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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Joy Oil Co Gas Station

There used to be several of these quirky gas stations around town but this one, which was located at Lakeshore & Windermere, was the last one left standing. Built in 1937, it was moved across the road in 2007 to a location by the Martin Goodman Trail and was totally restored and is meant to become an info centre but so far it remains empty & fenced in. All of the Joy stations had the look of little French chateaus with cute little towers and wonderful detailing.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Queen St West Gator

I was down on Queen St West in September to catch this alligator/crocodile (not sure which it is) on the  side of a Japanese grocery store and decided that this great tree needed to be included too. I'm not sure of the significance of the reptile but if you look really closely there are 3 little pink angels around it including one riding on its back. Judging by the faded paint this has been here a long time!

Friday, November 9, 2012

OCAD At Night

Wednesday evening I was at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and went out on the stairs that I showed you here. As you can see the view is special in particular the view of OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design) which is the building illuminated by the blue lights. You can click on the OCAD label below to see shots taken in the daylight but they are a couple of years old now and I think I will make a point of taking some new ones soon. This spectacular addition to OCAD was designed by English architect Will Alsop and since its completion in 2004 it has become one of the most photographed buildings in Toronto.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Birds On A Wire

I often see a lot of birds sitting on this particular run of wires and they always seem to be spaced out quite evenly like this. I guess birds have the same sense of personal space as humans!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Global Roots Garden

This sign is located at the Artscape Wychwood Barns in the open-air Barn 5 which I had mentioned a few weeks ago. Part of the barns are occupied by the Stop Community Food Centre's green house and also this area of ethnically diverse garden plots. There were 7 Global Roots plots this year including Chinese, Somalian, and Polish and each plot was tended by senior citizens and youths who would work together on the gardens and then cook together. As well as the social aspects of the garden they also demonstrated how much food could be grown in a small plot and actually provided food for the meals program run by The Stop. More info on the gardens and Stop here.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Deco Delight

I love finding wonderful little deco buildings like this one that were built for some small business but care was still taken to include nice details like the curved corners and the glass blocks. This one is in particularly good shape after being well-maintained and has that muted grey design painted all along its side wall as well as the front. I could find no info on it as to date of construction etc.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Junction Mural

I discovered this wonderful mural in The Junction which is what you would call an up and coming area of the city that seems to have restaurants and small independent stores opening at a tremendous pace. I've written about the area a couple of times that you can see if you click the Junction label below. What really makes this mural special is that it depicts the West Toronto Station that was built in 1911 but demolished in 1982 despite a lot of effort put into a campaign to save it. There are very few of these old small stations left in the city. The artist for this mural is p4design.onsugar.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Traffic On The Trail

This was the scene 2 weeks ago on the Martin Goodman Trail just after coming across yesterday's bridge. The boardwalk on the left is closer to the water and both it and the trail converge at the bridge to cross over the Humber River. As you can see they are well used especially on weekends but also for many people commuting back and forth to work downtown. I imagine all the leaves are gone from the trees this week!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Humber Bay Arch Bridge

This is the pedestrian/bike bridge that was visible in yesterday's shot of the lakeshore, taken from a pathway that runs down below the bridge itself. The bridge is about 450 ft long and spans the Humber River as it empties into Lake Ontario and it carries the "Waterfront Trail" which will eventually go all the way along the north shore of the lake. The part of the trail in Toronto is called the "Martin Goodman Trail" and it is the most popular bike and pedestrian trail in the city. The bridge was designed by Montgomery & Sisam Architects and was finished in 1994. I love the snake motifs on the lower supports!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Looking West On The Edge

It is still raining here most of the time (remnants of Hurricane Sandy) so it hasn't been good for getting pics which gives me an excuse to share some more pics from the lakeshore. This pic was taken turning around 180˚ from yesterday's pic and shows some of the many condo buildings along the shores of Lake Ontario and if you look closely on the left side you can see cranes which are being used to construct more. The wonderful white bridge is the "Humber Bay Arch Bridge", a pedestrian and bike traffic bridge that spans the mouth of the Humber River as it empties into the lake. More on the bridge tomorrow!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Swans At The Edge

Back to the shore of Lake Ontario to see more of the swans that were all gathered there last week when I went looking for pics for this month's City Daily Photo theme pic which is "The Water's Edge". The swans all seemed quite relaxed and I was able to approach them quite closely before they seemed at all concerned. The building just visible along the shoreline is the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion but no humans were venturing into the water that day!
To view more pics for the theme day, click here.