Posts Tagged ‘Spadina’

large painting of a face, street art, yellowish skin, small moustache and beard, glasses, eyes looking straight ahead

Hope Wall on Spadina Ave., near Kensington Market.

wall, plywood hoardings, covered with paint and graffiti as a Hope Wall, in memory of Andre Alexander who was killed when hit by a car. painting of his face, plus large space for people to write messages, on Spadina near Kensington Market,

below: Messages written on the wall for Andre Alexander, aka Hip Pop Art who died in October 2018.

messages written on a wall

a man sleeping on the sidewalk in front of a wall covered with street art, graffiti and art in memory of Andre Alexander who was an artist who worked in Kensington

wall and doorway painted purple, a black man's face in greys on one side of the entranceway, other graffiti too

 

There are a few exhibits showing at the Ryerson Image Centre at the moment but the one that I want to highlight today is “Rich and Poor” by Jim Goldberg.  Goldberg took portraits of people in the San Francisco area in their home environments between 1977 and 1985.  They are divided into two sections, “rich” and “poor”.

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: Each portrait is accompanied by a comment from the person being portrayed, in their own handwriting.  This woman, Nell, provides the wonderful quote: “If you want to stunt your growth, be rich.”

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: The pictures are fascinating, and the words reveal more details of the subjects.  “My wife is acceptable”.   The poor woman.  In the picture she is off to the side and almost disappears into the background as she looks at the floor.   I thought of the words ‘abject’ and ‘woeful’ when I first saw her but I think that maybe the best word to describe the look on her face is ‘blank’.

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: Whether you’re rich or poor, or more likely some where in between, what you say about yourself if you were the subject?

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

This show continues until April 8th

Spadina doors, stores with doors wide open to take advantage of the summer days.  Spadina was once the center of the garment industry in Toronto.  Then it evolved into Chinatown, especially the area south of College and north of Queen.  It still retains some of its Chinese character although there are many other Asian and South Asian influences.  There have also been some changes as the Asian merchants and residents move to the suburbs.

below: Racks of clothing for sale on the sidewalk

racks of pants and t-shirts for sale, on the sidewalk outside a store

below: A quiet corner for a cigarette break

fruits and vegetables for sale outside a food market on Spadina, beside it is another more business like entrance, with stairs, with a young man in an orange vest at the top of the stairs smoking a cigarette

below: She’s standing outside a restaurant that’s covered with signs and menus.

sculpture of a little Asian girl dressed in red holding a large soup bowl, standing outside a restaurant with a lot of signs in the window and on the door

below: There are usually many vendors with small tables of items for sale, such jewellery, herbs & other plants, small household items, clothing, knick knacks, etc.

a man sells items outside a Vietnamese restaurant

a woman in a pink saree and a man in a turquoise turban stand outside the entrance to a clothing store on Spadina

two women outside a store,looking at a phone, a woman inside is crouched on the floor, working.

below: And last, an open door of a different kind.

front end of a Spadina streetcar, evening, door ope as people getting on, ad on the outside with a picture of a woman,

As you can see, the doors themselves are uninteresting, it’s the context that counts here.

This is a “Thursday Door” post.  If you are interested in doors, there are lots of blogs that feature door photos on Thursdays…. check out Thursday Doors organized by Norm 2.0 for more information.

 

The Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway, commonly just called the Gardiner, has been in the news a lot lately.  This 18 km stretch of road between the city and the lake was completed in 1965 after years of planning and building.  At the time that it was built, Toronto’s waterfront was largely industrial and there wasn’t much objection to having a 4 to 6 lane expressway, with many sections elevated, built there.   The railway had begun the process of dividing the city from its waterfront a hundred years previously.

As the city changes and grows, more and more people live in the downtown core.  Industry has moved out and residents have moved in.  For so long the land south of the Gardiner as well as under the Gardiner was neglected, especially from a city planning point of view.  But now, the city is looking differently at that swath of land.  The far east elevated section between the Don Valley Parkway and Leslie Street was demolished in 2001 and there have been calls for the next section (Jarvis to the DVP) to be demolished as well.   There has been some controversy as to whether to demolish it or move it… and if move it, where to? I am not even sure what the plans are at the moment.   On the other hand, the western section of the elevated expressway (Strachan to Spadina) will remain standing.  Work is underway to refurbish the structure – the city doesn’t want any more stories of pieces of concrete dropping onto cars beneath!  Plans are being implemented to use the land under the Gardiner much more efficiently.  To make it work for the public.

The Bentway is the name that has been given to this new park, or public space, beneath the Gardiner Expressway from Strachan 1.4 kilometres east to Spadina. The first phase is due to open Canada Day 2017 and it involves the stretch between Strachan and Bathurst.  Many of you have probably driven on the Gardiner but do any of you know what is under it now?  Let’s take a look.

below: The Gardiner passes over Strachan Avenue which  in turn passes over the railway tracks.

bridge over a street, many orange and black construction cones down the center of the road, some pedestrians on the sidewalk

below:  On Strachan Ave looking west.   Condo development in this area has extended right to the railway line.  The Exhibition GO train station is in the distance.  You can also see the Gardiner to the left of the tracks.  Here the north side of the under part of the expressway is walled in and the enclosed space is used by Exhibition Place.  At this time there is no plan for the Bentway to extend this far; I have used this photo to provide more context as to the location of the park.

railway tracks in the center of the picture, condos on the right. On the left is the elevated Gardiner expressway, but under it is a concrete wall that makes it look more like a concrete building than a road

below: A closer look at the Gardiner on the west side of Strachan Avenue.  Maybe there is potential to expand the park westward? to Exhibition GO station? And by the way, those concrete structures holding up the expressway – those are called ‘bents’ and that is why the park is called what it is.

a dirt road runs alongside the Gardiner Expressway, some condos in the distance

below: This photo was taken as I stood on Garrison Common and looking towards Strachan Avenue.  This will be the western end of the new park. You can see the underside of the Gardiner as it passes over Strachan Ave which in turn is also a bridge.  This bridge once crossed the Grand Trunk Railway tracks that were built in the 1850s.  New entrances to the park are planned that incorporate the present sloped embankment of the bridge.

The elevated Gardiner Expressway passes over Strachan Ave which in turn has a bridge over what used to be a rail line. The bottom part of the bridge is covered with graffiti. The whole area is a construction site at the moment.

below: A quick aside:  It’s a slightly different angle, but here is a photo of the Strachan Avenue bridge from 1959, before the Gardiner was built.  I suspect that there has been upgrades made to the bridge since then.  Photo credit: R.L. Kennedy, found online (also a good source for the history of the Grand Trunk Railway in Toronto).  Garrison Common is to the right.

vintage photo from 1959, GTR tracks pass besidde Garrison Common park and under the bridge at Strachan Ave

Garrison Common is the green space surrounding Fort York.  It will abut (be continuous with?) the new Bentway.  Fort York is a National Historic Site and on its 43 acre site are original buildings from the War of 1812 as well as an 1813 battle site.  Did you know that the Americans beat us here in 1813 and controlled the city of York (as Toronto was known then) for a few days?

below: The new Fort York Visitors Centre is now open. There is still being work done both inside and outside, but it is open to visitors. For so long the fort was hidden away and difficult to get to; it is nice to see it receiving more attention.

entrance to Fort York, under the Gardiner, still a construction site but nearing completion

below: Jake from Park People, one of the groups helping to design the new park, stands under the Gardiner as he talks to a group of us on a tour.    Here, by Fort York, the Gardiner is the equivalent of 5 storeys from ground level, the highest it reaches as it crosses the city.

a man is standing in front of a group of people on a walking tour, he is standing under the Gardiner Expressway where it is 5 storeys above ground level.

below: Standing on the grounds of Fort York.  The Bentway will be beyond the stone wall.  You can get a good idea of the spacing between the bents.  These spaces are being referred to as ‘rooms’ and there are 55 of them between Strachan and Spadina.

from the grounds of Fort York looking south to the Gardiner and the condos built beyond it. Grass field in the foreground.

below: One obstacle is the fact that Fort York Blvd passes under the Gardiner on a diagonal.  Plans are to build a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the street.  Also in the photo, note the TTC bus – Fort York and vicinity are finally on a bus route.  Route 121 runs between the Portlands and Fort York via Union Station.

fort york blvd is in the foreground, a TTC bus and a car are on it, the Gardiner is to the right and a short condo building is in the background along with the CN tower

below: The section under the Gardiner Expressway between Bathurst Street and Fort York Blvd is not city owned. It is owned, and has already been developed, by the Onni Group who built the Garrison at Fort York condominiums on either side of it.  This is the eastern end of phase 1.

evening, low angle sunlight shines under the Gardiner Expressway where it has been developed with paving stones and some large rocks.

below: Northbound traffic on Bathurst passes under the Gardiner.

some traffic on Bathurst street on a rainy day, as the street passes under the Gardiner Expressway, condos on the right, construction hoardings on the left.

Phase 2 of the park’s development involves land between Bathurst and Spadina. This is an area that is undergoing a lot of changes at the moment, i.e. a lot of construction.

below: Immediately south of the Gardiner on the northeast corner of Bathurst and Lakeshore is a construction site.  Demolition of the old 1928 Loblaws warehouse building is now complete.  The facade of the old building was disassembled rather than demolished; after cleaning and refurbishing of the bricks, it will be rebuilt in its original location.  Two condo towers are planned for the space between Loblaws and the Gardiner.  Yes, more condo towers to face the Gardiner and add to the tunnel effect that you get when you drive on the expressway.

construction site in downtown Toronto, Gardiner Expressway runs behind the site, rubble in the foreground, a few remaining remnants of the old Loblaws building that was there, high rises in the background.

below: The development of this site is a collaboration between a number of developers.  I found a photo of one rendition (source) of what the space under the Gardiner will look like here in the future.  Public space including a cafe are part of the plans.  Check back in a couple of years to see what really happens here!

artist's rendering of what a planned development for under the Gardiner would look like, part of a larger condo and retail development.

below:  Standing on Bathurst Street, looking east along what will be Housey Street.  This is just north of where the Loblaws development (above) will be.  As you can see, you can’t walk there yet.

the elevated road, the Gardiner Expressway passes over a construction site on the right, a new street being built on the left.

below: Southeast corner of Bathurst and Fort York Blvd.  This is the section of land just north of Housey Street.  Construction hoardings and cranes – familiar sights in this area.  It also means that taking photos of under the Gardiner here are difficult!

late afternoon, long shadows, yellowish tint to the photo, looking east from Bathurst, south of Front, north of the Gardiner, wood construction hoardings with posters on it, many orange cranes, some condos already built, a woman jogging past, cars on the street.

below: Development north of the Gardiner between Bathurst and Dan Leckie Way.

construction site under the Gardiner, cranes and condos being developed on the left, CN tower in the fog in the distance.

Dan Leckie Way is a north-south road that runs under the Gardiner just east of Bathurst.  It is the western boundary of Canoe Landing Park.  This park is north of the Gardiner and the Lakeshore.

below: ‘Tom Thomson’s Canoe’, by Douglas Coupland sits at the highest point of land in the area; it’s almost at the same level as the Gardiner and is very visible as you drive by.   This park extends down the hill.

The end of a large red canoe, an artwork by Douglas Coupland called 'Tom Thomson's Canoe' sits in a park, high above the surrounding scenery. Looking southwest towards the elevated Gardiner Expressway and the condo developments south of it.

below: Looking the other way from the same vantage point. The street running under the Gardiner here is Dan Leckie Way . Up until this point the Lakeshore is south of the Gardiner.

The elevated Gardiner Expressway with traffic is in the middleground, some trees and parkland in the foreground, and condo developments in the background.

At Dan Leckie Way, the Lakeshore is still south of the Gardiner and the space under the expressway is wide open.   By Spadina, one major block east, the situation changes.   The Lakeshore splits and westbound traffic lanes go north of the Gardiner and eastbound lanes stay south.  Shortly after Spadina, the Lakeshore runs under the Gardiner and there is no room for any further development under the road.

below: Standing on Spadina, just south of the Gardiner and looking west.  Here there is a lot of road to cross for pedestrians on Spadina.  Not only has the Lakeshore split to run on either side of the Gardiner, but there are also ramps between the Gardiner and the Lakeshore.

major road with traffic under an elevated expressway in a city, long ramp from the upper level to the lower. Gardiner Expressway and Lakeshore Blvd in Toronto, at Spadina looking west

below:   Still on Spadina, and still looking west, but now under the Gardiner.  The space under the road is not as high as it was previously.  Its lower and darker and not as inviting.   It will be interesting to see what phase 2 of the Bentway development will look like in this space.  I am not sure when it will to be finished but I will keep an eye on it!

under an elevated section of the Gardiner Expressway, at Spadina.

As for the eastern Gardiner, what does that look like?  Well, that’s a whole other blog post!

 Project: Under Gardiner  On this site you’ll find detailed maps and diagrams of this area as well as information about the plans for the various sections of the space.

 

 

 

This is another post about an exhibit from the CONTACT Photography Festival.   I know that it’s now June and CONTACT was in May, but I wanted to post these photos.  I actually took them early in May as you can probably tell by how many clothes the people in the pictures are wearing.  They’re certainly not dressed for the warmer weather we’ve been having lately.  I have had trouble deciding what to write in this post.

There is a parking lot at the NE corner of Front and Spadina with some billboards in it.   Maybe you saw them as you drove or walked past but maybe you passed by and missed them.   There are so many things on the street vying for our attention and a billboard is just another piece of street ‘furniture’.

For the month of May, an installation titled ‘What it Means to be Beautiful’  by Mickalene Thomas occupied a number of billboard spaces at the above mentioned corner.   All the images are portraits of women and are “shown within the context of street advertising, where women are constantly bombarded with narrow notions of female beauty.”   A sample of the billboards:

 

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman in profile, with a shaved head, on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman wearing a blue hat on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto. A woman stands on the corner talking on her phone. Another, large, billboard is in the background.

Two women walk past part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto

Two portraits of black women, in a billboard space in a parking lot, with people waiting for a streetcar in glass bus shelters in the background.

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto, A group of people wait for a green light at the intersection in the background, tall condos too.

Part of the reason that I hesitated to write this post was the fact that the iphone 6 ad campaign was on at the same time.  It was a campaign that used photos taken with the phone and the ads were very visual and used very few words. In my opinion, they are more eye catching and visually appealing than Thomas’s work. I found a few of them to show here (below).  I know that there were many more but unless I was consciously looking for ads, I didn’t notice them as billboards are one of the things that I block out as I walk.  That led to a few thoughts about what catches a viewer’s attention on the street –   Faces?  Colours?  Contrast?

There is more going on in Thomas’s photos and collages than just visual appeal but I still question the validity of asking the viewer to look at them in the context of street advertising.   Is it fair to compare her images to ads produced by, and in aid of, a large corporation?   Would it have been better to  exhibit her work in different form or a different place?  I don’t have the answers for those questions.  Do you?

 

iphone ad on a bus stop wall showing a woman in a field

iphone 6 ad on a bus stop wall of a woman lying in a field of pumpkins. Her head is surrounded by pumpkins.

an iphone ad on a bus stop wall of a man lying on the ground. He is upside down in the picture

And now I will go back to ignoring billboards as I walk.

Nassau Street that is, just south of College and just west of Spadina.  There is an alley that runs north from Nassau directly behind Spadina.  A dead end lane runs perpendicular to it, behind the houses on Nassau Street.  Like most alleys in Toronto, there is street art there.  Some old, some new, and unfortunately some scribbled over.  All in all, this lane is looking a little worn.

Buildings in an alley with lots of graffiti on them.

a wall with a painting of a woman's head on the left (in grey tones), a door with metal bar gate in the middle, and part of a tag like graffiti piece on the right.

large geometric street art piece on a brick wall in an alley

Black and white street art painting on a reddish brick wall, signed Jaroe

Two large poser bunnies on a wall in an alley

buildings in an alley with lots of street art on them

A lovebot and a pair of anser eyes on a wall in an alley. Lots of empty cardboard boxes on the ground by the wall.

A wall with a small window with a metal grille over it, covered in street art, with weeds and goldenrod growing up in front of it

view down an alley late in summer when there are leaves on the trees and lots of weeds growing at the edges of the pavement

An old wood door on an alley building has been painted with a large yellowish green face with big pink lips and brown teeth

graffiti on a garage door

Two black lovebot robot stickers on a yellow protective sleeve around a cable that is helping to hold up a pole.

In an alley, the back of a house is being renovated, all the windows are boarded up and some of the exterior brick has been removed. There is a metal gate across the back of the property. The garage to the left is covered with graffiti.

Newer garage in an alley with a crooked metal wire gate beside it. The garage has graffiti on the side wall and on both of its garage doors.

looking towards the end of an alley that has a large wheatpaste 3D lovebot high up on it. Beside lovebot is another wheatpaste

Wheatpaste high up on a wall, a large face like thing. The words 'dying inside' are part of the picture

below: Only the eye remains from a previous painting

Just an eye from a previous street art painting hasn't been covered by a white tag

below:  Two photos from the south side of Nassau street

Two women pushing a stroller walk past some street art on Nassau St. in Toronto, a large orange piece ta

The front and side of a garage are covered with street art. The front is not very very visible in this picture but the side is. A man from the waist up with his finger pointing upwards is beside a picture of city buidings and a poser bunny.

Part of CONTACT photography festival,
billboard “art” on the NE corner of Spadina and Front streets.

All the billboards are in a parking lot in what was a junky looking space to begin with.

below:  Yellow rubber gloves with the fingers tucked back in…
to look like they’ve just been taken off a pair of hands?

a billboard above a parking lot, condos in the background.   A pair of yellow rubber gloves with the openings turned into a cuff are all that in the image on the board

below: The body of the handbag is a loaf of bread.

a small billboard in front and a larger, higher one in the background.   In the background is a woman's hand holding what looks like a handbag but the bag part is made of a loaf of bread.  In the foreground, yellow background with household objects arranged in a face like shape.

below: Clusters of sponges.  At first I thought they were candies.

billboard art - three clusters of colourful sponges on a black background

three billboards with art images instead of advertisements
Supported by Pattison Outdoor Advertising and Nikon Canada.

a billboard with a large picture of clear bottles filled with coloured liquids in reds and oranges.

“Challenging how people perceive and interact with images in public spaces”

“Each of the artists destabilizes the conventions of advertising and the cultural codes associated with consumer lifestyles.”

Me?  I’ll call them dull and underwhelming clutter.  Too harsh?  Perhaps.
I’ll leave the verdict up to you.