Posts Tagged ‘downtown’

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!

This is another “walk about” post; in fact, it is the product of two nearly identical walks a few months apart.

below: Standing at the corner of King and Spadina while TTC workmen clear the streetcar tracks of excess dirt and sand.

two young women standing on the corner of King & Spadina

below: Looking east along King Street.  The LCBO on the corner is now closed.

looking eastward along King St from Spadina, high rises, billboard, traffic, city,

below: Spadina, south of King.

construction on Spadina south of King, beside the red and white Petro Canada gas station

below: Looking through a parking lot on Wellington.

backs of buildings as seen through a parking lot on Wellington street

below: Looking south on Draper Street

looking south on Draper street to condos south of the tracks

below: The CN Tower from Draper Street

the CN tower as seen through a vacant lot on Draper street

below: Construction continues on the old Globe and Mail site south of Wellington and north of Front.

construction on the site of the old Globe and Mail building between Wellington and Front

below: A pink pig still celebrating Valentines Day.

a pink plastic pig on a porch, wearing heart shaped sunglasses and a necklace of heart shapes

below: Looking east along the tracks from Portland Street.  In November when I walked here, there were many movie trucks parked along Front Street.

looking east along the north side of the railway tracks from Portland Street towards downtown, cranes and construction site, high rises

below: The new condos on the north side of Front Street that face the railway tracks.

a line of glass and concrete condos on Front street that face the railway tracks, cars and trucks at construction site beside the tracks, below street level

pasteup graffiti on a yellow post, faces with eyes collage, by jeremy lynch

below: Crossing the Puente de Luz, Toronto’s yellow pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks.

three people crossing the puente de luz, the yellow pedestrian bridge that crosses the railway tracks

three people crossing the puente de luz, the yellow pedestrian bridge that crosses the railway tracks

looking eastward to the puente de luz bridge and the city skyline beyond, railway tracks, cranes, new buildings,

below: On the south side of the railway – the green building is the Library District condo.

fish eye lens view of side of green library condo building and the other across the street, Queens Wharf Rd

below: Bathurst Street at Fort York Blvd., with the overhang from the library which is on that corner.

overhang from the library roof, Bathurst street, south of tracks, condos, street,

below: Bathurst streetcar southbound.

TTC streetcar passes over Bathurst street bridge over the railway tracks, new condos in the background, crane

below: The grassy green mound that separates Fort York from the city…. with the city creeping up behind it.

edge of the grounds of fort york, green grass on hill, with new high risse condos in the distance

below: Orange bars across the eyes, graffiti

graffiti, three black and white photos of faces with orange streak painted through their eyes, pasteups on concrete

below: The Bentway, under the Gardiner Expressway (a previous post on the Bentway)

the bentway, the new development and park under the gardiner expressway, words on one of the concrete posts that says Welcome to the Bentway a shared space kind of place

Garrison Crossing is actually two stainless steel bridges, both over railway tracks.   Both have spans of close to 50m.  In the middle is a peninsula of land that is in the process of being developed into condos and a park.  Almost 20 years ago there was a proposal to build a bridge here – to be opened in 2012 for the anniversary of the War of 1812.  Mayor Rob Ford was opposed to it (too much money) and the plans were shelved.  A change of mayor (and some help from developers) and a change of plan again.  Construction began in 2016.  It provides a much needed link between the two sides of the railway lands.

below: Southern span – walking north from Fort York

fisheye view of first garrison crossing bridge with new condos in the middle

below: City view from the new park in the middle, train tracks (difficult to see in this picture) on two sides of the triangle.

view from Garrison Crossing, in the middle, CN Tower and Toronto downtown skyline

below: Yellow construction fences still line the edge of the path through the middle section between the bridges.

yellow construction fences line the pathway through the middle of Garrison Crossing as it is not quite finished construction

below: People crossing the northern portion of Garrison Crossing (looking south).

people walking across the Garrison Crossing bridge with high rise condos behind them

below: Looking northwest from the second span of Garrison Crossing towards Strachan Avenue and beyond.

railway tracks north of Garrison crossing looking towards Strachan Ave

below: Garrison Crossing ends at Wellington Street close to Stanley Park

park, green space, baseball diamond with lights, and a row of bright coloured houses behind

a garage door completely covered in paint, street art in red, black and yellow

street art on a garage door including a large pair of white hands

street art on two metal boxes on the sidewalk, one is a zipper opening to reveal a brick wall

below: Found – one city snowplow parking lot, between the railway tracks and Wellington Street (at the end of Walnut Ave).

parking lot for red snowplows, city property, also a dome shaped storage for sand, condos in the background

below: Immediately to the east of the snowplows is the old brick building. It has its own access road from Wellington including a bridge with three arches.   The road is overgrown and blocked by a fence.  There is no sign by the road.

cars in a parking lot with an old boarded up brick building, 2 storeys. The building has a road and 3 arched bridge leading to the upper storey

below: It took some time on google but I finally found the answer to the building above.  Here it is in 1925, the year that it was built – the Wellington Destructor.  It was used until the 1970s when burning garbage was banned; it has been a heritage building since 2005.  I found the photo online on a CBC News webpage where there a great description of the building and its history,  along with some pictures of the interior.

old black and white photo of garbage incinerator built in 1925, Toronto, large brick building

below: And that brings us back to the Bathurst Street bridge over the railway tracks on the south side of Front Street.  Did you know that it’s officially called the Sir Isaac Brock Bridge?  It spent most of its life as the Bathurst Street Bridge until 2007 when it was renamed.

traffic at the intersection of Bathurst and Front. Brown metal bridge for Bathurst over the tracks, CN Tower and new condos in the background

below: It is a steel truss bridge that was built in 1903 (one of the oldest bridges in the city).  It’s first life was a railway bridge over the Humber Bridge but in 1916 it was disassembled, moved to Bathurst, and reassembled.

brown metal bridge, Bathurst street over the railway tracks,

below: Bathurst bridge, 1919, from the west (Lake Ontario is on the right hand side).

vintage black and white photo of railway tracks and bridge over Bathurst street, 1919, from Toronto City Archives

The view from the Municipal Abbatoir Building, looking southeast. The building with the water tower on top is the Matthews Blackwell meat packing company. On the left, you can see part of the cylindrical tower belonging to Consumers Gas Company

 

below: Someone has given this rusty guy some eyes!  He too is watching out for interesting stories.  He’s also thankful that you made it this far!  At least he can’t roll his eyes!

two large black and white googly eyes have been glued onto a rusty piece of metal on a fence

There is a new mural at Dundas and Victoria.  It is a welcome addition to a building that has been boarded up for years and is a definite improvement over the dingy and dirty grey wall it was just a few weeks ago.

mural: The northeast corner of Dundas and Victoria as seen from Yonge Dundas Square.  The left side was painted by Emily May Rose

mural at the corner of Dundas and Victoria, is actually two murals in one. on the left is one by Emily May Rose, alley jams van and spray painting green raccoons. on the right is a tribute to Killy and Swagger rite, by one day creates

below: It features green raccoons running wild, some with cans of spray paint.

black and white pictures in the windows, green raccoons on the walls, looking at one of the pictures

below: On the other side, is a mural in blues and oranges by @onedaycreates (aka One Day Mural & Video Production).  It is a tribute to Killy and Swagger Rite, two Toronto born rappers.

large paintings of two men, killy and swagger rite

close up of part of mural, blue face, orange furry scarf, person wearing two rings, hat, dreadlocks,

From autumn to winter, from old to new.

close up of the center of a pink flower

below: It’s a sculpture!  It’s a piece of playground equipment!  Two very large bronze hands and a red rope lattice between the hands has been installed in Berczy Park.  It was designed by Toronto artist Luis Jacob.  In the background is the “dog fountain”.

sculpture of two black hands, very large, reaching out of the ground, with red rope "cat's cradle" between them, fountain in the background, Berczy park in Toronto

below: Berczy Park from the other side. The water in the fountain has been turned off for the winter. It’s a bit too cold to hang out in the park these days but the dogs are still patiently and quietly waiting beside the fountain.

Berczy park, fountain with statues of dogs, no water because winter

below: The lower part of “Flatiron Mural” by Derek Besant, 1980 on the west wall of the Gooderham building, overlooking Berczy Park .

flatiron mural by Derek Besant on the east wall of the Gooderham Building, fake blue and white side of the building

below: On the other side of the Gooderham building, near Church Street, the old-style lamps have been decorated for the Christmas season.

Christmas decorations, pine branches and red plant pots, on a lamp post in front of the Gooderham building in Toronto, red brick flatiron type building

below: More signs that maybe Christmas is coming… eventually.  Christmas decorations are now available at most grocery stores.

part of an evergreen Christmas decoration with red and gold spray painted pieces

It’s weird to be getting into the Christmas spirit already… in mid-November when there are still a few leaves on the trees…

below: And lots of leaves on the ground.

wet yellow leaves on the ground in a small puddle, reflection of tree branches in the puddle

below: St. James Cathedral from the park (sculpture garden) across the street. Autumn, and the views are no longer blocked by greenery.

St. James Cathedral and steeple from across the street, shows whole of front of the church, in early winter so the trees in front have no leaves

below: In that sculpture garden there’s a new installation.

a white metal sculpture of a treble clef and a line of music, with yellow and red lights, in a garden, in a city, with brick buildings behind

below: “Pigro” by Tony Romano.   Pigro is Italian for “lazy”, as in lazily reclining in the park. By the looks of it, there are lights on the sculpture so it might be interesting to check this out after dark (i.e. after 4 p.m.!)

 a white metal sculpture of a treble clef and a line of music, with yellow and red lights, in a garden, in a city with a brick wall behind it

part of a white metal sculpture of a treble clef and a line of music, with yellow and red lights, in a garden, in a city with a brick wall behind it

below: Around the corner, on King Street, the omnipresent construction/renovation.

scaffolding on the front a building on King street, steeple of St. James Cathedral in the background

below: The Tom Jones restaurant still stands alone although construction has been creeping closer and closer.

Tom Jones restaurant, three storey white brick building, stand alone, parking lot on one side, street on the other, dark wood door and door frame,

below: The pale purple wall with the mural and Henry Fielding quote are also still in place although the paint is peeling badly in some spots.  (this is the east side of the Tom Jones restaurant building).

pale purple wall with mural and text, parkin lot attendent boothin front of wall as well as one parked car

below: The backs of the buildings on King Street that are being redeveloped.

below: Transitions, old, new, and in between.

back of three old brick buildings, scaffolding on the building to the right, a new glass building behind

below: And the last look at the construction, sort of… you can just see bits of the reddish scaffolding across King Street

glass and metal covering over a walkway outside between two buildings

pink and green cabbage like plant

This year’s Nuit Blanche was on September 28th and 29th.  The night’s activities were spread over a large number of locations around the city.  That was a few days ago so yes, I am a bit behind.  I was laid low for a couple of days with this cold that’s been going around… or I took a few days to recover from being up until 3:30 a.m.!

 

below:  Part of ‘Continuum: Pushing Towards the Light’ by Brandy Leary and the Anandam Dancetheatre.  They made they way across the glass enclosed bridge over Queen Street between the Eaton Centre and The Bay store.

4 people in costume, performance art, on glass covered bridge

below: From behind the burlap (or tarp?) Nathan Phillips Square, from an installation ‘Radical Histories 2012-2018’ by Ibrahaim Mahama.

looking at the back of the 3D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips, looking through burlap and tarps that have been stitched together

below: More from the same installation, this time from the “right” side.  It was great for making shadow figures.  Thanks to Jude for starting off the evening with me… and getting creative (silly?) too.

making shadows against the fabric draped around City Hall and Nathan Phillips square

below: We found a photo shoot on Bay Street.

two young women posing on the street

below: On Bloor Street, nothing to do with Nuit Blanche but it looked cool.   Reflections and lights.

reflections in a window that has been lit with a red light, a mannequin is reflected from the store across the street

below: Eaton Centre, a quieter moment that night.

a young boy leans against his father as he reads a book, MIghty Robot, at the Eaton Centre

below: Checking the map.   Yonge Dundas Square – the installation there was very unimpressive so I took people pics instead.

a couple looks at the Nuit Blanche map

below: At Church of the Redeemer (Avenue Road and Bloor), Korean Dancers.  “Star Moon Water Stone” by Ensemble Jeng Yi

two Korean women in traditional costume, gold dresses, and decorated hair

below: Drummers, same venue as above.

drummers, performing, Church of the Redeemer, Nuit Blanche

below: ‘This Storm is You’ at the Ontario Science Centre, an installation by Zahra Saleki.   Photography on the walls and stories on the floor.

art installation for Nuit Blanche at the Ontario Science Centre, by Zahra Saleki called 'This Storm is You'.

below: Walk among the stories.  “Every story deserves to be lit.  Grab a sharpie and write yours.”

lit sign, large capital letters in pale blue, Every Story deserves to be lit. Grab a sharpie and write yours.

below: Smile!.. and a testament to the start of love.   Two of many lit stories.

white lanterns, rectangular, with tea lights in the bottom, scattered around the floor, people walking around them.

below: Saleki’s photos displayed here are abstract dance photographs in black and white.  Negative images and slowing the camera to produce the blur of motion.

black and white photo of a man leaning forward, finger pointed to ground, slow shutter speed, blurred motion,

four photographs on a black wall, by zahra Saleki, figures in motion

below: This is what you saw when you first got off the subway (is the SRT a subway?) at Scarborough Town Centre.  It’s part of the ‘The Things They Carried’ Babel series.  The motifs are similar to those on the installation at Yonge -Dundas Square, that oops, I don’t have a picture of.

installation of blue lights shining on fabric banners

below: At Scarborough Civic Centre, ‘Everything I Wanted to Tell You’ by Hiba Abdallah.  A series of words in lights projected onto several buildings.  The words changed every few seconds to tell a story or two.

two large signs at Scarborough Nuit Blanche, from the installation called Everything I wanted to tell you. Back lights say We worked so hard to make this place home

below: More of the words.  “People hold on so tightly to a specific narrative of this place”.

words projected onto the side of a building at Scarborough Civic Centre, part of Nuit Blanche installation, Everything I wanted to tell you by Hiba Abdallah

below: More projections at Scarborough Civic Centre.  Sorry, not sure which installation this is.

large projections on the concrete wall of Scarborough Civic Center

below: Scarborough Town Centre (mall) had a mountain of inflatable globes you could walk under, or just look at.  ‘Walk Among Worlds’ by Maximo Gonzalez

piles of inflatable globes are arranged at Scarborough Town Centre, people are walking around them and through a tunnel made of them

below: Weaving stories, ‘Interlacing’ by Community Arts Guild, at Scarborough Town Centre.

three people are taking their turn weaving coloured strips of fabric into a community weaving project

below: Watching a performance at the Scarborough Civic Centre.

people line the edge of a balcony to watch a performance below

below: Running through the lights.

woman runs past a white screen that is being lit with coloured lights, making her shadow coloured

below: Reflections, Aga Khan Museum

in front of the Aga Khan museum, a large white lit ball is reflected in the pool of water

below: more Aga Khan

Aga Khan at Nuit Blanche

below: Showing ‘Insomnia’, a video filmed in Tehran showing simply the view out his bedroom window, by Simin Keramati, Aga Khan Museum

a room in the Aga Khan that is showing a video made in Tehran, two people are sitting on stools as they watch it, orange carpet on the floor, old decorated bookcases against the walls.

side of the Aga Khan museum lit in bluish purple light

below: Trash at Yonge Dundas Square.  Nothing to do with Nuit Blanche, just an ordinary day’s worth of garbage.  It just happened to catch my eye as I was walking down the stairs to the subway.

clear plastic bags full of trash are pilled up against a clear wall at Yonge Dundas square

Ending with rubbish would be a weird way to end a post, so here’s another mannequin.  I saw lots of them that night too, unfazed by the activity around them, unmoved by the night’s events.

below: I’m out here every night.  Nice of you to finally notice….

bald white mannequin with dark sunglasses and very dark red lipstick, looking at the camera, wearing an orange and brown top with a collar, reflected red, ywllow, and green lights behind her.

 

two young women holding signs that say, Love Open Streets, prove it. #openstreetsto

Open Streets – the second, and final, Open Streets for 2018 was held last Sunday.   Large sections of Bloor and Yonge Streets downtown were closed to traffic leaving lots of room for cyclists, pedestrians and a number of activities.

below: Axe Capoeira

a man is flipping upside down in front of an audience on the sidewalk

below: Mayada’s Belly Dance at Yonge & Bloor

the intersection of Yonge and Bloor at Open Streets, belly dancers performing for an audience, Nordstroms Rack store in the background

below: And other dancing in the street too – or rather, a very active fitness session!

four young people dancing in the street, two male and two female.

below: It looks like animals can dance too… this dog seems to be having a great time!

people in life size animal costumes including heads, dance along in a fitness session on Yonge street during Open Streets

below: Little drummer boy on a fancy Home Depot drum set!

a young boy uses wooden drum sticks to bang on upturned orange plastic buckets from Home Depot, outside, activity at Open Streets

looking east on Bloor past the Royal Ontario Museum, no traffic, for Open Streets, some cyclists, tall buildings in the background

below: Decorating bikes and scooters

close up of hands decorating a scooter with flowers and foam shapes

below: Sharing a hammock in the middle of Yonge Street.

a young couple share a hammock strung between two trees on a diving strip own the middle of Yonge Street, their bikes are parked beside the hammock

a woman with flowers in hair in profile

below: Trumpet lessons

a man teaches a boy to blow a trombone, outdoors, activity on the sidewalk during Open Streets

a couple cycles together up Yonge street, on rented Bixi bikes, holding hands

below: Yoga in the park

doing yoga on grass laid down on the street, Bloor Street, temporary park for Open Streets

below: And for those who were looking for something less active…

a man has fallen asleep on the grass beside the OPen Streets Park sign,

below:  Yonge Street was also on the route of the 2018 Toronto AIDS walk

a policeman on a bike leads an AIDS walk up Yonge Street, people holding a banner follow him and then many people wearing red T-shirts

people wearing red T-shirts and carrying signs, walking in a walk to raise funds and awareness for AIDS, on Yonge Street.

below: A Lamborghini.  0 to 60 in how many seconds?

turquoise Lamburghini bike locked along with other bikes

two women sitting on the steps of a building having a discussion, a yellow bike is in the foreground

two women walk with their young children, strollers, down Yonge Street during OPen Streets, downtown Toronto in the background

While walking on Yonge Street on the day of the Pride Parade, I noticed that the St. Charles tavern clock tower was visible once more.  Also on that day, I heard someone ask the person beside them what the tower was.  The answer was something like, “I don’t know what it is but it looks interesting.”  I went back this weekend to take some pictures – not quite so many people in the way!

below: The St. Charles as it was back in the 1950’s.  It was built by Charles Hemstead who had made his money in real estate and horse breeding.  Hemstead sold it in 1958 but it continued as the St. Charles until 1987.

black and white photo from 1955 of the St. Charles Tavern and it's clock tower on YOnge Street

photo credit: 1955. Photo by James Salmon, originally found  at Toronto Public Library. I found it online at Toronto.com in an excellent article about  the history of the building and its role in the LGBQT community.

I have always associated the tower with the St. Charles Tavern but I now know that the tower pre-dates the St. Charles by many decades. It was built as part of Fire Hall Number 3 in the 1870s. Although the fire hall is long gone (it was replaced by the fire hall on Grosvenor Street in the 1920’s), the clock tower has survived several changes of ownership.  It is also going to survive the next change which, of course, is the building of a large glass and steel condo on the southwest corner of Yonge & Grosvenor.

below: The site has been cleared.  Looking south from Grosvenor.

construction site, downtown Toronto, clock tower of St. Charles tavern, tall condos, construction equipment

below: Looking north up Yonge Street towards Grosvenor.  The yellow scaffolding is holding up the brick facade of 480 and 482 Yonge Street.  It too will be incorporated into the new development.  Can you count how many new condos there are? Did you notice that the two clock faces say different times?

looking north up Yonge Street towards Grosvenor, clock tower still there, yellow scaffolding holding up the facade of an old brick building

The clock kept time until 1969.  It had been maintained by the city up until then.  Repairs and upkeep stopped when the city decided that the cost was too much.   Maybe it will function once again in the near future.

St. Charles tavern clock tower stands on a construction site as a woman on a bike cycles past

below: An archway has been built into the back of the clock tower.

close up of the lower part of clock tower, with archway that has been constructed at the back

looking up, condo towers and the clock tower from the St. Charles tavern

The weather’s been all over the place, warm, cold, hot, cold again, back and forth…. like May weather usually is.  We were fortunate to have great weather this past holiday Monday and a lot of people took advantage of the day!  As I walked around, this is some of what I saw.

a man stands and watches another man playing the drums outside on Yonge street, some other people standing around too

by the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square, a man dressed in orange hugs a man dressed in brown who is checking his phone after just taking a selfie

women and men standing outside the Eaton Centre on Yonge street

people crossing the street at an intersection, a woman in a pink top and white sweater is pushing a stroller with a fluffy small white dog in it, a man in a blue Jay t shirt, camo jacket and baseball hat, smoking a cigarette, is walking beside her

Graffiti alley, walking past an uber 5000 mural, a man and a woman with their backs to the camera. on the back of the man's camo coloured jacket are the words true freedom is being unknown

two women in the O of the 3D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips square in front of city hall, examining photos that they have taken on their phone

2 young men and 2 young women walking down Graffiti Alley

a woman in a purple dress is sitting on the sidewalk, patting the cat wearing the superman costume that is sitting on a box. other people standing around, corner of Yonge and Dundas

a girl and her mother playing in the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square, in front of city hall,

a woman in jeans and pink top poses in the doorway of one of the back doors in Graffiti Alley

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.

Is there anyone who doesn’t complain about driving in Toronto?
Does anyone have a solution that we can all agree on?
No.

Yesterday Toronto began an experiment on King Street. An experiment that CBC called a disaster on its first day.   This morning I went to check it out for myself.  It was mid-morning so there weren’t many cars.   Also, weekday drivers and Sunday drivers downtown are different.  On weekdays it’s the regulars who know the roads because they drive them all the time.   Does that make a difference? – I’m not sure.

below: At most intersections between Bathurst and Jarvis, traffic is not allowed to proceed straight through – you must turn right.  Streetcars and bicycles are the exceptions.  The traffic signals now have advanced green arrows to allow cars to turn right before the pedestrians cross the road.    Taxis are allowed to go through only between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.   You’ll notice that the left hand land has been painted with yellow stripes, i.e. no cars here!

white arrow painted on road directing traffic to turn right

below: Two more changes have appeared. First, the streetcar stops have been moved to after the intersection instead of before. Second, small barricades block the right hand lane after the intersection. These two changes have the effect of blocking cars who try to sneak through on King Street. If there is a streetcar, you’re stuck behind it. I did see a car try to pass a streetcar (on the left) but it was unsuccessful.

streetcar stopped to let on passengers, cars behind it on the street

Many cars were disobeying the new traffic signs, some out of confusion  and some blatantly flaunting the rules.   Cars would pull into the right turn lane but then go through the light anyhow.

below: I wasn’t the only ones watching the traffic.  Global TV was at King and Jarvis while CTV were stationed at King and Church.

Global TV car and truck parked on King street, street car about to pass them

below: CBC interviews people at King & Yonge as a black GMC goes through the intersection.

CBC reporter interviewing people on the sidewalk, traffic on King sreet, a black SUV making an illegal straight through the intersection,

below: The lighter traffic makes for easier illegal left turns!

a black car makes an illegal left turn at King and Church streets

below: Taking pictures of drivers doing illegal things was like shooting fish in a barrel. There were a couple of police cars around but so far there are few consequences to doing what you want. It’s early days yet, right? Apparently starting next week, the fine for illegally going straight through the intersection will be $100 and 2 demerit points.

traffic and street cars on King Street

I have one suggestion and that is to change the traffic lights so that the only green is a right turn arrow. The streetcars would have their own light – something like the ‘white line light’ that is used at King and Sumach as well as at Eglinton and Duplex. Having an ordinary green light is almost giving mixed signals to the drivers.

below:  Hey!  Mr. Bentley watch where you’re going!

two cars waiting for a red light. a white car and a grey Bentley, pedestrians crossing the intersection in front of them.

Take care out there!