Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bird Mural Part 3

This is the last part of this 3 part post of the bird mural and this bird sits just to the right of yesterday's hip-hop bird. I love the way they have wrapped the tree around the corner of the building and the words about freedom for the artist - enlarge to read the words better. "Loft" refers to the umbrella organization which Under The Radar is part of and all profits from their enterprises are reinvested in programs and services for local youth!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bird Mural Part 2

This is part of the mural on the back of yesterday's building showing a very urban scene with hip-hop birds. And at the same time it does a little advertising for Under the Radar! Enlarge to see it better.
Taking part in Monday Murals. For more murals click here.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bird Mural Part 1

This mural in a Koreatown laneway wraps around 3 sides of the building so I am going to do it in 3 posts. This is one of those buildings that was being constantly tagged with graffiti and so the owners commissioned "Under the Radar", which is a grass roots art & design company that I have mentioned before, to install this mural. The mural was a collaboration between several artists and was completed in May 2011. More to come for the next 2 days!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stands 5

This bike stand outside the Parkdale Library is perfect for its setting with the image of a lightbulb holding a book and a butterfly - no better place for ideas and fancies! As you can see we had a bit of snow when I took this pic last week!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stands 4

Time for another look at the bike stands on Queen St West in Parkdale. There are 4 of these bike stands made to look like old-fashioned streetlights, 2 at each end of the Parkdale stretch of Queen West - I guess to act as boundary indicators for this old Toronto neighbourhood which starts at Dufferin St and ends at Roncesvalles Ave. More stands to come!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Snowy Mystery Shot

Did you ever take a shot because it looks interesting only to come back to the computer and find that the pic looks like something else entirely? Well, I took this shot while out wandering in a light snowfall and when I looked at it later it looked to me like one of Randy's (from Santa Fe DP) cliff shots rather than the stump of a white elm tree that has been in our local park for a few years! Agree or disagree.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Not My Dog"

On the weekend I was out at the farthest west part of Queen St West, in Parkdale, (looking for more bike stands) when I noticed this cool sign of a dog's head. It turns out that it marks the location of a little local bar/restaurant called "Not My Dog" which apparently is a cozy place with local art and photography on the walls and which features live music too. I have never been there but it seems that they have a nice patio out back in the summer so I think a visit is in order next summer!
Taking part in Signs,Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Junction Trains

The Junction is a neighbourhood in west Toronto so named because it is situated at the junction of 4 major railway lines and to emphasize that the local business improvement association has had these train lights installed on the lamp poles along Keele St. This had been a major manufacturing area and a booming community in the 1800s but the depression was hard on the area and it never recovered from it until after 2000 when a prohibition on alcohol which had been in place since 1904 was reversed (it was the last dry area in Toronto). Since then there has been an explosion of trendy little restaurants, boutiques, and artist-owned shops - gentrification begins!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jimi & Bob In Koreatown

This pub just off Bloor St in Koreatown certainly grabs your attention with this large mural with images of Jimi Hendrix & Bob Dylan. Since the pub caters to the university student crowd it's interesting that 2 oldies were chosen for the mural!
Taking part in Monday Murals. For more murals click here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

After The Snowfall

You could really go wild taking pics after a snowfall - Mother Nature does such a good job decorating! I took this one just at the end of our mini blizzard on Thursday and today we have only a bit of snow left which shall be gone tomorrow as we are to have rain!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Waiting For Summer

During the mini blizzard on Thursday, I happened upon these 2 wicker chairs waiting for nicer weather but I loved the way the snow had accentuated their patterns. The focus is a bit soft because at this point the snow was blowing almost horizontally across this front porch!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mini Blizzard

I left here yesterday in the sunshine to catch some snow shots since we haven't really had any snow and all of a sudden the skies opened and there was a blizzard for about 10 minutes and then the sun came out again! The falling snow created a great atmosphere for this house in Seaton Village (just west of the Annex) which I have always liked partly because of the whale weathervane on top of their turret. And their discarded Christmas tree still waits for the city to pick it up for mulching!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Bit Of Winter Colour

This laneway runs behind houses near the U of Toronto and at this dull time of year offers a nice blast of colour - practically every garage along the lane has a mural, a pattern, or tagging on it. Somehow it reminds me of a gritty, downtown, urban equivalent of those wonderful beach huts you find in Europe!
We are finally getting a bit of snow so I am heading out to see if there are any photos ops to be found!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The End of an Era

This theatre in Koreatown is the last movie theatre in Ontario (our province) showing pornographic movies and the building is for sale and has been for several years. Built in the 1930s with two 300 seat theatres, it showed regular movies until the 70s. What always seems to catch my eye is the mish-mash of signs all over it hiding most of the original Art Deco features of the building. It would be nice if it could be rescued and turned into an independent movie house but the chances are slim!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This Little Piggy ....

The residents of the Annex have a very eclectic style of landscaping and decorating their homes but one of the oddest things to be found in a front yard is this stone pig who has been in place as long as I can remember. I have never seen anyone coming or going from the house so I have no idea what his story is. A farmer who moved to town and missed his animals? Any ideas?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Annex Infill

Although I am a fan of modern architecture, I am always impressed by this wonderful building (with the blue trim and which looks like 2 units) in the Annex which I think replaced a pair of large semi-detached homes. Constructed about 10 years ago, it is a condo containing 4 large units and even solves the usual Annex parking problem by including parking through that large arch. I like the way they have picked up the features of a typical Annex house and blended with the neighbourhood. And yes the homes in the Annex are all that close together!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stands 3

This pretty bike stand is just a bit down the street from yesterday's and I think they go quite well together and as people commented, they do look as if they are growing out of the sidewalk! (The guy on the scooter was heading to yesterday's bar.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stands 2

This bike stand is located across the street from yesterday's, in front of a slightly run-down restaurant/bar that had a steady stream of guys coming out into the winter sun for a cigarette (there is no smoking inside public places here). I don't know if any of them even notice this lovely stand with lots of slots for bike locks to slip through but I hope they do!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stands 1

I have been out searching for more of the cool bike stands and finally found another collection of them on Queen St West in Parkdale. This is the furthest west part of Queen St and one of the rougher parts of town (and most colourful) but still fun to walk around in since there are little boutiques, restaurants, bars, etc popping up here. The same artist, Phil Sarazen, who did the ROM stands is involved in these ones although this time the designs were created from drawings done by the members of the art group of the "Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre" which is a drop-in for psychiatric survivors and street people. More to come!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Want A Ride?

The laneways that run along behind the buildings of Queen St West probably have more graffiti painted along them than anywhere else in Toronto. The side of this building which faces into Trinity Bellwoods park was also a constant target until last year when artist Jesse Albert was commissioned to do this mural and I could not find even 1 tag on it since. Albert has done a lot of installations and wheat paste postings around town as well as other murals & paintings. It really suits this boho neighbourhood!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Don't Fence Me In"

The business association for West Queen St West has had these banners installed on poles along the street in their area and since pugs seem to be so popular here it isn't surprising to see one used as the mascot. She is quite cute in her pink outfit!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

West Queen West

This shot of a sunny West Queen West street scape gives you an idea of the variety of businesses and architecture in the neighbourhood. The original cool part of Queen St West (to the east from here) has been taken over by chain stores like the Gap & Nike and upscale boutiques, forcing the artists further west to this area. The same thing is starting to happen here - Starbucks has opened and the rents are rising but it is still an interesting area to wander about in. Meanwhile the artists and galleries are heading a bit further west - a textbook example of the cycle of gentrification!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Trinity Bellwoods Park Gates

This is the view across the road from yesterday's pic showing the wonderful gates at the entrance to Trinity Bellwoods Park. The park is located right downtown on West Queen St West and was originally the site of Trinity College which opened here in 1852 but moved to the University of Toronto campus in 1925 when the land was sold to the city of Toronto. The buildings were demolished in the 1950s but the gates remained and were finally restored and re-installed in 2007 after years of neglect. It is a huge park with rinks, swimming pool, off-leash dog areas, etc, and is also used for a lot of cultural events. And it is famous for the white squirrels which I have seen many times and I will attempt to get a pic of one!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

White Squirrel Coffee Shop

It was 0˚C here today but really sunny so lots of people were out wandering along West Queen St West (which is the hipper section of Queen St West) although most of us were on the sunny side of the street unlike this brave soul who sat in the shade drinking his coffee and reading the paper. This "White Squirrel Coffee Shop" is directly across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park which is famous in the city for its colony of white squirrels none of whom seemed to be out today - too many people with dogs in the park. I thought that Jack from Hartford would like to see a white squirrel but it will have to be another time!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter Sky and Squirrel Nests

On one of the few cold days we have had I went out for a late afternoon wander and found an empty playground at our local park - not even a squirrel to be found. But high in all the trees in the park you could see squirrel nests waving back and forth in the wind - each probably with a little creature keeping warm. I wonder why they always seem to build out towards the ends of the branches?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mural at P.A.T. Central B

This is the other (left side) half of yesterday's mural and this one shows bits of Korean culture as opposed to the food. It is unfortunate that skids have been piled against it but as is often the case once the mural has been there for awhile many people don't even look at it or notice it anymore. Hopefully it will get tidied up in the spring. That box towards the middle is actually a planter so it will have flowers next summer we hope!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mural at P.A.T. Central

The side of yesterday's building leading to the parking lot has this wonderful mural painted on it. The whole mural is 7' high by 70' long and so I was able to capture only half of it in this pic - will show you the other half tomorrow. By artist Attila Szanyi whose studio is just down the street, the mural was painted in 2007 and still looks fresh today showing the delicious bowl of Korean food and its ingredients!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

P.A.T. Central

This sign always catches my eye for obvious reasons but it also marks the location of a full-sized Korean grocery store in the middle of Koreatown on Bloor St. It has a treasure trove of Korean groceries and also a large selection of Japanese goodies especially candies and treats. I wander the aisles not knowing what much of the things are but fascinated by the huge selection of noodles, sauces, etc. The take-out food has always been good too. I have to learn more about Korean cuisine!
Taking part in Signs,Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's So Cold That .....

It's so cold here today that even some of the little steel creatures atop a fence surrounding a local house are wearing scarves! There are over a dozen of these wee things (cats, coyotes, elephants, etc) scattered along the fence but only the dog & mouse are dressed for the weather. It is -15˚C with a windchill of -26˚C just after noon - going up to -13˚C this afternoon!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Super Infill House

The neighbourhood north of Lawrence between Bathurst St & Avenue Rd has been totally overrun by often horrible mega-houses which have replaced block after block of cute little bungalows. This house occupies a largish corner lot (with little backyard stream) that had one of those bungalows but instead of a contractor-designed replacement, an architect was hired and the home was designed to the owners specs. I have been inside this one and it is spectacular - indoor squash court, interior catwalks, moveable walls, great art etc! Love it! I took this pic in Nov when we still had a few leaves & flowers.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Squirrel

I am not sure why but when I saw this cute felt squirrel in a craft shop window on Friday I thought it could work as my new year's post. He seems rather hopeful and clean as is the year! I took the pic through the glass so he is a bit softened but oh well.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. I enjoy all your posts and love all your comments and think of you as friends to visit every day. Happy New Year everyone!