Monday, April 30, 2012

Horsing Around On Queen St West

Another mural from graffiti lane off Queen St West, this one showcases a lot of talent from this artist whose signature I could not decipher. The horses are very well done. It's to bad that someone with a skull stencil has decided to add their tag to the right-hand side of the piece. I've seen this skull on top of a lot of other pieces too!
Taking part in Monday Murals. For more murals click here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mocking The Cold

On a cold early morning this week I spotted this very puffed-up Mockingbird sitting atop the fence around a local garden centre. I always think of them as sleek birds but obviously he was using every feather he had to keep warm and he also wasn't really skewered to the fence. He does look as if he has a few complaints though the way he is glaring at the camera!
Enlarge to see his wee face better. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012


This newly installed bike stand at a local school reminds me of the old slinky toys (do they still make them?) only a lot more colourful. This was a cool but sunny day so not many kids rode their bikes on this day. The stand goes well with the seating they have installed around the trees too!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cool Gate

I was wandering along a laneway/alley in the Annex, as is my habit, when I spotted this very cool gate protecting a parking spot. The gate has your normal chain link fencing but sections have been cut out and metal wire inserted in patterns that reminds me of crocheting giving the whole thing the look of an old-fashioned doily, don't you think? I love it but have no idea who you could hire to do such a thing! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strange Neighbours

This is the next door neighbour of The Shanghai Cowgirl from yesterday! You have to enlarge this one to see all the strange details of the front of The Bovine Sex Club which is a bar that has been here on Queen St West since 1991. It is known mainly as a place to hear punk, rock, rockabilly, and alternative music. The front artwork was done by Dave Greiveson and Great Bob Scott and has survived pretty well intact for all those years with its mixture of found objects. I have never been inside and probably never will!

I am still playing with the new blogger and am trying smaller type today. I hate change! I don't like it so small and I think I will go back to large tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shanghai Cowgirl

How is that for an intriguing name? I had never noticed this place on Queen St West before until a couple of weeks ago and it turns out to be a classic style deco diner with booths and a counter with round stools and everything you would expect to find in such a diner. I haven't been in to eat yet but checked out the menu which covers all the usual diner dishes such as all day breakfast but also a selection of Asian dishes and other unusuals such as perogis that one local site has on their list of best in the city.  I am excited to go there for a meal soon!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spadina House

Spadina House is located right beside Casa Loma and is now a museum operated by the City of Toronto but was the home to several generations of the Austin family whose last survivor left it and its furnishings to the city and to the province in 1978. The original house was built in 1818 but it was enlarged and remodeled  numerous times through the years from mid-Victorian to 1930's Colonial Revival with bits of Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau,  & Art Deco thrown into the mix. The museum was closed in 2009 and totally restored to the 1920s & 30s style before re-opening in 2010.  The original property was 200 acres but even now it still sits on 8 acres of orchards, park, and formal gardens. I showed you a pic taken of Casa Loma as viewed from the other side of Spadina House grounds here.
Enlarge to see the details on the house.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Layered Graffiti

I am not usually a big fan of these stylized signatures but somehow in this location just off Queen St West it works for me. I think it is all the different layers and surfaces and the pics of the 2 guys standing guard that gives it a great effect. I have been unable to find the artists for these works but this location has been the site of graffiti fests in the past and judging by the peeling paint these may remain from one of those. Enlarge to see the details better.
Taking part in Monday Murals. For more murals click here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stand 14

This tree bike stand is found beside yesterday's butterfly and since it is Earth Day I thought it was suitable to show a tree and a place for locking your eco-firendly bike at the same time. I like that this one has been done in steel and allowed to develop a warm rust patina! The artist  is Alice Rogers.
Happy Earth Day everyone!

I hate the new blogger set-up.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stand 13

I still have more of my winter shots of the Parkdale bike stands to show and thought that this especially nice one with a butterfly motif is perfect for this season because we are being inundated by butterflies in Toronto with estimates saying there are more than 20 times as many as normal this year probably because of the warm winter.  This stand is one of several located on Queen St West outside "The Meeting Place" which is a drop-in and support centre for homeless persons  and it became involved in the creation of these bike stands. The artist for this one is Brian Cotterell. 
(This is what cars often look like in winter in Toronto because of the salt on the roads)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Old Scarborough Fire Truck

This one is from my archives - I took it last year at the beginning of the St Patrick's Day parade and I'm not sure why it never got posted. It is a 1945 pumper truck from Scarborough which is the eastern end of Toronto. In 1945 Scarborough was its own township and not yet part of Toronto and so had its own fire department. This truck is a beauty don't you think?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"The Vessel"

This rather avant-garde sculpture was installed in Taddle Creek Park just down the block from Tuesday's large house. Titled "The Vessel", it was done by artist Ilan Sandler and is made of 4km of stainless steel rod, the approximate length of Taddle Creek which once ran through downtown Toronto from Wychwood Park to Lake Ontario. The creek was buried many years ago with only the section through Wychwood still above ground. The sculpture was installed in June 2011 and water runs up the rods and falls in a gentle stream from the edge of the pitcher. I think the pylon on top was probably a recent installation by kids!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fran's Restaurants

The first legendary Fran's restaurant opened in Toronto 1940 at St Clair Ave & Yonge St but this one on College St at Yonge didn't open until 1950. Just down the block from Maple Leaf Gardens it was a favourite spot to hit before and after a Toronto Maple Leaf hockey game until the team moved to a new arena. The mini group of restaurants is famous for its rice pudding, burgers, and being open 24 hrs/day and apparently even has a U.S. location in Kansas City MO (hello Regina!).
I always like a good neon sign and this old logo has held up well. Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grand Old Home

Across the road from the stained glass window of Sunday I spotted this wonderful old house and wondered why I had never noticed it and all the fabulous details along its eaves. (Enlarge to see this.) When I got home and googled it I realized that it had previously been covered in ivy which was lovely but it did hide a lot! It turns out that the house was built in 1890 as a mansion but over the decades had become a rooming house until the 1990s when it was restored to a single family dwelling and after being sold last year it is being gutted again and upgraded once more as the area has once again become highly desirable (and pricey)!
I found some interior shots from the sale info of a year ago here. It sure surprised me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Annex Lifestyle

I found this mural in a laneway/alley off Bloor St in the Annex area. Not as colourful as some murals you see, but the artist obviously knows the area - lots of university students, artists, families, bikes, Victorian homes, trees, and lots of cats. Everything is in there if you look closely! Not sure who the artist is.
Taking part in Monday Murals. For more murals click here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Annex Window

I spotted this wonderful window just a couple of houses down from Tuesday's 'Wee Beastie'. There are such lovely details in the stained glass and I wonder if the centre thick clear piece acts as a prism into the room.
I will show you what is in the reflection on Tuesday (after Monday Murals).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Teddy

I showed you Teddy a month ago (here) and said I would go back for the flowers. Well I have gone back several times to visit him in Wychwood Park and although a lot of daffodils came up in this lawn not very many around Teddy but the Magnolia tree in the background helps a bit. It is interesting to see how green things have become in 4 weeks!
Enlarge to see all the details on Teddy's body.

Friday, April 13, 2012

McLuhan In Wychwood

One of the larger homes in Wychwood Park, this one disappears into the foliage once the leaves of spring all come out so I will show it now. This house belonged to the leading prophet of the information age, Marshall McLuhan, famous for his quote "the medium is the message" until his death in '80 and then his wife continued to live here until 2008. Like all the other homes in the park there are no fences around its 1/2 acre property - they all just flow into each other! Yesterday's turtles were just to the left of this pic.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Turtle Love In Wychwood Park

I shot this pic about 1 hour ago during a walk through Wychwood Park which is a private enclave, in the middle of the city, of 60 spectacular Arts & Crafts homes built around a pond in the early 1900s. It has been a bit cool here so I was surprised to see a couple of the resident Midland Painted Turtles out basking in the sun - a good looking couple don't you think?
Click on the Wychwood label below to see some of the houses I have posted in the past and also the turtle sign!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Downward Dog

This striking sign graces the entrance to the Downward Dog Yoga Centre on Queen St West. Probably one of the highest profile yoga studios in Toronto it has had guest participants such as Sting, Justin Timberlake, and other celebrities. Not a yoga person, I do really like their sign/mural although I have no idea what the symbolism of the image can be! Any ideas out there? Also, don't know who the artist is of this one.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Wee Beastie

I found this little guy above a window on a restored Victorian house in the Annex area. I am not sure what type of beastie he is (dragon, devil, ??) but I quite like him and it looks as if at some point ivy may have been growing over him but he has now been freed. Wonderful broken brick detail around him too!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Royal Graffiti

This is another of my discoveries along the commercial laneways off Queen St West. I am not sure what the reference is other than playing cards but it gave me a real smile when I happened upon it. No idea who the artist is but it is unfortunate that some fool decided to blast across the middle of it with black paint!
Taking part in Monday Murals. For more murals click here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring In Toronto

This was the view on Friday from the top of the stairs leading to Casa Loma (110 of them) looking south down Spadina Rd towards downtown and Lake Ontario and the ever-present CN Tower which is visible from all over the city. Blossoms are popping open everywhere and the bees were happily buzzing around all the flowers on this tree.
Have a Happy Easter if you celebrate it!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Waiting For The Gun To Go Off

This is the middle of the pack of 5,000 runners waiting for the start of today's "Harry's Spring Run Off" 8 km run to raise money for fighting prostate cancer which marks the unofficial start of the running season in Toronto. The Spring Run Off has taken place in High Park for well over 20 years and today must have been the best weather for it in a long time! I have shown you some of the sculptures that are installed in the park before.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stands 12

The snow gives you the hint that I took this pic in February and judging by the rust and lack of seat on this bike we can assume that this is one of the many abandoned bikes around town in winter. This bike stand seems to be an abstract pattern to me - any ideas out there - maybe a bit birdlike? I still like it and it is a vast improvement on the boring institutional-looking stands you find in most areas!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Parkdale Bike Stand 11

I thought it was time to show you some more of the bike rack pics that I took in the winter along Queen St West in Parkdale. This one, showing a bookcase, was found in front of a bookstore that has been there for a long time and couldn't be more suitable for it's location. One of my favourites!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Zip Cars

Zip Cars is one of 2 auto-sharing programs available in Toronto - the other one is Auto Share. Both operate the same way, you pay for an annual membership and then you can pick up a car or truck at various locations around the city (but mostly downtown in the city core) and then you pay an hourly or daily fee depending on your needs. It is the same as the bike sharing programs in many cities although you can reserve a car by phone or on-line and also check where the nearest vehicle is available. It works well for the many downtown people who have no cars!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. For more signs click here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blue Palmerston

I thought that I would show you another of the wonderful homes along Palmerston Blvd since I have shown you so many shots of the laneway buildings that are behind some of them. I love the blue accents and the detail work on this one! I think that this one has been converted back to a single family home and in the wild real estate market in Toronto it would probably go for well over $2 million. I'd love to lounge around on that porch on a summer day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Queen St Mural

I spotted this mural of a Queen St streetcar just off Queen St West and was lucky enough to catch these 3 people checking it out too. They seem to fit right in to the scene. The artist for this mural are Allan Bender & John Nobrega for Blinc Studios who seem to have done a lot of murals in Canada and the US.
Taking part in Monday Murals. For more murals click here.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Grand Palmerston

This is probably the grandest of the homes along Palmerston Blvd and as is typical of the large houses along this street the facade has changed little since construction in the early 1910s. First an area of upper middle class families, as the years passed and families were smaller most of the houses were divided into apartments as this one has been. This is now being reversed and many of the homes are reverting to single family dwellings. If you look up the left side of the pic you can see one of the laneway buildings that I have shown before - the side towards the house is quite tidy and nice but as we have seen the side towards the lanes are usually left fairly unadorned to say the least!