Posts Tagged ‘residential’

There is no theme to this blog post.  It’s just a description of some of the things that I saw as I walked down Bathurst Street the other day after taking the 512 streetcar to St. Clair West station.   In a lot of ways its like other busy Toronto streets, some houses, a few corner stores, and an alley or two along the way.   A little bit of architecture and a little bit of history round out the story.

At St. Clair West and Bathurst, the northeast corner remains vacant. About four or five years ago there was a gas station and car wash on this corner.  St. Clair West subway station is just to the east, just beyond the trees on the right hand side.

northeast corner of Bathurst and St. Clair West, vacant lot, St. Michaels College in the background as well as a couple of highrise condos.

below: I went looking for an old photo of this corner and this is what I found.  It’s from 1924.  If the streetcar’s destination is Caledonia, then it is going westward.  In 1924, St. Clair was the northern edge of the city and very little development had occurred here.  It is interesting to note that the streetcar tracks came first, then the development.   In addition, I’d love to be able to read the sign about dogs but the resolution of the photo is not good enough.  An ad?  A sign saying no dogs allowed?  Or something else?

vintage black and white photo from 1924 of a streetcar on the St. Clair line stopped at Bathurst to pick up passengers.

below: Of course, no vacant lot remains that way for long.   At the moment, three 30 storey towers joined with a 6 or 7 storey podium has been proposed for the site but it is still in the re-zoning and planning stages.  The light brown building to the left is St. Michael’s College School (boys school).

blue and white city of Toronto development notice sign on a small hill, by some trees, in front of a vacant lot. Highrises in the background

below: New development on the southeast corner of this intersection is almost complete. People have moved into the units above while the finishing touches are put on the lower retail floors. Developments like this are all over the city. Developments that look great (maybe?) on paper but are lackluster and banal at street level.

street level of a new glass and steel building, empty retail space available for lease, just finishing being built

below: As I walked south on Bathurst, this mural caught my eye.

mural in a laneway, painting of many trees with red and yellow sky, dark brown earth, and a few small black figures, some words beside it

Words written beside the mural:
“Long before concrete and steel
Punctuated the landscape
The land was pure and natural
This mural acknowledges and honors 13 trees and 21 medicinal plants that have thrived here since time immemorial.”

The mural was funded by Toronto’s Start program (street art) and Na’Ma’Res Sagatay, a residence for indigenous men that is nearby.

close up of mural, large trees with wavy red and yellow sky, small black figures standing under the trees

I will admit that the main reason that I was walking in this area is because I wanted to check out the new public artwork that I’ve read about at Bathurst and Vaughan.  It is “Three Points Where Two Lines Meet” by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young and apparently there is some controversy about it.

below: For those who don’t know that intersection, it is V-shaped.  This photo shows the approach to  the intersection from the north, on Vaughan.  I took this photo because my first reaction to the scene was “Ugly.  Ugly is what Toronto does”.  From this angle the sculpture gets lost in the visual noise.

sidewalk, lined by tall hydro utility poles, wood, road, some buildings, approaching the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan

Cities have rules and regulations for public art. It needs to be weatherproof and graffiti-proof.  It can’t block the view of drivers and pedestrians.  No sharp edges or structures that people might hurt themselves on – note the two black poles are to prevent people from hitting their heads.

A woman walks past Three Points Where Two Lines meet

From Giroux & Young’s website:  “Taking its form from the orphaned triangular site on which it sits, this artwork produces a new urban room by combining a multicoloured truss structure, the triangular plot of wild grasses it encloses, and an encircling sidewalk thats acts as a podium and plinth. Located between the converging energies of uptown and downtown, the structure densifies an intersection already clotted with utilities and challenges established forms of urbanism and spatial representation in Toronto.”  Think of that what you will.  While you’re thinking, you can check the website for more photos and information.

Three Points Where Tao Lines meet, a public art sculpture in bright colours, metal grid like construction cranes, by Daniel Young and Christian Giroux at the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan.

below: An interesting (unique?) roofline on what turns out to be The Occult Shop.  I made one mistake – I neglected to cross the street to go inside and find out just what one can buy here.

brick building with a large rounded roofline, the bulding is a semi, one half has doors and windows covered with white from the inside, the other is the occult shop

below: These people can still be seen in the space above the doorway at 1358 Bathurst.

the space above a doorway at number 1358 Bathurst is painted with pictures of people (head and shoulders) in shades of brown

Continuing south on Bathurst, as you go downhill towards Davenport Road, there is a retaining wall beside the sidewalk on the west side.  This wall was painted back in October 2013.  The city paid $23,000 to two Brooklyn NY street artists (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, together known as Faile) who designed the mural and in turn paid other artists to paint it.

The mural is quite long and I only have a few pictures of bits and pieces of it.

mural, large blue and white owl, with words in large letters that say no change my heart

mural, large painting of a blond boy sleeping, head on pillow, head and shoulders only

mural, by faile, orange car, woman driver, the word vanity written on the side of the car

below: Apparently Davenport Road is considered to be one of Toronto’s oldest roads.  It follows the base of a ridge and provided a route between the Humber River in the west and the Don River in the east.

toronto historical society plaque for Davenport Road, 1995, description of the history of Davenport Road

below: There is a park on the northwest corner of Bathurst and Davenport, The Tollkeeper’s Park.  The old house, the Tollkeeper’s Cottage, is now a museum run by The Community History Project.  It is open on Saturday afternoons (and some Sundays during the summer)

The Tollkeeper's Park, sign, green space, trees, and an old small wood frame house, now a museum,

below: And across the road is Tollkeeper’s Lane.  There are chairs everywhere in this city not usually as comfy looking as these.

two comfy chairs in an alley withtheir backs agains a grey garage door

below: An old Comet parked in the alley

a yellowish beige Comet car, old, parked behind a house in a lane

below: Tomatoes and other vegetables growing in a front yard.

small front yard packed full of vegetable plants looking very green and healthy

below: A hand, part of an Elicser mural.  This mural, which is on both sides of the railway underpass just north of Dupont, is still there.  Photos can be seen in a blog post from Nov 2014 (Yikes!  Have I been blogging that long?!).

part of a mural, a blue hand horizontal on a wall with some weeds growing in front of it

There are a few remnants of a more industrial past in the area near the railway tracks.

a window consisting of 18 panes of glass, 6 across and 3 down, some have texture and some are clear. the clear ones are reflecting the blue sky and clouds.

old wood door, once painted green but the paint is peeling

below: Another door –  I doubt that it’s open now, or that it ever will be again.

back door of an empty house, window boarded over, door with board nailed across it, open sign in the window, also a sign that says beware of dog

below: These windows, and the house too, probably won’t be here much longer either.

green trim around roof and windows of an old house

below: A very standard row of semi-divided houses; a common sight.  Hundreds (thousands?) of these were built around the city.

a semi divided house on bathurst street, two storey, bay windows on upper floor, porches, stairs to front door

below: And a not so usual semi.

a semi divided house on bathurst street where one side has been rebuilt into a taller square structure

below: A touch of art deco.

two doors side by side with art deco motifs, on a low rise brick building

below: Slight larger houses, with turrets even!  (or is there another name for this architectural element?)

a semi divided house on bathurst street both with small turrets above upper floor bay windows

below: This is part of Coopers Hawk Lane which is just south of Dupont.

buildings and garages in a lane, Coopers Hawk Lane, garage doors have street art on them.

painting of a wooden box with papers in it, pictures of people on the papers

below: In another nearby alley …. a pink cat eating ice cream

two doors in an alley, painted, one in colours, the other in black and white

below: And a gate with a frame, and the laundry beyond.

a chainlink fence and gate in a back yard, laundry hanging out to dry in the yard, brick houses, some green grass

red octagonal stop sign with a sticker on it that says take a breath

 

Eastern Avenue, the Studio District apparently. This is east of Broadview.

Toronto street sign that says Studio District, Eastern Avenue

This weekend is Doors Open Toronto – one of the buildings that I toured was Filmport – not very interesting actually when studios and sets are closed to the public.  I did get to see some of the rooms where the actors hang out when they’re not filming and where they have lunch.  ‘Kim’s Convenience’ is filming there at the moment.

outside a film studio building, large door labelled studio 2, closed doors, some woodworking tools and materials by the door

below: Two older buildings.  In the foreground is Consumers Gas Building, now home to Avenue Rugs.  In the background is one of two identical buildings now used by the City of Toronto.   433 Eastern Avenue is one of four sites in the city – here they house street cleaners and other city trucks, they monitor traffic, and produce street signs like the one at the top of this blog post (transportation services) – for the southeastern part of the city.   Other city departments also have offices here.

two brick buildings on a street

The next three photos are from the same mural.  It was painted in 2016 by Omen with help from Five8, Horus, and Peru.  It tells the story of city building, from the planning stages – blueprints and architectural drawings, through the construction phase to the final product.

blue mural of blueprints on the side of a building

mural of cranes and construction sites on the side of a building, painted by Omen,

mural of Toronto at night with lots of lights, CN Tower,

below: The Tasty Restaurant sign is still there although it is now missing the round coca-cola discs at each end.  Someone must have realized that they were worth something.   All the red from the sign is gone and the words have turned to rust.  Does anyone have any idea how long ago this restaurant went out of business?

old rusty sign that says Tasty Restaurant. there is a round spot on the left where a coca-cola sign used to be, windows are overgrown by shrubs beside the building

below: Another oldie but goodie, Gales Snack Bar.  More than 80 years old in fact.

gales snack bar, exterior

below: A closer look reveals a closed sign in the window.  It’s still in business but I was there too early.  On Saturdays it doesn’t open until noon so I just missed it.   Next time!

Gales snack bar, close up of window, green curtains, closed sign

details of a chainlink fence and the old plywood and metal sheeting behind it. peeling paint and rusty metal

below: What’s hiding in the grass?  A blue fish?  A pink flamingo?  A Christmas wreath?

an overgrown front yard with very tall grass and one red tulip. Front of house has a brown window box, paint peeling, with plastic flowers and other stufff in i

There are a surprising number of houses between Queen East and the Lakeshore (Eastern runs parallel to those street, in between them) in this area.  Most are old but well looked after and many of those that have seen rough times are being renovated and fixed up.

older houses, semi, ready to be renovated

two storey row houses on McGee Ave, lots of large tress, house painted orange,

below: This photo was taken from the parking lot of the old Weston bakery on Eastern Avenue.  The site is about to be developed into condos.  The Wonder Condos.  With Wonder being written like the word on the loaf of bread.  That bland white bread.

row of three storey victorian style brick houses

alley view, rear of old three storey brick buildings, apartments on top, stores below, cars parked,

below: A vacant lot waiting for its turn.

vacant lot with one small concrete structure on it, one small window in the back of it.

below: The Portlands Railway Spur, looking east from Morse Street and along Lakeshore Blvd.

railway tracks running parallel to road, traffic,

I didn’t find Babylon

green sign with a large white arrow pointing right. on the arrow is written the word babylon

below: .. but I found a bike. Did anyone lose one?  Beware of bike eating trees!

an old bike that had been left beside a tree, over the years the tree has grown around the pedals and gears of the bike

graffiti, purple background, green glob gooey ghost guy with open mouth and big teeth

A walk down Brock Ave, well sort of.  I don’t think I’m capable of walking in a straight line.

 

Brock Avenue, just north of Bloor, the Haven Espresso Bar, a tiny little place with good coffee. I don’t usually start my walk with a cup of coffee but I was intrigued by the smallness of the space.

below:  This is the mural on the wall beside the coffee bar.  It’s just the word Haven but there are some interesting details in the letters.

two chairs and a small table in front of a wall with a mural on it. The mural is the word Haven. Each letter is decorated in a different way.

Close up of the letter V in blue on a larger mural that spells haven. Different shapes and colours of jewel stones are painted in the point of the V.
White ducks or geese in silhouette flying on a bright blue sky, a close up of a mural. Amongst the birds are some buttons with the word Joy on them.

 

below: The local park is called Susan Tibaldi Parkette, named for a woman who was active in the community. This cheerful toucan overlooks the park.

street art mural of a toucan on the side of a garage that faces a park

There are a few painted walls and garages in the area around the park.

  below: Including this spud bomb covered garage door.

Garage door covered with spud bombs street art

garage door, half greed and half red, with black letters diagonally across it

mural on a garage door, of two hands reaching for each other, in the style of Michaelangelo, with the word Chase written below on a brown banner.

below: On a wall, ‘Building with the Gods, James Massey R.I.P’

Blue curvy lines on the bottom, a pair of blank white eyes in the middle and a scarab like creature in the middle of the top section.

part of a garage door mural woman in pink walking, green man's head talking

garage door mural of red poppies by bright blue sky.

part of a mural high on a bright wall painted black. An ice cream cone and other sweet things.

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light blue geometric lettering graffiti on a background of two toned pink triangles.
below: I spotted this on a pole just before I headed south.  A little bit of sparkle to brighten the day.

Small graffiti piece of a paper cut out dragonfly with sequins glued onto it's body and a small part of the wing.

The area south of Bloor was once the village of Brockton.  Back in 1812, one hundred acres of land from what is now Queen Street, north to Bloor Street, and west of Dufferin Avenue was granted to James Brock (yes, a relative of Sir Isaac).  After James died, his widow Lucy had a road built that run down the center of the property.  This road was Brock Avenue.  She subdivided the property and sold the lots to smaller land holders.  This settlement became Brockton.  In 1884 it was annexed by the city of Toronto.

below: Colourful cat and mouse games on a wall just south of Dundas.  I couldn’t find any ‘signature’ on the wall and I haven’t been able to find out who painted this.  I’d love to know.

large mural of a cat chasing a mouse done in bright colours.

below: Malabar Ltd.  It looks unkempt and I thought it was abandoned.  The gate to the parking lot was open and there were a couple of cars parked behind the wall.  A quick search online and I discovered that this site is still operational, but only serves the professional opera and theaters industry.

box like brick building with square awnings over the windows, large empty parking lit beside it, white and blue fence behind the parking lot, taller apartment building beyond the fence.

Two stickers on a metal pole beside a railway bridge. The top sticker says Love Skateboards and it has picture of a skateboard on it. The lower sticker says Bunk Bed has a Posse and a black and white drawing of a man's head is also on it.

After passing under one of the greyest, dingiest railway bridges, I came to a street – not sure what it was!

A Toronto street sign in blue and white that is covered with a vine

I checked a map – it’s Cunningham Ave.

.
But it afforded me an unobstructed view.
A view of the CN TOwer and the Toronto skyline from north west of downtown. Railway tracks are in the foreground.
I looked around a bit but there wasn’t much of interest on my side of the tracks and I wasn’t about to cross over!  I did notice that there is graffiti on the track side of the wall around the Malabar parking lot.  Something to explore another time… when I don’t have to dodge trains!

Short Union Pearson express train as it passes by

As the leaves fall off the trees, the houses are hidden less.  I like looking for older and/or unique architectural details that are now easier to spot (and take pictures of!)

below: The first time I saw one of these “half houses” I was quite surprised (it’s behind the large tree).  I now realize that there are a number of them in the city but it was still a fun find.

looking up an alley towards a street with some old houses. There is a large tree and behind the tree is a house that looks like it was cut in half vertically

below:  Brick and wood trim details being preserved and restored on an old house.

An old square two storey brick house undergoing restoration.

details of the carved wooden trim on a brick house being restored.

below: There are a number of old square houses in the neighbourhood.

an older square brick house on a corner of a residential street in Toronto.

below: A house with an old second storey wooden structure.  I don’t think it can be called an oriel window but I don’t know any other architectural term to describe it.

second storey wood structure protruding from house, almost the width of the house, with three vertical windows in it. A small balcony is above it.

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below: Although it’s not as easy to see in this picture, this house also has an old window and wood structure.  The fence around the neighbour’s yard is probably not as old as the porch, but it to is from a bygone era.  Is it from the 1960’s?  I suspect that they were very trendy at one time although I have seen this sort of design more as balcony railings than as fences.

a large brick semi-detached house with trees around it in fall foilage. The side of the house closest to the camera has a glassed in porch. To the left is a small house with a black metal fence around the front yeard. The fence has diamond shaped black metal pieces joined together in squares.

below:  Symmetrical but not symmetrical

A group of row houses. In the middle are two semis that share a peaked roof but the semis are totally different. One has a pink roof the other has a brown roof. One is white and the other is green. One has a front porch but the other doesn't

below: The back of Bike Pirates, a DIY bike workshop on Queen West, has a mural by Jonny Cakes.

In a laneway, painted by Jonny Cakes @thehalfdecent, the wall of a workshop, shed or garage, is painted with a big skull wearing a red bike hat. Two white cats, one on a unicycle and one on a bicycle, and the words BIKE PIRATE written over the door.

below: Someone’s got a leg up!

A fake leg, bent at the knee, with fake blood along the top of the thigh, attached to a wall over a door, the leg protrudes from the wall.
Up over a door that is…. this door in fact.

A red door with some items attached to it - a squished ping pong ball, an old dirty grey glove with a clip attached to the end of one finger

 

below:  And there were a few other little amusements along the way.

Someone hsa taken a red marker to a no dumping sign so now it reads grnoom dumping. The sign is nailed onto a post and there is an old blue truck parked behind the post.
scrawled in cursive writing with black spray paint on a white garage door are the words love yourself

close up of two stickers on a blue and white bike route sign. One sticker is a brown one with the words Vote Spud and a picture of skull wearing a floppy hat. The other is a red cartoon character

part of an old wood door, plywood wall beside the door with a black line drawing of a worm like creature with a big head with four eyes and a smiling mouth

small paper taped to a hydro pole on a residential street. On the paper are typed the words: WHy doesn't Harper want a parliamentary oversight of his security and police forces? Could it be because Hitler didn't want it either? Why do young people run away from Canada to join ISIS?

A car with a Virginia state licence plate that says Chil Out