Posts Tagged ‘panda’

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

 

Updated 2 September

The latest StreetARToronto (StART) summer project has just wrapped up.  Seven new murals around Broadview and Gerrard East, each one depicting a famous landmark, make up this project which is now called ‘Around the World in East Chinatown’.  Although it was largely funded and organized by StART, other partners include the Toronto Parking Authority, 55 Division police, and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (East Toronto).

A crew of more than 20 artists headed by Mike Kennedy worked for about 2 weeks to complete the murals.  Each mural includes the ‘signature’ of the artists.  I am not very good are deciphering (or remembering) the graffiti writing but I’ve had some help identifying the artists.

below: Christ the Redeemer now watches over Gerrard East.  Painted by bacon.  This is the statue built high on a hill overlooking Rio de Janeiro.  If you watched any coverage of this summer’s Olympics you probably saw this statue from every possible angle.   The statue was designed by a Frenchman, Paul Landowski and built by a  Brazilian engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa, between 1922 and 1931.   Made of soapstone and reinforced concrete the statue stands 30m tall and has an arm span of 28m.  He stands on an 8m high pedestal.

a mural of the famous Rio de Janeiro statue, Christ the Redeemer, high on a brick wall, with background in sky blue and yellow

below: Putting the finishing touches on The Great Wall of China, a collaborative effort by Nick Sweetman, Wuns, Rons, Tens, Braes and Wales.   The actual wall was built in sections over many centuries and includes walls, trenches and natural elements such as hills and rivers.  Parts of the wall are in better repair than others – around Beijing where more tourists visit, the wall has been fixed up and is well maintained.  Measurement of the wall varies but if all the branches of the wall are taken into consideration, the total length is about 21,000 km.

a yellow cart with cans of spray paint on it sits in front of a mural of the great wall of China

below: A hummingbird flies over Machu Picchu in the next mural.   Machu Picchu was built by the Incas in the 15th century in what is now Peru.  It is on a mountain ridge, 2430m above sea level.

full mural of Machu Picchu along he wall of a building at the edge of a parking lot, scene of Machu Picchu with a humming bird in the foreground.

below: Machu Picchu.  Painted by Bacon, Kwest, Kane and Rath.

a mural with a panoramic scene of Machu Picchu, with graffiti writing signatues below.

below: In the same parking lot as Machu Picchu but on the other side, is a very large mural centered around an image of the Taj Mahal.  Painted by Sight, Hone, Water, Equal and Tenser.

a laong horizontal mural featuring an image of the Taj Mahal.

below: Commissioned in 1632 by the Mogul Emperor, Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was built as a mausoleum for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal.  She was born Arjumand Banu Begum, a daughter of Persian nobility in Agra India.  In 1613, when she was 19, she married Prince Khurram (later he became Shah Jahan) as his 3rd or 4th wife.    She died in June of 1631 while giving birth to their 14th child.   If my math is correct, that’s 14 children in 18 years.   After the Shah died in 1666, he was buried here too.  Anyhow, many centuries later, the Taj Mahal is still standing in Agra India and it is visited by millions every year.

An image of the Taj Mahal in a mural in warm muted orange and brown tones, with a graffiti writing signature underneath it. On a wall in a parking lot.

below: Teeny tiny people dwarfed by the doors of Petra, Jordan.  Petra is an ancient city with immense buildings cut out of the sandstone cliffs and hills.  It was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106 when it was called Raqmu.  The Nabateans were a nomadic Arab tribe.  Their empire came to an end when they were conquered by the Romans and their land annexed into the Roman Empire.

mural showing entrance in the stone cliffs to Petra in Jordan, camel head in the bottom left corner, mural on the side of a store, brick wall,

below: The whole Petra mural on the walls of an alley tucked in between the Ka Ka Lucky Seafood BBQ Restaurant and Paradise Spa on Broadview Avenue.  This mural was painted by Hemps.

Chinese restaurant, Ka Ka Lucky Barbeue Restaurant, with an alley on one side. On the wall in the alley there is a mural showing the stone town of Petra Jordan.

below: The Roman Coliseum (Rome) is now on the corner of Broadview and Gerrard.  This is half of the mural and when the photo was taken it was incomplete.  It is now finished – a second visit for a photo is in my future!  The Coliseum (or Colosseum) is in Rome and it was built by 80 A.D, just before the Roman Empire swallowed up the Nabateans.   It was built as an amphitheatre and could hold at least 50,000 spectators – people who came to watch gladiator fights, enactments of classical dramas, or other forms of entertainment.

A mural showing the Coliseum in Rome painted on the side of Chino Locos Mexican restautant.

below: The right hand side of the mural with the graffiti writing signature of the artist. If I could only easily photoshop out that garbage bin.  Mural painted by Sewp, Poser and Frens.

graffiti writing signature on a wall, dripping blue paint, and a garbage bin in front of it.

below: Chichen Itza ruins in Yucatan Mexico and a jaguar on the side of the Sunshine Hair Studio, partially obscured by greenery.  Painted by Cruz, Rons, Sadar and  Rcade.  Chichen Itza was the largest Mayan city covering about 5 square km.  It flourished between 900 and 1050.   The mural depicts El Castillo, or the Temple of Kukulcan, the building at the center of Chichen Itza that dominates the site.

mural on the side of building on Gerrard East, a picture of an ancient stone temple, Chichen Itza in Yucatan Mexico.

And that concludes the seven new murals – Christ the Redeemer statue, The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Taj Mahal, Petra, the Roman Coliseum, and Chichen Itza.

This mural project follows the success of last year’s Project Picasso in the same area.   Graffiti from some of the lanes was cleaned up and a Chinese themed mural was painted on the brick wall at the back of the parking lot on Gerrard Street East, just west of Broadview Avenue.  Riverdale Collegiate students helped with the graffiti clean up and contributed ideas for the mural.

below: Chinatown East mural by ACK crew, bacon, wunder, tensoe 2, and cruz1

large mural across the side of a building at the back of a parking lot, Chinese characters and icons, panda bear, tiger, bamboo forest, lucky cat, chinese lantern, dragon

below: Chinese icons painted in the mural – a resting tiger, cherry blossoms,  red Chinese lanterns floating by, a lucky cat with its paws up,  and a panda munching on a piece of bamboo.

 

part of a mural in Chinatown East, pink cherry blossoms, red chinese lantern, panda chewing on bamboo, tiger, lucky cat

below: A red dragon beside some Chinese characters.  Does anyone know what it says?

part of a mural in Chinatown East, chinese characters and a red dragon

 

 

This is a collection of things that I’ve seen recently that haven’t fit in with any other blog posts.

below: He hangs out on Queen St. West.

A partial painting of a red head man, life size or close to it, on a white wall that people have added stickers to. The stickers cover all of his torso

below: A legless stikman behind bars on Palmerston

Stickman behind a wrought iron fence. He is missing the lower half of his body

A lovebot sticker, lovebot is holding up a sign that says I am a toy. It is on a sign for a store that says Since 1914

below: Malibu rum and Corona beer exposed by demolition on Peter Street.

A construction site. A wall has been exposed that has two large wall paintings, one is an ad for Malibu rum and the other is an ad for Corona beer.

below: Argh.  He understands our frustration.  The Dufferin bus didn’t stop even though there were two of us waiting here!

On a TTC temporary bus stop sign, someone has put a sticker of a person on it, the sticker fits perfectly into the vertical part of the letter T in S T O P

below: Death is the conduit of rebirth.  Life, death and everything in between.

A street art painting of a large skull with the eyes painted as people's heads. Beside it are the words, Death is the conduit to rebirth

below: False can’t hide behind the pipes, Kensington

Behind two yellow pipes on the exterior of a building, a painting of a person's torso with a large heart painted on his shirt. In it's hands is a white sign with the word false written on it.

below: Love the hearts, especially now that blue crowns have started appearing with them.

a yellow happy face lovey heart on a telephone pole, with a blue crown on top of it as well as a stencilled sign that reads Honesty of the best poetry, Gregory Alan Elliott

below:  Panda with guns.  This image was originally a Banksy and it came with the words ‘Destroy Racism.  Be a panda. He’s black.  He’s white.  He’s Asian. ‘

A painting of a panda standing upright, painted on an old wood fence. The panda has a gun in each hand and they are pointed upwards

below:  Seen on hoardings on Eglinton Avenue near Bathurst.  My apologies to the artist, Alice Choi for accidentally cutting off her name from the bottom when I took the picture.

A painting of a person sitting on a chair with only a red cloth draped over their body. The head is a light bulb. A calculator, smartphone and computer monitor and some fish are floating around the person.

below: This stikman is embedded in the pavement.  He’s been run over many times.

A stikman painted onto the pavement of a street

below: Remnants of people and such

The remains of many black and white stickers or wheatpastes on a wall

A small sticker of a girl with a large head and big eyes

below: There will always be haters I guess.

A sticker with a red heart and the words Love Everyone that someone has scrawled on in black marker, shut up

If you walk along Harbord Street, just east of Bathurst Street, you can’t miss the colourful paintings at the entrance to James Hales Lane.  Most of them were painted by street artists Shalak and Smoky.

large street art painting of a snail with a tiny house on the back of its shell. The piece is signed by Smoky

Looking down along a wall in an alley on which there is a large crocodile and a bear's head painted on the wall. Multicoloured. Bright colours.

Intricate street art painting of a crocodile or alligator on a wall in an alley. Alley animal.

Close up of some new growth, new leaves, on the stump of a small tree. The stump has been covered with spray paint, because it against a wall on which a street art painting was done

below: This bear is painted on the west side of Bampot Bohemian House of Tea & Board Games which explains the floating tea cup above his head.

The face of a bear, perhaps panda bear, but in purples and greens. It is in water up to its nose. A steaming tea cup floats above its head.

below: This peacock is on the other side of the tea house. Signed by MXP, 2004.

street art painting of a peacock. The feathers make a circle shape and are made of houses and trees.

below: This tiger is also on Harbord.  It faces the peacock.  Parts of the picture are washed out because of the angle of the afternoon sun on the day I saw this mural.

A shalak painting of a large tiger head with mouth open and teeth showing. Multicoloured, painted on a wall in an alley. The sun is shining directly on part of it so its a bit washed out in places.

James Hales Lane is short and it is a dead end.  There isn’t much more graffiti or street art in the lane.

A shite garage door in an alley, on the concrete block wall beside the garage door is a line drawing of a rose that is as high as the garage door.

The Magical Garden, by Broadview Community Youth Group and Wallnoise

sign on a painted fence in a park that says 'The Magical Garden by Broadview Community Youth Group'

in a park just north of the Danforth between Ferrier and Logan.

street art painting of a bright green and yellow mouse head

One wall features four murals created by members of the youth group.

mural of a marine life scene with mostly jellyfish, octopus and fish
On a fence in a park - a mural, or collage, abstract flowers made of circles and squares in many bright colours.

Close up of part of a mural, or collage, abstract flowers made of circles and squares in many bright colours.

Mural done by a youth group of birds in the branches of a large tree

Mural done by a youth group of many different kinds of animals

giraffe and two butterflies

 Local street artists have decorated the other fences in the park as well as a couple of garage doors in the lane adjacent to the park.

park fence with house behind, fence is painted with street art

in the foreground is a garage with two pieces of street art, a little green monster on a red background, and half a butterfly

Graffiti street art mural on the side of a garage, a pair of wolves howling at the sunset on the left, and a large light blue dog head on the right

mural of a butterfly on the corner of a garage, one half of the butterfly is on the front of the garage and the other half of the graffiti butterfly is on the side of the garage

Fat round fish with big eyes and sharp teeth - looks a bit like a monster, swimming on a blue garage door in a lane.

Street art painting of a pink cat head on a fence with a cutout brown and black cat above it.