Monday, October 31, 2011

Little Italy / Little Portugal

As you head west along College St the street starts to change from an Italian flavour to a Portuguese one and this typically Portuguese mural at Crawford St is a good indication of that changeover. It was installed in 1988 on the side of a building which was at the time a Portuguese community centre but which became a night club years ago. There is still a Portuguese presence with a dance club in the lower level and a few Portuguese offices but most of the building is now "The Mod Club". The tiles are still in pretty good shape after all these years!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Johnny Lombardi - Little Italy

If there was to be a king of Little Italy, it would be Johnny Lombardi who was a pioneer in the promotion of Toronto's cultural diversity. He opened an Italian grocery store on College St in 1946, and then went on to start CHIN Radio which now broadcasts in 30 languages and the CHIN Picnic which attracts more than 250,000 people for 3 days each summer. After his death in 2002, the city, local businesses and his family created the Piazza Johnny Lombardi at College & Grace St which is where you will find this bronze sculpture of Johnny surveying the scene and talking to a young boy! The artists were Veronica & Edwin Dam de Nogales.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cafe Diplomatico - Little Italy

The heart of Little Italy on College St is arguably "Cafe Diplomatico" which was opened in 1968 by 2 brothers with the intention of starting a typical Italian bar for morning coffee and gossip. They opened a patio (which was unheard of in Toronto at the time) and the rest is history. It became so popular that it evolved into a full restaurant, is run by the same family, and the patio still remains the most popular (and hardest to get a seat at) along the strip with its delicious Italian food and wonderful atmosphere. With the sun warming the patio it will be busy like this all weekend and every other sunny day until the snow flies!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Little Italy Mural

I spotted this mural on the side of a building along College St in Little Italy. It was done by a group called Under the Radar TO which is a youth-led social enterprise that does graphic design, murals, and screen printing. This lovely warm scene is said to represent a typical College St cafe scene but to me it shows the gatherings of pleasant older gentleman on benches along the street who sit and talk and watch the world go by - especially the good-looking young women!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I met Mia last week when she was 12 weeks old and then just saw her a couple of days ago and she is really growing. A real cutie, she finally had a leash put on her in order to give her 12 year old German Shepherd housemate a bit of a rest! Love those ears.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Turtle in The City

I was parked illegally right beside police headquarters, waiting for someone, when I spotted this wonderful turtle and chevron pattern so of course I grabbed the camera and jumped out for a quick pic. I think the door is a back entrance to the "Native Child And Family Services of Toronto" building which is located a block south. Their building is on my list of places for next year's Doors Open since it is supposed to be fabulous inside. I rather liked the effect of the guy rushing through my shot!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eclectic Fence

I had heard about a cool fence in the Cedarvale neighbourhood and finally went looking for it this week only to discover a wonderful funky installation running along the front of a rather normal-looking house. This is just 1 section of the fence which has all manner of things welded and attached to it - door knobs, chains, springs, cups, t-pot, child's mug with name engraved, taps, etc. One can only imagine what the neighbours thought at first but most of the things now have a nice soft patina of rust which makes the whole thing quite pleasant! Enlarge for a better look.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Below Casa Loma

Somehow as I wandered past this view up the hill of Casa Loma through the lane behind the Castle Hill Townhomes it reminded me of some of those English lanes I had explored. The lane provides access to the garages of these $M+ townhouses that were built in the 1990s despite much local resistance from people worried about losing their view of the landmark.
This was 1 of the few sunny days of late!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cromer Rainbow

I am going to end my English pics with this rainbow captured on the seawall in Cromer looking out to the North Sea. A slight mist moved in over the beach creating a rainbow that started on the beach and ended just a bit along on the beach. I had my back to a wall so couldn't get back any further to catch the bottom ends but it was magnificent! No gold though!
It's finally sunny here so I am heading out for a walk - will catch up on your posts later.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Vines Pub - Liverpool

I have to admit to visiting many pubs during my English holiday but none as ornate as this baroque beauty in central Liverpool. The Vines was built in 1867 but remodelled in 1907 by architect Walter Thomas. It is a spectacular sight and serves excellent ales!
I will be back to my Toronto Pics next week - hope we get some sunny days for shooting.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park - Jaume Plensa 3

I will leave the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with another of Plensa's outdoor works, "Spiegel", that is located up a hill and as a result is visible from all over the park. Each of these 2 figures is just over 12 ft tall and is composed of hundreds of steel letters from 8 different alphabets which are then welded together to form the piece. I think the Plensa show is on until some time in January so if you have the chance try to see it. The show and the whole park is wonderful and I have only shown a tiny bit of the collection!
Enlarge to see the details.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park - Jaume Plensa 2

Here is a pic of the same Plensa alabaster heads from yesterday's post showing a couple of people walking among them on the left. The lighting was very low in the galleries and photos were allowed but no flash so it is a bit difficult to see the spectators although they do give you an idea of the scale of these marvelous pieces!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park - Jaume Plensa

Being the featured artist right now at the sculpture park, Jaume Plensa not only has several large-scale outside installations but he also has pieces in the 5 indoor galleries. These alabaster heads stand about 5 to 6 ft tall and are fabulous in real life - imagine walking into this darkened room and discovering these glowing wonders and being able to walk among them!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park - Andy Goldsworthy

I have several of Andy Goldsworthy's books but had never seen any of his work in real life so was thrilled to realize he had some pieces in the park - not the strategically balanced temporary installations he often does but permanent ones using dry stone walls. This pic shows one of 3 enclosures with a tree hanging in the centre created along the run of a really long stone wall. The stones were built around the branches with typical Goldsworthy precision. The whole work is titled "Hanging Trees" - an obvious choice! Enlarge for a better view.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park - Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth who was born in nearby Wakefield is well-represented at the sculpture park with an edition of her "Family of Man" installed on a lovely hill but it is this bronze piece, "Squares With Two Circles" from 1963, that really caught my eye. I've long been a fan of her work and it was wonderful to see this one!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park - Henry Moore

Henry Moore was born within 15 miles of the sculpture park and as a result he is well represented there thanks to the Henry Moore Foundation and is in fact probably the most represented of all the artists. It is fabulous to see these large bronzes such as this work from 1969-70 in this wonderful landscape!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

One of the main destinations I had for my English holiday was to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. This incredible park consists of 500 acres of rolling countryside (a former estate) with large sculptures scattered about and 5 galleries in the main visitor centre for short term shows. The more than 60 pieces of the outdoor collection includes many works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Andy Goldsworthy, and others. During my visit there was an incredible exhibition by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa that included large outdoor pieces like these large wire heads titled "Irma-Nuria" and a series of smaller pieces in the galleries. Click on the pic to see these pieces better!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Peak District House

I will soon return to posting Toronto pics but have a few more to show from my travels in England. While traveling through the gorgeous Peak District north of Ashbourne we came across the wonderful little village of Ilam which is known for the Ilam National Trust Park but I found a small group of homes built in this really unusual 'chalet' style to be fascinating. I could find no info about them at all but I loved them and each one was surrounded by lovely gardens making for a beautiful view!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Another Place"

This is one of those cases where the camera can not possibly capture what the eyes can see. Just north of Liverpool along Crosby Beach, an installation titled "Another Place" by Antony Gormley has been installed in the Irish Sea since 2005. This work consists of 100 of these life-size cast iron sculptures spread along 3 km of the beach and stretching almost 1 km out to sea! I was there at low tide (as you can tell from by the man in the pic) and can't put into words the impact of these figures all staring in one direction out to sea. I can only imagine what it might be like to spend the day watching them disappear and reappear as the tides change. If you ever get the chance - go there to see them!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"The Beatles Story" Liverpool

The Beatles story is an exhibition in the Albert Dock complex located on the Mersey River in Liverpool. The Albert Dock is now one of the top tourist attractions in Liverpool but was built in 1848 as a complex of warehouses and dock buildings and was used in this way until the 1970s when it was found to be unsuitable for modern uses. It was redeveloped in the 80s and reopened as a beautiful centre of hotels , restaurants, shops, The Beatles Story, and the Tate Liverpool gallery. I didn't do the Beatles Story ( have my own Beatles memories ) but did hit the Tate for a wonderful Magritte show!
Taking part in Signs. Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Norfolk Flint Construction

I couldn't leave my north Norfolk coast posts without showing another of the wonderful flint and brick houses. This lovely little cottage and wall is in another of the beautiful little towns along the coast - possibly Wells next the Sea but my pics got a bit confusing so it could be in Holt. This is such a lovely area of England and one of the driest parts of Britain!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The North Sea

At the back of the garden belonging to yesterday's house there is a public walkway which runs along the edge of the cliff in Cromer. This is the wonderful view of the North Sea from the walkway! This area is known for its fresh crabs and as you walk along the beach you can see all the markers for the traps out in the water. You can walk east along the beach or the cliffside walkway to the next town, Overstrand, which is just 1.5 mi away - super for walking the dog as you can see if you enlarge this pic.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

North Norfolk

I spent a week in Cromer, north of Norwich, an old Victorian sea resort on the North Sea coast of Norfolk. The typical old architecture of this area along the coast involves brick and flint stones often making lovely patterns as in this house and long walls of flint stones running along the roadways. So unlike anything I have seen elsewhere! This house looked out over the North Sea - will show the view tomorrow.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"I Goat" in Spitalfields

Spitalfields has been the site of a market in London since the 13th century and through the centuries has evolved into a now permanent old market hall within a 1990's development called "Bishops Square". A sculpture competition for a major installation was held last year and the winner was "I Goat" by Scottish artist Kenny Hunter. The 3.5m high sculpture was unveiled in January '11 and is said to reference the waves of migration that have influenced this area. It seems a suitable image for a market area!

Friday, October 7, 2011

"A Captive Audience" at the Victoria & Albert Museum

I only had a couple of hours at the Victoria & Albert and could have spent a few days at least - incredible collection! I loved this piece, "A Captive Audience" by British artist David Reekie, from the contemporary glass section - it sat there glowing away in its case. There is always a rebel to be found even in a cloned group as our man in the back proves!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Arcade in London

To me an arcade is a place where games are played so imagine my surprise when I peeked into this arcade to find an elegant shopping centre. London has many of these passageways that run between streets and that were probably precursors to our modern-day malls. I love the architecture, colour and atmosphere of this one - unfortunately didn't get its name!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ghost Sign in London

I spotted this wonderful green and gold tiled sign and the carved date stone on what is now an apartment building in Fitzrovia but must have been a commercial establishment in the past. The building itself had a lot of little carvings scattered about but I really liked this Art Nouveau sign the best!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rising Sun Pub

I find the old pubs in England so fascinating - both for the idea that a business can last so long and for their unique architecture. This pub, the Rising Sun on Tottenham Ct, was established on this corner in 1730 and rebuilt in 1897. I came across it on a beautiful sunny day just glowing away, as you can see, and I can still remember the thrill of seeing it. This is the weather I had for the whole 19 days in England - no rain!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A London Lane

You all know how I love to wander down lanes so when I spotted this one shortly after checking into my hotel I couldn't resist. Already quite narrow it continued straight along (where the cyclist is heading) to an even more narrow lane that was actually more of a tunnel! Turning to the right the lane came to an end at the quirky little studio of a graphic designer. It was the perfect start to my English adventures.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Craftsman

I am going to continue the mural theme while I attempt to get back onto North American time and get into my holiday pics! This mural is actually on the other side of the building from yesterday's pic and is so unlike it in style. It is really well done and seems to be done by a commercial mural company rather than an individual artist. Love the concentration of this traditional craftsman as he weaves his nets.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dupont Mural North

I am back and feeling a bit foggy from jet lag so thought this mural was suitable for today with its dreamlike images. I took this shot before I left and I was standing above the bike mural of the last couple of days as it is directly across the road. I have been unable to find out the artist info on this one.
I hope to visit all your blogs soon and get caught up on all I have missed for the last 3 weeks - I almost forgot how to do this post!