Friday, December 31, 2010

"The Wall" at the Medical Science Building

Just up the stairs visible to the right in yesterday's pic, you will find this incredible wall/sculpture of cast concrete. The arts budget of the Med Sci was spent on thousands of cast concrete panels cladding the exterior of the building and this section has to be the best! By artist Robert Downing it was part of his continuing 'cube' series and was installed in 1967 as part of the building's construction.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year - enjoy, be safe, and prosper! Thanks for all the wonderful comments throughout the year and "hurray" to all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Helix of Life"

This cast concrete sculpture by Canadian artist Ted Bieler is located in front of the Medical Sciences Building at the U of Toronto. The wonderful Brutalist Med Sci building was completed in 1969 and this sculpture referencing DNA was installed in 1971 - a perfect location! I have shown some of Bieler's sculpture before - to see it click here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ceiling From Soldiers' Tower

If you walk through the open arches in yesterday's pic of the tower and look up - this is the wonderful ceiling detail which you will discover. The craftsmanship is incredible - it probably couldn't be done today as so many of these old skills have been lost! Pity!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Soldiers' Tower

This is the tower which is visible to the left in yesterday's pic. It is Soldiers' Tower a bell and clock tower built in 1924 to commemorate members of the University who served in the world wars. The bell tower contains a carillon of 51 bells and the pinnacles of the tower are in the midst of a 4 year repair program to fight off the results of our extreme weather conditions. Unfortunately I cut off the tops of the pinnacles in the pic - the sun was so bright on my viewer that I really couldn't see the image - sorry!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hart House

Thought that I should show a pic of the Hart House building itself since I have shown so much of the art work in and around it. Established in 1919, the Greek-Revival style building was designed by architect Henry Sproatt to function as a student activity centre. It has extensive facilities - gym. swimming pool, archery , theatre, art gallery, lounges, music rooms, restaurants. and more. Unfortunately until 1972 it was only open to men - the feminist movement at the University put an end to that!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Rune" at Hart House

It was cold but sunny this morning (-7C) so I decided to go out for some pics at U of Toronto. This is yet another piece from Hart House and it was installed in 2001 near one of the wonderful doors into the lower level. By artists Randy and Berenicci it was originally created in 1986 as one piece but was later altered and installed here as 2 large pieces and 1 tiny piece that doesn't show in the pic too well. The work was meant to be a temple to the age of information - quite suitable for a university setting!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vintage Christmas

A pic of one of the antique decorations from my mum's tree. This is my favourite of the birds! Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

Received this wonderfully engineered Gingerbread House and thought that it went very well with my 1950s plastic Christmas decorations. (Snowmen still smoked in those days as you can see.) Merry Christmas to everyone - relax, have fun, enjoy!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Selections From The Synopsis of Categories"

This sculpture by Canadian artist Micah Lexier was installed at Metro Hall in 1992 and consists of 25 custom-made aluminum ladders of various heights. Each of the 350 rungs of the ladders holds a word from the "Synopsis of Categories" section of Roget's Thesaurus. The piece is meant to merge an image of physical construction (ladders) with the elements of intellectual construction (words). It's pretty cool!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa at Home Safe and Sound

My last animated window from The Bay - hope you aren't all bored with them. This one shows Santa after his rounds with Mrs Claus putting the Hudson's Bay blanket on him while the kids bang their spoons in celebration. Two elves are up in the left hanging a welcome home sign. Lots of action in this one! (And still fighting the reflections too).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Mice Are All Snug in Their Beds

There have been animated windows on Queen St since the 1930s when The Bay was still Simpson's and they competed with Eaton's windows across the street. One of my favourites when I was a kid showed the mouse family beneath the floor having their own Christmas celebrations and so I was thrilled to see the little mice in this window. The mouse kids are all tucked into their matchbox beds (with Hudson Bay blankets!) while the humans upstairs are still preparing the house. Still fighting the reflections but I think it works!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa's Toyshop

This next animated window at The Bay shows the elves working away in the toyshop while Santa (up in the left hand corner) checks the list of kid's names that is tumbling to the floor as more names appear. There is a lot of movement in this window - the elves, the list, toys, Santa, etc. My problem was all the reflection on the window but I think you can still see it pretty well! I love the monthly clock.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Window at The Bay

I went down to the main Bay store today to see the animated Christmas windows. This one shows Santa's helpers getting the sleigh and the reindeers ready for his big trip. All the helpers are wearing clothing made from Hudson's Bay point blanket patterns. These blankets were first made in the 18th century and used to trade to First Nations people for beaver pelts. It is a pattern of coloured stripes still used today on many items by The Bay. We are getting a sprinkle of snow today - only 1 cm.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Red Door

Continuing my search for colour - this door and awning are from 1 of the laneway houses that I have discovered in my wanderings. Love the punch of red against that grey wall with the ochre trim. Still no snow here!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Colour on Bloor St

At this drab time of year I crave colour and you can't beat Lee's Palace on Bloor St in the Annex for that. Located in a 1920's movie house Lee's is a concert hall for live music where bands like Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Smashing Pumpkins have made their Toronto debuts. This is the 3rd mural to be done on Lee's - the previous one lasted from 1993 to 2010 and this one was just finished this fall. All were done by the same artist - Al Runt!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Complexes of a Young Lady"

There is a wonderful courtyard in the centre of Hart House which has an early Sorel Etrog sculpture installed in front of one of the super arched doors. This piece, created in 1961 but purchased for Hart House in 1970, was part of Etrog's abstract explorations of the human figure. It is a lovely location for this piece!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hart at Hart House

This has been a difficult sculpture to photograph because of all the texture in the stone wall behind it - I've been back several times and finally think this one catches it. Titled "Nuture/Nature" and by Canadian artist Joe Fafard, it was installed outside Hart House in 1993 and shows an arch through which you see a hart (adult male deer) surrounded by trees. Typical of Fafard's metal works, he plays with the optics to portray depth and perspective where there really isn't any!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hart House Mask

Another sculpture from outside of Hart House on the U of Toronto campus. This one titled "Mask #1" is by artist Evan Penny and was installed in 1990. What is so great about it is that it is concave rather than convex so that the face recedes into the piece rather than coming towards you - neat optical effect! I had posted another Penny piece here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sorel Etrog at Hart House

This bronze sculpture titled "Survivors Are Not Heroes" is located outside Hart House on the U of Toronto campus and was unveiled in 1968. The title and the work itself are said to reference Etrog's exploration of the tensions and interactions between man and machine. Standing just under 20' tall, it is quite impressive!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dupont Subway Platform

It is a dreary rainy day here so time for an indoor shot. The Dupont subway station platforms on the Spadina line have 2 enormous glass mosaics which face each other across the tracks. Titled "Spadina Summer Under All Seasons", by artist James Sutherland, they were installed in 1978 and continue to cheer the soul as you wait for a train. There are also several more flowers upstairs in the station.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

41 Shanly

This super building was the first legal loft conversion in Toronto back in 1981. What had been the Dominion Felt Works was renovated and turned into 10 two and three storey lofts with fireplaces, rooftop terraces, exposed brick walls and 12 ft ceilings. When I went by I noticed that it has had a new grey paint job - so chic compared to the derelict old factory it had been!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Waiting for the Streetcar

It is rare to pass by this sculpture and find no one sitting on its base. Titled "Sun Life", by Romanian-born Canadian artist Sorel Etrog, it is 1 of many of his sculptures that can be seen around Toronto. This one was installed in 1984 at the busy corner of King and University. More of his to come in the next few weeks as I have been busy out shooting before the snow comes!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kit Kat Cow

Another sign in Toronto that I love belongs to Kit Kat, a great restaurant/bar serving Italian food, that is located on restaurant row right across King St from Tim Burton's show at the TIFF. Like both the neon and the cow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Reputable Since 1955"

I love this sign on the famous (infamous?) Vesta Lunch a 24 hour diner in the Annex. The Vesta, just a counter seating about a dozen people, has been used in many movies and is a favourite of the all-night crowd - taxi drivers, cops, after-bar-closing drinkers, etc. I have never been brave enough to eat there but many swear by their all-day breakfast menu!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Burton Christmas Window

I had to stand out on busy King St to fit this display in the shot but survived that adventure. You may have to click on the pic to see the detail of the Christmas Tree-eating monster. He has lips that Mick Jagger would envy! Tim Burton designed the display to be redecorated for the appropriate seasons during the run of his show. Not your typical sugary Christmas window.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Not To Be Missed

Top of my list of things to see this holiday season is this Tim Burton exhibition at the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) building. Organized by MOMA, New York, the show is made up of over 700 works - paintings, drawings, puppets, storyboards, and more. Can't wait! Tomorrow I'll post the holiday window that Burton has done for the building.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crawford Contemporary

A closer look at the houses from yesterday's post - industrial chic in the middle of a neighbourhood of traditional brick houses. I've loved these places since they first got built - super corrugated metal, perforated metal, and modern styling - great! And just steps from the restaurants of Little Italy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mellow Yellow on Crawford

Yesterday I went to get a pic of these 2 cool contemporary homes in Little Italy and found this wonderful 1969 Karmann Ghia parked in front. What a cheerful sight on a dull grey morning!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Steel Doors

These super stainless steel doors were designed by artist Charles Comfort for the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) building on Bay St which was built in 1937 - hence their great Art Deco design. That building has been restored and turned into the Design Exchange and the TSE moved to a modern building on King St in 1983 taking this set of doors, which was found to be redundant in the 1st building, with them. The scenes on each medallion represent various aspects of the Canadian economy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Knocking at the Door

Today it is only 0C and grey - the first day it really feels like winter to me even with no snow! Last week on a sunny day I got a shot of this great red Harley (I'm always a sucker for anything red!) - we won't be seeing too many of them now until spring. A few brave souls ride motorcycles here in winter if the roads are clear but not usually these big bikes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Annex Beauty

I haven't shown any of the wonderful houses from the Annex for awhile and this one I have been trying to catch all summer but there was too much shrubbery in the way. Now with all our leaves gone I was able to get a shot on Mon. This meticulously restored mansion was built in 1897 and designed by architect Frederick H. Herbert. It is quite large but doesn't seem to have been divided into flats as many of the other large homes in the Annex have been. Love it!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Memoir du Futur"

I love this sculpture, "Memoir Du Futur", which is located in Metro Hall, the building in the background of yesterday's pic. By French artists Anne & Patrick Poirier, it was installed in 1992 as part of the art requirement for new development in Toronto. The highly polished stainless steel and the misaligned sections of the Greek pillar make for an impressive sight when entering the building!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fountain at Metro Hall

This sculpture/fountain at Metro Hall on King St in the theatre district has the strange title of "The Poet, The Fever Hospital" - who knows? By Toronto artist, Bernie Miller, the sculpture of black granite, galvanized steel and bronze was installed in 1992. It is quite majestic with the water flowing into a reflecting pool and situated between Roy Thomson Hall and Metro Hall.
*A follower has directed me to info that this was the site of the Toronto Fever Hospital opened in 1847 to care for Irish escapees from the potato famine who were arriving ill with various fevers. Thanks. Title makes sense now!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Santa's Ride

The last float in the Santa Claus Parade is always Santa's Sleigh float. As you can see everyone is ready to go and is just waiting for the man himself!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"The I'm Lovin' It Band"

The penguins waddled north for the parade and their band was quite a hit with the crowds. As you can see a lot of kids were having their pics taken beside the floats before the parade began. It was still 3 hours to start time when I took this shot. And cold!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Presents on Parade

A few more days of Santa Claus Parade floats ( I promise not to post all 31! ). I have always loved Teddy bears and this one is a fine specimen!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Birds At Work

Another float from the Santa Claus Parade - one of my favourites! Building a better birdhouse! The white dots and streaks in the pic are snow flakes which started to come down as I toured the floats.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Babar on Parade

Another shot from the Santa Claus Parade, this float features Babar and friends in a tropical setting totally unlike the actual weather!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mother Goose at the Santa Claus Parade

Sunday was the 106th annual Santa Claus Parade in Toronto and the first float in the parade has traditionally been Mother Goose. I went down to the gathering area early in the am before the parade when you are able to get close up & personal with the floats. The people riding the floats aren't there yet so they appear a bit empty. There were 31 floats, 24 bands, and 1200 walkers (clowns etc) in the 5 km long parade. It was a cold and windy day but thousands and thousands of people came out for the festivities!

Monday, November 22, 2010

"The Wilderness Award"

Another shot from the CBC Museum. This equipment was used in 1963 during the filming of "The Wilderness" about the people & the wildlife that inhabit the remote areas of northwestern Canada. Unfortunately the producer and the 2 cameramen were killed in a plane crash during filming and "The Wilderness Award" has been established to commemorate them and to recognize outstanding contributions to the field.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

50s TVs

This is another shot from the CBC Museum showing their showcase of 50s TV sets accompanied by 50s era home accessories and everyday things. I love the space-agey look of the old sets.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Speak into the Mike!

This is just one section of the large collection of microphones in the CBC Museum. These ones are from the 1930s through to the 1950s. I love all the details in the metal and chrome work. The radio and mike down in the right corner are from the late 1930s.

Friday, November 19, 2010

CBC Museum

Made a visit to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - our equivalent of the BBC) Museum. It is full of wonderful old broadcasting equipment and receivers some of which I will show in the next few days. I totally love their sign which uses the old CBC logo from the 1940s as the main image.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pretty in Pink

On a dull afternoon last week, I happened upon this house and the pink door and the accessories really caught my eye. Wonder if they have a lot of pink inside?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Parent 1"

This wonderful bronze sculpture by renowned British artist Barbara Hepworth was installed on King St in the financial district in 1984. Created in 1970, it was part of her "The Family of Man" series that included parent and children pieces. It may be the only public work by Hepworth in Toronto as far as I know.
My posts may be later in the day for the next few days - involved in an event.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This is another sculpture from a courtyard on the grounds of St Mike's College at U of Toronto. This bronze by Canadian artist Joe Rosenthal was installed in 1996 and represents one friend consoling the other - it's quite touching. It is the 2nd of 2 pieces by Rosenthal at St Mike's.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shaftesbury Laneway

This quirky laneway house was built in the 1880s as a blacksmith shop and through the years became a horse shed, then a sculptor's studio, and is now an award-winning single family home by Superkul Inc Architects. The building occupies the whole lot so a 2nd floor courtyard and roof-top garden were built and skylights run the length of the roof. On the exterior some panels of steel were salvaged from the original siding and were combined with new Corten steel panels on 2 sides while the other 2 sides have wood siding. It suits the historic Summerhill neighbourhood.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Friends

I was on the trail of a laneway house that I heard about in the Summerhill neighbourhood when I bumped into these 2 beautiful Airedale girls (Amber and Amy) out for a walk. After we visited for a while they posed nicely for me and I was on my way. Ten minutes later I ran into them again and they got as excited as if they had known me for years! Super dogs!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


It was a strange sight to go by a local garden centre and see several of these Happy Buddha statues sitting on a ledge and chained to a fence. What could they have done to deserve that? Still smiling though!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Before the Parade

The pipe bands were gathering for a Remembrance parade honouring the 48th Highlanders last Sunday as I went through Queen's Park. Not sure what regiment this was but they were certainly impressive in their kilts and wonderful red jackets!