Wheels & Heels

16 September 2014 — It was a terrific walk, the one that started with the MOCCA show at Queen St. West near Ossington (see previous post) and eventually had me tromp-tromping all the way home. I think it amused me so much because I was still caught in the after-effects of the MOCCA proposals, still viewing the entire city as one great big urban art installation.

So here we are, me and patient you, picking up where we left off, back on Queen just a bit to the west of Trinity-Bellwoods Park. This particular art-installation “room” is all around the park, and it seems to have a theme.


Bicycle art Queen W. nr Shaw

See what one more wheel can do? Four wheels = 2 bicycles chained to a post. Add a 5th wheel, and it’s art. (Number 5, by the way, is individually & very firmly locked in place. This is no throw-away.)

Barely a block farther east, more wheels. Lots of them, on bikes & a cab, but this time they’re backdrop to a better joke.

it's the roof-top sign...

See the ad on top? Mr. Toronto Cabbie is advertising Dr. [Bollywood] Cabbie.  I almost lean in the window to ask the driver if he has seen the movie, if it’s given him any ideas, but he’s busy on his smart phone and I chicken out.

I discover a cross-lane called Logie Place, and it’s full of wheel-wonders. First up, a Birdo mural.

graffiti artist Birdo, in Logie Place

I love his colours, and I love his creatures. I love the way their component parts seem to come from a whole bunch of boxes of unrelated bits that don’t fit together. Except, when you throw them together, they do.

From wheels to wheelie-bins, lined up by an old shipping container that now serves other purposes & sports its very own green roof, along with a mural and other comments.

repurposed shipping container, Logie Pl.

From this E/W lane into a N/S one, heading north.

No garage art, so I look up and I am rewarded. Up there, riding high on someone’s rooftop deck … a circus pony.

alley view of house deck near Lobb Av.

True, I cannot stretch this image into the Wheel theme I’ve had going, but so what. Every art installation throws a surprise or two …

Circus Pony House is on the corner with another little cross street, so I turn east with it.

And discover Lobb Avenue. Which has attitude. The give-away is not the stack of canoes in Circus Pony’s side yard …

side yard canoes, Lobb Av.

… it is the series of neat little metal plaques attached to Circus Pony’s side fence.

fence plaque, Lobb Av.

I am charmed. And — you see? — we are back on-theme. Back to wheels.

“Lobb Ave Extreme Parking Association,” indeed. I read the next plaque, and wonder whether it is a promise to pedestrians, or a further admonition.

on Lobb Av. fence

Are cars parked more carefully on Wednesdays, giving pedestrians no reason not to be calm and invective-free? Or are pedestrians required to be not only calm but especially polite on Wednesdays, no matter what the provocation?

I read the 3rd plaque eagerly, thinking it might shed light.


plaque on Lobb Av. fence

Poor Yvonne, perhaps her nerves couldn’t take it any longer.

The best art installations, of course, carefully marry signage to visuals, using the right words — in the right quantity & right location — to expand upon the visual, add another element, get those neurons firing like crazy in the visitor’s brain.

Which is exactly what happens when I duck under the sidewalk scaffolding around a Queen Street community centre just west of Bathurst, and look up.

I laugh and laugh.

What I see is as good as the cabbie/Dr. Cabbie joke, but it’s an even bigger treat because it is not self-contained. It is the by-chance result of 3 independent factors, and it comes & goes in an instant.

Sign, construction worker’s boots, & a viewer.

Queen between Gore Vale & Bahurst

From wheels to heels. I’m still having the best time — and I haven’t even reached Bathurst St. yet!

But I will …

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1 Comment

  1. justmusing

     /  17 September 2014

    nice catch!


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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