Posts Tagged ‘mural’

While meandering down Croft Street today I discovered a new mural by Bruno Smoky on a garage.   A large reddish face of a man – Neptune, the God of the Sea?   It also makes me think of the book, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.

mural on a double garage door, man's face, fish swimming underwater, by Bruno Smoky 2018

Two very large swim nearby.

mural by Bruno Smoky, part of it, two large fish swimming under water.

part of a mural on a garage door by Bruno Smoky, a large red face of a man.

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

 

I was meeting a friend at Queen and Church for walkies and coffee last Monday. I was there a few minutes early so of course I took a few pictures while I was waiting. I had come across King Street because the streetcars tend to be faster on King these days. Plus, it was a nice day for a walk.

below: Looking north up Church Street from Richmond.

looking north on Church St. from Richmond Street, stores, street, people, street scene,

below: Metropolitan United Church is on the NW corner of Queen and Church. Even if you aren’t religious, there is something inspiring about the architecture. In this case, the setting adds to the grace and beauty of the building.  Usually there are people around but it was surprisingly quiet that day (too cold outside?)

front of Metropolitan United Church, with the snow covered park in front, snow, large trees, red door

below: Take a few more steps towards Metropolitan United and then turn around. This is the view that awaits you. The intersection of Queen and Church from a different angle.

looking at the intersection of Queen and Church, through the park, with yellow building and other stores in the background

below: As I walked back to the intersection, this man walked in front of the streetcar. I think that he called himself either Cowboy Bob or Cowboy Bill.

man in long coat and hat stands in front of a TTC street car with his arm up in the air.

below: Church #2. Jarvis Street Baptist Church.

Jarvis Street Baptist Church, from diagonally across the intersection

below: Yes, there are a lot of churches in this section of downtown. This is the third (and last for today’s blog) but there are many more. Grace Church through the trees.

park, in winter, with large mature trees, in the background is Grace Church, brick building with green roofed steeple

below: A stop at Allan Gardens conservatory for warm and a washroom. If this picture is looking a little fuzzy around the edges, my camera lens kept steaming up faster than I could wipe it off.

inside shot at Allan Gardens conservatory, with two people looking at the plants, glass roof, large yellow flowers

below: Every Christmas, the conservatory at Allan Gardens is decorated with many amaryllis plants. The other day, many were looking a little worse for wear. These buds were a few of the exceptions. At some point (soon?), the Christmas plants will be switched out for spring plants.

close up of two small red amaryllis buds at the bottom of a red and white amaryllis.

below: Barrel cacti in differing sizes in the Allan Gardens conservatory.

4 barrel cacti of differing sizes in a semi-circle in a conservatory, glass house, with some succulents in front and some taller cacti behind

below: And just around the corner from Allan Gardens there is this painted cactus (or is it a succulent?) standing in the cold.

a metal telephone or traffic box on the sidewalk that has been painted with a picture of a cactus.

below: This part of Church Street is now in McGill Granby Village. There is even a lovebot on the pole.

street sign for Church St., with the top part being McGill Granby Village

below: “Enough is enough”, a large Church Street mural.

large mural on the side of a two storey building, with metal fire escapes on the side of the building as well. Mural is enough is enough, rainbow flag and other things

below: On Church Street, another redevelopment victim.

old, large, three storey red brick house with boarded up windows, about to be redeveloped, people walking past on the sidewalk, winter, street scene,

below: And just up the street, another.

an older two storey house house boarded up with construction hoardings in front, looking at it through a park with large trees, winter

below: Trucks, construction, and condos. Ho hum. Been there, done that.

large truck parked on a street with tall buildings behind, and a large billboard with a KFC ad on it

below: One set of construction hoardings has been decorated with kids’ paintings.   Bright and cheerful.

white construction hoardings with childrens paintings on it. a painting of a soccer ball, kids playing, words too

below: Through the layers

looking in a window, people sitting inside, looking through the window on the other side as well, a large tree is reflected in the window too

below: Icicles!

older yellowish brick building with green bay window, with icicles on the eaves of bopth roof and window

below: Trudeau senior looks down on the world.

 a large black and white picture of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the window of the Ryerson Image Center, with a tree in front of it, some snow on the tree

below: The guys over the entrance to the Chang School at Ryerson are wearing little puffy white hats.

stone sculpture of the door of the Chang School at Ryerson, two men with interlocking arms, looking at each other, wheat, apples, and other produce in their hands, covered with snow


below
: As we walked past Yonge Dundas Square, I stopped, took another look, and then said: “Isn’t that a new sign?”. My walking partner replied that she wasn’t sure. Neither was I.

Yonge Dundas Square, men working on sign

I happened to walk past Yonge Dundas Square again yesterday, and yes, there is a new sign. A big one.

below: “It’s OK to be scared, just take a deep breath” as the fourth panel of the new sign is installed.

a large crane is putting part of a new light sign in place at Dundas Square, large billboards and lighted signs behind, people walking past, street scene

below: Working on the new sign. That billboard on the left, 98.1 CHFI is all Christmas music? Still? In February?

two men on a lift are working on a new elevated sign at Dundas square

C’est too for now friends!

This is part of my ‘end of the year clean up and sort through photos’ process that I start most years at this time – I don’t always finish but that’s a whole other story.  One of the drafts that I found this morning was this post which I was in the midst of writing when the fan on my laptop died.   The technological hiccups have been dealt with and  on we go…. .   back in the fall I spent some time around Bloor and Spadina and this is the result.

below: On the SE corner of Spadina and Bloor are these supersized Dominoes. It’s rather silly but I like the juxtaposition of Dominoes and Pizza Pizza.  This is also part of Matt Cohen Park.

sculpture of very large black dominoes on sidewalk, street and shops in the background, including a Pizza Pizza restaurant

below: The hoardings went up around Honest Eds late in October.   By the time you read this, most (if not all) of the building will be gone.

the start of grey hoardings going up around the old Honest Eds store on Bloor Street as preparations are made to demolish it

below: Jimi Hendrix Sculpture Garden includes the bronze sculpture “People helping People” 1990, by Al Green.  The sculpture also appears on the property of an apartment complex in Davisville – the connection being that the two properties were developed by the same family company (the Green family as it turns out).  The garden also includes two bas-relief sculptures on the wall.  These are reproductions of some of the decorative facades of the Victorian houses (1890’s) that used to be on this site until they were torn down in 2004.

a small sculpture of two hands holding, vertical, one hand from above and the other from below, in a small garden with some shrubs with autumn foilage, orange colours

below: What the well dressed mummy was wearing this fall season.

a mannequin in a window of a men's clothing store, Theodore 1922, wrapped up like a mummy, scarf loosely draped around his neck, wearing a bowtie, and holding a folded up compact umbrella

below: There is not a lot of street art as you get closer to Spadina (there is more closer to Bathurst).  This garage door is one of the few pieces.

mural on an alley garage, black and blue predominant colours, some flowers, and birds

below: Poster for the YCL (Young Communist League) of Canada.

old posters on a a green utility pole, Join the socialist movement in Canada, gig economy,

below: The Ten Editions books store which sits on University of Toronto property.  There is some debate/discussion going on at the moment re the development of this site.  Ten Editions has been there since 1984.  At that time, the building was 100 years old as it was started its life 1885 as the John James Funstan Grocery Store.   The University of Toronto wants to tear it down so they can build a 23 storey residence on the site.

Ten Editions, a used book store on a corner, blue trim, large windows covered with white paper, door is open, stack of boos can be seen inside, old brick building

below: On the grounds of Trinity St. Paul Church is a sign that marks the spot of another garden.  This one is the Heart Garden and it is there to honour the children who were lost in or survived the residential school system.  “May we be part of a future of reconciliation and justice”.  It is designed in the shape of an Indigenous Medicine Wheel.  You can see the four concrete ‘paths’ that divide the wheel into four sections.  I have never noticed this garden before and it is unfortunate that the first time was late in the autumn when nothing was growing.  I will come back in the spring and/or summer to take a closer look.   Apparently it is part of a project, just one of many heart gardens across the country.

sign in a garden beside a church on a corner, autumn so there isn'tmusch growing in it, recnciliation garden

below: Walmer Road street sign.  Most of these green Annex signs have faded over time and it is rare now to find one in good shape like this one.

Toronto street sign, Annex neighbourhood, Walmer Road, top part of the sign is green with 4 houses on it.

As I type this, there is still snow falling from the sky, the tail end (I hope!) of the latest snow fall. ..  so you can expect some snowier pictures in the near future!

Traces left behind, reminders of the past

oldworn sign painted above the door to a store

 

Along Spadina on a cold November day – from King to College.

below: A streetcar passes by, down the middle of the road with young trees growing alongside the tracks.  In the background is an old white brick building  with rounded brown arches over the upper windows that now houses the Furama Cake & Dessert Garden – one of the many restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries along this stretch of Spadina.

a new ttc streetcar on Spadina, down the middle of the street, with young trees growing along side the tracks, old brck building in the background, some cars,

 Construction of Spadina Avenue began in 1815.  It was always a wide street, running between Bloor and Queen.

Spadina, and neighbouring Kensington market, was the center of Jewish life in Toronto in the early 1900’s with synagogues, delis, tailors, a Yiddish theatre, and more.  About 80% of Toronto’s Jews lived in the area.   It was also home to the garment district (also known as the fashion district) with its numerous furriers, clothing factories and warehouses – what we’d probably call sweat shops today.

below: The northeast corner of Dundas and Spadina, June 1930 showing the sign over the door of ‘The Standard’ a Yiddish theatre that opened in 1921.  It was converted into a (mainstream) cinema in 1934 and renamed ‘The Strand’.   Another renaming occurred in 1941 when it became ‘The Victory’.  Twenty years later it became the Victory Burlesque.  The doors closed permanently in 1975.  Photo found on Bygone Theatre website.

vintage black and white phot of the sidewalk and front of Jewish cinema at the corner of Dundas and Spadina in 1930. old cars parked in front,

below: This plaque is on the west side of Spadina, just north of King Street.  It describes the contributions of Benjamin Brown (1890-1974), architect, to the area.

Benjamin Brown, one of Toronto’s first Jewish architects, designed more than 200 buildings throughout his career.  Born in Lithuania, he came to Canada as a child.  Brown graduated from the University of Toronto’s architecture program in 1913.  He was partners with architect Robert McConnell until 1921, when he set up an independent practice.

Commissioned largely by members of Toronto’s Jewish community, Brown’s projects ranged from parking garages and gas stations to apartment houses and factory lofts.   His Tower Building (1927) and Balfour Building (1930) on Spadina Avenue at Adelaide Street formed a gateway to Toronto’s garment district.  Other well known buildings by Brown include the Hermant Building (1929 on Dundas Square, the Primrose Club (1920) and the Beth Jacob Synagogue (1922), the first Toronto synagogue designed by a Jewish architect.  Brown retired in 1955.

toronto historic sites plaque to benjamin brown

Both the Tower Building and the Balfour Building still stand.  The later, pictured on the plaque is on the NE corner of Spadina & Adelaide.  It was named for Arthur J. Balfour, British statesman, the author of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that pledged British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

below:  This is ‘Uniform Measure/Stack’ by Stephen Cruise and it includes that giant thimble on a stack of buttons,  a few button shaped tree planters, and a tape measure carved into the sidewalk as it goes around the corner (you can see a bit of it at the bottom right of the photo).  This tribute to the garment district, or rag trade if you want to call it that,  dates back to 1997.   A few years ago the tape measure was painted yellow – but not by the artist.  It has since been cleaned up.  Recent sidewalk work has scarred the tape measure but most of it remains intact.

public art on the corner of Richmond and Spadina, giant thimble and giant buttons

below: Another piece of garment district history – an old Singer sewing machine as an ornament above a narrow alley between two buildings.

an old SInger sewing machine sits on a beam that crosses a small alley bewteen two buildings, it's about 8 feet above the street level

In the 1960s and 70s, the Jewish population moved out and the Chinese moved in.  In keeping with the changes that were occurring on Spadina, The Victory was sold in 1975 and subdivided  into shops on the main floor and a Chinese language cinema upstairs, first named the Golden Harvest and then the Mandarin. This cinema closed in 1994.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the city demolished a large section of land to make way for the new city hall.  At that time, Chinatown was centered around Dundas and Elizabeth streets.  Many of the Chinese who were displaced by the construction moved west along Dundas to Spadina.  Although many of the Chinese businesses and residents have moved north to Markham & vicinity, this stretch of Spadina is still considered to be Chinatown.

below: A panda eating bamboo, painted by Murals by Marg with support from Chinatown BIA & StreetARToronto.

mural on a wall of a panda bear sitting on the ground and chewing on bamboo

below: Another Chinese themed mural, with tags unfortunately.

orange bikes parked outside a building that had a mural of a Chinese scene that has been tagged over.

below: This caught my attention – Does it look like fresh ginger?   And no, there was nothing in front of the sign either.  Smile.

box of pineapples for sale outside a Chinese grocery store, the sign by the box says fresh ginger

below: Even on cold days you can buy fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk outside the Chinese grocery stores.

a woman is buying tomatos from a vendor with a large table of tomatoes outside a Chinese grocery store on Spadina, in CHinatown.

below: Feeding the pigeons.

a man is feeding pigeons outside on a cold day. He is wearing a heavy coat and a hat.

below:  This is an old display of CD’s mounted on a wall inside a window of an empty store.  The window is dirty but if you step into the recess of the entrance way, you can see the possibility of reflection, light and colour playing together.   This was actually the first picture that I took when I walked up Spadina the other day.   After I saw this window I started paying closer attention to other empty stores.

design and pattern made with many old CD's mounted on a wall inside the window of an empty store.

There are quite a few empty stores and sections of Spadina are quite grubby looking.  As I mentioned above, many of the Chinese businesses have move on and once again the area is the middle of a change.

below: Someone cared enough to paint this delicate birdcage and ivy scene on the wall.  Doesn’t it make you wonder who did it?  and why?  and what happened to them?

looking through a window into an abandoned and empty store, leaves have blown in and are on the floor.

below: A painted over intercom –  a remnant of the past.  But the plywood that the intercom was mounted on is partially torn away to reveal an even older, more hidden, past.     Does anyone live or work at 437 anymore?  What lies behind the door?

exterior wall, brown paint, number of 437 above the door, cracked wood plywood beside the door, old and broken intercom system that has been painted over, next door window is a store, with mannequin head on a shelf

below: This little place had a short life as a store – but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.   I think that once upon a time it was an 8 Eleven (play on 7 Eleven stores) but that was long ago and I know that it closed before I first saw this space.    How easy it is to forget.

very small building with door and window papered over.

below:  As I passed by this window, I thought to myself “How cute, pikachu.”  Then I stopped and went back.  No, not pikachu.  Part of the seedier side of Spadina Avenue.

articles for sale in the window of a store

below:  Layers.  On the left, hoardings around an old building being demolished and on the right, a staid brick building.  Behind them is a newer development with its bright east wall.

street scene, Kensington, with hoardings for demolition, a building from the70's and a newer apartment building in the background with bright coloured squares on the side.

cracked brick wall and decorative carving, on upper storey of an old building

a pair of Bell telephone boxeswith a grey wall behind

 

Late in November, work was started on a new mural in Graffiti Alley

below: Working on the facial details

a man on a ladder painting a mural in Graffiti Alley,

below: The work in progress.

one man with video camera filming another man painting a mural in Graffiti Alley

It is a memorial (and tribute) to Mike “Wunder” Kennedy who was active in Toronto’s street art community.  He was the one who coordinated the painting of the large murals around Broadview and Gerrard that featured the seven new wonders of the world.  You can find pictures of these murals in a blog post from September 2016 .

below: Mike’s portrait when it was partially finished.

middle section of a partially painted mural, in honour of Mike Kennedy, his portrait.

The mural was painted by Getso, Sight, Arms, Wales, Tenso2, Braes, and CTRJ

 

painting the Mike Kennedy tribute mural

tribute memorial mural to Mike Kennedy in Graffiti Alley

below: The finished portrait.

Mike Kennedy portrait

mural, white dog, with a row of spray paint cans in front

I like to think that Mike would be happy with the results.