Posts Tagged ‘subway’

 

This blog post is a result of a walk down the alley behind Bloor Street West between Dundas West and Keele where the lane runs between the back of the stores and buildings on Bloor and the subway tracks.  Some of the street art in this lane can be seen from the subway and some of it I have shown in the past.   Whether it’s because of Covid or because I was lucky that day, there were very few cars parked in the lane.

a carved pumpkin on a table behind a building

black and white mural from Movie Arts Decor featuring stars from some movies - Alfred Hitchcock and Psycho,

mural with woman's face

highrise apartment building in the background with a concrete building with lower level covered by street art in the foreground, people walking in the alley behind the concrete building

a mural on the back of the hockey store, hockey skates on hydro wires

mural of hockey goalie on the back porch of the hockey store, other murals on the buildings beside, including one that says bomba end

below: I can see you, reflected back

part of a uber5000 mural of a person wearing red glasses, also reflected in the windshield of the car that is parked beside the wall

below: Another part of the Uber5000 mural.  Everybody is a winner!!

uber5000 mural in an alley, everybody is a winner, yellow birdies sitting around a table, one is reading a paper, and two are playing cards

below: An old elicser mural

an old elicser mural with people

back of two storey brick building with a small paved space behind it, a table and benches are near the building, street art on both sides of the small space (the buildings on either sode)

a mural, turkey head, wearing red three pointed crown, with wildstyle graffiti across the bottom

TTC subway tracks running parallel to a lane

below: Float away in the 416

small sticker of a black drawing of a man floating on somethings round in the water, with 416 on his T shirt, his feet in the water, a ghetto blaster beside him

the back of two adjacent buildings on Bloor West, one has a set of stone steps leading down that are overgrown with grass and weeds, some graffiti on the back of the buildings

words scrawled on a concrete wall by a parking lot. eat the rich, kill a billionaire, fuck landlords,

street art on the back of the midas building, parking lot behind Keele subway station

below: Mary prays in a small garden at the end of a backyard along the subway tracks.

at the back of backyard in a small garden, behind chainlink fence, a white small statue of mary holding rosary beads

a driveway with a garage in the back, open door on the garage

a G M C truck is parked in a gravel driveway between two buildings, in the background is a couple of rows of houses and a tall apartment building behind that

old blue oil drums beside a blue wall with graffiti words that say thumbs up and guns down

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

 

The other day I was walking a section of Dufferin Street,  I came across this Heritage Toronto plaque in a little park at Dufferin and Briar Hill.

Heritage Toronto plaque for the community of Fairbank

“European farmers began a community here in the early 19th century on land that was included in the 1805 Toronto Purchase treaty between the Mississauga of the Credit River and the British Crown. When a post office was established in 1874, the area was named Fairbank after a farm belonging to settler Matthew Parsons.
By 1881, about 17 families lived in the community, near the present-day intersection of Dufferin Street, Vaughan Road, and Eglinton Avenue. The Fairbank Wesleyan Methodist Church was constructed in 1889 with bricks made in a local kiln, the building still stands across the street. When he died in his nineties in 1924, Isaac Dollery, a carpenter and early settler, had witnessed his community evolve from a farming outpost to a suburb of Toronto.
Land in Fairbank was subdivided in 1890, coinciding with the construction of the Belt Line Railway commuter line. The railway made travel to Toronto easy, yet the line failed financially and ceased operation in 1894, after only two years.
Between the world ward, residential development grew and the streetcar arrived in Fairbank in 1924. Industries such as the Paton-Baldwin Knitting Works and Fairbank Lumber and Coal Co. also opened in the area. Fairbank was part of the City of York until amalgamation with the City of Toronto in 1998.

below: This is the church mentioned in the plaque – now part of the United Church.

exterior of Fairbank United Church, red stone church, on Dufferin Ave

sign outside Fairbank United Church, in lights, that says Let's end this together, Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Cough into your elbow.

below: By the time I had finished walking, I wanted to know more about Matthew Parsons and the community of Fairbank.  I found this map showing property owners with some of the modern streets added.  It looks like its original source was the book, “Historic County Map of York County”, published in 1860 as part of a series of map books covering the early counties of what is now Ontario.

old map showing location of Dufferin Ave, Glencairn, Briar Hill, and other streets in relation to original land owners in the area

Matthew Parsons bought the farmland in 1835 when he was only 19 years old.  Originally he owned 200 acres of land in a rectangle bounded by Glencairn, Dufferin, Eglinton, and Keele.

below: The intersection of Dufferin and Eglinton in 1919

old black and white photo of dufferin and eglinton in 1919 showing narrow dirt roads and farms

photo credit: From the City of Toronto Archives, but found online on the Fairbank Village BIA website. Follow this link if you are interested in more of the history of the area.

My walk that day did not cover all of Matthew Parson’s farmland and at one point I wandered farther east. Some of the pictures that I took that day include the following.  In general, to the east of Dufferin is residential and to the west is light industrial (as well as warehouses and wholesalers).

below: Glencairn and Caledonia, the western end of Glencairn.

a little white house with teal or turquoise trim, with signs advertising business of a psychic

below: Like everywhere around the city, you never know what kinds of posters or stickers you’re going to find on the poles.  I’m not too sure how fast they come, but they’re discreet apparently.

a sticker on a ttc bus stop pole that says believe in one love

street signs at the corner of Dufferin and Tycos

hydro poles and concrete barrier blocking access to street behind

two low rise warehouses, one is Janet Ladieswear with faded pictures of women's clothing in the window, sign beside it for Fashion Cage ladies clothing wholesale,

a fence with a no trespassing sign, with industrical building behind

below: A building with symmetrical curved walls, a hint of art deco in the architecture.   It is empty and available for sale or lease like a lot of buildings in the area (southwest of Glencairn and Dufferin)

front of a low rise brick building with curved exterior walls on either side of the entrance way

low rise brick light industrial building with an old boat parked beside it

below: Tucked in amongst the industrial buildings is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Menbere Berhan Kidest Mariam ( Saint Mary) Cathedral, consecrated in November 2012.

below: East side of Dufferin at Glencairn.

strip mall, plaza on Dufferin

below: Chalkboard notices in the window on Dufferin Street

two chalkboard signs in the window of a store

below: Trilingual car sales people.

used car lot with trilingual sign,

a row of parked cars, light trucks, and ambulances behind an auto mechanic shop

a bunch of fake flowers tied to a pole at an intersection, beside a metal box that has been painted with flowers

below: The Easter Bunny may be faded but its still happy!

happy easter bunny sign in the window of number 2841

below: She has been dancing for them, in the same spot, for so long that time has stopped.

sign in front of a framing store, epty frame on top and an old faded picture on the bottom

below: Two roses for Darosa.

a metal sidewalk box painted with two pink roses

below: Southeast corner of Dufferin and Glencairn

stores on the corner of

below: Glencairn and Marlee

a sign that says men hair cut fifteen dollars, beside the sidewalk in front of a plaza

windows, looking through 2 sets of windows, through an empty store on the corner

below: Looking north on Marlee

sidewalk lined with wood utility poles with wires, a sign for Variety store with store that sells DVDs

restaurant, white wall, three windows and old sign advertising lunch special

below: I don’t purposely go looking for redevelopment projects but I keep stumbling on them wherever I go.  This is near Glencairn and Marlee where a group of houses are all boarded up.

house, bungalow, boarded up and empty, for redevelopment

below: The backyards of these houses are adjacent to the backyard of the house above.  They are all going to be replaced with a midrise condo.

blue and white development notice in front of a small white house and a vacant lot, to be replcaed with 8 storey condo

below: As well, the strip mall, or plaza, on the other side of Marlee will be demolished.

old sign on the side of brick store that says customer parking in faded red letters and then it lists the stores in that plaza

below: Home of the Toronto Theosophical Society.

sign outside a brick building says Toronto Theosophical Society

below: A lovely old Chevrolet (early 1940s?)

old red chevrolet car parked in a parking lot
white wall, brick, painted, four large colourful flowers painted on it, 2 pink and 2 orange. Also a red heart with turquoise lines above and below, street art

below: The Allen, looking north from Glencairn.  Technically it is the William R. Allen Road but no one calls it that.  At Glencairn it is an expressway.  The road was part of the Spadina Expressway proposed in the 1950s – Metropolitan Toronto was formed in 1954 and highway building was one of its priorities.  The Spadina Expressway would join downtown with the 401 highway at the new Yorkdale Mall.    The more northerly part of the road was built prior to 1971 when the project was cancelled.   Here, at Glencairn, the road site had only been leveled and it became known as the ‘Davis Ditch’, after Bill Davis the Ontario Premier at the time.  It wasn’t until 1976 that the stretch between Lawrence and Eglinton was finished.

looking north on the Allen Expressway from the bridge over it at Glencairn, some traffic on the road, a subway track northbound on the tracks between the two sections of the Allen

below: The south entrance to Glencairn station (the north entrance looks exactly the same and is located directly across the street).  It opened in 1978.   Note the coloured glass roof.

Glencairn subway station south entrance on the side of Glencairn bridge over the Allen Expressway

below: There is a yellow glow in the interior from the stained glass roof.  The skylight roof has been refurbished; Rita Letendre’s artwork “Joy” had become very faded since its installation in 1978 .

interior of Glencairn station, escalator going down, colour yellow from the glass roof that is being refurbished

After Glencairn crosses over the Allen Expressway, it continues east all the way to Yonge Street.

Walking up Yonge Street without actually walking on Yonge Street…. with all it’s distractions and wrong turns.  We eventually get somewhere and that somewhere may actually be where we want to be!

 

a metal box with two paintings of women, on the left, woman is holding a red flower in her hand

below: I didn’t know that such a place existed!  It’s at Davenport and Belmont in case you feel the need….

at the corner of Davenport and Belmont is the Anti Aging Shop

below: I smiled even more when I went around the corner and encountered this sign

yellow traffic warning sign that says watch for seniors

below: Toronto layers

parking lot, with a row of backs of houses behind, with higher rise buildings in the background

below: The old stone stairs at Ramsden Park.  A bit muddy at the bottom but that never stopped me.

old stone stairs in Ramsden Park

below: Waiting for spring… or at least for some snow to melt.

a basketball hoop on a metal pole in the snow in the park

below: An after school skate.

children skating on outdoor rink at Ramsden Park

below: Old and new – exploring the lanes that run parallel to Yonge.   This is Paul Hahn Lane.

older and newer buildings in a lane in Rosedale area

below: Trespassers will be prosecuted.  If you can’t read the sign, does it still count?

old beat up green door on the back of a brick building, lane, garbage bins there, also an old faded sign that says trespassers will be prosecuted, metal stairs leading up to upper storeys

below: As you go north, Paul Hahn Lane becomes Sam Tile Lane.

small house at the corner of a street and an alley, now a cafe

below: The caterpillar isn’t where it was.  Is this an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reference? Actually it’s a children’s clothing store but that doesn’t stop my from quoting Lewis Carroll, or at least a short passage.  Alice’s interaction with the caterpillar is too long to include here!

an empty storefront in a red brick building, black awning in front, words on awning say Advice from a caterpillar

“In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in the grass, merely remarking as it went, ‘One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.’ ‘One side of what? The other side of what?’ thought Alice to herself. ‘Of the mushroom,’ said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight.”

below: At Summerhill there is no way to parallel Yonge because of the train tracks.  A shout out to this young man who just previous to this moment stopped to ask me if I’d taken some great photos today.  I answered that it was a bit grey to get great pictures and he concurred.

a man walks under a bridge, has headphones on and is carrying dry cleaning in a plastic cover

below: Infrequently photographed (the daring architecture!) and not well known, this is Summerhill subway station.  It has no bus connections and the only major destination nearby is the large LCBO in the old CPR station a block away (i.e. not many people use this station).

Exterior view of Summerhill subway station, a low brick building with slanted front wall

below: Something old ans something new.  I was wondering if the slate tiles on the upper storey were originals when I noticed the unobtrusive addition to the white and black house.

semi divided houses

below: Looking south towards Rosedale station (view blocked by the white and blue temporary building for the construction next to the bridge).  Tall downtown buildings in  the distance.  The tallest one is at 1 Bloor East and it is partially hidden by the Hudson Bay Centre tower on the other side of Bloor Street (the squarish building) and another tower that I am not sure of.

looking down the TTC subway tracks from just north of Rosedale station, highrises of downtown in the background, trees beside the tracks, 2 subway cars, one going north and the other south

below: Another of the many “it’s a street, no it’s an alley”, passages that you find in Toronto.

house in an alley

below: The rust and metal of an alley infill house

a bright blue shiny car parked in front of a rust coloured house in an alley

below: In an area of smaller narrow houses on small lots, some creativity is required if you want to expand.

new third floor addition on a house

below: A concrete lined hole in the ground with access from the alley but also from the street?  The beginnings of a larger development?

snow covered vacant lot with a concrete hole in the foreground, basement for a new house

below: Along the way I happened upon the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club in its winter plumage.

gates and white dome of the TOronto Lawn Tennis Club

below: Foiled! I was going to walk up through and David Balfour Park but the path is blocked… so back to Yonge Street I’m afraid.

fence and gate blocking a walkway through a park, construction zone now

below: He looks about as happy as I felt at that moment… but at least my arm is still intact.

a small wooden carving of a man with a broken arm, outside in the snow

below: Once on Yonge Street I discovered that traffic is even worse than usual because of lane closures.  Water main repairs and/or replacements by the looks of it.

looking south towards downtown, Yonge street construction, water main replacement, at Rosehill

a woman walking on a sidewalk past a construction zone

construction on Yonge street

below: This is now close to St. Clair Ave and a subway station so this is where I called it quits.  The days are still short and although the temperatures aren’t too bad, a cup of coffee seemed like a great idea at that moment (see the Aroma sign in the upper right corner?  It was calling my name).

a workman holds a stop sign at an intersection while a dump truck backs up and makes a turn, construction zone on Yonge street

below: Someone doesn’t seem to mind being in traffic!

a long haired furry beige dog with its head out the front seat window of an orange car in traffic

Stay positive & enjoy the trip, you’ll get there!

Oh, by the way, the photos may not be anything special (the grey day and all that) but I still had fun with them.

The other day I heard rumours of a subway protest – i.e. a protest over the potential uploading of the responsibility for the TTC from the city to the province.   On the 27th of March there was a “day of action” at 40 subway stations during the morning rush, starting at 7:30 a.m.

below: Walking toward Eglinton subway station with the sun shining from behind me. Golden glass.

condo development, crane, single houses in the foreground, near Yonge & Eglinton

I couldn’t find anyone at Eglinton station (was I too early?) but there were 4 people handing out leaflets inside Bloor station.  I also saw this guy with an OPSEU flag by Wellesley station.

a man holds an OPSEU (a union) flag outside Wellesleysubway station as he stands with a woman while someone is taking their picture.

So much for the idea of a blog post about this day of action.  But it was a beautiful morning so I enjoyed the walk down Yonge street.  I don’t often walk here that early and I was surprised how quiet it was.  The light was also interesting.

Yonge Street

below: A mix of old and new architecture, looking south towards the old St. Charles tavern clock tower that is being incorporated into a new development.

looking south on Yonge street on a sunny morning, sun is shining on the St. Charles tavern clock tower, tall buildings behind it

below: Near Yonge & Bloor.  Preservation of an old building… and very big crane.

old brick three storey building stands alone by a construction site as new development goes on around it. large crane in the background

two fire trucks parked on a street of high rise and midsized apartment buildings

below: Looking north from Dundas under a watchful eye.

people cross Yonge street on the north side of Dundas, a big picture of an eye is on a billboard looking down over the street

looking up at relief sculpture and column on an old building that says erected 1905, a new condo tower is behind it

reflections in the large window of a building, people, bikes, and old city hall

below: Looking north from Queen Street.  The Eaton Centre is on the left in the foreground.  Play the game of ‘name that building’ or ‘I remember when’.

looking up (north) on Yonge street,

a blurry streetcar as it stops at a stop where two people are waiting

people crossing the street in front of a streetcar that is waiting for a red light. At thewest side of intersection of Queen and University

people waiting for a streetcar on Queen at Bay, standing outside a TD bank that has a video screen with a very large woman on it.

below: This was the largest group of “protesters” that I saw.  It was more of an information session than a protest, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

people handing out leaflets and brochures at Osgoode station, on the sidewalk outside the station exit. University Ave

below: People headed to work as I started home.

inside Osgoode subway station, at platform level, one subway is just closing its doors getting ready to leave, people are headed up the stairs.

 

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!

Saturday, December 17th 2017
The day six new TTC subway stations opened.

So, of course, off we went on a subway adventure….  An exploration of the TYSSE, or in other words, the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension.   I have presented the stations in order that I visited them, from north to south – Vaughan, Highway 407, Pioneer Village, York University, Finch West, and Donwsview Park.  It’s not every day that new subway stations come along… and these have been a long time coming!

 

below:  The northernmost station on Line 1 is now Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

map of line 1 of the TOronto subway system, with red "you are here" arrow at the top left hand side, for Vaughan subway station.

below: ‘Atmospheric Lens’ by Paul Raff Studio is the artwork that is incorporated into the roof of the station.  It features skylights and reflective panels.  The yellow is reflections from a glowing disk mounted on top of the elevator shaft – you can’t actually see the disk, just its reflection.

reflective ceiling of Vaughan subway station, with people going up the escalator towards it, taking pictures.

escalators and shiny walls of Vaughan subway station

below: Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station, from the outside

exterior view of the dome like Vaughan TTC subway station, some snow on the ground, some people standing around outside the doors.

The rest of the ‘metropolitan centre’ needs a bit of work… as does the parking that this orange sign mentions.   I was surprised at how undeveloped that this part of Vaughan is.  This is the view to the east of the station.  On the west there is a development of “big box” stores some of which have just been built.  Smart Vaughan – get the subway and then build around it rather than disrupt an already built city with years of construction and the consequent traffic problems (i.e. building the Eglinton Crosstown link)

suburbia - empty field with orange sign that says Subway parking. one tall building, a gas station, a street,

All six stations are quite deep and all six require two escalator rides to get to street level (or you can climb a lot of stairs!… stairs are not always an option though).  There are plenty of elevators.

people on a very long escalator at one of the new TTC subway stations in Toronto

below:  The walls are concrete beside the subway tracks.  Each station has its name on the wall similar to this at Highway 407 station (just south of the 407 at Jane Street).

concrete wall of the subway, with words highway 407 on the wall, at the new Highway 407 subway station TTC

below: A large coloured glass window dominates the area at the top of the escalators (by the bus station) at Highway 407.   This artwork is by David Pearl and is one of two pieces that he did for this station.

people standing and looking at a large painted window, abstract in yellows, turquoise andpink, large window, at subway station, sunlight outside

below: Highway 407 has a large GO Transit bus terminal as well.  There is still some work to be done on that part!  The worrisome part of all this is that the two stations at the end of the line are transportation hubs designed to help those commuting into Toronto.  Yes, they funnel even more people into an already overcrowded subway.  Note to the city of Vaughan – please use this as an opportunity to increase the reasons why people would commute north!

unfinished part of the subway station, indent in wall with sign tickets billets but the niche is empty except for two large black and orange striped construction cones

below:  One of the entrances to Highway 407 – the center window is the same as the coloured window above (it looks much better from inside!).  On either side are GO Transit bus terminals.  Behind me when I took the photo is a large parking lot for about 600 cars.   Functional but not necessarily pretty – it may look better from other angles but it was a cold day and it seemed like a long walk to get to the other sides).

people walking towards the entrance to HUghway 407 TYSSE station, a low concrete and glass building.

below: The new bus loop at Pioneer Village Station.  There are actually 2 bus terminals here – one for the TTC and one for YRT buses.   This station is on Steeles between Jane and Keele.   Originally this station was going to be called Steeles West – mercifully the TTC actually showed some creativity and came up with a better name.  All the ‘West’ stations drive me crazy.

exterior at new Pioneer Village TTC subway station at Steeles Ave., new bus loops with wood overhangs, still under construction

below: Coming up the escalator in the Pioneer Village station towards the large light in the ceiling.   The dominant features of the station are the large vertical windows and the red and wood cladding.   The red and wood are continued to the exterior as well.

interior of Pioneer Village subway station, top of one of the escalators, vertical windows looking outside, some red glass as accents, a large light artwork on the ceiling, people on the escalators

below:  Close up of part of the exterior.

abstract of the exterior walls of Pioneer Village subway station, red panels with wood roof and grey steel beams

below: Looking up into one of the skylights

abstract geometrics, triabngles and diamonds, reflective surfaces in a cone shaped skylight, in blacks and blues,

below: The main artwork at Pioneer Village station is “LightSpell” by German artists Tim and Jan Edler.   It’s an interactive installation that also helps provide light in the station.  This photo shows some of the 40 elements that make up the installation. By lighting certain sections of each element, letters of the alphabet can be formed, and in turn, words can be written.   Numbers and other special characters can also be lit.  In addition, the intensity of the light can be automatically controlled to maintain a constant light level in the station.   There are also a lot of speakers on black poles in this area but that is a mystery for another day.

art installation, LightSpell by Jan andTim Edler hangs over th escalator at Pioneer Village TTC subway station,

below: Inside York University station which is right on campus.  The stairs and escalators to the trains are in the center.  On both ends of the curved structure are the exits.

large round high window of concourse level of new York University subway station, snow on the ground outside, people inside

looking down the escalator at York University station,

below: At Finch West station there are bright and shiny red hexagonal tiles on many of the interior walls.  (Argh, there’s that ‘west’ again)

shiny red hexagonal shaped tiles line the wall beside an escalator at the new York University subway station on TTC line 1

below: As you go up to street level, you are greeted by a flood of coloured light.

people on an escalator, red hexagonal tiles on the wall beside them, lots of streaks of pink and yellow light above them at the top of the escalator, Finch West subway station TTC, toronto

below: The light comes from tall sunlit windows of different colours.  Stripes of grey and white tile on the floor and ceiling add to the slightly surreal effect.

people passing through Finch West station with its tall vertical windows covered in colours, pink, blue and yellow, also with its stripes of white and dark grey tiles
Expect to see many photos taken at this station in the future!  The light and colour makes for some interesting effects.

coloured glass at Finch West station

coloured glass at Finch West station

man standing in front of coloured glass at Finch West station

… and I have probably gotten carried away.  There’s still one more new station so let’s take a look at it – Downsview Park.

below: Looking up…

looking up over the heads of some people going up the escalator at Downsview Park subway station

below: … and looking waaaay down at Downsview Park station.

looking down two levels of the new Downsview Park subway station, long escalator and flight of stairs

below: Eventually (soon?) GO trains between Union Station and Barrie will connect with the subway here.   The subway actually runs under the GO railway tracks here.  The street level of Downsview Park station is two halves, one on each side of the GO tracks.

 

looking out a set of glass doors that is locked closed with a danger sign on the door.   Future GO transit exit at Donwsview Park TTC subway

below: I am going to end with this.  Part observation and part editorializing –  a sign seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  I look at this and think of old pictures I have seen of the Yonge line when it was first built.  It serviced parts of Toronto like Davisville and Summerhill that were of fairly low density but the city and/or province had the foresight to build that far north anyhow.  If you read the TTC websites about these new stations, there is a lot of talk about planning for future development and making that future development transit friendly.  A great idea.  Now, let’s apply that thinking to Scarborough…. and what do you get?  A lot of naysayers with arguments about density.  Grumble grumble oh how poor we are.   And don’t even get me started on Mike Harris and how he cancelled the Eglinton line in 1995.  Twenty two years later we’re building it at extra cost and with extra traffic disruption.  Sigh.

GO Transit and TTC subway sign in the middle of snow covered field

This is a Thursday Doors post. 

I wanted to find a poem or a quote or something like that to accompany this post.  A post about opening doors to get home.  I only found poetry best said at a funeral…  not so good for a sunny March afternoon.   I’ll save the poetry in case I ever do a series of cemetery doors.

How many doors do you go through in a day?

You aren’t going to find any historical doors here nor have I taken any pictures of colourful, ornate, or classy doors for this post.  Instead, I decided to use photos of a few of the doors that I had to pass through on my way home the last time I went exploring, starting with the subway at St. Patrick station.

a woman is opening the glass doors of St. Patrick station, at street level, on University Ave

two sets of double doors, TTC subway station, metal doors with glass insets.

doors to bus platform at Davisville station, bus platform, are slightly ajar, a bus has just pulled up (and facing the camera) and people are getting ready to get on it.

people getting on a TTC bus at Davisville station

These are doors that I pass through frequently yet I rarely notice them.   Usually I see them more as an impediment to where I want to go.   Maybe I should pay them more attention?

***

For Thursday Door posts by other people, see Norm Frampton’s blog at Norm 2.0.  He is the originator of the Thursday Door idea and he also keeps track of which other blogs have participated.

 

 

What to do on a cold day when the wind is vicious and blows right through you?   It blows through my hat, my ears and my brain.  It makes my head hurt.  Not the ideal walking day even with all my winter layers on.   I have been thinking about my walk along Sheppard Avenue and some of the issues with public transit and while doing so I realized that I had never been on the Scarborough Rapid Transit.  With all the talk about Sheppard subway vs LRT, I decided that maybe I should check it out.  So instead of a walk, I went for a ride and took the SRT to McCowan and back.

First I had to get to the SRT which starts at Kennedy subway station.

reflections of a woman in a red jacket sitting on the subway, reflected in the window beside a woman who is standing on the platform

At Kennedy I was a lost tourist as I searched for the route between the subway and the SRT.  Here the SRT trains run above street level so it took a couple of escalators and some stairs to reach the platform.

below: Standing on the platform and waiting for the train.  Kennedy station is at Kennedy & Eglinton and I think that this is the view looking east from there.

SRT tracks curve away from platform, outside, apartment building in the background, some snow on the tracks

below: The train arrives.

platform at Kennedy SRT station with people waiting as a blue train arrives

below: Leaving Kennedy station.   The first part of the route is north and runs parallel to the CNR & Stouffville GO line train tracks.     The red and white cars are the original colour from when the SRT opened in 1985.  In 2015 the TTC began painting the cars blue to match the colour scheme that now goes with “Line 3” on the TTC maps.  They also began two switch over the name of the SRT to Line 3 Scarborough.

the Scarborough RT train as it leaves Kennedy station, the track curves so you can see the front of the train out the window

below: I wasn’t the only tourist on the train!  After being on the subway, it felt a bit like being on a toy train.  The cars are smaller.  The trains are powered by linear induction motors which are quite different from conventional motors.  They push themselves along the tracks using alternating flat magnets.   That’s a very simplistic description of the science of induction motors but I’m sure that you can use google to find more information if you are interested!

looking down the length of an SRT car, two young women are looking out the back window. seats down either side, red on one side and blue on the other

below: The Scarborough RT,  also referred to as TTC line 3, covers  6.4 km on its route from Kennedy station to McCowan station.  There are six stops, Kennedy, Lawrence East, Ellesmere, Midland, Scarborough Centre, and McCowan.  Note the blue colour on the map!

a map of the SRT route is on the wall behind two red seats of an SRT car, view out the window is not easy to see but it is the platform at Lawrence East station

below: Ellesmere station. Apparently it is the least used station in the system, less even than Bessarion.

interior wall of Ellesmere station, covered (plastic?) glass wall, large black letters saying Ellesmere, and a bright red bench, snow on the curved translucent roof

faded TTC symbol on the exterior of a rapid transit vehicle

below: Looking out the back window.  The tracks are standard gauge whereas the subway runs on tracks that are wider so the TTC can’t run their subway cars on these tracks.

looking out the dirty window at the back of a SRT vehicle, tracks and some cityscape

below: This is the view at McCowan station, the end of the line. Although it was a very quiet ride to McCowan, the train was full on the ride back to Kennedy with Scarborough Centre being the most crowded station.   It took 40 minutes to go from McCowan to Bloor/Yonge.

a SRT train is stopped at McCowan station,

***

blurry person standing on the platform at Greenwood station, with reflections of people sitting on the subway

reflections in the subway window along with people sitting on the train

Right now, the section of Sheppard Avenue East between Yonge and Leslie streets is a mix of old, middle aged and new – a hodge podge of sizes, styles and uses.   It’s neither ugly nor pretty.  It’s not sure if it’s city or  suburban.

below: The intersection of Bayview and Sheppard from the southwest.

main road with traffic, coming to an intersection, with a tall building in the background

You’ll probably never hear anyone say, “Hey, let’s go for a walk along Sheppard”.  So why was I there?   I’ve driven along this stretch many times but I have never walked it.  Have I been missing something?

below: A short distance west of Bayview is the modern brick St. Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church, or ÁrpádHázi Szt. Erzsébet Római Katolikus Templom according to their sign.  Sunday mass is in Hungarian.   If you are driving past on Sheppard Ave, it’s easy to miss the simple steeple and cross that marks this building as a church.

steeple of St. Elizabeth of HUngary RC church, modern brick building with simple cross on the top

below: A large mosaic adorns one of the exterior walls.

mosaic on the exterior brick wall of St. Elizabeth of Hungary RC Church showing St. Elizabeth and two people kneeling beside her.

below: A small shrine is in front of the church.

small picture of Mary and baby Jesus in bright colours, on a small shrine in front of a church

below: The south entrance to Bayview subway station.  There are no escalators at this entrance  – instead, there is an elevator and a LOT of stairs.

south entrance to Bayview subway station with tall residential buildings behind and a construction site beside

below: The artwork at Bayview station is by Panya Clark Espinal, titled ‘From Here Right Now’.  Half an apple lies on the platform.

art on a subway platform, a line drawing of a very large apple that has been cut in half, on the wall and floor of the station

below: A salt or pepper shaker on the wall.  I’ve only shown two of the images in the series.  There are 24 in total and they are scattered throughout the  station.

art on a subway platform wall, a salt or pepper shaker in black on white tiles

below: There is a small park behind the south entrance to Bayview subway station, Kenaston Garden Parkette where I saw this tree in bud.   The first signs of spring are always wonderful to see.   Today it’s -12C outside so I hope the tree is okay.

pussy willow buds on a tree

below: This little park was designed by Wilk Associates Landscape Architecture and it incorporates a large number of rocks including a glacial boulder found on the site.   A bronze sculpture of a tree clinging to a rock  by Reinhard Reitzenstein is one of the features of the park.

small sculpture in a park of a sapling on a rock with its roots growing over the surface of the rock

below: If you stand in the park and look east,  you can’t miss the construction.

small sculpture in a park of a sapling on a rock with its roots growing over the surface of the rock - crane and construction site in the background

a convex mirror beside a black and yellow caution sign, condos are reflected in the mirror

the front and side of a large truck is in the foreground, right side, with a construction site beyond

Construction is everywhere on Sheppard Avenue.

below: All of the houses on Cusack Court are now gone.  Only the ‘No Exit’ sign remains.

a construction site where the houses on a a whole street have been demolished. The no exit sign for the street still remains., the site is behind a chainlink fence

a banner of the Canadian flag has fallen over and is lying on the ground behind a chainlink fence

below: The single family homes on the south side of Sheppard are slowly being demolished to make way for condo developments.  At the corner of Sheppard Ave East and Greenbriar  the proposed development of 184 residential units is the subject of an OMB prehearing on the 8 May 2017  (case number PL161113).

a boarded up house, split level, built in the 1950s, is in the foreground, condos and apartment buildings are behind it

below: Five houses are empty and waiting to be demolished to make way for two buildings, 11 and 6 storeys, mixed use (i.e. retail at street level) and incorporating a few townhouses.  In other words, the same old same old.

a boarded up house, split level, built in the 1950s, is in the foreground, condos and apartment buildings are behind it

below:  I said “same old same old” above because these types of buildings are popping up all over  many major roads that are outside the downtown core.  I suspect that Sheppard Avenue will be lined with structures like this one that’s already been built on the north side of Sheppard.

across the street is a 10 storey residential building, cars on the street, small trees in the foreground

Many people make the argument that there isn’t the density to support a subway along Sheppard.  I am of the opinion that if they’re not wrong now, they soon will be.   Development and public transit are dependent on each other, a symbiotic relationship if you will.   If you are affected by the construction along Eglinton for the new Crosstown line, you might agree that waiting for density only increases the problems and inconvenience (and cost?) of building new subway lines.   Also, have you seen photos of what the area around Davisville or Finch (and others) stations looked like when the subway opened there?   What is the required density?  Why do we want to funnel even more people towards the overcrowded Yonge line anyhow?   Is there an end to the questions we can ask?

And that’s another reason for my walk here…. to make note of the construction that is occurring whether we agree with it or not and to document some of  the changes.

below:  Two low rise apartment buildings.

two three storey brick apartment buildings with balconie in the front, taken from across the street

below: Once upon a time there were a lot of these little houses along Sheppard (even more so on the west side of Yonge Street).  At least one of these is still used as a family home but most are now offices or businesses.

a few small brick houses on the south side of Sheppard Ave

below: The north entrance to Bessarion station

looking across the street to the small north entrance to Bessarion subway station, with a small two storey plaza beside it

below: Looking east from Bessarion.  You can see as far as the condos on Don Mills Road.

looking west from Bessarion subway station towards Leslie Street and beyond,

   There is a reason that you haven’t seen many people in these pictures and it’s not because I waited for people to get out of the way.   Sheppard Avenue is a “major arterial road” under Toronto’s road classification system and traffic movement is its major function.  20,000+ cars are expected to use it every day.

I don’t like to say it, but why would you be walking along Sheppard anyhow?

below: Bayview Village parking lot at the NE corner of Bayview and Sheppard.

parking lot of a mall, Bayview village with surrounding buildings in the background.

As you might know, scroll down to the next blog post to see some pictures of Bessarion station!