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.
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.
Upon entering the interior spaces, there is a large Christmas tree and a very elaborate round tree 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Most of the time I found lots of people also out enjoying the sunshine as they adventured into the day.
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.
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.
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.
The stained glass window in the chapel was one exception, and deserves a full colour interpretation.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Doors Open Toronto. The theme for 2019 was “20 Something,” focusing on the event’s past and the future, with an emphasis on Toronto’s youth and Indigenous communities. I chose to begin my Doors Open experience with a guided walking tour of the Riverside community in Toronto, on what turned out to be the better weather day of the May 25-26 weekend.
Riverside is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Toronto’s East End (formerly East York). It’s backbone is Queen Street East, starting at the Queen Street Viaduct where it crosses the Don River. The Riverside Mural greets eastbound visitors after they cross the bridge. The construction crane looming over the mural is a sign of change that is coming to the neighbourhood.
Our walking tour started across the street from the Riverside Mural at another mural. This mural is titled Tkaranto Past / Tkaranto Future, and it explores Toronto as a meeting place. It represents Indigenous people, who first met, traveled and hunted here; and later, a place where people from around the world have come to live. An appropos starting point in keeping with this year’s theme.
Our next stops were at the Broadview Hotel and the Royal Canadian Curling Club, neither of which I photographed. The Broadview Hotel is likely the most well-known landmark in the area, having been transformed from Jilly’s Strip Club into a boutique hotel with a restaurant, bar and cafe, which reopened in 2017. The Royal Canadian Curling Club started out as the Royal Canadian Cycling Club, but ice sports became more popular. The Royals continues to host major curling championships to this day.
The next stop along Queen St. East was outside Maison Caras, the headquarters and couture fashion house of the internationally renowned CARAS brand. The Stephan Caras building was repurposed from its original use as a branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce. I was intriqued by the classical facade and the wonderful front door, which is part of my contribution to this week’s Thursday Doors blog, hosted by Norm Frampton.
Further east was my most favourite old building of the day – The Poulton Block. There is an inscription above the second floor that states “Poulton Block, 1885,” which dates back to the original naming and establishment of the Riverside community. The red brick facade includes some rounded, square and pointed arches, and the overall proportions are just lovely.
Near the eastern end of Riverside, before the railway overpass which separates Riverside from Leslieville, I found the Riverside Building. It looks vacant at the moment, but I hope that a new occupant will find a good use for the shop. And please keep the storefront intact!
Our final stop was at another mural. The Pollenator mural was created in 2016, and it also represents some of the area’s past. Beekeeping and wildflower gardens have been a part of the Riverside culture, while clockmaking was the profession of one of the founding members of the Riverside Business Improvement Area. The Riverside BIA was one of the sponsors of this walking tour, as well as the mural.
More information on self-guided tours in East End Toronto can be found in a publication titled the Cultural Loops Guide, produced by the City of Toronto Arts & Culture Services, Economic Development and Culture Division. Check them out at toronto.ca/culture.