Posts Tagged ‘downtown’

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!

people walking past a window, dark outside, reflections of the traffic in the window

It was a rainy commute home for many people last night.  Not too miserable though, just enough drizzle to bring out a few umbrellas and create some wonderful reflections to play with.

woman with umbrella in the foreground, traffic on a rainy night in the background

two white cars in front of a stopped streetcar, 514 Cherry, new streetcar, in front of the Elephant and Castle bar on King Street, people sitting on the streetcar are visible, dark outside, wet and rainy evening

city street on a rainy night, pedestrians on the sidewalk, traffic, trees with autumn foilage, dark blue sky, lights in highrises

lights reflecting on a wet street, crosswalk

There are always options….
and sometimes they are polar opposites.

a yellow construction fence in front of a stairs between two buildings, two signs on the fence, both are green arrows but they point in opposite directions.

Also, plans are made for changing.

I was going to go to Brookfield Place to see the World Press Photo exhibit – a good activity for a grey and wet day.  Just before I left, the rain stopped so I switched plans and turned the outing into a walk.   There was a protest in the afternoon at Queens Park, a march against white supremacy.  I knew that I probably missed it (it would have been wet!) but I went in that direction just in case there were still some remnants.  But all was quiet and the people were long gone.   So I wandered on.

below: In front of St. Regis College, a sculpture called ‘Homeless Jesus’ by Timothy Schmalz.  In memory of Joseph and Mary Benninger.

a sculpture of a cloth covered person sleeping on a bench, in front of a large window, with a white bench nearby

There is a small park at the corner of Bay and Wellesley with trees, water, and sculptures.

a small waterfall, over rocks, between two concrete fence around grassy areas, trees, small park

below: ‘The Three Graces’, 1971  by Gerald Gladstone (1929-2005).  Part of the Governement of Ontario Art Collection.

a fountain sculpture called Three Graces, in a circle, surrounded by a shallow pool of water

below: ‘Hunter With Seal’ c. 1966-1968.  Sculpted in Canadian black granite by Louis Temporale after a soapstone carving by Paulosie Kanayook.

stone sculpture of an Eskimo hunter with a seal, on a short stone wall, trees behind

below:  Workers in stone – surveyors, men with shovels and picks and wheelbarrows, and a scientist with a microscope.  Part of the artwork above the door of the old Stock Exchange Building on Bay street.

relief sculpture across the top of the door of the old Stock Exchange Building on Bay street, scenes of people working

below: At one point the sun even came out – shining on the almost blank west wall of Commerce Court North.   This 34 storey building was built in 1931 and at the time it was the tallest building in the British Empire and remained so until 1962.

large mostly black stone wall of a building with a large shadow, flowers in planters at the bottom as well as three people walking past

below: When the site was redeveloped in the 1970’s, Commerce Court North was preserved.  It is now surrounded by glass and steel high rises.

two people walk across a courtyard behind an old stone building that is surrounded by newer glass and steel high rises.

below:  The mama and baby elephants that stand behind Commerce Court are under wraps.  I could say something about going into hibernation for the winter but I think that they are in the midst of being renovated.

a sculpture in a public square is covered by grey plastic

below: Just down the street,  one of Toronto’s early skyscrapers is celebrating its 50th anniversary.      The black towers of the Toronto-Dominion Centre are icons of the Toronto cityscape.    They were designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.    The 56 storey Toronto Dominion Bank Building was completed in 1967.  Two years later the adjacent 46 storey Royal Trust Tower was finished.   The buildings are steel structures and are clad with bronze-coloured glass and black painted steel.

reflections in the black Commerce Court buildings, with a Canadian flag flying in front of the building.

below: Rocks? Large balls of wood? Plastic made to look like something else? They were inside and I was outside so I didn’t get a close up look.

three rock-like sculptures inside a window

In case you’re wondering, I did get to Brookfield Place.

glass ceiling of the Alan Lambert Galleria in Brookfield place with the world press photo exhibit underway, people looking at the posters

below: Photo is the winning photo in the people category, ‘What ISIS Left Behind’ by Magnus Wennman.  It shows a girl,  Maha age 5, at Debaga Refugee Center.

part of a world press photo display at Brookfield Place, with a picture of sick young girl, in the background, people are sitting in a cafe

below: Center photo is by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken and it was taken at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest at Lake Oahe at Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

photos at an exhibition at Brookfield Place (Alan Lambert Galleria), of portest of Dakota Access Pipeline, by Canadian photographer Amber Bracken

below:  Four coloured photos by Peter Bauza.   Third prize in the Contemporary Issues category – a series of pictures taken in the Jambalaya neighbourhood in western Rio de Janeiro where people squat in derelict apartment blocks that lack basic infrastructure.

display of photos in front of a store with a male mannequin dressed for fall, also a woman on the other side looking at the pictures

 

newspaper boxes in different colours in front of a large window of the BMO building, a city scape is etched into the window. Some reflections in the window too

 

 

Yesterday I was out near Dundas West and Dufferin to visit an art gallery, the Stephen Bulger Gallery, as they have a showing of photos of the Union Station renovation by Larry Towell.  I don’t have any photos from that exhibit, but it is on for another week if you’re interested.

a woman is looking at clothes on a rack that are for sale outside a store, chalk board syas You Babe, other people on the sidewalk, store in background is Elite Plumbing and Heating

Instead, I have photos from the walk that I took afterwards.  I started walking west on Dundas and south on Dufferin, looking for interesting doors, windows, and stores.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Of course, I was distracted (alleys!) along the way (graffiti!) but I have tried to stick to the architectural shots for this post.  Sort of.  In no particular order….

below: There was a car parked in front of this building so I cropped off the bottom.  The optical illusion covered the whole front of the building.  It’s definitely unique!

the front exterior wall of a building is decorated with a painting of 3D cubes arranged in an optical illusion

below: Two people walk past a forest of trees and shrubs.

lower part of a brick building has been covered with a mural that is orange background, and cut out (wood) flat green trees in various shapes. A real tree grows in front of it, a metal traffic box is painted with a scene of two people walking with the same orange background

below: Lisboa Hardware and Building Supplies with many household items on display outside – including barbecues, watering cans, and carpets. Old paintings linger on the tile wall.

The entrance to the Lisboa Hardware and building supply store with lots of household merchandise outside

below: A blue bike is parked in front of the french doors of the Black Dice Cafe.

a blue bike is parked outside the glass windows and door of the black dice cafe

below: A very typical two storey house in this part of Toronto.  This was the predominate style of architecture of residential buildings at a certain time – late 1800’s and early 1900’s I think (and maybe longer?).    I like the Canadian flag in the window and the new tree in the tiny front yard.

a girl on a bike rides past the entrance to an alley. Behind her is a two storey house in tan coloured siding, with darker tan trim, bay window, Canadian flad in the doorway,

below: On Dufferin Street, an increasingly common scene as glass towers pop up all over the city.  The west side of Dufferin Street, just north of Queen.

In the background, two large high rise buildings, modern, in the foreground, a row of older two storey houses

below: A similar scene on a smaller street nearby.

a row of two storey houses on a small street with a two aprtment blocks behind them.

below: Distractions in an alley – this one was a dead end (with the dead end behind me).  One of the disadvantages of having your garage in an alley like this is that getting your lawn mower from the garage to the yard involves a bit of a walk.    But look at all those doors and windows in buildings that look like they’ve been painted from the same palate.

a man walks a lawn mower down a short alley, garage doors on both sides of him as well as in front of him, back of houses behind the garages and taller apartment buildings behind that.

below: Another alley with a different character.  An open door covered with graffiti, balconies above the garages, and what is that?  – a TTC pole at the top of the stairs?

view down an alley,

below: The entranceway of an older brick low-rise apartment building on St. Clarens Ave.

The entrance to a three storey apartment building, with wood railings on fake balconies and some brick work too

below: Another distraction!  A crochet bombed pole beside a bright pink wall.

a utility pole is wrapped in crocheted squares in many colours, the house beside the pole is bright pink

below: I happened upon this cute little free library too –    so cute and whimsical with its big eyes keeping watch.   There has been some controversy about these in Toronto recently.  One owner of little library was ticketed for violating a city bylaw that disallows structures on a person’s property within 3.5 metres of a sidewalk.  It was ordered removed within 14 days or a $100 fine would be levied.   Yesterday City Hall decided not to pursue this.

a little free library in front of a green coloured house. Inside the window of the library are two large googly eyes

below: Nearby was another little free library with a little latched door.  It seems that here you can also pick up a pair of shoes along with a book!

white box on stilts, a little free library, trees and shrubs around it, a pair of shoes on the sidewalk in front of it.

below:  Did I find Toronto’s smallest house?

a car is parked in front of a very small one storey house that is between two large and taller houses,

below: Somewhere in the jungle is a front door or two!  A shared sidewalk to squabble over in the winter – who gets to shovel it.

two overgrown front yards with a sidewalk down the middle, a semi divided brick house in the background.

below:   Gates.  I’ve never understood the reason for little gates like these.  Back in their youth they probably looked quite trim and proper.  Now they are sagging and rusted and showing their age; perhaps that’s a reflection of their owners?  Not a complaint – a rusted gate has great photographic potential.

a fence across the front of two houses, each with their own sidewalk and gate.

 

below: Fire damage that is now being repaired.  The neighbours seem to have built a thriving shrine (good luck charm?, religious offering?  is there a name for these?) beside their front door.

A row of houses where one is damaged from a recent fire.  Burned front door.  Windows have been boarded over, a skip for garbage isin front, workmen on the site

below: We have our share of ugly doors on ugly walls.

two white doors side by side on a dirty concrete block wall that someone has written the words In Toronto it's okay to hate transvestites

below: Have a seat

two grey wicker chairs in front of two adjacent white doors on a concrete wall. the building beside is orange

below:  On Dufferin Street between Dundas and Queen – Once upon a time this house was totally decorated in pink and white.  Some of it remains – the arch in front of the door as well as the fence at the side of the house.  Now it is bigger, squarer, and uglier.   Even the grominator graffiti on the wall can’t overcome the ‘boringness’ of the renovated structure.

sqaure two storey brick house under renovation, with pink and white metal fence around it. a grominator graffiti on the side

below: I don’t want to end this post on an ugly note, so here’s a cheerful bright yellow door!

yellow door on a rust house

The facelift of Berczy Park has been completed and although the park only reopened a short time ago, it has already become a popular spot.

a photographer is taking engagement pictures of an Asian young couple as they sit on the edge of the fountain at Berczy park. The fountain features sculptures of dogs that spout water into the fountain. A young boy is also sitting on the edge of the fountain. He is looking forlornly at the photographer, looks like he's feeling left out.

The highlight of the park is the refurbished fountain.  Sculptures of dogs big and small spout water into the fountain – or maybe they’re drinking from the fountain?  There is one cat that sits quietly on the base of the sculpture seemingly unaware of the canine antics.

the new fountain in Berczy park, many sculptures of dogs that are spouting water into the fountain

Three boys playing with the water spouting out of a dog's (sculpture) mouth and into a fountain. One is spraying the other while a third watches

two little kids playing in a fountain, a young girl and a young boy. The boy is spraying water while the girl watches

Besides the fountain, there is new landscaping, trees, plants, and benches.

mural of windows and facadde on the back of the flatiron building with the redesigned Berczy park planting and benched in front of it

This sculpture was a feature of the original park but it’s been moved to a different location.   It is the work of Almuth Lukenhaus-Lackey.

sculpture of a family - father, mother and child in a park, with new garden plantings around it, hostas mostly

The plaque by this sculpture says “This sculpture was donated by the Electrical Society of Mecklenburg Upper Canada Inc., with the financial assistance of The Consumers’ Gas Company Limited and the The Council of Metropolitan Toronto, in memory of Johan Albrecht Ulrich Moll, better known as William Berczy, born December 10, 1744 in Wallerstein Germany. He was co-founder of York (Toronto) in 1794 when John Graves Simcoe was Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. His younger son, Charles Albert Berczy, was the first president of The Consumers’ Gas Company, from 1847 to 1856, and Postmaster of Toronto. His older son, William Bent Berczy was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada and like his father and mother, a gifted painter.”

I only spent a short time at the park on the weekend but I’m sure that I’ll be back!

The water levels in Lake Ontario are higher than normal this spring – some beaches are under water and a large percent of the Toronto Islands are flooded.  In front of the Power Plant Art Gallery the water level is even with with the concrete walkway… but not high enough to deter people from enjoying the waterfront this past weekend.

a young couple sits by the waterfront, on a stone bench. He has his arm around her. There is yellow caution tape behind them because the water level in Lake Ontario is high.

It seems appropriate that the artwork on the exterior wall (facing the lake) of the Power Plant features an image of water – white crested waves on a large lake.  The piece is “Bound, Hupfield 2017” by Maria Hupfield; it is 19 feet high and 31 feet wide.   The central image is a seascape painted by the artist’s mother, Peggy Miller, many years ago.  It is being wrapped (unwrapped?) with grey felt-like material.
Is it a treasured artwork that is being readied for storage?
Is it a painful memory that is being covered up to be forgotten?
Is it a family heirloom that is being brought out for someone to admire?

a large art installation on the south exterior wall of the Power Plant contemporary art gallery, with a small tree in front of it.

a girl sits on the rail between the walkway on the waterfront and the water while she reaches a hand out towards a duck. Her mother and younger sister watch.

a mother crouches down beside a young child who is wearing a helmet and is on a scooter, the mother is waving at the Kajama as it docks, the Kajama is a boat with sails that gives tourists rides on Lake Ontario

If you are interested in more information about Maria Hupfield, check the CONTACT website.

“Objects contain meanings beyond their materiality, meanings that we bring to them or receive from them. Objects are the result of an action, entail a trace of a human gesture, and trigger reactions and memories. They have the potential to be read collectively or personally. In her artistic practice, Maria Hupfield reveals the interrelational potential triggered by objects between humans or cultural environments.”

Early Saturday morning was cold but beautiful –
brilliant blue overhead with the sun still low in the sky.

below: Striped grass

low sun rays shining through a fence made of vertical metal bars, so that the shadows on the grass make the grass looked striped

below:  This is the Bell building from the Simcoe Street side.  The blue glass, vertical lines in the concrete, blue sky and strong tree shapes made for an interesting few minutes while I experimented with different angles and views.

looking up a building with strong vertical lines made by concrete shapes on theglass is reflecting strong blue colour exterior of the building,

looking up a building with strong vertical lines made by concrete shapes on theglass is reflecting strong blue colour

below: The ghostly look of reflected light

light reflecting off a glass building and landing on a black wall on the building beside it

looking up a tall building that is black on the exterior and has light reflected from a glass building beside it.

below: A single pole and its shadow, alone on a wall.

sun shining on a wall, one post with a sign on it is in the picture, along with its shadow

sun shining on a wall, one post with a sign on it is in the picture, along with its shadow

below: Three reflected windows reserved for the president.

beige wall with greenish covering over a window, light reflected from the building beside it makes it look like a row of windows along the wall

below: A half house, a fun find.  Once this was a semi-divided house where the shared wall created the peak at the front of the house.  With its partner gone, the remaining house looks incomplete.

a semi divided house, where the house on one side has been demolished leaving half a peaked roof.

below:  A tree in silhouette seems to dance in front of the other buildings.

tree in silhouette in the foreground, buildings in light in the background,also blue sky

below: Phantom balconies, mirages on the concrete.

light reflecting from balconies along with shadows make phantom balconies on the building beside it