Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Here It Is!

This wonderful sign/mural can be found on the side wall of the Cameron House, a small hotel/bar/community centre on Queen St W which has been a haven for artists and musicians since the 1980s, although it has been open since the 1920s. The sign was painted by Tom Dean, in 2010, who had lived at the Cameron in the early 80s and remembers sitting, drinking a beer, and watching the sun shine through the window one afternoon and thinking "This is Paradise". He had that phrase painted on the wall of his room and when the owners needed someone to paint a new mural, he got the job!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Mural D

This is the part of the mural that you see coming out of the other end of the railway underpass. A very cool dude with his plaid hat - I wonder if it could be a self-portrait of the artist, Elicser?  I'll have to watch to see if this mural gets tagged at all.

Update on the B&W mural of a couple of weeks ago that got tagged - the artist was there this week fixing it and actually extending that mural.

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Mural C

I'm continuing with a couple of days of shots from the mural I first showed you last Monday as part of Monday Murals. This is a very old railway underpass so the walkway is not very tall therefore forcing the artist, Elicser, to really take that into account. I like how he has incorporated the light as a shining sun in this section.
To see more murals click here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weiwei Sheep

My last post of the Weiwei zodiac heads is the sheep  and what a fine set of horns he has!  It's well worth a trip to see them all if you are in the city this summer.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weiwei Rooster

The rooster is one of the most detailed of the Weiwei  zodiac heads at city hall and even though I was there early on a Sunday morning, there were a lot of people (& photographers) around, especially at this sunlit end of the pool.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Zodiac Heads In Pool

This shot is to give you an idea of how the Weiwei Zodiac heads are positioned around the perimeter of the reflecting pool in front of City Hall. In the winter this pool becomes a very popular skating rink which is hard to believe when the temps are hitting into the low 30˚C. I'll show a couple more close-ups of some heads for the next few days. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Circle Of Animals/Zodiac Heads"

The Chinese contemporary artist, Al Weiwei, is having a show opening this summer at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and in conjunction with the show his bronze zodiac heads have been installed in the reflecting pool in front of City Hall for the summer. You can read more about the zodiac heads and their world tour here, but in the meantime I will show a few pics of the installation over the next few days.  Each head and its base weighs 2 tons so structural engineers had to determine whether the pool could support them since it sits over a parking garage but all is well as you can see. This first head is the Ox.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Do One Thing Really Really Well"

I spotted this mini belonging to Steamwhistle Brewery out behind a local pub and managed to get a pic before the fellow drove off. Steamhistle has a fleet of wonderful vintage vehicles, all painted in this great green, that they use for delivery and service calls all summer but the rest of the cars like this Mini are out and about all year. If you look closely on the back quarter panel just below the window you can see their slogan - "Do One Thing Really Really Well" - they make only one kind of beer, a pilsner. I didn't notice until I opened the pic on the computer that the nice guy gave me the thumbs up as I took the pic!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.
To see one of the vintage trucks I have posted click here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A New Mural B

I thought I'd show another part of the new mural on Bathurst St and then some more next week. I'm not sure if it was the intent of the artist but the figures seem to be playing with the small buildings that he has running throughout the whole length of the piece. This young lady even has a T.O. tattoo on her arm! (T.O. for Toronto)

Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Mural

Another new mural, just completed this week in one of the older railway underpasses. I can't believe that I missed the artist in action on this one - I think I was a day late. The artist is Elicser whose work I have shown before - click the label below to see some of his pieces - and I would have loved to have met him. The underpass has a lot of large structural beams blocking the view of the piece so I will show it in a few stages - this is just heading into the underpass.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


This is a drive-by pic taken from the highway on the way to Niagara Falls and shows part of the industrial section of Hamilton, the steel capital of Canada. With all the changes in the steel industry,  I have no idea which company owns this plant but since I was a kid it has always been a highlight of the trip down this way, especially at night when you can see flames burning off the waste byproducts of the steel production. (I was the passenger and not the driver!)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Home For Shortbread

I was wandering by this building on Queen St East at just the right time to catch the sun highlighting some of the wonderful details on the facade. I could find no details on the building itself although I did find that there was a move afoot to have this neighbourhood of old commercial buildings declared a heritage conservation area in an attempt to save the ones that are left. I'm not sure if it passed. Meanwhile, it is a nice home for Mary Macleod's Shortbread and I have had some of the cookies and they are delicious!

Friday, July 19, 2013


We are in the midst of a heatwave which hopefully may end tonight but when I took this pic that fountain certainly looked inviting! I have shown this fountain at 44 Walmer Rd from different angles before - click on the Uno Prii label to see the pics and also some of the other unique buildings by this architect. I see that dogs aren't allowed anywhere near the fountain.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

School For Girls

Another drive-by pic, this one taken as I was doing a short-cut through the leafy Forest Hill neighbourhhod. This is Bishop Strachan School which was founded in 1867 and is the oldest day and boarding school for girls in Canada - founded with the intention of educating girls to be leaders. It occupied several locations downtown until this Gothic style building was completed in 1915.  Many additions have taken place since but the campus remains a beautiful location in the city.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

At The Spa

While walking along King St W I spotted this sign for a high-end spa which apparently features quite a large luxurious steam room. I really like the elaborate metalwork that they have used in their sign!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Annex Turret

It's been a while since I posted one of the homes in the Annex which has a turret and this one was so nicely lit by the sun when I passed by that I couldn't resist. If I had one on my place, I'd fill the room with books and a nice pair of comfy chairs!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Damaged B&W Mural

The mural which I showed you last Monday has been hit by taggers after only being finished for about 2 weeks. I asked the owner of the store about it and apparently it was hit in mid-afternoon and she is frustrated and ready to give up. I hope she may re-consider and will have the artist return. The only way to stop taggers is to remove their damage immediately as she has by painting over with black for the time being.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pool Anyone?

This is a pic of the upstairs pool hall at the Rivoli, a restaurant-nightclub-bar-poolhall, on Queen St West which has been at this location since 1982 and is housed in the old Rivoli Theatre, a 1920s vaudeville & burlesque theatre. The pool hall takes up 5,000sq ft and has 11 vintage tables ranging in age from the 1870s to the 1960s. The Rivoli is one of the most popular spots on Queen West and features a front patio that is perfect for watching all the action on the street.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Old & New

When you explore the laneways in the older parts of downtown you often come across scenes with huge contrasts of building styles such as this one where you can see new condos on Spadina Ave behind a rear view of an old hostel on King St W. I love the back of the hostel with its lush ivy growing against the red of the building!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Continuing with the buildings from yesterday, this pic shows  a catwalk that was installed between the 2 buildings at some point creating just the kind of laneway I like to explore. It previously led to delivery doors but now leads to the entrances of various businesses in the buildings.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Former Industry On King St W

These 2 attractive Victorian buildings were built as the home for the Gurney Stove Foundry - the one on the right built in 1872 and the one on the left in 1890 as business flourished. They are among the oldest industrial buildings in Toronto but are now occupied by restaurants, clubs, high-end studios, and stores. Through the years the facades had been covered with tin and it wasn't until the present owners removed the tin and restored the buildings that their beauty was once more revealed. The interiors are all exposed brick and pine beams - lovely!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Yellow Doors

I happened upon this place on King St W after being attracted to the bright yellow doors. The Weslodge sign over the doors probably shows up a lot better when lit up and at night but I bet most people just call it the place on King with the yellow doors - they are super! I haven't tried it out but it is billed as a saloon with good food and great atmosphere.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Doorway Extraodinaire

I showed you the building on King St W that has this doorway here, but didn't get back for a close-up of the wonderful doorway until last week.  Apparently it is a super example of a "Gibbs Surround" named after architect James Gibb and it refers to the large blocks of stone interrupting the columns running up the side of the door. What makes this one so special is the addition of the 4 small columns at the top. I'm glad this building has been designated!

Monday, July 8, 2013

B&W Mural

I watched the development of this mural over the last few weeks but somehow never managed to be there when the artist was there and there is no signature yet so I can't tell you who did it. I really like it and this wall had been a favourite target for taggers so it is a great visual improvement for this laneway.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Golden In The Sun

This beautiful building is the Kadampa Buddhist Temple which is located on a residential street downtown with the result that there always seem to be cars parked in front when I go by but this time there was a bit of a space to catch it. The building was constructed in 1904 as a Christian church but was sold and renovated into the temple in 2006 with the traditional Symbols of a Buddhist temple installed. The Vajras (thunderbolts) on each corner of the roof represent bliss, the 8 symbols on the wall depict aspects of the spiritual path, the deer over the door symbolize realizations of wisdom, and the Dharma wheel over the door symbolizes the continuation of Buddhist teachings in the world. The temple is open most days for various events and classes as well as for meditation.
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here for more religious buildings.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Heavenly Blue

I was running an errand this week when I happened upon these Blue Thistles along the sidewalk so of course I grabbed the camera from my bag and here they are! The blue was so beautiful in the sunshine and we have had so much rain that all the green served as a perfect backdrop.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dog Park

Toronto is teeming with dogs, especially downtown and this has resulted in a lot of conflict between dog owners and non-owners over dogs running loose in the parks. One solution has been to create these fenced-in dog areas in many of the parks that have enough space.  Dog walkers don't have to worry about the dogs leaving the park and the dogs have a ball running around, although this group of dogs all seem to be big guys so I wouldn't want to take a mini dog into there at this time. Another drive-by pic!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Little Factory

If you continue down the laneway from yesterday's post, you come upon the entrance to the cigar factory and to Uniq which is an entertainment group involved in organizing events. This type of small factory is one of my favourites and I only hope that it survives the condo invasion and with a little TLC, flourishes. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Down The Laneway

I had heard there was a Cuban Cigar factory hidden away down a laneway off King St W, so Monday being a holiday here I went on a search and found Frank Correnti Cigars at the end of this lane. Apparently they are Canada's only manufacturer of Cuban cigars, bringing in the tobacco leaves from Cuba and hand-rolling them in this small building. And the "Buca" round sign toward the right of the pic marks the entrance in an old factory to a very cool looking Italian restaurant which unfortunately wasn't open but certainly looks deserving of another visit. This area is crawling in restaurants and new condos and it makes you wonder how long the cigar factory will stay in this location. A successful exploration!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Princes' Gates

The Princes' Gates mark the eastern entry to the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) which are located right downtown along the lakeshore and are the site of the CNE, numerous trade & retail shows, a hockey arena, soccer field, and also the Toronto Indy race which takes place in a couple of weeks. The Beaux-Arts gates were designed by Toronto architects Chapman and Oxley, and the sculpture of winged Victory was done by Charles McKechnie although the sculpture was badly deteriorating and was replaced in 1986 with an exact scale polymer plastic copy. The gates were opened in 1927 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Canadian Confederation and have been known since as the Princes' gates because 2 of the royal princes came to the dedication. This was a drive-by/red-light shot!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Do It!

I spotted this mural on one of my expeditions along the laneways off Queen St West but somehow I neglected to make a note of the artists. It is really well done and I love the 
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.
And a Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians - have fun!!