Friday, May 31, 2013

More Reuse On King West

This fine example of a Classical Revival building is the next door neighbour of yesterday's building. It was constructed in 1903 as the factory and offices of the Dominion Paper Box Company and it too has now been historically designated so there is little danger of it being demolished and the space used for even more condos downtown. I love all the wonderful details and will show you a close-up of that doorway another day.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reuse On King St West

This fine building, an example of the Classical Revival style, was constructed in 1901 as the offices and factory of the Toronto Lithographing Company and then was used by various other companies through the years such as Salada Tea. This stretch of King St west of Spadina Ave was a centre of manufacturing and industry in the city but as these companies closed in the late 1900s many of the buildings became used as artist studios and for a time it looked as if they might disappear.  But luckily gentrification has taken place and nearly all of them have been beautifully restored and are now historically designated and full of clubs, restaurants and offices.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gourmet Dogs

I just discovered this place on College St which serves all kinds of exotically dressed hot dogs and each variety can be made as a veggie too. I'm going to have to try it out! In the meantime, I like their signage.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mt Dennis Library

This is the Mt Dennis library which can be found just down the street from yesterday's mural. It has just re-opened after an extensive renovation of the 60 year-old dark brick building that was here before. Designed by architect Bruce Stratton, the building has had windows and skylight punched into it, a totally redesigned interior, and apparently even has an outdoor reading garden. I love the new facade of  glass and corten steel - quite an elegant addition to the area!

Monday, May 27, 2013

New And Old

I spotted this mural on the side of a building housing a centre for seniors services in the Mount Dennis neighbourhood of the city. This mainly working class area has been a busy industrial centre in the west end of the city but much of the industry is now gone - the man in the mural with the camera is a reference to the huge Kodak plant that operated here for 80 years and was a major employer in the area until closing several years ago. The 2 ladies represent volunteers with the Meals-on -Wheels program run out of the senior centre, while the trains of various vintage represent the railway which runs through the area. Much work is being done in this area to help bring it back to its former self.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Typical Toronto In-fill

I am not sure if this style is restricted to Toronto or not but it has become the typical in-fill style here where an older usually smaller home has been replaced or renovated. The style involves a variety of box shapes, a cantilevered roof over the porch, horizontal wood strips, and often cast concrete elements.  Some of them work quite well and I'm curious if this style exists just here or is it in your area too?

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I'm continuing the flower posts although these gorgeous Irises were at a garden centre and not in someone's yard. I was really taken with the beautiful colour and delicate blooms so I had to take a pic!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wonderful Wisteria

I was stopped at a red light last weekend when I spotted this beautiful Wisteria growing over the entrance to a low-rise condo building on Richmond St W. What a pleasure it must be to come home to such a lovely sight - Wisteria is one of my favourite plants!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

More Seaton Village Front Gardens

Most of the front gardens in the Seaton Village part of town are not very large but at this time of year they are particularly beautiful. I always remember this one for its wonderful display of yellow so I made a point of getting by to see it at its prime. Isn't spring incredible?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I couldn't resist a shot of this vehicle belonging to one of the many dog care companies that you find in the city - so many people hire dog walkers or send their dogs off to doggie day care! A TV station from Buffalo is famous in this area for the statement "It's 11 o'clock, do you know where your kids are?" that they play before their night news so the quote on the back of this car is brilliant!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tea In The Garden

This scene made me think of a tea party in the garden which would be a lovely thing at this time of year  especially under that beautiful tree. I captured this in the front garden of a  home in the Seaton Village neighbourhhood where most of the front yards are full of flowers & plants and only rarely have lawns of grass.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Not a Dumping Ground

We are back in the Ossington Ave laneway that has undergone a transformation thanks to the city-sanctioned mural project meant to discourage mindless tagging of garages and buildings. Now all that needs to be done is to stop people from dumping garbage in the lane! The city will pick up mattresses from your streetfront for free so there is no need to dump them like this. The artists for this interesting mural are known as Lexr and Evoke and have been getting international commissions for their work. I like how they have incorporated the windows as eyes here.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunny Spring Afternoon

After a long winter and a coolish spring it is nice to sit in a park and catch a few rays. I'm not positive but I think that lovely flowering tree is a Redbud.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

"Bring Round The Car"

This is the little telephone room in Spadina House which is now a museum that has been restored to its condition from the early 1900s. I showed you the exterior here last year. Seeing these old phones really makes you realize how far technology has come in the last 100 years. The large phone was used to call downtown Toronto while the smaller one was a direct line to the chauffeur! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Church Carving

I love the carvings to be found on the older buildings around town and these ones are in such good shape that it is hard to believe they are over 100 years old. They are to be found on a church which has been converted into lofts and has had its exterior beautifully restored. And apparently this loft can be yours for just over $3.5 million!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Old And New

This is a pic of the new 11th Division Police Station on Davenport Ave which opened in late 2011. The 100 year old Carleton Village Public School had been made redundant and was to be torn down to allow a new police station to be built on the property, but after much resistance by the local residents, the front part of the old school was retained and restored and a new structure added on to the back of it. The architects were Stantec Architects and they have made it very environmentally friendly with a green roof, etc. I hope to tour the building in a couple of weeks during Toronto's Doors Open event but thought I had better get a pic before all the leaves come out on the many newly planted trees and block the view.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bill Bat Boy

I spotted the Batboy's ride in the neighbourhood again and this time got a shot of the other side of it showing him with some of his friends and also some of his bat houses. Bat houses differ from bird houses in that they have no bottoms thus allowing the bats to swoop in and up to hang there for the day.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Good Crop

The use of herbicides has been banned for several years here so nearly the only way to get rid of weeds is to pull them out which does not happen in the parks and in the public spaces along roadways. As a result you get large crops of Dandelions popping up such as along this boulevard beside the stone wall of Casa Loma. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Famous Glasses

A new optical shop has just opened on College St and they have had this cool mural of John Lennon, wearing his famous glasses, painted in their entrance. The artist for this is Douglas VanAsselstine who seems to be involved in a lot of the art scene going on in nearby Kensington Market.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What A School!

This unusual round building with the crown-like roofline is Lord Lansdowne School which is located in the same heritage district as yesterday's homes but it is not part of the district since it is from a different era than the rest of the structures. It is, however, designated as a heritage property as a prime example of Mid-Century Expressionist architecture. It was built in 1961 and designed by Peter Pennington, an in-house architect for the Toronto Board of Education, and it was needed to replace an old Victorian school building which had become too small for the area's needs. I love all the fanciful touches and the colours and of course that funky chimney!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Willcocks Street

Willcocks is a short street most of which runs through the University of Toronto campus but the last block of the street is on the other  side of Spadina Ave from the campus and it is a beautiful little enclave of old Victorian homes. They are part of the Harbord Village Heritage Conservation District which means that the exterior characteristics of the homes must be maintained in their present state. The nice thing about this block is that all the homes still have their original exterior features intact although I have been inside a couple of them and they were quite modern inside. This was also part of Jane's Walk from last weekend.

Friday, May 10, 2013


It's hard to get unobstructed views of the sunset when you are in the middle of the city but I thought these hydro towers were a nice addition to this one. I was driving one evening this week and pulled over to catch it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gothic Revival Cottage

You can still find many examples of this style of home around Toronto and in fact it was the single most popular style in Canada up until 1950. Many of the small ones in the city have had additions put on the back, leaving the front facade intact as is the case with this one which is said to be quite large inside. The unusual thing about this particular building is that it is actually a semi-detached pair of homes. I've always loved these little cottages!
I took this pic while taking part in one of the 100s of walks going on last weekend as part of Jane's Walk in honour of Jane Jacobs and her ideas on neighbourhoods.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BatBoy's Ride

I've seen this van parked around the neighbourhood a few times lately and I'm not sure if he lives nearby or whether he is installing bat houses somewhere. He could be doing a removal - bats are protected here and it is illegal to harm them so if they get into your place you have to gently send them on their way. In recent years the poor little guys have been having problems with a white-nose fungus that has killed many of them causing great concern since bats do such a good job of controlling insect populations. That has resulted in a lot of people putting in bat houses to help them survive and flourish.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Barca Volante"

Yet another of the sculptures from the CityPlace condo development and this one is another by Chilean artist Francisco Volante who has done so many pieces there including the yellow bridge I showed a while ago. Barca Volante (Flying Boat) was installed in 2005 and subtly represents the skeleton of a boat, referencing the story of 2 ships which were overturned in the wind in Lake Ontario in 1813. This whole complex is located close by the lake so it is quite suitable.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Orange Guy

I'm back in the Ossington lane where most of the garages have been painted with murals to discourage tagging - part of a city-santioned program. This piece was done by the artist Rock about whom I could find no information. If you look closely you can see that he has spelled out his name in the shapes while including some whimsical creatures to cheer up the laneway.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Forsythia At The Casa

Casa Loma is located high on a well-treed hill in downtown Toronto and is surrounded at the bottom of the hill by a tall stone wall that has several large growths of Forsythia that tumble over the top of the wall. The yellow flowers are spectacular at this time of year and since the trees have yet to get their leaves, we also get a peek of one of the towers of the Casa itself!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Magnolia At The Casa

If you lived in a castle and you had a magnolia tree, you just might see a scene like this. Although this magnolia is growing in front of the stables of Casa Loma, the turrets and lions of the stables give you a good idea of what it would be like!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Fun

I captured this cool van while we were stopped for a red light - great way to advertise your product, don't you think!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Rosa Nautica"

We are back in the CityPlace condo development and this is yet another of the art pieces installed as part of the city's required art component (1% of the total construction costs). This piece called Rosa Nautica is by artist Francisco Gazitua who had also designed the yellow pedestrian bridge that I showed you last week. This piece is over 75 ft tall and is said to reference sextants and the masts from sailing ships in a nod to the long history of navigation on Lake Ontario which is just a very short walk south from here. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Marks Of An Artisan

There is nothing like wet clay to capture a moment in time and in these freshly thrown bowls you can see the marks left behind by the fingers of the potter. Fresh clay like this is so alive and even the best glazing can't bring it back to this wonderful stage.
Taking part in the City Daily Photo Theme Day, "The  Creative Artisan". Click here for more theme posts.