It’s not that easy to find festive window displays in downtown Toronto during this year’s Christmas season. One go-to is the Hudson’s Bay store on Queen Street West, which features a few windows sponsored by the American toy brand FAO Schwarz. This is the first appearance of FAO Schwarz in Canada, as it has opened up pop-up spaces in Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada. Their windows are elaborate displays, but both the displays and the pop-ups are not expected to stay for long.
The city skyline window is a conglomeration of Toronto facades – some more recognizable than others – plus some vintage streetcars circling on a track. Maybe some long-term residents of Toronto are able to identify all of the buildings.
The second window is a classic display of large-scale toys – a great place for window watchers young and old.
A second type of festive display is located in the windows of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street. There are a number of panels, each one created by a local artist as his/her interpretation of the holiday season. This display is rooted in celebration, diversity and community, and reflects the multiculturalism of Toronto. Each piece is being auctioned by public bid, with the proceeds to be donated to Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank.
On Friday, April 6, a tragic traffic accident took the lives of 15 people on a highway in northern Saskatchewan. All of the victims were players, staff and assistants from the Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey team, riding the team bus to a playoff hockey game in the Centennial Arena in Nipawin.
Playing ice hockey is a popular activity for children and young adults growing up in Canada. Many dreams have started on local ice rinks, and these young hockey players were pursuing their dreams and aspirations.
It is hard to comprehend such a loss of life in this magnitude, and at this young stage in life. It leaves one feeling empty inside.
This photo is in memory of all of those who lost their lives, those who were injured, and those who were otherwise impacted by this event.
This week I attended a presentation at my grand daughter’s school in Canberra, Australia. Her Grade 1 class was asked to create a museum to display an old item from home and explain how it was used.
Technology was a major topic for display, and telephones were the most frequently displayed items. These included several analog phones, and even one early cellular phone. In Jacob’s family, “my daddy used this telephone to call people and some of his friends about 20 years ago.”
Abby displayed an old camera that belonged to her father. As she explains, it “took a picture you couldn’t see on the screen,” and you had to “wait ages” to get the prints back.
Marlie chose a VHS cassette player that her parents used about 30 years ago. “Today we use Netflix, Foxtel and DVD’s” to watch the same programs.
Going back further in time, Amelia displayed an RCA transistor radio that was purchased 60 years ago. Interestingly, she included some comments on the relative cost of technology in the 1950’s, noting that the price of the radio was equivalent to about 3 weeks of salary.
Other students chose items that reflected their cultural history. Ryan displayed a photo of Buddha who “used to be a real person, but now he is dead.”
This was an educational “window” into the minds of six year olds. They are already developing an appreciation of the past and anticipating what the future may bring.
In March, 2016, the State of North Carolina passed a “bathroom bill” that requires people to use public restrooms of their sex at birth and not the sex to which they identify. Although there was a great outcry from various community leaders and celebrities, the law remains in effect in North Carolina.
With the subsequent election of President Donald Trump, this situation has paled in light of other, more sinister decisions that are now being made in the USA. Apparently, several other states are also considering similar legislation.
Meanwhile, on a recent visit to Christchurch, New Zealand, I spotted these public washroom facilities in the downtown core. The signs say “Unisex Restroom”, and the doors are all colours of the rainbow. There is no need to have to make any choice here – other than finding one that is vacant!
This blog post is my contribution to Thursday Doors this week. Perhaps a bit out of the mainstream of submissions, but there is a message here.
Continuing on the topic of Thursday Doors, kudos to Norm Frampton on his February 2nd post regarding the recent murder of 6 people in a Muslim mosque in Quebec City. Doors on places of worship are left open to welcome anyone who wishes to enter. Doors do not discriminate but people do. Time to take a pause and think about all of the people who were affected by the events in Quebec.
Sometimes I scan through my images in search of a common theme. Today my theme is RED. In keeping with the quote below, here are three sample shades of red, in association with automobiles.
“If one says ‘Red’ – the name of colour – and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.” — Josef Albers
On February 22, 2011, a major earthquake struck the South Island of New Zealand. The City of Christchurch was near the epicentre of the quake, and many older Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the CBD were severely damaged as a result.
Nearly six years later, the City is still in the process of demolition and rebuilding. A few of the older buildings are being restored, but much of the CBD remains clustered with gravelled parking lots amid the streets and construction sites.
Some of the new architecture is a stark minimalist solution, especially when compared with the older buildings. No doubt, the new buildings are more seismically resistant, but something has been lost in the transformation.
The following images illustrate the process of transition in Christchurch. To see more photos of Christchurch, refer to my Flickr website.