Monday, September 30, 2013

The Beauty Salon

I'm still going through the pics from my trip so the posts are a bit random as I come across a pic that I like. Of all the places I went, Liverpool seemed to have the most graffiti and murals which reminded me of home here in Toronto. I spotted this mural in an area of Liverpool that seems to be transitioning from an artist area to a club/entertainment centre. The artist of this mural, titled "Beauty Of The Beast", is the German artist Phillip Jordan who is known for his teddy bears and who was commissioned to do this piece in 2010. The teddies seem to be doing a fine job on the beast right down to the bow on the tail!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Very Old Church

This is St Mary's Anglican Church, found in the small Lake District town of Kirkby Lonsdale in England. Parts of the church were built in the early 12th century with various additions occurring through the centuries until it was restored in 1866 in its present form and it is now historically designated.
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here to see more religious buildings.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hackney Swans

I just returned yesterday from my travels in England and a side trip to Paris so I am just catching up on everyone's blogs and taking a peek at the pics I took. Part of an attempt to explore more of London included a trip to the Hackney area in East London which has seen trouble in the past but seems to be undergoing an upsurge in development now. There is a wonderful waterway winding through the area and these swans followed us for quite awhile hoping for a hand-out. They abandoned us when a fellow came along with some food for them!

Friday, September 27, 2013


Valhalla is a wonderful card shop, in the hip Trinity Bellwoods section Queen St West, where you can find a great variety of unique cards. The green wall is always an eye-catcher amongst all the red brick buildings. I'm not sure if the "Spud" tag is still up there since the city has been issuing tickets to building owners to force them into cleaning off all the tags.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Annex Gate

This gate is on one of the larger homes in the Annex neighbourhood which has been divided up into a few flats. I've never seen them closed but always admire them as I walk by. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sleepy Time

This little guy was catching some ZZs in the sunshine just outside yesterday's walkway. He looks so harmless and cute doesn't he? Only because he is sleepy!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Just the kind of view that we all like! I found this walkway by one the buildings at Trinity College at the U of Toronto campus, early on a Sunday morning when no one was around.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Through The Archway

This is the kind of walkway that I find intriguing and find it hard to resist exploring further. This one turned out to lead to just a service area off the rear of Hart House on the U of Toronto campus, although a nice service area and if you continue through the next arch in the distance you emerge at the very leafy Queen's Park.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Old Details

I had include one more detail shot from Old City Hall, this one showing a wonderful face and beautiful detail work in the bricks and arches. I love it!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Clock Tower Protection

I'm including this pic of Old City Hall to show you the 4 gargoyles that guard each corner of the clock tower towards the top and also to show the lovely brick work too. The craftsmanship in the old days is something we don't see today!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Grand Entrance

These arches mark the main entrance into the Old City Hall building and give you a good idea of the wonderful carvings and detail work found all over the structure. There are heads and gargoyles found everywhere! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Old City Hall

Right across the road from our new City Hall is Old City Hall which was used by city council from 1899 to 1966 when council then moved to the new hall. It was designed by architect E. J. Lennox in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and is a treasure house of wonderful carvings some of which I'll show over the next few days. The building is now used as a court house. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sunny Day At City Hall

I always love to see our City Hall - it is such a unique structure. It was designed by Finnish architect Viljo Revell after he won an international design competition for the project, and opened in 1965. The square if front of the hall is used for many events and right now the big attraction is still the WeiWei zodiac heads in the reflecting pool. 
I am still travelling so auto-posts continue, I hope.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I spotted this sundial on the square in front of City Hall on a recent walk and I was surprised that I had never noticed it before. There are a lot of renovations going on in the square and so it may have been moved to this location (maybe from the peace garden which was removed) but it seems its angle wasn't set properly as it was 1 1/2 hours off the correct time! I could find no artist info.

Monday, September 16, 2013


This is a close-up of the details found below the bay windows on the main floor of the Gladstone Hotel.  The fierce creature is super but once again it is the wonderful carving in the stone that I love!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Over The Arch

This is a detail shot of one of the arches found on the upper floor of the Gladstone Hotel.  The lion's head is wonderful but it is the carving over the arch that I really like. You can also see the meticulous restoration that was put into the building and its brickwork. This area of Queen St is now arguably the centre of hipsterism downtown.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Another Renewal

Just a block west on Queen St from the Drake Hotel which I showed a few days ago, is the Gladstone Hotel that was built in 1889 and designed by architect G. M. Miller in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. When built it was a prime destination due to its proximity to the Parkdale train station, but like the Drake it deteriorated with the neighbourhood through the years and had become a real dive before being purchased by the Zeidler family in 2002. It was then restored and renovated and has become a major arts & music hub with lots of events taking place there all year. A competition for local artists to design 37 of the hotel rooms was held and these rooms remain quite a draw for overnight guests. A couple of detail shots coming for the next 2 days.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Urban Herb Garden

I spotted this very urban herb garden growing in plastic bins atop a storage container in a laneway behind a restaurant during my walk along Queen St W.  I love the use of space and the touch of nature as a decoration on the side of the container.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Why Not Now"

This billboard is part of an outdoor art exhibit that was going on at The Drake Hotel this summer. The billboard was done by U.K. artist Mark Titchner with the words "Why Not Now" surrounded by Titchner's signature Rococo patterns.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sunday Brunch At The Drake

The Drake Hotel on Queen St W opened in 1890 as "Small's Hotel" when the nearby Parkdale railway station was a major train hub and Parkdale itself was a very affluent area in the city. It was sold in 1949 and renamed the "Drake" hotel and as the neighbourhood went downhill so did the hotel and it became a flophouse in the 70s. A new owner took over in 2001 and after extensive restoration & renovation, it reopened in 2004 and has become a major centre for the arts and culture, and the neighbourhood has bounced back to become a very desirable place to live. With a dining room, cafe, rooftop patio, and side terrace it is a prime Sunday brunch spot as you can see by the lineup to get onto the terrace. Weekend brunch is a major activity in Toronto!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For Sale On Queen St W

I really liked the look of this store which is occupying 2 side-by-side buildings on Queen St W and then I noticed the for-sale sign in the upper window. Apparently the store and the 2 apartments on the 2nd floor have been nicely upgraded and can be yours for $3.75 million! And this is not the expensive part of Queen St W - shows how crazy the real estate market is in Toronto especially downtown.

Monday, September 9, 2013


This is the side of the building belonging to yesterday's garage with yet another mural. Probably not the same artist but I never got a chance to ask. It's a real attention-getter as you walk along the street!
My internet access will be sporadic for the next couple of weeks but I will try to view some blogs.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Artist At Work

There really are a lot of murals (and graffiti) in this stretch of Queen St W and I even happened upon this artist in the middle of a project. He always seemed to have some buddies talking to him so I never got a chance to find out what the finished piece was to be so I will head back when I get home from holidays. I think it was another of the mural commissions to help prevent tagging on this garage.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Queen West Streetscape

Continuing along Queen St from yesterday's location, this is a fairly typical piece of the streetscape in this area. The buildings are original to the street with some nicely restored and others with a few changes made and all containing small galleries and a couple of shops. That is a policewoman on the bike and even early on a Sunday morning I saw her writing a lot of parking tickets as I wandered along.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Queen St West Stroll

I'm heading off for a vacation tomorrow but am pre-posting for a couple of weeks and I am going to start off today with a series of pics I took a week ago while on a stroll along Queen St West in the stretch between Shaw St & Dufferin. This area used to be fairly run-down but as often happens, artists moved in, then galleries, small restaurants & shops and then the rents started to go up! There are still a lot of galleries in the area and this mural is found in the courtyard at the front of 2 of them. I could find no artist credit but I really like it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wars Past

This has always been my favourite of the war memorials along the median of University Ave. Done by Canadian artist Walter Seymour Allward it is a memorial to the Canadians who died in the South African War of 1899-1902 and it was erected in 1910. Lest we forget.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Now Open

I showed you some of Ai WeiWei's zodiac heads at our City Hall a while ago and the show, "According To What", at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has now finally opened to rave reviews from everyone. The heads will be leaving in September but the show at the AGO runs till the end of October and I plan on seeing it before it leaves. I wonder what the chances are of photos being allowed? 
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

King Of Beasts

This noble beast can be found along University Ave at one of several war memorials that are in the landscaped median that runs down the centre of this major street in the city.  He as such a regal look about him don't you think?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Canadian Bike History

I found this wonderful bike mural in the Weston neighbourhood of Toronto showing cyclists and walkers going along the trail beside the Humber River which runs all the way through the west end of the city. Weston was the home of the CCM (Canada Cycle& Motor Co Ltd) plant from 1917 until the firm's bankruptcy in 1983 and was where probably most of the bikes ridden in Canada up until then were produced. CCM together with the nearby Kodak plant was one of the major employers in the northwest part of the city and the closure of both of these companies has been a hardship for the area.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Written In Pink

This coat of arms is found over the rear doors of the Ontario Legislative building in Queen's Park and shows the motto of our province written in Latin. The translation is "Loyal she began, loyal she remains" which apparently refers to the large number of British Loyalists who moved north to Canada during the American Revolution. The Queen's Park building is a gorgeous structure of pink sandstone with loads of carvings.
Taking part in the City Daily Photo Blogs theme day which for September is "Pink". Click here to see more pink pics.