SFX: Snow

4 January 2015 — It wasn’t my idea, I wasn’t out to create a Polka-Dot Collection of photos; no special effects in my mind on Saturday at all. Blame the snow squall.

I’m walking along in the alley just west of Bright Street, north of King, when snow flakes begin to dance earthward, & the scenery goes all pointilist on me.

I think I’m photographing the unexpected bars of colour on a fence in the little cross-alley — and I am. But those snow flakes are determined to make their own statement as well.

alley west of Bright St,, south of Queen

If you can get past the bright white snow-dots, follow the line of fence out to the street, & across to the exclamation mark of rusty conifer on the far side.

The snow is still just skittering down, not really serious, not yet, so I keep tucking the camera back into my pocket & whipping it out again for more photos. My quest, as always these grey winter months, is to find colour. I’m so focused on that (you’ll pardon the pun), I don’t stop to think snow might swirl onto the lens itself. Or have any impact if it does.

Not until I look at the photo I took of Bruno Smoky’s wonderful trestle mural on King St. East (see The Art of the Underpass for more).

Bruno Smoky mural, King E. underpass mural

And look — a blur in the middle of the trestle. Not in the artwork (thank goodness), but on the lens. A snowflake picks exactly that moment to land, & it lands exactly there …

That’s okay. I’m amused by the snow SFX and, with it or without it, the trestle pops with a satisfying hit of colour on a drab day.

More colour across King Street, a lovely great patchwork on a building opposite, so I take one more photo, this time lining up with Shalak’s contribution to the trestles.

Shalak Attack's mural, same King E underpass

A big fat white period, right off the tip of the pencil. Perfectly aligned, too. Clever old Mother Nature.

I double back into the alleys around funny little, crook-backed Bright Street. This time I’m east of the street.

Where I meet the Santa-Crows. (If it’s a Murder of ordinary crows, would it be a Jolly of Santa-Crows?)

Santa-Crows, on "Useful Junk/Antiques" behind 11 Bright St.

These guys are atop the roof of a little collectibles/second-hand barn tucked away in the alley, all gussied up for the season.

And on & around I go, and now I stop for this spiral staircase.

It leads to a rooftop garden patio, which must be terrific in summer but is austere & empty now. I can imagine its summer-time charm, though, & I admire its winter-time “bones” — for e.g., the tracery of vines, & the curve of the staircase.

alley east of Bright St.

There are tiny clear lights twinkling up the staircase, but you’ll have to take my word for it; the lights are no match for these snowflakes.

I’m rounding out of an alley onto Sumach St. now, at Queen, at the corner of one of my favourite buildings in Toronto. It is really & truly called The Magic Building and, with its sculptures & Elicser mural work, it deserves the name.

corner mural, 60 Sumach St.

Elicser’s wizard on the building corner has a starry hat. Today, he has a snowy one as well.

Soon, the little flurries turn into serious snow. Not call-out-the-rescue-dogs serious snow, just steady  & really plopping down. Enough, I say.

So I find a café.

Where I sit facing the big front window, just like this couple right at the window, and watch the dance of snow & wind. (I have borrowed & adapted this imagery from Gilles Vigneault’s magnificent song, Mon Pays, in which he sings about “… la blanche cérémonie, où la neige au vent se marie …”)

from Cannonball cafe, 641 Queen E.

Conveniently, my latte & the squall end at about the same time. Before heading out again, I visit the loo. Which bears the usual earnest reminder for visitors to be responsible citizens, & respect the plumbing’s limitations.

I wouldn’t tell you this, let along show you the reminder, but for the bright red addition to the list.

inside the Cannonball loo

Right! No chucking Old People into the toilet. Not nice.

Which gets me looking more closely at the sign, and discovering all the other suggestions added by a variety of hands. The next time you visit the facilities, my friends, wherever you may be, please also refrain from contributing any of the following:

  • cell phones,
  • your hopes & dreams,
  • small dogs,
  • unicorns,
  • yourself,
  • Tom Cruise.

Or — wait for it — “weapons of ass destruction.”

Oh dear.

Shall we quickly change the subject? Elevate the tone?


Will a giraffe do?

Birdo mural, Trefann St. just n. of Queen East

A big, bright Birdo mural at Trefann & Queen East, to cheer my walk home & help get your new year off to a colourful start.



Leave a comment


  1. Wonderful Penny, and I love the effect of the snow flurries. we havent had any serious snow yet…

  2. LP

     /  4 January 2015

    thanks for the bright start to the new year!

  3. An artful take on falling snow! Loved it -thanks.

  1. Artist: Shikha Patel - Mehta Art Gallery, Varanasi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


    "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"

  • Recent Posts

  • Walk, Talk, Rock… B.C.-style

  • Post Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 89,242 hits
  • Since 14 August 2014

    Flag Counter
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,645 other followers

%d bloggers like this: