Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

A trip to Toronto Islands on a sunny spring day.
Photos and stories – an eclectic mix of history and nature that resulted from wandering around the eastern portion of the islands.

below: From the ferry, looking toward the glass and steel of the city.

sail boats in Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, in front of the Toronto skyline with highrises and skyscrapers also ship moored at Redpath Sugar refinery

Toronto Islands is a collection of at least 12 small islands.  In the early years the island archipelago was really a peninsula of sandbars and ponds; it was connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sandy shoreline. This landform was created over centuries by the action of waves, winds and lake currents – washing away portions of the Scarborough Bluffs and depositing this material to the west in a five-mile-long hooked shape. This process of natural “landscaping” continued until the spring of 1858, when a particularly powerful hurricane created a channel four to five feet deep through the peninsula.  By June of that year, the Eastern Gap was a waterway, and the Toronto Islands came into being.

below: On the ferry between the city and Centre Island.

people lined up along the front railing of a ferry from Centre Island to the city of Toronto, looking at skyline and taking picture of it. Toronto is in the background.

The first buildings on the islands were the Blockhouse Bay garrison built in the 1794 by the British at Gibraltar Point – it included a blockhouse and storage structures.  A second blockhouse and a guard house were built soon after, only to be destroyed by the Americans in the Battle of York in April 1813.   The lighthouse at Gibraltar Point built in 1809 still stands (sorry, no photo).

In 1833 Michael O’Connor built a hotel on one the islands.  He used a horse-drawn boat to ferry customers across from the mainland to his hotel.  At that time, there was still access by road but it was a toll road.  In 1836 it cost sixpence for every four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses.  Smaller ‘vehicles’ paid less.   In 1858 the hotel (now Quinns Hotel) was destroyed during the same hurricane that turned the peninsula into an island.  The hotels were destroyed but the islands remained popular.  With no road access, ferries were needed and many people ran private ferry services until they were bought out or amalgamated into the Toronto Ferry Company in 1892.  It was privately owned until 1926 when it was purchased by the City of Toronto for $337,500.

ferry, ceiling is full of orange life jackets, railings along edge, Lake Ontario, benches to sit on but no people

blue abstract from two blue doors with cut out where handle should be

Many houses and businesses, (hotels, restaurants, bowling alley, laundry, theatre etc) were established over the years from Hanlon’s Point in the west to Wards Island in the east.   Today, residences are only in the eastern section of Wards Island and on Algonquin Island.

The Ward’s Island community began in the 1880s as a settlement of tents. Up until then, that eastern end of the islands was mostly wetlands.  The first summer colony on Ward’s in 1899 consisted of just eight tenants, each of whom had paid a fee of $10 rent for the season. The number of tents grew each year.  In 1913, the city felt it necessary to organize the community into streets. The evolution from tents to cottage structures progressed in stages with the building of floors, the addition of kitchens and then porches, resulting in the creation of the homes.

two houses on Wards Island, small wood housses, one bright blue and the other is white

grey wood siding on house with white door and small porch. Two yellow and metal chairs on the porch

In 1953 the municipal government changed their policy toward the Toronto Islands landscape and its residents. Businesses were removed and the systematic demolition and burning of homes began.  More of the islands became parkland.    There are 262 houses on Wards and Algonquin Islands today, down from about 630 residences on all the islands.  The last of the Lakeshore houses was removed in 1968 but traces of them still remain.

wood boardwalk along the foreground of the photo with a concrete path leading away from it, into an overgrown area

part of old concrete breakwater, once there was house here, number 170 embedded in the concrete

below: The pier on the Lake Ontario side.

metal fence in the foreground, beach, pier and Lake Ontario in the middle and background

below: Sandbags along the shore.  Last spring there was a lot of flooding here and the island was closed to visitors – sort of.  Ferries didn’t run and the park facilities were closed.  The islands are very flat and low so it doesn’t take much extra water to flood.

large white sandbags along the shore, beach on the other side, Lake Ontario in background with a row of rocks as breakwater a short distance from the shore, sign on the beach

sign fallen over and under water, surrounded by rocks, Lake Ontario

below: There is a small amusement park, Centreville, on Centre Island.

CN tower in the background, people on the Skyline ride at Centre Island passing over water, with large boats docked farther up the river

below: Island transport that can be rented if you don’t want to walk.

people cycling in 2 quadricycles, a four wheeled bicycle like vehicle, on paths,

the orange and white wall tile pattern of Pizza Pizza with a red bike parked in front of it.

below: Boats moored QCYC (Queen City Yacht Club), one of the three yacht clubs on the islands.

sailboats moored at a wood dock, QCYC

below: Sakura trees in bloom.   The trees were donated by the Sakura Project.  The aim of this project was to strengthen Japanese Canadian relations by planting cherry trees in visible locations across Ontario.   Between 2000 and 2012,  3,082 trees were planted at 58 locations.  The trees on Centre Island were planted in 2011.

path, sakura (cherry) trees on either side with their pink and white blossoms, other large trees around them with pale green of new leaves

below: Catkins from a red alder tree.  They almost look like raspberries packed tight together.

red fuzzy blossoms droop from the end of a tree branch

new yellowish green flowers on a tree, also leaf buds just opening,

ants in the bud on a tree

below: An early family of Canada geese.

family of Canada geese, 2 adults and 7 or 8 fluffy little goslings swimming in the water

below: The pier at the eastern end of Wards Island is bad need of repair.  To the right is the entry into the Eastern Channel (or Eastern Gap).

broken concrete pier into Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, with Toronto skyline and CN Tower in the distance

below: Looking over to Algonquin Island.  Once upon a time this island was just a sandbar.

waterway, orange life ring and ladder on one side of the river, houses and docks, and boats on the other. r

two people standing on the shore of Center Island, looking at the Toronto skyline and taking pictures of it.

and back to the mainland.

people exiting a ferry, from above

Yonge Street was quiet this morning

camera, and lights on tripods abeside Yonge Street, yellow police tape blocking the street, police car in the background, no traffic

 

In a small park near the SE corner of Yonge & Finch,

in many languages but with one voice,

a memorial wall to those who lost their life, or who were injured,

in yesterday’s tragedy.

 

white bristol board taped to a stone wall, condolences and other heartfelt messages written on them, flowers laid across the top of the wall

white bristol board taped to a stone wall, condolences and other heartfelt messages written on them, flowers laid across the top of the wall

white bristol board taped to a stone wall, condolences and other heartfelt messages written on them, flowers laid across the top of the memorial wall

white bristol board taped to a stone wall, concolences and other heartfelt messages written on them, flowers laid across the top of the wall , people, reporters, and photographers standing in front, a man is writing a message

a woman is writing condolences messages on bristol board that has been taped to a stone wall

There were many reporters with their cameramen at the site this morning.  It was rumoured that Mayor John Tory was coming.  I had an appointment, which is why I was in the area, so I couldn’t stay.  As it turned out, both Tory and Kathleen Wynne (Ontario Premier) paid the memorial wall a visit.

close up, from the top, of a group of hyacinth flowers, blues and purple tones

A few pictures of flowers from Allan Gardens Conservatory today. We all want spring. The warmth of spring…. and the colours of spring like the shades of blue and purple in the hyancinths above.

three pink and purple flowers, with orangish centers,

A few florals to warm your soul. Soon it will be spring and we can put away our winter layers.

inside Allan Gardens conservatory, tees, yellow flowers, red amarylis

two white orchids in bloom

graffiti words on a wall, black sharpie, Save us

It’s early April and we’re all tired of winter but it lingers on.   How are you coping?  Yes, you!

Cameron House mural on Queen Street West, woman in pink blouse is looking beyond the window to a man walking past.

below: Is this wishful thinking?  or maybe just a little too optimistic?

chalkboard sign on the sidewalk outside of a store on Queen Street West, sign says Spring is here

below: Spring is in the air?  They forgot the question mark.   Is the cat reacting to the disconnect between the sign and the reality? … or maybe  its expression is because it’s just realized that it’s sitting beside a book about Justin Trudeau?

sign in a store window that says spring is in the air. also some stuffed animals

These were the only signs of spring that I saw yesterday as I walked although I noticed that someone was trying to cheer things up.  Not sure how long these have been sitting outside.  They’re looking a little weather worn and grubby.  Hope may be wearing a bit thin?

small leafless shrub in the front yard of a house, small yellow fake flowers strung through the branches, the flowers are old and dirty.

below: Elsewhere yellow birdies were playing hockey.

two women are having their picture taken in front of Uber5000's mural about Toronto in the winter, little yellow birdies playing hockey.

Spring was elusive but what I did spot were a couple of stikmen that I don’t remember seeing before.   I also noticed more smiley hearts popping up in unexpected places again. First, some of the hearts…

smiley heart on pink wall with red spray paint lines around

pink smiley heart on a wall with lots of other colours, street art

small black line drawing of a heart on a metal pipe on a wall, pipe has been painted orange and red to blend in with a street art piece

below: Cool Woodstock makes an appearance too (a yellow birdie of a different kind).  I don’t think she’s too happy to have a bird sitting on her head.

street art on garages, a small yellow Woodstock cartoon character with black sunglasses, on top of a black drawing on white of a girl screaming, a little smiley heart and the word love is beside her ear.

below: The guitar player is now playing with heart.

part of mural of a guitar playing in shades of orange and red. A white piece of paper has been stuck on his chest, with a black smiley heart on it.

And the stikmen….

a broken stikman painted greyish blue on a greyish blue door where the paint is peeling and the wood is fraying

stikman on a white and blue wall

below: Instead of wooden, this stikman is a drawing in a frame.

picture of a green stikman in a little frame, on a wood gate, by a black and white stencil of a man's head

below: Is that a little orange head of a stikman in the bent frame?

….. and then back inside for some warmth!

interior of a coffee shop, people sitting at tables, people sitting on the bar by the window, a TTC streetcar is outside, passing by

I  will leave you with one last look at a window full of yellow chicks and Easter bunnies, hope for spring (Hope springs eternal? Hopes of spring are eternal?).

looking into a store window, that is decorated with little bunnies in Easter clothing, with little yellow chicks and paper flowers

The other day I headed towards Dupont and Dundas West because I heard about a mural that I didn’t recall having seen.  Here it is … and more.

below: The most westerly part of the mural is on the north side of Dundas West where Old Weston Road and Annette Street meet.

mural on a wall beside a busy street

mural with a bird, chicakdee or sparrow beside a large orange tiger lily

mural, large painting of a tiger lily and a sparrow

 

It continues along the side of the railway underpass on Dupont (it’s a confusing tangle of streets here!)

car stopped in traffic under railway bridge, driver is looking at the mural that is painted under the underpass

….and on the stairwell up to the West Toronto Railpath.

part of a mural, a robin and an orange rose, outside, beside a staircase

colourful mural outside beside a staircase, large flowers and leaves including an orange maple leaf

It was a gorgeous day so I walked around a bit more, of course!

below: On Dundas West

street art of a young person writing on the wall with red letters that say it's just a phase

below: A row of houses with wonderful facades.  You don’t many like that anymore! .. at least not on houses.

older two storey row houses with facades that extend above the roof line,

below: These fooled me at first.  Interesting black and white photos looking grubby and worn… with a small McDonalds logo on the bottom right.   The photo on the bottom left also has a few words in small print that give away the fact this is a McDonalds promotion.  I don’t think I’ve seen any like these elsewhere – or have I missed something?

4 large black and white photos of people eating hamburgers, that is actually a mcdonalds ad

below: The large black metal staircase at the end of the footbridge over the tracks at Wallace Ave are gone.  The replacement stairs are dull and bland.  This change was meant to accommodate new development on Wallace.

new stairs at the end of a footbridge over the train tracks at Wallace street in Toronto, beside the West Toronto Railpath

below: Railpath window reflections.

reflections of the sky in a window

below: Also on the West Toronto Railpath, someone has hung this colourful ‘curtain’ on the fence in order to add a splash of colour to a sitting area.  Once upon a time there were more chairs here.  And a table if I remember correctly.

fabric hanging from a rope beside a footpath, large green cylinder stoarge unit behind it.

below: One of two chalkboards installed by crazydames where people have written notes to cyclists imploring them to slow down and use their bells.  I totally agree!  Just before I came upon this, a man on an electric bike came up behind me, silently and fast.

large chalkboard on an orange brick wall with notes to tell cyclists to slow down and ring their bells.

below: This little gnome still stands by the entrance to a convenience store.  This guarden gnome has been here (Bloor West) for a few years.

a small gnome painted on the wall beside a door to a convenience store. The door is open and people are walking past

below: Reduce, reuse, recycle – here the R used is reuse.   Truck and tractor parts and other bits and pieces craftily arranged and put to use on the outside of the Farmhouse Tavern.  It should look better in a couple of months!

planters on an exterior wall, made of truck and tractor parts

below: A fairy in a garden of mushrooms.

a mural of a fairy, woman, with wings, holding something in her hand and looking upwards, in a garden with large mushrooms,

graffiti on a black wall, white bird like head on pick square

One last look at part of that mural!

mural with flowers, shadows in front

part of a mural, large light purple flower with yellow center and dark pink at inner most part of petals

 

big bright pink flowers, mural on a garage door by Blazeworks
above: Bright pink flowers by Blazeworks

I shared David French Lane with some garbage men, a bright green truck, and a lot of smelly garbage the other day. Luckily there were lots of murals to distract me from the smell!

a green GFL garbage truck in a lane as men pick up garbage on garbage day

below: The north end of David French Lane is at Barbara Barrett Lane, immediately south of Bloor.  Here, elicser painted a mural in his characteristic style that I have already blogged about.   It is also where there is a mural of a blue and white train.  I didn’t take any photos of it this time because it isn’t new and it wasn’t part of the Wall Expressions project.

corner where two alleys meet, a green P parking lot and a building with murals on two sides.

Quite a few of the garages in David French Lane had been painted sometime in the past.  Many had been tagged over or were in need of updating.  The ‘Wall Expressions – You are Here’ project provided the lane with a fresh coat of paint back in mid-September.

below: A large TTC bus drives into the alley by dudeman, surrounded by skulls of many colours.

a mural by dudeman, TTX bus, spadina sign, and lots of different coloured skulls

‘You are Here’ was the result of a collaboration between StreetARToronto, the Tranzac Club, the local community, and last but not least Team Spudbomb who organized the artists who participated.

below: More colours here too – lots of movement and energy too.   Mural painted by Chris Perez.

a garage covered with colour splotches

below: Almost didn’t get this shot – the garage door started opening as I stood there.  A geometric abstract mural by Andre Kan.   It reminds me of the chaos of roads in the city

geometric abstract mural in browns and red and blues, by andre

below: Another geometric design – this time by mediah.

geometric abstract mural in browns and greys, by mediah,

below: whales by wales, swimming in the lane

large mural with marine life theme, whale, blue background for water,

a row of garages with the doors painted with murals, garbage ready for pick up in front of them, in a lane, large tree too

below: Midtown cinema by ACK

mural on a garage, red and light brown text on the botto, grey tones picture of midtown cinema on the top part

below: A portrait of Ed Mirvish holding an iconic Honest Eds sign, painted by spud.

street art portrait of David Mirvish holding iconic Honest Eds signs

garage with two sides painted in street art, lane, backs of houses, no leaves on tree,

sides and front of garage with street art on them

below: Mural by fly vandals

mural on side of building, purple,

mural on garage

below: An apt phrase – ‘Be Here Now’ beside a fence of spudbombs.

a garage door with the words Be Here Now beside a fence painted with spud bombs, hand grenade shaped characters with eyes and smiling mouths

Sunny September days make good walking in the alleys days.   Here are some of the walls I saw and the compositions that they make.  The textures of wood and metal, bright colours as well as subdued ones, the effects of light and shadow, as well as shapes and patterns – these are some of the things that catch my eye and make me stop.  Throw a little nature into the mix and the following photos are the result.

part of an old wood door that is part dark turquoise and part blue, with a rusted latch holding the two doors together and closed

a vine with two red leaves hangs in front of a grey wall, sunny day so there are shadows on the wall fromother plants that aren't in the picture

three small windows in a wall, the top part of the wall is brick and the bottom is plaster that has been painted white

old rusty downspout with part of a wire coat hanger wrapped around ut, in front of a grey shingle covered wall that has been partially covered with purple spray paint

trunks of three trees growing in front of an old white building with a green door. windows in door are covered with plywod and a piece of plywood is nailed over parts of the lower half of the doors to keep them closed.

a bashed up grey metal door with splotches of light and shadow

part of a bright red double metal door in a brick building

a bright turquoise door in a building that has been painted white - some of the old brick shows throw the peeling paint.

part of a brick wall that has old windows bricked over in a different brick, an old window with old wood frame, unpainted, some graffiti on the wall

corrugated plastic panels on angle in front of concrete block wall with window covered with plywood

white drips of paint on a wood garage door, metal door handle

chainlink fence in front of rows of construction equipment

a grey plaster attempt to patch a broken rusted metal panel on the side of a garage - rust in shades of yellow and brown, a painted green stripe

red, white, and blue spray paint on three wood slats of a fence, tied together with string, some nails sticking out

paste up of a man's face over a wood door, door and wall have blue and red splotchy spray paint on them