Monday, December 31, 2012

After The Snow

This is the view along Davenport Rd taken last week after our first snow of the year. The main roads and sidewalks are cleared fairly quickly so it is easy to get out and enjoy the fresh snow before it gets dirty. 
I wish everyone a Happy New Year's and look forward to a super 2013 for all! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Playing In Snow

Kids and dogs love snow and these 2 kids were having a great time on this little slide as it spit them out onto the snow!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pictures In The Snow

Everyone seemed to be carrying a camera or an i-phone to catch shots of the beautiful snowfall. This couple was following a route similar to mine as I wandered up the hill to Casa Loma and they probably took more pics than I did!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Snow At Last

We finally got some snow here during Wednesday night - about 10cm - and Thursday was perfect for walking about in it so you will be seeing snow pics for the next few days.  This is a shot along the stone wall that surrounds Casa Loma's grounds. There was no wind so the snow was hanging on to all the bumps beautifully!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Clear Night

I'm pre-posting this shot that I took a few weeks ago of part of the Toronto skyline with the CN Tower all lit up as usual. It's lights run up and down the sides and change colours constantly too so it is fun to watch. If we got the snow that was forecast, I am out and about taking pics as you view this!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

After The Frenzy

Boxing Day is the day to recover from all the food and drink of the last few days unless you are a shopper looking for bargains! I tend to need a little peace and quiet so a walk along the lakeshore is perfect. We are supposed to get major snow starting this afternoon which will be our first of the season and if we do I will be out to capture some more typical winter scenes. Hope everyone is well after all the celebrations!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

These 12' tall LED, trumpeting angels are part of the main light display in Little Italy. The colours are constantly changing so it was very hard for me to decide which colour to post but I love this blue angel.
Merry Christmas to all of you who are celebrating and good wishes to everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Little Italy Christmas Rush

The Little Italy neighbourhood along College St has been decorated with these Christmas trees by the local Business Improvement Area (BIA). Together with the lighted silhouettes of Italy it makes for a cheerful display along the street as people rush about going to the various stores and restaurants along the street. 
Merry Christmas Eve to everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Cactus

My Christmas Cactus is putting on its usual show for the season, something that is greatly appreciated during this dull weather we have been enduring. It has never failed to bloom for the last 7 years!  I hope there is a bit of colour in your world today.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lakeshore Strollers

You can sometime see some strange sights when walking along the boardwalk by the lakeshore but these concrete dinosaurs are actually part of the children's playground located beside the bathing pavilion of the last few days. They are a bit startling at first but the kids love crawling all over them!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Season Over - Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

This is the side of the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion facing out onto the beach and Lake Ontario, now all closed for the season with boats from rowing clubs stored under the arches. In summer there is a cafe under the arches and outside along behind the fence which is beside the boardwalk. It's still a nice place for a stroll now if the weather isn't too windy but no sunbathers are to be found on the beach!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Courtyard At The Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

This is the main courtyard inside the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion which looks great even closed up for the winter, but imagine it with the fountain going and lots of flowers planted. Perfect for a summer wedding and apparently they can seat 500 people for dinner in here. As you can see there are several different places for events inside the pavilion including 2 upper terraces the look out over Lake Ontario as well as a cafe which is right out on the beach.  I'll show you the beachside view tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

The Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion has been on Sunnyside Beach in west-end Toronto since 1922 when this area was a huge amusement park. In 1955 the city decided that an expressway was needed to ease traffic congestion downtown and the park was closed to enable the Gardiner Expressway to be built through the area. The pavilion remains on the beach and was declared a historic site in 1975 before being restored in 1980. It is still used for changing facilities but also houses a cafe and other spaces used for weddings and corporate events, but not during the winter! I'll show you some more shots over the next couple of days. Most of the Lakeshore pics I have shown you were taken in this area.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Big Yellow Bird Part 2

This is the long second part of yesterday's mural that our big yellow bird is pointing to in yesterday's pic. A couple of other familiar cartoon characters have made an appearance here and there also seems to be some additional signatures on the wall so maybe UB5000 had some collaborators on this one. It's quite a wall and the home owners must have commissioned it since it is so large and so detailed.

Monday, December 17, 2012

BIg Yellow Bird

I finally tracked down this very big yellow bird, and smaller friends, by UB5000 which I think has been painted just recently on the side of a house and running the whole length along the laneway. I'll show you the other half of this one tomorrow.  You have to love his yellow birds!
Taking part in MondayMurals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Moore Once More

My last pic from the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre at the AGO. I was also surprised that I could take pics in here but there were no signs and I asked a guard who wandered through while I was there and he said it was fine. It really is a wonderful space in which to view these pieces - somehow the plaster works seem so personal as opposed to when they have been cast in bronze. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More Moore

Another pic of the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre taken at night, this time with a bit more light. This is still just part of the collection of plaster maquettes in the centre. I love the reflections on the floor!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moore At Night

I have been in the Henry Moore Sculpture centre at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) many times but never at night before and I was totally enthralled with the atmosphere. The roof of the centre is all glass so during the day there is wonderful light from above but the lighting at night is magical especially since I was the only one there when I first entered the space. This is just 2 from the extensive collection of the original plaster maquettes, from which the bronze casts were done, that are on display here.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Famous Hug Me Tree

This tree stump is located just down the block from yesterday's Horseshoe Tavern and is rather famous around town. The stump was first painted by street artist Elicser in 1999 and it stood there until the summer of 2008 when its rotten roots gave way. The stump was moved to a gallery until 2009 when it was returned to its rightful spot now supported by a large steel plate at the bottom! Elicser refreshes the paint every year or so when needed. It is the prop for many a photo as you can imagine since it is located right in the heart of the Queen West area. I'm not sure if any birds have checked out those wee houses up top!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Horseshoe Anniversary

The Horseshoe Tavern on Queen St west opened on December 9 1947 meaning that this week it has celebrated its 65th Anniversary! The building started in 1861 as a blacksmith's shop before becoming the Horseshoe Tavern which opened as a eatery-tavern but is now a concert venue with no food. Through the years it has been a country music venue, then punk and now is mostly rock but you can find anything there really. Even the Rolling Stones have played there during one of their tour warm-ups when they were living here for months at a time. Rock on, Horseshoe!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Another Yellow Bird

Since I didn't have a yellow bird on my mural shot yesterday I thought I would post this fluffy yellow bird today. I'm not sure who he is but I found him at the Word On The Street in the kid's section so he must be from some daytime show or children's book. He was certainly popular with all the little ones!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Running In The Laneway

I stumbled upon a new (to me) laneway, just off Ossington Ave, last week which is lined with murals as the result of a beautification project but I have the feeling that this mural existed before the project. I had no luck finding the artist's name on this one. It's wonderful how they have wrapped the work around the corners of this doorway giving the runner a real sense of movement and a 3-D aspect to the work!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Elmsley Hall

I've gone into my archives for a sunny fall pic since it has been so dull and grey here lately. Elmsley Hall was designed by architects Brennan & Whale and built at St Michael's College at U of Toronto in 1955. The hall serves as a men's residence and this pic shows the attached power plant and 75' tall chimney which didn't have the clock (designed by Steven Fong) installed until 2005. I can't imagine it without the clock today! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I showed the door from one of the Munk School Of Global Affairs buildings yesterday and today this is a pic that I took last year of the enclosed arcade of the school's other building. This building was built in 1909 and designed by architect Eden Smith as 3 separate mens residences for U of T. In 2000, they were joined and remodeled by KPMB Architects (the same firm did yesterday's reno) to serve as the Munk School. This arcade was built along the side of the old structure with wonderful formal gardens out the windows on one side and the beautiful original red exterior on the other. I always love an arcade!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Restored Doorway

This is the wonderful doorway into the building at 315 Bloor St W which has just undergone a complete exterior restoration and an extensive interior remodel. It was designed by architects Burke & Horwood and constructed in 1909 as the headquarters of the Meteorological Service of Canada and remained so until 1971 when it was purchased  by U of Toronto and used as admissions offices until 2010. Renovations began and it is now part of the Munk School Of Global Affairs. I haven't seen the interior yet but if the care given to restoring the beautiful Miramichi sandstone facade is any indication it must be fabulous!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stainless "Chain"

This artwork of stainless steel cut to resemble a chain was designed by James McLeod and is suspended from a trellis in Massey Harris Park on King St W. The park is in the middle of what at one times was the huge complex of factory buildings of the Massey Harris company as well as its head office.  Today the factories have all been replaced by condos and even the old head office building is divided into lofts and so this small park gives all the residents a pleasant green space with grasses, small lawns, and even a splash pad. I have been back twice this week to try and catch  a shadow from this chain but the sun is not cooperating at all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Hobbit

My plans for the holidays will hopefully include a viewing of The Hobbit which was my favourite of Tolkien's books. I caught this pic in late fall when they were publicizing the movie by setting up a little Middle Earth display at the Word On The Street event.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Just up University Ave from "Rising" which I showed you on the weekend you will find 2 large bas-relief sculptures at either end of what was the Bank Of Canada building. The 20 ft tall pieces were designed by artist Cleeve Horne and installed during the building's construction in the late '50s. This one is a semi-abstract representation of a Canadian family and the pieces themselves are significant for being the first abstract public sculptures installed in Toronto. My how times have changed!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Having A Party

I have discovered some more of the little yellow birds by artist UB5000 and this time he has combined them with an assortment of faces and little fishes too. The bird on the boombox reminds me of a happy DJ so it could be a party going on! I like the wee high five bird down in the bottom right.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Rising" Bird

As you can see the stainless steel birds on yesterday's sculpture, "Rising", are very stylized and modern but they have all captured the essence of birds quite well. There are hundreds of them on the piece in all manner of poses and position. I really like the idea of some of them appearing scattered about the upper levels of the building's facade. I haven't seen the piece in sunlight but it must sparkle and glow!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Just unveiled in May of this year, this sculpture, titled "Rising", by Shanghai-based artist Zhang Huan is one of the most unusual ones I've seen. When approaching the piece it seems to be a dragon but when you start looking for the head you realize that the 'legs' are more like tree roots and that the piece is meant to resemble a tree rising up from the earth and is covered in birds. The $5 million stainless steel piece is in front of the 66 storey Shangri-La hotel/condo tower and the birds break away from the piece and you can even find them up on the very top edges of the building.  I'll give you a close-up tomorrow! Meanwhile, enlarge this pic for a better view.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Squirrels At Work

You will probably have to enlarge this pic to see that there are actually 6 black squirrels in this rather small tree beside Casa Loma, all of them totally intent on eating whatever kind of seeds those are on the tree. I couldn't resist a pic and as I stood there a lone grey squirrel was rushing over to get some food before everything was gone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Party Time - 1,000th Post!!

I couldn't decide which dress was the most perfect for celebrating my 1,000th post but would probably go for the little red number! I took this pic on Queen St West (one of my favourite haunts) showing lots of colour and a great reflection - all things that I like.
It's hard to believe that I've done 1,000 posts and still love doing it - I still get a thrill from everyone's comments, love visiting your blogs, and really feel that I have made friends all over the world! Hurray!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sanctuary For Hogs?

I came across this vegan restaurant, The Hogtown Vegan, by chance and totally love their sign with the wonderful pig. I've not eaten here but apparently they serve Southern comfort style food done totally vegan! Hogtown is one of the many nicknames for Toronto, this one based on the fact that the city has a long history of livestock processing. The menu looked intriguing and the reviews I found on-line were good so I think I will add this to my list of places to try!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Catalogue!

This float from the Santa Claus Parade really brought back memories of the arrival of the Christmas catalogues and the happy times spent studying them to decide what to ask Santa to bring. We used to get one from Eatons and one from Simpsons - both companies no longer exist but Simpson's was absorbed by Sears and so it was great to see them present this blast from the past!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Three Little Pigs Plus Wolf!

I really liked this float at the Santa Claus Parade and it seems so suitable for it to be sponsored by a building supply company! I don't think the wolf is going to have much luck knocking down the pigs' brick house even with that large sledge hammer. Little kids were seated on those wee stools towards the right side during the parade itself.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

100th Grey Cup

This float from the Santa Claus Parade honours the 100th Grey Cup championship game of the Canadian Football League which takes place today here in Toronto. The Grey Cup game is played in a different city each year and by chance our Toronto Argonauts qualified last weekend to play against the Calgary Stampeders so the weeklong party has been extra special this year and yesterday featured repeated attempts by the Calgary fans to ride a horse through the lobby of the Royal York Hotel (probably the most prestigious one in town). This tradition had started in 1948 by Calgary fans but the hotel held them off with security guards until finally relenting in mid-afternoon and then Marty, the horse, walked proudly through the lobby surrounded by excited fans!  Canadian football is similar to American but there are only 3 downs, a larger field, and other small scoring differences. Go Argos!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rock On!

I loved all the great colours and happy sea creatures in this float from the Santa Claus Parade. When the parade actually got going the tentacles of the octopus went up and down as he played on those drums. And check out that guitar player! The parade relies on corporate sponsors (no public money) and that is the reason that each float has such a prominent company sign on it. Without these companies there might be no parade!

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Farmer In The Dell"

This McDonald's float from the Santa Claus Parade is a replica of the float they had in the 1951 parade and according to the TV broadcast of the parade the animals are the same ones that were on the original float. They had been in storage for all that time! I really liked the little pigs.
Correction: I have done more research and apparently the float was from 1951 but it wasn't sponsored by McDonald's then. Thanks Paul!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gingerbread People On Parade

This is part of the Redpath Sugar float that accompanied yesterday's cute little truck. Almost all of the floats in the Santa Claus parade have little kids in costumes riding on them during the actual parade and on this one they would be sitting on those 'sugar cubes' at the edge of the float. I was taking these pics about 3 hours before the parade time so the kiddies had yet to arrive!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Acts Of Sweetness"

Redpath Sugar company not only had a float in the Santa Claus Parade but they also had this cute little truck (with decorations) in the parade as well. It is a 1947 Divco (Detroit Industrial Vehicle COmpany) truck like the ones that were commonly used to deliver milk when we still had milkmen. The trucks were made from 1926 until 1986 and this one was completely restored by Redpath to use as a promotional vehicle at many events. A lot of people were taking pics of it besides me!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mother Goose Leads Off The Santa Claus Parade

I was down to Bloor St early Sunday to check out the floats of the 108th Santa Claus Parade in Toronto, well before the parade began. Mother Goose has been in the parade since 1917 and is the traditional leader of the pack - she was looking quite good this year and happy for the sunshine! There were 28 floats and 22 marching bands in this years parade and I will show you some more of the floats over the next few days.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yellow Bird & Dragon

I hope no one is getting bored by the little yellow birds since I continue to come across them and I have just heard of a whole wall that UB5000 has completed and which I hope to find in the next few weeks. The birds always seem to be having so much fun, even when riding on a fire-breathing dragon or flying  in a fighter jet!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Riding On The Boardwalk

This is yet another shoot from last week's lakeshore walk, taken while I was standing among the willows of the last few days and looking towards Lake Ontario. It was a beautiful day and today is to be even more so which is good since our Santa Claus Parade is on this afternoon and I hope to have lots of pics of the floats to show you!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fallen Willow

I took this shot last Sunday near where I took yesterday's pic. It is probably a victim of Hurricane Sandy's winds which were quite strong here and knocked down a lot of trees although we didn't get huge amounts of rain. Everyone going by was taking a look and most were taking a pic with their phone while this fellow had arrived with his tripod & camera and was really into his subject! It looked as if this had been one of the largest trees in the area. Sad.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Peace Among The Willows

I shot this pic last Sunday morning when out for a walk along the Lakeshore in the Sunnyside Beach area and the pic has the same atmosphere as the morning was - peaceful. It's funny how the Willows seem to be among the last of the trees to lose their leaves in the fall. Click on this one to enlarge it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frida & Diego Catrinas

There was no photography allowed inside the Frida & Diego show at the AGO but as you left the display area there was this installation of Frida & Diego as Catrinas (well-dressed skeletons). This is a nod to the practice in Mexico of portraying loved ones as skeletons during the Day of the Dead festival and seemed to be quite suitable for this pair since in many of the photos, in the show, of their living spaces they had a large collection of Day of the Dead figures. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Frida & Diego

This is one of the posters leading the way into the current show "Frida & Diego   Passion, Politics, & Painting" which is currently at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). This wonderful show features over 80 paintings and works on paper by Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, probably the most famous of Mexican artists, as well as more than 60 photos of the couple. There is also a slide show of some of Rivera's famous murals. For more info on the show click here.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Canoe & Calipers"

I've driven by this sculpture many times but was always in a hurry so Sunday morning while out for a walk on the Lakeshore I made a small detour of a block to get a pic of this quite unusual piece. The artist is John McEwen whose work I have shown a few times (remember sleeping Teddy - here) and it was installed in 2006 as part of the "% For Art" for private development which is a city program requiring art in development budgets. I always found the piece intriguing and its accompanying sign explains the imagery well. The piece was meant to mark the meeting of 2 technologies - First Nation peoples and early explorers who used canoes to travel on Lake Ontario and the nearby Humber River, and the fact that the site had been occupied by an iron works factory for many years until being developed for condos.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"High Five"

Another appearance of the little yellow birds, this time accompanied by some other characters such as the pirate. The image of the skull that is below the top hat is an add-on stencil that I have seen painted onto a lot of works along Queen St West. It's always nice to discover another of UB5000's little birds!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.