Posts Tagged ‘empty’

two women holding cups of coffee walk across Victoria St. on Queen Street East

Just after I wrote the previous blog post about some of the buildings on Yonge Street that are in the middle of an area being redeveloped, I walked across Queen Street East.  I noticed that there were a lot of similar three storey buildings here to those around the corner on Yonge.  Toronto must have been a booming city in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when these stores and warehouses were built.

below: What I also noticed is how many of the storefronts are empty.   This is the northeast corner of Queen and Mutual.

the northeast corner of Queen street east and Mutual street, with an empty building on the corner.

What I don’t have is a photo of the northwest corner – it is about to be developed, or at least there is a plan to develop it, into a 29 storey glass tower.   Urban Toronto called this location, “a spot that currently feels disconnected from the rest of the City. ”  … maybe because the Moss Park neighbourhood is on the lower part of the socioeconomic spectrum?    Urban Toronto is a website that is, their words, “populated by the tastemakers, condo aficionados, buyers, builders and realtors”.   I try to stay neutral in the pro/con condo development argument but it irks me to read things like, “Redefining the urban experience” and variations thereof over and over and over again to describe mediocrity.

To be fair, this 88 Queen West project is redeveloping a parking lot.  Why is it a parking lot?  Because in the 1950’s a parking lot was more important that the buildings, including Cooke’s Presbyterian Church (1857), that originally stood there.   Perhaps we get what we deserve.

 

below: Richard Bigley (1853-1933) started off as a woodworker but soon switched to selling stoves. He sold the ‘Happy Thought’ line of stoves. He holds two US patents, one for a water heater and one for a sectional water heater. The building was converted into loft apartments, one loft per floor, back in the late 1990’s.

tall brick building, Richard Bigley 1876 written in white at the top (4 storeys), large glass windows in front, once an old store and warehouse, now a 3 loft apartments. 98 Queen Street East

below: Two views at the corner of Queen East and Jarvis.  You can just see the Moss Park Armoury building on the right side of this picture.  This Canadian Forces facility was built in 1960’s and it takes up a large chunk of land.  Development  rising in the north…

Queen and Jarvis intersection looking north to tall towers being built on Dundas
below: … and development rising in the west.

the intersection of Queen and Jarvis, looking northwest, with a foodora cyclist in pink in the intersection, traffic, street car, and in the distance, development on Yonge and westward, cranes, glass towers

large blue public parking sign, also a large box shaped sign on a tall pole. The sign is wearing out

below: At Ontario Street, the street sign says, Old Town Toronto.  In 1797 the city limits were moved north to Queen Street (then called Lot Street).  Ontario Street was one of the most easterly streets at that time.   And, oh yes, the city was still York.  It officially became Toronto in 1834.

toronto street sign for Ontario Street with the top part that says Old Town Toronto

below: Posters on a boarded up window – once it was a barber shop?  Posters on Queen East for events on Queen West.

posters on an empty building, exterior wall, bottom of wall has barber pole stripes painted on it.

below: A blue and white Development Notice. I still haven’t found out how many of these there are hanging around the city.  My best guess is ‘hundreds’.

blue and white city of toronto development notice sign on a chainlink fence in front of a vacant lot wehre cars and trucks are parked. For 245 to 285 Queen Street East, Bridgen Place and Richond.

At the risk of another anti-development rant, I just want to say a couple of things about the above photo.  The development here involves the closure of two public lanes, McFarrens Lane and Brigden Place.  There will be pedestrian access (public access on private land) between Queen and Richmond, between two large buildings with three towers built above them – 39, 39, and 49 storeys high.

From a City of Toronto report written in April 2016…”City Planning staff is not in support of the proposal in its current form, as the proposal not only represent over development, but also fails to recognize the existing built-form character and scale of the King-Parliament Secondary Plan Area by departing from the existing warehouse and main street typology where the site is located.”

I am not sure what the status of the project is at the moment, but the developer has a website for this project, Queen & Sherbourne, that describes it exactly as the original proposal – Three glass towers on two boring bland base buildings. It’s yet another development that looks flashy from above but is blah ick at street level.

below: The northwest corner of Queen and Sherbourne

northwest corner of Queen and Sherbourne, Moss Park variety store on the corner, three storey brick Victorian buildings, cars, people,
below: Bright and cheerful.

three storey victorian buildings includia Acadia Book Store, established 1931 and Seaton Butcher

below: 310 Queen East at the corner of Queen and Berkeley.

below: Moving slightly east to the corner of Queen and Parliament (NE).  That looks like a solid old bank building on the corner.

northeast corner of queen and parliament, old brick buildings,

flat roofed old brick buildings, with oriel windows on third floor, Ray's Discount Convenience and Supermarket on the ground floor. A bus shelter on the sidewalk, people waiting for the bus, building painted rust red colour,

below: 354 and 356 Queen Street East

two narrow three storey buildings squished in between two slightly larger buildings. On the ground floor of the building on the left is Redline Coffee and Espresso while Ryans Restaurant is on the right.

below: 380, 382, and 384 Queen Street West.

two storey store fronts on queen street east, 380 Queen, 382 Queen and 384 queen.

below:  Wherever you walk there is construction.  Some of it good, some of it poor.  That’s Toronto these days.

a man walks through a covered sidewalk, past a construction site and towards a bus shelter

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.

This is the story of one building at one intersection, Yonge and Belsize (just south of Eglinton) but it’s also a story that is being repeated over and over again in the city.  The story of demolition and rebuilding.  The story of loss of the older wood and brick structures as they are replaced by glass and steel.

By December 2016 all of the businesses had closed down.

row of two storey store fronts, old brick building, that is now empty and about to be demolished, on Yonge Street

Mars advert on Belsize convenience store, old brick building with large windows and blue window frame, snow banks on sidewalk, now empty

signs in the window of a store that has just closed down. one is a permit to demolish the building and the other is a hand written sign on orange paper that is a thank you note from the managers of the store to the public

below: The back of the building

back of a brick building, winter time, with snow on the ground, construction fence around it, windows boarded up

Just over a year later demolition began in earnest.

back upper storey of building being torn down, exposing office furniture that was abandoned

interiorwallson upper storey are exposedin building being demolished

a construction worker in heavy winter orange clothes and yellow helmet, holds a stop sign to stop the traffic on Yonge street in front of a building being demolished

workmen standing around beside a front end loader that is being used to tear down an old brick building

exterior of building being demolished, black door uperlevel with drop below

old metal water pipes exposed on green and blue interior wall when building being demolished

red plastic danger tape blows in the wind. one end is tied to a blue fence and one strand is also tied to a building being demolished

remains of an old building being torn down in the foreground, a front end loader in the middle, and apartment buildings in the background.

on old metal chair frame sitsin a room with a lot of wood debris around it

Relentless

Ubiquitous

These are two apt words to describe construction in Toronto, or to be more precise, the tearing down of  older houses and building smaller condo units or townhouses in their place.  We are experiencing the downsizing of living space as land values continue climbing upwards.

I drove past this Bayview Avenue house on the weekend and was intrigued by the look of it – a pale yellow,  once grand older house now sitting empty.   Many of the mature trees that were in its front yard have been cut down so the house is now easily visible from the street.  I went back to that section of Bayview Avenue with my camera yesterday morning.

older two storey house, pale yellow, with black and white trim and black front door, mature trees in the front yard.

There wasn’t much of a chain across the front yard so it was easy to walk up to the house.  It looks like the front door hasn’t been used in quite some time.   The window appears to have an old fashioned storm window on the outside although the shutters look more modern.   I’d love to know the history of the house (How old is it?  I suspect that it was built when this section of Bayview was still on the fringes of the city and before Bayview became 5 lanes wide but I don’t know for sure.)

front door of an older house, number 2450, pale yellow walls, white frames around door and window, black door, black shutters,

Right next door is this large bungalow:

large bungalow set back from the street behind a few pine trees, brown roof, stone facing on the exterior, large lawn,

Originally built as a family home, this became the Bayview Hebrew School of the Arts in 2008.  The school is relocating and the building now sits empty.

nonsdescript white double doors as front entranceway of a house, flagstone steps and porch are buckling as is the ashphalt walkway leading to the front door.

looking through the front window into an empty building, looking through the back windows to the yard beyond.

Just up the street was this house.  It looks empty but there was a recycling bin beside the garage and some curtains in the windows so I didn’t wander up to the front door…. even though I really like that red door!  There was no chain across the driveway, nor were there any “keep out” signs.   Neither of those things would stop me, but they are good indicators that no one lives there anymore.   Google street view of this address is from August 2015 and at that time there was a for sale sign on the property.

bungalow set back from the street, large front yard with uncut long grass and a few mature trees, also a low wood fence,

The above are the “going” half of the title of this blog post.  The “coming” are these doors under construction; they too are on this part of Bayview Avenue.   Side by side front doors with a concrete layer between them – two of a row of five townhouses.  One day (soon?) someone will be able to walk in their front door and go up a level or two, to floors that haven’t yet been built.

from the front, street view, two of a row of townhouses under construction, plywood exterior with holes where the doors and windows are going to be.

This is the development that caused an uproar a year ago when they illegally clear cut two lots – cutting down about 30 large trees including a linden tree that was close to 150 years old in the process.  According to the City of Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 813, Article III, conviction for cutting down a mature tree  results in a “minimum fine of $500.00 and a maximum fine of $100,000.00 per tree involved in an offense; a special supplementary fine of $100,000.00 is also possible.” (source).

In October 2016, Format Group (the developers involved) paid a fine of $155,064.  This amount includes $657.30 per tree to cover city inspection costs and $116,600 for the planting of 200 new trees — mostly at other sites.

The two lots will be developed into 11 3-storey townhouses and 4 single family houses.  All units have already sold.

a row of townhouses being built, the lower floors are framed with plywood, the upper storey hasn't been started yet.

Before I leave the area, there is something similar going on across the street.

tree with yellow caution tape in front of an empty lawn with empty house in the background

First – there is this empty house sitting on a corner lot at Bayview and Wilket.  This one property is the future home of seven 3-storey townhouses as well as one single detached house.   Does anyone want to do the math on the potential profit – one house for 8 units in a time where even a townhouse sells for more than a million.

driveway and entranceway of a brick house that is now empty

Second – this sign has also appeared nearby. When I checked their website I found this description: “Located in north Toronto, The Bridle Path is synonymous with prestige and exclusive luxury. Known for its spectacular homes and refined neighbourhood character, it’s no wonder that this is the place that Toronto’s discerning elite prefer to call home. Now, on Bayview Ave. in the heart of the Bridle Path neighbourhood, Kingsmen Group is excited to introduce a new luxury townhome community that embodies the very essence of refined prestige living. Register today for more information coming soon.”

There is so much wrong with that paragraph.  I wouldn’t call this part of Bayview a part of the Bridle Path neighbourhood; you might be able to make an argument that it’s on the fringes of said neighbourhood but that would be stretching it.  “Prestige” and “luxury” are words that are so overused that they are almost meaningless with respect to Toronto real estate.   It seems silly to compare a townhouse on Bayview with the homes on the Bridle Path but I guess that’s what sells.  Actually, you could probably sell them without such a comparison!

sign advertising new townhouse devlopment by kingsmen Group inc.

Oh dear, I want to call this a Thursday Doors post so I’d best call it quits here.  I’ve probably already strayed too far off topic!  For more information on the Thursday Doors project see here.

Last week I visited what remains of Mirvish Village, that stretch of Markham Street just south of Bloor Street next to Honest Ed’s store.  As most of you know, Honest Ed’s closed at the end of 2016.  All the stores and businesses in the first block of Markham Street have now closed too.  The buildings still remain although they are empty and a blue temporary fence now separates them from the sidewalk.   I am not sure if they are going to be demolished, or the facades retained, when that area is redeveloped in the near future.   I was interested in documenting what remains and/or what is going to disappear as Markham Street undergoes yet another transition in its long and storied life.

Some of the photos that I took were of doors.  For a few weeks now I have been following the blog My Life Lived Full .  Joanne (the author of said blog) participates in “Thursday Doors” which is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.  I like doors and have many photos of doors.  I’m not sure I’ll be a regular contributor to “Thursday Doors” but I thought that I would add my collection of Mirvish Village doors to this weeks feature.  The following door pics were either taken last week when everything was empty or on the last day of 2016 when businesses were winding down.

below: The upper level was a gallery.  The words ‘No Man’ are still on the door.

a pile of green chairs in front of the steps up to a pale blue building, lower level is painted yellow.

feench doors painted blue with a small blue picket fence in front, two white chairs upside down in front of the door

single door with large pane of glass, reflections in the glass, snow on the porch, a pigeon standing in the snow

below: This is one of the photos from the 31st of December. Tintin is no longer there.

the door of a book store, with a cut out of Tintin beside it and a drawing of a creature with 4 legs and 4 arms, the hands are all holding something

grey door, white porch, crooked grey steps

two doors on a brightly painted buidling. a flower is painted around the door, blue paint,

the doors at the entrance to the Apiecalyps Vegan restaurant, whose symbol is a raccoon. glass doors, steps down from street level to the entrance

below: Entrance to the Victory Cafe with the Christmas lights still wrapped around the post and a clipboard in one of the windows.

two purple doors side by side at the top of 6 stairs, on a red brick building

below: The back of one of the buildings on Markham Street.  This photo was taken from the parking lot behind Honest Eds.

grey metal door at the top of a steep staircase, back door, upper storey of a beige building with windows covered with stuff on the inside

below: Honest Ed’s exit onto Markham Street with its overlapping and out of date shopping hours sign over the door.

exit doors of Honest Eds store, 2 sets of glass double doors, red walls beside, store opening hours painted above the door. Galss is covered from the inside

Someone has redone the signs in Bathurst subway station….
now they look like they belong at Honest Eds store!

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - the direction sign to subway and to exits.

… and when I came up to street level I discovered that the station has been decorated with Honest Eds type ‘adverts’ complete with awful puns

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, Our prices aren't always good but they're fare

…. including word play based on subway station names such as “Turnstiles, now museum, soon you won’t”.  Groan.  Smile.

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station are two signs, one says Presto no more change-o and the other says Turnstiles now museum soon you won't

below: The main entrance to the station now looks like an Honest Eds window.

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, The window beside the main entrance has been covered with fake ads.

below: They aren’t too easy to read in this picture, but the two signs on the left are, first, “Bacon & Eglinton $3.25” and second, “There aren’t any snakes on our tracks, St. Patrick banished them”.   Were you expecting better?  [laughing]

sign maker from Honest Eds store has redone some of the signs in Bathurst subway station plus, he has added some Honest Ed type promo signs around the station - on the window of the station, exterior of station by streetcar and bus loop has four signs in the windows that are puns based on the names of TTC stations.

Nearby is the real Honest Ed’s store, a landmark for many years.  Eighteen months ago, I posted some pictures of the store and at the end of that post I mentioned that the store was scheduled to close at the end of 2016.  Well, the end of 2016 is drawing nigh and Honest Ed’s is slowly winding down.  The decorating of Bathurst Station is part of the good-bye process.

At the moment, the interior of the store is a shadow of its former self.  It is still in business but the goods are getting scarce.  There are definitely still bargains to be had.  I have a new hat that I bought there today, red polar fleece, that set me back 50 cents… plus tax.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a bin of lipstick and other makeup. Someone has written the word Riley in pink lipstick on the side of the bin

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. A bin of men's underwear for $4.99

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. The bedding section is being torn apart and dismantled

below: Ed Mirvish and a crowd of shoppers back in the day.
The picture still hangs in one of the many corners of the store.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. An old picture of Ed Mirvish surrounded by a crowd of people hangs on a wall above a Bell payphone.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a few shower curtains on display as well as some checkered tea towels. The rest of the shelves and wall space are empty

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. ladies underwear in a bin for sale, surrounded by empty bins and wall space, lots of mirrors. Yellow caution tape marks off a section of the store that is now closed.

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. a black and white photo of a young woman on a wall beside a convex mirror showing the stairwell. also an ad printed right on the mirror for bradasol lozenges

below: Photo taken from the walkway between the two buildings that make up Honest Ed’s store.  Looking south.

looking down at an icy alley where four people are walking between buildings, sign on building says Honest Eds Annex,

below: From the same vantage point, but looking north.  From here I spotted a new mural.

looking down on an alley, there is a mural along the side of one of the buildings.

below: The mural is a large scale photo montage of people passing by the Bloor Street windows of Honest Ed’s. It catches the reflections of both the window contents and the life on the street.  It is “The Theatre” and it is the creation of Matthew Monteith.

part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo
part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo

part of a mural in Honest Eds Alley by Matthew Monteith showing people walking past the windows of Honest Ed's store, large scale photo

interior of Honest Eds store as it gets ready to close down. an old man with a cane sits on the steps between two sections of the store

Behold, I give you the Tim Hortons cup.  Empty.

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - in the snow on top of a grey wood railing in front of a store. A street art painting of a man with outstretched hands is in the background.

Always fresh.  Toujours frais.
They even come in a number of handy sizes, usually small, medium, large, and extra large.

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - on a wooden horizontal beam on a grey wall below a large red door, industrial building
They are found all over town,  compositional elements splashed onto the urban canvas.

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - on top of a dark green barrel that is beside a lighter green barrel, in front of a red brick wall that has been partially painted grey

Some are carefully placed little art installations.  They certainly didn’t get there on their own!

an empty paper coffee cup from Tim Hortons that has been discarded - upside down on top of a metal pole that is about a meter high, in an alley, beside a gate

And others are willfully abandoned.   Often left on their own.  Alone.  Empty. Lidless.

a small red empty Tim Hortons coffee cup sits on the muddy ground outside the back entrance of an older grey brick apartment building

Sometimes they are found in groups.  Carried away and then forgotten.

a stolen shopping cart, black metal, sits on a piece of grass, beside the sidewalk, but behind a chained off driveway. In the top part of the cart are 4 TIm Hortons cups and in the bottom part, an empty coke can.

Sigh.  The Tims cup.  The omnipresent Tims cup.

One day I got tired of trying to decide whether or not to photoshop out a coffee cup that had been discarded on a sidewalk.  Maybe it would be better to take on a “if you can beat them, join them” attitude.  Instead of avoiding or removing cups, I should focus on them.  Make them part of the picture.  The redness of the coffee cups that Tim Hortons has been using recently adds to the appeal of making them the subject matter and not the subject of scorn and cause of exasperation.