Posts Tagged ‘garden’

It’s early November and autumn is here – I think.   Some leaves, like on the locust and maple trees below, have turned colours and begun to fall but others remain green and on the tree.  After the warm than usual October that we were fortunate to have, the weather has turned to grey and damp and all too seasonally November.   Luckily, a heavier coat and a scarf is all that is required – so off we go!

autumn street scene with locust tree with yellow leaves, sidewalk, some dead leaves on the ground, grass still green, orange leaves on the tree in the background

below: I spotted these little rusted Coke and Sprite signs on a house on Christie street.   Like the autumn leaves, the weather has changed their colours and I especially like the pale turquoise that the Sprite bottle has become.  It nicely matches the trim on the neighbour’s house.

three old rusted advertising signs for coca cola and sprite, metal signs, upper level of a building

below: Another example of the effects of time on metal.  A little less rust here but there are some interesting shapes and forms created by the peeling paint.

metal corrugated metal wall, close up detail of peeling green paint and rust

below: Looking into a shop window to see a sad and lonely cat.  Sad eyes?  or are they eyes of a cat dreaming of the outside world and wishing it wasn’t relegated to a shelf of old and empty things.

looking into a window of an antique store, a porcelain cat, sitting upright, with sad look on its face, on a shelf with empty bottles and jugs

below: More old, but certainly not sad.   It’s a bright, shiny and obviously well-loved Chrysler.

an old orangish brown Chrysler car parked in a driveway, front facing the street,

below: Advice to heed.

red words painted on the side of a white building in an alley, words say - When you love someone, let them know

below: No wise words here – just scrawls and tags.  But isn’t the orange a fantastic colour for a wall?

orange stucco wall with graffiti on it.

below: Tiny! A teensie tiny little house with a lawn that’s sparse but neatly kept.  Once you start looking for these little treasures, you realize that there are quite a few of them in Toronto.  I wonder if anyone has documented them?

very small one storey house between two large houses, green lawns, sidewalk in front,

Warning – tangent ahead!  This reminds of a children’s story called “Benjamin Budge and Barnaby Ball” written by Florence Heide Parry.  It’s a story of two men living in two different houses.  Benjamin was a very big man living in a very small house while Barnaby was a very small man living in a big house.  The illustrations of Benjamin squeezing into his mini sized house were wonderful (by Sally Matthews).  Of course, to live happily ever after the two men trade houses.

“Benjamin Budge was a great big man,
A great big huge TREMENDOUS man,
But his tiny house was so very small,
There wasn’t room for him at all!”

below: Benjamin Budge sleeps ‘in’ his bedillustration by Sally Matthews of a picture of a large man sleeping half on the floor and half on his tiny bed in his tiny bedroom. From the children's book Benjamin Budge and Barnaby Small

below: Veering back to the subject of architecture… this style of apartment building was very common in the 1920’s.  Three storeys, no elevator and probably no parking but with charming little details in the brickwork.  If I remember correctly, this building is on Bathurst street just south of Dupont.

three storey brick apartment building with central white door entranceway

Little vegetable gardens in both back and front yards are very numerous here, probably because of the combination of the large number of Italian and Portuguese immigrants who settled here and the popularity of ‘urban farming’ – veggies instead of grass. Being November, there were only a few remnants of this year’s harvest – a few tomato plants here and some Swiss chard there.

below: One back yard still has all its wooden stakes standing on guard. A forest of stakes.

chain link fence in front of a large number of wooden stakes that were used in a vegetable garden earlier in the season, but now autumn so there are no plants

below: Another way to garden in the city!

patio outside a house is covered with plastics bins of different kinds, all of which have been turned into planters, autumn now so plants no longer alive but boxes and coolers and bins remain.

below: Xena the warrior princess still watches over Vermont Avenue. She’s faded a bit since I last took her picture two years ago. You can see her (and others) in Neighbourhood watch good guys that I posted in 2015.

altered neighbourhood watch sign, with a picture in the center,

 There are lots of lanes and alleys in Seaton village (this part of the city).   One of last year’s blog posts ‘same, same, but different‘ is about some of the lanes.  There is some street art in these alleys but not too much – here are a couple from yesterday’s visit.

below: Art follows life or is it vice verse?

red leaves on a vine growing in front of a white fence that had a mural of birdhouse and plants and flowers painted on it.

below: Flowers? Or just smudges on a pole?

smudges on a metal pole that look a bit like flowers

below: Playing basketball beside Toronto – a rather lopsided photo I’m afraid.

basketball hoop above a garage door that has a large map of Toronto, in blue and green painted on it.

white garage door with some of the rectangles painted in turquoise, orange and purple, with swirls under the rectanagles that look like G's

semi circle covering bottom half of garage door, looks like bald head with a few curly hairs growing upwards from the scalp

mural on an exterior wall outside Kos restaurant on Bathurst Street, the mural is in the front of the restaurant by the patio, no one sitting outside, blue umbrellas are down.

below: Herringbone pattern made from bricks.

chevron pattern (herring bone pattern) of bricks on a driveway, some autumn leaves on the bricks

below: A rather forlorn looking bench and seat outside the laundromat.

front of a laundromat. blue sign that says coin laundry, an old bench and an old chair sitting outside by the front door. two windows through which you can see the washing machines

below: A newspaper rack decorated with a garland of fake ivy.  Insert fake news reference here ….

a newspaper rack outside a corner convenience store, the newspapers (there aren't many) are held down with bricks, the rack is decorated with a fake ivy garland

an old chair on a porch, side view.

looking through a park to a street with a blue house and a red house, cars parked in front, autumn leaves,

below: Today I’m going to end on a dangerous note.  Keep walking and Stay safe!

construction site with a danger due to sign that has been altered to say danger due to life

a variety store on a corner of 2 streets in a mostly residential area. Green awning on one side of the building, an orange umbrella stands over the corner. sign on store says Sunshine Variety.

So excited!  So happy to be able to walk on the sunny side of the street and not be struck down by heat stroke!

below: You could say that we’re walking on cloud nine at the change of weather.

metal cutout figures of people walking, alongside a chainlink fence as part of an art installation

This past Sunday was a great day for a walk.  Luckily, it was also the day that Penny (author of ‘Walking Woman’ blog) and I had set aside to explore westward from Christie subway station.   Actually, we were going elephant hunting.  Well, it started off as an elephant hunt, but it turned into a treasure hunt – a treasure trove of Toronto quirkiness.

shadows of a railing along the side of a street with no sidewalk, just narrow space between the fence and the kerb, green bike lane. At the top of the photo is a shadow of a pedestrian walking, backpack on.

Eureka! As it turns out, it was also a great day for elephants to hang around outside.  This is Sally, a lifesize fiberglass elephant that stands nearly 3 metres tall.  She’s been standing here since 2003 and despite a little crack at the top of her trunk, she’s looking pretty good for her age.

a large white plaster? elephant stands in the frontyard of a house, tree beside it, bikes parked behind it. Residential street.

It was also a good day for gorillas to sit in trees.  A shout out to the man who was standing under this tree talking on his phone, oblivious to this furry creature above him.  The same man who gave me a strange look when I walked over with my camera, but then who shared a laugh with me when he too looked up and saw the monkey.

a large stuffed gorilla sits in the V formed by a tree trunk and a large branch of a tree, gorilla is wearing red boxing gloves.

Quirky treasures like woolly headed scarecrows.

a scarecrow in pink shirt and wooly hat stands high over a garden, between a garage and a fence in an alley.

below: Tartan columns holding up shady porches.

a shady porch at the front of a brick house with two columns painted in black and red tartan, or plaid.

below: Pet waint at Lansdowne subway station.

a sign that says pet waint on a sign that says Toronto in front of Lansdowne subway station entrance

below: A solitary dandelion in a lawn of astroturf. Even fake grass isn’t immune to the ubiquitous dandelion.

a single dandelion grows in a lawn of astroturf (fake grass) where it meets the concrete sidewalk

below:  We encountered many Little Free Library boxes.  This is not just a Toronto phenomenon and I’d have to say that it is beyond the “quirky” stage.  There is now a Little Free Library organization where you can register your library.  They claim to have over 40,000 registered libraries in over 70 countries.

a woman in a white baseball cap is reaching into a 'little free library' shelf of books outside a house

When I checked their website, I found a map of Toronto locations.   There are the libraries that are registered with the organization; I know that there are more than what is on this map.  What the map does show though is that these little libraries are numerous and that they are spread around a lot of the residential areas of the city.

map, from google maps, of the locations of little free libraries in the city,

below: Quick, get your Valentines Day roses while they’re still on sale!

a sign in front of a store selling plants and flowers that says Valentines Roses on sale, 10% off

below: The middle way, in case you’re lost?  There was a man standing there, the middle man so to speak, but he didn’t hang around long enough for me to get his picture.

two houses with a small walkway between them. Someone has written mid on one side and dle on the other so together they spell middle

below: Figures watching over a front yard, including angels and a buddha.

upper part of a statue of a young girl with decorated wall behind. Coloured picture of a biblical scene, 2 small angel statues and a buddha statue

below: And of course, what’s a Toronto walk without a lovebot?

lovebot and a lovebot nintendo gameboy on a wall above a graffiti bird with a word bubble that says everybody got a hungry heart

Near the end of our walk, we passed what is known as the Terracotta House.

house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them. upper part of front of house

This house was built in 1905 by John Turner, a builder.  In the late 1800’s terra cotta tiles went out of style and there was a glut of them on the market.   Mr. Turner was using up excess stock that he had on hand?  Or advertising his business?  Or just taking advantage of a cheap material?   Whatever his motives, the house is still standing and is still a unique piece of architecture more than 100 years later.  I wonder what his wife thought of it?

house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them.

detail of house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them.

May all your walks, or cycles, be on the sunny side …

part of a mural called Strength in Numbers, on a wall, a painting of two cyclists. One is a black man with dreadlocks and the other is a woman in a polka dot dress with a box on the back of her bike.

… no matter how long they are!

an old tree trunk has been turned into a support for many little arrow shaped signs that point the direction to cities around the world along with how many kilometres it is to those cities.

The word Chihuly in the title refers to Dale Chihuly, an American artist who has been working in glass since the mid 1960’s.   At the moment there is a special exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) of some of the sculptural work produced by him and his team.

detail of a glass sculpture showing ripples and waves of colour, ornages, greys and yellows

I’ve now wandered through this exhibit three times.   The first time, I found it a bit overwhelming and I wasn’t sure how to photograph it.  The second time I went I just looked.  Yesterday I went back with my camera and tried again.  I’m reasonably happy with the photos but I know that I have only captured a small part of the art.  Perhaps it is enough to enable you to imagine more of it, or to refresh your memory if you have already seen the exhibit.

below:   Admirers looking at “Persian Ceiling”, 2012 .  Large cushions were provided for those who wanted to lie down to get a view of the ceiling in its entirety.  Of course, looking at the sections up close was also fascinating.  All the different shapes and colours overlap and produce new colours and textures.

people lying on the floor looking a ceiling that is made of different coloured glass pieces, back lit, also some people standing and pointing at different pieces

below:  Section of the “Persian Ceiling” installation.

bits of coloured glass, circular shapes, ridges, back lit,

The round slight scalloped glass shapes that look a bit like flowers are called Persians.  At least that’s the name that Chihuly has given them as described in this quote that appears on the wall just outside the room.    “I just liked the name Persians.  It conjured up sort of Near-Eastern, Byzantine, Far East, Venice, all the trades, smells, sense… I don’t know, it was an exotic name to me, so I just called them Persians.”

below: A ray swims amongst the waves of colour.

bits of coloured glass, circular shapes, ridges, back lit,

below: “Red Reeds”.  I thought of candles when I first saw this piece, red candles in a birch bark candle holder.  Then the  young girl standing beside me announced that it was a campfire and I changed my mind.  I think she’s right.  Marshmallows anyone?

The red tubes are hollow glass.  Metal rods have been inserted into the birch logs and the glass tubes sit over these rods.  You can see the darker sections at the bottom of the tubes where the metal rods are.

red glass tubes inserted into large birch logs, looks like a campfire with tall flames

below: “Blue and Purple Boat, 2006”.  Back in 1995 Chihuly floated some glass pieces on a river in Finland.   Local teenagers collected the pieces in their wooden boats and this provided the inspiration for a number of installations featuring glass in boats.  This is one of two on display at the ROM.  It is on a reflective surface, like a calm river.

a wooden boat on a black reflective surface. The boat is filled with blue and magenta pieces of sculpted glass

below: “Sapphire Neon Tumbleweeds” constructed from factory made neon tubes that have been heated and bent into organic shapes.  The lighting is magenta in real life but blue in my photos.

two kids standing in front of an exhibit with blue neon lights twisted into tumbleweed shapes, backs to the camera

below: The next few photos are of a large and elaborate installation called “Laguna Torcello”,  named after a lagoon island in Venice.  It is a garden of fantasy in glass.  Parts seem to be aquatic, growing under water.

aquarium like structures, water plants, and large shells, made of glass, on a black glass reflective surface

As an aside, I suspect that the logistics and cost of transporting and installing these pieces is not minor.  Like the red tubes above, this garden is made of hollow glass pieces that are arranged on, and supported by, rods.  The whole thing sits on a flat, dark, and reflective surface which adds another dimension to the artwork.

green glass and silver metallic horn shaped pieces on a black reflective surface, part of a large glass art installation by Chihuly at the ROM

different shaped glass sculptures that look like stylized underqater scene, aquatic plants

curly pieces of glass in different shade of amber, look a bit like curly seaweed growing under water

The exhibit continues until the end of 2016.

Dale Chihuly website

Nuit Rose,
a festival of queer art and performance

On Saturday night events were held at a number of venues that were concentrated in two locations, along Queen St. West and in the Church-Wellesley village area.  I hung out around two parks in the village, Norman Jewison Park which runs east of Yonge and Barbara Hall Park on Church street.  In hindsight, I wish I had had more time, or had been more organized, to get to more of the events.

Red Pepper Spectacle Arts led a Light Parade that started at Norman Jewison park.    A small contingent, most wearing or carrying a light-emitting object, walked through the park, along and then back down Church Street.  From the  – sparklers, glow sticks

people walking in a night time parade for nuit rose, down Church St., one man is holding up a light stick, a woman is holding a sparkler, other people have lanterns and glow sticks.

to the more elaborate

Two guys in drag with lights all over their costume, holding large fans

a man holding a large pole with a bird head on the top of it, with rainbow coloured fabric, meant to be the bird's wings.

below: and an eagle on stilts

A woman in a flowing costume with eagle head, up on stilts, in a night time parade for nuit rose

below: Note to self: for night time parades take more photos at the start of the parade because once people start moving it’s more difficult to get them in focus!

people walking in a parade, glow sticks, some costumes, a woman with pink butterfly wings

a paper lantern in the shape of a floating flower, out of focus

below: Where else would you be able to sit on a unicorn and get your picture taken?

two people sitting on unicorns to have their picture taken with a person in a red wig hamming it up in front of them, nuit rose, night time.

A young man is sitting on a pink unicorn

below: And after a unicorn pose, have your photo taken standing with a well-lit couple.

a man with lights in his shirt poses beside two statues that light up

below: 360 degrees by Iain Downie, 360 stars, 60 in each of the six Pride colours in the garden.

under a tree in a park, with roses in the background, many coloured 3D stick shapes that have been covered with yarn, lie on the ground.

a group of people stand around a stage watching a dance performance

below: Dance performance, ‘By Chance’ by Janessa Pudwell and Tanya Svazas Cronin.

We pass by hundreds of people on a daily basis who we may never see again. Sometimes we share a glance that lasts a bit longer. This piece is about the relationships that could be created if we acted on those glances. These are the fleeting chances, exchanged through our eyes that will never be fully realized. Instead these people may only appear once in our lives as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.”

two women performing a dance on a stage., one is seated and the other is standing, some people are sitting beside the stage and watching the show.

Dancers performing in front of a video playing on a screen, night time performance, some of the dancers are partly blurry

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dancers performing in front a screen that's showing a video, night time, nuit rose performance

a hand holding a camera, two dancers out of focus in the background.

#nuitrose | #nuitroseTO | #nuitrosetoronto

There is time between winter and spring that is a dreary time of greyness and dullness.  It is a time when the the snow is gone but nature hasn’t come out of hibernation.  It is also a time best forgotten.

between winter and spring, the snow has melted, there are no leaves on the trees, the weather is grey, looking down a path that comes to an end in front of a bench. Behind the bench are trees, dead leaves on the ground, and a grey stone fence. dreary, grey

Luckily we don’t have to wait long.

A man sits on the edge of a large planter with trees and shrubs in it in front of Roy Thomson Hall. There are no leaves on the tree yet.

… just a little longer ….

Two red Muskoka chairs sit on the Wave Deck at the waterfront in Toronto. Boats in the harbour are in the background, some with plastic wrap still on them from winter storage.

or if you can’t wait, there’s always plastic!

a garden full of fake flowers, colourful plastic flowers instead of real flowers.

From the time the first spring flowers start to show

A small white fence with some empty planters in front of it. Old vines are on it (no leaves). There is a frame for plants to cling to in the shape of a lyre that is attached to the fence

until the time they are in full bloom is usually only a matter of days.

A group of bright yellow daffodils in the sunshine in full bloom with the front of Osgoode Hall on a warm sunny spring day. Blue sky.

Trees too soon show their colours.  The yellows of the willow trees usually appear first.

downtown Toronto, the white curved roof of the Rogers Centre with the CN Tower beside it. WIllow trees and grassy park are in front.
Almost daily the trees are greener…

Budding leaves - The light yellowish green new spring growth on a tree that is growing beside a greenish blue tinted window. Some tree reflections in the window too.

… or full of flowers.

looking upwards from below the branches of a magnolia tree in full bloom. Lots of pink and white flowers, no leaves, on the tree. Bright blue sky in the background. A sunny spring day.

And for another year we forget the last grey days of winter

A rack of geraniums in bloom for sale sitting outside a store. The sidewalk by the store is shaded with white, green and red umbrellas.