Posts Tagged ‘houses’

a gold coloured weather vane with a rooster on it, bright blue sky in the background

Once again, it seems that no matter where in the city you go there will be construction.  There will be the demolition of single family homes to make way for condos or at the minimum, blocks of rowhouses.   The area around Yonge and Finch is no exception.

apartment building in the background, a street of single family dweelings in the foreground, early spring so no leaves on the trees, a few cars parked in driveways

I am not sure if it serves any purpose, perhaps it’s futile, but I’d like to think that documenting what we are removing is worthwhile.   The houses on Finch Avenue East like the one in this picture are small, but the lots on which they sit are large.

small white bungalow with brown roof, on large piece of land, car in driveway

That means that a developer can demolish four houses and turn around and build 17 townhouses in the same space.    That is what is happening near Finch and Willowdale.

three small white bungalows with windows and doors boarded up, small trees overgrown around them.

Although the properties were not fenced off, all access to the houses themselves was blocked, sigh.  It looked like a local garden centre was using the backyards of a couple of the houses.

side door of a white wood house with rickety porch and steps. three trees growing besie it, door is boarded up

below: View to a new development on the other side of Finch Avenue.  This is the type of development that the area is now zoned for.  A lot of these townhouses have been built in the last few years and I suspect that eventually they will replace all of the single family homes.

view looking down a driveway, two empty houses - one on each side of the driveway. Can see across the street to new townhouse development on the other side.

single family homes and large trees on Finch Ave

single family homes and large trees on Finch Ave

Between Willowdale Avenue and Yonge Street, there were a couple of other houses that are boarded up and empty. I am not sure what the plan is for them (there was no development proposal sign posted, instead there was a sign advertising the company that is providing the financing – for what?).

small bungalow with blue door, windows boarded up, large tree in front yard, apartment building behind,

The internet can be a wonderful thing.  In case you are interested, the development is the Ava Luxury Residence and it calls for heights and densities that are vastly over what is zoned for in the area.  For example, at 9 storeys it is 37 metres tall in an area zoned for 11 metres.  The plan was first filed in 2016 but because of the size of the development, it requires a zoning by-law amendment, official plan amendment, and site plan approval to effect the proposal – all which take time.   An OMB appeal pre-hearing was scheduled to occur a few days ago, with a hearing slated for June.  MM170085 is the OMB case number if you want to dive down that rabbit hole.

small bungalow with blue door, windows boarded up, large tree in front yard, sign in front yard advertising financing

This is 50 Finch East.  As you can see, there is a taller building on the other side of Kenneth Avenue.  Kenneth was to be the dividing line – keeping the higher buildings, and denser development, closer to Yonge Street.  I’m not sure what side of the development battle you’re on, but what’s the point of having a plan if the developers (with help from the OMB) keep disregarding it?

small bungalow on a corner lot, with windows and doors boarded up, larger apartment building behind.

As I walked back to my car, I chose to walk on a side street instead of on Finch.  As I turned a corner, I happened upon a house being demolished.  Fortuitous.  Serendipity.

a yellow digger loading rubble from a house demolition into a dump truck

It doesn’t take long to reduce a house to rubble and dust.  “Another one bites the dust” springs to mind.

close up of a digger demolishing a house

And so it goes.

It was a beautiful day on Monday when I visited the “Winter Stations” (scroll down to next blog post), cold but sunny.   I decided to walk north on Woodbine since I haven’t done that for a while.

below: Playing with mirrors while waiting for the washroom at Woodbine Beach because there is only one women’s washroom (why is there only one?)

a mirror shaped like a porthole with a green frame, on a bright blue wall, reflection of another porthole but on an orange wall in the mirror

below: From portholes to demolition holes – I made it as far as Queen and Woodbine where there is a large hole in the ground

at the intersection of Queen and Woodbine, a hole in the ground on the north east corner and a Pizza Pizza restaurant on the south east corner

… because just north of there I discovered alleys and small streets that I don’t remember walking.  Who can resist the allure of a red door?

looking down an alley in winter, two brown tire tracks for the cars, but lots of snow. Fences, trees, and a house on a street at the end with a red front door.

below: I went to Norway

street signs on a post. a one way sign pointing left, a green and white sign that says Norway Ave continues to the right ahead

below: And I passed the North Pole

a lawn decoration in a snow covered front yard, a flat wood snowman with red and white striped hat and scarf and a sign that says north pole

below: I even walked past this No Trespassing sign.  The old cars parked the house behind caught my eye but this was as far as I ventured.

a no trespassing sign on a wire fence, snow covered driveay, two old cars parked in the backyard, beyond the fence

When there is no planned route and you’re only following your nose or sticking to the sunny side of the street, you can run into some surprises.  There were a lot of older houses – here are a few of them:

below: There are still some of these Victorian rowhouses closer to downtown but I wasn’t expecting to find any here.   As it turns out, this was part of the village/town of East Toronto.  In 1888 it was a village with about 800 residents.  It became part of the City of Toronto twenty years later (and with 4200 more people).

two semi houses with gabled roofs and covered porches, from the 1800's. snowy street scene, large trees, winter

As it turns out, one of the streets that I walked on, Lyall Avenue, is a Heritage Conservation District.  The street was surveyed in 1884 and by 1888 a few houses were built on some of the fifty yard lots.  Most of the development occurred between 1909 and 1924.  It was definitely a middle class neighbourhood.   The full report published in 2006 appears on the City of Toronto planning department website.

an upper storey oriel window with curved edges

below: This house stands alone.  A very typical older Toronto house.

a typical old Toronto two storey house with peaked roof, reddish brick, two wondows upstairs, one large window downstairs, white front door with a small roof over the door, lots of yard

below: This tidy well-kept workers cottage can only be accessed from the lane.

a workers cottage that fronts onto a snow covered lane, grey vertical wood paneling on the outside, black roof

below: A white picket fence and wicker furniture waiting for spring.

a white picket fence in the snow, wicker chairs in the yard covered with snow

large two stroey brick houses, winter, street,

All of the above houses were north of Kingston Road where the lots sizes were fairly big.  South of Kingston Road, the houses are narrower and close together. (or joined together).

the backyards and back of houses in a row, winter,

below: This square, substantial sized brick building is on Kingston Road.  Between Woodbine Avenue and Main Street, Kingston Road runs along the crest of a ridge.

large old brick house on Kingston Road, three stories,

below: Newer residential buildings on Kingston Road.

part of three new buildings

below: 1922, looking west along Kingston Road from Main street.  That’s almost 100 years ago, and there were streetcars running here even then.  No cars, just a horse and wagon.

old black and white picture from 1922 of a dirt street with a street car track, hydro poles beside the road and a house

Photo credit: City of Toronto Archives. Found online in a ‘Beach Metro’ article where you’ll find more history of the area.

The next three photos are some of the typical two storey, flat roofed, brick, all in a row, stores and businesses that were built in Toronto in the early 1900’s and later.   If I remember correctly, these were all on Kingston Road.

a storefront trimmed in bright yellow and angled at the corner, intersection of Kingston Rd and Brookside

two stores, old architecture, two storey buildings with apartments on top

Perlux cleaners, old sign painted on side of building, convenience store, mounds of snow by the sidewalk

below: A warm and colourful summer scene painting behind a chainlink fence that surrounds the playground at  Kimberley Junior Public School.

colourful painting behind a chainlink fence in a school yard, winter, snow on the ground around it, picture is of three kids in large yellow hats, playing on green grass

below: Mural at Gerrard and Main.

karate, martial arts mural on a wall

below: The last architecture picture – this building with a turret at Kingston Road.  Here Main Street becomes Southwood Drive.

commercial building with a turret at an intersection

below: Looking north on Main Street from Gerrard.  Here the streetcar turns towards Main subway station.  The bus shelter in the middle of the street is definitely old style – one of the few remaining in the city.  From here Main street is a bridge over the railway tracks.

looking north up Main street from Gerard, streetcar tracks with a bus shelter in the middle of the street. old style bus shelter, Main street then goes up, as a bridge over the train tracks. Highrise apartment building in the background.

below: From the bridge, looking southeast over Danforth GO station. Prior to 1940, this was the location of York Station as well as the Grand Trunk Railway’s main freight yard.  The yard stretched along Gerrard Street and employed several hundred people.   At that time, Gerrard Street was called Lake View Avenue (could you see Lake Ontario from there?).

view from a bridge over railway tracks, Danforth GO station below, houses beyond. covered platforms between two sets of tracks

below: York station in 1890.  It was renamed Danforth in 1922 and demolished in 1974 to make way for the GO station.  The freight yard is to the right.

york railway station in 1890. train is letting off passengers

Photo credit: Toronto Public Library. The picture was found online in an article on Danforth station that appears on the Toronto Railway Historical Association website

 

below: Hanging out on the Danforth

large white sign with green GO logo, Danforth station. a group of pigeons is sitting on top of the sign.

 

But I didn’t hang out for long.  From here to Main Street subway station is only a few steps and that was enough walking.
My writing can be almost erratic as my walking!  I hope that I didn’t lose you along the way.

 

wooden chair outside, against the side of a house, snow on it.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “doors” post but as I was walking with my camera today, I noticed that a number of doors were catching my eye.  I’ve narrowed the selection down to a few pictures where snow plays a role.   None of them are the prettiest doors but I hope that you find at least some them interesting.

pale cream coloured building with white door frame around cream coloured door, snow in front, no steps in the snow to the door. No parking sign beside the door

below: For sale.  No tracks in the snow probably means no one has been by to take a look.   I tried to find the listing online and discovered that it has a bit of notoriety.  Toronto’s ‘The Star’ newspaper featured it in an article just a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently this “as is” bungalow is priced at $2,500,000.  Yes, 2 1/2 million. If I had known this when I walked past, I would have paid more attention and taken better pictures!  Check out the article!

small white building with snow in front, for sale sign in the door, yellow graffiti on the exterior wall to the right of the door, old chair behind the fence to the left of the door

white door in green house, awning over the top of the door, icicles hanging from the awning and from the roof

below: Watch your step!

white door in a brick building, no steps, bottom of door is a couple of feet above the ground level, snow on ground, worn path to another door at the edge of the photo

below: A blast of purple in an alley.

purple garage with purple door, snow in front

below: Another painted wall and door

exterior of a building, graffiti covers the wall, black and white tag on blue background. Door in wall is also covered in the blue

a blue tarp covers the front steps of a brick house, small fence between the front lawn and walkway, lots of junk in the front yard.

below: I am always fascinated by the chairs and tables that people leave on their porches and in their front yards.  It’s not quite coffee on the lawn weather yet though!

greyish stone house with dark red front entrance, small porch with dark green wood railing, table and chair left on front yard, covered with snow

Like the previous few doors posts, this is a  (little late) “Thursday doors” post – part of a series of door posts on a number of different blogs hosted by Norm 2.0.  As usual, if you want to see more doors, follow that link.  At the end of each of Norm’s posts there is another link that leads you to even more doors.   Lots of doors!  I wonder, how many doors are there in Toronto?  In the world?

Presenting an eclectic compilation of images so

Have a seat!

below:  But maybe not here, even if they are two comfy sofas!  Comfy but wet.

two burgundy sofas on the sidewalk

Meandering on a day early in November

while the trees were still showing their last hurrah of colour.

colourful leaves, red and yellow leaves on trees in a residential neighbourhood, Neepawa Street

This mural is on Roncesvalles is partially obscured but is still a welcome splash of colour and vibrance.

a man walks by a mural on a fence, a peacock feather and a pink flower

   I love the raccoons!  Pink raccoons

test graffiti on a garage in an alley, also with a pink raccoon painted above the garage door

and blue raccoons on street art that I haven’t seen before.

street art on a garage door in an alley, large heart shaped face with big eyes and red lips, also raccoons,

Crooked lines,

garage doors and fences in an alley, autumn, trees with gold and yellow leaves, as well as leaves on the ground

tight spaces,

small walkway between two light purple buildings that leads to the entrance to another residence

and old glass.  All kinds of alterations.

sign on an old house, now a commercial property, that says Alteration Fast & Best All Kinds Of

old red brick building on Dundas West, sign that says Downtown Rental

 Peeling paint on diamonds  (once red?)

paint peeling on wood, three layers of wood with upper two layers cut in diamond shapes

and water drops on leaves (definitely red).

red leaves of a plant, wet from the rain, in front of a bright turquoise wall

One very pink car.  Whiskey for Whiskers.

pink car in parking lot

Uber 5000’s yellow birdies and friends are still on the side of Tommy’s Gift & Variety.

Uber5000 mural on the side of Tommys

And next door you Coffee and breakfast at Tina’s while your tax returns are prepared.

restaurant and store, rainy day, wet sidewalk and street in front of it, Tina Coffee and Breakfast restaurant, and Tommys Gift & Variety, pink door between the two, two storeys, lots of windows in the storey above Tina's.

 Semi neighbours

two attached houses in the Junction, one painted red brick with dark blue roof and the other light brown with dark red roof and bright red trim, small white picket fence in front of the red house, metal fence in front of the brown house (beige actually)

at the edges of gentrification.

building on the corner of Perth Ave and Bloor West, pale purple paint, a bright yellow happy face graffiti, a sign advertising Drake Commissary

Lights over the train tracks

looking across the train tracks to an old building with street art on the lower level, lights on metal posts over the tracks, tight mesh fence beside the railway as well

and graffiti beside.

graffiti on the concrete bridge supports, Dundas St West over the railway tracks, taken from the West Toronto Railpath

A fine and dandy tractor

a red toy tractor, old fashioned, in the window of fine and dandy on Dundas Street, white back drop behind the tractor, the building is dark grey

and a great idea

words painted on a garage door that say gratitude goes viral

She’s gone green but she’s got the blues.

a paper paste up of woman's face in green and blue (green skin and blue hair) on a very black wall and door

and Ontario’s now orange.

row of stores on Dundas Street, one on the end has a map of Canada painted on the exterior wall, with orange background.

A family outing

an adult bike locked to a ring, two kids bikes and a toddlers push car locked to a second ring, on a sidewalk on Dundas West, cars and buildings in the background.

below: The building with the giraffe pattern on top, at Bloor and Dundas West, is still there.

giraffe building at Bloor and Dundas West, with traffic and pedestrians in front
giraffe pattern brown and gold wall on top and brown below, movie posters and a bike

below: The murals painted by Wallnoize are still there. They were painted in the spring of 2015 and I posted a lot of photos of them shortly after that.

people walking on a sidewalk that passes by a long mural painted by wallnoize, many small murals joined together, apartment buildings with large trees with yellow autumn leaves in the background, Bloor West,

below: The murals run under the Bloor Street underpass (railway tracks overhead), on both sides of the street.

a woman walks along a wet sidewalk under a train bridge, railling on one side, street art on the wall on the other side.

below: The new MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) is now open on Sterling Road. The renovations to the old Tower Automotive building aren’t totally complete; most of the area is a construction site. But the museum opened earlier this year. Access from the West Toronto Railpath is available.

chainlink fence along a path leading from West Toronto Railpath to Sterling Road, with new MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in the background, what used to be the Tower Automotive Building

But hey! Why stop here?…. more about the new MOCA follows ……

This is another “come along with me as I walk” blog.  Let me share some of the sights from Thursday’s walk which started at Ossington subway station and sort of followed Davenport south to Queen Street with a few diversions down alleys and side streets.

below: Ooops!  Dead end alleys too.  That’s one way to keep people out!

chainlink and barbed wire fence acorss the backyard of a house

below: A starry man (star face?) watches 007 below.   Street art in an alley.

street art in an alley - corner of a concrete block building, metal staircase as well, blue star with a man's face inside it, a racing car near the bottom with licence plate 007

below: More painting, this time Princess Leia and a strange red man with a latch in his ear.

street art in an alley - red man's head, with protruding lower jaw and two large yellow teeth, white eyes, on a door, black and white picture of Star Wars Princess Leia on the wall beside

below: If he’s aiming for the garbage bin, he’s missed.

street art in an alley - word radar on grey metal door, with screaming face below, on the wall beside is a moon shpaed figure, with arm out and seems to be holding something in its fingers but nothing there, garbage bins (real) below

below: ‘Always fresh bread!’ according to the mural on Nova Era bakery… but maybe you see the edge of the blue and white city of Toronto development notice sign peeking into the picture….

an old and fading mural on the side of an old bakery, showing two bakers, male, baking bread, with chef's hats and white aprons on

below:  … because a 12 storey condo may be moving in.  Retail is planned for the lower level but it may the same old same old glass and steel development with excessively high ceilings on the ground floor and zero street appeal.  Please prove me wrong!

blue and white city of toronto development notice sign on the side of a building, under a window, beside a mural of a baker in chefs hat and white apron icing a three layer wedding cake

below: Across the street, is this empty storefront.  Two intriguing blackboards remain – the one on the left says Thank You! and leaves you lines to fill in with things you are thankful for.  On the right, a “Before I Die” board.   What are you thankful for? What would you like to do before you die?  The business once here didn’t die, they just moved around the corner to Bloor Street.

empty store front with a bike parked inside, a red wall beside the door way, dirty glass in front, reflections in the glass

below: A bit of local ‘colour’ complete with ‘colourful’ language.

the back of a cyclist stopped at the side of a street by a bus stop, and traffic light, a woman stands on the sidewalk with a large puffy pink scarf around her neck and a lot of belongings with her

below: This building is on the northeast corner of Bloor and Dovercourt.

old square brick building on the north east corner of Dovercourt and Bloor, apartments on top and stores on ground level

below: I haven’t been able to find out anything about Valentinos but I quite like the debonair rider with a rose between his teeth.

old faded mural of a man on horseback, with hat and cape, the word Valentinos is written near the top, most of the mural has been painted over and is now just green

below: Vintage photo of the Bloor and Dovercourt intersection.  No cars!

vintage coloured postcard of the intersection of Bloor and Dovercourt in Toronto, hydro poles, brick buildings, streetcar, woman crossing road, no cars

below: The red and white building in the postcard above is on the southeast corner of the intersection. It is now home to a Pizza Pizza. Most of it’s large windows have been covered over with large pictures.  The streetcar tracks on Bloor are long gone and Davies butcher shop is now a Starbucks.

below: I walked past St. Michael Archangel Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church (on Delaware Ave) and a Portuguese Presbyterian Church (on Dovercourt).  Then I came across the Centennial Methodist Church.  It was built in 1906 and converted into residences in 2010.

front of Centennial Methodist church on Dovercourt, now apartments, red brick building with large round top windows

historical plaque for centennial methodist church on dovercourt road

CENTENNIAL METHODIST CHURCH, 1906, This Neo-Gothic inspired church replaced an earlier Centennial Methodist Church built on this site in 1891. Notable design elements include decorative stone trim, three central Tudor-arch windows, and flanking square towers topped with pyramidal steeples. It was renamed Centennial United Church in , after the creation of the United Church of Canada. In 1986, the Nisei congregation of the Toronto Japanese Church joined Centennial United to form Centennial Japanese Church. A residential redevelopment was completed in 2010.

 

below: A little farther south on Dovercourt I passed this for sale sign.   I stopped and took a photo of it because of the words in pink: “Laneway suite potential”.  Of course I had to check the lane to see if anyone had built suites back there.   Suites, according to the city of Toronto, are rooms built over garages and not stand alone residences.

for sale sign on the grass in front of a house

below: It is a neat and tidy lane but so far with no suites

Bill Cameron Lane

below: But I did see this mural there.

garage door covered with a mural of a boy walking in a birch forest in the snow with his dog following him

below: I also noticed that the backyards on both sides of the alley were very deep, wonderfully deep actually, especially for a city house.  You could probably sever it in two quite easily.

backyard, view from an alley

below: In fact, something like that has happened a bit farther south where someone took one house, renovated it, and added three more residences with additional access from the alley behind.   I notice that there are 4 water meters here as well as a gate that possibly provides access to the houses behind.

part of a modernized and renovated house with new houses built behind it

In case you’re curious, the four houses are all for sale.  The house in front is a semi and the asking price is $2,400,000.  For that you get 2992 square feet and 4 bedrooms.  The others are slightly smaller and slightly less expensive.

below: A rare large vacant lot

the side of a house on the other side of a large vacant lot

below: Norbregas Variety and Grocery.

Norbregas variety and grocery store, the ground floor of a house on a corner in a residential area, Dovercourt

below: And nearby, a cafe with both Coca-Cola and Pepsi signs

a deli, cafe, with old coca cola, coke, signs as well as pepsi signs. chairs and tables out front, large windows, two boys wakling past, on a corner in a residential area, old house

below: The streets around Dovercourt are all very nice with lots of large solid old houses and tall trees – in this case, a chestnut tree.

chestnut tree and large old houses on a street

below: I even spotted some wildlife!

two statues of small deer in the front yard of a house, one is lying down and looking at the other who is standing nearby, both are in the shade of a large tree

below: Northeast corner of College & Dovercourt

three storey red brick building on corner of college and dovercourt, northeast corner, stores on the lower leve, traffic lights, utility poles and streetcar wires

below: Letters embedded in the sidewalk where one of the branches of the Garrison Creek passes underground, just south of College Street.  The creek was buried more than a century ago.  In the early days, the creek was treated more like an open sewer than a river.  As the city developed, the stream was diverted into underground sewers (1880’s) and streets were built above it.   By 1920, almost a century ago, the stream was entirely diverted into the sewer system.

brass letters embedded in the sidewalk that say Garrison Creek, also a round metal medallion with the same words

below: The age of this car seemed to fit well with the buildings around it.

man stands beside on older car in a parking lot surrounded by old brick buildings

below: Some of Dr. Spock still remains.  He hasn’t been beamed up  yet.

once a mural of Dr Spock, now tagged over although Spock's head is still visible

below: Part of a mural by elicser in a lane behind Dundas West

elicser painting of a man in a brown toque

below: Looking east along Dundas, from Dovercourt

view along Dundas to the east, and downtown Toronto, from Dovercourt Rd

below: A larger than life Pink Panther painted by Matt Gondek.  This is on the northeast corner of Dundas and Dovercourt, close to Skey Lane where his other murals are (see recent blog post on Skey Lane)

mural of pink panther sitting in a chair, large

below: She can still be found near Queen and Dovercourt (painted by Jarus)

mural by jarus in an alley, a woman looking over her shoulder

Just before Queen Street West there is an art galley called the David Kaye Gallery.

below: It may be difficult to see, but this cup is displayed in a glass case mounted on the wall. The back part of the cube is a mirror. For $12,500 it can be yours (but my arm is not included!).

a white tea cup on a black block inside a glass cube with a mirror at the back. on the cup, in black letters, are the words a cup is a cup

below: Both this piece, and the cup above, are part of “Camp Fires: The Queer Baroque of Léopold L. Foulem” and are on display until the 23rd of September.

artwork by Leopold Foulem, a porcelain piece with gold figures on the sides like handles

I am going to end this blog post with a few pictures of some of the graffiti that I saw:

below: Red hearts on a yellow door.

a door painted yellow with three large red hearts on it

below: No more need for parliaments

a beige garage door with the words no more need for parliaments written on it

below: She’s a bit frayed at the edges and coming apart at the seams.

a hand drawn picture of a face, on paper, pasted on a fence

A new mural in town,
Equilibrium, by Okuda San Miguel, aka Okudart

below: As seen from Sherbourne street.  It’s tall!  23 storeys tall in fact.  Not just a new mural but also a new landmark.

a man walks up Sherbourne street, on the sidewalk, past a vacant lot, in the background is the back of some older brick buildings and beyond that is a tall building with a mural on it, equilibrium by okudart

below: As seen from Allan Gardens.

Allan Gardens conservatory with its glass dome roof in the foreground, tall buildings in the background. The side of one of the background buildings has a colourful mural on it with a rainbow striped background

below: It’s painted on the side of the Parkside student residence (once the Primrose Hotel) on the SW corner of Jarvis and Carlton streets.   It looks finished although the ropes and lifts are still in place.  No one was painting when I walked past this afternoon.  The artist, Okudart, has already signed the piece.

car stopped at street light at Carlton and Jarvis. Behind the car is a very tall mural, bright colours, geometric shapes, some human like figures too, with blue conical noses, equilibrium by okudart

below: The very top portion.  A blue conical beak and feathery wings on a female human like figure who is sitting on three large heads.

very top part of mural, equilibrium by okudart

below: Just a bit lower on the mural – more beaks but this time they look like carrots.  A black and white globe with a mouth in Africa.  One blue eye in the Atlantic Ocean and one orange eye in Asia.   Is that a man on the left?

middle section of mural, equilibrium by okudart

below: Under the globe another female figure with a blue nose.  Nude but discreetly so.

lower portion of equilibrium by okudart

The background of the mural consists of large rainbow coloured stripes on top and black on the bottom.  These were painted by local artists before Okudart finished the piece.

below: Street level

street level part of mural, equilibrium by okudart

below: The church across the street does not have stained glass windows.  The colours are reflections from the mural.

part of mural, equilibrium by okudart, reflected in church windows across the street from it

part of mural, equilibrium by okudart, reflected in church windows across the street from it

The mural was part of the STEPS Initiative Program and it also involved StART (StreetARToronto), the owners of the residence, and a number of other partners.

There is no theme to this blog post.  It’s just a description of some of the things that I saw as I walked down Bathurst Street the other day after taking the 512 streetcar to St. Clair West station.   In a lot of ways its like other busy Toronto streets, some houses, a few corner stores, and an alley or two along the way.   A little bit of architecture and a little bit of history round out the story.

At St. Clair West and Bathurst, the northeast corner remains vacant. About four or five years ago there was a gas station and car wash on this corner.  St. Clair West subway station is just to the east, just beyond the trees on the right hand side.

northeast corner of Bathurst and St. Clair West, vacant lot, St. Michaels College in the background as well as a couple of highrise condos.

below: I went looking for an old photo of this corner and this is what I found.  It’s from 1924.  If the streetcar’s destination is Caledonia, then it is going westward.  In 1924, St. Clair was the northern edge of the city and very little development had occurred here.  It is interesting to note that the streetcar tracks came first, then the development.   In addition, I’d love to be able to read the sign about dogs but the resolution of the photo is not good enough.  An ad?  A sign saying no dogs allowed?  Or something else?

vintage black and white photo from 1924 of a streetcar on the St. Clair line stopped at Bathurst to pick up passengers.

below: Of course, no vacant lot remains that way for long.   At the moment, three 30 storey towers joined with a 6 or 7 storey podium has been proposed for the site but it is still in the re-zoning and planning stages.  The light brown building to the left is St. Michael’s College School (boys school).

blue and white city of Toronto development notice sign on a small hill, by some trees, in front of a vacant lot. Highrises in the background

below: New development on the southeast corner of this intersection is almost complete. People have moved into the units above while the finishing touches are put on the lower retail floors. Developments like this are all over the city. Developments that look great (maybe?) on paper but are lackluster and banal at street level.

street level of a new glass and steel building, empty retail space available for lease, just finishing being built

below: As I walked south on Bathurst, this mural caught my eye.

mural in a laneway, painting of many trees with red and yellow sky, dark brown earth, and a few small black figures, some words beside it

Words written beside the mural:
“Long before concrete and steel
Punctuated the landscape
The land was pure and natural
This mural acknowledges and honors 13 trees and 21 medicinal plants that have thrived here since time immemorial.”

The mural was funded by Toronto’s Start program (street art) and Na’Ma’Res Sagatay, a residence for indigenous men that is nearby.

close up of mural, large trees with wavy red and yellow sky, small black figures standing under the trees

I will admit that the main reason that I was walking in this area is because I wanted to check out the new public artwork that I’ve read about at Bathurst and Vaughan.  It is “Three Points Where Two Lines Meet” by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young and apparently there is some controversy about it.

below: For those who don’t know that intersection, it is V-shaped.  This photo shows the approach to  the intersection from the north, on Vaughan.  I took this photo because my first reaction to the scene was “Ugly.  Ugly is what Toronto does”.  From this angle the sculpture gets lost in the visual noise.

sidewalk, lined by tall hydro utility poles, wood, road, some buildings, approaching the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan

Cities have rules and regulations for public art. It needs to be weatherproof and graffiti-proof.  It can’t block the view of drivers and pedestrians.  No sharp edges or structures that people might hurt themselves on – note the two black poles are to prevent people from hitting their heads.

A woman walks past Three Points Where Two Lines meet

From Giroux & Young’s website:  “Taking its form from the orphaned triangular site on which it sits, this artwork produces a new urban room by combining a multicoloured truss structure, the triangular plot of wild grasses it encloses, and an encircling sidewalk thats acts as a podium and plinth. Located between the converging energies of uptown and downtown, the structure densifies an intersection already clotted with utilities and challenges established forms of urbanism and spatial representation in Toronto.”  Think of that what you will.  While you’re thinking, you can check the website for more photos and information.

Three Points Where Tao Lines meet, a public art sculpture in bright colours, metal grid like construction cranes, by Daniel Young and Christian Giroux at the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan.

below: An interesting (unique?) roofline on what turns out to be The Occult Shop.  I made one mistake – I neglected to cross the street to go inside and find out just what one can buy here.

brick building with a large rounded roofline, the bulding is a semi, one half has doors and windows covered with white from the inside, the other is the occult shop

below: These people can still be seen in the space above the doorway at 1358 Bathurst.

the space above a doorway at number 1358 Bathurst is painted with pictures of people (head and shoulders) in shades of brown

Continuing south on Bathurst, as you go downhill towards Davenport Road, there is a retaining wall beside the sidewalk on the west side.  This wall was painted back in October 2013.  The city paid $23,000 to two Brooklyn NY street artists (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, together known as Faile) who designed the mural and in turn paid other artists to paint it.

The mural is quite long and I only have a few pictures of bits and pieces of it.

mural, large blue and white owl, with words in large letters that say no change my heart

mural, large painting of a blond boy sleeping, head on pillow, head and shoulders only

mural, by faile, orange car, woman driver, the word vanity written on the side of the car

below: Apparently Davenport Road is considered to be one of Toronto’s oldest roads.  It follows the base of a ridge and provided a route between the Humber River in the west and the Don River in the east.

toronto historical society plaque for Davenport Road, 1995, description of the history of Davenport Road

below: There is a park on the northwest corner of Bathurst and Davenport, The Tollkeeper’s Park.  The old house, the Tollkeeper’s Cottage, is now a museum run by The Community History Project.  It is open on Saturday afternoons (and some Sundays during the summer)

The Tollkeeper's Park, sign, green space, trees, and an old small wood frame house, now a museum,

below: And across the road is Tollkeeper’s Lane.  There are chairs everywhere in this city not usually as comfy looking as these.

two comfy chairs in an alley withtheir backs agains a grey garage door

below: An old Comet parked in the alley

a yellowish beige Comet car, old, parked behind a house in a lane

below: Tomatoes and other vegetables growing in a front yard.

small front yard packed full of vegetable plants looking very green and healthy

below: A hand, part of an Elicser mural.  This mural, which is on both sides of the railway underpass just north of Dupont, is still there.  Photos can be seen in a blog post from Nov 2014 (Yikes!  Have I been blogging that long?!).

part of a mural, a blue hand horizontal on a wall with some weeds growing in front of it

There are a few remnants of a more industrial past in the area near the railway tracks.

a window consisting of 18 panes of glass, 6 across and 3 down, some have texture and some are clear. the clear ones are reflecting the blue sky and clouds.

old wood door, once painted green but the paint is peeling

below: Another door –  I doubt that it’s open now, or that it ever will be again.

back door of an empty house, window boarded over, door with board nailed across it, open sign in the window, also a sign that says beware of dog

below: These windows, and the house too, probably won’t be here much longer either.

green trim around roof and windows of an old house

below: A very standard row of semi-divided houses; a common sight.  Hundreds (thousands?) of these were built around the city.

a semi divided house on bathurst street, two storey, bay windows on upper floor, porches, stairs to front door

below: And a not so usual semi.

a semi divided house on bathurst street where one side has been rebuilt into a taller square structure

below: A touch of art deco.

two doors side by side with art deco motifs, on a low rise brick building

below: Slight larger houses, with turrets even!  (or is there another name for this architectural element?)

a semi divided house on bathurst street both with small turrets above upper floor bay windows

below: This is part of Coopers Hawk Lane which is just south of Dupont.

buildings and garages in a lane, Coopers Hawk Lane, garage doors have street art on them.

painting of a wooden box with papers in it, pictures of people on the papers

below: In another nearby alley …. a pink cat eating ice cream

two doors in an alley, painted, one in colours, the other in black and white

below: And a gate with a frame, and the laundry beyond.

a chainlink fence and gate in a back yard, laundry hanging out to dry in the yard, brick houses, some green grass

red octagonal stop sign with a sticker on it that says take a breath