Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Cuties

These wee cuties were in a shop window and I couldn't resist putting them up for today. Happy Easter to all of those who celebrate it!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Yellow Door

I took this pic a couple of weeks ago just around the corner from yesterday's crocuses while checking to see if the flowers were out. The snow is now gone but this lovely yellow door is a real attention grabber and must be quite pretty in summer with flowers in those pots and the snow shovel put away so I'll have to go back to check.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sign Of Spring

Every spring I go by to check if this little bunch of crocuses is in bloom since it seems to be in its own little micro-climate on the south side of a house and the flowers are always the first crocuses I see and this year is no different. I took this  pic on Tuesday and was thrilled to see them although not so thrilled with that irrigation hose that now runs through the garden. Little yellow beauties!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Downtown Construction

This is the view from near yesterday's restaurant and it is typical of the core of the city - a view of the CN Tower with tall condo towers near it and cranes busy at work constructing even more. Toronto has more condos under construction than any other city in North America and it is getting harder to find parking lots like this one as they are all being bought up for even more towers. Crazy!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something Fishy

I had never noticed this restaurant before until the wonderful fish sign in the window caught my attention and then these 2 people emerged from inside and began to wash the place down. Perfect for my shot! I really like the corten steel and the look of what I could see of the upper patio too. By chance there was a review of the place a couple of days later and apparently it had just opened a couple of months ago.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Up On Stilts

I love shooting this building, the Ontario College Of Art And Design (OCAD) with its wonderful addition designed by Will Alsop. I showed it to you last year at night and from the other side - here - but couldn't resist another daylight shot when in the area. It seems so perfect for an art college and the old Victorian house at the left is an art supply company! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Ontario Gothic"

Another of the John Kuna murals in the Islington neighbourhood, this one is called "Ontario Gothic" and although it is based on a photo from the 1900s it is meant to be a parody of "American Gothic" by Grant Wood. Painted in 2011, it shows William Appleby and his sister Mabel standing in front of the family farmhouse which was a Gothic Revival cottage style.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


A friend gave me this orchid several years ago and it has never failed to flower each spring since. It must be a tough one since it gets no special care but still puts on a good show! I have no idea what variety it is - any ideas out there?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beauty In The Snow

This wonderful Second Empire home has long been one of my favourites in the city. It is located in the Weston neighbourhhood in the north-west part of the city far from my usual haunts but near where I grew up so I have been admiring it for a long time! Built in 1894, it is now historically designated so will remain true to its style on the outside at least. My grandmother's doctor lived and had his office here. There are many great old homes in this area and I plan to head up there for a photo tour when the weather improves (this pic was taken 2 weeks ago so some snow has melted since then).

Friday, March 22, 2013

Taking Another Walk

This pic shows you the walkway/laneway behind 180 Queen St with a view of the clock tower from Old City Hall in the background peeking out over Campbell House. This area of the city is packed with things to see and great views!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Taking A Walk

This woman is walking down (south) on University Ave directly in front of the Canada Life building, the one in yesterday's pic.  I thought it gives you a good idea of the scale of the structure and of those wonderful columns.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sign Of Weather Changes

In this pic you can see the red brick Campbell House at the left and its much larger neighbour, the Canada Life Insurance building which I first showed in 2011 - here. The Canada Life building is most famous in the city for its weather beacon which you can see at the top of the pic. Installed in 1951, it changes colour depending on the forecast and the lights on its stem pulsate up if the temp is rising and down when the temp goes down. Green at top means fair weather, red cloudy. flashing red is rain. and white is snow. A weather sign visible for all! The construction below is a fountain in the boulevard of University Ave finally being repaired after many years empty.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Old Neighbour

The lovely brick building shown here in the foreground is Campbell House which is the oldest remaining home from the Town of York which was the original name of Toronto. This Georgian beauty was built in 1822 in a residential area with a view to the lake but by the 1960s the area had become commercial/industrial and it was the last home standing. A move was afoot to tear it down until a group organized a move to this spot at University and Queen St and turned it into a museum. The 1 mile move took place on Easter weekend in 1972 and was a major event in the city as hydro lines and lights had to be taken down and traffic in the centre of the city was brought to a standstill. I'm aging myself by saying that I remember the move well and watched it for hours along with hundreds of others!  More about the Canada Life building in the background tomorrow.

Monday, March 18, 2013


This is yet another mural from Dundas St in the Islington neighbourhood of the city.  I just discovered it a couple of weeks ago and could find no info about it so have no idea who the artist is. The colours, especially in the underwater section, are so incredibly rich and vibrant and the detail on these water creatures so wonderful that it is a shame we don't know the artist. It must be pleasant to sit out on that balcony in the summer! 
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


One last shot of 180 Queen St W, this time taken from a perspective showing its east neighbour, Campbell House which was built in 1822. I love the juxtaposition of styles and one must get there before the leaves come out to get a good view. More on Campbell House on Tuesday's post (after Monday Murals).
Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Art In The Lobby - B

This is another of the wonderful pieces found in the lobby of 180 Queen St W. This beautifully carved piece was done by west coast First Nation artist Charles Heit in 2006 paying reference to the totem poles for which he is known but specific to its location in the federal court building in its images and its title of "Aspirations Of Canadian Justice".  You can see yesterday's work just peeking out of the far distance.
Shortly after taking this pic I was approached by security guards who told me there was no photography allowed in the building. I said that it was good that I had already taken several shots and one gave me a big smile and said, "Yes".

Friday, March 15, 2013

Art In The Lobby

I found this wonderful work of carved wood in the lobby of yesterday's building at 180 Queen St W and it has to be one of the best works I've seen in a long time. It is by Susan Point, a First Nations artist from the west coast, and was done in 2006 and is titled "Ongoing Journey".  Her explanation is - "pays tribute to all those involved in treaty negotiations. Paddles were traditionally held point up as canoes approached shoreline settlements, in a salute for peace or a sign for parley". Very suitable for a federal court building!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

180 Queen St West

A week ago I showed you the hanging "180" address from this building, and today the whole structure which is located at Queen St W and University Ave. This award-winning building was completed in 2006 and was designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), one of my favourite firms around town who have done wonderful work on new buildings as well as restorations and retrofittings of older ones that were brought back to their original glory. This building houses mostly federal court departments as well as some financial companies and also one of the best restaurants in town.  More pics over the next few days including some wonderful art from the lobby.
I have to admit to waiting for a streetcar to come by for a dash of red.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cruise, Anyone?

When I saw this RV parked at a local grocery store, the wonderful scenery and the sign "Cruise Canada" certainly made it sound tempting. The pic of the dog in the window of the door was the final perfect touch for me.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I took this pic of Winter Aconite on Sunday in my mother's garden when it was +15˚C and sunny. This is always one of the earliest flowers to bloom, even before the Snowdrops, and I'm hoping it means that winter is over although it is supposed to cool off a lot this week. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Battersby's March, 1813"

This yet another of the Islington murals painted by John Kuna. Done in 2012 to commemorate the War of 1812, it shows Lieutenant Colonel Francis Battersby leading his troops along Dundas St in the Village of Islington to Burlington on July 29 1813. I just discovered this one this week and the colours are fabulous and vibrant and since it is on a north wall they will probably remain that way.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here to see more murals.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Church Conversion - Update Part 2

This is one of the entrances on the side of the church, this one I think is leading to the 8,000 sq ft loft space with the huge wine cellar. I love those long light fixtures and the lovely porch that has been created here. I wish I could have a tour of the inside of this church conversion! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Church Conversion - Update

I posted a pic almost a year ago of a church undergoing a spectacular conversion (here) into 4 large living spaces, and I have been wandering by regularly to check the progress. I took this pic 2 days ago showing what had been the main front entrance of the church and which now is the entrance into a 10,000 sq ft  loft. This has to have been one of the most careful restoration/conversion projects that I have seen in the city and the whole structure is looking quite beautiful although not finished yet. I'll show 2 more of the entrances over the next couple of days.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Stairway To ....

I always admire this house in the Annex since it seems to be so well taken care of especially in summer with lots of greenery around it, but winter gives me a chance to show the wonderful winding staircase leading to the 2nd floor. In the summer the railings are covered in vines so it is hard to make out the stairs. It looks as if the house was originally a semi-detached but now the upper floors of the 2 halves have been joined to form one large upper unit with its own sweeping stairs. I like it!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Davisville Subway Yard

This yard at Davisville Ave in mid-town was the first subway yard in Toronto's system when it opened in 1954 and is now one of 3 with the largest one at Wilson Ave storing most of the subway cars on this line these days. It's still a fun place to watch the trains pass through since it is one of only a few spots where the trains come above ground and you also get a view of the yellow maintenance trains that work on the tracks in the off hours. The buildings on the right are located on Yonge St which is the main street here, starting at Lake Ontario and running north far out of the city.
I'm following Lowell's example and playing with the posterize tool here. (With a bit of tutoring from him!)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I love the font used for this address and the way that the numbers hang down from the 2nd floor ceiling of the entrance arcade. I have taken several pics of the whole building, which is quite tall, but have been unhappy with them so I intend to head down for another try when we get some nice weather (maybe this week). This pic is from last fall.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Door At #8

I can't resist a bright red door. There is something so inviting about them and oddly enough I don't have a red door myself!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blog's Third Birthday

It's amazing to me that it has been 3 years since I started this blog not knowing what I was doing and here I am still loving it and doing everything I can not to miss a day (only 2 days missed). It seems suitable to have this post on the day of Monday Murals since exploring for murals has become a real pleasure for me. This mural is another from the Islington neighbourhood and was done by artist John Kuna in 2006. Titled "Timeline, Islington Then & Now" it shows Dundas St as it was in the early 1900s on the left side and how it looks now on the right. Down the middle, runs an assortment of cool cars from the 50s. 
To see more murals from Mural Monday click here

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Yorkville Park

I'm continuing to dig into my archives for fair weather pics and present this pic taken in Yorkville Park which is a park that greened over a parking lot! The park has various areas representing different zones in Canada but I'm not sure which zone this series of arches is meant to be. As you can see it is very popular as a place to sit and have lunch when the weather is fine. At the end of the arches you can see some of the small exclusive shops that the area is known for.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


These colourful steel dancers can be found in the front garden of a home near the Tarragon Theatre. They have very Matisse-esque flavour due to the colours, dancers positions, and the patterning. The pic comes from my archives as I find myself craving spring and green leaves. 
The artist is William Roddy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"We All Scream For Ice Cream"

Someone has painted over a sign in the local park that had warned that these stairs are not cleared of ice or snow but they then added a bit of ice in the form of ice cream. It was a fun sight to discover on a winter day!