Posts Tagged ‘old’

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.

From Lever Brothers soap factory to Unilever to East Harbour development…  In the 1890’s, Lever Brothers of Britain built a soap factory at the foot of the Don River.   Lever Brothers eventually became part of Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch conglomerate.   In 2002 Unilever sold the Toronto factory, but not the land, to Pensler Capital Corp of New Jersey.   From the National Post: ” Mr. Pensler renamed the company “Korex.” He froze workers’ wages. They lost their Unilever pensions. In 2008, Mr. Pensler offered a contract which workers said stripped seniority and benefits. About 160 workers walked out; in August, 2009, Korex Don Valley declared bankruptcy.”

view of the back of the Unilever (Lever Brothers) factory in Toronto

The development company, First Gulf Corp., bought the 14-hectare site from Unilever Canada back in 2012.  Although there are plans to redevelop the site, nothing has happened yet.

below: The sign says “Drivers, do not exceed 10 psi when unloading T.P.P. hexahydrate.

pipes and yellow metal fire escape on the side of an old factory

The building is mostly empty.  You can rent space inside if you have about $10,000/day to spend.   The grounds are kept fairly clean but the signs of neglect and age are everywhere.   There are other interesting bits and pieces left over from the site’s industrial past, but I have chosen to literally focus on the signs today.

below: No more phoning to get into the warehouse.

warehouse entry phone sign on white painted plywood where most of the white paint is gone, phone is not there, just the marks of where it used to be

yellow wign held up by red metal brackets. faded sign,

on rusty red metal, old sign that says do not block

below: Some signs have left very few traces.

empty rectangular metal frame where a sign once was, on an old yellow rusty pole, vacant land in the background

large dial with rust on it, attached to tap on yellow pipe, gauge in the background

chainlink fence in front of area with yellow pipes, overgrown with weeds and shrubs, sign that says no smoking, white on red, chipped in one corner

below: It’s not easy to read, but the sign in the foreground is a warning about speed bumps.

white water tower in the background with Ponds written on it, metal overhead structure for trucks entering old abandoned factory in the foreground with faded sign that once was warning speed bumps

red brick large Unilever factory, with exterior pipes, brackish pond in the foreground, with orange plastic fence around it, part of fence has collapsed and Danger sign is near the water

I know that this isn’t the first time that I have blogged about alley doors (previous alley post, Nov 2017) and I know that I tend to take a lot of pictures in alleys so I hope that you aren’t rolling your eyes right now.  I’m not sure that I’ve found anything “wow” or anything completely new, but here we go with a little bit of rust, a splash of paint and a dose of weathered …..

below: A dead end alley with three levels of doors.

looking down an alley to the back of a triplex (three storeys high) with fire escape stairs and balconies with railings

below: Lots of rusty hinges and peeling paint

rusty hinge on wood door with paint peeling

below: Not an inviting place to sit and chat!

door in an alley with a chair in front of it as well as bags of garbage and two bright red and yellow cushions

below: Something to catch an eye – a bright red door amidst the greys and browns.  If you look closely, there is a bird roosting on the door.

below: Look up!  And watch your step.

below: An alley with some colour in blues and greens…. and even a few straight lines.

below: Are you wondering if something’s missing?  Where are all the graffiti covered doors?

mural of a black man in purples and reds on a concrete block wall, with three signs posted on his face

Ahhh…. here we are. 

below: Part of Graffiti Alley.   A birdo eye peeping over a wall.

alley with low buildings, lots of graffiti and street art

below: An eagle’s head

street art painting of an eagle's head

below: Another birdo, this time a rooster head and a ??? tail.   Cock tail?

birdo mural of a rooster on a garage door

below: There really is a door under there.  A very narrow door.

old wood door in an alley covered with tags and graffiti

below: Another narrow door.  This one is adorned by something purple, something that looks like a head but isn’t a head.  More heads, as pasteups on either side of the door.

door in an alley with street art in purple and teal, two paste ups, on on either side of the door

below: A solitary bird on a shadowy tree.

below: I think that there was once a red heart on that door.

yellow building (shed? garage?) in an alley painteed white with light teal door with graffiti on it

below: Mass confusion on the wall, the door, and the window.  Many people have left their mark here…

closed door in alley covered with graffiti

below: …. and here too.  The door as a canvas that comes already framed.

closed door in alley covered with graffiti , framed by other street art and murals

below: Maybe the Pink Panther is suffering from writer’s block, pacing back and forth waiting for inspiration.  Or he can’t find the doorbell?  He forgot his key?  No one’s home.   Abandoned.

painting of the pink panther cartoon character standing beside of real door covered with a metal grille

This is another Thursday Doors post inspired by Norm 2.0’s blog.  You can check out Thursday Doors  for links to even more doors that other people have blogged about.   Take a wander over!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

below: The northwest corner of Queen and Sherbourne

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

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

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

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

northeast corner of queen and parliament, old brick buildings,

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

below: 354 and 356 Queen Street East

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

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

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

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

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

Streetcar, giraffe, and dinosaurs – these are three words that most people would never have the opportunity to put together in one sentence without talking nonsense.

First, here is the streetcar that I am refering to.  It is a mural on Connaught Avenue, on a building that is part of the TTC’s Russell Carhouse (also called Connaught Carhouse).   The house in the mural is the Ashbridge Estate which is across Queen Street from the TTC yard.   The sign over the door of the streetcar says 505 Hillsdale; I haven’t been able to find out why it says that.

a mural of a ttc streetcar and a house

a mural of a ttc streetcar and a heron

Next on the list is the giraffe  –  a mural by birdo.

a tall mural by birdo of a giraffe in many pieces, a yellow and orange head, a blue and red body and a number of multicoloured legs

I’m sure that you can see the pattern developing!  You’re obviously thinking, “Because the third word is dinosaurs, there must be a mural depicting dinosaurs.”  .. and you’d be right.  There are four dinosaurs on Sears street to be exact.

a mural featuring two large dinosaurs with text tags in between them. Realistic looking, two storeys tall.

Three of the dinosaurs are on the same wall – the two above and the one below.  All of them were painted by Mike Kennedy.

part of a mural with a stegasaurus dinosaur

The fourth one is across the street.  Sears is a street in name only, it’s narrow like an alley.

part of a mural with a dinosaur

None of these murals is new but they are in out of the way places and I suspect that not many people have seen them.   I hope that they were new to you!

Wood cracks.  Metal rusts. Paint fades and paint peels, its just what happens to paint when its exposed to the elements.  Street art painted on a surface suffers the same fate.  Nothing lasts forever and sometimes a mural’s life span is quite short.  Sometimes other factors come into play – street art is defaced or altered in some way.  Tags cover it; words get written on it.  That too is the nature of street art.

black stencil of a woman's head and hands. Also an old paper paste up of a person that is badly torn around the edges. A very simple face has been drawn above it in pink

below: I love what the weather has done to this woman’s face.  Aging with grace and dignity.  The texture of the old wood adds an element of depth and character to her as well.

street art painting of part of a woman's face on a wooden fence, old and faded and the wood is starting to crack

below:  One slat replaced.   I’m sure it wasn’t the artist’s intent, but the gaps in the wood look like bars in a cage, or those metal bars you often see on windows.

street art painting of part of a woman's face, in blues, on a wood fence, vertical pieces of wood with slight gaps between the wood

below: Broken chin, but still watching the world pass by on Baldwin Street.

anser face on an old wood gate that is wearing out, broken across the bottom. bikes parked to the left of the gate

below: Yelling at the bushes.

a very colourful and stylized face painted on a wall, large open mouth, looks like fiendish laughter, showing off large white teeth. A large green weed, or small shrub, has started growing in front of it.

below: Eyes are mysterious things.  I have never been able to draw them properly and I am in awe of those who can.  Even more so if the eyes communicate something, some emotion or expression.

eyes, street art, staring straight ahead. part of a large face painted on a wall in green tones.

below: I have always been intrigued by this face.  A photo of the original painting hangs on one of my walls.   I still find her mesmerizing.  Those blue eyes still stare at the world.  Is she looking through a veil?  Or is she able to see through all the nonsense that the world throws at her?

street art painting of part of a woman's face by anser, on olive green backgound, partially painted over and with words written in front of it.

below: A devilish child is still in good shape.

two bright orange stencils of faces. one is a laughing child with devil horns and the other is a woman's head.

street art painting of part of a woman's face, in purple . eyes closed, looking down, with hew lock and key on the door that she's painted on, wearing a necklace

street art painting of part of a woman's face, bright red hair, greenish face, blue background, eyes closed,

white line drawing on a rusty metal door of a woman's face, slightly open mouth with lots of teeth, curly hair

part of a mural on a wall showing two Easter Island type heads

below: “Without money we’d all be rich”.  That’s the kerb (curb) that runs along the bottom of the picture.  Her whole face was not there in the first place.

street art painting of part of a woman's face, on a wall, in greens and purples, she is looking to the left

below: And animal faces too!

part of a Uber 5000 mural, a dog with a tiny blue hat and a yellow birdie on a bicycle

‘Cutlines’, an exhibit of old photographs from the Globe & Mail,
part of the CONTACT Photography Festival

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

below: A small sample of the 175 vintage black and white photos from the vast collection held by the Globe and Mail newspaper on display.

old photographs, black and white, of small towns, in a display case, as part of an exhibit called Cutlines, old photos from the Globe and Mail collection

below:  The exhibit is being held at the Press Hall on Wellington Street (near Spadina).  This old building is slated for demolition in the near future as the Globe and Mail is in the midst of moving to a new home.  Prints were in cabinets in the center of the room while other images were projected high on the walls.

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

The Globe & Mail has amassed a collection of about 750,000 photographs.  As they transition from print to digital images, they are ‘cleaning house’ with respect to their photo archives.  About 100,000 of the prints are going to be digitized and a portion of those donated to the new Canadian Photography Institute at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

below: Some of the pictures were covered with red, with what is known as a rubylith mask.  When the images were printed, the portions covered in red remained as they were while the rest of the picture could be changed to suit the needs of the story of the day.

silhouette of a woman standing in front of a lit display case of old photographs

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

below: The woman with the two trophies, bottom left, is Marilyn Bell who swam across Lake Ontario.  I know that the man beside her is from a story about a cowboy championship of some sort in Calgary and my apologies for not remembering more of the details.

old photographs, black and white, of people with trophies, in a display case, as part of an exhibit called Cutlines, old photos from the Globe and Mail collection

silhouette of two men standing in front of a lit display case of old photographs

On view at 425 Wellington St. West until 26 June 2016

#CONTACT16