Posts Tagged ‘billboards’

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

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

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

boxcars and tankers waiting on tracks at the CPR yard

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

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

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

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

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

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

below:  In other places, access is simple.

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

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

three tanks on towers above train cars at CPR yard

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

the graffiti on the side of a red boxcar

below: Looking right back at you!

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

reddich colour boxcar with pink and blue blobs, graffiti

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

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

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

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

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

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

the backs of trucks parked by a vacant lot

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

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

 

Sri Sathya Sai Baba centre

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

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

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

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

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

a row of cars for sale, seen from the back

One part of the city that has changed immensely over the past few years is the area near Spadina and Front streets.  I was in the area last night and had a few moments to spare so I thought that I would take a look at what’s there now.

below: Waiting for the 510 streetcar

back end of a new TTC streetcar, at a stop on Spadina, people waiting, a man is on his phone as he waits, condo behind

below: Looking south on Spadina approaching Front Street.

looking south on Spadina near Front, streetcar stop and shelters in the middle of Spadina, some people waiting for streetcars, 2 small trees, tall condos in the background

below: Many cranes working at the site of the old Globe & Mail buildings on the north side of Front Street, just west of Spadina.

3 cranes at construction site on Front Street where Globe and Mail used to be

below: Intersection of Spadina & Front, looking southwest

looking southwest at intersection of Spadina and Front, condos

below: Looking west from Spadina as it crosses the railway tracks.

yellow metal pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks, looking from Spadina bridge, condos in the background, lots of tracks, no train

below: City Place, south of the tracks.  Red sculpture is ‘Flower Power’ by Mark di Savero.

red sculpture in front of condo buildings

below: On the south side of the railway tracks, east side of Spadina, part of Northern Linear Park.

trees in a small park along the side of the railway tracks, condos behind

below: There is still a parking lot on the northeast corner of this intersection. This image is the view across the parking lot to City Place.

looking across parking lot at north east corner of Spadina and Front towards the traffic and lights at the intersection, billboard, people

below: Reflections in the clear and green glass of a new building on Front Street, just east of Spadina

reflections in clear and green glass

below: Waiting for the light to change

a young man sits on his bike and checks his phone while waiting at an intersection for the traffic lights to change

below: And once we started walking across the intersection, I loved how her skirt moved as she walked.

a woman's long red skirt moves as she walks across the street

a food truck

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 another post about an exhibit from the CONTACT Photography Festival.   I know that it’s now June and CONTACT was in May, but I wanted to post these photos.  I actually took them early in May as you can probably tell by how many clothes the people in the pictures are wearing.  They’re certainly not dressed for the warmer weather we’ve been having lately.  I have had trouble deciding what to write in this post.

There is a parking lot at the NE corner of Front and Spadina with some billboards in it.   Maybe you saw them as you drove or walked past but maybe you passed by and missed them.   There are so many things on the street vying for our attention and a billboard is just another piece of street ‘furniture’.

For the month of May, an installation titled ‘What it Means to be Beautiful’  by Mickalene Thomas occupied a number of billboard spaces at the above mentioned corner.   All the images are portraits of women and are “shown within the context of street advertising, where women are constantly bombarded with narrow notions of female beauty.”   A sample of the billboards:

 

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman in profile, with a shaved head, on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman wearing a blue hat on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto. A woman stands on the corner talking on her phone. Another, large, billboard is in the background.

Two women walk past part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto

Two portraits of black women, in a billboard space in a parking lot, with people waiting for a streetcar in glass bus shelters in the background.

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto, A group of people wait for a green light at the intersection in the background, tall condos too.

Part of the reason that I hesitated to write this post was the fact that the iphone 6 ad campaign was on at the same time.  It was a campaign that used photos taken with the phone and the ads were very visual and used very few words. In my opinion, they are more eye catching and visually appealing than Thomas’s work. I found a few of them to show here (below).  I know that there were many more but unless I was consciously looking for ads, I didn’t notice them as billboards are one of the things that I block out as I walk.  That led to a few thoughts about what catches a viewer’s attention on the street –   Faces?  Colours?  Contrast?

There is more going on in Thomas’s photos and collages than just visual appeal but I still question the validity of asking the viewer to look at them in the context of street advertising.   Is it fair to compare her images to ads produced by, and in aid of, a large corporation?   Would it have been better to  exhibit her work in different form or a different place?  I don’t have the answers for those questions.  Do you?

 

iphone ad on a bus stop wall showing a woman in a field

iphone 6 ad on a bus stop wall of a woman lying in a field of pumpkins. Her head is surrounded by pumpkins.

an iphone ad on a bus stop wall of a man lying on the ground. He is upside down in the picture

And now I will go back to ignoring billboards as I walk.

Some of the art installations from Nuit Blanche remain available for viewing this week.
Two of them are near Jarvis and Gerrard.

below: As you travel south on Jarvis Street, just before Gerrard, you can see a billboard art installation, ‘Refugees run the seas’ by Francisco Fernandos Granados.  The accompanying sign says:  “‘Refugees run the seas’ draws and diverts from pop culture as a way to invite the viewer to imagine a future where justice for migrants exists.  The work evokes past and present scenes of harrowing escape while allowing the possibility of a time to come when those seeking refuge will be agents of movement, rather than victims.”

“Refugees run the seas ’cause we own our own boats” is a line from Wyclef Jean’s rap in Shakira’s song ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ in case you were wondering how this billboard “draws and diverts from” pop culture.

a billboard on a city street. it is blue with just the words on it that say Refugees run the seas cause we own our own votes

below: In the Children’s Conservatory at Allan Gardens is another installation.  This one is titled “Sphinx” and it is by Luis Jacob of Toronto.   According to the Nuit Blanche sign: “Toronto is changing before our eyes.  Neighbourhoods and skylines are transformed seemingly overnight while the social fabric of the city is altered in ways that are difficult to discern.  Come in and see the ‘Sphinx’, who poses questions that we want ardently to ask.”

The hands and fingers of this tall and imposing headless man are forming a frame that is apparently supposed to capture our attention.  When you walk into the conservatory it’s definitely not the hands that you notice. The hands are way above the line of sight.   Of course, one could ask why he has no clothes and does having no head enhance the artwork.  Can you ask questions if you have no mouth, no voice?  And are the questions ardently wanted or ardently asked?  hmmm….

There are books and pamphlets in display cases around the room.  These publications are all about Toronto and they date back as far as 50 years ago.  No, you can’t access the books, you can’t open or read them.  I’m not sure what information they are supposed to add to the exhibit.

In a glass walled and glass roofed conservatory, a white statue of a headless naked man stands on a pedestal in the middle of the room. Two men are looking at a display on a table in the left of the picture.

 

#snbTO

Part of CONTACT photography festival,
billboard “art” on the NE corner of Spadina and Front streets.

All the billboards are in a parking lot in what was a junky looking space to begin with.

below:  Yellow rubber gloves with the fingers tucked back in…
to look like they’ve just been taken off a pair of hands?

a billboard above a parking lot, condos in the background.   A pair of yellow rubber gloves with the openings turned into a cuff are all that in the image on the board

below: The body of the handbag is a loaf of bread.

a small billboard in front and a larger, higher one in the background.   In the background is a woman's hand holding what looks like a handbag but the bag part is made of a loaf of bread.  In the foreground, yellow background with household objects arranged in a face like shape.

below: Clusters of sponges.  At first I thought they were candies.

billboard art - three clusters of colourful sponges on a black background

three billboards with art images instead of advertisements
Supported by Pattison Outdoor Advertising and Nikon Canada.

a billboard with a large picture of clear bottles filled with coloured liquids in reds and oranges.

“Challenging how people perceive and interact with images in public spaces”

“Each of the artists destabilizes the conventions of advertising and the cultural codes associated with consumer lifestyles.”

Me?  I’ll call them dull and underwhelming clutter.  Too harsh?  Perhaps.
I’ll leave the verdict up to you.

Flat Death and Contemporary Floral Arrangements,
by Sarah Cwynar,
large photographs on billboards on Lansdowne Avenue,
Part of CONTACT Photography Festival.

below: ‘Flat Death’ at Lansdowne and Dundas West.
Black and white photos of books on four billboards.

billboards above a used car lot, 3 billboards with large black and white photos of books.

Two billboards side by side each with a large photo of old books in black and white

bikes parked in a bike stand in the foreground, a used car lot in the background.  Above the car lot is a billboard with a black and white photo of old books.  A Lansdowne TTC bus is on the right hand side.

 below:  ‘Contemporary Floral Arrangements’ on the corner of Lansdowne and College

The foundation for ‘Contemporary Floral Arrangements’ are 1960’s photographs of floral arrangements.  Small objects such as key chains, plastic bits, buttons, spools of thread, etc are then placed on the photos, matching colour and tone.

An building with a 'car wash' sign on it but the windows are covered with a sign for "engima' cond development.  On the roof of the building is a billboard with a large photo of a flower arrangement.

The idea that this is an ad made of things that no one wants may be interesting in theory but in practice it’s just a pretty picture.  Because of the location of the billboard, the details of the picture can’t be seen.

At an intersection, An building with a 'car wash' sign on it but the windows are covered with a sign for "engima' cond development.  On the roof of the building is a billboard with a large photo of a flower arrangement.