Posts Tagged ‘tree’

people walking past a window, dark outside, reflections of the traffic in the window

It was a rainy commute home for many people last night.  Not too miserable though, just enough drizzle to bring out a few umbrellas and create some wonderful reflections to play with.

woman with umbrella in the foreground, traffic on a rainy night in the background

two white cars in front of a stopped streetcar, 514 Cherry, new streetcar, in front of the Elephant and Castle bar on King Street, people sitting on the streetcar are visible, dark outside, wet and rainy evening

city street on a rainy night, pedestrians on the sidewalk, traffic, trees with autumn foilage, dark blue sky, lights in highrises

lights reflecting on a wet street, crosswalk

Tucked away on a garage in an alley near Brunswick and Harbord is a garage with three murals, at least two of which are the work of Aaron Li-Hill.

a two car garage in an alley, murals on both garage doors as well as on the side of the building

below: This mural is not new but I am not sure how old it is.  I am not even sure if I have seen it before.   I can’t believe that I found an alley that I haven’t walked before in this area, but anything’s possible.   This mural is by Li-Hill for sure.

a mural in two pictures of two women and a large tree by Aaron Li-Hill on the side of a garage in an alley

below: This too is the work of Aaron Li-Hill as you can see from the signature.

women with sohort dark hair from the neck up, side view, eyes closed, mural on a garage door by Aaron Li-Hill

below: This seaside town scene has no signature.  I like the little people, one with a surfboard, some playing in the water, and a couple hand in hand.

seaside town mural, buildings, water, beach, people, seawall, on a garage door in an alley, laneway

One more reason to wander the lanes and alleys of the city!
(With thanks to Anita for walking with me and showing me this garage.)

 

a man walks away from the camera as he walks down an alley that has graffit and street art on the garages and buildings

Sometimes graffiti and street art have a short life span.  Many taggers don’t care about what they are tagging over.  Street art can also be “interactive” in that stickers and paste ups can get “added” to a piece.   Anyone with a marker can have their say.  On the bright side, new murals get painted and new paste -ups appear.  And that is why I go back to the my favorite alleys every once in a while.  This morning I walked the Milky Way again.

two stickers on a pole in an alley. one is a pink and purple striped tail of an animal disappearing down a hole. the other is a white face with angry expression and cigarette in mouth

below: The Parkdale mural by Race Williams is still looking good.

mural in magenta and turquoise that says greetings from parkdale, large magenta streetcar in the mural by Race Williams

below: The naked women are a bit more modestly dressed than they once were .

street art mural of three naked women. Someone has painted white over the private parts

The most noticeable change is the fact that many pieces are now at least partially covered by greenery – small shrubs and tall weeds have proliferated and are looking quite healthy.

below: This lion is looking more and more like the king of the jungle even as the words faded and peel.

tall weeds and small shrubs grow in front of a painting of a lion (from the Lion King) painted on an unused doorway in an alley

below: The small aliens at the top of the building are now in the shade of a fast growing tree.

small aliens painted along the top of a building are now partially covered by the branches and leaves of a small tree

below: And the larger aliens on the fence really need a hair cut now.

space alien mural painted on a corrugated metal fence are now partially covered with vines from the top and weeds from the bottom.

below: A large pink peony (at least that’s what it looks like)

street art painting of a large pink peony

below: The fence around the garden.

wooden fence around a backyard that has been painted with garden scenes, cabbages, flowers, sun, and a donkey

a line of black and green rubbish garbage bins along a wall that has street art on it, picture of a boy with a spray paint can in his hand along with some text , stairs leading up to the upper level of the building as well

text graffiti on two buildings in an alley

Previous Milky Way posts
Back to the Milky Way – Sept 2015
Walking the Milky Way – Oct 2014

metal gate that has rusted. large numeral 47 on it as well as some graffiti scrawls

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!

 

You’ve probably never heard the word asafo before.  You probably have no idea what it means.

Until last week I didn’t know the word existed either.

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.  There were 100 excellent pictures of insects, animals, marine life, the sort of thing you’d expect.  There was no photography allowed in that exhibit so I have no photos of the images on display.  You’ll have to take my word for it that I was there.

I can appreciate the skill and patience that it takes to capture rabbits in the snow or a school of fish in a certain light underwater but those kind of pictures don’t excite me.   That’s not to diminish the work of the photographers, it was all very high caliber both technically and visually.    What I think I’m trying to say is that I left the exhibit wanting more, something more from my visit to the ROM.

Luckily I didn’t have to look far.  In the next room was Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana.

museum exhibit of asafo flags from Ghana, colourful flags of militia groups in yellows, reds and black. Many are hanging in display cases.

Colour, lots of colour.  And a subject that I knew nothing about, asafo flags.  I wasn’t even sure what part of Africa Ghana is in (It’s on the south coast of Western Africa between Togo and the Ivory Coast as it turns out.).

The flags are hand made with an assortment of different motifs.  The British Jack in the upper left corner is a very common feature.  That’s a clue.  Yes, Ghana was a British colony.   Reading the history of Ghana is like reading the colonial history of large parts of Africa.  The Portuguese built a fortress at Elmina in 1482.    Interest in the region was piqued by the presence of gold, hence the name Gold Coast.   By the early 17th century the first African state,  Akwamu, controlled an extensive part of the coast.  They were displaced by the Ashanti who were very involved in the slave trade, especially in trading slaves for weapons.   When European countries outlawed trading in slaves in the early 1800’s,  Ashanti power suffers.   Some tussles ensue, a few battles, some back and forth, and by 1902 what was Ashanti becomes is a British colony.    It remained a colony until 1957.

close up of a flag, hand made, British Jack in the top left corner, a man walks in front of a church in the center, a black bear in the top right.

I’m not going to pretend to know or understand African history.  I’m only trying to give some context to the flags.    First, jump back to my mention of Elmina and the Portuguese. When the Portuguese arrived in this area in the 15th century, it was the Fante (or Fanti) people that they encountered.  Both the Fante and the Ashanti belong to the Akan people.  The Fante prevented them from venturing inland and leased properties for Portuguese trading missions. But when the Portuguese objected to Fante rules and regulations the Fante expelled them.  Soon after, the Dutch arrived.  The Fante served as middlemen in the commerce between the interior and Dutch traders on the coast.

Around 1724 the Dutch either established or made important a number of militia groups of local Fante.  These are the Asafo companies.  Historically, Asafo companies were in charge of the safety and protection of the local community.   At the height of the slave trade they protected individuals and communities.   They exerted power, exercise political influence and maintain codes of conduct within Fante communities. Each company has a flag and that flag has many roles.   They represent proverbs and depict narratives of pride and wisdom.  They accompany oral history and provide a means to preserve customs and traditions.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. “Only a brave man goes under a large tree” because only large animals go under large trees. Made sometime between 1950 and 1957.
  2. bottom flag, artist unknown, Kromantse Workshop. “Only tie a bull to a large tree”. Both the animal and the tree are acknowledged to be strong and mighty.  Made around 1980.  It has a Ghanese flag in the top left corner.

 

two flags displayed on a black background, with three femail mannequins dressed in traditional Ghanese costume.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. A crocodile dominates and controls a pond of fish. Made around 1940.  The prey can not escape.
  2. bottom flag, by Kwesi Budu, Saltpond Workshop. The fish cann’t escape the net of the fishermen just like enemies will not be able to escape when confronted by the company.  Made around 1950.

two flags displayed on a black background, with two male mannequins dressed in military Ghanese costume.

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, chickens and roosters,

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, griffons

two mannequins in military uniforms as part of a museum exhibit at ROM

 

 

Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costumes,
ROM, 4th floor,
until March 2017.

 

 

 

It’s been a beautiful October to be walking around the city!  With lots of sunny days and above normal temperatures, it’s been a great autumn to be outside…. outside exploring or just sitting contentedly enjoying the sunshine.

below: Life size statue of Dr. Norman Bethune sitting outside the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Toronto (close to Queens Park Circle).   It is the work of Canadian artist David Pelletier.  Bethune is depicted writing in his journal.  Across the bottom of his apron these words are written:

I am content
I am doing what I want to do
Why shouldn’t I be happy – see what my riches
consist of.  First, I have important work that fully
occupies every minute of my time.  I am needed.

a statue of a man sitting is beside a rock and a light post, they are in front of a large tree and an old stone building, on the University of Toronto campus.

Norman Bethune was born in Gravenhurst in 1890.  He graduated from medical school at U of T in 1919, after taking some time off to serve in WW1.    He also served as a doctor during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and 1937.   The following year, 1938,  he went to China  help the Communist Eighth Route Army during the Second Sino-Japanese war.  It was here that he died of septicemia in November of 1939.   He is credited with helping to bring modern medicine to rural China during his brief stay in that country.

a variety store on a corner of 2 streets in a mostly residential area. Green awning on one side of the building, an orange umbrella stands over the corner. sign on store says Sunshine Variety.

So excited!  So happy to be able to walk on the sunny side of the street and not be struck down by heat stroke!

below: You could say that we’re walking on cloud nine at the change of weather.

metal cutout figures of people walking, alongside a chainlink fence as part of an art installation

This past Sunday was a great day for a walk.  Luckily, it was also the day that Penny (author of ‘Walking Woman’ blog) and I had set aside to explore westward from Christie subway station.   Actually, we were going elephant hunting.  Well, it started off as an elephant hunt, but it turned into a treasure hunt – a treasure trove of Toronto quirkiness.

shadows of a railing along the side of a street with no sidewalk, just narrow space between the fence and the kerb, green bike lane. At the top of the photo is a shadow of a pedestrian walking, backpack on.

Eureka! As it turns out, it was also a great day for elephants to hang around outside.  This is Sally, a lifesize fiberglass elephant that stands nearly 3 metres tall.  She’s been standing here since 2003 and despite a little crack at the top of her trunk, she’s looking pretty good for her age.

a large white plaster? elephant stands in the frontyard of a house, tree beside it, bikes parked behind it. Residential street.

It was also a good day for gorillas to sit in trees.  A shout out to the man who was standing under this tree talking on his phone, oblivious to this furry creature above him.  The same man who gave me a strange look when I walked over with my camera, but then who shared a laugh with me when he too looked up and saw the monkey.

a large stuffed gorilla sits in the V formed by a tree trunk and a large branch of a tree, gorilla is wearing red boxing gloves.

Quirky treasures like woolly headed scarecrows.

a scarecrow in pink shirt and wooly hat stands high over a garden, between a garage and a fence in an alley.

below: Tartan columns holding up shady porches.

a shady porch at the front of a brick house with two columns painted in black and red tartan, or plaid.

below: Pet waint at Lansdowne subway station.

a sign that says pet waint on a sign that says Toronto in front of Lansdowne subway station entrance

below: A solitary dandelion in a lawn of astroturf. Even fake grass isn’t immune to the ubiquitous dandelion.

a single dandelion grows in a lawn of astroturf (fake grass) where it meets the concrete sidewalk

below:  We encountered many Little Free Library boxes.  This is not just a Toronto phenomenon and I’d have to say that it is beyond the “quirky” stage.  There is now a Little Free Library organization where you can register your library.  They claim to have over 40,000 registered libraries in over 70 countries.

a woman in a white baseball cap is reaching into a 'little free library' shelf of books outside a house

When I checked their website, I found a map of Toronto locations.   There are the libraries that are registered with the organization; I know that there are more than what is on this map.  What the map does show though is that these little libraries are numerous and that they are spread around a lot of the residential areas of the city.

map, from google maps, of the locations of little free libraries in the city,

below: Quick, get your Valentines Day roses while they’re still on sale!

a sign in front of a store selling plants and flowers that says Valentines Roses on sale, 10% off

below: The middle way, in case you’re lost?  There was a man standing there, the middle man so to speak, but he didn’t hang around long enough for me to get his picture.

two houses with a small walkway between them. Someone has written mid on one side and dle on the other so together they spell middle

below: Figures watching over a front yard, including angels and a buddha.

upper part of a statue of a young girl with decorated wall behind. Coloured picture of a biblical scene, 2 small angel statues and a buddha statue

below: And of course, what’s a Toronto walk without a lovebot?

lovebot and a lovebot nintendo gameboy on a wall above a graffiti bird with a word bubble that says everybody got a hungry heart

Near the end of our walk, we passed what is known as the Terracotta House.

house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them. upper part of front of house

This house was built in 1905 by John Turner, a builder.  In the late 1800’s terra cotta tiles went out of style and there was a glut of them on the market.   Mr. Turner was using up excess stock that he had on hand?  Or advertising his business?  Or just taking advantage of a cheap material?   Whatever his motives, the house is still standing and is still a unique piece of architecture more than 100 years later.  I wonder what his wife thought of it?

house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them.

detail of house covered with terra cotta tiles with different designs on them.

May all your walks, or cycles, be on the sunny side …

part of a mural called Strength in Numbers, on a wall, a painting of two cyclists. One is a black man with dreadlocks and the other is a woman in a polka dot dress with a box on the back of her bike.

… no matter how long they are!

an old tree trunk has been turned into a support for many little arrow shaped signs that point the direction to cities around the world along with how many kilometres it is to those cities.