because I wanted to check out the new public artwork that I’ve read about at Bathurst and Vaughan.  It is “Three Points Where Two Lines Meet” by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young and apparently there is some controversy about it.

below: For those who don’t know that intersection, it is V-shaped.  This photo shows the approach to  the intersection from the north, on Vaughan.  I took this photo because my first reaction to the scene was “Ugly.  Ugly is what Toronto does”.  From this angle the sculpture gets lost in the visual noise.

sidewalk, lined by tall hydro utility poles, wood, road, some buildings, approaching the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan

Cities have rules and regulations for public art. It needs to be weatherproof and graffiti-proof.  It can’t block the view of drivers and pedestrians.  No sharp edges or structures that people might hurt themselves on – note the two black poles are to prevent people from hitting their heads.

A woman walks past Three Points Where Two Lines meet

From Giroux & Young’s website:  “Taking its form from the orphaned triangular site on which it sits, this artwork produces a new urban room by combining a multicoloured truss structure, the triangular plot of wild grasses it encloses, and an encircling sidewalk thats acts as a podium and plinth. Located between the converging energies of uptown and downtown, the structure densifies an intersection already clotted with utilities and challenges established forms of urbanism and spatial representation in Toronto.”  Think of that what you will.  While you’re thinking, you can check the website for more photos and information.

Three Points Where Tao Lines meet, a public art sculpture in bright colours, metal grid like construction cranes, by Daniel Young and Christian Giroux at the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan.

below: An interesting (unique?) roofline on what turns out to be The Occult Shop.  I made one mistake – I neglected to cross the street to go inside and find out just what one can buy here.

brick building with a large rounded roofline, the bulding is a semi, one half has doors and windows covered with white from the inside, the other is the occult shop

below: These people can still be seen in the space above the doorway at 1358 Bathurst.

the space above a doorway at number 1358 Bathurst is painted with pictures of people (head and shoulders) in shades of brown

Continuing south on Bathurst, as you go downhill towards Davenport Road, there is a retaining wall beside the sidewalk on the west side.  This wall was painted back in October 2013.  The city paid $23,000 to two Brooklyn NY street artists (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, together known as Faile) who designed the mural and in turn paid other artists to paint it.

The mural is quite long and I only have a few pictures of bits and pieces of it.

mural, large blue and white owl, with words in large letters that say no change my heart

mural, large painting of a blond boy sleeping, head on pillow, head and shoulders only

mural, by faile, orange car, woman driver, the word vanity written on the side of the car

below: Apparently Davenport Road is considered to be one of Toronto’s oldest roads.  It follows the base of a ridge and provided a route between the Humber River in the west and the Don River in the east.

toronto historical society plaque for Davenport Road, 1995, description of the history of Davenport Road

below: There is a park on the northwest corner of Bathurst and Davenport, The Tollkeeper’s Park.  The old house, the Tollkeeper’s Cottage, is now a museum run by The Community History Project.  It is open on Saturday afternoons (and some Sundays during the summer)

The Tollkeeper's Park, sign, green space, trees, and an old small wood frame house, now a museum,

below: And across the road is Tollkeeper’s Lane.  There are chairs everywhere in this city not usually as comfy looking as these.

two comfy chairs in an alley withtheir backs agains a grey garage door

below: An old Comet parked in the alley

a yellowish beige Comet car, old, parked behind a house in a lane

below: Tomatoes and other vegetables growing in a front yard.

small front yard packed full of vegetable plants looking very green and healthy

below: A hand, part of an Elicser mural.  This mural, which is on both sides of the railway underpass just north of Dupont, is still there.  Photos can be seen in a blog post from Nov 2014 (Yikes!  Have I been blogging that long?!).

part of a mural, a blue hand horizontal on a wall with some weeds growing in front of it

There are a few remnants of a more industrial past in the area near the railway tracks.

a window consisting of 18 panes of glass, 6 across and 3 down, some have texture and some are clear. the clear ones are reflecting the blue sky and clouds.

old wood door, once painted green but the paint is peeling

below: Another door –  I doubt that it’s open now, or that it ever will be again.

back door of an empty house, window boarded over, door with board nailed across it, open sign in the window, also a sign that says beware of dog

below: These windows, and the house too, probably won’t be here much longer either.

green trim around roof and windows of an old house

below: A very standard row of semi-divided houses; a common sight.  Hundreds (thousands?) of these were built around the city.

a semi divided house on bathurst street, two storey, bay windows on upper floor, porches, stairs to front door

below: And a not so usual semi.

a semi divided house on bathurst street where one side has been rebuilt into a taller square structure

below: A touch of art deco.

two doors side by side with art deco motifs, on a low rise brick building

below: Slight larger houses, with turrets even!  (or is there another name for this architectural element?)

a semi divided house on bathurst street both with small turrets above upper floor bay windows

below: This is part of Coopers Hawk Lane which is just south of Dupont.

buildings and garages in a lane, Coopers Hawk Lane, garage doors have street art on them.

painting of a wooden box with papers in it, pictures of people on the papers

below: In another nearby alley …. a pink cat eating ice cream

two doors in an alley, painted, one in colours, the other in black and white

below: And a gate with a frame, and the laundry beyond.

a chainlink fence and gate in a back yard, laundry hanging out to dry in the yard, brick houses, some green grass

red octagonal stop sign with a sticker on it that says take a breath

 

two women holding cups of coffee walk across Victoria St. on Queen Street East

Just after I wrote the previous blog post about some of the buildings on Yonge Street that are in the middle of an area being redeveloped, I walked across Queen Street East.  I noticed that there were a lot of similar three storey buildings here to those around the corner on Yonge.  Toronto must have been a booming city in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when these stores and warehouses were built.

below: What I also noticed is how many of the storefronts are empty.   This is the northeast corner of Queen and Mutual.

the northeast corner of Queen street east and Mutual street, with an empty building on the corner.

What I don’t have is a photo of the northwest corner – it is about to be developed, or at least there is a plan to develop it, into a 29 storey glass tower.   Urban Toronto called this location, “a spot that currently feels disconnected from the rest of the City. ”  … maybe because the Moss Park neighbourhood is on the lower part of the socioeconomic spectrum?    Urban Toronto is a website that is, their words, “populated by the tastemakers, condo aficionados, buyers, builders and realtors”.   I try to stay neutral in the pro/con condo development argument but it irks me to read things like, “Redefining the urban experience” and variations thereof over and over and over again to describe mediocrity.

To be fair, this 88 Queen West project is redeveloping a parking lot.  Why is it a parking lot?  Because in the 1950’s a parking lot was more important that the buildings, including Cooke’s Presbyterian Church (1857), that originally stood there.   Perhaps we get what we deserve.

 

below: Richard Bigley (1853-1933) started off as a woodworker but soon switched to selling stoves. He sold the ‘Happy Thought’ line of stoves. He holds two US patents, one for a water heater and one for a sectional water heater. The building was converted into loft apartments, one loft per floor, back in the late 1990’s.

tall brick building, Richard Bigley 1876 written in white at the top (4 storeys), large glass windows in front, once an old store and warehouse, now a 3 loft apartments. 98 Queen Street East

below: Two views at the corner of Queen East and Jarvis.  You can just see the Moss Park Armoury building on the right side of this picture.  This Canadian Forces facility was built in 1960’s and it takes up a large chunk of land.  Development  rising in the north…

Queen and Jarvis intersection looking north to tall towers being built on Dundas
below: … and development rising in the west.

the intersection of Queen and Jarvis, looking northwest, with a foodora cyclist in pink in the intersection, traffic, street car, and in the distance, development on Yonge and westward, cranes, glass towers

large blue public parking sign, also a large box shaped sign on a tall pole. The sign is wearing out

below: At Ontario Street, the street sign says, Old Town Toronto.  In 1797 the city limits were moved north to Queen Street (then called Lot Street).  Ontario Street was one of the most easterly streets at that time.   And, oh yes, the city was still York.  It officially became Toronto in 1834.

toronto street sign for Ontario Street with the top part that says Old Town Toronto

below: Posters on a boarded up window – once it was a barber shop?  Posters on Queen East for events on Queen West.

posters on an empty building, exterior wall, bottom of wall has barber pole stripes painted on it.

below: A blue and white Development Notice. I still haven’t found out how many of these there are hanging around the city.  My best guess is ‘hundreds’.

blue and white city of toronto development notice sign on a chainlink fence in front of a vacant lot wehre cars and trucks are parked. For 245 to 285 Queen Street East, Bridgen Place and Richond.

At the risk of another anti-development rant, I just want to say a couple of things about the above photo.  The development here involves the closure of two public lanes, McFarrens Lane and Brigden Place.  There will be pedestrian access (public access on private land) between Queen and Richmond, between two large buildings with three towers built above them – 39, 39, and 49 storeys high.

From a City of Toronto report written in April 2016…”City Planning staff is not in support of the proposal in its current form, as the proposal not only represent over development, but also fails to recognize the existing built-form character and scale of the King-Parliament Secondary Plan Area by departing from the existing warehouse and main street typology where the site is located.”

I am not sure what the status of the project is at the moment, but the developer has a website for this project, Queen & Sherbourne, that describes it exactly as the original proposal – Three glass towers on two boring bland base buildings. It’s yet another development that looks flashy from above but is blah ick at street level.

below: The northwest corner of Queen and Sherbourne

northwest corner of Queen and Sherbourne, Moss Park variety store on the corner, three storey brick Victorian buildings, cars, people,
below: Bright and cheerful.

three storey victorian buildings includia Acadia Book Store, established 1931 and Seaton Butcher

below: 310 Queen East at the corner of Queen and Berkeley.

below: Moving slightly east to the corner of Queen and Parliament (NE).  That looks like a solid old bank building on the corner.

northeast corner of queen and parliament, old brick buildings,

flat roofed old brick buildings, with oriel windows on third floor, Ray's Discount Convenience and Supermarket on the ground floor. A bus shelter on the sidewalk, people waiting for the bus, building painted rust red colour,

below: 354 and 356 Queen Street East

two narrow three storey buildings squished in between two slightly larger buildings. On the ground floor of the building on the left is Redline Coffee and Espresso while Ryans Restaurant is on the right.

below: 380, 382, and 384 Queen Street West.

two storey store fronts on queen street east, 380 Queen, 382 Queen and 384 queen.

below:  Wherever you walk there is construction.  Some of it good, some of it poor.  That’s Toronto these days.

a man walks through a covered sidewalk, past a construction site and towards a bus shelter

The other day I discovered that there is a small gallery on the 3rd floor of Ryerson’s School of Image Arts.  If you want to find it too, it’s in a building that it’s in is attached at the ground floor level to the Ryerson Image Centre on Gould Street.   At the moment, there is a small exhibit of photos by Avard Woolaver.

the back of a man looking at a wall in a gallery, old photos of Toronto

below:  The photos are ones that Woolaver took in Toronto in the late 70s and early 80s.

old photos of Toronto from the 1980s by Avard Woolaver.

below: This photo is one of Woolaver’s – it is looking towards the northwest corner of Spadina and Queen Street West.  For those of us who lived in Toronto at the time, it’s a bit of nostalgia.  Somethings are very familiar – the older TTC buses, the car styles, and a lot of the architecture, for example.   This photo in particular lends itself nicely to the game of ‘Spot the Differences’….. compare this with

photo by Avard Woolaver of Toronto in the 1980s, this view is the north west corner of Queen and Spadina

below: …..this. Here is the same intersection, at a similar angle, last week.   The large brick building is still there but without a billboard.   The poles are no longer wood but they are covered in posters and remnants of posters – so no change there.    The street signs have been updated and there is now a streetcar lane in the middle.   All in all, I was surprised how little had actually changed in 30ish years.

the northwest corner of Queen and Spadina in 2018, pedestrians, buildings, street scene

below: I found this photo online (originally from the Toronto City Archives, 1950?) but before we can play another round of ‘Spot the Differences’, we have to identify these buildings?  Any ideas?

vintage photo of 357, 359, and 361 Yonge street, black and white, 3 storefronts,

below: Here is the same location in the 1980’s (not a photo from the exhibit).  Not too many changes.   The building that housed George Richards Men’s shop, 361 Yonge Street, was replaced by a dull and boring two storey brick building but the other changes were just to the facades and the owners/tenants.   The tavern is still a tavern and the drug store is still a drug store.  The large brown building on the top right that you can only see part of is Ryerson College.   Unfortunately the Wrigleys ghost sign on the taller building on the left has been covered.

357, 359, and 361 Yonge street in the 1980s including the Zanzibar tavern

photo source BuzzBuzzNews online

below: Fast forward another 30 years.  The Zanzibar is all bright lights and dazzle while the building that housed the drug store is now for sale.  Ryerson is now a University and has expanded out to Yonge Street – that’s the large blue building in case you are not familiar with the area.

Yonge stree, easy side, just north of Dundas, about 357, 359 and 361 Yonge Street including the Zanzibar Tavern. The blue glass wall of Ryerson University behind the Zanzibar,

below: If you pull back a bit, and look just a bit farther north on that stretch of Yonge Street, you’ll see that there are many empty buildings

yonge street, between gerrard and dundas, most storefronts are closed and boarded up waiting for redevelopment of that stretch

below: … including what was until recently the XTC clothing company.  It looks like it has gone through a number of ‘renovations’, not all of which were good.  Some traces of its original brick facade can be seen at the top but at street level it is (was?) a mess.

empty two storey building, once was X T C clothing store

 There is a plan to build a 98 storey mixed-use building on this site including just over 900 residential units ranging in size from 520 to 2000 square feet.    It will be the tallest residential building in Canada.   In the promotional material for YSL Residences, as they will be called, is this: “The epitome of luxury living, designed to elevate the fortunate few who will call it home.”

 

below:  Back to Ryerson, also on the 3rd floor of the School of Image Arts, there was a small series of photographs like this one hanging on the wall in the hallway.  There was no sign as to the name of the artist that I could find either on the wall or online.   I quite like the technique and the resulting image.  Two ideas melded into one.  Two time frames in one frame.  Two artistic styles combined to create another.

a photograph on a gallery wall, a hand holding a photo printed on glass in the middle of another photo, superimposed landscapes

If you are interested in Woolaver’s work, you can find more on his blog.

The other day I headed towards Dupont and Dundas West because I heard about a mural that I didn’t recall having seen.  Here it is … and more.

below: The most westerly part of the mural is on the north side of Dundas West where Old Weston Road and Annette Street meet.

mural on a wall beside a busy street

mural with a bird, chicakdee or sparrow beside a large orange tiger lily

mural, large painting of a tiger lily and a sparrow

 

It continues along the side of the railway underpass on Dupont (it’s a confusing tangle of streets here!)

car stopped in traffic under railway bridge, driver is looking at the mural that is painted under the underpass

….and on the stairwell up to the West Toronto Railpath.

part of a mural, a robin and an orange rose, outside, beside a staircase

colourful mural outside beside a staircase, large flowers and leaves including an orange maple leaf

It was a gorgeous day so I walked around a bit more, of course!

below: On Dundas West

street art of a young person writing on the wall with red letters that say it's just a phase

below: A row of houses with wonderful facades.  You don’t many like that anymore! .. at least not on houses.

older two storey row houses with facades that extend above the roof line,

below: These fooled me at first.  Interesting black and white photos looking grubby and worn… with a small McDonalds logo on the bottom right.   The photo on the bottom left also has a few words in small print that give away the fact this is a McDonalds promotion.  I don’t think I’ve seen any like these elsewhere – or have I missed something?

4 large black and white photos of people eating hamburgers, that is actually a mcdonalds ad

below: The large black metal staircase at the end of the footbridge over the tracks at Wallace Ave are gone.  The replacement stairs are dull and bland.  This change was meant to accommodate new development on Wallace.

new stairs at the end of a footbridge over the train tracks at Wallace street in Toronto, beside the West Toronto Railpath

below: Railpath window reflections.

reflections of the sky in a window

below: Also on the West Toronto Railpath, someone has hung this colourful ‘curtain’ on the fence in order to add a splash of colour to a sitting area.  Once upon a time there were more chairs here.  And a table if I remember correctly.

fabric hanging from a rope beside a footpath, large green cylinder stoarge unit behind it.

below: One of two chalkboards installed by crazydames where people have written notes to cyclists imploring them to slow down and use their bells.  I totally agree!  Just before I came upon this, a man on an electric bike came up behind me, silently and fast.

large chalkboard on an orange brick wall with notes to tell cyclists to slow down and ring their bells.

below: This little gnome still stands by the entrance to a convenience store.  This guarden gnome has been here (Bloor West) for a few years.

a small gnome painted on the wall beside a door to a convenience store. The door is open and people are walking past

below: Reduce, reuse, recycle – here the R used is reuse.   Truck and tractor parts and other bits and pieces craftily arranged and put to use on the outside of the Farmhouse Tavern.  It should look better in a couple of months!

planters on an exterior wall, made of truck and tractor parts

below: A fairy in a garden of mushrooms.

a mural of a fairy, woman, with wings, holding something in her hand and looking upwards, in a garden with large mushrooms,

graffiti on a black wall, white bird like head on pick square

One last look at part of that mural!

mural with flowers, shadows in front

part of a mural, large light purple flower with yellow center and dark pink at inner most part of petals

 

I was meeting a friend at Queen and Church for walkies and coffee last Monday. I was there a few minutes early so of course I took a few pictures while I was waiting. I had come across King Street because the streetcars tend to be faster on King these days. Plus, it was a nice day for a walk.

below: Looking north up Church Street from Richmond.

looking north on Church St. from Richmond Street, stores, street, people, street scene,

below: Metropolitan United Church is on the NW corner of Queen and Church. Even if you aren’t religious, there is something inspiring about the architecture. In this case, the setting adds to the grace and beauty of the building.  Usually there are people around but it was surprisingly quiet that day (too cold outside?)

front of Metropolitan United Church, with the snow covered park in front, snow, large trees, red door

below: Take a few more steps towards Metropolitan United and then turn around. This is the view that awaits you. The intersection of Queen and Church from a different angle.

looking at the intersection of Queen and Church, through the park, with yellow building and other stores in the background

below: As I walked back to the intersection, this man walked in front of the streetcar. I think that he called himself either Cowboy Bob or Cowboy Bill.

man in long coat and hat stands in front of a TTC street car with his arm up in the air.

below: Church #2. Jarvis Street Baptist Church.

Jarvis Street Baptist Church, from diagonally across the intersection

below: Yes, there are a lot of churches in this section of downtown. This is the third (and last for today’s blog) but there are many more. Grace Church through the trees.

park, in winter, with large mature trees, in the background is Grace Church, brick building with green roofed steeple

below: A stop at Allan Gardens conservatory for warm and a washroom. If this picture is looking a little fuzzy around the edges, my camera lens kept steaming up faster than I could wipe it off.

inside shot at Allan Gardens conservatory, with two people looking at the plants, glass roof, large yellow flowers

below: Every Christmas, the conservatory at Allan Gardens is decorated with many amaryllis plants. The other day, many were looking a little worse for wear. These buds were a few of the exceptions. At some point (soon?), the Christmas plants will be switched out for spring plants.

close up of two small red amaryllis buds at the bottom of a red and white amaryllis.

below: Barrel cacti in differing sizes in the Allan Gardens conservatory.

4 barrel cacti of differing sizes in a semi-circle in a conservatory, glass house, with some succulents in front and some taller cacti behind

below: And just around the corner from Allan Gardens there is this painted cactus (or is it a succulent?) standing in the cold.

a metal telephone or traffic box on the sidewalk that has been painted with a picture of a cactus.

below: This part of Church Street is now in McGill Granby Village. There is even a lovebot on the pole.

street sign for Church St., with the top part being McGill Granby Village

below: “Enough is enough”, a large Church Street mural.

large mural on the side of a two storey building, with metal fire escapes on the side of the building as well. Mural is enough is enough, rainbow flag and other things

below: On Church Street, another redevelopment victim.

old, large, three storey red brick house with boarded up windows, about to be redeveloped, people walking past on the sidewalk, winter, street scene,

below: And just up the street, another.

an older two storey house house boarded up with construction hoardings in front, looking at it through a park with large trees, winter

below: Trucks, construction, and condos. Ho hum. Been there, done that.

large truck parked on a street with tall buildings behind, and a large billboard with a KFC ad on it

below: One set of construction hoardings has been decorated with kids’ paintings.   Bright and cheerful.

white construction hoardings with childrens paintings on it. a painting of a soccer ball, kids playing, words too

below: Through the layers

looking in a window, people sitting inside, looking through the window on the other side as well, a large tree is reflected in the window too

below: Icicles!

older yellowish brick building with green bay window, with icicles on the eaves of bopth roof and window

below: Trudeau senior looks down on the world.

 a large black and white picture of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the window of the Ryerson Image Center, with a tree in front of it, some snow on the tree

below: The guys over the entrance to the Chang School at Ryerson are wearing little puffy white hats.

stone sculpture of the door of the Chang School at Ryerson, two men with interlocking arms, looking at each other, wheat, apples, and other produce in their hands, covered with snow


below
: As we walked past Yonge Dundas Square, I stopped, took another look, and then said: “Isn’t that a new sign?”. My walking partner replied that she wasn’t sure. Neither was I.

Yonge Dundas Square, men working on sign

I happened to walk past Yonge Dundas Square again yesterday, and yes, there is a new sign. A big one.

below: “It’s OK to be scared, just take a deep breath” as the fourth panel of the new sign is installed.

a large crane is putting part of a new light sign in place at Dundas Square, large billboards and lighted signs behind, people walking past, street scene

below: Working on the new sign. That billboard on the left, 98.1 CHFI is all Christmas music? Still? In February?

two men on a lift are working on a new elevated sign at Dundas square

C’est too for now friends!

This is the story of one building at one intersection, Yonge and Belsize (just south of Eglinton) but it’s also a story that is being repeated over and over again in the city.  The story of demolition and rebuilding.  The story of loss of the older wood and brick structures as they are replaced by glass and steel.

By December 2016 all of the businesses had closed down.

row of two storey store fronts, old brick building, that is now empty and about to be demolished, on Yonge Street

Mars advert on Belsize convenience store, old brick building with large windows and blue window frame, snow banks on sidewalk, now empty

signs in the window of a store that has just closed down. one is a permit to demolish the building and the other is a hand written sign on orange paper that is a thank you note from the managers of the store to the public

below: The back of the building

back of a brick building, winter time, with snow on the ground, construction fence around it, windows boarded up

Just over a year later demolition began in earnest.

back upper storey of building being torn down, exposing office furniture that was abandoned

interiorwallson upper storey are exposedin building being demolished

a construction worker in heavy winter orange clothes and yellow helmet, holds a stop sign to stop the traffic on Yonge street in front of a building being demolished

workmen standing around beside a front end loader that is being used to tear down an old brick building

exterior of building being demolished, black door uperlevel with drop below

old metal water pipes exposed on green and blue interior wall when building being demolished

red plastic danger tape blows in the wind. one end is tied to a blue fence and one strand is also tied to a building being demolished

remains of an old building being torn down in the foreground, a front end loader in the middle, and apartment buildings in the background.

on old metal chair frame sitsin a room with a lot of wood debris around it

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