Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vegan Mural

I love this mural - so vibrant! This is just part of the wonderful mural, by artist Aaron Li-Hill, that covers the wall of One Love Vegetarian Cafe which specializes in Caribbean-influenced vegan meals (great rotis!). Both the food and the mural are great additions to the Annex.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lounging with Kitty in Yorkville

Another pic from outside a Yorkville gallery. This bronze sculpture, titled "Ze'ev With Cat", is by artist Boaz Vaadia and continues his work that began by using flat sheets of stone carved and then piled to form his shapes. He now sculpts and then casts in bronze to achieve the same look.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Businessman in Yorkville

This bronze sculpture, titled "Che Fa?", is located outside another of Yorkville's many galleries. It is by Canadian artist William McElcheran who is most well known for his figures of businessmen which can be found in several sites throughout Toronto. You can see a smaller one of his figures in the gallery window.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall in Yorkville

We have had nice fall weather this week so all the mums and other fall flowers have been flourishing. This lane in Yorkville was particularly pretty as the stores and restaurants have obviously coordinated their displays.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Play Ball

Monday I stumbled across this quirky sculpture of a Toronto Blue Jay outside of a gallery in Yorkville. Seems fitting to post it on the 1st day of the World Series. The artist is Patrick Amiot, originally from Montreal but now living in California where he creates his pieces entirely from scrap (old tanks, clocks, etc,) and then his wife Brigitte Laurent paints them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chihuly Canopy Close-up

This is a hard piece to shoot because there is a plexi (or glass?) cover over the bottom of the canopy and it creates a lot of reflection. If I owned any 1 of these 80 pieces in this sculpture I would be over the moon. It is lit at night but downtown Toronto is a busy place in the evenings - hard for parking, lots of crowds. I'll be in the area at night in a few weeks and will try for an illuminated pic!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chihuly Canopy

One of the most interesting entrances to a hotel has to be at the Soho Metropolitan in the theatre district. Its entrance is topped by a canopy which includes a Dale Chihuly sculpture consisting of 80 incredible glass pieces. The canopy by the American glass master was installed in 2003 and is rumoured to have cost $500,000!. I'll post a detail shot tomorrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

They're Falling

Yesterday started off as a beautiful sunny day but ended with lots of rain so luckily I was able to capture some nice leaves and trees along a quiet street of Victorian homes before the sun disappeared.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Prairie Dog

This is a close-up of one of the animals from yesterday's post - the prairie dog. All the animals seem to be native wild animals - there is a lynx, rabbit, wolf, etc. I love how they have each been framed and set on a cantilever. There are also several bas-relief animals scattered about the walls of the complex which have been saved from the old building and re-installed here too. They really humanize the institutional walls of the hospital.

Friday, October 22, 2010

All The animals in a Row

The other side of the courtyard from yesterday's post has this wonderful row of limestone frames each containing a sculpture of an animal. These pieces were installed at the old hospital and were moved here for the kids to continue enjoying them and to make this area even more friendly. Haven't been able to find out the artist's name.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dancing Koi

As you approach the courtyard at the left in yesterday's pic you can hear a lot of water noises and rounding the corner you encounter this whole school of bronze Koi in a pool of river-washed rocks. Titled "Dancing Koi", the sounds struck me more as "Giggling Koi" - it has a very happy sound. The perfect setting for people to relax in during their time at the rehab hospital.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital

This great swoop of a building is the Holland wing of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital which is Canada's largest pediatric rehabilitation & teaching hospital. This new building and grounds, designed by architects Montgomery Sisam, was finished in 2006 and occupies 11 acres bordering a wonderful ravine and is totally accessible inside & out. The area to the left in this photo contains a courtyard which I will explore over the next few days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

City Hall Food

This shot is from the end of summer when we still had hot weather and were eating outside. This area on Queen St in front of city hall is a favourite place for people to grab a quick lunch from the many trucks and carts selling mostly hot dogs & sausages. This truck has gone well beyond that limited menu - looks like a cross-section of international foods!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Urban Cows

One of the most popular sculptures in Toronto is "The Pasture", a group of 7 life-size bronze cows by Canadian artist Joe Fafard. Installed in 1985 in the heart of the financial district, their original pasture is right beside the modernist towers of the TD Centre designed by architect Mies van der Rohe but they have been relocated to across the road temporarily while work is done at the TD. Conceptually they have to be the best in the city and to see them surrounded by people at lunch hour only reinforces that - everyone seems to be able to relate to them!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Laneway Gardening

I was wandering laneways again this morning and was startled to come across this quite large flower - it looked pretty startled too. It was really well done and certainly brightened the area and since it was dated as 2008 it's nice to see that no one has tagged it in all that time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pottery & Glass Show

There are a lot of craft/art shows in Toronto throughout the year but especially in the fall. This weekend the Ontario potters & glassblowers association (Fusion) has their annual show. These fused glass plates are by artist Don McClennen - I especially love the one on the left! It's hard to avoid reflections but the patterns come through okay , I hope.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dominoes Anyone?

This granite sculpture/bench of giant domino pieces is located at one of the busiest corners in Toronto, Spadina and Bloor. It took a few trips back there to get a shot when the pieces weren't totally covered by people! Designed by artists Susan Schelle & Mark Gomes, the pieces each feature a leaf on the back typical of the Carolinian forest that once grew here and the pieces themselves reference the domino games that were often played here. Installed as part of the Toronto transit improvements, the area also features a small treed parkette with lots of seating.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Open-air Bookstore

A fellow had parked his van on Bloor St near U of Toronto and then proceeded to set up a display of books for sale. He seemed to be spending most of his time sweeping falling leaves from the books rather than selling.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Feeling Scattered

This wonderful bronze sculpture, titled "Pi", is located in a nice alcove in the financial district. Created by Canadian artist Evan Penny, it was installed in 1996 - not sure what the pi connection is. The back section of each part has cutouts that form a place for seating - nice place for lunch!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ravine House

Hidden away behind the trees and surrounded by tall grasses is "Ravine House" probably my favourite in Toronto. Designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg architects, it was built in 2001 in Rosedale, one of the wealthiest and highest priced neighbourhoods in Canada - where the 'old' money lives. It is a beautifully treed area with most of the homes constructed in the late 1800s so this award winner stands out as a brilliant example of modern architecture. Will have to return in winter when we can see it better.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"City People"

This sculpture, "City People", by American born artist Catherine Widgery is located on Front St across from Union Station (our main train/transit station). Installed in 1989, it consists a couple of dozen figures in painted aluminum. Some are stationary and mounted on the wall but if you continue up the stairs to the deck many are mounted on pedestals and move in the wind. It is a very cheerful installation and on an early Sunday morning these bystanders fit in perfectly.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pace Yourself

I love these handles on the doors of a men's wear store. It is in the financial district of Toronto and caters to stockbrokers etc but it's nice to see that they have a touch of whimsy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wychwood Barns Farmers Market

This Monday is Thanksgiving here so all the farmers markets are doing great business this weekend. This shot is from the Wychwood Barns market this morning and luckily the crowd thinned out for a few seconds so I could get a shot of some of the veggies available - some really exotic squash at this booth. This market is one of the best - great variety of fresh foods and delicious prepared foods too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Maple Glory

This is Toronto today - gorgeous blue sky, some leaves starting to turn, and warm! And our Maple Leafs won their season opener last night. Everyone is smiling - too bad this can't last.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hockey Night in Canada

Today is the opening day of the NHL (National Hockey League) and this is a huge event in Toronto. Our Maple Leafs haven't won the Stanley Cup since 1967, but the beginning of a new season fills everyone with hope - the newspapers are full of hockey, newscasts are brimming with interviews, even part of our main street, Yonge St, is shut down for hockey events. All the sports bars will be packed and this pic shows one of the most popular ones - Wayne Gretzky's ( "the Great One", #99). The best part for me is the hockey player on the roof which revolves and is exactly like the players in the old table-hockey games!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Howland Court

The Annex is not totally large homes with a few high rises - there are actually a few low rise apartments too and this is one of the more interesting-looking ones. This lovely archway leads into an interior courtyard with gardens and bike parking. Love the metalwork!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Annex Modern

Just up the street from yesterday's post there used to be a small (for the Annex) older house which has been torn down and this modern house is just being finished off now. Looking through the windows during construction you could see how the inside is brightened by skylights and tall windows like the one visible on the left. It's quite the contrast with the rest of the homes in the area that are all turn of the 20th century. I'd love to have a tour of the inside.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Turret on Admiral

This is a detail shot from one of my favourite houses in the Annex. Designed by architect Charles Gibson in the Queen Ann style, it was built in 1897 and has been beautifully restored and renovated in the last several years. Probably the loveliest street in the Annex, it is home to many consulates and celebrities such as author Margaret Atwood. The turret and the wonderful glass in it makes this place a stand-out!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Flowers

As our summer flowers start to fade and get hit by the cold all the grocery stores and even small corner stores are loaded up with fall flowers - mostly chrysanthemums which can survive a fair amount of frost and keep us cheered up for a few more weeks. I bought the yellow ones - the brighter the better!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I have been watching the construction of this house all summer and it finally seems to be occupied and nearly completed (if anything is ever complete). Designed by architect firm "Setless Studio", it is located along a laneway leading from Dupont St in what was a lot with a sheetmetal workshop behind a tiny house. The Corten steel has oxidized beautifully and combined with the plantings/privacy screen it presents a very warm image to the street and lane.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Uno Prii on Huron St

Time for another of the Uno Prii gems from the Annex. This apartment building, called the Brazil Towers, was built in 1966 and shows Prii's mastery of modernism. The balcony railings were originally white and I seem to remember them being more fanciful than these present ones but the building can still bring a smile to passersby. He even designed semicircular walls opening onto the circular balconies in the front apartments!