Posts Tagged ‘people’

A trip to Toronto Islands on a sunny spring day.
Photos and stories – an eclectic mix of history and nature that resulted from wandering around the eastern portion of the islands.

below: From the ferry, looking toward the glass and steel of the city.

sail boats in Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, in front of the Toronto skyline with highrises and skyscrapers also ship moored at Redpath Sugar refinery

Toronto Islands is a collection of at least 12 small islands.  In the early years the island archipelago was really a peninsula of sandbars and ponds; it was connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sandy shoreline. This landform was created over centuries by the action of waves, winds and lake currents – washing away portions of the Scarborough Bluffs and depositing this material to the west in a five-mile-long hooked shape. This process of natural “landscaping” continued until the spring of 1858, when a particularly powerful hurricane created a channel four to five feet deep through the peninsula.  By June of that year, the Eastern Gap was a waterway, and the Toronto Islands came into being.

below: On the ferry between the city and Centre Island.

people lined up along the front railing of a ferry from Centre Island to the city of Toronto, looking at skyline and taking picture of it. Toronto is in the background.

The first buildings on the islands were the Blockhouse Bay garrison built in the 1794 by the British at Gibraltar Point – it included a blockhouse and storage structures.  A second blockhouse and a guard house were built soon after, only to be destroyed by the Americans in the Battle of York in April 1813.   The lighthouse at Gibraltar Point built in 1809 still stands (sorry, no photo).

In 1833 Michael O’Connor built a hotel on one the islands.  He used a horse-drawn boat to ferry customers across from the mainland to his hotel.  At that time, there was still access by road but it was a toll road.  In 1836 it cost sixpence for every four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses.  Smaller ‘vehicles’ paid less.   In 1858 the hotel (now Quinns Hotel) was destroyed during the same hurricane that turned the peninsula into an island.  The hotels were destroyed but the islands remained popular.  With no road access, ferries were needed and many people ran private ferry services until they were bought out or amalgamated into the Toronto Ferry Company in 1892.  It was privately owned until 1926 when it was purchased by the City of Toronto for $337,500.

ferry, ceiling is full of orange life jackets, railings along edge, Lake Ontario, benches to sit on but no people

blue abstract from two blue doors with cut out where handle should be

Many houses and businesses, (hotels, restaurants, bowling alley, laundry, theatre etc) were established over the years from Hanlon’s Point in the west to Wards Island in the east.   Today, residences are only in the eastern section of Wards Island and on Algonquin Island.

The Ward’s Island community began in the 1880s as a settlement of tents. Up until then, that eastern end of the islands was mostly wetlands.  The first summer colony on Ward’s in 1899 consisted of just eight tenants, each of whom had paid a fee of $10 rent for the season. The number of tents grew each year.  In 1913, the city felt it necessary to organize the community into streets. The evolution from tents to cottage structures progressed in stages with the building of floors, the addition of kitchens and then porches, resulting in the creation of the homes.

two houses on Wards Island, small wood housses, one bright blue and the other is white

grey wood siding on house with white door and small porch. Two yellow and metal chairs on the porch

In 1953 the municipal government changed their policy toward the Toronto Islands landscape and its residents. Businesses were removed and the systematic demolition and burning of homes began.  More of the islands became parkland.    There are 262 houses on Wards and Algonquin Islands today, down from about 630 residences on all the islands.  The last of the Lakeshore houses was removed in 1968 but traces of them still remain.

wood boardwalk along the foreground of the photo with a concrete path leading away from it, into an overgrown area

part of old concrete breakwater, once there was house here, number 170 embedded in the concrete

below: The pier on the Lake Ontario side.

metal fence in the foreground, beach, pier and Lake Ontario in the middle and background

below: Sandbags along the shore.  Last spring there was a lot of flooding here and the island was closed to visitors – sort of.  Ferries didn’t run and the park facilities were closed.  The islands are very flat and low so it doesn’t take much extra water to flood.

large white sandbags along the shore, beach on the other side, Lake Ontario in background with a row of rocks as breakwater a short distance from the shore, sign on the beach

sign fallen over and under water, surrounded by rocks, Lake Ontario

below: There is a small amusement park, Centreville, on Centre Island.

CN tower in the background, people on the Skyline ride at Centre Island passing over water, with large boats docked farther up the river

below: Island transport that can be rented if you don’t want to walk.

people cycling in 2 quadricycles, a four wheeled bicycle like vehicle, on paths,

the orange and white wall tile pattern of Pizza Pizza with a red bike parked in front of it.

below: Boats moored QCYC (Queen City Yacht Club), one of the three yacht clubs on the islands.

sailboats moored at a wood dock, QCYC

below: Sakura trees in bloom.   The trees were donated by the Sakura Project.  The aim of this project was to strengthen Japanese Canadian relations by planting cherry trees in visible locations across Ontario.   Between 2000 and 2012,  3,082 trees were planted at 58 locations.  The trees on Centre Island were planted in 2011.

path, sakura (cherry) trees on either side with their pink and white blossoms, other large trees around them with pale green of new leaves

below: Catkins from a red alder tree.  They almost look like raspberries packed tight together.

red fuzzy blossoms droop from the end of a tree branch

new yellowish green flowers on a tree, also leaf buds just opening,

ants in the bud on a tree

below: An early family of Canada geese.

family of Canada geese, 2 adults and 7 or 8 fluffy little goslings swimming in the water

below: The pier at the eastern end of Wards Island is bad need of repair.  To the right is the entry into the Eastern Channel (or Eastern Gap).

broken concrete pier into Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, with Toronto skyline and CN Tower in the distance

below: Looking over to Algonquin Island.  Once upon a time this island was just a sandbar.

waterway, orange life ring and ladder on one side of the river, houses and docks, and boats on the other. r

two people standing on the shore of Center Island, looking at the Toronto skyline and taking pictures of it.

and back to the mainland.

people exiting a ferry, from above

Today.  Wonderful

back of an audi with the licence plate 1drful, or wonderful,

and Shiny.

wavy reflections of a building in the windows of another downtown building

I am not usually a morning person but how could I resist not getting up and moving on this gorgeous spring day?  With my metropass in my back pocket….

looking out the open doors of a TTC streetcar, as they start to close, see reflection of the streetcar in the window of the store beside the streetcar

… and my walking sandals on (Yes! Sandals!) I headed out to explore the day.

a foot, standing on pale brick red lockstone, crumbling kerb beside the foot, some weeds starting to grow up between the cracks.

(early enough to beat the crowds!)

interior of a TTC streetcar, looking towards the back, red covered white seats, no one else on the car.

The early morning criss cross shadows and reflections.

light and shadow patterns produce by low morning sun shining on downtown glass skyscrapers, on the street below with its white lines adding to the pattern

The soft greens, and almost yellows, of new leaves.

a park with green grass, trees just beginning to bud, in front of a number of glass and steel condo towers in downtown Toronto . willow trees and other kinds of trees.

The flowers – tulips, daffodils and hyacinths – that have spring up in planters around the city.

pink tulip growing beside a shiny metal sign, reflected in the sign, other spring flowers in the background.

Oh no.  The geese are back (or did they never leave?).

A lone Canada Goose walking on a small stretch of grass beside a busy road and the onramp to the DVP. head down, looking for food.

The dogs are still waiting for the water to be turned on.

statues of dogs around a fountain that is dry at the moment.

On Yonge Street (near Wellington), there has been too much water.  The street has been closed while water main issues are straightened out (it has since been opened).

road closed sign, black arrow on orange sign, ornage and black striped traffic cones, blocking Yonge street, with trucks in the background.

wet road, water gushing out of a large hose, feet and legs of some men.

While Yonge was closed anyhow, workmen install a new sign at the corner of Yonge & Wellington.

workmen on a lifter install a new sign on the outside of a Rexall drug store.

Also needing fixing – yesterday’s wind storm left a lot of damage around the city including this very large tree that lost a very large branch.    Actually the whole tree has come down.

large sections of an old tree lie on the ground where they fell during a wind storm. They landed on a chain link fence that is now broken. in a park .

Lots of wires were down too.

a large pole with a myriad of wires (hydro wires) has started to fall over. wires draping low across the street. hydro trucks on the scene

Not everybody was up with the sun this morning.

a man under a white blanket is asleep in the doorway of the old Kingsbrae restaurant, with a can of beer beside him

I hope that your day was shiny and bright too!
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

below: The reigning champ and I!

a man in a black tshirt crosses the street towards a large indow with lots of reflections in it.

This little walk starts with the artwork of Marleen Sleeuwits and her ‘Not the Actual Site’ exhibit at Brookfield Place (Allan Lambert Galleria).

A short walk from Brookfield Place westward along King street towards Metro Hall….

where pictures from John Edmonds ‘Hoods’ series are on display (as are the people who walk past!).

Across the street from ‘Hoods’ is Caroline Monnet’s, ‘History shall speak for itself’.  These photos are the south and west wall of TIFF.

caroline Monnet's large mural on the side of TIFF building, King street, people walking past, bikes parked in front of the art.

Just a bit farther west (at Spadina) you can find a large purple hued image by Felicity Hammond on the north wall of 460 King St. West.

A few more smaller works by Felicity Hammond are in the Contact Gallery at 80 Spadina – the building immediately north of the parking lot where you can find the image above.    The gallery glowed in pink and purple light.

below: Object shapes are cut outs from a thin sheet of acrylic on which photos were printed.  These shapes are held up by clay blobs.

And that’s our tour for today!

Revelation Day of Khalsa celebration at Nathan Phillips Square.
Fabulous colours and smells.
And LOTS of people! The people came from around Ontario as well as some from New York state.

man sikhs in colourful turbans and saris crowd into Nathan Phillips square, and are around the 3D toronto sign, which is backwards in this photo (taken from behind the letters)

women in a crowd, smiling and talking, wearing sunglasses and colourful saris and head scarves

an older sikh man stands in front of Henry Moore's sculpture, The Archer, at Nathan Phillips Square, he's wearing a yellow turban, white shirt and beige vest. Sitting around the base of the sculpture are many people - men with turbans and women with long saris.

below: There was free food for everyone.

male and female volunteers serve food to people at khalsa celebrations.

a man in a blue turban and with a long black beard carries a tray of french fries to serve to people

shoes inthe dorground, people sitting on a green mat, people standing in line waiting to pray beyond that

below: There was a place for prayer

sihks in turbans and saris praying at a khalsa event outdoors

men seated on the ground, back to camera, all wearing turbans, dark blue, orange, and light orange,

Under a tent covering, a man from Punjabi TV is filming khalsa prayers and celebration at Nathan Phillips square

statue of Winston Churchill at city hall in Toronto, hands on hips, in the background, many people are on the upper ramp around the city hall building

crowd of people at nathan phillips square, as seen from above

a group of sikhs, men and women, sitting and standing outside

sikh women in pink, orange, and yellow saris, standing outside and socializing

black jeep decorated as a float in khalsa day parade in toronto

a young sikh woman stands in front of a crowd of people, yellow sari, black leather jacket and green and gold scarf around her neck

a young man carries food in styrofoam packages as well as a drink, as he walks past people sitting around the sculpture, The Archer at City Hall

an older sikh man with a long grey beard and an orange turban holds a younger boy in a blue jacket and hood

two young men in turbans, one blue and one yellow. one is wearing reflective sunglasses

the back of a jacket being worn by a young man, white jacket with red map of canada and the words Canada 150, wearing an orange head scarf tied at the back.

Last weekend

a three D sculpture of a man's face, on a wall, outside, graffiti, forlorn expression on his face

This weekend

the word believe is written in yellow ribbon that has been woven into a chainlink fence around a tennis court, two women on a bench to the side of it, park,

I hope that you all had a great weekend!  It was fabulous to be out and about enjoying the warm weather – everyone is happier when the sun shines and the snow melts!  The following pictures were taken today when I was out walking along Queen West, people watching as I went.

street art graffiti that says vida in large letters along the side of a metal staircase, upper story of an orange brick building

below: Street artist SKAM and his graffiti tag.   The original was painted in 2012 and had not been tagged over or messed up too much.  Some of the paint was peeling so it was time for a make over.

street artist skam is painting text graffiti (his name, tag) in greens and blues on a wall in Graffiti Alley

below: Part of the latest Uber5000 mural is reflected in the window as SKAM paints.

two young women walking on the sidewalk, both with skateboards and Starbucks drinks, summer clothing,

a woman with magenta hair is standing on the sidewalk, back against a wall.

below: Trinity Bellwoods Park  (This is also where the ‘believe’ in yellow is woven into the chainlink fence – photo above).

an older couple sitting on a bench in a park, talking to each other, the man is using his arms expressively

below: The albino squirrel of Trinity Bellwoods Park – he’s up here somewhere!

a boy looks up a tree, a white albino squirrel is headed down the other side of the tree trunk

below: Found him!

a white albino squirrel is on the ground beside a small tree with daffodils starting to grow up beside, a young boy is walking towards the squirrel

below: Reaching for a coffee

a window with mannequins in long dresses, teal and magenta fabric, reflections of woman passing by with a coffee cup in her hand

below: Walking the dog!

a family goes for a walk in the park, dad is pushing the stroller, mom on phone, young daughter pulling a pink leash with a toy dog on it.

a man outside, standing on sidewalk, with a plate of food and a cup of coffee,, with his phone in his hands

below: It wasn’t a happy day for everyone.

An older Chinese woman is pushing a cart with a large clear plastic bag full of empty aluminium cans, a Chinese man with a similar cart is behind her, other people out walking  on the sidewalk

below: Smoking room

an older woman in pink running shoes and leopard print fuzzy jacket is sitting in a bus shelter, smoking a cigarette,

two women standing on the sidewalk near lots of parked bikes. One is wearing a short floral skirt and the other is in skimpy white shorts and low necked white top

below: Supporting the locals.  It’s also play-off time of the year and this year both the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs are still in the playoffs in their respective sports.

three flags hanging outside a window, a Raptos flag (Toronto basketball) and a Maple Leafs flag (Toronto hockey) as well as a rainbow pride flag

Welcome spring!

a small black and white daisy drawing on a sticker on a wall that is covered with bright paint

April 20, 4/20, 420 day with its annual marijuana protest. The nature of the “protest” has changed over the years now that the fight for legalization is almost over. This year was more like a group of friends hanging out together at Nathan Phillips Square and enjoying the warmest day that we’ve had in a while. A few items, seeds, edibles, etc, were available for sale. The group didn’t have a permit for the event (they were turned down) but that didn’t stop them. The police (and other security) presence was very visible but confrontations were kept to a minimum – at least for the time that I was there which was early on. I left while Nathan Phillips Square wasn’t crowded.

a woman in a green hat smokes a joint behind the back of a policeman in a yellow jacket.

a man with multicoloured curly wig and police cap holds a banner (backside to the camera) that some people are reading

a woman with long braided red hair stands beside someone in bong costume,

below: Green whistles were distributed and there were times when the sound they made was quite loud!

two young women taking a selfie, one is blowing on a green whistle

a woman in green and clothes with marijuana leaves on them, sits on a bench at Nathan Phillips, a man in a walker is beside her and talking to her.

Nathan Phillips square, two security guys on upper level above the snack bar, people walking below.

a group of people sitting around the 3D toronto sign at Nathan Phillips, one man is in the O, on his phone, a book in his lap,

a young woman with sunglasses and a white scarf around her neck smokes a joint,

a man in a beige jacket, blue sunglasses and black baseball cap smokes a joint outside

a woman with a head band made of rope and fake daisies, wears round sunglasses, mouth with red lipstick, partially open and talking,

back view of a woman in lace stockings, maroon knee high boots, black hoodie, holding up a green banner, people around her are talking pictures on their phones.

woman with dark sunglasses and black and green dreadlocks smokes a joint, close up photo of her face

Indigenous man with cap on his head and medical mask under his chin, makes a face, a red head woman in on the right, partially cropped out and out of focus, she is laughing

two men in black parkas, outside, one has a very large marijuana cigarette in his mouth although it is not yet lit;

a young man with black hoodie, stands outside at Nathan Phillips square with a bong in his hand, smiling, 420 day event

two men in black fedoras, one is holding a cup of coffee, outside, jackets on

three men with dreadlocks and bright coloured toques, backs to camera, over one shoulder is an older man looking close to the camera

a black and white photo of two men at a 420 event.

Well, that was quite a weekend.  An April winter storm with snow, sleet, ice pellets, freezing rain, and even some just plain rain.   The streets were icy and the sidewalks were slushy and wet.   Chunks of ice have fallen off roofs, tree branches have broken off with the weight of the ice that formed on them.  And then there was the wind that blew hard.   Of course I went out!

hazy, blurry picture of a person walking with an umbrella up Yonge street with other people, cars, wet sidewalk,

below: Dressed in our April finery. Black parkas.

people walking in the rain, downtown Toronto

below:  There is a small, but interesting, exhibit at the Toronto Reference Library at Yonge and Asquith that I wanted to see.  It’s called ‘Toronto Revealed’ and it’s in the TD Gallery on the main floor.   It features drawings and paintings of Toronto’s past.

sign in the window of the Toronto Reference library re the display at the TD gallery, Toronto Revealed, pictures and paintings of Toronto in the past

below: One of the paintings in the exhibit is this one, ‘Cherry Street Hotel’ by Gerard Lazare (1978).  The Cherry Street Hotel was built in 1890 at the corner of Cherry and Front Streets.  It later became the Canary Restaurant (1965-2010).  The building is still there but it stands empty.

painting of the Canary restaurant on the corner of Cherry and Front streets

below: There was a display of small artworks by Nicholas Hornyansky (1896-1965), including this one of St. James Cathedral (1938).  Hornyansky was born in Hungary and immigrated to Canada in 1929.  He is known for the etchings and aquatints (another print making technique) that he did of Toronto buildings and landscapes.

small framed painting of Saint James cathedral in Toronto, by Nicholas Hornyansky, painted in 1938 .

below: Most of the paintings were very realistic (documentary) except this one – a wacky view of Bloor Street looking west from Yonge towards Bay by Carlos Marchiori, painted in acrylic in 1976.   Even then, it is fairly true to reality.  The darker tower on the right is on the NW corner of Bloor and Yonge.  Stollerys store (the low building on the SW corner) is long gone.

bright painting of city landscapre, Yonge & Bloor, bendy buildings, cars as coloured blobs on the streets, puffy clouds in bright blue sky, by Carlos Marchiori

While I was at the library, I wandered around and took a few pictures of its vast open spaces.  It was warm and dry!  I was expecting to be told to put my camera away, but no one seemed to care.

interior of the Toronto Reference Library from the fifth floor, semi circular tables, reddish carpet, open concept architecture, rows of books,

below: Most were too busy working to notice.

looking down an aisle between two stacks of books (book shelves), a woman is sitting at a table studying and writing, there is a window behind her

below: One more picture from the ‘Toronto Revealed’ exhibit is this painting of the intersection of King and Jarvis by Vernon Mould.   It was painted in 1979.  Was gas really 20 cents a gallon in 1979?  No! That was the year that prices went metric and a litre of gas was 20 cents.    I came back to this picture because I chose to chase down that intersection to see what it looks like today.

painting, in mostly brown tones of a three story building at the corner of King and Jarvis, Toronto, with a small gas station across the street, sign says gas 20 cents, 2 gas pumps,

below: Et voici, same intersection, approximately the same angle.  There is now a building (with a Second Cup on the ground floor) where Mould would have stood.   By the looks of it, the three storey brick building on the NE corner has been fixed up since 1979.  So glad to see that it hasn’t been replaced by a glass condo tower!

intersection of King and Jarvis, looking north, three story brick building,

below: I wanted to find out more about the building, so I googled Sportsman’s Shop and I found a wonderful old picture of it from the 1970’s, obviously taken before it was renovated.    Apparently, it was fixed up in the early 1980s.

old black and white photo of the Sportsmans Shop at 150 King East in Toronto, three storey brick building

photo credit: Gary Switzer, source: Urban Toronto

below:  The next photo was taken as I stood on the same corner of King and Jarvis, but pointing my camera in different direction – looking west on King towards St. James Cathedral.  This is the eastern limit of the King Street streetcar project which is why the multicoloured barricades block part of the righthand westbound lane.

looking west on King street from Jarvis, St. James Cathedral and park on the right, downtown towers and office buildings in the distance, rainy day, TTC streetcar,

below:  These women are waiting in the wrong place.  Although the city changed the location of the streetcar stops along King Street, the bus shelters haven’t been moved yet.   At least they were (sort of) out of the rain.   They soon realized their mistake.

below: Looking back, the prerequisite photo of a TTC streetcar through a rainy day window.

looking out the back window of a streetcar, rainy day, raindrops on the glass, another streetcar is passing by

It’s always better to end a blog post on a happy note, right?  It may be a dream (I hope not!) but spring can’t be too far away.  April showers bring May flowers, right?  On my second warm up stop I saw this cheerful, hopeful drawing tacked to a wall.   It was one of many on the wall, all the work of Maihyet Burton.  They were at the Artscape building at the Distillery District.

a pen and ink drawing of spring flowers, poppies, in blues and purples, and fiddleheads in bright green

below: Headed home again.

two people with their back to the camera wait on the subway platform as a train arrives

Don’t put away your boots and hats yet!