Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hammerbeam Roof

This is the section of the roof over the altar in the Chapel of St Alban the Martyr at the Royal St George's College, a private school for boys in the Annex neighbourhood. The chapel was intended to be part of a cathedral to be constructed in the late 1800s but the cathedral was never built, leaving us with a magnificently detailed chapel.  The short horizontal beams are called hammers thus making this a hammerbeam roof, the only one in a church in Canada and it is actually a double-hammerbeam since there are 2 hammers along each of the ribs of the roof. The 2 angels look down right above the altar of the chapel.
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here for more churches & other religious buildings.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Down The Garden Path

Another shot from the grounds of Spadina House shows a portion of the stone wall that surrounds much of the property and also the wonderful gate that you find at the end of the path through part of the garden. Everything is so lush!

Friday, June 28, 2013


The season seems to be a bit behind the normal schedule with the Horse Chestnut trees around town all abloom now. I spotted this majestic one on the grounds of Spadina House. I wonder if kids still play conkers with the chestnuts - we would put a shoe lace through a hole drilled in the centre of the nut and then you swing the nuts at each other in an attempt to break the other one. Somehow I don't think it can compete with video games.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


This mural is found above the entrance into the front of yesterday's building. This part of the building was built in 1965 and Toronto artist York Wilson was commissioned to create this 5 part mural called "Communication". Each of the 20' X 5' panels represents a stage in man's progress in communication - writing, drawing, music, voice, and satellites - although all the images are quite abstract. I have returned several times to shoot this work since the light changes radically throughout the day as the sun passes by the surrounding skyscrapers. This is my best effort so far in getting all 5 panels nicely lit!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bell Door

I was taking a shortcut along a small street that is mainly a service street in the downtown business district when I spotted this lovely door and sign, so I immediately pulled over to investigate.  I love all the carving around the door and in the sign itself which identifies this as a Bell Telephone building. So much detail for a back door! Bell Telephone is the supplier of most phone services in Canada I think. I could find no info on the age of this part of the building but will show you some detail from the newer front tomorrow.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Film-shoots are really common on the streets of downtown Toronto but not all of them have such a great trailer like this Airstream. This shoot was for a cookie commercial and involved renting a local cafe for a whole day and employing a huge crew including caterers. And then the next day they were at another location just down the block. All for a short commercial!  The reflection on the trailer was a surprise when I looked at the shot later.

Monday, June 24, 2013


This is another mural in the Islington neighbourhood done by John Kuna - this one done in 2011 and titled "Aftermath" and depicts the clean-up that took place after Toronto was hit by Hurricane Hazel in October of 1954. 81 people were killed in Ontario during the hurricane, most of them in Toronto when the houses on a whole west-end street were swept away during the night by a raging Humber River. Those floodplains have now been turned into parks but extreme flooding that is taking place in Western Canada now has demonstrated that whole towns can be flooded out in very short time periods no matter what precautions are taken.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Little Trinity Church

Little Trinity Anglican Church is found on King St. in Corktown, the same neighbourhood as the building of the last few days. This early Gothic Revival church is the oldest standing church building in Toronto with its cornerstone being laid in 1843 and services beginning in 1844.  A large addition was added in 1889 to provide more seating for the expanding congregation of Irish immigrants who didn't feel comfortable at the nearby St James Cathedral - too posh. It has survived a few fires over the years and is now involved in restoring some neighbouring workers cottages. 
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here for more churches.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


This is a close-up of the creature hanging from the winch in yesterday's pic. I imagine the winch is used for lifting large furniture pieces to the upper floors with this guy guarding the place in the meantime. Those are birch logs and 2 cups hanging in what were probably window openings at some point in the building's history. Any ideas on the purpose of the logs? Visuals? Sound?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Behind The Steel Front

This is a very urban part of town where it is great fun to find wonderful additions atop original rather grotty-looking buildings and this one is no exception. It looks as if there are at least 4 different decks on the various levels of this addition including the one here which has the window openings and the very top one on the roof. I'll give you a close-up of that creature and the openings beside it tomorrow.  Obviously there has been some tagging going on - they need to commission a mural don't you think? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Corktown Steel

I recently went for a Sunday morning wander in the east end of downtown (I'm a west-end person) in the Corktown neighbourhood, an area settled in the early 19th century by Irish immigrants mostly from the County Cork. There are some wonderful old buildings in this neighbourhood but being a big fan of Corten steel, I was struck by this storefront on Queen St East which has had a huge renovation and an addition added to the top. And it houses the only fly-fishing supply store in Toronto on the main floor! I'll show you a pic of the back tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hold Your Nose

When touring Hart House during the Doors Open event a couple of weeks ago, I spotted this sign in the library and can only imagine what caused them to post such a sign! While we toured the room there were a couple of people asleep on couches so possibly they sometimes make themselves a little too much at home there.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Black Elder

On a slightly rainy morning last week, I headed to a garden centre and happened upon this beauty in the parking lot. The colour combination is incredible (love that pink) and I was informed that it is a black elder bush, a variety that has become quite popular here. And I imagine you get elderberries in the fall! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

"First High Flier"

Yet another  mural from the Islington neighbourhood painted by John Kuna, this one done in 2008 and done as a 2 part story. In May of 1944 a student at the local high school convinced a pilot of a Lancaster to drop cards over the football field of the school during a game. The cards could be redeemed for prizes and also contained advertisements. Any funds raised were to be used to buy bleachers for the field. Unfortunately, it was a windy day and all of the cards were blown onto nearby market gardens which were trampled by nearly 600 students chasing the cards! 
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gym At Hart House

I loved the old-fashioned look of this gym at Hart House even though it has one of those new 'Big Ass" fans. Somehow it fits with the look of the place and that suspended track around the sides just adds to the atmosphere. It was nice to get into these spaces during Doors Open that are not open to the general public - you have to be a member of Hart House to use the gym and the pool I think.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

In The Swim

Continuing the tour of Hart House finds us inside, viewing the wonderful pool with the Art Deco skylights. The pool is only 25 yards in length but what a wonderful environment to do a workout!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Messenger At Hart House

This sculpture of Hermes, the Greek messenger god, is found in the quadrangle at Hart House and is slightly visible towards the centre of yesterday's pic. I can find no info on the artist but did find info on an etching of it done in 1920 so it was probably installed soon after the building opened in 1919. The patina gives us a good indication that it has been out there for a long time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

In The Quad

I have shown several pics of Hart House and some of its art that you can see by clicking the Hart House label below, but decided to take the tour during Doors Open of a couple of weeks ago. This is the inner quadrangle of the Gothic Revival building and it is a lovely space that includes a patio for al fresco dining and also for many wedding receptions, a usage which was not always allowed since Hart House was male-only from its construction in 1919 until 1972 when women were finally allowed throughout the structure.  It was built as a student activity centre but only for male students!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rusty Gate

I was wandering along King St and spotted this wonderful rusty gate positioned between an older restored building and a newly constructed one and it looked as if it belonged to neither. I have since discovered that this walkway leads to a Spanish tapas restaurant called Patria that has just recently opened. Love that metalwork!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Playing In Traffic

Early on a Sunday morning is probably the only time you would want to be standing in the middle of Adelaide St taking pics as I was for this one. St Mary's Roman Catholic Church on Bathurst St makes a perfect terminus for the street. This Gothic Revival church was finished in 1905 and served for an Irish congregation then but now is a major centre for the Portuguese community in the city. I'll have to get a close-up on another Sunday morning!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Play Me A Song

I am back to the murals in the Islington neighbourhood and the snow gives a hint that I took this pic in March but never got around to posting it. This is yet another mural painted by John Kuna and it is called "Prodigy" since it depicts a young Glenn Gould taking piano lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music on Bloor St, and this building housed a satellite location of the Conservatory from the 1950s through the 80s. Gould, the most celebrated former student of the RCM, is pictured against a background showing the new concert hall (Koerner Hall) at the Conservatory.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


My last day at the Munk building and I had to show you one of the many great doors found in the building. You can really see the skill of the bricklayers on all in the doorways throughout the whole building. That fuzzy sign is one of many ticker-tape style news boards that are found along the hallways.
I didn't show much of the art that is all over the building, except in the round room where you can see some, but they are considering having a guided tour of their art during Doors Open next year. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hallway At Munk

I like this pic because it shows the wonderful brickwork in the Munk School of Global Affairs building with each edge of the arches and all of the corners in the building made with these lovely curved bricks. And the new millwork of doors and trim show the same level of craftsmanship as that of the original building's work.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Looking From New To Old

I am still showing pics from the Munk School of Global Affairs and this pic gives us a view from one of the newly renovated classroom/meeting spaces out into the restored entrance hall of the building. Apparently before the restoration all of the wonderful arches (even the tops of the doors) were hidden by drop ceilings and it was a pleasant surprise for the architects to discover all of the wonderful brick arches intact as was the original tile floor.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Round Table in A Round Room

Even though yesterday's Munk building is historically designated, the architects were able to get permission to punch a long window into the back facade of the tower allowing them to bring a lot of light into each floor of the tower. On this floor the round room is used for meeting space while the other floors have been fitted out as lounge areas with a difference!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Doors Open At The Munk School Of Global Affairs

I showed you the front entrance of this beautifully restored building in December (here) and luckily the building was part of the Doors Open Toronto event of a couple of weekends ago. This is the approach to the rear entrance of the building showing the tower which originally had a dome housing a telescope for the Meteorological Service of Canada but the dome was removed in 1934 and installed at another location on the U of Toronto campus. I'll show you some of the restored and modernized interior over the next few days.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.
P.S. I have fixed the link to the original shot.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Courtyard House

This shot is a reverse of yesterday's, taken from the doorway of the studio and looking into the living room of the house and the kitchen beyond. If you look closely you can see all the people milling about inside. That Japanese Maple certainly looks happy with its nice protected location.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Courtyard House - The Studio

The Courtyard House from yesterday's Doors Open post was pretty crowded with people so it was difficult to get interior shots but at one point the courtyard emptied out and I caught this pic of the courtyard and a view into the "studio". The couple who own the house are architects (their firm is "Studio Junction") who work from home in this very cool space. Both the house and the studio have interiors of this lovely warm plywood. Tomorrow a reverse shot of the house taken from the studio.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Gate On Courtyard House

Last weekend was Doors Open in Toronto when hundreds of buildings which are not usually open to the public are open.  This year one of the opened buildings was a laneway house which I first showed you in 2010 (here) and which I was thrilled to see on the inside. We'll start with the lovely gate leading into one section of the house - beautiful isn't it? I'll show a couple of more pics over the next days.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

In The Eye Of The Beholder

Today is theme day for the City Daily Photo community and this month's theme is "the beauty of decay".  This little house (probably was a Gothic Revival cottage) has sat empty for as long as I can remember and each year the roof seems to sag a little bit more but someone has chosen to decorate it with quite nice flowers that give some sense of beauty to the whole thing. I'm sure that one day something surprising will turn up in this spot.
Click here to see more shots for the theme.