Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This is the sign at the entrance to the University of Toronto's Varsity Centre which consists of a hockey arena and a stadium with track and field facilities. The arena dates from 1926 but the original 1920s stadium was demolished in 2002 and a new one opened here in 2006. Located in the same block along Bloor St as the Royal Ontario Museum and the Royal Conservatory of Music, this is a prime site downtown making it perfect for a variety of events.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Swans A Swimming

This was the scene down at the lakeshore of Lake Ontario last week before we started our present stretch of day after day of rain. I have never seen so many swans in one location before and can only assume that they were stopping off on their way south for the winter. They  were all along the beach preening and mucking about in the shallow water looking for food. I hope they got past the Hurricane Sandy pathway before this week! That is our ever present CN Tower in the background.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another Islington Mural

This is yet another of the murals done in the Islington area of the city by John Kuna. This one was done in 2009 and is titled "The Pub With No Beer" and features a scene from the prohibition time (around 1928) showing empty pop bottles being loaded onto a truck outside the old Islington Hotel which stood near here at the time. Another super job by this artist!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Ginnel?

I think this is what Deb from York would call a ginnel. It is a little public walkway between houses midway down a block allowing you to get through to the next street without walking all the way around. I don't think I've ever seen another in the city but it seems such a good idea that there should be more!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Autumn's Last Hurrah?

Our weather forecast for the next several days seems to be mostly lots of rain and quite windy so I fear that most of the leaves will soon be gone from the trees. This beautiful tree is on the grounds of Spadina House and was caught in the afternoon sun on Thursday. Lovely isn't it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Glorious Ginkgo

One of my favourite trees is the Ginkgo biloba and there are many examples of them around the city right now in a wonderful glowing yellow such as this one that I spotted yesterday.  I find the fan-shaped leaves quite lovely in summer but now they are incredible. Ginkgos are disease resistant and tolerate pollution which makes them perfect for city life! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Casa Loma In Autumn

I took this pic of Casa Loma a couple of weeks ago when all the flowers were still happy. We haven't had a real killer frost yet but most of the tender flowers have been hit by the cold now so this scene would be different today. Somehow Casa Loma looks great no matter what the season!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Goose Crossing

I was traveling through an industrial area of the city and was surprised to come upon this sign warning of a goose crossing area, the first sign of this type I've seen. So of course I pulled over to catch this shot and look for some geese but could find no evidence of any. It's nice that the city put the sign up to keep the little ones safe!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Optimum 1"

This piece, titled "Optimum 1", has appeared recently in the window of a flooring company that regularly gives their window over  to various artists for a few months at a time.  The artist Vladimir Radoykov  sees the piece as playing with volume versus surface area relative to the viewer going by on the street. It certainly is striking with all its colours!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chick Fountain

The little yellow birds have returned! I could find no UB5000 signature near this piece but there are several other pieces by him along the walls in this laneway on Queen St W so even though this piece isn't as detailed as some of his others, I'm sure it is one of his. And I don't think anyone else would be doing the birds.  It's just a small image between 2 windows but I like the humour of it!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Barn 5 At Wychwood Barns

Barn 5 at the Artscape Wychwood Barns had its roof removed and all that remains is the steel structure which now forms a long open arcade which is the site of part of the farmers market, some small community gardens, space for open-air events, and just space for sitting on some of the benches. The large open space beside the barns (to the left in this pic) has a dog park, open space that is turned into a skating rink in winter, playgrounds, and just open green space. The whole complex is a good example of how redundant industrial space can be put to good use for a community!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Barns 2, 3, & 4 At Wychwood

I thought that I should show you some context of the Artscape Barns at Wychwood. There are 5 of these long barns all attached along their length. Barn 1 is the longest and it as visible as the brick wall in this shot and contains live/work studios and studios. I have shown you Barn 2, the "covered street" and Barn 3 is a community barn for non-profit organization use. Barn 4 houses the Stop Food Centre and its Green Barn which includes a green house & community gardens. The structures in the forefront are part of the water feature for the kids and are really popular during the summer but not now! I'll show you barn 5 tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Pottery & Glass Show At Wychwood Barns

This past weekend Barn 2 at the Artscape Wychwood Barns was taken over by "The Pottery & Glass Show", an annual show put on by Fusion: The Ontario Clay And Glass Association which features the work of some of the member craftspeople. This is the same space I showed you yesterday and you can see how adaptable the space is especially with the wonderful light from the skylight which by the way is an original feature of the space although thermal glass has been installed in it. All of those doors along the right side wall are entrances into individual artist studios that are permanently at the Barns.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Inside An Empty Barn 2 At Wychwood

This is a shot of barn 2 at Artscape Wychwood Barns when it is not being used for an event and it shows the wonderful industrial structure that has been restored and converted into a community centre. There are old photos along the walls showing this barn when it was used for the streetcars and at that time there would have been 2 rows of streetcars running along the 60 metre length of the building with workers bustling around them. It was a really sunny day when I took this pic and the skylight brightness kept hitting the camera so I apologize for the darkness.
Tomorrow I will show you the barn in use!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Artscape Wychwood Barns - Barn 2

There are 5 barns in the Wychwood Barns complex with barn 1 having been turned into private artist studios and living spaces this is the entrance into barn 2 (you can see the large 2 behind the glass) which has become the 'covered street' of the complex and will be where yesterday's farmers market will be held all winter. This space is also rented out for banquets and fundraising events throughout the year. I'll show you a couple of interior shots over the next 2 days.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wychwood Barns Farmers Market

The Wychwood Barns are not barns in the usual sense but rather they were streetcar barns where maintenance was done on our fleet of Red Rockets (aka streetcars). Located in the centre of the city the barns became redundant and the whole property was leased to Artscape which has redeveloped the site to include parkland with even a dog park and the barns have been changed into multi-use spaces such as artist studios, non-profit green houses, and community use areas. The Saturday Wychwood Barns Farmers Market will be moving inside for the winter in Nov but this past weekend all the wonderful goodies were still outside! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Smoking Fish

Yet another mural by UB5000 but this time there are no little yellow birds visible only fish which is suitable for the location on the side of a fish store in Kensington Market. You can see that the fish towards the right is wearing a chain with UB letting us know who the artist is. I like that his title is 'Smoked Fish' and every fish on the wall is smoking and so is the old man!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tough Cat

I found this tough cat wandering through part of the gardens at Ronald McDonald House - he was one of a few steel creatures to be found in the long grasses. The cat is by local artist J. P. Schoss who uses all recycled steel in his work, much of it from old oil tanks and propane tanks. It's nice that the Ronald McDonald house has used art that the kids can relate to easily! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gates At Ronald McDonald House

These wonderfully fanciful gates are found at the new Ronald McDonald House in downtown Toronto. The house replaced a much smaller building and is in fact the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world with accommodation for 81 families and has many amenities including an on-site school for the kids staying there. This is the view from inside the gates looking out since it gives a better view of the smithed details. I have been unable to find out their creator but I really like them!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Yellow Splendour

Another shot from last Sunday, this was taken on the U of Toronto campus. It seems that we are seeing more fabulous displays of yellow trees this year rather than the vibrant reds we usually see. It must be the result of the dry, hot summer we had!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Before The Frost

I took this pic last Sunday and it shows the flowers and foliage along the centre boulevard of University Ave with the trees surrounding the Ontario Courthouse in the background. It's hard to believe that this is right in the centre of downtown surrounded by office and government buildings and has 3 lanes of traffic on each side of it. Our weather forecast for tonight is for 1˚C so I fear that many of these plants will be nipped by a bit of frost by tomorrow. Sad!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ghost Sign Retained

I think it was the name on this ghost sign which caught my eye first and then I noticed that the brick walls of this old factory building had been cleaned off everywhere except where the sign was, thus allowing it to survive. The building was constructed in 1917 in the Junction triangle area and designed by architect Frank Scott Mallory Sr for the "Canadian Hanson & Van Winkle Co Limited", a company that produced electroplating  polishing equipment & supplies according to a catalogue I found on Google. The building is now occupied by galleries and studios as is common with many of these old buildings.
Taking part in Signs,Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"The Way We Were Part 2"

This is the companion piece to yesterday's mural and is located on a wall opposite to it. It was done in 2006 by John Kuna with the point of view being from the same spot as yesterday but this time facing west along Dundas St. In this one we can see the old Islington Hotel, some other businesses, and men preparing to pave Dundas St. Progress!

Monday, October 8, 2012

"The Way We Were Part 1"

I haven't shown any murals in awhile from the fine collection of them in the Islington neighbourhood of the city so I'm going to show parts 1 & 2 of The Way We Were over the next couple of days. This is yet another mural by artist John Kuna and it was done in 2005 on a wall 20' x 40'. This shows the Village of Islington as it looked 100 years ago in 1912 as you looked east along Dundas St. The images were collaged from area photos of that era and show the old Hopkins' Store, the Methodist church, the small bridge over Mimico Creek, and some local residents. I am really impressed by Kuna's work and if you click the Islington label below you will see some of the other pieces he has done along Dundas St.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Queen's Park Carving

I love to discover carvings on the older buildings in the city and Queen's Park which is the location of our provincial government is a treasure trove of wonderful examples. The pink sandstone is so lovely when carved as in this example. This is probably a lost art now!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Museum House

I thought I would show you a pic of the building that was reflected in yesterday's pic of the ROM.  The condo is called Museum House and I love the horizontal element of the planters along their balconies but since this is a very tony address I don't think I can afford one of the units since they start at $1.5 million and head up a lot from that. The wonderful old lanterns are atop gates that were originally  installed in 1901 just 1 block over but were moved to here in 1960 and actually form the northern entrance to Philosopher's Walk which I featured this week (and that guy with the guitar was in that pic too). It's a nice neighbourhood!

Friday, October 5, 2012

ROM Reflection

The new addition to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) attracts a lot of photographers as you can see in this pic, mostly for the unusual architecture (by architect Daniel Libeskind) but it also offers some quite interesting reflections. In this shot we see the reflection of the newly finished condo tower, Museum House, which is across Bloor St from the museum.
Taking part in Weekend Reflections. Click here for more reflections.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Archer

The sculpture that has caused the most controversy in the history of Toronto is probably this one, The Archer, by famed artist Henry Moore. When the new City Hall was designed in the 60s the architect had decided on the installation of this piece in the square in front of the city hall but it was considered so avant garde that the city council voted against using public money to buy it. The mayor of that time, Phillip Givens raised private money and the sculpture was finally installed in 1966 and it is now the most loved sculpture in the city.  Moore was so impressed that he donated a huge collection of his works to the Art Gallery Of Ontario where they can now be seen in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre. And The Archer makes a great place to eat lunch on a sunny day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Thunderin' Thelma"

I seem to be seeing a lot of food trucks lately and they all have unique signs & decorations. This one called Thunderin' Thelma belongs to Caplansky's Deli and is named after the owner, Zane Caplansky's, grandmother. That is Zane looking rather stern in the photo on the side of the truck. The menu covers the usual deli offerings but everything is smoked in-house and is said to be really tasty! Mmm...
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Philosopher's Walk"

This walkway meanders through part of the U of Toronto campus from Bloor St south to Queen's Park and follows the pathway of Taddle Creek which has been buried under here since at least 1884. It is one of my favourite walkways in the city with its canopy of mature  oak & beech trees and also a lot of recent plantings and landscaping. As you can see the leaves hadn't started changing along here a week ago.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Silhouette Mural

This is a small section of the finished mural that I showed you last Monday when it was in mid-production. I never did see the artists working on it although I kept seeing their equipment on the site, The whole mural is several hundreds of feet long as it is on a retaining wall separating a parking lot from train tracks.  I love how they have painted the tree silhouettes pointing up into the bushes above them - very cool!

Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Taking part in The City Daily Photo theme day which is Silhouette this month. For more silhouettes click here.