Fast Food and Beer

All of these images were shot on a walk along Bathurst Street in downtown Toronto. The street has a rich diversity of subject matter, and like much of the rest of the city, it has a mix of old buildings and redevelopment.

None of the doors in this collection are noteworthy – it is the stories behind these doors that make them interesting. These are my contributions to Norm’s Thursday Doors for the week of August 9, 2018.

Tim Hortons has been in the news a lot lately. Once an iconic Canadian fast food outlet for coffee and donuts, the company expanded in the 1990’s when it merged with Wendy’s International and became an American company. It was later bought out by a multi-national congolomerate in 2014. Restaurant Brands International is now trying to make every cent they can out of a cup of coffee and a donut, and many of the Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees are feeling the revenue squeeze.

In Ontario, these problems were compounded in January 2018 when the provincial government increased the mandatory minimum hourly wage to $14. Some franchisees were accused of stripping benefits, banning tips and removing paid breaks because they were not permitted to increase their prices to accommodate the wage increase.

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Tim Hortons

Things have been much quieter at McDonald’s, which operates as an independent Canadian company within a world-wide corporation. It seems to have escaped any of the bad publicity. McDonald’s is the second largest fast food chain in Canada after Tim Hortons, and it is stil best known for its hamburgers. A few years ago, McDonalds got serious about the breakfast market, and incorporated McCafe outlets within their restaurants. Breakfast bagels were also recently introduced in Canada.

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McDonald’s

The Beer Store is where you go to buy a case of beer in Ontario. Established in 1927, the Beer Store is a private business owned by a group of breweries. Until recently, the ownership was monopolized by three multi-national brewers, but smaller craft brewers now have opportunities to be shareholders and sell their products.

Each province in Canada has its own unique system for the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages. In Ontario, you can shop for liquor, wine and small volumes (six-packs or less) of beer and cider at the government-owned LCBO. For larger volumes of beer, you go to The Beer Store. Pubs and restaurants must also purchase their beer from The Beer Store. Wine, beer and cider are also sold at some groceries and small retail stores.

All alcohol containers are sold with a deposit, which can only be refunded by returning the empty bottles and cans to The Beer Store.

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The Beer Store

Lowering the price of beer became a campaign slogan for the newly-elected Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario this year. One of their campaign promises was a return to “a buck a beer.” This seemed to be a bizarre item to include in a party platform, but it must have appealed to some of the voters, along with other regressive promises such as a return to the sex-ed curriculum of the 1990’s in all public schools (but that’s another whole topic of concern).

You can also order your beer online for pick-up or delivery through The Beer Xpress, to go along with your drive-thru or takeout food. Maybe this is where the first “buck a beer” will become available – although you might have to buy a case of 24 to get the “deal.” There’s an app for that!

Doors of Happiness

I recently visited the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. The AKM opened in 2014, and celebrates the arts of Muslim civilisations from the Iberian Peninsula to China.  The collection includes various artefacts and cultural objects that span from the eighth Century to the present.

The stated purpose of the Aga Khan Museum is that it will become “a centre of education and of learning, and that it will act as a catalyst for mutual understanding and tolerance”.

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the aga khan museum

Among the items on display I found and photographed three pairs of double doors, which are displayed here as my contribution to Norm’s Thursday Doors for the week of July 12, 2018. There was no indication of the context in which these these doors were originally used, so they can only be admired for their design and craftsmanship.

The first pair of doors are from Northern Iran, and are very specifically dated to have been carved in the years 1486-1487 AD. In the Muslim calendar, this is equivalent to the year 892 H (Hijri). The geometric design is quite unique, especially when compared to contemporary arts and crafts design in Europe.

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Iranian doors, 1486-87

The second pair of doors originates in either Iran or northern India, from the late 18th or early 19th Century. The doors are embellished with carved and painted floral patterns around the edges of the frames and inner panels. The Persian inscription in cartouches at the top is translated to state:

Open the door of happiness for the owner of this door, opener of doors.

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doors of happiness

There is very little information provided about the third set of doors. They are constructed of wood, metal and mother of pearl, and probably originate from Gujarat, India, in the 19th-20th Century.

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pearly gates

Sunny Doors

This past week has been a rough ride for residents of Canada and Ontario. The looming uncertainty of NAFTA negotiations with the US and Mexico and pending escalation in trade tariffs has made everyone uneasy about the Canadian economy. There are also clouds on the horizon in Ontario with last week’s election of a new Progressive Conservative government for the province. Where will the first cuts in services be made?

It has been hard to find any sunny ways these days, so this week I have tried to find some sunny doors to compensate. Here are my contributions to Norm’s Thursday Doors for June 14, 2018.

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sunny south in Toronto
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rising sun in Hanover

Neo-Classical Doors

My door theme for this week includes doors that are part of a Neo-Classical entry design. The first common elements associated with this theme are columns that have a Classical motif. In my first example, the columns are a “faux” element applied to the simple exterior of an industrial building. The other two examples include actual columns – with the third one having columns that physically support a portico above the main entrance.

The second common element is the fanlight window above each door. All three windows have radiating mullions which fan out from the top of the door.

All of these door images are from Toronto, where this style of architecture is often referred to as “Georgian.”

For more blog posts on doors, visit Norm’s Thursday Doors post for this week.

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Neo-Classical entry 1
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Neo-Classical entry 2
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Neo-Classical entry 3

Door No. 1 – Series 1

As a follow-up to my blog post on the Doors of St. Thomas Street, I have embarked on a search of other No. 1 Doors in the City of Toronto. This is my expedition to determine if being “No. 1” is reflected in the doors or entrance to a building, and it is a great way to explore this city with some purpose or intention.

This week I have a few doors to contribute to Norm’s Thursday Doors. I have dubbed this post “Series 1,” in anticipation that I will find more similar doors in the future.

Today’s post represents the results of a walk along Yonge Street, starting from Queens Quay, heading north to Bloor Street. But first, a brief history of Yonge Street. There is a heritage plaque at the foot of Yonge Street that explains its origins. The road dates back to 1796, which is “old” in Canadian terms – we only became a country in 1867.

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Being the original north-south arterial road, in a grid system of roadways, Yonge Street is the starting point in several ways. For instance, the numbering of all east-west streets starts at Yonge Street. As a result, it is possible to find addresses with the number 1 on either side of Yonge Street.

My first stop was at No. 1 Yonge Street, which is a commercial office building. The Toronto Star newspaper is one of the major tenants. There is nothing special about the doors to this building, so they are not featured here. However, there is one unique aspect to the entrance to this building; it is the only one I have seen that has its own Canada Post mailbox right outside the front door. Somebody had some influence here.

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One Yonge Street

The next two buildings are One Adeleide Street East and One Queen Street East. They are also commercial office buildings. Both buildings have shiny chrome revolving doors at their entrances. For those of you who live in warmer climates and may not be familiar with revolving doors, these help to reduce the amount of cold winter air that enters the building whenever someone enters or exits the building.

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One Adelaide Street East
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One Queen Street East

One Bloor Street East is a high-rise condominium tower that is nearing completion of construction. This 75 storey tower is being marketed as “the city’s most iconic address,” and it is visible from several kilometers away in all directions. Emerging across the street are the foundations of One Bloor Street West, which will become “The One” at 82 storeys when it is completed.

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One Bloor Street East

 

Old School Doors – Series 1

Older schools have “old school” doors that are much more interesting than newer doors. They were designed to last, and they look good too. Here are a few examples of doors at schools in Toronto and Australia, my contribution to Norm’s Thursday Doors this week.

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Humberside Collegiate Institute, Toronto
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ALPHA Alternative School (formerly Brant Street School), Toronto
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Annette Street School, Toronto
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Bowral Public School, Bowral, NSW, Australia