Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I have been eying this cool lantern stencil with the word evolve for awhile now and thought I had better capture it before it gets painted over as most of the tags on this wall have been in the past. This is the wall and doorway to one of at least 5 trendy coffeeshop/cafes within a couple of blocks from me (not counting the Canadian icon of coffee, "Tim Horton's" which is also in the 'hood) which really indicates the evolution in the coffee market here. Even MacDonalds serves espresso now!
Taking part in Signs,Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breakfast At The Senator

Last Thursday I went for a late breakfast at the Senator which serves an all day breakfast in an interior that hasn't changed much since 1948. I previously showed the exterior of the Senator here. Breakfast was great!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Christmas Train

I am going to end my Santa Claus parade shots with this pic of the Christmas train loaded down with toys since who doesn't love a train and toys make it even better! Santa's float didn't thrill me this year so we will skip him this time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Christmas Beaver

Since it is an official symbol of Canada it seems suitable that the beaver had a float in the Santa Claus parade too. Along with a load of presents his canoe had space for several kids to squeeze in for the ride once the parade began!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gingerbread Float

A few more days of Santa Claus parade pics to come since there were so many great floats! These happy gingerbread people even had a working teeter-totter rolling pin to ride as the parade travelled along. The kids on this float sat on the little 'sugar cubes'.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"MMMMMM .........I Love Turtles"

"Turtles" are a brand of candies made of toasted pecans and soft caramel covered in chocolate and formed into a whimsical shape reminiscent of a turtle - they are delicious! This float shows 3 of the chocolate turtles pulling a sleigh, with the Turtles mascot in it, over a sea of caramel - I love it. Not sure why but it was probably my favourite of the whole parade! Maybe it was the big smiles on all the turtles (check out the enlarged pic).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Polar Bears on Parade

One of my favourite floats in the Santa Claus parade was this one featuring the friendliest-looking mother polar bear and her 2 cute cubs sliding down the ice. Love her gentle face! And her head was mechanized so that it moved from side to side.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mrs Claus Comes To Toronto

For the first time in the 107 years of the Santa Claus parade, Mrs Claus joined the festivities and had her own float which was a replica of the Claus home at #1 North Pole. You might want to click on this pic to see all the details they put into this float and to once again see the little stools for the kids to sit on.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Looney Tunes At The Beach

The Looney Tunes characters have always been favourites of mine and their beach scene float in the Santa Claus parade was great with Bugs Bunny surfing along out front and Tweety & Sylvester bringing up the rear in the palm tree. All the other usual suspects, Daffy& Porky, lounged about waiting for the little kids who will sit on all the stools along the edge of the float!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lego Conquers Toronto

I think this Lego float would be fun to ride on and you can see one of the little stools, just in front of the queen, that a child will sit on (with seat belt) and wave to the crowd as the parade proceeds throughout downtown. Most, if not all, of the floats in the Santa Claus parade have groups of children who ride along on them.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Santa Claus Parade 2011

The annual Santa Claus parade marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Toronto and today is the big day for the 107th edition of the parade. Thousands upon thousands of people come out to see it but the best time to shoot the floats is early in the am before the parade begins sooo there I was this morning taking pics as the volunteers did last minute prep. Mother Goose has been in the parade since 1917 and her float is the traditional leader of them all. This year there are 26 floats, 21 marching bands and hundreds of clowns in the parade which is running as I type this. More floats to come this week!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hazy Lakeshore

I took this pic in late summer down on the western lakeshore and I like how the haze has softened the condo towers of west-end Toronto. The downtown of toronto is located right down on the shores of Lake Ontario and the city moves north from there to the outer suburbs and east and west to the older suburbs. The lakeshore is definitely the place to be in summer!
I am busy this week so may not get around to everyone's blog until Sunday (tomorrow).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Staff Squirrel

A week ago I specifically went to take a picture of this gate but this cheeky squirrel was on top and refused to move until I walked away. I circled back and took some more pics but this one with him was the best!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chihuly At Night

I posted pics of the Chihuly pieces in the canopy of the Metropolitan Soho Hotel last October 2010. I finally got down there to take a pic at night when the pieces were lit from above and they are spectacular! Click on my hotel label below to see the day shots.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jenkins Art Gallery

This lovely sign and part of the original facade are all that remain of Jenkins Antiques and Art Gallery which was located in a building on Grenville constructed in 1917 and designed by one of our top architect firms, Sproat & Rolph. As often happens in Toronto, the building was sold and a 25 storey condo tower was constructed in 1989 with the condition that the sign and facade be incorporated into the new structure. Another bit of history gone!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Autumn Mural

A railway overpass on Avenue Rd has had a quite large scenic mural painted on it, commissioned by the local residents. At this time of year it seems to blend into the fall colours and leaves seamlessly. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find out the artist responsible but click on the pic for a better view of the piece.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Woodlawn White

In a neighbourhood of mostly traditional brick houses, this white semi-detached modern place really catches the eye! For sale at just under $2.4 million (!!) I don't think I will be moving in but this time I have found interior shots for you here. My question after viewing these pics (especially the kitchen) is "where is all their stuff?"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another Uno Prii 60s Delight

In total contrast to yesterday's building, a short block south brings you to this wonderful example of 60s architecture as designed by Uno Prii whose work I have shown several times. This one was completed in 1965. Click on my Prii label below to see some more of the 250 apartment buildings he designed mostly in Toronto and especially in the Annex neighbourhood. I love his futuristic take on modernist architecture and it is so startling to see it here on Avenue Rd in the midst of all the Deco and Tudor-inspired apartments!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Balmoral Apartments

The main north-south street through this tony neighbourhood is Avenue Rd and during the 1920s and 30s a series of wonderful apartment buildings were constructed along it to just south of St Clair Ave. The developers knew that they had to build beautiful buildings in order to make apartment living appealing and the result is a collection of quite interesting ones including this one, The Balmoral, which is my favourite. Designed by architects S.B. Coon & Son, it was constructed in 1927-28 in a Tudor-inspired style with its grandest feature being the large arched entrance with pinnacles and carved shield & name. The building has been lovingly restored and maintained through the years and once again I would love to see the inside!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Deco Arch

As you continue along the street from yesterday's house there is a real assortment styles ranging from stately traditional to horrible, large new-builds. This lovely arch and entrance is one of 2 leading into a large property with a 1930s Art Deco home that just recently won a Heritage Award for conserving many original features while undergoing a huge reno, energy re-fit, and addition. Unfortunately from the outside it looks (to me) as if large glass boxes have been installed all over the roofline and on some of the sides - not my favourite reno! Love these arches though! I am not sure if there is a light in the top or not.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hilltop View

I am going to continue with my walk which took me by the modern house from Tuesday's post and show you some of the different styles of dwellings found in the lower Forest Hill and Avenue Rd neighbourhoods. This large older home home is just a block over and up a steep hill from Tues's house which results in giving it a splendid view over a leafy hillside of downtown Toronto and particularly all the construction going on there. I could find no historical info on this place at all. I would love to spend a bit of time in that covered balcony drinking tea and reading!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sandalman Ad Campaign

I showed you a pic of the "Guy In A Shop That Fixes Leather" here in March and a lot of you were surprised that there was actually still someone who did such a thing. Others were surprised when I mentioned all the advertising he does. Well - his fall ad campaign is on and so far I have seen a couple of buses with posters on their backs, 1 large billboard, and this large banner on the side of a corner store just a few blocks from yesterday's house. I haven't seen any on the subway yet. I always enjoy his quirky signs!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cottingham Modern

The real estate market in Toronto has not slowed down a bit and prices continue to rise with construction at a hectic pace all over the city. I have been watching the construction of this in-fill house in the tony lower Forest Hill neighbourhood and it looks as if it is finally done. A smaller house which had been on the site was purchased for big $$$ and torn down to provide this nice corner lot. I like it but all that glass doesn't provide much privacy as evidenced by the paper I could see inside most of the windows - window coverings still to come!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dundas Flowers

This is the last of Jose Ortega's Dundas St West murals for now - I have heard of 1 more so will have to go down for another pic and also a visit to the Brazil Bakery to try some of those treats Lucia mentioned a couple of days ago. This mural is on the side of a house which is located beside a large parking area so I assume they were being tagged with graffiti regularly and have decided to go for flowery paint instead - excellent solution!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dundas Church Parking

Another one of Jose Ortega's fabulous murals from Dundas St West is found on the wall facing into a church parking lot. This one seems to have the same feel as the samba dancers from a couple of days ago with the drummer and dancers but tomorrow I will show you the last one which has a slightly different style. I love this guy's designs!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dundas & Dufferin Mural

Another of Jose Ortega's designs for Dundas West, I think this mural has been there the longest. Located on a very busy corner that I have driven past many times, it was the one that first brought me to the neighbourhood looking for more murals. I waited until the trees dropped their leaves and it was hard to get a pic with traffic whizzing by but you can see his trademark colours brightening this space.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dundas West Mural

This is another of the wonderful murals along Dundas West that were designed by Jose Ortega. Most of the murals were commissioned by the city in combination with the local business association and this one located by a very wide sidewalk has had lovely benches & small gardens installed in front of it - will have to return next summer when there are flowers! The blue of this mural perfectly matches the sky of that day - the same weather we have today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Samba On Dundas Mural

It was such a beautiful weekend that I decided to wander along Dundas St W in the Little Portugal area which is also understandably heavy with Brazilian stores and bakeries. I discovered a series of murals along the street which were all designed by the same artist, Jose Ortega, who was born in Ecuador but now lives here and is the artistic director of the Lula Lounge, a Latin night club and event space on the street. Ortega has also designed 2 murals for the New York subway system and even postage stamps. This Samba mural was just recently completed in time for the "Samba On Dundas" festival which took place in September - I love the colours and movement! More murals to come for the next few days.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkins on Parade

Last night's neighbourhood pumpkin patch was a great success - over 350 pumpkins were brought to the park and lined up along both sides of the walkway and then re-lit for a final hurrah before going to the compost pile! Unfortunately for photographers there were also more than 350 people at the park with kids running everywhere drinking the free apple cider and hot chocolate - so no space for tripods. I managed this pic with flash when the crowd scattered for a minute and you can see the head from yesterday's wizard in the lower right corner along with his cat.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Wizard

Some pumpkin creatures are better to show in the daylight as is the case with this cool pumpkin wizard who comes complete with a hat, claw hand, and a friendly cat! It was hard to see all the details in the dark. Tonight is the annual Pumpkin Patch in our local park where all the neighbourhood bring their carved masterpieces which are then lined up along the pathways and relit for a final performance before heading to the compost. Hopefully I will have some cool pics tomorrow!