Posts Tagged ‘development’

Another day, another walk through the city starting at the Distillery District and heading west towards the waterfront and downtown Toronto.

below: Posing under the heart, Distillery District.

a woman and child posing under bright red heart installation at the Distillery District while a man takes their picture, also a line of tree shapes painted white, then painted with colourful pictures on parts of them,

below: Posing with the LOVE locks.

4 young women pose for a group shot beside the love word made from locks in the distillery district

below: Flowered Dress Madonna” by Ann Agee, 2021 as seen in the Corkin Gallery in the Distillery District.

small mother and child sculpture by Ann Agee called flowered drress Madonna, made in 2021

below: Looking east on Front Street from Berkeley. Police Division is the old brick building. Both sides of Front are lined with black hoardings as redevelopment of those sites started recently.

intersection of Berkeley and Front, looking east on Front towards police station in old building, black hoardings for construction sites on both sides of Front Street

below: Berkeley St., south of Front

a young man walking his white dog along the sidewalk, past black painted plywood hoardings around a construction site, Berkely Street

below: Another hole in the wall; another vacant lot waiting for redevelopment on Parliament Street. More tall buildings coming to the Distillery District.

an old door in a concrete block wall, now open to hole in the ground vacant lot waiting redevelopment

below: Looking south from the end of Parliament Street and across Lakeshore Blvd to the start of Queens Quay East. Many changes here!

looking south under Gardiner Expressway across Lakeshore Blvd at the end of Parliment where it turns into Queens Quay East

below: The CN Tower peaks through the gap created by one of the onramps for the Gardiner Expressway.

the CN Tower peaks through a gap in the Gardiner Expressway where an on ramp is

below: No Parkin’, Victory Soya Mills in the background

Victory Solya Mills in the background, construction in the foreground, a large yellow crane, a cement barricade spray painted with words no parking

the back ends of two tour boats with Canadian flags flying, end to end, with new condo developments seen across the water

below: Looking east towards the Port Lands redevelopment.  The new Cherry Street bridge is in the background.

waterfront, by Victory Mills silos, looking east towards new Cherry street bridge and portlands redevelopment

below: From the same spot on the waterfront as the above picture, but looking in the other direction.

yellow tent along the waterfront

below: Queens Quay East

looking west on Queens Quay East, construction in the foreground,

below: Relaxing by the lake.

sitting by the waterfront, a man in a yellow Muskoka chair, and a woman in an electric wheelchair, both facing the water

a person resting on wood bench in front of George Brown College on the waterfront, head on backpack, other people walking in the distance

below: Sugar Beach, spectator section, in the shade.

two men sitting on a bench beside water fountain sprayers at Sugar Beach, umbrellas, sand, and Redpath Sugar in the background

sugar beach, a man sun bathing on the sand, another person in Muskoka chair, green ship docked at Redpath Sugar, pink umbrellas,

below: On the rocks, Sugar Beach

two men sit on the rock at Sugar Beach, with green sugar ship docked at Redpath sugar, city skyline behind

below: I am not sure who this is or why he’s on the waterfront.  He’s made of wood – someone constructed him and left him here.

black and white wood cut out, upright of a man with no eyes or nose, white uniform, from waist up, standing on waterfront by Redpath Sugar

below: Closed – ramp to the the eastbound Gardiner at Lower Jarvis.

closed sign at the ramp to the Gardiner Expressway eastbound at Lower Jarvis, along Lakeshore

below: Lower Jarvis

pedestrians on sidewalk on Lower Jarvis with reflections in window beside and overhang above at Shoppers Drug Mart

below: A bucket full of bright and cheerful sunflowers on the sidewalk by St. Lawrence Market.

a turquoise bucket full of sunflowers for sale on the sidewalk by St. Lawrence Market

below: Market Street closed to traffic at Esplanade.

road closed sign, orange barricades, at the south end of Market Street to make it closed to traffic, and open to pedestrians only

below: Marvelous peppers and other veggies for sale at St. Lawrence Market

vegetables for sale at St. Lawrence Market, yellow peppers, range peppers, as well as red and green peppers in small green baskets in the foreground,

below: Someone’s looking a little distraught. Remember how your parents used to say that if you frowned too much, or you made too many weird faces, your face would freeze in that position? That is what this poor fellow reminded me of. “Frozen” in time on the side of St. Lawrence Hall.

small carved face, decorative, on the side of St. Lawrence Hall

below: In a window.  The title of the painting is “Alone” so perhaps she is alone in the city albeit surrounded by flowers.  Unfortunately, they are yellow and blue flowers so I suspect that there is Ukrainian symbolism at play here and that ‘alone’ has a much deeper significance.

painting in a an art gallery window with reflections of the city

below: Leader Lane ends at Wellington.

road closed for construction, pedestrian on sidewalk, Irish flag flying by pub, porta pottie, park in distance, downtown

below: Mama elephant and her two little ones are still walking through the courtyard behind Commerce Court.  They haven’t reached the pool yet (but at least there’s water in the pool now).

elephant statues, adult and two little ones, surrounded by tall buildings

below: This is one of the five Big City Blooms murals found around the city   (west side of Commerce Court).   The big bold and cheerful flowers in reds and pinks are the work of Alanna Cavanagh.

the glass walls of the window of Commercce Court are covered with pictures of pink and red flowers, blooms in the city art project

below: Same Commerce Court building as the above picture but from a slightly different angle.

tall city buildings, an older one of brownish stone, the other a newer glass and steel structure, flags poles,
below: Melinda Street

old stone building surrounded by newer glass buildings

below: Narrow city alley views, framing the gorgeous stone and brick work on the older building with its arched windows.

looking down a narrow alley to the old brick building on the next street

below: There appears to be a forest path in the middle of Brookfield Place.  It is actually a photograph that is part of an exhibit called, “Take Your Seat With the Group of Seven, Nature the Inspires Us”.  (now gone from Brookfield Place).

interior of Brookfield Place, a large photo of a path through a forest is standing in the middle
below: In this exhibit, locations used by the Group of Seven in their paintings were revisited. Photos were taken using a red director’s chair, placing the chair in the artist’s position. In this set of images, two small paintings from Coldwell Harbour are paired with a large photo of present day Coldwell Harbour – the chair is small but you should be able to see it on the rocky outcropping. The harbour is on Lake Superior near the town of Marathon.

two small group of seven paintings from Coldwell Harbour, plaus a large photo of a red directors chair at present day Coldwell Harbour

***

between Steeles and Drewry/Cummer.

Once it was the hinterland but now it feels like the city just goes on and on and on….

below: In 1955 this was the view looking south on Yonge from just north of Cummer/Drewry. This was the center of the community of Newtonbrook, named after the Newton Brook Wesleyan Church founded in 1857.  A general store and post office were opened here in 1863 on the northeast corner of Yonge & Drewry (possibly the buildings on the right side of this photo).

black and white photo of yonge street looking south from Cummer

photo credit: James Victor Salmon, found on Toronto Public Library website (public domain).

below: It’s not taken from exactly the same viewpoint (traffic!) but this is what you see looking south on Yonge Street now.

yonge street, looking south from drewry and cummer, large new condo development with 3 cranes, some traffic,

below: Looking north up Yonge Street from just south of Cummer/Drewry.  The large house is on the southeast corner of Cummer and Yonge.

old black and white photo of yonge street,

photo credit: Tim Chirnside, found on Toronto Public Library website (public domain)

below: The intersection of Yonge and Cummer (to the east) and Drewry (to the west) today.   The large house in the black and white photo above would be on the far right of this picture.

northeast corner of cummer and yonge, large red brick apartment building, small strip malls

below: Yonge Street is also Provincial Highway 11.

toronto street signs, cummer ave., yonge street, as well as provincial highway 11 sign for yonge street

below: It is a major transportation/transit route.

GO bus stop and Viva bus stop markers on yonge street

below: Happy Nowruz! or in other words, Happy New Year!  It is the Iranian New Year; the beginning of spring; a new day!  The banners were by sponsored by Tirgan, an organization that “promotes cross-cultural dialogue between Iranian-Canadians and the global community at large.”

red banner on utility pole on yonge street that says happy nowruz

below: There are many other cultures that are well represented in this part of the city.

signs for stores, restaurants and businesses on yonge street, popeyes louisiana kitchn, legal services, accountant, mary's cosmetic clinic, etc

small hand written sign that says big parking lot

cleaning up in front of a new building on yonge street

below: Like so many parts of Toronto, there is a lot of redevelopment taking place. Blue and white development notice signs are everywhere.

blue and white development notice sign on vacant lot on yonge street, houses, and newer highrises in the background, residential area, Newtonbrook

crooked metal fence around a vacantlot that has been paved over, yonge street, about to be redeveloped

man adjusting signs on hoardings around a construction site

view southward on yonge street, behind chainlink fence

below: To be (possibly) replaced by 25 storeys, 347 residences and a daycare.

sign print shop storefront with development notice sign in front

below: Seoul Plaza with it’s Korean BBQ restaurant and other businesses (not all Korean) – also with a development notice sign in front.  I’m not sure of the size of the development but it looks like your average  20ish storeys on podium condo.

Seoul Plaza on Yonge street, restaurant and businesss, with blue and white development notice sign in front

strip mall on Yonge street with cars parked in front, Arzon Super Market, Papa Cafe, nanaz Salon, plus other businesses

billboard that says bigger and better, on yonge street, pedestrians on sidewalk

below: Looking south from Moore Park Ave

looking south on the west side of yonge from Moore Park Ave., people walking on sidewalk, stores and restaurants

below: Looking north to the intersection of Yonge and Steeles.  Steeles Ave has been the northern boundary of the City of Toronto since 1953.  All of the tall buildings in this picture are north of Steeles and are in Thornhill (York Region).

looking north up yonge street to the intersection of yonge and steeles with many highrises north of steeles

looking down a short alley to a pale grey side of a house, same grey as building on north side of alley

below: Pro Ukraine stencil graffiti.

spray paint stencil graffiti, black trident on blue and yellow map of ukraine

below: I’m not sure what the spring will do but someone has been putting up a lot of posters for the Communist Party.

graffiti text sprayed on map and wall of bus shelter says the spring will (illegible), partially removed posters below that for communist party

communist party posters on a grey metal street boxcommunist party posters on a red box on the sidewalk

old Christmas decorations and empty buckets behind a restaurant

man sitting in a bus shelter, brick apartment building behind him

graffiti of a cartoon like young man with a big red nose

Or, approximately Finch and Weston Road

utility pole with police red light camera, no standing sign, a TTC bus stop, and a street sign for Finch Ave West in Emery village

Today, the intersection of Finch and Weston Road is a mess. Metrolinx is preparing to start construction on the Finch LRT, more than 12 acres on the southeast corner is being totally rebuilt, and water mains along Finch are being upgraded. The intersection also has the misfortune to lie in a hydro corridor.

below: Looking west on Finch at Weston Road.

intersection of Finch and Weston Rd., looking west on Finch, construction, traffic, hydro poles,

below: Canadian Pacific tracks cross Finch just east of Weston Road
red Canadian Pacific engine pulls a train across a bridge over Finch Ave West on its way northward.  Traffic under the bridge, also some construction work, a crane and a large truck blocking some of the lanes

below: Emery train station just after 1900. This was a a flag station built for the Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway in 1870 (i.e. trains only stopped if you flagged them down). In the early 1880s the line was acquired by the Canadian Pacific Railroad.   Photo source: Toronto Public Library

vintage black and white photo of a small wood building, Emery train station, with a woman holding a baby in the doorway and a man holding a hat in his hand standing on the tracks getting ready to flag down a train

Like the rest of the GTA, development here began as a village that supported the surrounding farms. In 1796, Isaac Devins and his wife Mary Chapman were given 200 acres of land, south of what is now Finch Ave from Weston Road to Islington. Devins had worked with Governor Simcoe as a superintendent on the construction of Yonge St.   Two of their grandsons opened businesses near the corner of Finch and Weston Road. – one was a blacksmith and the other a carriage maker.  A brick schoolhouse came shortly after 1850 and the Methodist church followed in 1869. A post office was established in 1879… and Emery was officially a village.

below: 1902 photograph of Isaac Devins house.  Source: Toronto Public Library

black and white photo of Devins homestead at Finch and Weston Road.

Celebrating the history of Emery are some plaques on display at a couple of bus stops on Weston Road.  The one below describes two musicians with local roots, Claudio Vena and Alfie Zappacosta.  Both men have streets named after them.

historic emery plaques at bus stop celebrating Claudio Vena and Alfie Zappacosta, two musicians

below: Finch West Mall was built in 1971 on the southeast corner of Finch and Weston Road on what had previously been farm land.  Step-brothers Aubrey Ella and Orrie Truman had farmed here since 1930.  …. but you can’t go shopping there any more.   [transcription of the text can be found at the bottom of this post]

A plaque by a bus stop in Emery describing the history of the Finch West Mall

below: Development notice sign at the site of the former Finch West Mall.  The proposal includes 5 towers, 2237 residences ranging from bachelors to 3 bedroom, some retail, and a park.  All rentals.
Blue and white toronto development notice sign at Finch and Weston Road

below: Construction is only in the early stages so there isn’t much to see


fence around construction site, parking lot, no left turn sign on its side, green fence

large yellow and orange signs guide pedestrian track through a busy intersection with a lot of construction

below: Preparations for the construction of the Finch LRT are underway.

below: But not always well thought out – here sidewalk access ends but the only way to go is to cross Finch in mid-block with no help

Empty glass drink bottle lying on ground, Sof Drink, carbonated beverage, pineapple flavour, Jamaican flavour

Also like many places in Toronto, Emery has become very multicultural.

below: African Food & Groceries as well as Comida Colombiana

part of a strip mall on Finch West, laundry, African food groceries, Erica beauty salon, Comida Colombiana Latino Americana,

below: A Vietnamese restaurant and a West Indian grocery store

two highrise apartment buildings in red brick with white balconies, strip mall in front with 6 businesses, a vietnamese restaurant, Ali Babas fast food, a west indian grocery, a mattress store, and a convenience store

below: North York Sikh temple

sikh temple in a two story plaza, beside Beck and Aps beauty supply and salon, and Makola Tropical foods, and employment agency

below: Confusion?

many signs beside a sidewalk, new tires, rotors and pads, Plaza Latina, milvan shopping centre, a bus in the background

 

below:  More restaurants and businesses

Sign for B & T plaza, 2437 Finch West, with many businesses listed, Anatolian fine foods, Malado Sushi & korean food, Sendas Money transfer, Chay Hoa Dang Flower Lantern Vegetarian restaurant, PePeyee(dot)com, Nash hair salon, etc

below: Ghanaian Presbyterian Church, since 1994 (as seen from Finch Ave)

Ghanaian Presbyterian church, light grey concrete structure with front in a triangle shape, cross on top of the tallest middle section, three flags in front - Canada, Ontario and Ghana

below: Prayer Palace

exterior of Prayer Palace

below: Lindylou park

A man sits on a bench in a park beside an apartment building

a large willow tree beside a playground and three apartment buildings

below: Emery Creek south of Finch
Emery Creek and shrubs in the foreground, new condos and older apartment buildings in the background

below: Finch Avenue West, looking eastward towards Weston Road

Finch Ave West looking east towards Weston Road, townhouses on the south side of the street, orange and black construction cones on both sides of the street, some traffic, apartment buildings in the background

below: Slightly closer to Weston Road (from Lindyloou park looking northeast)

Lindylou park looking northeast towards finch and weston road, apartment building, Burger King, McDonalds

below: Not taken from the same spot but also Finch Avenue West, looking eastward towards Weston Road in 1958 when Finch was still a dirt road.  The brick building is Emery Public School (built 1914); and it looks like it had a portable in the yard… and is that an Elmer the Safety Elephant flag?  The school was demolished shortly after the picture was taken.  Photo source: Toronto Public Library, photo by James Victor Salmon

below: Farther east, now past Weston Road. If you go even farther you will come to Hwy 400
intersection of finch with arrow and signet, construction, a long TTC bus us waiting to turn left, one woman walking on sidewalk

below: Most of the area north of Finch is zoned for light industry including this business, the making of prefab concrete staircases. With all the condo development in the city at the moment, there must be a lot of demand for these stairs!
light industrial area of the city, factory that makes prefab concrete staircases with lots of the product in piles of 4 or 5 staircases lying around outside

sign on a chainlink fence wishing a merry christmas and happy holidays to essential workers - you essential to us,

red and white danger due to sign altered to read danger due to climate change

below: Another vacant lot
vacant lot for sale

*****

Transcription of Plaque (above):

“Emery’s first large indoor shopping complex was built in 1971. It was called the Finch West Mall and was located on the southwest corner of Finch and Weston Road… Prior to the mall being constructed, the land was used for farming. A farmhouse, barn, and some other farming structures remained on the property up until the construction of the mall began in the early 1970s. Aubrey Ella and Orrie Truman built a farmhouse on the lot in the 1930s just south of the intersection of Finch and Weston Road. During this time, the entire property permitted wide range agriculture with even an arena for sheep.”
“The opening of the Finch West Mall in 1972 was a big hit for the community. A sizable Towers outlet first appeared but it swiftly merged into a Zellers retail store. Zellers was the principal leaseholder located at the far north end of the mall. Safeway Canada quickly decided to build a grocery store connected to the south end of the mall.”
“In 1973, McDonald’s restaurant was added onto the site but as a separate building situated at the far south of the property. It was one of the first McDonald’s restaurants opened in Canada along with another outlet at Dufferin and Wilson. This McDonald’s even featured an outdoor sitting patio with six stone tables made out of lightly coloured presses marble complete with matching benches. Close to this historical marker was a dirt trail that was upgraded into a long set of wooden steps that permitted pedestrian entrance onto the site.”
“On occasions local bands were permitted to conduct live concerts right in the mall.”
“When Zellers shut down their store in the 1980s, Canadian Tire quickly opened an outlet to take its place. However, they too decided to close their doors at the turn of the new millennium. The commercial banks began moving out and countless other stores too. The mall had ceased to have sound commercial value and disappointingly started to become an endless array of dollar stores.”
“The owner of the mall (Medallion Properties) recognized these telltale signs and thought it might be ideal for a development upgrade which could inspire financial resurgence within the general community. The City of North York Planning Department made a recommendation to establish a Business Improvement Area (BIA) to stimulate economic recovery.”
“With the organized structure of the Emery Village BIA in place, city staff suggested creating a new secondary plan for the entire general community…The mall was demolished in 2006.”

*****

One of life’s unexpected coincidences… I didn’t read the text before I took the picture so it wasn’t until a few days later that I saw the name Orrie Truman. I have Trueman ancestors in this area… was he related? Orrie Truman was Orrie Levi Richard Trueman. I don’t know where the name Orrie comes from but Levi and Richard were his grandfathers, Levi Coulter and Richard Trueman. William Mellow Trueman married Eleanor (Nellie) Coulter and Orrie is their son. William died shortly after and Nellie subsequently married Ella. Going back a generation, William Mellow Trueman is the son of Richard Trueman and Rebecca Mellow who happen to be my great great great grandparents. My great grandmother, Ina Rebecca Moore was named after Rebecca Mellow, her grandmother. Ina would have been Orrie’s first cousin. Question: What relation am I to Orrie Trueman?

 

lowrise townhouses, red brick, with large pine trees

Most people who visit Graffiti Alley don’t realize that there is another section of street art to the west.   Technically, Graffiti Alley is the lane behind the south side of Queen Street West between Spadina and Augusta.  The next section of the alley, from Augusta to Portland, is Rush Lane.   Unfortunately there is a large Loblaws/Winners that blocks the lane on the west side of Portland.

To access the next couple of blocks of laneway, you have to detour down to Richmond Street and turn right.  Public Lane is a few steps away from Richmond & Portland.

you look better in a moustache mural, with a man with a moustache, a movember mural

below: Public Lane turns to the left,  regardless of what the arrow says.

Public Lane, that curves to the left

below: Between here and Bathurst Street, a lot of street art has disappeared as redevelopment of Richmond has progressed.  The large black building on the right has its garage entrance from the lane so watch for cars when you’re back there.

back of top part of rowhouses, seen from a lane

below: A few circles of colour on a grey wall, a reminder that there was once street art here.

a grey wall with a window, some coloured circles painted on the window

below: Beyond Bathurst there is a long stretch of laneway. A lot of the paintings here are older and some may have already appeared in this blog.

a person walks away from the camera, down an alley, with garages on both sides, with graffiti and street art them

below: A 2020 mural by Elicser Elliot

metal stairs in front of a large mural by elicser elliott of a policeman controlling a crowd

below: Huey Newton by elicser

Huey Newton mural by elicser on the end of a wall, a mural beside it with a buxom woman in tight clothes

mans face painted by elicser in a doorway

mans face, with hands holding a mask over his mouth and nose, painted by elicser in a doorway

below: Feelings Boi and a pink daisy from Life©

stickers on a pole, a daisy in pin, a feelings boi, beside a wood fence and gate with stencil graffiti of a man's face in a white oval framed in black

below: Woodstock love

little yellow Woodstock with black sunglassses stands above a black stencil on white of a girls head, a love heart is there too

downtown alley with street art

cardboard boxes stored against a wall with a mural of a woman from the back view

part of a mural, a couple, she has wavy hair pinned to the top of her head,

below: By luvsomone

mural of two black men

below: Yosemite Sam is now boxed in.

mural of cartoon character Yosemite Sam, on a wall at the end of a driveway, with trash cans and other stuff in front of it

row of garages in an alley with graffiti and street art on them

below: A resting UBER 5000 yellow birdie.  Or is that a yoga mat?!

uber 5000 yellow birdie mural, lying on a black surface, feet in air, red background

below: This little unicorn has always been a favorite of mine.  Definitely an oldie now.

part of elicser mural of a man with a small beard in red hoodie, holding a small unicorn in his hand

below: Collaboration between luvsomone, vuducats/Christina Mazzulla

mural of a woman with large bead necklace and rose coloured sunglasses, beside of dog in shades of blue and purple,

window and window box in a building with street art on the walls, dead plants in the planter

a pickup truck drives down an alley

mural on a garage door, womans face in blue and purple

below: Mural by Rodwell Soller

mural by rodwell soller, a mans face with eyes closed, calligraphy

gate, and back of stores on Queen

below: Happy face skulls

garages in a lane with graffiti and street art on them

stickers on a pole with garages in the background, laneway,

A cold and frosty afternoon walk westward along a windy Queens Quay to Harbourfront with a detour to Union Station to warm up.  It was below zero, but only single digits so it can’t be that bad, right?

below: New construction, Lower Jarvis at Queens Quay East, beside Sugar Beach

new building being built at Lower Jarvis and Queens Quay, beside Sugar Beach

below: Redpath Sugar on Queens Quay East

redpath sugar processing plant on Queens Quay in Toronto

below: “Whaling Wall”, 1997, on the side of Redpath Sugar, one in a series of 100 murals painted by Robert Wyland that feature whales and other seal life.

whale mural on the side of Redpath sugar warehouse

below: Looking north up Yonge Street from Queens Quay

looking north up Yonge street from Queens Quay, tall buildings, not much traffic, a TTC bus,

below: Ice just beginning to form on the water.  Although it’s almost February, Lake Ontario remains unfrozen – at least up until last Thursday when this picture was taken.  That was also the coldest day of the winter that we’ve had so far.  A lot more of the harbour, and lake, should be frozen now!

ice starting to form in harbour where the Toronto island ferry is docked

below: Looking north up Bay Street from Queens Quay

below: Lakeshore & Gardiner at Bay Street.

below: There’s a new walkway over Bay Street that joins Union Station and the GO bus terminal.

below: Looking south from the new walkway.  On the right is the old postal sorting station, then Air Canada Centre, and now totally rebranded as the Scotiabank Arena.

below: It also offers new views into windows!

looking into window of MLSE entertainment, from above,

below: Towards the new GO Terminal.  When I wandered through it was just me and two security guards.

below: The first of these that I have seen, inside the new GO bus terminal.

vending machine selling disposable masks for two dollars each

below: The old GO Terminal

below: It was very quiet in front of Union Station, especially subdued for late on a weekday afternoon.

below: Remembering the 2019 Raptors team.

street sign for Brmener Bl that has been turned into Raptors way to celebrate their 2019 NBA championship. The sin is red and white inside of the usual blue and white

below: York Street at Bremner, with the base of the CN Tower peaking through.

below: Looking into the lobby of a new building at 10 York Street, designed by Brad Golden & Co.

looking into the lobby of a condo building, through a large glass wall, some art inside including a large wall panel that looks like crinkled shiney gold paper, some reflections,

below: “Iceberg” in Canada Square, with the CN Tower in the background. This sculpture, that you can walk through, also has sound and lights.  The latter would probably be better seen a little later in the day!

metal sculpture called Iceberg in Canada Square with the CN Tower in the background

below: Dewit L. Petros, “Untitled (Overlapping and intertwined territories that fall from view III)”, on the south wall of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.  This was part of the 2020 Contact Photography Festival.

large photograph by Dewit Petros on the south wall exterior of the power plant contemporary art gallery

below: “Sonic Runway” a light-art installation on the waterfront created by Warren Trezevant and Rob Jensen.

rings with a pinkish colour surround a walkway, a woman is walking through them, on the waterfront, a boat is docked beside the walkway

And then home to warm up again!

This post grew out of the last walk that I took with my mother.  It fit the criteria of being close to her house, had a route where we didn’t double back, and was somewhere that neither of us had walked recently.   Our route was The Donway, the circular road that encompasses the intersection of Don Mills Road & Lawrence Ave.  We drive through it or past it frequently but as you know, the world looks different when you get out of your car.

Painted sign tht says Don Mills, in front of Don Mills Sceondary school. Each letter is a different colour with decorations on them (pictures) painted by students

Developed between 1952 and 1965, the suburb of Don Mills was very much a “planned community”. The history of its development is online so I am not going to dwell on that aspect.  I was more interested in what it looks like now – what changes are happening there?  What looks just like it did 60 years ago?

We started at the library.  [As an aside, this where I had my first job.  I was 15; I hated it; I lasted two months.  My apologies to all librarians. ]

below: Don Mills Library.  In 1956 the land was purchased at Lawrence and Donway West for a new library.  It was opened in 1961 and renovated in 1994.  A few years later it was added to the inventory of North York’s Modernist Architecture.  You can download the brochure that lists, with pictures, the more than 200 buildings on this inventory from an ERA Architects website(but be patient!)

part of Don Mills library, built in the late 1950s

below: The old and the new.

Donway West, older low rise apartments on the right, taller and newer condos on the left

below: A new playground in front of construction where the Don Mills Arena once stood.

playground in the front, construction behind that, and Scarborough skyline in the distance

The original Don Mills plan called for higher density inside the Donway Circle with lower density & single family homes outside the circle.  These condos are withing the circle, adjacent to the “Shops at Don Mills”.

construction site

orange construction cone beside a fence with a green construction cloth covering over it

below: The old post office (postal station) building is gone too.

now vacant lot beside Shops of Don Mills where old post office building was demolished

three storey red brick apartment building on the corner of Don Mills and the Donway with traffic light

low rise apartment building with trees and grassy space beside it

front of apartment building

1960s Don Mills residences, red brick

 These new townhouses sit outside the north east quadrant of the circle.

new grey townhouses being built on the Donway in Don Mills

I don’t think that anyone is going to claim that the original architecture in the area was “pretty” but these grey things are unsightly if not stupendously ugly.

new townhouses being built in Don Mills

below: Each of the quadrants of The Donway has a church.  In the NE is Donway Baptist Church (also in the inventory of NY Modernist Architeture).   The new townhouses seem to dwarf the church.

Donway Baptist church, built in the late 1960s, brick building

below: Don Mills Covenant United Church in the NW portion of The Donway.

front of Don Mills United Church

below: The front of Don Mills Secondary school where many small trees have been planted.  There’s at least one apple tree and one cherry tree .

front of Don Mills Secondary School, many new trees have been planted in front of the school

a few locks, rusted, on the chainlink fence around Don Mills Secondary school, playing fields and basketball hoops in the background

below:  This style of bungalow must have been very popular as tens of thousands of them were built, not just in Toronto, but in other towns and cities as well.

Don Mills bungalow with stairs up to center entrance

below: The car port, another Don Mills feature that helped make housing affordable at the time.

A-line roof bungalow with car port

below: A family of raccoons has found a home in Don Mills too!

a tree trunk, about 6 feet high, with a section carved out and a raccoon family painted on it.

a white (dry) bird bath or fountain with a statue of a girl and fairy, girl is holding a Canadian flag.

My apologies if the greyness of the photos makes you think that Don Mills is a grey kind of place.  Blame the weather – there hasn’t been a lot of sun this January.

The south end of Dawes Road dead ends at the railway tracks just south of the Danforth.   On this block there is an old abandoned car wash at 18 Dawes.

blue metal constructioon fence in the foreground with out of focus building behind, an old abandoned car wash

As it turns out, this sleepy little section of Dawes might be about to burst.   Being within walking distance of both Main subway station and the Danforth GO line makes it a wonderful location.  Three development proposals are being considered here.    First, two towers, 26 and 33 storeys with a shared 5 storey podium are planned for 10 and 30 Dawes (includes this car wash location).

blue spray paint lion's head with red eyes and nose, behind a green bush on a white concrete block wall

old metal air freshener dispensing machines, vending machines, empty, on the walls of an old car wash

empty air freshener vending machine, metal, on a wall, with doors broken off

graffiti in red and blue on the interior walls of an old abandoned and emptied car wash, blue daisy frowny face

graffiti in red on the interior walls of an old abandoned and emptied car wash

no trespassing sign on a fence around an old abandoned car wash

below: 12 Dawes Road might be the only original building remaining.

blue metal construction fence, empty parking lot beside building with a sign on it that says Gill Auto Collision

Across the street is 9 Dawes where two towers (24 and 30 storeys) with a shared podium have been proposed – with the usual bland nondescript street level nonsense.
To the south is 6 Dawes.  Here there might be three towers – 40, 46, and 49 storeys.  This development will also include a new community center as well as an entrance to the Danforth GO station.  It runs along the north side of the railway tracks from Dawes to Main.

That’s a total of 7 towers between 24 and 49 storeys in a small space at the end of Dawes Road.  The drawings for each proposal do not include the other developers’ towers so it’s difficult to picture the end result.  Crowded, yes. Manageable?  Who knows.

tall apartment buildings behind a tall plain grey wall, a street in front and then a vacant lot that's been paved over

10/30 Dawes – Planning Application Number: 19 124138 STE 19 OZ

9/25 Dawes – Planning Application Number: 19 186473 STE 19 OZ

Both of these developments are in the planning stage (started in 2019) and both require zoning by-law amendments.  Development can be very slow and changes often occur.

man aslepp outside on a grey chair and old mattress, red container bins behind him

orange and black traffic cones and a lane closed, orange sign with black arrow telling traffic to move to the right

There’s a video on the internet of a kangaroo hopping down the street in deserted downtown Adelaide Australia and there are photos of other animals that have taken to roaming urban streets now that many people are staying at home.   I thought of these things as I drove downtown today.  Not because I saw animals.  Not because the streets were quiet and empty.  No, instead I wanted to compare these animal sightings to the proliferation of orange and black traffic cones as well as dump trucks and other machinery.  It seems like the city has taken this time to block more lanes for construction than usual – I may be imagining things but I doubt it.

below: Driving east on Adelaide

looking east on Adelaide

below: Demolition on Jarvis

partial demolition of an old house on Jarvis street, facade is left standing, no glass in the windows, can see other high rise downtown buildings through the window holes

below: Maud Street

workman with stop sign directing traffic in front of a construction site

below: Lombard Street

street, downtown Toronto, with traffic cones

below: I think that they are looking at me but how can I be sure?

paper paste up graffiti of faces and eyes by Jeremy Lynch on metal boxes on the sidewalk, with construction workmen in the background

My destination this morning was Graffiti Alley.  There were no tourists there today but there were trucks blocking the alley.  More construction nonsense.

a large semi truck is parked in Graffiti Alley and is taking up the whole width of the lane

below: In fact there were two trucks

a large white truck is parked in the narrow Graffiti Alley totally blocking it

construction site on Richmond street backing onto Graffiti Alley with lots of walls covered with street art and murals

below: A new Nick Sweetman mural – a purple rhinoceros

Nick Sweetman mural of a rhinoceros

below: This mural is not new but it is the first time that I have seen it with no cars parked beside it.

large mural by globe, smoky, and done of a bird house on purple background with green tag text

below: Graffiti Alley now tests positive for the novel coronavirus, the green variety.

part of a mural in Graffiti Alley, a silver tag with a green corona virus with open mouth, white teeth and yellow eyes

chainlink fence in front of a backyard with a bit of green grass, white building with a bright blue door

a person waiting beside a bus shelter on Queen West, seen from the back including reflections in the glass of the shelter

below: KFC sits empty.   That’s not a coronavirus victim – it was empty before we all started staying home.

empty KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Queen Street west

below: A message from 525 and 523, Stay Safe!  (actually it’s from T-bonez).

wall and doors to numbers 533 and 535 covered with street art including an urabn ninja squadron character with a face mask on with the words stay safe

Stay safe and
stay healthy!

bus stop and shelter on Don Mills Road at Wynford, Crosstown construction and high rises in the background

I’ve been keeping an eye on the old IBM building at the corner of Don Mills and Eglinton. It was built in 1951 as IBM’s Canadian manufacturing plant and head office.

It’s been empty for a long time but recently work has begun on the site.

east side of old IBM building at Don Mills and Eglinton, low rise yellow brick, horizontal windows, empty and ready for demolition

The IBM complex sits on 60 acres and the whole site will be redeveloped in the coming months.  The white tower in the background is also on the site, right beside the CPR tracks that mark the northern boundary.

piles of metal from demolition of building

below: A Canada goose struts near one of the entrances to the old IBM building that is being demolished.

solitary Canada goose walking on the grass beside the parking lot for old IBM building, demolition of one of the entrances in the background

an entrance to the IBM building on Don Mills Road being demolished

below: 1954

an old black and white photo of the IBM building on Don Mills Road in 1954

photo credit – taken from ‘Urban Toronto’ online article about this development

below: Apparently the plan is to build a mix of residential and commercial buildings on the site ranging from 3 to 44 storeys.  A new community centre and park are also included in the planned Crosstown Community.

corner of Don Mills and Eglinton during Crosstown construction, IBM building in the background

In terms of construction and development, this intersection is very busy as it is also the location of the future Science Centre LRT station.  It has been a mess for so long that I can’t remember how long it’s been.  There are  signs of progress starting to emerge from the chaos so perhaps there is hope for a 2021 opening of the Crosstown LRT.

below: The new bus bays on the northeast corner are starting to take shape.

west end of the new bus bays at Eglinton and Don Mills, under construction, glass walls and roof

below: More of the NE corner.

vacant lot on Eglinton Ave by Great Canadian Superstore at Don Mills, edge of Crosstown construction site

concrete barriers being stored on a vacant lot, one ornage and white cone too

below: Looking across Eglinton towards the Mormon church and other buildings on the south east corner.

construction on Eglinton at Don Mills, Mormon church in the picture - Church of Latter Day Saints

below: A sign of the times.  Covid-19 dos and don’ts.

signs re covid-19 on a green fence around a construction site

below: New tracks being laid where the LRT comes back to the surface east of Don Mills Road (looking east towards the DVP).  The Science Centre station is underground even though the tracks on both the east and west side are above ground.

construction of the Crosstown l r t, tracks being laid on the above ground portion of the line, near Eglinton.

below: From the NE corner (black building is/was the Ontario Federation of Labour) looking south.  All buildings are on the east side of Don Mills Road.

from the northeast corner of Don Mills and Eglinton looking to the south east corner, Foresters building, another older office building and two newer condos.

below: A sidewalk, temporary, lined with cones, along Eglinton.

line of orange and black traffic cones on both sides of the sidewalk along Eglinton through Crosstown construction zone

There are other buildings being torn down.  The building in the background is 1200 Eglinton Ave East.  It was an office building with a parking structure beside it.   This is the view from Wynford Drive.

two concrete buildings from the 1970s or 1980s, one behind has started to be demolished, a parking lot and large tree between the buildings

The same building a few days later when I went back to check on the demolition’s progress.  The parking structure is now just piles of rubble and more of the exterior walls of the other building are gone.

green machery demolishing a parking structure that is now just piles of rubble, beside another building that is partially demolished

lower levels of a building that has been partially demolished, all the exterior walls have been removed, leaving just the interior walls

below: The large, almost empty, parking lot behind the Bell building on Wynford.

large yellow arrow painted on the surface of a large parking lot, only a few cars

below: With a few exceptions, most of the buildings around Wynford are products of the 1960s and 1970s.

three storey white concrete building with the width of the floors increasing as you go upwards

low one storey building with two large windows with blinds closed, no cars in parking lot

two trees in front of a concrete building with lots of narrow vertical windows

a red brick one storey light industrial building

below: Another empty parking lot.  This picture was taken on a Saturday afternoon which might explain the lack of cars but as I drive around the city I see lots of empty parking lots even during the work week.   A sign of the times.

bent metal pipes as a railing, painted in yellow and black, empty parking lot beyond with a couple a buildings in the background

below: Looking across the Don Valley Parkway

tree silhouette (no leaves) in front of a glass building that is reflecting the blue of the sky

below: CPR tracks behind Wynford.

graffiti, tags, along the concrete embankment beside the CPR tracks, apartment buldings can be seen over the wall

below: Rusty metal spirals, tightly wound, found amongst the gravel along the train tracks.

a pile of rusted spiral pieces of metal formed from drilling into the sides of railway tracks, lying in the gravel beside the tracks

a set of three railway lights at 2042-1 pole, lights are arranged vertically, one on top of the other

edge of parking lot that it empty, with railway tracks behind, a wall with graffiti, and an apartment building in the background

below: Looking east along the tracks just before they cross the DVP.   If you follow the tracks, they lead you to the CPR marshaling yard at McCowan and Sheppard.   So, that’s where I went next…. (scroll down!)

a lone chair sitting in the grass beside the railway tracks, shrubs behind the chair, early spring, no leaves on the shrubs

along the railway tracks, shrubs, and an old wood utility pole with glass knobs

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