Monday, March 31, 2014

Fool The Eye

This probably the most famous and the best mural in Toronto. The "FlatIron Mural" is found appropriately on the back of the Flat Iron building and was created by Canadian artist Derek Besant in 1980 after a competition run by the city. Although it incorporates a few of the windows from the building itself, the facade it depicts is actually that of the Perkins Building across the road on Front St E. I love it!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Home For The Hockey Famous

This wonderful Rococo style building located at Yonge and Front Streets has been home to the Hockey Hall Of Fame since 1993. Designed by architects Darling & Curry and built in 1885 for the Bank Of Montreal it remained in use as a bank until 1982 before undergoing a $27 million renovation which also restored some of the beautiful original features of the building including the huge stained glass dome above the central banking hall. Today it is a shrine to hockey in a town that loves hockey and its Maple Leafs despite their horrible record for the last 47 years. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014


This suitcase is actually not a suitcase but is instead another work in clay found at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics. The artist for this piece was Marilyn Levine, a Canadian who was a long-time California resident and who was part of the explosion of studio pottery that took place in the 70s. Her specialty was imitating leather in clay and that included suitcases, shoes and especially leather jackets. It was hard to get a good pic with all the reflections on the glass case in the museum but to see her work in real-life is amazing. I have seen several of the jackets and it is hard to believe they are clay - everything down to the 'metal' buckles etc is made of clay!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Catching Some ZZZZs

While wandering around downtown last weekend I caught this obviously very tired gentleman napping by a fountain, oblivious to all around him. He was soon joined by his family who woke him up!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Art In The Stairway

There are 3 staircases in the Artscape Youngplace building which I showed you yesterday. Each has been given over to an individual artist for the installation of work. This central stairway has 5 access points and was given to Melissa Fisher who decorated from top to bottom with a wonderful array of shapes and forms each cut out of vinyl. I particularly liked this piece, made up from different elements, which was on the top landing but as you can see she also ran shapes along all the railings and above the baseboards. The whole staircase was like a magical place as you ascended! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Artscape Youngplace

Artscape is "a not-for-profit organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities" by transforming underutilized spaces and buildings into areas for artists and last week they had an open house and artist market at one of their newest projects. Artscape Youngplace is located in the old Shaw Street School which had been empty since 2000 after serving the West Queen Street West community from 1914 until then. Artscape spent millions of dollars converting the 75,000 sq ft building into a community cultural hub containing galleries, studios, and art organizations - some own their own spaces while others rent at below market rates. This enables artists to stay in this rapidly gentrifying expensive area downtown.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


These colourful glass pieces are by Canadian artist Don McClennen and are part of his "Urban/Suburban"series which is on display now at the Craft Ontario Shop (formerly the Guild Shop) on Cumberland Ave in Yorkville. Each individual building is made of multiple layers of glass which have been cut to shape and then fused together in a kiln and then carefully cooled. I love them! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Riding The Radials"

I haven't shown one of the many historical murals from the Islington for quite a while so here is a good one. This is another done by John Kuna who did it in 2007 in a style resembling an old postcard, and it shows an electric train from the old Guelph Radial Line which ran from Toronto out to the city of Guelph from 1917 to 1931. These lines were called radial because they radiated out from the city to the towns and villages around it.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tea Time

Another of the pieces from the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics that caught my fancy is this wonderful teapot by American artist Richard Notkin who is known for his statement teapots. I love the quirkiness of this one with the dice handle on the lid and the walnut and acorn supports down at the bottom.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Trinity College

This is the main entrance to Trinity College which is part of U of Toronto. This building was constructed in 1925 and designed in the collegiate Gothic style by the architects Darling & Pearson. One nice thing about winter is that the trees are bare of leaves allowing us to catch more details in our pics. I have shown parts of Trinity before and especially like the chapel which you can see by clicking here

Friday, March 21, 2014


I couldn't resist this shot taken from half way up the stairs to Casa Loma. It was nice to see the CN Tower framed so nicely but it was the view down Spadina Rd that I really liked. It is about a 2.5 mile walk down Spadina to Lake Ontario where the Tower is, and it is a great walk - through the Annex, past U of Toronto, through China Town, through the Fashion District until finally reaching the Lake. And it is all a bit downhill making it even better! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Universally Good

Last week I went for dinner at the Universal Grill which is a great restaurant located in what had originally been a 30s diner, then a Chinese restaurant for quite awhile, and became the Universal in the 90s. As you can see they have retained a lot of the original decor including the wonderful tin ceiling and the counter. Serving "upscale comfort food", it is a great place for a nice dinner.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's A Scratch

This space was once a nice art gallery called Scratch Gallery and then became Scratch Espresso Cafe but now the space sits empty, it seems although there is a painting sitting in the window. The quirky sign by the artist Elicser remains however as a reminder of things past. I like his little birdhouse on the left side, and also this pic gives you an idea of just how dirty snow becomes along a roadway in the city!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


A couple of more pieces from the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics, these are the work of Canadian artist Roseline Delisle. I love the control she had in her pieces and that intense blue is fabulous. Much of the museum's collection is of a historical nature but I have to admit that it is the modern gallery that really thrills me. The pieces are mostly behind glass however making it a bit difficult to avoid a lot of reflections.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dovercourt Village

The business association in the Dovercourt Village neighbourhood commissioned the artist Elicser to paint this mural along the side of a corner grocery store. It's rather nice how it shows the style of houses found in the area as well as showing a store owner unpacking boxes while being hugged by a little child.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Church In The Snow

After our big dump of snow on Wednesday, Thursday turned out to be sunny but very cold although I did manage to get out for a bit. This is St Cecilia's Catholic Church on Annette St which was built in 1911 and has just undergone a huge restoration with scaffolding up around the steeple for months on end. The Gothic Revival beauty was built in the Junction neighbourhood to serve a largely Irish congregation but over the years that has changed and it now serves a very large Vietnamese congregation as well as a cross section of Toronto's multi-cultural community.
Taking part in Inspired Sunday. Click here to see more religious buildings.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Not So Empty Spaces

While I was at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics this week I discovered that they do allow photography and so I will show you a few pieces that I really liked. This piece titled "Apparently" is by Canadian artist Greg Payce and was created in 1999. He often plays with the empty spaces between vessels and here you see 2 young children appearing as if by magic! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sneaky Pic

You aren't allowed to take photos inside Massey College or in its quad but if you stand outside the gates you can get a bit of the inner space in the frame! These wonderful gates always seem to be open but you must pass by the porter and state your purpose for being there. Love the gates!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Massey College

After viewing the Ron Thom show at the Gardiner Museum, I wandered over to Massey College at U of Toronto to see  the real thing. Thom designed the college and it was built in 1963 in the "Medieval Oxbridge" style which consists of a central quadrangle from which the rest of the building spreads out. The building has lovely details and the quadrangle itself is beautiful but unfortunately there is no photography allowed inside since the college is a postgraduate residential college and is therefore considered private space. That wonderful detailed structure at the top of the building contains the dining room for which Thom designed all the furniture and had wonderful ceramic pieces created. I hope it is open one day for a public tour!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gardiner Museum

The Gardiner Museum is located directly across from the Royal Ontario Museum on Queen's Park and is dedicated exclusively to the exhibition of ceramics. They currently have a show running on the mid-century Canadian architect Ron Thom and how his appreciation of ceramics was essential to his design aesthetic. Thom is most well known here for his design of Massey College at U of Toronto (which I will show you tomorrow) and for Trent University in Peterborough Ontario. The wonderful ceramic head out front of the museum is by Japanese artist Jun Kaneko who has lived in the USA since the 60s. This 6 ft tall piece was purchased by the Gardiner as part of its 30th Anniversary celebrations and was installed last September. I love it!
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More Yellow Birds

This is the same utility box as yesterday showing the view from the other side. I still can't decide which side I like best although the cool dude bird with the shades is rather fun! Which do you like?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Another Little Yellow Bird

With the horrible winter we have had, I haven't been out wandering as much as usual and as a result haven't seen any new yellow birds by UB5000 until this week when I spotted this decorated utility box and did a quick U-turn. Located in front of a community centre, it seems to be promoting reading which is a good thing. I couldn't decide on which side to show so tomorrow I will post the other view!
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"The Chorus"

I found this sculpture of bronze, life-size figures outside a gallery in Yorkville and even though it was a sunny (but cold) day I found it to be a very dark piece. The artist, Sylvia Lefkovitz, made castings of this piece in several sizes and this one had originally been installed at a commercial site in Montreal in the 1960s. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Yorkville Beauty

This home is just a couple of doors down from yesterday's house and it too has a heritage designation. Built in 1878, it has wonderful wooden details and I particularly like the turned columns on the porch - they are so elegant. In the 60s, Yorkville was hippie central in Toronto and many (if not most) of the homes were occupied by young people enjoying the times. Now the neighbourhood homes have been nearly all been restored to their original beauty and it is a quite expensive area.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Yorkville Home

While walking to the Icefest in theYorkville neighbourhood I had a nice tour of some of the wonderfully restored old homes found there. Yorkville is located just east of the Annex and could be called East Annex. This home was built in 1875 and is historically designated and is thought to be one of the first examples of the Toronto style "Bay-n-Gable" which can be found all over the city in semi-detached homes from the early 20th century. I think the sun porch and those round structures along the side are more recent additions but can't be sure. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Sunbird ll"

I shot this pic of artist Sorel Etrog's "Sunbird ll" a week and a half ago when wandering about Yorkville during the Icefest. Unfortunately, Etrog passed away last week at the age of 80. He has been a huge presence in Toronto since coming here in 1963 and one can find examples of his public art commissions all over the city. A sculpture centre is to open next year at Mount Sinai Hospital featuring 100 of his pieces, as a place of contemplation and peace for the patients and staff there. You can see a few of his pieces that I have shown by clicking on the Etrog label below.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Times Past

Another ghost sign, this one found near Bathurst and Queen St W on a building which now houses studios and small offices but at one time was the home of Beare's Limited. They were a major supplier of things like nibs for pens and assorted other stationery products that have since disappeared. The building has been nicely upgraded with thermal windows which must have come in handy this winter.
Taking part in Signs, Signs. Click here for more signs.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

4th Blog Birthday!

Who would have thought that I would still be doing this 4 years later. I started out thinking I would post occasionally but have only missed 2 days in the 4 years and still enjoy working on the blog so much and visiting everyone else each day! For the occasion, I present "Dog Thief", another fun sculpture by Patrick Amiot & Brigitte Laurent who did the mermaid that I showed on Friday. Love the dog making a getaway with his stolen dogs! 

Monday, March 3, 2014


I'm not sure if the artist Elicser has been doing a ton of murals lately or rather I just seem to be discovering them, but here is yet another. This one is painted on the side of a house which runs along Dundas St W and it is a tribute/promotion for "Movember" which takes place each November and involves guys growing moustaches for the month to raise funds for and to raise the awareness of men's health issues. This is a very busy downtown street so it will attract a lot of attention for the cause.
Taking part in Monday Murals. Click here for more murals.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ice Fountain

This rain curtain/icicle fountain is found in Yorkville Village Park where the ice sculptures were on display in yesterday's post. It consists of a series of vertical wires running down from that long overhead structure and in summer water runs down the wires like in a soft rain shower. In winter the water is turned on to freeze into long icicles which is even more dramatic than the effect in summer!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

People On The Street - Theme Day

The theme for March for the City Daily Photos is "people on the street" and last weekend I caught this pic of many people on the street in the Yorkville neighbourhood. Cumberland Ave was closed for Icefest and had food kiosks set up along it while the park on this side of the street had displays of the ice sculptures that had been done over Saturday and Sunday. It seemed that everyone had a camera, smart phone or i-pad and they were all in use. I'm not sure if the stores along the street did any business but the crowds were certainly out there.
Taking part in the theme day. Click here to see more "people on the street" from around the world.