Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yorkville Library

This is the entrance to the Yorkville Library which is the oldest library in the Toronto Public Library system. Located just along the street from the Town Hall Square Park, it opened in 1907 and was designed by Robert McCallum and shares the Beaux Arts style of many libraries from that time. This library is one of several in Toronto that were built with grants from American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who funded the building of 2,509 public libraries around the world in the early 20th century. Great man.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Full Moon" on Yonge St

This is one of my favourite sculptures in Toronto. Located on Yonge St (Toronto's main street), just a block south of the park from yesterday, it was originally installed on Bloor St in 1988 but was moved around the corner several years ago. Now it forms an interesting entranceway as you walk north. Titled "Full Moon", it was created by Wendell Castle, an American furniture artist who is considered one of the fathers of the art furniture movement.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yorkville Park

Another shot from yesterday's park which is called Town Hall Square Park since it is on the site of the original Yorkville townhall which opened in 1860 but was destroyed by fire in 1941. The park is filled with trees and those great planters but 1 corner has a lounging area popular for eating lunch etc. This section surrounds the sculpture "Reaching For the Clouds" by artist Jean-Pierre Morin which was installed in 2005. The pic also gives a hint of all the condos that have sprung up in the area.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lined Up in Yorkville

After all the chaos in Toronto over the last 2 days because of the G20 meetings, I needed some order and tidiness. There is a tiny park in the Yorkville area of town (just up the road from some of yesterday's protests) and it has rows of these wonderful planters. Yorkville was the centre of Toronto's hippiedom in the 60s but was taken over by developers in the 70s and is now totally gentrified and very up-scale. Still an interesting area though.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

G20 Gate

This is the inner fence from the G20 security area that is now in total lock-down. The gate opens into the entrance of the Convention Centre to allow the world leaders to exit their motorcades, enter the building and not to have any contact with the common people who are now being kept well away from this area. Empty streets in downtown Toronto - what a travesty.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fenced in on Front St

Another pic from the depths of the G20 security zone. This is the view looking east on Front St, taken from inside the 2nd row of fences. That is the CBC behind the fence on the left and on the right you can sort of see the inner fence and the Convention Centre behind it where the meetings of the leaders will be. This area of town is usually bustling with people - now looks like a ghost town. Very creepy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Fence

This is a view of the fence in front of the CBC building where yesterday's pic was taken. It is very intimidating and sobering to see in a city that is usually so welcoming everywhere. I'll be glad when the G20 is over and all the big guys go home.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Glenn Gould at the G20

Went down on Sun to check out the security for this weekend's G20 conference and was able to walk around freely then (not the situation now). Inside the first line of security fencing, in front of the CBC building on Front St, sat this statue of the late Glenn Gould just a few feet from the 2nd line of fences. Gould was a Canadian pianist who was one of the world's most renowned classical musicians. Quite an eccentric, the statue shows him in his usual attire of hat, gloves, and coat no matter what the weather. The bronze statue by Ruth Abernethy was unveiled in 1999.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

44 Walmer Road Portico

This shot of the portico and fountain from yesterday's post gives you a feeling of the building before the balconies were changed. You can see Prii's wonderful quirkiness with his circle cut- outs and the playful fountain. Just super.

Monday, June 21, 2010

44 Walmer Road

Across the road from yesterday's post is another example of architect Uno Prii's take on Modernism. Constructed in 1969, it continues his futuristic style but unfortunately a large part of the effect was destroyed in 2000 when the original balcony railings were replaced. The original railings were white with large circular openings in them which continued his exploration of circles. It was good to see the fountain functioning though.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

35 Walmer Revisited

Wanted to go back and see if the circles of sunlight lined up with the round pavers under the portico at 35 Walmer when the sun was at its zenith. (See May 22). So I went today while the sun was shining - they don't line up! It isn't a celestial wonder. Too bad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Outdoor Eating at The Boulevard Cafe

When summer and warm weather come, all the outdoor patios here do a booming business. One of the nicest is at The Boulevard Cafe which is a Peruvian restaurant and has been a fixture in the Annex/University area for years. Weekend brunch is great and if you are lucky they will have a wonderful Peruvian dessert of caramel and cream and cake - I can never remember its name.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Luminato 2010

Luminato - Toronto Festival of Art and Creativity runs until this Sun. Heavy on performance art, the festival also presents literature, lectures, and visual art. Showing at the Toronto Reference Library is this piece by Tom Bendsten which is titled "Conversation #4". It is composed of 15,000 books arranged by colour and form so that their spines act as pixels of a large image - that being a landscape at sunset with trees, clouds, sun etc. Not sure how much attention it was getting from the library users.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sculpture at Botanical Gardens

My main reason for visiting the Toronto Botanical Garden was to check out the newly unveiled garden sculpture. Created by Ron Baird (he also did the Dupont gate from a previous post), it was installed in April 2010. Made of stainless steel, it stands 30 ft tall and to me it seems a bit too tall to relate to the gardens around it. People walking through the gardens are looking down at the flowers and it seemed as if most if them didn't even see the sculpture! Pity.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Toronto Botanical Garden

I finally made it up to the Botanical Garden which has been refurbished and renovated over the last few years. Located in north Toronto, it is connected into a park system that runs many miles through city ravines and finally ends at Danforth Ave. This pic shows part of the courtyard which opens up to the gardens and is used for weddings and other functions.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Loretto Entrance

The original front entrance to yesterday's school has been left intact (because of the heritage designation) and it now functions as the balcony/deck for the person whose loft it opens into. How cool is that?

Monday, June 14, 2010

More School Lofts

Directly beside the loft from Fri's post, you will find The Loretto Lofts. It too is a converted school. Both schools were owned and run by the Loretto nuns although this building is much older being completed in 1914. It was designed by Neil G Beggs and shows many of the Beaux-Arts design features of that era. Since the building has been historically designated, the front had to be left as originally designed but the other sides have had modern-looking balconies and windows installed. It too boasts a common courtyard. These 2 buildings are the only true lofts in the Annex.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ducks on Guard

When you have a newly seeded lawn it is hard to keep people and pets from walking on it. A local gardener has solved this problem by hiring on yellow ducks (some with their own life preservers) and frogs to stand guard over the planting. Not sure if the caution tape is needed as ducks can be fierce!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Annex Redo

Just up the street from yesterday's loft conversion, you will find this nicely done renovation of a typical early 20th century home. The modernization has been tastefully executed resulting in a home that still fits in well with the surrounding neighbourhood. This modern style can also be found in many of the new in-fill homes in the area, which I will be exploring throughout the summer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

From School to Lofts

Many of the schools in Toronto are being declared surplus for various reasons (funding, population changes, etc) and some are being converted to other uses. One of the nicest conversions is the Schoolhouse Lofts in the Annex area. The 1950's art-deco inspired school has been converted into 19 wonderful lofts with great high ceilings and a super courtyard behind the building.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Artist Windows

Floorworks, a local flooring company, commissions artists to decorate their front window display. The canvas is two 14' tall walls and the artist is given free rein - some work better than others but it is always interesting. The present one is really bright and quirky - not sure what they are but I like the creatures/organisms.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seaton Village Infill

Seaton Village is a small residential area just west of the Annex in downtown Toronto. Most homes there are brick semi- detached or 2-3 storey detached. Lately there have been some interesting infill houses being built. This is one of the nicest and also the most environmentally friendly. It has a green roof of sedums and grasses and also huge windows that open for cross ventilation as well as other efficient features .

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pink Truck

I looked out the window and there was a beautiful pink cement truck! St Mary's CBM, a construction product company, has painted 1 of its trucks pink to raise awareness about breast cancer and to raise money for the pink ribbon movement by selling models of the truck. It's very striking and must get a lot of attention at every construction site it enters.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Annex Special

This Annex home shows the typical turret and has 2 balconies, but the best part of it for me is the wonderful brickwork across the front. The woven texture and the colouring of the old bricks is incredible. It is great that it has been so well maintained.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Korea Town Planters

The Korea Town BIA (Business Improvement Association) and the city of Toronto are paying artists to paint scenes on the planters along Bloor St in the Korea Town area. It will clean up the planters and hopefully stop some of the tagging that happens. Will show some finished projects later.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bike Rings

The City of Toronto installs these rings all over the city but usually not this many in a row. These are outside the Wychwood Barns, a former bus maintenance yard that has been turned into a community centre with artist studios, greenhouses, dog park, and more. This pic was taken early morning before the crowds arrived.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dupont St Gate

These huge gates (about 20' high) are found just outside the Dupont St subway station which was featured yesterday. Designed by Ron Baird in 1977, the interlocking doors hide a TTC electrical substation.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dupont Subway Station

This is the Dupont St station of the Toronto subway system. Designed by Dunlop-Farrow Architects, it was opened in 1978 as part of the subway line extension. Very 70s in style, its bubble shape is carried through the station interior where most of the surfaces and furniture are rounded and earth coloured, giving one the feeling of being in a cave.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don Mills Clock Tower

This clock tower,designed by Douglas Coupland, can be found at "the Shops of Don Mills" a plaza newly redesigned and constructed in the north part of the city. The houses on the clock were inspired by the surrounding suburb which was developed from 1953 to 67 and was the first fully planned and integrated community constructed post WW2 in N America. The actual clock is in the digital read out on the tower below the houses.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Annex Porch

Many of the Annex homes have wonderful porches - this is one of the best. Perfect spot for sitting out for an alfresco meal or for summertime reading.