Old & New & a Side-Trip to Brazil

24 December 2014 – The Old & the New have both been foreshadowed in recent posts; Brazil, well, you’ll just have to be patient, won’t you?

Let’s start with the Old.

Old = After the Slanting Sun

I chose to end my previous post with the “Sun slant low” poem (plus wasp nests), but promised you images from the rest of the walk in my next post. This one.

I was working my way south-eastish, & found myself in an alley a bit north of Queen Street around Markham. It didn’t have a lot going on, but I really liked this bit of garage art:

alley s. of Wolseley, looking east across Markham St.

Then I took myself across the busy Bathurst & Queen intersection, where truly I thought I had no more discoveries to make. And promptly made one. The service alley immediately south of Queen.

It had some mad (non-Poser) bunnies on offer, for example …

s. of Queen e. from Bathurst

… but, more impressively, this fine face against a wall edge. A cameo moment.

s. of Queen e. from Bathurst, behind Design Republic

Impressive up close, but now look at it in context. It’s just one detail in a soaring great alleyscape …

behind Design  Republic, Queen W

… which, I think, would be nothing at all without that dramatic rusty pipe.

Nothing else really engaged me until I was dog-legging it out of the alley, onto Richmond West. And found this:

alley leading to Richmond West, west of Spadina

Did I ever tell you that, on occasion, I have taught grammar? A mural to warm the heart.

I was still pleased with that final (I thought, final) discovery when I dropped down to Adelaide West, & passed the display window of a company that itself does displays. Or at least provides mannequins for displays.

King’s Display front window

I stare at this, and I am giddy with all the possibilities that spring to mind for low-rent, dead-obvious, truly banal puns. I will not even start! Make up your own. (And feel free to share them, in my Comments box.)

Enough of that. On to the New.

New = The Third Statue, Joel Weeks Park

In my 15 December post (Black & White, in Colour), I showed you two fine animal sculptures in Joel Weeks Park — and confessed that I had completely missed the 3rd one, which I subsequently read about online. (All sculptures the work of First Nations artists Mary Ann Barkhouse and Michael Belmore.)

So, this week, back I go. I am Squirrel Hunting! Now that I know to approach the park from the south end, the sculpture is right there, bang in front of my eyes.

squirrel sculpture, Joel Weeks Park

When you’re done smiling at those cute little mid-air paws, look left of the acorn, toward the rear of the park. You’ll see edges of red equipment (outlined against the brick apartment building). This is the children’s playground — and it enters into the rest of this account.

Now start smiling at those cute little paws again …

squirrel statue, Joel Weeks Park

Rain has washed away the ice that sheathed these statues back on the 15th, so I can now show you more of the First Nations imagery carved around the base of the other two sculptures. First, the  beaver.

beaver sculpture, Joel Weeks Park

You can see some kiddies scampering about behind the statue. All along, I’ve been vaguely aware of the many children — and associated child-babble — in the playground. Now my ears focus in, because they are chanting.

Seventy-eight!” they cry.

I look. And see this:

swinging playground disc, full of kiddies

See that large red disc, coming straight at you, with apparently a child’s head peering over the edge? There are in fact 312 children seated in that disc — oh, all right, maybe 8 or 9 — and they are being vigorously swung side to side by two patient, strong adults, while the entire playground chants the repetitions.


I circle over to the north-west corner of the park, closest to the Don River, just across the street from our Saturday café of choice, Merchants of Green Coffee.


Here is the fox, the first of the sculptures to catch my attention. Like the beaver, he too is now showing intricate carving around the base. (“Ninety-seven!”)

fox sculpture, Don River & Merchants of Green Coffee in the background

Suddenly there is the triumphant cry, a positive whoop:  “One hundred!!!”

The children keep chanting, hopefully, like a crowd stubbornly still applauding the musicians but knowing there will be no encore. The adults let the disc lose momentum. The children’s chant slows, dwindles, finally dies, as I head briskly for Merchants of Green Coffee & a latte.

A Side Trip to Brazil

Virtually. Thanks to a TEDtalk (and thanks to my honey, who sent me the link).

This October, Brazilian street artist Mundano gave a presentation entitled, Pimp My Carroça (Pimp My Junk Cart). He kick-started what has become a Brazilian phenomenon: artists & other volunteers work with urban catadores (junk/recycling collectors) to paint their carts, and give them visibility & dignity in cities that rely on their services but tend to ignore them as people.

But here: watch for yourself.





Leave a comment


  1. So glad I found you through Cool San Diego Sights. Great post. 🙂

  2. The squirrels ‘worshipping’ the acorn is hysterically funny – love it! Also thank you for drawing our attention to the ‘cartadores’ movement – so interesting…look forward to more of your great blogs in 2015.

  3. A wonderful collection of street art……I really live the third image….she looks so exotic! And the sculptures are really beautiful…..the carving on the stone bases is so evocative and dream like. Also love the cartadores movement 🙂


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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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