Friday, January 31, 2014

Wrong Direction, Guys!

Walking along Bloor St, I spotted these 2 mallards heading north over the buildings. Considering the horribly cold weather we have been having this week, if I had wings I'd being going south! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A French Birdman

Digging around in my archives again, I have found this cool pic of a man feeding the wild sparrows outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris taken last September. We saw this fellow a few times in this area and it seemed that the birds were waiting there for him so it is a regular occurance. I've never seen wild birds be so brave before but they were sitting on his hand to eat seeds!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Old School

I'm back into the archives for pics taken in warmer weather, this one is the of the cornerstone taken from one of the past buildings of Weston Collegiate Institute which is located in the Weston neighbourhood. The school was actually established in 1857 and is the second oldest high school in Toronto after Jarvis Collegiate. The present day student body is extremely diverse and in fact represents more than 80 different countries!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Welcome Bit of Colour

I think I could have gladly stayed in the greenhouses at Allan Gardens for the rest of winter, but instead I took lots of pics and absorbed as much colour as I could. This beautiful plant with its lovely little flowers was present in several locations throughout the houses but I could find no tag to identify it, unfortunately. Isn't it a beauty!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lost His Head

Just down the laneway from the fierce kitty that I showed you last Monday is this wonderful Lego Man head which is the reason I first went down this laneway, since I had heard about him. He was done by artists Spud and DMC and is a real standout as you look up the hill from the dog park below!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


What a treat it was to walk into the warm Cactus House at Allan Gardens! They have a great collection with a lot of variety and the addition of the colourful winter plants that are scattered about was a real treat.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tropical House

This is the walkway down into one of the Tropical Houses at Allan Gardens. The conservatory does seasonal displays and the Christmas one is still on so there is a wonderful assortment of Poinsettia and other winter flowers scattered throughout the building.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Palm House

Inside the Palm House from yesterday's post you will find the large specimen trees belonging to the conservatory including these banana trees with long branches of fruit ready to ripen. Just over the left side of the man's head a grand piano is visible - what a great place for a recital! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Allan Gardens Conservatory

To escape the cold and forget winter for a bit, I made a visit to the conservatory at Allan Gardens and this is the beautiful Palm House, the original part of the structure which was built in 1910. The conservatory consists of 5 greenhouses and covers over 16,000 sq ft. I'll be showing you some inside shots for the next few days to help all of us northern hemisphere people warm up.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another One Bites The Dust

Big news in Toronto last week was the upcoming closing of the Book City store on Bloor St in the Annex. Book City is a small family-owned chain with 4 stores in the city but this was the original one that opened more than 37 years ago and has been the go-to bookstore for the Annex and the U of Toronto community. The rents along Bloor St have reached the point that the owners couldn't survive here any longer. It is a sad time since it was a wonderful store with a knowledgable staff.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Another Dog Park

Yesterday's kitty looks down the hill into a park which has a huge population of dogs at all times of the day and no matter what the weather is like. It was interesting that none of these dogs were wearing coats which so many seem to these days, but it was a pleasant afternoon - +1˚C and no wind!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nice Kitty Kitty

I found this fierce-looking beast in a laneway called Peperonata Lane after the traditional Italian pepper roast which the neighbours along the lane have each autumn. Many of the garage doors have been recently painted with murals to discourage mindless tagging. This one is by artist Shalak Attack and I quite like it. Tomorrow I will show you what this kitty is watching!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

St Andrews Lutheran Church

St Andrews Church is located downtown on Jarvis St and is bordered by Allan Gardens which was the location of yesterday's post. The Gothic-style church was built in 1878 using stone from the Credit Valley and brick and has many lovely stained glass windows which I will try to shoot one day. The church was built for a Presbyterian congregation but has been Lutheran since 1951. 
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here for more religious buildings. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blue Dog

Last weekend I ventured out to Allan Gardens, one of the oldest parks in the city having been established in 1850. It is the site of wonderful greenhouses which I will show you later, but this pic is of one of two  large fibreglass dog sculptures by artist Stephen Cruise found in the off-leash dog area. The blue dog is in the small dog part and a green, tougher-looking dog is in the big dog part.  The park was still a treacherous place to walk after our recent ice storm so this woman was safely seated while her little dog wandered around. You can still see some of the broken branches behind her, a common sight everywhere in Toronto.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Runnymede Pillars

There are several pillars positioned around the walls of the Runnymede Theatre/Chapters Bookstore space, all of them topped by a beautifully carved basket of fruit and flowers. You can really see here the attention that was given to restoring all the wonderful carvings in the building.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Runnymede Shells

These shell-shaped wall sconces run all around the upper part of the wall in the Runnymede Theatre/Chapters Bookstore space and up in the balcony you can get an up-close shot. They are so beautiful  that one has to hope they survive the conversion of the building into a drug store. The building has heritage designation so they should be safe.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


This is a close-up of the Runnymede sign which was located in the centre above the stage in yesterday's shot of the old Runnymede Theatre/Chapters Bookstore. You can see some of the detail work and the beautiful restoration that was done before the bookstore opened. There are features like this all over the interior of the space!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What A Bookstore!

This is the inside of the Chapters Bookstore on Bloor St W which is located in the old Runnymede Theatre. The theatre was built in 1927 as a vaudeville theatre which only lasted until the 30s when it was converted into a movie theatre that finally closed in the late 1990s. There was huge resistance at that time to Chapters taking over the space but the deal went through and Chapter spent just under $4 million restoring the beautiful details of the space and converting it to suit their needs. It has become a much-loved bookstore but unfortunately it is closing and a large drug store is moving in. I thought I had better catch it while the books are still there so this is the scene from the balcony looking down into the main auditorium. If you look towards the bottom right you will see a lovely Border Collie who was also checking out the books! A few detail shots to come over the next few days.

Monday, January 13, 2014


On one of the few days I have ventured out since Christmas I spotted another mural/sign by Elicser, this in a location I have passed a million times but I have never noticed it before.  An interesting play on a Dragonfly, but somehow I don't think those girls are there for belly-dancing so there must be a couple of different tenants through those doors. In front of the step you can see all the salt that is being thrown around on our sidewalks to make them walkable.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I brought my Rosemary plant in from my rooftop garden in the fall and it has surprised me by deciding to flower which is a first for me. It was a nice surprise to see during this cold weather we have had!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Frosty Door

Those of you who live in warm climates won't be familiar with the frost that can form on windows and doors when it gets really cold, but this is a pic of the inside of my door taken on Monday morning when it was less than -25˚C outside with a windchill of -37˚C. This is normally clear glass and it took until Wednesday for this ice to all melt! Hopefully I will be able to get out this weekend for some pics if our forecasts are correct and we get a bit of sun and some +˚ weather. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Crazy Bird Footprints

Despite the fact that my mother has 3 bird feeders in her garden some of the birds such as the Juncos prefer to forage for their food.  You can see all their crazy trails in the garden where they have been chasing after seeds from the Echinacea that have been left for the birds as a food source. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Stained Glass At Regis College

At this time of year many of us in the northern hemisphere start craving colour and with that in mind here is a pic of one of the stained glass windows from the St Joseph Chapel at Regis College, the location of the stairway I showed you on Sunday. The chapel was originally part of St Joseph's School and was built in the 1960s with the windows being good examples of the 60s style.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Maple Tree

This sign appeared in a local park a while ago and with all the damage that has been done to the trees in Toronto from the ice storm it seems suitable to pay a tribute to the Maples. It was the maple trees in the park that took the worst beating.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Prints In The Snow

The temperature was -20˚C on Friday when I ventured out into the laneway only to discover these enormous prints going by my garage! Each one was as big as my palm - it must be a huge dog that left them. At least I hope it was a dog!

Monday, January 6, 2014


I discovered this new mural on Queen St W a week ago and this is just a small section of it but there were vehicles parked in front of most of it so I will go back another day to shoot the whole thing. It is painted over an old mural that had become really faded so it was nice to see all the bright shiny faces on the fish and flowers!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Up The Staircase

Another pic from my archives, this is the wonderful Victorian staircase found at Christie House which is the home of Regis College, the Jesuit College at U of Toronto. The house was built in 1900 as the home of William Christie, famous here for his cookie company, and has been part of Regis College since 2009. This grand staircase runs from the basement of the house up to the third floor where it is capped by a beautiful oculus window that lets light down into the heart of the building.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Through The Arch

It has been extremely cold here (-18 to -20˚C) so I am into my archives again for a couple of days. This pic was taken on a warmer day in summer and is a peek through one of the arched walkways at Hart House at U of Toronto and gives us a view into the quad there. You can see the Sorel Etrog sculpture "Complexes Of A Young Girl" in the foreground and a tent set up at the far end of the quad for a wedding, one of the many that take place at Hart House throughout the year.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I am into my archives for this shot of the Records Centre at the Toronto Archives. This large area holds more than 123,000 boxes filled with mostly files but also over 1,000,000 pics and over 5,000 maps along with postcards, diaries, letters, and other papers about the city. The top shelf is 36 feet high and those red machines, called "order pickers", are used to reach all the shelves. The temperature in the room is kept at 21˚C at all times and I assume they have a back-up generator since the archives are in an area that was without power for a few days during our ice storm over the Christmas week.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snowy Doorway!

I love to go walking in the snow when the flakes are big and flaky and there is no wind. This doorway is always lovely to see even in the dark since there is a chandelier hanging above the door up in the alcove.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Photo Of The Year

I chose this pic for the City Daily Photo Blogs' New Year's theme since our City Hall is such a symbol of the city and there has been so much controversy and uproar there this year. I like this pic with the Ai Weiwei Ox since he was such a large presence in Toronto this year with 2 separate installations in the square at City Hall and also the large show at the AGO (Art Gallery Of Ontario).
Happy New Year to all and let us all hope for a peaceful and healthy year ahead!
Taking part in the CDP theme 'Photo Of The Year'. Click here to see more great photos from around the world.