Posts Tagged ‘downtown’

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 6 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!

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