Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Whitney Block

This handsome building is one of the many government of Ontario buildings located on Queen's Park East and it is known as the Whitney Block. The building was designed by architect Francis Heakes and finished in 1926 although the 16 storey tower wasn't added until 1933.  The building houses many offices but the tower itself has been empty since 1968 when it was declared too dangerous for occupation due to the lack of sufficient numbers of stairways for emergency exit! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snowy Branches

Monday morning was a wonderland of snow-laden trees at first and then came the freezing rain followed by rain and rising temps and everything became quite messy and slushy. It was beautiful while it lasted!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Prints In The Snow

We woke up to snow yesterday morning and the little birds were soon out looking for food at feeders and in the garden. This wee one left some very cute prints behind! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Queen St Wilderness

I had shown you a mural on this wall last year (click here) and happened to notice recently that it had been painted over with this wilderness scene. I am not sure of the artist - could be Random but I'm not sure if that is a Toronto Random or whether it was even just 1 artist involved. Either way, it is nicely done.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Toronto Court House

A summer Sunday morning shot of the Toronto Court House was taken back in July and it is such a treat to see the green trees and people in shorts! The Court House is located on University Ave and was designed by architects Marani Morris & Allan with construction finished in 1966. You can just see the top of our city hall peeking above the rounded structure which contains a court room and has a large open walkway on the ground level leading through to the city hall. I can hardly wait for summer!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pretty In Pink

I'm still into my archives since I've had no time to be out for pics. I shot this pink bonanza on Dundas St W on a sunny day in September and certainly appreciate seeing all that colour at this dull, grey time of year. The young woman fades right into all the patterning, don't you think?
I haven't been able to identify the artist of this one.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"We Buy & Sell Anything"

These 3 creatures crawl up the wall above the entrance to Active Surplus which has been located on Queen St West for over 30 years and has been in business since 1962. They aren't kidding when they say they have everything - you can easily spend hours rummaging through boxes of all sorts of things from electronic components to bowling pins. You can see how they have used their own stock to construct these wonderful creatures!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

St James Cathedral

From my archives comes this summer pic of St James Cathedral the home of the oldest congregation in the city having been established in 1797. This Anglican cathedral was designed by Frederick William Cumberland in Gothic Revival style and was constructed in 1853 replacing an older building that had burned down. Located right downtown on King St, it is surrounded by lovely gardens.  I took this shot from the Toronto Sculpture Garden which is directly across the road.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


There is so much construction of condominiums going on in downtown Toronto that this has become a very common sight. I'm always fascinated to see the remainders of stairs, wallpapers, & etc as the old comes down to be replaced by new although in this case it seems that some of the old structure is being retained as part of the new facade. Progress?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Toboggan Hill"

This is what a typical winter scene should be like here but we have no snow! This yet another of the murals from the Islington area of town and like most of them it was done by John Kuna and it is based on a photo of kids on the hill behind Montgomery's Inn many years ago. I took the pic during a walking tour of the murals in May '12 and you can see that a couple of our participants were a wee bit bored!
Update - When I pre-posted this yesterday we had no snow but a rogue stream of snow has come down through the centre of the city and we now have lots of snow downtown and through some parts of town while the sun shines in other parts! Weird.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Black Squirrel

Bird feeders not only attract birds but also squirrels who will spend hours trying to figure out a method of reaching the feeders to eat all the sunflower seeds. This little guy finally gave up and was busy eating any tidbits that the birds dropped. Black squirrels are actually genetic variants of the Eastern Grey Squirrel but in the Toronto area they seem to be much more prevalent that their grey cousins!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

House Sparrow

My parents have several bird feeders in their yard and the whole area teems with birds especially the little House Sparrows. This little guy was being coy as he waited for his turn on one of the feeders!
I am still very busy tending for my parents who both have the flu but will try to keep posting.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I wouldn't be surprised to hear that this cute little bunny has been in this spot since the 50s. I have passed by here so many times and never noticed the wee guy before - it must be the lack of summer vegetation that gives him more exposure.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Open To The World

A 180˚ turn from yesterday's pic shows you a matching door opening but this side of Barn 5 at the Wychwood Barns is open to the outside park. As you can see we have no snow left and  the grass is even looking quite green for this time of year. I have no idea what a bump hat is but the TTC obviously thought they were important!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I finally got out for a small photo wander - the first in 3 weeks - and headed up to the Wychwood Barns which I have shown you before.  This pic was taken in Barn 5 which is the open-air barn used for gardens and the weekend farmer's market in summer. The sign is probably a remainder from the days of the TTC ownership of the barns. I love the textures!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hideout Patio

I was hunting for murals when I spotted this one by UB5000 but I must say that the building really attracts a lot of attention from me. It has lovely proportions and seems to have been well-restored as this is a very old part of town and the buildings require so much upkeep.  No yellow birds on this side - he kept them all on the back wall which I showed you yesterday. I'm not sure what the significance of the octopus is - I may have to do a reconnaissance trip to this bar to find out!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Hideout

This is the section of the wall above yesterday's cat artist. It is located on the back wall of a Queen St rock and roll bar called the Hideout and UB5000 was commissioned to paint a large mural along the side of the bar facing their patio. Somehow I like this whimsical assortment of creatures including the wee yellow birds but I will show you the more formal mural tomorrow. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cat Street Artist

Another piece by UB5000 which I found in a laneway just off Queen St, this time featuring one of his cats. And this cat seems to be in the process of creating some street art on this wall. There are actually some of his little yellow birds up high along this wall and I will show them tomorrow but in the meantime isn't this cat great!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I happened upon this sandstone carving on a home on Spadina Rd which was built in the late 1890s. I can't figure out what is going on in this guy's mouth  - 2 cigars at once!? It is so nice to see the detail work which was put into these carvings during those times.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Deco Grillwork

In 1928 the Simpson's Department store downtown planned a 20 storey tower addition to their Yonge St store but only 9 storeys of the Deco tower were ever built. Some lovely features were included in the design such as this fabulous grillwork on what is now the back of the Hudson's Bay store. The grillwork matches that to be found on the former Simpson's store in Montreal.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Another Red Door

I really love the shade of red on this door -  would gladly paint mine the same if I knew the exact colour. I found this handsome door on a rather unpretentious house on a busy street in the city and must say that the door gave a wonderful first impression! And the reflected lamppost is an added bonus.
Still on pre-post but hope to be back to normal soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Toronto Skyline From High Park

I have been unable to get out for any pics for 2 weeks so I am into my archives. I am not sure why I never posted this shot of the downtown skyline taken from the High Park neighbourhood which is about 4 miles west of the CN Tower. It is quite different from the usual TO skyline shot which is normally taken from the south while on a boat or at the Islands. I was on a deck on the top of a church tower of a church that has been converted to lofts and we were waiting to toast the sunset which came soon after I took this shot. It is quite a location up above this well-treed area of town!  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Snowy Laneway

As you all know, I love to wander about in the laneways that run along behind the back yards of many of the streets in the older parts of town and provide access to garages and parking spaces. They are often peppered with murals and tagging especially in the commercial areas but this particular one is in a quiet mid-town neighbourhood and is just a tranquil spot after a snow fall when few cars have travelled down here yet and even fewer people have dug out their garages.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


This tiny parkette in mid-town just below Casa Loma looked lovely after one of our recent snowfalls - it is always nice to get out before the snow gets too disturbed by people. I loved the shadows from the trees and also this gives you a view if what a typical downtown neighbourhood looks like.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Can't See The Casa For The Trees

I showed you the front entrance of Casa Loma last week and thought I would give you an idea as to why you never see pics from the other side. Casa Loma sits at the top of a steep hill (110 steps to the top) that runs up from Davenport Rd and is covered in trees and gardens. In summer you can barely see the Casa but this winter pic gives us a little peek of it looking down over the middle of the city!
I'm still pre-posting but hope to be back to normal this week.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Snowy Trees

This trio of large fir trees looked so lovely the morning after a snow storm!  Several people had stopped to look at them as I was taking this pic.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Blue House In The Snow

There is something about blue trim looking so wonderful in the snow and I thought that this Annex home looked so pretty with the snow-laden tree beside it. Not that I would want to be sitting out on that great porch in this weather!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Schoolhouse Condos

This has to be one of the most successful conversions - this one was an elementary school in the Annex until a few years ago when it was developed and changed into condos. Everything seems to work so well from a design perspective and the snow is an added bonus!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Elegance In The Snow

This has always been one of my favourite homes in the Annex neighbourhood of the city and I think it looks especially elegant with its snowy accessories!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Snowy Casa Loma

I have shown you this entrance to Casa Loma with flowers out front but I think it looks just as lovely after a pretty snow storm!
Thanks everyone for your well wishes for my mum - she is improving!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Red In The Snow

Happy New Year everyone and I hope it is going to be a good one for us all!
I am helping out my mum who has come down with a bad flu and so I haven't been able to visit everyone and I'm not sure when I will be finding the time but I will try to keep on posting a couple days in advance! I'll be visiting soon!