Thursday, October 31, 2013

Autumn Run

It's hard to beat a sunny autumn day and it is particularly a nice time for a run. I caught this young woman downtown, running up University Ave past the Canada Life building.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lucky Moose

In 2000, more than 300 moose sculptures were decorated by different artists and they roamed all over the city. Unfortunately the antlers were relatively easy to remove and most of the moose lost their  antlers shortly after the sculptures appeared. You can still find the moose scattered about but very few have the antlers like this lucky moose found up above the storefront of the "Lucky Moose Food Mart" in one of our Chinatowns, this one located on Dundas St W.  This lucky moose is decorated with gold coins, the yin & yang symbols, and the chinese word for luck written upside down to signify that the luck has already arrived! 
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Galleria Italia

I love this space in the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) which was one of the major additions to the gallery during the Frank Gehry designed renovations completed in 2008. It was named the Galleria Italia as a tribute to the 26 Toronto families of Italian descent who contributed $13 million towards the construction. The space stretches almost 600 ft along the front of the building above Dundas St giving you a wonderful view of the street below and the of the Victorian buildings across the road. It is a warm lovely space now being used as the site of the gallery's espresso bar but it has also been used for sculpture exhibits in the past.  This pic was taken at that magical time in the evening when the sky is like a jewel!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fighting Graffiti

This mural has appeared on a wall along College St that has been a site of continuous tagging no matter how many times it was painted over. The owners contacted a city-sponsored group called StreetARToronto (StART) which has the mandate to promote street art while counteracting graffiti. The artists for this mural are Viviana Astudillo & Logan Miller and they have done a fine job with the result being that no further tagging has taken place. 
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blue Synagogue

This small synagogue belonging to the First Narayever Congregation is located in a residential neighbourhood near the Annex in downtown Toronto. It is unique in that it is traditional-egalitatarian where both genders are treated equally and all sit together and worship together. The building was first constructed in 1890 as a Foresters' lodge and then became a church until becoming a synagogue in 1943. 
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here for more religious buildings. 
The November 1 theme for City Daily Photo bloggers is "Heights."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"He Xie"

He Xie is the Chinese word for river crab and this piece of Ai Weiwei's consists of 3,200 porcelain crabs. After his Shanghai studio was demolished by Chinese authorities in 2010, Ai invited guests to a feast of 10,000 river crabs to protest the control of information and the restriction of individual freedom of expression. He was placed under house arrest and was unable to attend. 

Friday, October 25, 2013


This piece by Ai Weiwei consists of 38 tons of steel rebar that was recovered from schools that had collapsed during the horrific earthquake in Sichan Province in China in 2008. More than 90,000 people were killed including a huge number of children who were in school at the time. The mangled rebar was straightened with great effort and assembled as Ai's response to the refusal of the government to acknowledge the victims. This piece was accompanied by an incredible film showing the fallen schools and towns and the labour put into straightening the rebar.
On the wall behind the piece are the names and birth dates of more than 5,000 of the children who were killed in the quake. Weiwei was horrified by the shoddy construction that had caused the schools to collapse and the governments inaction, so he formed a Citizens' Investigation group that has been going out into the province and collecting names of the dead from the families that survived. This work continues.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This is one in a series that Weiwei has been working on since 1997 and it consists of 40 antique wooden stools from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) which have been taken apart and reassembled in new ways. Weiwei wants "us to question our assumptions about objects and change the way we look at things". I like the shadows the piece cast and since this was early in the evening the big crowds had not yet gathered and I was able to get them in the shot. The little houses in the background are made from solid blocks of tea leaves and reference the traditional tea rooms of China.
The November 1 theme for City Daily Photo bloggers is "Heights."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"According To What?"

This is the title of the Ai Weiwei show that has been on at the Art Gallery Of Ontario (AGO) since August and which I finally got to see it this week. They actually allowed photography so I will show some pics over the next few days. The show "spotlights the complexities of a changing world" including such issues as human rights and freedom of expression.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Forever Bicycles, 2013"

Ai Weiwei has had a large presence in Toronto this summer and fall with his Zodiac heads installed at  City Hall for the summer and his show at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) through the same time period. For our Nuit Blanche at the beginning of October, his large piece called "Forever Bicycles, 2013" was installed in the square at City Hall and will remaon until Oct 27. It is a 3-D structure consisting of 3,144 bicycles arranged in a wonderful pattern to create an "abstract sculpture representing the rapidly changing environment in China and around the globe". It's very cool to see the patterns created. This is just a small section. I'll be showing more Weiwei this week. 

The November 1 theme for City Daily Photo bloggers is "Heights."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Students Through The Ages

It was hard to shoot this mural which I found in the Weston neighbourhood of Toronto since it is done as a triptych on a stepped wall along the main street. The panels show school children from 3 different eras and are meant to "celebrate the heritage and multi-cultural development of the Weston community".  It was sponsored by various community groups with several different artists involved.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

The November 1 theme for City Daily Photo bloggers is "Heights."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chapter House At York Minster

The Chapter House at York Minster in York is a large octagonal room built as a place for the governing body of the cathedral to hold meetings. This lovely light-filled space was completed in 1290 and it is filled with wonderful carvings and stained glass with the whole thing topped by this spectacular domed ceiling, done in the "Decorated Gothic" style popular at the time. The paintings on the ceiling date from 1795 but the ribs and bosses are original. York has been on my bucket list and it didn't disappoint!
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here to see more religious buildings.
The November 1 theme for City Daily Photo bloggers is "Heights."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Shambles

The Shambles, an extremely narrow street in York, is one of the most famous streets in Britain and also one of the most incredibly well preserved medieval streets in the world. That is not a trick of the camera - the timber framed buildings, which date from the 14th & 15th century, actually lean out like that towards each other. The street was the home to all the butchers of medieval York and the buildings were constructed like that to add some protection for the shop windows on the main floors. No butchers remain on the street now but rather it is lined with shops catering to tourists. This was the least crowded that I saw it during my visit to York - it was normally really congested!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bootham Bar

I found out when visiting York that a Bar is actually a gate in the wall that once surrounded the old medieval part of the city and not a drinking establishment. This is Bootham Bar, one of the 4 main gates in the wall and its arch was constructed in the 1100s while most of it is from the 14th century. You can enter here and then go up onto a large section of the wall that still exists and which wraps around behind York Minster giving you a great view as you head over to Monk Bar. Those are 2 spires of the Minster visible over top of the brick buildings. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lendal Bridge

If you ignore the sign that I showed you yesterday you will end up in the River Ouse which runs through the city of York and has 9 bridges that cross it within the city limits. This fine-looking Gothic style bridge is Lendal Bridge and it is an iron bridge that opened in 1863 within the walls of the old city. It is nicely decorated with the white roses of York all along below the handrail and even the York coat-of-arms visible in the middle. Continuing along to the right leads you right up to York Minster.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Drive Carefully

I spotted this sign along the edge of the River Ouse in York when I was there during my recent holiday. The message is short & sweet don't you think? And would certainly make you slow down and drive carefully!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn Delight

I finally found a tree in Toronto that has changed to a beautiful red and was glowing in the sunshine which we have had lately. Apparently the warm weather has delayed a lot of the colour change this year and in fact we are not supposed to have a show quite as spectacular as normal because of the temperatures. This beauty was the only one that had turned red on its street!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Here's Looking At You

Yet another piece of street art from Liverpool, I spotted several copies of this wheat paste installation during my wanderings there.  I quite like it and for some reason it reminds me of Keith Richards - it must be the hat!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here to see more murals from around the world.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


This weekend is the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in Canada with Monday being the official day but many people have their feast on Sunday. Getting ready for the harvest meal often requires a trip to one of the many farmers markets in the city such as this one at the Wychwood Barns. You have to arrive early since the good things go fast - this pic was taken just after 8 a. m. last Saturday and the place was quite crowded.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Concrete Love

This little concrete robot is called a "Lovbot" and he is #77 of 100 that were created by artist Mathew Del Degan and some friends and helpers. Each of the 250 lb lovbots is to be placed in a different location around Toronto where an act of kindness has occurred and they hope to have a map on-line showing each location and the background story. I came across this wee guy at the Wychwood Barns but no story has been posted for it yet.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Liverpool Reflections

I've had little chance to get out and about here in Toronto since I came back from holidays, so yet another pic from England. This one was taken by the Albert Dock in Liverpool and I loved the contrast of the modern buildings with the older ones around them. I was unable to determine what they are used for and it started to rain just after I took the pic so I didn't go over to explore!
Taking part in Weekend Reflection. Click here for more reflections.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Very Blue

The 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square in London is now occupied by this huge wonderfully blue cockerel which will be there until 2015. The intense blue hits you as soon as you approach the square - I loved it on a grey day - and relative to the size of all the pigeons below it on the plinth you can get an idea of its size. The artist is German Katherina Fritsch and she calls the piece "Hahn/Cock". The plinth has been the site of temporary sculpture since 1999 after remaining empty for over 150 years before that.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


This is the wonderful sign and carvings found above the main entrance to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in the Bloomsbury area of London. One of the most exclusive theatrical schools in the world, the Academy was founded in 1904 and moved into this building in 1927. I love the style of the figures and their masks.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

London - Bird's Eye View

Another shot from the top of the Centrepoint Building looking east towards the British Museum (in the middle) which looks like a green cushion to me, and Russell Square just behind it . It is such fun picking out the various landmarks from up there and seeing the tops of all the other structures in the area.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Blue Guys

When I was in Liverpool, I happened upon a few freshly painted murals by the artist Cranio from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He had been in London to do a large mural and then to Barcelona for another project before doing these pieces in Liverpool. All of them were images of the blue people for which he is known.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

St Giles-In-The-Fields

While I was in London I took a trip up to the top (33rd floor) of the Centrepoint building in the West End and got some fabulous shots even though it was a cloudy misty day. It isn't often that you can get a shot of a church from above the steeple and I really like this perspective of St Giles-In-The-Fields Anglican church. This church was built between 1730-34 in the Palladian style and underwent a large restoration in 1952-53. With its lovely trees it looks like a little oasis among all the buildings that have sprung up around it over the centuries.
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here for more religious buildings.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I have a friend with a much greener thumb than mine and he seems to have a particular talent for getting his orchids to bloom. This is one of about 20 plants that are now covered in blooms!

Friday, October 4, 2013

River Lune

When you continue down the road in yesterday's pic you arrive at the shore of the River Lune which meanders along past Kirkby Lonsdale and eventually empties into the Irish Sea. We walked along for quite awhile and it has to be one of the cleanest-looking rivers I've seen - the water was so clear! There were a number of people taking canoeing lessons that day and you can just make out one of the canoes on the right-hand edge of the river. A fabulous area!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kirkby Lonsdale

I showed you St Mary's Church from Kirkby Lonsdale, last Sunday, and thought I would give you a bit of an idea of the setting of this pretty small town in the south part of England's Lake District. The town sits at the top of a hill overlooking  a valley which has the River Lune running through it and has a super view of the hills rolling away in the distance. This small street is typical of the roads leading down to the river and shows the wonderful stone construction found throughout the town. It's a beautiful place!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Not Here, Please!

I spotted this sign set into a walkway in London that ran along the side of a grade school. It doesn't seem as if any explanation is needed!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Continuing on random posts from my recent trip, this is a shot taken in London of some of the wonderful details that I found on the Adelphi building overlooking the Strand by the River Thames . The building was constructed from 1936 to 38 and has so much wonderful Art Deco detailing all over it - around the doorways and the corners, etc that I took many pics. These little guys were found in the door surrounds and seem to be performing various activities but I am not sure what the significance is. I really liked them though.
The City Daily Photo theme for the month is Details. To see more details from around the world click here.