Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Piggity Big"

This sculpture by David Hlynsky and Shirley Yanover  sits on College St at the Augusta St entrance to the Kensington Market area and is a complement to the one they installed at  the Spadina Ave entrance which I showed you here. It sits high atop a 20' pole surrounded by countless wires and traffic lights which tend to hide it a lot. I'm not sure of the significance of the name!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Yellow Bird At The Bakery

Wandering about yesterday in Kensington Market on a car-free Sunday, I found a whole mural painted by one of my favourite urban artists, UB5000. This one is on the side of Cora's Kitchen which specializes in cupcakes and the mural reflects this with many animated cupcakes but also a yellow bird eating a cupcake with chopsticks over towards the right side. The bird is everywhere!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Porch View Dances - Crutch

The dance on this porch was titled "Crutch" and started off with the mother wearing  a foot cast and using crutches which became an integral part of the dance that explored the relationship of the mother & son playing, discovering and supporting each other. When I looked through my pics of the event I realized that there were a lot more than 100 people at this performance and apparently they had an attendance of over 1000 for the 5 sessions. The people in this shot and the many more that you can't see are sitting in the middle of the busiest street in the neighbourhood - I love it! Here's hoping this event returns next year.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Porch View Dances - The Air Show

At this stop of the Porch View Dances the host family and a couple of friends took on the personas of a group of birds performing wonderfully synchronized moves in the manner of an air show. All of the shows had wonderful sound accompanying the performances and for this one the music was indeed quite bird-like!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Porch View Dances - The Ringmaster

Last week, from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon, a very unusual event, "Porch View Dances", took place in Seaton Village which is the part of Toronto just west of the Annex. It involved a walking tour of the neighbourhood, with this fine gentleman as the ringmaster, stopping at 5 homes where the families of each home put on a dance performance each of which had been professionally choreographed and well practiced since last fall. The tour I attended had an audience of over 100 people and the cool part of the tour was that there were no police escorts but rather we all just took to the street and volunteers on bicycles blocked each end of the particular block that we were on. It was like guerilla performance art and was fabulous! I'll show some more shots of the performers on the weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gehry At The AGO

I just returned from spending a rainy morning  at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) viewing the Picasso show "Masterpieces From The Musee National Picasso, Paris" but no photos were allowed so I am posting a pic of the wonderful Frank Gehry stairs which rise from the Walker court and break through the skylight to lead up 4 storeys to the top floor of the gallery. I posted a pic of them a year ago but this is a slightly different angle and plus I admit to being fascinated by them every time I  see them! They were part of the 2008 redesign of the AGO by Gehry.  The Picasso show was wonderful too since it featured works from his private collection and is on tour while its home gallery in Paris undergoes renovations.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Milgrom Ghost Sign

Yet another ghost sign that I found recently on the side of a building on Richmond St West. It reads - "Milgrom Limited Coats & Suits  where quality is created  372 Richmond St".  I could find hardly any info on the company other than the fact it was located here from the mid 60s to the late 70s and it looks as if their sign was painted over another older larger sign.  This building is now occupied by many small companies and studios.  
Taking part in Signs,Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Green In The Laneway

I thought I would set the scene a bit of the famous Graffiti Laneway that runs below Queen St West and is the area where I have found most of the street art such as UB5000's birds that I have shown you. Almost every surface along the lane is covered with tags with some really good pieces thrown into the mix. There are even tours conducted along the lane throughout the summer -  "come see urban blight" some might say! I love how the ivy has covered this part of the old building that juts out over the lane. (why did they do that jutting out in the old days?)

Monday, July 23, 2012

High Five

I seem to be stumbling upon more and more of UB5000's little yellow birds lately - maybe I'm spending too much time wandering laneways. Here is yet another of the cute little guys perched high up on the 2nd floor above these rather odd but friendly-looking rabbits, found in a rather grotty area off Queen St West. 
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shanghai Cowgirl Patio

It was 35˚C the day I was at the Shanghai Cowgirl so I didn't sit out here to eat but I will be back to try it out another time since it looks so relaxing out there. Keeping with the whole 50s retro vibe of the place they even have a Schwinn coaster bike with streamers on the handlebars parked out there!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Seating At The Shanghai Cowgirl

You can't get much more retro than this - even the floors at the Shanghai Cowgirl look unchanged from the 50s. And check out the details on those booths! The food was a bit heavy for me but the service was great and the atmosphere was wonderful so I'll probably go back and maybe try a burger & fries out on their patio which I'll show you tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Old Time Diner

I finally went to the Shanghai Cowgirl for some food and certainly wasn't disappointed by the interior which looks like it has been unchanged since the 50s. I had shown you their exterior & sign here in April and wanted to check out the menu and can report that I wasn't thrilled - heavy on the greasy stuff which I guess was typical for the times. Look at those great stools though!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

McMurtry Fountain

I showed you this sculpture, "Pillars Of Justice", by English artist Edwina Sandys sprinkled with snow in Jan '11 (here) but I've always wanted a pic with the fountains beside it working.  The McMurtry Fountain, named for judge & politician Roy McMurtry, was designed by landscape architect Michael Hough and installed in 1964 outside the Courthouse on University Ave.  In 2010 the fountains were totally refurbished with the most current energy efficient systems and continue to provide a bit of cool mist  during the incredible heat we have been experiencing!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

General Electric Ghost Sign

When I first went to photograph yesterday's water tower I didn't realize that there was a ghost sign on it so this is a bonus. It reads "Canadian General Electric Company Limited Ward Street Works". I'm not sure how long ago this tower and sign were placed at this location but here's hoping they are there for a long time into the future. Although not occupied by GE any longer the building houses many small businesses - art studios, wood shops, film studios, etc so that it is providing a lot of work opportunities to the community.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wallace Ave Water Tower

You don't see too many of these old water towers about town any more but this one remains at what had been a Canadian General Electric building that has been converted into a variety of studios. This whole area which had been industrial has been converted to either studio or apartment/condo space. I showed an image of this tower in a nearby art installation 2 years ago - click here. I'll show a close-up of the tank tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Finished Mural

This is the finished masterpiece from yesterday's post as it appeared on Saturday evening. They did an excellent job don't you think?
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Caught In The Act

It isn't too often that you catch graffiti artists at work but I spotted this group on Friday busy decorating a hoarding around an empty lot. Actually they were kids who have been going to a local art daycamp for the summer trying to spruce up the neighbourhood a bit. I'll show you their finished mural tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Industrial Sculpture

Just outside the gates of yesterday's courtyard this sculpture has been installed (you can see the spiral stairs in the background) and seems to reference the former industrial nature of the complex. I could find no info on the piece which seems to be consistent with the whole complex since I could find no info on it either. I like this piece and the mood it sets!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Spiral Conversion

This is yet another conversion of an old industrial building into lofts and studios. I showed you a pic of this place taken from across the railway tracks last September (here) and I just finally got around to checking it out close-up only to find a huge gate blocking entrance to the complex. So I took this by pushing the camera through the rungs of the gate. It seems as if everyone has a roof deck and the courtyard is also nicely landscaped. It's not good to see the old industries leaving for the suburbs or beyond but I am glad the wonderful old buildings are being saved!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Equal Before The Law"

This sculpture, titled Equal Before The Law, by Toronto artist Eldon Garnet has just recently been installed in the walkway running alongside the Ontario Courthouse on University Ave. Quite suitable for the location.  The perspective of this pic makes it look as if justice is weighted towards the lion but the platform is actually level! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hugh Maclean/Gevaert Canada Ghost Sign

This is 2 ghost signs in 1, found on a building on Adelaide St W and probably soon to disappear behind another condo tower. The building was built in 1915 as the headquarters of Hugh Maclean Publications Limited and was their office here until 1953 when they moved to the suburbs. At that time a photographic reproduction firm, Gevaert Canada, moved in and painted their sign over the Maclean sign and they only stayed until 1959. Now both signs are visible. I'm not sure what the round image and the rectangular box in the upper left are but the the box has Gevaert written on  it so it must be something photo related.
Taking part in Signs,Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lining Up For The Fringe Festival

This was the line-up yesterday for one of the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival performances at the Tarragon Theatre. The festival runs for 12 days from July 4 - 15 and features over 150 artistic creations in dozens of venues, most of them theatres but some even take place in parking lots. With ticket prices no higher than $11, more than 90,000 people attend each year and with the sunny weather this year it is sure to be another success!

Monday, July 9, 2012

That Bird Again

I'm not sure if this mural/grouping found off Queen St West is new or that I just missed it before. It looks to me to be 3 different styles so maybe 3 artists although I know for sure that the little bird having a cuppa is another  UB5000 piece so he may have been involved in the whole thing. This piece is high on a wall with huge amounts of throw-up initials below it - this week I have cropped that out! 
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Art At City Hall

This weekend was the 51st annual Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition held in Nathan Phillips Square in front of  Toronto City Hall. I took this pic this morning before all the crowds arrived to see the great variety of work of the over 300 artists. City Hall was completed in 1965 and was designed by Finish architect Viljo Revell who had won an international competition with his modernist space-age design. It remains probably the most recognizable landmark in the city!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lovely Lilies

I was passing this tiny garden that occupied the whole front yard of a wee house and the entire space was glowing with these lovely lilies and since I am never without a camera, here they are!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Heat Relief

It's going up to 36˚C and really humid here today so this is the place to be! This long, narrow, shady backyard in the High Park area offers the perfect option to fighting traffic heading to a cottage - just walk out off the back deck and dive in! Wish it was mine.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Starry Head

I was asked about the structure that could be seen towards the top of the gallery conversion pic from Tuesday's post so here is a close-up. There are actually 2 of these heads suspended in the complex and they were installed soon after the gallery opened here in '89. The artist is John McEwen and I just discovered that he is also the artist who did the steel teddy bear laying on the grass in Wychwood - click here. Apparently Teddy is called "Pilgrim" and was done in 2011. McEwen is known for his star cut-outs as you see on the head.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gelber Bros Ghost Sign

This ghost sign is found on the side of a 1920s building on Richmond St W, the building having been built as a warehouse for Gelber Brothers Wholesale Woollens & Yard Goods.  Apparently it has been covered at various times through the years by billboards which may account for its fairly legible state! The building now houses several small businesses as well as a nightclub that has a rooftop patio that we can't see from the ground.
Taking part in Signs, Signs, Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Converted Foundry

This is probably my favourite kind of space - an old factory that has been converted to another use, in this case to a gallery and residence. This is the entrance to the Olga Korper Gallery that is found in the centre of a complex that had contained a foundry & mattress factory. Korper moved there in 1989 and since then the whole complex has been converted to galleries & studios. The courtyard was lovely and quiet yesterday morning except for a wonderful tabby cat who decided against having his pic taken!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lovely Lady

I avoided the crowds downtown yesterday but got out and about today while the streets were relatively quiet as everyone recovered from all the partying from yesterday. One place I went was along the Queen  St W graffiti laneway and I spotted this new mural by Skam whom I have featured before. I assume he did the whole thing since his was the only signature - what a lovely lady and I don't even mind his throw-up beside this one!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

" The Maple Leaf Forever"

That is the title of a song we all learned in school and seemed suitable for today which is Canada Day. There will be fireworks tonight at various locations around the city and many barbeques fired up all over the country. Today it is crazy in downtown - the Pride Parade (with around 1million spectators), a Blue Jays baseball game, CHIN Canada Day picnic at Exhibition Place, Little Italy & Corsa Italia both closed for the soccer finals, & more! These maple leaves are found carved into the granite walkway by the war memorial at Queen's Park - I really like them and happened to go by when they were wet which was even better.