Posts Tagged ‘plaque’

looking down Hazelton Ave towards Yorkville Ave., two older houses, now used as commercial businesses, one half painted blue and the other half is red.

It’s still May and the CONTACT Photography Festival is still on so I am still trying to see as much as possible.   Yesterday afternoon I went wandering in Yorkville where there is lots to see and do besides a couple of CONTACT exhibits.

below: Captain Canuck.  I started with the TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library.  It wasn’t that long ago that I was there (April I think) but the exhibit has changed.   It is now ‘Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity’.  Isn’t Captain Canuck the most famous Canadian superhero?  He first appeared in 1975.

painting of Captain Canuck, from the chest up, one arm raised to shoulder height

below: Not so well known – The cover of the book ‘Nelvana of the Northern Lights’ by Adrian Dingle (1911-1974).   Nelvana was Canada’s first female superhero; she first appeared in 1941, a few months before (American) Wonder Woman.  Nelvana’s superpowers included turning invisible and traveling at the speed of light along a ray of the Northern Lights.  According to Wikipedia, she “visited lost kingdoms under the ice, journeyed to other dimensions, and fought against the Axis Powers during World War II, eventually taking on the secret identity of secret agent Alana North.   Her last adventure was published in 1947.

book cover, book called Nelvana of the Northern Lights, a comic book by Adrian Dingle, 15 cents, 68 pages, hard cover

below: This structure was built in 1876 as a Carpenter Gothic Revival Style church – the Olivet Congregational Church.  It has been the home of the Heliconian Club since 1923.  This women only club was formed in 1909 and is still active today supporting women in the arts.  There is a photo exhibit on there at the moment but viewing is by appointment only (it is a club not a gallery after all).

pale blue wood building, originally a church, now the home of the Heliconian Club on Hazelton ave. Bright blue doors, two, rose window,

below: For CONTACT, the Lomas Gallery on Yorkville Ave is featuring a few large photos of cityscapes that are full of tall buildings.  The one behind the red couch is ‘NoMad New York’ by Christopher Woodcock.

Lomas Gallery in Yorkville, bright red oval shaped couch in front of a wall with a large photo of a city scene, lots of skyscrapers with lots of windows, by Christopher Woodcock, plus words on the wall that say Contact Festival, City Obscure, Windows on either side of the wall with people passing by

below: On the wall beside is ‘[a]DCLXI’ by Amyn Nasser.

on a gallery wall, Lomas Gallery, a large photo, [a]DCLXI by Amyn Nasser of a wall of glass skyscrapers with lots of windows, on the wall beside is another photo in which Nasser's photo is reflected.

below: It’s not a sculpture or a statue, but this red faced mannequin caught my eye. Maybe next time he’ll remember his sunscreen.

two male mannequins in a mens wear store window, one has a very red face, also a picture of a man in a black suit with a bright blue background is in the window

below: The clock tower of the Yorkville firehall. One side seems to missing its clock face.

the clock tower of Yorkville fire station with a reflective glass building behind it. A Canadian flag is flying on top of the firehall clock tower.

below: Brendan Meadows’ black and white portraits hang on the walls of the Liss Gallery in an exhibit titled ‘Ipseity’.  These were printed as silver gelatin selenium-toned lith prints by Bob Carnie from negatives made from digital images.  The images were also  manipulated with the Sabatier effect (solarization); this results in an image that is wholly or partially reversed in tone. Dark areas appear light or light areas appear dark.

interior shot, Liss Gallery, frames black and white portraits on the walls

below: Posters on hoardings add a little life at street level to the construction sites in the area.  This set features businesses and sites in the area including the ROM.

posters on hoardings in front of a construction site - picture of the ROM at night, picture of the interior of a menswear store, man trying on a suit

below: Some colourful art deco style posters.

art deco posters on hoardings in front of a construction site

art deco posters on hoardings in front of a construction site inclujding a Vogue picture

below: Prepared for anything!  With a yellow duckie, handcuffs and binoculars, Batman and his Robin hand puppet prepare to take on the forces of evil!  These are sculptures by Patrick Amiot.

a metal junk sculpture by Patrick Amiot, outside, by the front door of an art gallery, batman, with a very small robin in one of his hands.

below: Part of the Miraim Schiell gallery is devoted to Amiot’s work.

a wall mounted artwork by Patrick Amiot of a man ice fishing with his dog, created from junk

an artwork on a gallery wall, by Patrick Amiot, of the front of a Spadina TTC streetcar, crowded with driver, man, and dog,

below: This large RCMP mountie and his dog stand behind the gallery.

metal junk sculpture by Patrick Amiot of a mountie and his dog, outside, behind a gallery in Yorkville

below: Enjoying the wonderful spring afternoon on Cumberland.

outside, park in Yorkville, tall trees with leaves just coming out, spring, people sitting on chairs under the trees, talking, reading, phones, drinking,

statue of a bear outside, life size, a painting in a glass enclosed box is behind him

below: Oh.. that second mountie that I alluded to in the title of this post – he was on the wall at the Alter Ego exhibit.  This one.   Just don’t call him Dudley Do-Right.

large picture of a mounti on a horse with a gun in his hand, on a wall in a gallery

below:  This is either ironic or sad.  The first few lines of text say “In the the 1960s and 1970s, Yorkville village was the heart of Canada’s bohemian, counterculture community”.  As I took this picture a new Bentley with dealer plates drove past.  I looked around and the ‘counterculture’ of 40 to 50 years ago has been replaced by designer boutiques, high end stores, fine art galleries, and restaurants with linen napkins.  Not a lot of music happening here.  Full transcription is below.

plaque to Yorkvilles music scene, Heritage Toronto black and white plaque, from 2016

“In the the 1960s and 1970s, Yorkville village was the heart of Canada’s bohemian, counterculture community. More than 40 clubs and coffee houses nightly featured folksingers-songwriters, including Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young, who performed some of their first compositions in these smoky venues.
Yorkville’s first coffee house, Club 71, was opened by Werner Graeber in 1959. By 1964, Yorkville had become a nurturing environment not only for folk music, but also for pop, blues, and later, psychedelic rock. Hippies and teenagers flocked to these unlicensed venues, which offered an alternative to Yonge Street bars.
Yorkville was also home to three sound-recording studios, taping major acts such as The Guess Who, Lighthouse, and Ann Murray. With its vital role in fostering a wealth of talent, the Yorkville scene inspired a generation of songwriters and led to the rise of a new Canadian sound.”

outside pizza pizza, man inside eating, another man outside looking at mural on the wall

A morning exploring some of the art galleries at the University of Toronto.

below: Robarts Library, a large concrete building, is part of the University of Toronto and is their main humanities and social sciences library. It opened in 1973 and has been called Fort Book ever since.

intersection of Harbord and St. George streets, Robarts Library, large concrete building

I have walked past this library many times but I have never gone inside. What I didn’t know about this building is that it is also home to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.  It is named after a Thomas Fisher (1792-1874), who came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821 and settled by the Humber River.  In 1973, his grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated many books to U of T .  Since then, the library has grown to approximately 740,000 volumes including hundreds of versions of Alice in Wonderland in many different languages.  They also collect manuscripts, photographs,  and other rare materials.   You can search their holdings online.

below: The view from the 4th floor observation deck.

interior of Thomas Fisher Rare Book library, looking down from the upper level to the tables below. Shelves of books line all the walls, ceiling is open to 4 or 5 storeys up , large central light fixture

At the moment, the Thomas Fisher Library has an exhibition called “Fleeting Moments, Floating Worlds, and the Beat Generation: The Photography of Allen Ginsberg”. Ginsberg (1926-1997) is known for his poetry but he also took pictures. The Thomas Fisher library has the largest collection of Ginsberg prints in the world.

exhibit of photos by Allen Ginsberg displayed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at U of T, some black and white photos in a case, some books too, shelves of books in the background

below: Mr. Ginsberg took bathroom mirror selfies.  I wonder what he’d think of instagram?

picture of a black and white photo taken by Allen Ginsberg of himself sitting naked and cross legged in front of a bathroom mirror

Ginsberg became friends with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, and the trio later established themselves as the main players in the Beat Movement with their unconventional writing and wild (for the times) lifestyles.  Ginsberg’s first published work was “Howl” in 1956.  It was called “an angry, sexually explicit poem”.   The San Francisco Police Department declared it to be obscene and arrested the publisher.  The court ruled that it was not obscene.  I can see it being “ahead of its time” in 1956 but today it’s fairly tame.

The opening lines:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of

cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,”

below: Three books about The Beats.

display in a glass top case, three books by Alan Ginsberg, the one in the middle has a yellow cover and is The Beats

The Ginsberg exhibit continues until the 27th of April.

A short walk through part of the St. George campus….did I mention that it was snowing at the time?… to another art gallery on campus.

snow is falling, snow on the ground, tree in foreground, also black wrought iron fence, looking across the playing field of the U of T St. George campus to a building, tower,

below: We passed a moose standing in the snow.

a flat metal sculpture of a moose stands in a small space beside a tree, snow on the ground, snow falling from the sky. public art

The second gallery was the Art Museum at Hart House.   One of the exhibits showing there is “Figures of Sleep”.  Straight from the gallery website is this description of the exhibit: ” [it]…considers the cultural anxieties manifest in the popular and critical imagination around the collapsing biological function of sleep under economic, social and technological transformation”.  What it is is a collection of videos, photographs, and artwork depicting sleep, i.e. people sleeping by a number of different artists.  This exhibit ends on 3rd March.

below: Watching videos of people sleeping

a person watching a large video display in an art gallery

below: She’s very life like.  She’s also much smaller than life sized but even so, she was a bit creepy. “Untitled (old woman in bed)”, 2000-2002, by Ron Mueck.

very realistic and life like scupture of an old woman with grey asleep under a blanket with her head on a pillow

below: “Dream Catcher” by Rebecca Belmore, 2014 .  This wall hanging is quite large.

dream catcher by Rebecca Belmore, a large wall hanging of a person sleeping on the sidewalk, under a blanket with a picture of a lion on it.

below:  The Malcove Collection is in the same gallery.  The collection includes about 500 pieces, not all of which are on display at the moment.  Dr. Lillian Malcove (1902-1981) was born in Russia just before her parents emigrated to Canada and settling in Winnipeg.  She graduated from the University of Manitoba with an M.D. and then spent most of her adult life as a Freudian psychoanalyst in New York City.  Over her life time she amassed a collection of art that she bequeathed to U of T.

wall display cases in an art gallery, religious pieces on display, old, antiquities

below: From the Malcove collection, ‘Male Dedicant’, made of limestone, Coptic, late 4th century or early 5th century

antique stone carving (relief) of a man with curly hair, both hands raised, one hand holding a spherical object and the other hand holding a cross

below:  Detail from “The Burning Bush”, 19th century.

very old painting, religious, virgin mary and baby jesus in the center surrounded by other religous scenes

 

below: Last but not least, and having nothing to do with art, is this plaque on a wall near the art gallery at Hart House.  It commemorates the relationship between the Canadian and Polish Armies during WW1.  A transcription of it appears below.

 

plaque on an exterior brick wall commemorating the role of the Polish Army

In the early months of 1917, twenty three Polish probationary officers were trained here by the staff of the Canadian School of Infantry in Toronto.  They were the forerunners of more than 20,000 North American volunteers of Polish descent who were trained in Canada (mostly at Niagara on the Lake) to serve in the French Army, ultimately commanded by Joseph Haller.  The existence of this Polish Army in France went far to assure the presence of Poland at the Peace Conference at the end of the war and played a significant role in the reconstitution of a reunited and independent Poland after 123 years of partition. 
The Canadian Polish Congress has placed this tablet to commemorate the ardent Polish patriotism of so many Polish volunteers from the United States and Canada.   The Congress also wishes to honour the Canadian officers who trained the volunteers, including notably Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Lepan of the staff of this university and his principal subordinates, all from this university as well as Major C.R. Young, Major H.H. Madill, Major W.F. Kirk and Major F.B. Kenrick. A.D. 1990

 

a bike parked outside an old brick building on St. George campus of U of T, snow covered

More information about:

Allen Ginsberg exhibition

Figures of Sleep, and others, at Hart House Art Museum

Illustrations of the holdings of the Malcove Collection

 

Happy Mothers Day!

I didn’t write this blog post specifically for Mothers Day even though it’s about four women, Mary Pickford, Edith Cavell, Florence Wyle, and Frances Loring.  Just because they are women doesn’t mean that they are mothers, in fact only one is.  Mary Pickford adopted two children.  I also didn’t intend to write a blog post on the merits of motherhood vs childlessness so I am going to say nothing further on the subject!

The first woman can be found at the corner of University and Elm.  Here, there is a a bronze portrait bust of Mary Pickford that was sculpted by Eino Gira in 1983.

bust of Mary Pickford with her hand on her cheek, in front of Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, red brick hospital behind her in the photo

The plaque beside her says:

Born in 1893 in a house which stood near this site, Gladys Marie Smith appeared on stage in Toronto at the age of five.   Her theatrical career took her to Broadway in 1907 where she adopted the name Mary Pickford.  The actress’s earliest film “Her First Biscuits”, was released by the Biograph Company in 1909 and she soon established herself as the international cinema’s first great star.   Her golden curls and children’s roles endeared her to millions as “America’s Sweatheart”.  She was instrumental in founding and directing a major film production company and starred in over fifty feature-length films including “Hearts Adrift”, “Pollyanna” and “Coquette”.  For the last named film she received the 1929 Academy Award as the year’s best actress.

below: Just up the street, next to one of the entrances of Toronto General Hospital, is a memorial to British nurse Edith Cavell (1865-1915) and to all the Canadian women who served as nurses in WW1.  The memorial  was installed at University Ave and College St. in 1921 but later moved to its present location.

A memorial to British nurse Edith Clavell and the Canadian nurses of WW1, a bronze plaque mounted on a stone tablet. Picture of Clavell between two upright but wounded soldiers.

In memory of Edith Cavell and the Canadian nurses who gave their lives for humanity in the Great War.  “In the midst of darkness they saw light”

Cavell had been working in Brussels when WW1 broke out.  After the Germans invaded Belgium, Cavell helped wounded Allied soldiers escape to the Netherlands.  She was caught by the Germans, charged with treason, and executed on 12 October 1915.  She became the most well known woman casualty of WW1.

The above memorial was designed by Florence Wyle.  There is a memorial to Wyle and her partner, Frances Loring (also a sculptor), in a small park at the corner of Mt Pleasant and St. Clair.

below: bronze bust of Florence Wyle, by Frances Loring

bust of Florence Wyle, a Canadian sculptor, in a park

below: bronze bust of Frances Loring, by Florence Wyle

bust of Frances Loring, a Canadian sculptor, in a park, in the shade of a large tree

below: There are a couple of small statues by Wyle in the same park, including this one.
“Young Girl”, about 1938.

bronze statue titled "Young girl", showing a girl from the thighs up, holding up a cloth that is wrapped around her body but her breasts are bare

Loring and Wyle are responsible for a number of sculptures around the city.  Two of these used to be on the Bank of Montreal building at the northwest corner of King and Bay. It was built in 1887 by architects Marani and Morris and demolished in 1968.  The building featured a series of sculptures representing the Canadian provinces that were done by a number of artists.  Frances Loring sculpted the panels for Ontario and Quebec.  When the Bank of Montreal building was demolished, all of the panels were moved to the grounds of the Guild Inn in Scarborough where they remain today.

Quebec sculpture - A stone relief sculpture from a series on provinces of Canada, originally on a Bank of Montreal building in Toronto. They were rescued when the bank was demolished and moved to the grounds of the Guild Inn in Scarborough. By Canadian artist Frances Loring. A naked woman upright, with a cloth over her shoulders and looking upwards

A stone relief sculpture from a series on provinces of Canada, originally on a Bank of Montreal building in Toronto. They were rescued when the bank was demolished and moved to the grounds of the Guild Inn in Scarborough. By Canadian artist Frances Loring. Ontario is in the picture, as a man surrounded by symbols of industry such as large gears and architectural plans

The dapper, larger than life Alexander Wood has stood on his corner at Church and Alexander streets for 11years now.  The bronze statue by Del Newbigging was unveiled in May 2005.

Wood came to Upper Canada from Scotland and settled in Toronto (known as York at the time) in 1797.  He was a successful merchant, magistrate, and lieutenant in the York militia.  The plaque on the granite pedestal tells his story.

 

statue of Alexander Wood, a young man with long coat, and a hat in his hand. The statue is on a large square pedestal so his feet are close to eye level.  Below the statue is a plaque detailing his life as early settler of York, of being a gay, and of being involved in a scandal in 1810.

“Militia Officer, Businessman, Public Servant, Justice of the Peace, Gay Pioneer

Alexander Wood came to Canada in 1793, settled in York in 1797 and started a mercantile business, one of only three stores in York at that time. Within a year he was a lieutenant in the York Militia; he was appointed magistrate in 1800 and by 1805 was a Commissioner for the Court of Requests (a senior planning officer). He was involved in a homophobic scandal in 1810 and fled to Scotland, but in two years he was back in Canada and resumed his duties. In spite of ridicule and discrimination he had a successful career in public service: he was on the executive of nearly every society in York, often as treasurer; he was manager of several businesses and acted for clients in land transactions. Wood died in 1844 at the age of seventy-two while in Scotland. The British Colonist paper called him one of Toronto’s ‘most respected inhabitants’.”

***

There is another bronze plaque on the back of the pedestal, complete with shiny bits.  This plaque adds more details to the story of the 1810 scandal that Wood got himself into.

plaques on a statue. The top is of a man with his pants lowered, the bottom is the story of the scandal that led to Alexander Wood having to leave Canada.  The bare bum on the plaque is shiny from repeated rubbing by passers by.

“1810 The Scandal
In 1810 a woman reporting a rape to Magistrate Wood said she had scratched her rapist. Wood inspected several suspects privately, requiring them to undress. To avoid the scandal caused by his unconventional behaviour, Wood fled to Scotland. After two years he returned to Canada but suffered ridicule and discrimination for the rest of his life.

Alexander Wood 1772-1844
Militia Officer, Businessman, Public Servant, Justice of the Peace, Gay Pioneer”

***

In 1810, word had spread quickly around the town (of 700) and Wood had become known as the “Inspector General of Private Accounts”.    The worst of the scandal blew over while Wood was in Scotland; he was back in York in 1812 and resumed all his previous occupations, including magistrate. At that time, “molly’ was a derogatory word for a gay man and he was nicknamed Molly Wood.

In 1826 he purchased 50 acres of land east of Yonge St. and north of Carlton St. in the neighbourhood where his statue now stands.  It is also the “Village”.  In Wood’s time it was referred to as ‘Molly Wood’s Bush’.  Wood remained in Toronto until 1842 at which time he returned again to Scotland where he died two years later.

The eastern end of the Kay Gardner Belt Line Park crosses over Yonge St and the subway just south of Davisville station.  It then runs across the north side of Mt. Pleasant cemetery.  It comes to an end at Mt. Pleasant Road where the trail merges into the roads that run through the cemetery.

In 2014 students from Greenwood School painted a mural at this location.  The mural has three main elements.  A train to represent the Belt Line, the name of the community that it is located in (Mt Pleasant Village), and the words ‘use Dominion Coal and Wood’.    The last part is because not long ago, on this site, stood the large concrete silos that the Dominion Coal and Wood company used to store coal and wood.   The shape of the black background is very similar to the shape of the silos if viewed from above.

below: Mural, with Mt. Pleasant Road above it.

blog_domiion_mural_greenwood

mural celebrating mt pleasant village and the old dominion coal and wood silos that used to be at that location. At the end of the belt line trail where it merges into mt pleasant cemetery

below: Plaque located on the site of the old silos (now in the bushes beside a condo)

City of Toronto historical plaque describing the history of the Dominion Coal and Wood silos that used to be on Mt. Pleasant Ave near the old Belt Line Railway tracks.

transcription of the Heritage Toronto plaque:

“Dominion Coal and Wood

Originally located on Danforth Avenue, the Dominion Coal and Wood Company was founded in 1912 by William H. Smith.  In 1929, the company opened a landmark facility on this site.  Its nine adjoining concrete silos were designed by E.P. Muntz Engineering Company.  Coal and wood were transported here by rail car along the former Belt Line Railway and then sold as heating fuel to local businesses and home owners.

Originally just one among many similar suppliers in the city, Dominion Coal and Wood outlasted most of its competitors.  The company expanded into building supplies as coal sales dwindled, but continued to sell coal here until the site was closed in 1999.  Although recognized as an increasingly rare type of industrial architecture, the historic silos were demolished in 2001. “

 

below: The nine silos, about 1972.  The photo is from City of Toronto Archives and was found online at JB’s Warehouse (a good source if you are interested in more information at Dominion Coal and Wood)

picture of the Dominion Coal and Wood silos on Mt. Pleasant, from city of Toronto Archives, taken about 1972. With an old Mt. Pleasant streetcar on the street by the silos.

below: I tried to replicate the above photo, about 42 years later.  The Mt. Pleasant streetcars are long gone as is the gas station on the NW corner of Merton and Mt. Pleasant.  A corner of the tall white apartment building on the right can be seen peaking from behind newer condo buildings.  Of course, the dominant part of the picture is the condo development that was built on the site of the Dominion silos in 2002.

condo building across the street, about 12 storeys high, made of brick and glass, a couple of cars are on the street