Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Multiculture in Toronto

Although part of Little Portugal, Ossington Ave has a bit of a Cuban flavor and even has a cigar factory and so from August 18 -21 the "Havana Cultura Toronto" had various events along the strip. During the event this Cuban-inspired mural was painted towards the back wall of yesterday's Levack Block building. The artist is Angel Carrillo who is known for several commissioned murals around town. I am not sure if it is to be permanent or will be painted over for some future mural.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Ossington Ave Strip

This is a typical building from the Ossington Ave strip (part of little Portugal). The building, called the Levack Block, was built in 1891 and was very run-down until being purchased in 2006 by a brother and sister who fixed parts up and opened a bar, "Levack Block" with cool vintage furnishings, in the corner space. Since then a couple more of the stores have been fixed up and the change-over continues up the block!

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Something Red"

I missed it but the Tom Walmsley play, "Something Red" was playing on Ossington Ave earlier this summer . This street is one of those transitional streets where the rents are cheap and old dives and stores that have been there for years are being replaced by hip restaurants and bars with no signs (you have to be in the know to go there) and other trendy shops. So this type of signage for a play is perfect for the area!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Elegant Days

I discovered this wonderful display of vintage dresses in a store just down the street from the Lakeview restaurant of a few days ago. The deep brown velvet one in the middle first caught my eye (hard to show its details) but I loved all three. Where could I wear them?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

'62 Triumph TR4

A few of my favourite things - anything red, old cars, sports cars, among other things. So you can only imagine how quickly I pulled over when I saw this beauty in a Home Depot parking lot. It was lovely - mint condition, beautiful leather interior - surely they weren't going to transport building supplies in this!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lakeview Restaurant

The Lakeview Restaurant was established in 1932 and amazingly its original interior (with soda bar and booths) and the wonderful chrome detailing outside have remained intact even though its ownership has changed many times. In 1947 they renamed it the Lakeview Lunch and a super neon sign hung over the sidewalk until 2010 when new owners discovered that the sign was heavily corroded and dangerous and so it was removed and the original name was taken. The cute little French Bulldog tied by the door got that couple to stop and pet him!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The "Good Bike" Project

Two young women have been getting non-repairable bikes from the salvage dump and painting them up in neon colours, adding "Good Bike" lettering and then chaining them around the city in places that they feel are 'good'. So far there are about 50 of them sprinkled about as part of this urban art project. I found this one in front of the Tarragon Theatre. They do grab your attention and make you wonder "what good thing is here?"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little Portugal

I went wandering along Dundas St West, which is the heart of our Little Portugal, where you will find all kinds of Portuguese bakeries, cafes, and shops and spotted this very clean mural which replicates the art work from the banners which are are on lampposts throughout the area. You can see part of one of these in the upper left. We have a very large Portuguese population in Toronto which is well served along this street! Perhaps someone can tell us why the rooster is the national symbol of Portugal - I found several versions of the story.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Man in a Hat

I was taking a shortcut through a laneway behind Bloor St and happened upon this mural of a rather formal-looking guy. Although the mural has some graffiti elements about it, I quite like it. He doesn't look very happy though!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Yellow Door

I love a blast of colour and this homeowner in the Annex has painted the whole house blue and then punched it up with this great door. I am betting that the inside of this house is not white!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Superb Balcony

Just a block over from yesterday's Annex house is this beautifully restored Victorian with probably the best balcony in the neighbourhood. Built in 1899 this house was up for sale this year at $2.5 million and at the time had interior pics posted on-line - just as gorgeous as you would expect. A wonderful den/library opens out onto that balcony - I'd love to sit up there with a book and a big pot of tea! I have no idea what 'Us Thus' refers to.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lush Annex

I love the entrance to this large home in the Annex area - every spare inch of the property has lovely plantings resulting in this lush, inviting scene. Even on a hot day like this (30˚C) it is refreshing!

Friday, August 19, 2011

"The Audience"

Although not one of my favourite sculptures in the city "The Audience" by renowned Toronto artist Michael Snow is one of the most visible. It consists of 2 groupings of figures high over the north entrances to our baseball stadium, The Rogers Centre (previously known as the Skydome). The sculpture, installed in 1989, represents sports fans in various poses of celebration and I decided to show this one because of the photographer in the bottom row - another sculpture of a photographer - hurray!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Laneway Loft

This what I think of when I think of a loft - something that has been converted from a factory and not something built new and called a "loft". This particular space with the wide loading doors which look out onto railway tracks with a lot of trees along them looks so funky - I'd love to see inside. A friend lived in the fabulous space beside it but didn't have these great doors!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gentle As A Lamb

Gentle is not the usual adjective used for a real estate agent but this nice pictorial pun for a local realtor is certainly that. Love this sign and its cute lamb which appears on the gate to his parking lot.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fish Out of Water

You will have to take my word for it but this is a fabulous fountain when it is working - 3,000 to 4,000 gallons per minute of water come tumbling over the granite steps giving the impression that the 60 stainless steel salmon are leaping up over rapids, through the granite wall, and out to a smaller stream in the back. Titled "Salmon Run" and by Toronto artist Susan Schelle, since its installation in 1991 outside our baseball stadium it has only worked for short time periods. A big fix was supposedly done and it was re-commissioned in 2005 but as you can see it didn't fix the problems. I remain hopeful but not optimistic that a solution will be found!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Starry Place

I took this pic yesterday a.m. so you have missed Britney Spears at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) last night. The ACC is most well-known here for being the arena where our beloved (but perennial losing) Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team plays - it is nearly impossible to get tickets for a game. This sculpture, titled "Search Light, Star Light, Spot Light" by Canadian artist John McEwen was installed outside the centre in 1999 and each of the 3 huge beacons has 1,000 stars cut out of its Corten steel surface so that at night when lit from inside they glow just as the stars who play and perform inside the centre do. But it is also a very crowded place at night - not the best for a pic!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gretzky Doors

Number 99 is famous in Canada for being the number worn by Wayne Gretzky, one of the best hockey players ever. The address for Wayne Gretzky's restaurant in Toronto is 99 Blue Jays Way and this is the front door. Love those handles (they are the blades from hockey skates) - hope those blades aren't sharpened!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

222 Gate

This rather elegant gate protects the entrance to a recently renovated building on a rather dismal west-end street. Hopefully some of the neighbouring building owners will become inspired to do a fix-up. The stylish gate makes me want to see what has been done inside!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cars of Summer 2

I was walking down to my local hardware store (which has been family-owned for 3 generations) and happened upon one of my favourite cars - a mid 60s Mustang convertible! And as you can see it is perfect weather here today for a convertible.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stan Walker Drugs Part 2

This is another of the windows from the old Stan Walker Drug store and you can see that this sign has suffered a bit more damage. Both the signs are back-painted glass and they face north so there is little direct sun on them hence their general good condition. The pressed tin detailing that wraps around the corner of the building has been kept in good shape too. I hadn't heard of Bromo-Seltzer in years but I guess you can still buy it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stan Walker Drugs

This would be what is called a ghost sign - one painted on a building for a long-gone business and which will slowly fade away. This lovely little building has been used as studio space for many years but the lovely signage from its days as Stan Walker Drugs is still intact. There are not many of these small independent drug stores left in Toronto - the big box stores have taken over!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wall Art

There are areas in Toronto that are quite hilly and require retaining walls to hold back the earth from the sidewalks and roads. Usually they are quite boring concrete structures as was this one until a couple of years ago when this wall was beautifully painted. I haven't been able to find the artist's name unfortunately!
Enlarge the pic for a better view.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Deco Doors

I seem to be doing things in pairs the last few days and so here are 2 great deco doors that are on another nearby studio building. They obviously need a little upkeep but I love the fact that they are similar and yet different and have so much character!
Very late today with this post - busy times this week.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old Fiats

There a lot of the new Fiat 500 cars showing up around Toronto but while I was out wandering I discovered these 2 old beauties in front of a local car upholsterer shop. I stupidly didn't look at the back of them for a logo but I think they may be the Fiat 500 Berlina from the mid 1960s. They are so cute and perfect for bopping about town!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fill Er Up Please

A friend has moved their studio into an old factory building and parked in the courtyard of the complex is this cool pair of old gas pumps. I have never heard of Regent Gasoline before but according to Wikipedia it is/was owned by Texaco. Love the cool retro 40s curves of these guys and it's nice they have been left intact!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Men at Work

This is just a section of a sculpture by Kirk Nelson which I showed you before (click here and here to see it). I happened to be going by as some maintenance was being done to the pieces and thought that the workers fit in beautifully! Gave me a chuckle - that is the photographer figure being touched up on the right.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bike Stands at the ROM 7

One last bike stand for now and it too is from the ROM. I have gone by several times and there are always bikes on this one but I have a feeling that they are permanent installations judging by the rust on the bikes. There seem to be a few people in the city who are into locking bikes to bike stands and abandoning them there forever - who knows why! Anyway this stand is a beauty - a wonderful zebra representing the mammal collection of the museum.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Museum Sign

This sign can be found along the east-facing wall of the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) which is where all the bike stands that I have been showing you are located. This lovely 1933 addition to the museum has wonderful carvings and stained glass windows along its length in total contrast to the controversial modern "Crystal" addition. I thought this sign captured one of the aspects of the museum perfectly!
Taking part in Signs,Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bike Stands at the ROM 6

I'm in a bike groove this week so here is another bike stand from the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) - couldn't even guess what this one is supposed to represent but I like it! Lots of places to attach a lock.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bike Stands at the ROM 5

Based on the ROM's collection of ancient ceramics, this stand gives lots of spaces for locking a bike. I have just spent a long time trying to figure out what type of pitcher this would be but no luck!