Friday, August 31, 2012

Idyllic Spot on Ward's Island

I just loved this place on Ward's Island - it's hard to believe that you are in Toronto just a 10 minute ferry ride away from downtown. Imagine spending this holiday Labour Day weekend in this place rather than fighting the traffic to head up north to a cottage - priceless!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dining On The Deck - Ward's Island

When I came across this cute house on Ward's Island with the table on the front deck all set up for dinner I thought that it was picture-perfect so here it is. This is the size of a typical house on the island and you can see how at one time it would have been a cottage for people from the mainland. I love it - it looks so cute with the blue colour, wonderful plantings, etc! More to come for the next couple of days.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"The Boathouse"

This is one of the larger houses on Ward's Island and I have the feeling that the 2nd floor is a fairly recent addition to what had been a small cottage which is what all these homes on Ward's had been at one time. The thing that really surprised me was the small sign for weekly rentals since Ward's is commercial free as well as car-free. There are 2 cafes on the island and that is the only commercial activity - no stores at all and no commercial signs - any groceries must be brought over from the mainland on the ferry. This isn't too much of a hardship since most islanders work on the main land and have their trusty bikes or wheeled carts for transportation. It would be lovely to spend a week or so living there so it's nice to know that there are rentals available.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Car-Free Street - Ward's Island

I thought I would show you a pic of a typical street on Ward's Island so that you can see the environment of the houses which I will show for the next couple of days - this is the road, not a sidewalk. The Toronto Island is the largest urban car-free community in North America although there are service vehicles such as fire trucks on the Island. Hiding behind all these trees and bushes are the approximately 250 remaining homes making up this vibrant neighbourhood. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Pebble Mosaic

This is the Ward's Island Community Pebble Mosaic which was installed last fall in front of the community centre on Ward's Island after countless hours of work by residents of the Toronto Islands. Over 50 people took pebble mosaic workshops before producing the mosaic in 26 pieces which were then installed to create this 12' in diameter piece.  I would think that Ward's and Algonquin Islands have arguably the highest concentration of artists and creative people in the city and this group came together to design and create the piece after much fundraising. You can see little ceramic pieces referencing aspects of island life - little houses, bikes (since it is a car-free area), fish, etc sprinkled among the pebbles.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.
For more info click here to go to the mosaic's blog.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Metal Dragon

There are 3 ferry docks on the Toronto Islands and I took the ferry that drops you off at Ward's Island which is the most easterly end of the islands and also the end where the houses (and resulting community) remain. After exiting the ferry and walking towards the Island cafe you suddenly come across a large grouping of metal creatures, some free-standing like this dragon but most of them affixed to the fence of the community tennis courts (visible in the background here). They were created by Bruce Smith, a resident of the islands, and some like this dragon have pipes running up their backs which can be attached to propane tanks and set on fire for special occasions!  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yachts On The Toronto Islands

This is my view of the Toronto Islands as I approached on the ferry on a warm evening this past Thursday. Mostly parkland, the Islands do have a few yacht clubs as well as 250 homes that exist in this car-free area just a 10 minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto. The Islands form the outer boundary of the city's harbour and are a wonderful place to explore as I will show you over the next few days!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Skewed Image

This is one of 17 large production plasters by Toronto artist Evan Penny that are currently installed along a hallway at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).  Penny sculpts the original pieces in clay and then makes a mold before casting these plaster forms to keep as a record of the works. This piece is quite large as you can see from the size of the light switch just below the figure. I have shown a few of Penny's works before and this one typifies his statement - "I try to situate my sculpture somewhere between the way we perceive each other in real time and space, and the way we perceive ourselves and each other in an image". I quite like his work!
Click on the Penny label below to see more.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nighttime At The Dentist

It's after hours at the dentist's office and look who is in the seat for treatment! He certainly has enough teeth.  A local dental office opens the blinds at night and places a large stuffed animal in each chair giving everyone who passes by something to smile about.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thirsty & Miserable

At first glance not the most inviting name for a beer joint until you realize that Thirsty & Miserable is named after a song by the punk band Black Flag. This location in Kensington Market has housed many establishments over the years and is now the home to Thirsty & Miserable offering a huge collection of craft  and micro- brewery ales as well as a nice assortment of beers from Belgium.  I really like the sign but haven't been in yet although the reviews I have read make it sound very tempting!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gehry Stairs At The AGO

I showed you the Frank Gehry stairs in the interior of the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) a few weeks ago and had shown the exterior stairs here, last May. I was walking by the gallery a few days ago and was struck by how wonderful the stairs look jutting out of the titanium-clad Gehry addition so here they are. There is a wonderful contrast with the 19th century Grange building (still part of the gallery) and its cupid garden fountain! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Laneway Lovely

I spotted this mural somewhere in a laneway in Kensington Market and what a lovely piece it is. It is a collaboration between artists Bacon and ArtChild and was done in 2007 and seems to have survived the years quite well.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wood Island Lighthouse

I thought that I couldn't end my pics of PEI without showing at least one of the lighthouses from the island so here is the Wood Island Lighthouse which is the second oldest lighthouse on PEI. It was founded on the southernmost tip of the island in 1876 and was manned by a keeper (who would live in the lower addition) until 1989 when it was finally automated.  This is also the location of the dock where you can catch a ferry to Nova Scotia, one of other Maritime provinces.  PEI (Prince Edward Island) is a beautiful place and well worth a visit!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lobster Traps

I took this shot at the harbour in North Rustico PEI, a small village on the north shore of the island well known for its lobster fishing industry.  It is a very active fishing port with lobster being the main catch in June & July and then deep-sea fishing for the rest of the summer. It is also one of the most popular tourist areas in PEI with super sea-food dinners and wonderful walks available.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Modern Log House In PEI

Just a couple of more days of PEI shots and then I will be returning to pics of Toronto but first I wanted to show you this wonderful interior of a modern, open-concept, log house which I was lucky enough to stay in while visiting the island. The windows all look out on to the Northhumberland Strait and that upper perch in the left top corner even has a telescope but also comfy seating for reading. It's so nice to have good friends who invite you for a visit!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Bluefin Bullet"

Always on the lookout for public art, I discovered this wonderful life-size sculpture of a bluefin tuna in downtown Charlottetown. Part of a series of commissioned pieces, it was done by artist Gerald Beaulieu and was installed in 2011. The scales of the fish are made from stainless steel spoons and as Beaulieu says it creates the ultimate fish lure and shows "public art as a lure in a tourist driven economy". Love it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Mack In Charlottetown

I love old movie marquees and Art Deco so this sign on the Mack theatre in Charlottetown caught my eye immediately but I don't think this was ever a movie house. It is one of 4 theatres in downtown Charlottetown and features cabaret style shows for up to 200 people - not as famous as the theatre showing "Anne Of Green Gables -The Musical" but still well attended!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Staying In Heritage Charlottetown

These homes are actually part of a unique hotel in the historic centre of Charlottetown, the provincial capital of PEI. In the 1990s a heritage hotel (circa 1846) was purchased and then the owners proceeded to buy up all the adjacent historic buildings in the entire square city block. All the buildings were restored to their former glory and now visitors check in at the original hotel and have the choice of staying there or in one of these gorgeous clapboard homes. I would have liked to have shown you a whole row of these homes but this was the only break in the line of trees!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yellow Bird Parking Patrol

While I was in Kensington Market a couple of weeks ago I discovered this garage which was covered in little yellow birds and friends warning that this was a no parking area. Once again artist UB5000 has created an amusing addition to the streetscape. I love the little yellow bird playing poker with the dogs and winning judging by his piles of chips. There are so many quirky details in this one which actually wraps around the side of the garage too!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Christ Church, Cherry Valley, PEI

PEI (Prince Edward Island) has many of these wonderful white clapboard churches and this has to be one of the most beautiful especially when viewed from the highway with the waters of the Northhumberland Strait behind it. This Anglican church was built in 1842 and has been historically registered and the congregation is now in the process of refurbishing the interior to period standards to match the exterior which is so typical of PEI architecture with the wide eaves and clapboard siding. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Red Cliffs Of Prince Edward Island

I just returned last night from a visit to Prince Edward Island (PEI) which is an island in the Gulf of St Lawrence and is the smallest province in Canada in both size and population. PEI is famous for its red soil, red sandstone cliffs, incredible beaches and sand dunes but most of all for being the setting for "Anne Of Green Gables" the wonderful childhood book by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  It is also famous for mussels and lobster dinners which are freshly harvested by the local fishermen and are sooo tasty!  I took this shot of cliffs on the property of friends who have a gorgeous seaside home looking out over the Northhumberland Strait. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


Remember nail art? This has to be one of the most ambitious examples and it is found in the lobby of our new City Hall. Titled"Metropolis", it was done by artist David Partridge in 1977 after he won a competition in 1974 to provide a piece for this location. It is constructed of 100,000 nails of various sizes and the centre of the piece is said to represent downtown with the rest of the city spreading out from it. It is really well done and is so 1970s when you see it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Old City Hall

I love the carvings that appeared on the older buildings around town and this has to be one of the most lovely.  This is the cornerstone from our Old City Hall which is located across the road from our new City Hall and is used primarily as a court house these days. Wonderful craftsmanship!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kensington Bistro

The last day of shots from Kensington Market and I thought that I would give you an idea of the little shops and bistros which line the streets of the market. Most of them are quite small which allows the smaller businesses to survive in our expensive downtown. It's too bad that the neighbours park their garbage containers right beside the Eiffel Tower!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Street Scrabble

This fellow was involved in a Scrabble match on the road when I first arrived in Kensington Market last week but eventually there were so many people walking along the road that they had to abandon the game. Great idea though!

Monday, August 6, 2012


I have no idea what these brightly dressed people were up to at last week's Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market but I have a feeling that some sort of dance was to happen eventually. In the meantime I loved all the colours of them with the vintage shop behind them!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pedestrian Sunday

Last Sunday when I was in Kensington Market it was a Pedestrian Sunday meaning that the roads were closed to cars for the day. In the past the business association had rented barricades to block the streets but their new moveable yet permanent gates have been installed which each consist of a large planter anchoring gates which can be rolled open to block the road. They have used lazar-cut metal to form the gates but it was difficult to catch the decorations in the strong sun. You can see the large crowds that turn out for these events!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

'Green' Car

This car has been sitting on Augusta St in Kensington Market for quite a while now. The city tried to have it removed several times but the community fought back and it has now been endorsed by the city and will be allowed to stay in all its green finery! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Escher Fan?

While in Kensington Market, of course I wandered down some laneways and I spotted this very unusual row house in the middle of some really boring ones. The owner has to be an admirer of Escher and also of Op-art - check out that 2nd floor window covering!  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kensington Mona

This is a bit of the street scene on Kensington Ave in the market. This street is known for the large number of stores selling vintage clothing and is always busy!
I will be on auto post for a week - so will check your blogs out when I get back.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Days Past

Here's a real blast from the past which I spotted in Kensington Market on Sunday. The counter culture lives on!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.