The Industrial Doors of South Riverside

On the 1st of February I went on my inaugural walk with the Toronto Photo Walks Group. I met up with about 25 fellow photo walkers at a local coffee shop in Riverside before we began our two hour journey. Walking south and east from Queen Street East and Broadview, in the direction of the lakeshore, we wandered through a mix of residential, small business and light industrial areas.

The most noteworthy doors were in the business and industrial areas – hence the title of this post. The day was overcast, but the various colours of the doors and storefronts were what attracted me the most. I found enough images of doors on this walk to share my experience with Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors group this week.

Toronto Photo Walks is a group on Facebook, where upcoming walks are announced and shared. Members can post images from their walks on the Toronto Photo Walks group in Flickr. Our walk started at a coffee shop and ended at a pub for lunch, so they are a very sociable group as well as a keen photographers.

100 percent visible
A grey building on a grey day
Nick’s Shipping – it’s not the door but the name above the door that caught my eye
This film studio has only two delivery doors – you have a 50% chance of correctly guessing what’s behind the door
Habitat for Humanity ReStore – they resell doors at this site, but they are not included in this image
The urban zoo – only a steel guardrail separating me from this elephant-sized truck

Slogans for "the people"

I live in a Canadian province where the head of state likes to communicate with the public through the use of slogans and catch phrases. Doug Ford is the Premier of Ontario, and since winning the last provincial election as the leader of the Conservative Party in 2018, he has applied his personal leadership style to governing our Province.

During the election campaign, we heard terms such as “Ford Nation” and government “for the people.” The Ford family owns a company that produces decals, which are well-suited for advertising with punchy graphics and messages written in ten words or fewer. But how can this simplistic approach be applied to government operations in a parliamentary system?

The Conservatives are climate change deniers, and campaigned with the promise to cancel all provincial green energy initiatives. One example was to overturn the carbon tax that had been implemented by the previous Liberal government. Upon hearing that the Federal Government (also Liberals) would impose their own carbon tax on Ontario residents, to replace the cancelled provincial program, the Conservatives responded with a sticker campaign. All gas stations are required to display stickers on their gas pumps that outline the carbon tax costs.

There have been many problems with the stickers – on several levels – but the major problem is that they only tell half of the story. There is no mention of the carbon tax rebates that Ontario residents are receiving from the federal program.

Premier Ford has applied his sticker slogan mentality to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Many bills that the government has tabled in the legislature bear a slogan. For example, rather than just being Bill 115, this piece of legislation was named the “Bringing Choice and Fairness to the People Act .”

Based on the gas station sticker fiasco, one can’t help but ask “which people?” and who judges what is “fair,” and wonder what is really contained in the fine print.

In response, I have undertaken a personal project to create stickers with the names of all of the acts that were passed in the Ontario Legislature and received royal assent in 2019. On a basic level, I have used this as an opportunity to “brush up” on my brush lettering skills. I calligraphed each title using a brush pen, and then I traced over the lettering with a pencil. The final touches were applied in Photoshop, including the use of gradient maps to produce some catchy colour combinations for each slogan.

On a more substantive level, I feel like I am living in a banana republic, where the government is serving up superficial slogans and platitudes to disguise their hidden agenda.

The following images are my first batch of stickers for the past year. With more time and research, I would be tempted to add a “warning” message at the bottom of each sticker, to identify some of the potential outcomes. This would likely need to be in very fine print to fit it all in.

Deck the Halls

This year’s Christmas windows at the Bay were, in my opinion, a bust, so I decided to wander elsewhere in downtown Toronto in search of other “festive decorations.”

I soon found some decorations in the nearby financial district, beginning at the Scotia Plaza. Several star ornaments are hanging in the porticos outside the north and south entrances. There is a lot of volume to fill in these spaces, and it must have required a pretty large cherry picker to install these decorations.

Star ornaments

Upon entering the interior spaces, there is a large Christmas tree and a very elaborate round tree ornament.

Gold and silver Christmas tree
Ball ornament

Deck the halls with boughs of holly!

The closest thing I found that resembled boughs of holly was this large wreath, on display at First Canadian Place.

Christmas wreath

I can usually count on a visit to Brookfield Place to find something on public display, and I wasn’t disappointed this time either.

Brookfield Place is supporting the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada this season. This week, there is a teddy bear auction, with all proceeds to be donated to Starlight. The galleria also has other seasonal displays and services, including a gift wrapping service.

Teddy Bear auction

A large sculpture titled Frost is prominently displayed in the centre of the Allan Lambert Galleria. This sculpture was designed to reflect the structure of the galleria, and it is interactive, as the lighting responds to touching by hand.

Frost

Also on display this week at Brookfield is the Gingerbread House Challenge, featuring houses built by some of the Brookfield Place tennants. You can visit an app to view and vote on your favourite house, but it is a much better experience to view them first hand. Some of the gingerbread houses still look good enough to eat – but no luck with these, as they are encased in plexiglas. Unfortunately, they are on display for only one week – likely due to their biodegradeable contents – so, in the words of a long-time Toronto retailer:

If you miss it, you’ve missed it!

The gingerbread house challenge

Just like many of the building projects in Toronto, construction materials must be getting more expensive and harder to find. Alternative materials – such as the Shreddies and pretzels in the log cabin below – were used instead of gingerbread.

Pretzels and Shreddies house

Habitat for Humanity will soon be hosting the GTAs 17th annual Gingerbread Build, taking place on December 7th in Toronto and December 8th in Vaughan. Toronto City Hall will be the place to visit on December 7, where gingerbread building kits will be sold for $50. Proceeds will be used to transform gingerbread into new sustainable family homes!

Shafts of Sunlight

Autumn is upon us, and as the sun sinks lower in the sky, every sunny day becomes more appreciated. The streets of downtown Toronto can get dark as you walk among the office towers, but there are locations where the sun still shines.

It has taken me some time to find a new theme for a post. Last week, I journeyed into the downtown core in search of shafts of sunlight. They are even more appealing today as we are greeted by a wet and soggy morning.

walkway shadows

Most of the time I found lots of people also out enjoying the sunshine as they adventured into the day.

three amigos
sunshine plaza

The high contrast subject matter was best exhibited in a monochrome interpretation. The hard edges of the shadows created by the architectural elements were softened by the human content.

business day
tuned in
good morning sunshine
mottled sunshine
exit stairs

“C” Words

It has been a long period of several months since I last posted on my blog. So now I am trying to find a way to get unstuck and move forward.

My blog is primarily about my photography, so I reviewed some of my Flickr images, where I found a theme for this post. On a recent visit to Dundas Square in downtown Toronto, I created two images with single word titles – both of them starting with the letter “C”. In my search, I found a few more “C” images, and here they are.

connection
contemplation
curves
conversations

Doors Open Toronto 2019 – Part 2 (Hart House)

One of my stops during Doors Open Toronto this year was on the campus of the University of Toronto. I did not attend university here, so I look for opportunities to acquaint myself with some of the facilities at this downtown campus.

Hart House is a grand old institutional building designed in the Collegiate Gothic style. It was commissioned by the Massey family and gifted to the University of Toronto by the Massey Foundation. The building was named by Vincent Massey – who later became Governor General of Canada – in honour of his grandfather. Henry Sproatt, along with engineer Ernest Rolph, designed the building, which opened in 1919.

Hart House serves as a gathering space for students, faculty, staff and others who study, work at or visit the campus. There are several facilities housed within the building, including a theatre, a meeting hall, a restaurant, an art gallery, a library and a fitness centre.

The Gothic architecture and stone facade encourage black and white interpretation when taking photographic images of the building. I have included some of my shots below. Although there are no doors in any of these images, this collection is my contribution to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors blog for the week of June 13th.

Hart House entrance
the Great Hall
halls of learning
corner stone

The stained glass window in the chapel was one exception, and deserves a full colour interpretation.

chapel window