Posts Tagged ‘College Street’

Toronto city street signs on a pole, LIttle Italy College Street and Beatrice Street as well as a yellow do not block intersection sign

Summer in the city means street festivals almost every weekend.
This weekend it was Taste of Little Italy on College Street.

below: Lots of food for sale!  Especially meat on a stick.

outdoor barbecuing shish kebobs, a boy is cooking and serving, people waiting to buy food

below: There were also games for prizes including the one below – knock over the cans off the table with a soccer ball.

behind a net, a line of people watches as a boy starts to kick a soccer ball towards three blue cans, game to try to knock the cans over

people walking down the street towards the camera, a man in a purple Raptors shirt with marching baseball cap, a woman in a light blue blouse with a drink in her hand, a woman in a pink pant suit

below: Keep your eye on the target!

a boy pretends to shoot a woman carrying a big pink purse with a big gun made out of balloons

below: Dory blows bubbles

a man seated by a table on the sidewalk, starts to shoot a man in a red jacket with a bubble blowing gun shaped like a blue fish

a man is starting to draw a caricature of a black man who is seated, laughing, on a chair. Another black man watches

on the street, a man is giving another man a haircut, two people are sitting on a bench in a bus shelter behind, watching

people in a line up to get food at an outdoor vendor, white tent covering,

people on the street at Taste of Little Italy, passing by a bar with a large patio

a woman with a yellow popsicle, a woman in a white skirt and top and a man in a beige suit jacket, all walking on the street

three muslim women in head scarves on the street, street festival

below: Singing Italian songs

an older man sings Italian songs, Italian flag behind him, people on the street have stopped to watch him

below: … and maybe not so Italian….

a man wearing a sombrero plays a tenor sax outside, street musician

a man cooking lamb shish kebob outside at a street festival

an older man walking on the street with a woman behind him in a large straw hat and dark sunglasses and carrying a large brown and orange purse as well as a grey plastic bag

three musicians playing on the street, open violin case on the ground to collect money, people walking by

a big yellow sphere open in the middle, a drink stand, serving lemonade to people at Taste of Little Italy street festival

below: Octopus

octopus cut into pieces and placed on skewers, waiting to be grilled outside

grilling food at an outdoor street festival, taste of little italy

two little girls in pink with pink hats holding onto shish kebobs

a woman holding a small dog with a black and white Raptors we the north scarf on

a couple kissing

below: I doubt she’s saying that she loves the sunshine THIS MUCH!  but I’d like to think she is.   That’s certainly what was going through my head for most of the weekend so I’m going to pretend that she agrees with me!… especially since I am writing this as the rain falls outside my window.

a group of women walking down College Street at Montrose on a sunny winter day. One of the women is wearing a black coat and she has her arms open wide.

But back to those ravens and flamingos that I promised you…..

below: But not everyone’s happy.  Witches brewing with ravens and crows nearby.   There always seems to be symbolism associated with these large black birds so I went searching for information.  Ravens and crows are found throughout most of the northern hemisphere so many diverse cultures have their own mythologies surrounding these birds.  The best summary I found was this,  “On the negative side, Raven represents the profane, the devil, evil spirits, the trickster and thief, war and destruction, death and doom, the void.  Yet in many cultures Raven also represents deep magic, the mystery of the unknown, death and transformation, creation, healing, wisdom, protection, and prophecy. ” (source)  We don’t know exactly what Fiya Bruxa, Shalak, and Bruno had in mind when they painted this mural but I doubt that it was something positive – those witches look rather angry and nasty.

a mural on a wall of two angry women's faces. One is pale pink and the other is yellow. Many crows or ravens are flying upwards from the women. The mural is on the side of a store that is part of a row of three storey brick storefronts.

below: From the vengeful looking faces above to these hopelessly romantic flamingos is just a matter of a few steps along College Street.  They’re the center part of a larger mural by Katia Engell.

part of a largeer mural of two pink flamingoes with the necks intertwined and their beaks together in a kiss, red petals behind them.

large pink flamingo painted on a wall, part of mural of 4 pink flamingos by Katia Engell

There are 4 flamingos altogether and they are in between two other murals.
In the picture below you can just see the yellow of an alphabet mural by runt

three pink flamingos. Two with entwined necks and one looking on, street art,

below: Too many things in the way makes for an awkward photo but you can still see enough of it to play the game of what creature goes with what letter!  R is for robot dog?  Z is for zlithering thingy with rings?

a mural by runt on a bright yellow background with letters of the alphabet in black and many imaginary creatures in bright colours.

below: J is for jumping purple blob?  C is for coughing-up- dinnersaurus?
And look, an alley to explore……

blog_runt_alphabet_creatures_mural

Wait! Before going down the alley I want to take a few steps backwards. Remember that I mentioned that the flamingos were between two murals?  This is what is on the other side…..

below:  Three cowboys in a mural signed by J Bizzel 4 Shizzel.
The one with his shirt off is the one under the air conditioner.

a mural of three cowboys, one tall, one in the middle and one short, purple and orange scenery behind them.

below: This strange but happy fellow was waiting in the alley.

face of a creature with bulging eyeballs, a large oen mouth showing many big rounded white teeeth, and a long tongue that can make a spiral as it curls back on itself.

a man is spray painting street art on the back of a building in an alley. Two others are standing in the lane watching him

part of a mural of a boy with headphones on, seat crossed legged on the ground and pointing downwards. He seems to be pointing at a collection of spray paint cans sitting on the ground below the mural.

below: If you look closely at this painting, you will notice that the wavy lines continue behind the bars of the railing and that there is only a small distance between the railing and the wall.    That was not a simple paint job.

a white staircase is diagonal in the picture, with white metal bars and railng, immediately behind it is a street art picture of an orange face blowing down towards the stairs. White wavy lines radiate from the open mouth

below: ‘Such a fool’ and someone to agree with it.

paste up graffiti that says such a fool. Someone has written true in large letters beside it.

below: I’m not too sure what to say about this one.  Vermut? or Vermouth?  Too much vermouth and you take your clothes off, versmut?  Bad joke.

a tall green bottle painted on the wall with the word vermut written vertically. Beside the bottle is painted a naked woman draped in red with breasts showing.

street art picture of a triangular shaped face looking upwards, open eyes and partially open mouth, behind the face is streaks of blue, yellow and red.

That’s the end of our little tour.
Find a sunny spot and pull up a chair and rest your feet for a few minutes.

chairs and a set of drawers outside a store full of antiques and stuff, the door is open and you can see into the store where there are two men shopping.

Tomorrow there will be puddles to go splashing through…
but that’s a story for another day.

afternoon in the park when the snow and ice begin to melt. Lots of water, big puddles, a few people walking dogs on the path trying to stay dry, reflections of them and many trees in the puddles.

 

 

Sometimes when I walk I find a view or a photo that suggests a theme for the day; something that summarizes the area that I’ve been walking through.  On Saturday, this was the photo, a construction site on Wellesley Street -a massive hole in the ground amongst a growing number of high rise buildings.

red and white danger sign on a makeshift wooden fence that says danger due to open edge. Beyond it is a very large hole for a construction site. A bulldozer is in the hole, downtown Toronto is in the background.

a large number of new high rise buildings just beyond a large hole in the ground where another condo is being built

This piece of property, between Wellesley and Breadalbane streets, had been vacant for a number of years.  It was once owned by the province; back in the 1980s there were plans to build a ballet and opera house there.  Those plans fell through and the land remained vacant while community groups lobbied for a park to be developed there.

When I first walked the area in April 2013, there was a blue fence around the site.

A wood plywood fence painted blue. Someone has painted three large white dollar signs on as well as the word ka-ching.

The blue fence is gone. According to the development proposal sign, two towers are being built here with a combined height of 99 floors.  A nine or ten storey L-shaped podium will run along St. Luke Lane and Wellesley Street to join the towers.    The plan also allows for park land on Breadalbane.  When I checked the website for the development, 11 Wellesley aka Wellesley on the Park, there is only one tower pictured and it doesn’t look like the description on the sign.

Ah, a little light bulb goes on.  The sign describes the developers’ original plan.  A change in the plan doesn’t mean a change in the sign.   So…  this seems to be the future home of one 60 storey condo tower on one third of the land and a 1.6 acre park on the remainder.

two bicycles parked on a sidealk in front of a fence that has a development proposal sign on it. Building site behind that, thena wall of skyscrapers in the background.

My Saturday walk had actually started close to Yonge and College.   I was drawn to the nondescript block of stores that are now boarded up in preparation to be demolished.

A block of two storey stores on Yonge street has been boarded up in preparation for demolition.

I’m wishing that I had taken pictures previously of these stores just to document the history of that part of Yonge Street.  I had many chances to do so, but the building never seemed interesting enough.

a man is walking past a row of boarded up stores that are about to be demolished.

development proposal sign above a large number 501, with an office/retail for lease sign above it.

Whether or not you think that two 58 storey towers with a shared 7 storey podium is an improvement is an entirely different question. It will contain 960 condo units and 5 storeys of above grade parking (because the subway runs underneath) with 320 parking spots.  Lobby access for the buildings will be from Maitland and Alexander Streets on the north and south sides of the property.  Or at least that’s what’s on the sign.   But fool me once, so I checked the  website for the condo (TeaHouse Condos in this case) and once again the information doesn’t match.  According to the website there will be two towers but the north one will be 25 storeys and the south one will be 53 storeys.  Whatever the end result, it will be different from what’s there now!

 

At least one person had an objection.

development proposal sign on a yellow wall that someone has written enuf on in big pink letters

A walk around the back of the building shows that we aren’t losing much there either.

two stroey building boarded up and ready for demolition, with a parking lot, behind a chain link fence.

 

The next site that I explored is just to the south where a hole is already in progress on the SW corner of Yonge and Grenville.

A hole in the ground on Yonge Street for construction of a building.

Photo taken from St. Lukes Lane

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below: This hole has exposed the north wall of the brown brick Oddfellows’ Hall as this view shows.  This is looking south, with College Park in the background (built by the T. Eaton Co. and opened as a 6 storey Eatons store on 30 October 1930).  Behind the chain link fence is St. Luke Lane.

back of a large four storey brick building behind an open hole construction site, taller buildings in the background (College Park)

Now you see it… soon you won’t.  The condo tower here will be 66 storeys high.

open hole at construction site surround by fence, brick building in the background.

Oddfellow’s Hall was built in 1891 and 1892 by architects Norman B. Dick and Frank W. Wickson for the Independent Order of Oddfellows.  It has two octagonal turrets and is a playful mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles.   The building had a 20’ x 46’ long grand hall for IOOF private meetings as well as offices and storefronts.

below: Looking north up Yonge Street at College Street, about 1970.  The Bank of Commerce (later Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and now CIBC) was an early tenant of the building.  Also in the picture is the old fire hall tower but more about that later.

old photo from about 1970 looking north up Yonge Street from College Street. Oddfellows Hall is on one corner with main tenant as Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Old fire hall tower is in the distance.

Photo found online, original source was City of Toronto Archives

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below: Most people will recognize the building as Starbucks.

Oddfellows Hall, a large brick building with two hexagonal turrets, brick, now a Starbucks on the ground floor.

starbucks at the corner of Yonge and College

Back to Grenville Street where there is yet another development.  On the west side of St. Luke Lane is a partially completed condo that has incorporated the facade of what is known as the John Irwin house.  It is one of the oldest surviving residential buildings in the area;  in 1873 it was recorded as being owned by a John Irwin.

An old three storey brick house, the John Irwin house has been restored and incorporated into a new condo development that is in the process of being built, cement mixer in front, men working.

This house wasn’t always in this location though.  It was moved a few metres east along Grenville, from one side of the condo development to the other.  I found a photo that I took in April 2013, just after the house had been moved.  Here you can see the back of the house as well as St. Luke Lane to the right.

back of an old house from the 1870s, the John Irwin House, a three storey brick building, that was moved from one site to another. It is sitting on supports at the edge of a construction site.

Does your head hurt yet?  Because there is more…..
But first, a break.  A few other pictures from the area.

below:  No Parking in St. Luke Lane, twice.

A red sign on a red wall. In yellow letter that are peeling off, the sign says Private Parking Only, mcdonalds.

A light yellowish grey wall with a yellow sign that says no parking. Old sign, looking worse for wear. A piece of flat scrap metal is leaning against the wall
  below:  And a man (Van Gogh? someone else?) with a red umbrella but more remarkably, a white picket fence almost hidden under vines by Wellesley Street.

A drawing of a man on white paper pasted to a concrete wall. A red stenciled umbrella is on top of his face. A white picket fence is beside the wall.

below: Also in St. Luke Lane, a mural commemorating the Highway of Heroes.

A mural commemorating the Highway of Heroes

And back to the program….

So far we have two holes in the ground, a partially finished condo, and a block that has just begun to be demolished.  The last development that I saw in the area was one that is still in the planning stages.  The development proposal sign posted beside Currys Art Supplies (the blue awning) is a clue that changes are imminent at 480-494 Yonge Street.  This building is on the SW corner of Yonge and Grosvenor.   The sign says one 45 storey tower but by now I don’t believe the signs!

development proposal sign at 490 Yonge street

480 Yonge Street is a heritage building as is the old fire hall (1872).   The top corner of 480 Yonge is just visible in the bottom left of this picture.  It is to be incorporated into the new development if it goes ahead.  The fire hall tower is going to be preserved but the building in front of it will be removed.  The sidewalk will also be widened as a result.  That’s the opening act of this story; there may be changes before the final curtain.  The developers applied for a zoning amendment (increased height and density) earlier this year but I do not know the results of that.

old fire hall tower above a newer building, or a newwer facade on an older building, red dump trunk on the street, large new condo being built in the background, Yonge St.

below:  On the NW corner of Yonge and Grosvenor is this building.   I don’t know if there are any plans in the works to redo this stretch of Yonge Street but after seeing all the new developments, I’m starting to get a bit sentimental about the old buildings.  So here is documentation of what remains, starting with  A & W Home of the Burger Family at 496 Yonge.

Three storey older grey building on a downtown corner.

below: between Grosvenor and Breadalbane – Cuban cigars and Persian food

Three three storey buildings in a row, old brick buildings, on Yonge St in downtown toronto, 502, 504 and 506. Yonge Market, Persian restaurant, a Cuban cigar store.

below: SW corner of Yonge & Breadalbane – old and new, short and tall

sw corner of yonge and breadalbane streets showing older stores in the foreground and taller condos in the background.

below: SW corner of Yonge & Wellesley – tattoos, massages, and payday loans.

southwest corner of Yonge and Wellesley, a row of old buildings, now storefronts. A Massage parlor and a tattoo place, a convenience store and a Money Mart. Gass condos in the background.

below: NW corner of Yonge & Wellesley – Not just noodles

not just noodles restaurant on the corner of Yonge and Wellesley as well as more stores going north up Yonge Street.