Posts Tagged ‘pigeons’

below: A lonely ladybug and bumblebee await the return of the kids.   Playgrounds still closed because of Covid-19.

playground with a large ladybird to sit on and a webshaped climbing ropes also with a closed for covid-19 sign

below: Barriers around the pool in front of the Toronto 3D sign at Nathan Phillips Square.  A perfect spot for a quiet picnic.

3 D toronto sign in front of city hall

A couple stands behind the o in 3 D toronto sign, barriers in front of sign, most of the water has been removed from pool in front, so have puddles with reflections of sign and city hall

below: New mural on Charles Street – painted September 2019, by Justus Becker (from Frankfurt Germany) as part of the 2019 StART mural exchange program.  One lens of the glasses is reflecting Toronto while the other lens mirrors Frankfurt.

tall mural onthe side of an apartment building, about 10 storeys high

below: Behind College Park (777 Bay Street)

behind 777 college street at college and bay streets, large tall condo buildings with a park in between

street scene

reflections in a large window on Yonge Street, a woman walks towards the window, the reflections of a man walking the other way are in the window

two men sitting on the sidewalk feeding pigeons, many pigeons, a security guard stands by a door behind them and a woman with a face mask walks past

a slightly arched window in an old brick building. Some panes of glass are gone and holes boarded up with plywood. Other panes are cracked. A pigeon rests on the window ledge by a gap in the window

s couple standing on a corner on Yonge street waiting for a light to change, and talking

below: If plants die on city property and no one is there to notice, does it really matter?

pale lime green planters in front of a concrete building, with dead plants in them.

below: Two big rats anthropomorphized into a cute little Chinese couple on a Canada Post box.  They appear on some of the stamps issued by the post office in honour of the Year of the Rat.  The rat is the first of the 12 animals in the  12 year cycle of the old Chinese calendar.  The rat also represents the hours of 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., in other words, both midnight and the beginning of a new day.   Perhaps we are approaching midnight and our new day is just around the corner?

Canada Post mailbox decorated with a picture of a mouse couple dressed in Chinese traditional outfits, cartoon-like, to celebrate lunar new year and year of the rat

below: Is this seat taken?

two mattresses discard in a lane beside a blue railing

below: Who can resist Unicorn Beauty?

two store fronts on Yonge Street, Unicorn Beauty and a Japanese restaurant

Social distancing can be challenge even when most people are staying home.  The way that the city and construction sites manage the sidewalks downtown barely worked before.  Now, the confinement of the sidewalk space makes it impossible for two people to pass and still comply with safety guidelines.   With some awareness, along with the ability to walk on the streets, it is possible to give everyone ample room.  There is a debate going on about whether or not to close some streets, or at least close some lanes to traffic, to provide more space for walkers.   Those on the “no” side such as the Toronto Public Health,  claim that it just encourages more people to be out when they should be at home; it undermines “directives against people congregating in groups”.

More recently, a program called CurbTO has begun whereby some curb lanes are opened to either pedestrians or to parking for curbside pickup from stores.  But even here, it’s not necessarily for walkers, but for people lining up to get into stores.   It’s going to be a very different situation once pedestrian and  traffic levels start to return to what they were in the old days and there are going to have been some infrastructure adaptations.

below: Navigating the sidewalks while still complying with what governments and health officials are suggesting.   Note the poster on the wall “We are all in this together”.

a woman walks down Yonge Street under a covered walkway (for construction) and towards a man half sitting and half lying on the sidewalk, with one leg stuck out into the sidewalk

below: It’s not often that traffic stops on Yonge Street for pedestrians and their pets.

a car stops on Yonge street to let a man and his white dog cross the street

below: On the southeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard, the facade of an old building is being preserved.

building on south east corner of Yonge and Gerrard is being demolished except for the facade which is being preserved

facade of a building on a corner being saved while rest of building is demolished

below: Brick and roofline details.

corner of a facade being saved during construction, old brick and detail work, window with no glass, showing metal supports keeping the wall up

below: I was impressed by the engineering that is involved in keeping these old facades intact while the interior is gutted.

metal framework and concrete weights that are used to shore up the walls of a facade being saved during redevelopment

a man sits on the stairs in front of the Ryerson Student Union building while another man walks past

ambulance with paramedics talking to a man who is sitting in the ambulance, at Yonge and Dundas in front of the Easton Centre

In front of the zanzibar club, sign, with flags and words, that say no corona here we only sell Molsons,

below: Talking to the polaroid guy.

a woman in a yellow and black striped scarf stops to look at a picture on a wall decorated with many black and white stripes going in many different directions, on the stripes is an enlargement of a polaroid picture of a man standing in a field with an airplane flying over him

a woman walks towards the side of a TTC streetcar as it crosses over Yonge Street

below: No standing takes on a new meaning

street signs now partially obscured by covering over sidewalk at construction site

below: Looking south on Bay Street from Queen.

Bay street, looking south from Queen

below: Richmond Street construction, west of University Avenue.

Richmond street, construction, looking west from University Ave

This was my first time on the subway since mid-March.  There were very few people there so it was easy avoiding them but once again, safely re-opening a city is not going to be easy.    The packed buses and subways are going to be problematic.

below: Only some subway seats can be occupied.

empty seats on TTC subway car, signs on seats saying do not sit here, social distancing measure re covid-19

 

This incredibly intricate butterfly or moth by alfalfa faces Bathurst street.  The body of the butterfly makes the human face within the insect unmistakable .

a large street art piece of a butterfly with man's eyes on the wings, boy of butterfly looks like man's nose

On the south side of the same building is this captivating turquoise-skinnedcharacter painted by muisca.

character with turquoise face and yellow and orange hair and dress, by muisca, mural on the side of a building

On the north side of the building there is a driveway that leads to an alley.   There are murals on the side of the building as well as on other buildings and garages immediately adjacent.

 

below: This tiger by luvsumone (aka Moises Frank) is on a garage door in the alley.

partially abstract painting of a tiger by luvsumone, xyz

below: If you follow the sound of many pigeons cooing you’ll find yourself in front of one of the garages that must have a pigeon loft on the upper storey.  The same garage has two pigeon murals.  This stylized pigeon who seems quite happy with his can of spray paint is on one side while the pigeon in the next image is on the garage door.

a stylized pigeon, painted on the side of a building, with a spray paint can by it's head

below: Stay fly pigeon, luvsumone, painted in 2017

a large painting of a pigeon on a garage door in an alley

below: Another of the alley murals.

4 garbage bins lined up beside a small building with a mural of a young woman with blank eyes above the bin

below: The north side of the building has three murals of people.  These eyes are part of a larger man’s face.

part of mural of man's face, two eyes and a nose,

below: A woman’s face seems to float on the brick wall.

a large woman's face painted on the side of a brick building

close up of a pair of blue lips painted as part of a mural of a woman's face

below: This wall has also become a memorial wall.

mural of young woman's face, looking straight ahead, eyes partially closed, arms crossed in front of her,

words written under a group of street art pieces, deluxe the 6, names of street artists

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