Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Workplace

This is a shot of the open office from the Stantec Architects offices that I showed yesterday. An intriguing feature of the space is that they installed a floating floor 18" above the original floor and have run all the heating and cooling ducts, voice lines, and data systems under the floor in order to leave the original Douglas Fir ceiling unencumbered by ductwork etc. You can see the space under the floor visible in the centre of the pic - they have installed glass panels on its edges so as to be able to see under. The office also has a bicycle garage and shower facilities for the workforce. It is a very 'green' space!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Doors Open Toronto

This past weekend was Doors Open in Toronto and 150 buildings were open for tours. Due to other commitments I only had time for one tour but it was a winner. The offices of Stantec architects are located in a historically designated warehouse which had been the McGregor Sock factory since its construction in 1905. The timber post and beam building has been lovingly restored and transformed into a fabulous open concept office for 200 employees. This shot from the lobby area shows the folded steel staircase with a veil of 400 year old pine slats that were salvaged from an old wharf on the waterfront. I love these old factories!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

65 Mini

I was walking down the street and spotted this cool little '65 mini station wagon parked at a local garage. A woody - I thought I should get out a surf board and head to the beach!

I have changed my comments page to a pop-up since there doesn't seem to be as many problems with that form. We will see.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ravine City

I am sure that 95% of my pics have been taken west of Yonge St (our main street) but this week I was east of Yonge in the Riverdale area of downtown and caught this hazy view of the financial core with part of the Don Valley ravine in the forefront. Toronto is intersected by a network of deep ravines that form a large urban forest running through the downtown and suburbs and are a defining feature of the city. Most of the ravines are undeveloped but many have trails going through them and some have recreational facilities such as this one. This sky shows the weather we have been having lately!
I hope that Blogger is working on the follower and comment problems!

Friday, May 27, 2011

ROM Reflections

I was wandering by the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) Crystal addition by Libeskind and caught this reflection of the part of the building behind me showing in the sign and also the building across the road showing in the windows. The guy leaning on the shot made it for me!
Taking part in Weekend Reflections - for more reflections click here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grossman's Tavern

There are 2 legendary bars on Spadina Ave, yesterday's El Mocambo and Grossman's which is just down the street from the El Mo. Open since 1943, Grossman's bills itself as "Toronto's Home of the Blues" and is famous for its live music 7 days a week. A down and dirty bar of the old style it has atmosphere in spades! This mural is on its side wall along where the patio will be if it ever stops raining here!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The El Mocambo

Located on Spadina Ave near the U of Toronto, the "El Mo" opened as a music venue in 1850 and has been an entertainment centre and bar since. With stages on the 1st & 2nd floors it has hosted many major acts such as U2, Elvis Costello, and Jimi Hendrix but its most famous claim to fame was the weekend of March 4,5 1977 when the Rolling Stones booked themselves in as "The Cockroaches" and played their 1st club date in 14 years. These surprise sessions were recorded and were released on the "Love You Live" album. I still remember where I was that weekend and unfortunately it wasn't there!
This sign was erected in 1948 and the El Mo is still going strong.
Taking part in Signs, Signs - for more signs click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Home Again, Home Again"

Part of the Pole Colonnade that runs up Spadina Ave, this sculpture (on a 20' pole) called "Home Again, Home Again" by David Hylnsky and Shirley Yanover was installed in 1997 at the corner of one of the streets leading into Kensington Market. The title comes from the Mother Goose rhyme "to Market, to Market" and the bronze cat and the aluminum old-fashioned kitchen chair represent the domesticity, comfort, and well-being that the market services provide.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crabapple Blossom Time

Typical of our recent weather we had just a touch of sun this morning and have since had periods of rain but while it was bright I was out and got this shot of one of the neighbourhood crabapple trees in full bloom. It was good to see that there were numerous bees buzzing around the flowers as I took the shot. Today is a holiday here - we celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday and there will be fireworks tonight. This is also the traditional start of the planting season so the garden centres are packed!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Paper Graffiti 2

I discovered another piece of paper graffiti this week which is probably getting a lot of laughs from passersby. This is our new mayor (who is quite rotund and proud of it) pictured eating a pink bike because he has declared that "the war on the car is over" and any people opposing him are characterized as "bike-riding pinkos"! It is going to be an interesting next few years!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hand Work In Kensington Market

Because I was at Kensington Market early in the day many places such as this little food stall on Augusta St weren't open yet. I thought that this hand was very well done and served its purpose of discouraging tagging - the locked doors were pristine surrounding the hand! Not sure if this hand signal means anything - anyone know if it does?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lovely Lady in Kensington Market

Kensington Market is full of murals - some good, some not so much - but this has to be the most beautiful. This wonderful art nouveau inspired lady can be found along Augusta St on the side of a Victorian building. I think she is gorgeous! Haven't been able to ID the artist unfortunately.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fruit in Kensington Market

This a typical fruit market in Kensington Market although this is a prime corner location. Taken early in the day in between periods of rain, this pic doesn't show the usual crowds in the area or how the merchandise spreads across the sidewalks on a sunny day. I'll be back to show you the weekend crowds one day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kensington Market

This wonderful sign/bike stand, spelling out Kensington and fabricated as a giant bicycle chain, is located near the northern border of the Kensington Market neighbourhood of Toronto. This distinctive, multi-cultural area of food stores, restaurants, cafes, and discount stores was proclaimed a National Historic Site in 2006. Through the 1920s & 30s this was the "Jewish Market" and after WW2 as the Jewish population moved north the area became at first mostly Portuguese (especially from the Azores), then Caribbean, East Asian, Vietnamese, and then mainly Chinese. Now there are also large numbers of Latin American shops as well as eastern European ones. And so far gentrification has not taken over! It's a super area!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Body Surfing in the City

Just around the corner from yesterday's shot I discovered this great mural occupying the whole wall of a building. I have been back several times to try and catch it with no vehicles parked in front but no luck - it's a busy 24 hr lot! It's a fabulous mural with lots of detail work (much hidden by cars) and wonderful colours - one of my favourites.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) & Grange Park

I watched a wonderful film on Frank Gehry last night so decided to show this pic of the south facade of his addition and redesign of the AGO, taken from Grange Park. Gehry grew up in the area and played in this park as a child so it seems quite suitable that he did the new design for the gallery! It is always quite a sight to look north from Queen St and see the beautiful blue titanium glowing behind the original Grange building.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"Almost There"

A friend tipped me off about this wonderful bit of "paper graffiti" (?) that appeared this week on the side of local building. I love it but I am not sure how long he will survive since we are supposed to have rain for the next several days!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wood Duck in High Park

With all the people in High Park to view the cherry blossoms this week the waterfowl were all circling about the pond looking for handouts. This is a male Wood Duck, probably the most handsome of North American ducks. These ducks build their nests in tree cavities and are unusual among ducks in that they have sharp claws for perching in trees! Something that I have yet to see!

Thursday's Post Redux - "Sakura Hanami" at High Park

My Thursday post seems to be gone for good so here it is again as I remember it!

"Sakura Hanami" is the Japanese tradition of viewing the cherry blossoms and hundreds of people have been going to High Park this week to see the small forest of cherry trees planted there. In 1959 the Japanese ambassador to Canada presented 2000 cherry trees to the city of Toronto on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo and most of those were planted in High Park along a lovely slope and many more have been added since. I went to the park early in the morning but even then it was getting very crowded with people (especially photographers!)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Photographer at High Park

While at High Park to view the cherry blossoms I spotted this woman with her equipment set up pointing at a beautiful tree. It turned out that she was setting up to take a self-portrait - something that was taking a lot of back and forth trips to get just right. It was a particularly lovely tree!
Glad to be back on-line! Hope to see everyone else up soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sweet Garden Sign

I don't really do sweet but this lovely sign in yesterday's garden was so appropriate to its location, beside the cupid with little birds that I showed you, that I had to post it. It is quite obvious from the droppings on the sign that the birds agree with the poem!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. To see more signs click here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Bird Critics

I took this pic last summer while wandering about in St James Park which is beside St James Cathedral on King St and was at one-time a cemetery for early York (that was the original name of Toronto). The gardens are beautifully set out as a 19th century garden and I think are still maintained by the volunteers of the Toronto Garden Club. The whole time that I was in the park there were little House Sparrows sitting about on this sculpture!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bird Co-op

This is another sculpture at U of T that has been co-opted by the birds and serves as a home base for several nests. The steel piece, called "Solar Net", was done by Canadian sculptor Gerald Gladstone and installed in 1963 on the wall of the Larkin building. The little bird on the wire was pleased to pose for me!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"The Endless Bench"

This sculpture by artist Lea Vivot was installed in front of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children on University Ave in 1984 and was donated to the hospital in memory of the artist's son. The bench is engraved with 476 messages of love, hope and inspiration and seems to be quite suitable for Mother's Day!
I am off to visit my mother - enjoy the day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Finally Blossom Time!

Our spring seems to be at least 3 weeks behind its normal schedule so these trees which are usually out in mid-April are just hitting their prime now. This is just part of a long aisle of apple trees planted beside the Robarts library at U of Toronto!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bixi Bikes Hit Toronto

Tuesday marked the unveiling of the Bixi bike system in Toronto with 1000 bikes being installed at 80 stations sprinkled about the downtown core. This system already in use in cities like Montreal, Washington, and London allows the user to pick up a bike from one of the stations and leave it at any other station in the network at the end of the ride. Hopefully it will be a success and will be expanded across the city. This station near Spadina and Queen was almost full yesterday but I passed others that were nearly empty!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Frida in Toronto

Since it was finally sunny this morning I went for a wander through some lanes off Queen St and happened upon this mural of Frida Kahlo which was appropriate since today is Cinqo de Mayo. All the Mexican restaurants in town seem to put on special menus for the day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Alchemy at U of Toronto

On 2 of the sides of the Lash Miller Chemistry Laboratories at U of T they have installed these 17th century alchemy symbols for substances such as mercury and camphor - somehow quite suitable for a chemistry building. Since the buildings construction in 1963 these symbols have also provided a nice location for numerous bird nests which you can see poking out from behind the pieces!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. To see more signs click here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Bit of Portugal in the Subway

This artwork of traditional Portuguese design in ceramic tiles was installed in the Queen's Park subway station in 2003 in recognition of the "50th Anniversary of Portuguese Emigration to Canada (1953 to 2003)". Designed by artist Ana Vilela, it was manufactured in Lisbon. Toronto, the most ethnically diverse city in the world, has the most extensive Portuguese population in North America.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Election Day in Canada

On a day of much incredible world news we in Canada are having our 4th federal election since 2004! We are governed by a parliamentary system like Britain's and have had minority governments since then which has resulted in too many elections. All signs point to another minority so no doubt we will be at the polls again in a year or 2. Meanwhile, these polling station signs have gone up in schools, arenas and community centres all over the country. No smoking while you consider your voting options!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bike Stands at the ROM 3

Here by popular demand is the fish bike stand with bike attached - nice that it was a red bike to pick up the red eye of the fish! I really like this one.