Posts Tagged ‘trees’

I’m not sure what the allure of the cherry (aka sakura) blossoms is.  Has it become a symbol of spring and who doesn’t like the long awaited end of winter?  Is there something special about the cherry flower?  Or is it more ‘exotic’ than the magnolia that flowers about the same time, or a bit earlier?  Why not celebrate the lilac trees?  Or other trees that blossom in the spring?

below: A couple of cherry blossoms along with some buds and partially opened flowers.

sakura cherry blossoms on a cherry tree along with some pinkish coloured buds, white petals and yellow centers.

Although there are a number of places around the city to see sakura trees (14 I think), High Park seems to be the most popular place.  True, they have the oldest trees and the most trees planted in one area.   It has become the site of an annual pilgrimage by thousands of people to see the blossoms.   Even though the ‘sakura watch’ website said that ‘peak’ blossom hadn’t yet arrived, I decided to check out High Park yesterday.

below: Lots of signs to direct pedestrian traffic to the cherry trees.  The roads were closed to most cars.

pink sign on the grass by the entrance to High Park that says Please keep of the bloomin' trees.

large trees in the park, people walking on the path on the other side of the trees, green grass, shadows, some blossoms on a couple of the trees

below: There were a couple of school groups there for the morning. Although there weren’t too many blossoms to see, it was a beautiful spring morning and many of the kids were making the most of it.

three girls have a crab walk race down a small hill

a black person walks a dog on a leash up a hill on a paved path through HIgh Park, other people are behind. Some pink and white flowers are starting to grow on the trees

below: An Instagram moment I suspect.

an Asian woman with a bright pink handbag holds a branch of a cherry tree in front of her face while another woman takes her picture with a phone.

people enjoying a day in the park, some taking pictures of cherry blossoms

below: An engagement photo shoot

an engagement photo shoot at high park, man on his knee presenting a woman in a bluish green dress a box that presumably has a ring in it. Another man is holding a stand with a large light on it.

Yesterday there were many more buds and partially opened flowers than there were blossoms.  By the weekend, there will probably be a profusion of white petals… as well as a swarming of people.  I had to search for flowers to take pictures of but at least it was a relatively quiet and peaceful morning.

sakura cherry blossoms

As winter passes into spring
A walk around Edwards Gardens in early spring

below: A red cardinal in a tree

a red male cardinal perched on a branch with no leaves, early spring

below: Red berries that have wintered on their thorny branches.

close up picture of small red berries on a thorny stem

below: The remains of coneflowers on their sturdy stems.

two dead conehead flowers, just brown prickly cone shaped part at the top, on tall dead brown stems,

below: Pussy willows just emerging

pussy willows on a branch, just opening up

below: On a small twig, both an old leaf and new buds.

one dead leaf on a small branch that has need buds, spring time

below: A squirrel enjoying the seeds that someone has left for it. w

a brown and grey squirrel sits on a stone ledge eating seeds

below: Dead and dried, seed pods that opened long ago.

dead seed pods on dead stems, flowering shrub type of plant

below: New fuzzy magnolia buds

new buds on a tree, fuzzy greenish brown

below: A sparrow with its back to the camera

a little sparrow perched on a small branch of a shrub

below: These strange looking growths are the beginnings of skunk cabbage plants.

three skunk cabbage plants beginning to grow in the marshy areas at the edge of the snow, where the snow has just melted , a purplish bulb shaped plant

many dead plants with prickly cone shaped heads and stems, macro shot, those in front in focus, many out of focus in the background

below: The pale yellow of the willow trees as their leaves begin to bud.

a yellowish coloured statue stands in front of a large willow tree that has just begun to bud, also some tall dark green pine trees in the background

Exploring new places often leads to interesting finds.  I’m not sure if you think demolition/redevelopment sites are interesting, but I came across this one when I went to Moccasin Trail (next blog, scroll up).

An empty building.  The grey hoardings completely block the view of whatever is inside.

grey plywood fence in front of a three storey brick rental apartment building that is empty and will be torn down in a residential neighbourhood

I tried walking the perimeter, but there is no access or viewpoint.  There are actually two buildings.  Apparently one of the buildings was damaged by fire (arson) in 2008.  The buildings have been empty since 2011.

a tall tree, winter time, stands in front of a grey plywood fence in front of a three storey brick rental apartment building that is empty and will be torn down

The old sign still stands beside the fence. It is faded enough that I can’t read it, even with some manipulation in photoshop.  The building in the background is also part of the redevelopment plan.

old faded sign on grass side yard beside grey plywood fence around building about to be demolished. Across the street is another building from the 1950s or 1960s.

The year on the development proposal sign is 2013.  It also states that three buildings will replace the ones being torn down, one of 10 storeys and two of 4 storeys.  That was six years ago.   In March 2017 a plan was approved by city council for an 8 storey condo and a 4 storey rental replacement building.

Development proposal sign in front of a three storey brick apartment building.

When I saw the state of the building above, I started taking some pictures.  I thought the building was empty.  But then I heard music coming from one apartment.  Then a woman came out on to a balcony to hang up a blanket.

40 moccasin trail building, three storey apartment

Two years ago, back in March of 2017, 12 of the 34 units were occupied.   I am not sure how many people are living there now.   When it was first built, it was probably quite nice – very suburban, very Don Mills.  Now the building is in very poor condition but I’m sure that’s because the landlord is waiting to be able to demolish the building.

papered over window and old white door on apartment, overgrown saplings in front

crooked metal railings beside a concrete set of stairs, brown and white building behind.

concrete steps, side of a brick building

overgrown trees in front of an apartment

City of Toronto report on this site (May 2017)

two low rise apartment buildings, grass between them and a large tree

The Last Day of February

below:  These boots are made for walking… walking through the snow and slush on a sunny day.

reflection in a shiny stainless steel panel of a person in pink boots walking on a snowy and slushy sidewalk

February has come to a close but it’s still winter and there’s still lots of snow on the ground.  There was a bit of a respite from the cold the other day but rumour has it we’re headed back to some very cold temperatures in the near future.  Of course, slightly warmer temperatures mean slush and puddles on the streets and sidewalks of Toronto.

below: The CN Tower is reflected in an oily puddle.

the CN tower is reflected in a large puddle with a bit of an oil slick, on a sidewalk downtown Toronto

below: The cows don’t seem to mind the snow!

two sculptures of cows lying down, snow covered lawn,

below: And the dogs at Berczy Park are all sporting scarves!

a light scarf is tied around the neck of a sculpture of a dog

below: Slow thaw.  Melting and dripping down the window.

looking through a drity window that has melting ice on it and something red behind it is out of focus

below: Rust and snow

close up of rusty bicycle gears and chain, bike is parked in the snow

below: Outside smoke break shadows.   Brrrrr

a man in a suit and tie is standing outside, his back to a bright turquoise wall, he is looking at his phone and has a cigarette in the other hand, shadows,

below: Sun and reflections, southwest corner of King St and University Ave

buildings on the southwest corner of University Ave and King Street, traffic lights, entrance to St. Andrew subway station

below: Flip yourself around….  and now looking north up University Ave past the northeast corner of University and King Street West.

looking at the northeast corner of King Street and University Ave., entrance to St. Andrew subway station, a man is coming up the stairs and out of the station, Canada Life building and other tall buildings in the background

below: Wet tree branches glistening in the sun

trees with no leaves in front of a building that is reflecting another building

below: More tree branches, but soft and feathery this time

winter, snow on tree, dead leaves on tree, wispy leaves, in front of a rust coloured building

below: These two little birds now watch over the dogs in Berczy Park.

two yellow birds, not real, little sculptures, perched on the bar of a street lamp

below: A section of a picture on display at Union Station.  It is part of an exhibit called “A Thousand Paths Home” and is the work of Torontonian Yung Yemi aka Adeyemi Adegbesan aka SoTeeOh.  A write up of his work appeared in Afropunk.

part of a picture on display, art work, Union station,

below: There were also some real people at Union Station, or at least parts of people.

looking along a wall at Union station, there are photos on the wall, part of an exhibit, between the pictures there are recesses in the wall with benches and people sitting on the benches, only their legs show in the photo

below: Looking north up Lower Simcoe Street towards the railway bridge

Lower Simcoe Street, looking north from Bremner Blvd, GO train on the trains on the bridge above the street

below: Salt and dirt and slush and snow, yes, the city in winter.

part of a very dirty blue car, parked in the dirty brown slush at the side of a street, snow, winter time,

below: It’s nice to still find lovebots!

large lovebot sticker on the back of a sign. Three lovebots in different shopes, with the words uploading love

yellow sign on sidewalk that says Caution Falling Ice Overhead

Falling snow and ice from above, and slush under foot. That was February.

a white star on the dark sidewalk, with dirty slush on top of it in blotches

It was a beautiful day on Monday when I visited the “Winter Stations” (scroll down to next blog post), cold but sunny.   I decided to walk north on Woodbine since I haven’t done that for a while.

below: Playing with mirrors while waiting for the washroom at Woodbine Beach because there is only one women’s washroom (why is there only one?)

a mirror shaped like a porthole with a green frame, on a bright blue wall, reflection of another porthole but on an orange wall in the mirror

below: From portholes to demolition holes – I made it as far as Queen and Woodbine where there is a large hole in the ground

at the intersection of Queen and Woodbine, a hole in the ground on the north east corner and a Pizza Pizza restaurant on the south east corner

… because just north of there I discovered alleys and small streets that I don’t remember walking.  Who can resist the allure of a red door?

looking down an alley in winter, two brown tire tracks for the cars, but lots of snow. Fences, trees, and a house on a street at the end with a red front door.

below: I went to Norway

street signs on a post. a one way sign pointing left, a green and white sign that says Norway Ave continues to the right ahead

below: And I passed the North Pole

a lawn decoration in a snow covered front yard, a flat wood snowman with red and white striped hat and scarf and a sign that says north pole

below: I even walked past this No Trespassing sign.  The old cars parked the house behind caught my eye but this was as far as I ventured.

a no trespassing sign on a wire fence, snow covered driveay, two old cars parked in the backyard, beyond the fence

When there is no planned route and you’re only following your nose or sticking to the sunny side of the street, you can run into some surprises.  There were a lot of older houses – here are a few of them:

below: There are still some of these Victorian rowhouses closer to downtown but I wasn’t expecting to find any here.   As it turns out, this was part of the village/town of East Toronto.  In 1888 it was a village with about 800 residents.  It became part of the City of Toronto twenty years later (and with 4200 more people).

two semi houses with gabled roofs and covered porches, from the 1800's. snowy street scene, large trees, winter

As it turns out, one of the streets that I walked on, Lyall Avenue, is a Heritage Conservation District.  The street was surveyed in 1884 and by 1888 a few houses were built on some of the fifty yard lots.  Most of the development occurred between 1909 and 1924.  It was definitely a middle class neighbourhood.   The full report published in 2006 appears on the City of Toronto planning department website.

an upper storey oriel window with curved edges

below: This house stands alone.  A very typical older Toronto house.

a typical old Toronto two storey house with peaked roof, reddish brick, two wondows upstairs, one large window downstairs, white front door with a small roof over the door, lots of yard

below: This tidy well-kept workers cottage can only be accessed from the lane.

a workers cottage that fronts onto a snow covered lane, grey vertical wood paneling on the outside, black roof

below: A white picket fence and wicker furniture waiting for spring.

a white picket fence in the snow, wicker chairs in the yard covered with snow

large two stroey brick houses, winter, street,

All of the above houses were north of Kingston Road where the lots sizes were fairly big.  South of Kingston Road, the houses are narrower and close together. (or joined together).

the backyards and back of houses in a row, winter,

below: This square, substantial sized brick building is on Kingston Road.  Between Woodbine Avenue and Main Street, Kingston Road runs along the crest of a ridge.

large old brick house on Kingston Road, three stories,

below: Newer residential buildings on Kingston Road.

part of three new buildings

below: 1922, looking west along Kingston Road from Main street.  That’s almost 100 years ago, and there were streetcars running here even then.  No cars, just a horse and wagon.

old black and white picture from 1922 of a dirt street with a street car track, hydro poles beside the road and a house

Photo credit: City of Toronto Archives. Found online in a ‘Beach Metro’ article where you’ll find more history of the area.

The next three photos are some of the typical two storey, flat roofed, brick, all in a row, stores and businesses that were built in Toronto in the early 1900’s and later.   If I remember correctly, these were all on Kingston Road.

a storefront trimmed in bright yellow and angled at the corner, intersection of Kingston Rd and Brookside

two stores, old architecture, two storey buildings with apartments on top

Perlux cleaners, old sign painted on side of building, convenience store, mounds of snow by the sidewalk

below: A warm and colourful summer scene painting behind a chainlink fence that surrounds the playground at  Kimberley Junior Public School.

colourful painting behind a chainlink fence in a school yard, winter, snow on the ground around it, picture is of three kids in large yellow hats, playing on green grass

below: Mural at Gerrard and Main.

karate, martial arts mural on a wall

below: The last architecture picture – this building with a turret at Kingston Road.  Here Main Street becomes Southwood Drive.

commercial building with a turret at an intersection

below: Looking north on Main Street from Gerrard.  Here the streetcar turns towards Main subway station.  The bus shelter in the middle of the street is definitely old style – one of the few remaining in the city.  From here Main street is a bridge over the railway tracks.

looking north up Main street from Gerard, streetcar tracks with a bus shelter in the middle of the street. old style bus shelter, Main street then goes up, as a bridge over the train tracks. Highrise apartment building in the background.

below: From the bridge, looking southeast over Danforth GO station. Prior to 1940, this was the location of York Station as well as the Grand Trunk Railway’s main freight yard.  The yard stretched along Gerrard Street and employed several hundred people.   At that time, Gerrard Street was called Lake View Avenue (could you see Lake Ontario from there?).

view from a bridge over railway tracks, Danforth GO station below, houses beyond. covered platforms between two sets of tracks

below: York station in 1890.  It was renamed Danforth in 1922 and demolished in 1974 to make way for the GO station.  The freight yard is to the right.

york railway station in 1890. train is letting off passengers

Photo credit: Toronto Public Library. The picture was found online in an article on Danforth station that appears on the Toronto Railway Historical Association website

 

below: Hanging out on the Danforth

large white sign with green GO logo, Danforth station. a group of pigeons is sitting on top of the sign.

 

But I didn’t hang out for long.  From here to Main Street subway station is only a few steps and that was enough walking.
My writing can be almost erratic as my walking!  I hope that I didn’t lose you along the way.

 

wooden chair outside, against the side of a house, snow on it.

I walk past Davisville Junior Public School fairly often…. or should I say, I used to walk past it.

I didn’t think about it too much until I heard that it was going to be demolished – or was it going to be saved?  Maybe I should take some photos of it as apparently it has some architectural value, an early 1960’s Modernist building.   Then, back in November, a construction fence appeared around the property.   One of those metal wire temporary fences that you see all over the city.  So much for saving the building.

 

Photos from November:

west end of Daviville public school with it's coloured panels on the upper floor, basketball nets in front, pavement

side entrance of Davisville public school before it was demolished, modernist archtecture brick building,

back of part of Davisville public school through chainlink fence, before demolition

crooked chainlink fence posts at the corner of a schoolyard, with metal construction fence inside that, school in the background, large paved area in front of the school

The building was also home to the Metropolitan Toronto School for the Deaf as well as Spectrum Alternative School.

red roses stuck in a chainlink fence as a memorial tribute to the school that is being demolished, MTSD 1962 to 2018 where MTSD is Metropolitan Toronto School for the Deaf.

below: Notice on the fence, permit to remove 21 trees.   A new elementary school is being built on the site.  In the meantime (for 2 years), Davisville Junior Public is being relocated to Vaughan Road in what was previously the Vaughan Road Academy.  Originally, the plan was to build the new school on the property (there was a large playground) and then tear down the old (Globe & Mail Feb 2017)

city notice posted on fence, permit to remove 22 trees. Notice that 44 trees will be planted once the building on the site (new elementary school) has been demolished

below: I past by the site for the first time in a few months and discovered that most of the school is now demolished.  Only a small portion by the front entrance remains and I suspect that that won’t be around for much longer.

small part of a school remains, debris scattered on the snow, digger at work in the background, apartment building in the distance

broken fence, plywood fence, and the remains of a school that is being demolished

old front entrance of Davisville public school, lots of snow, broken walls as it is in the proces sof being demolished.

Fall, Leaves, Fall
“Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.”
by Emily Bronte

 

As the leaves fall, bare branches are left behind and on a sunny day they make for wonderful shapes and shadows.  Riverdale Park, Broadview side.

tree in Riverdale Park, November, Bloor Viaduct in the background, also some highrise buildings

below: The more common angle for photos taken at Riverdale Park, the angle with the Toronto skyline in the background.  I wasn’t as interested in the skyline yesterday, it was the trees and shadows that I was focusing on.

trees in Riverdale Park, Toronto skyline and CN Tower in the distance, grass, long shadows, no leaves on the trees.

below: There is a pedestrian bridge over the Don Valley Parkway that connects the two sides of Riverdale Park.  This is view looking south.

looking south from a bridge over the Don Valley Parkway road, with cars driving north and south, looking towards bridge at Dundas Street, Don River to the right,

below: Two cars and three bridges.  This is from the same bridge as above, but this time looking northwest over the Don River towards the Bloor Viaduct.  The CPR bridge is in the middle (with the graffiti) and the pedestrian bridge for the lower Don Trail is the orange-brown one.

two cars driving on the Don Valley Parkway, past the Don River and two bridges over the river. In the distance is the Bloor Viaduct, trees, and some apartment buildings.

below: While crossing Riverdale Park, I spotted this sign.  It’s behind a chainlink fence and partially hidden by shrubs and small trees.  From where I was standing I could hardly see any water that one might use for a rink.   There is a pond back there – it’s the pond at the bottom of the hill on the Riverdale Farm property.

surrounded by small trees, a wooden sign with yellow lettering that says Danger Skating Prohibited by law.

below: The irregular curves of the trees contrasted with the lines and diamonds formed by the staircase that leads down into Riverdale Park (or up from the park!)

looking down a hill covered by dead leaves, a set of stairs winds its way up the hill, some trees too

below: More trees – this time in the Necropolis cemetery.

Necropolis cemetery, some tombstones, a pine tree, a tree with autumn leaves and some trees with no leaves, green grass

below: A tree of a different kind.

the shadow of a tree and all its leaves on a wood fence in an alley

a small amount of snow and ice on the ground, some leaves that have fallen off trees and are on the ground.

Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
by Robert Frost
***

 

below: The Virginia Creeper leaves have turned and fallen and left the berries behind to dry and wither.  This plant is found all over the city, especially in the lanes and alleys.

blue berries on vines, no leaves, on a wood fence

below: Brilliant colour of the berries on the Bittersweet Vine. This plant produces a yellow berry that bursts open to reveal a red interior.

orange and red berries on vines, black background.

below: Another sign that it’s November, the snack bar by Riverdale Farm is closed for the winter.

the front door of Park Snacks, a building on a corner, pale turquoise with lots of decorative finishes, a wood door, pink and cream coloured trim,

below: An open gate, leading past the burning bushes to the front door.

a wrought iron fence and open gate in front of a brick house built in the workers cottage, or gothic cottage, style. Red leaves on burning bushes type shrub on either side of path leading to front door

below: A Lab patiently waits by the door.

red double door, front door of house, porch with pumpkins on it, also a dog, a labrador retreiver, lying on the porch

below:  Another front yard and another dog… This vintage fire hydrant, decorated as a dalmatian in a fireman’s helmet.  There is newer yellow fire hydrant closer to the sidewalk in the same yard so I suspect that this one is not functional.

vintage fire hydrant in a front yard, faded painting of a dog on it, face, and some blue spots, cap of hydrant is painted like a fireman's hat.

below: More silliness – a brick wall with a tiny window in what used to be a larger arched window.  Now it’s only big enough for a toilet paper roll.

a brick wall, an old arched window has been bricked in, leaving a small window, in the window is a roll of toilet paper

below: I’ll end this post with a couple of unicorns even though they have nothing to do with fall. But who doesn’t like unicorns? Especially when there’s a bit of awesomeness too.

in a shop window, two toy unicorns, a book about unicorns, and a book about the 100 things about being awesome