We Do Dupont

20 December 2015 – Dupont is one of those flowing cross-town streets that, like Harbord, zip past car-bound eyeballs — but tickle & reward those same eyeballs when they are atop boots-on-sidewalk.

Our first tickle is just steps from the Dupont subway station, starting point for the latest outing by the Tuesday Walking Society.

Brandtjen & Kluge platen press

We do not know what it is.

We see “Baxter Publishing” on the building & guess it may/must be some kind of press. Phyllis reads off & I carefully record: “Brandtjen & Kluge Plc, St. Paul Minn.” Online gemlins later explain that the firm, founded in 1919 & now based elsewhere in the USA, manufactures — or perhaps used to manufacture — platen presses. For platen foil stamping. About which I know nothing.

But isn’t it a handsome machine? We don’t care what it does, or did; we’re just happy to see it out there as public art, enriching the street.

Soon after, at Albany, the back view of a big, boring, severely functional building of some sort, probably a factory or ex-factory.

Lots of them to be seen on Dupont, since train tracks run parallel to the street, just to the north.

Dupont view, 275 Albany

But look again, as we do; walk into the parking lot, as we do; and you can see the detail in the metal insert in that window.

Same inserts in windows on the front of the building.

metal insert, window 275 Albany

275 Albany is now home to Wing’s Food Products, and I can find no reference to explain the judaica in the window inserts.

We laugh like anything when we reach the Loblaw’s grocery store near Christie. Christmas trees on sale in the parking lot, of course of course — but with an unexpected central prop.

tree sales at Loblaws, Dupont & Christie

There’s no-one around to explain the old tractor, so we burrow in among the trees (ummmmm, so fragrant) for a better look at the tractor’s gubbins …

the Christmas Tractor!

and walk on.

Dupont does a gentle swoon at Ossington, swaying itself ever so slightly north-ish before continuing west. There’s a tiny parkette on the N/W corner, with a charming series of plaques set into the grass, each celebrating a different native fern.

1 of series of fern plaques, Dupont & Ossington

And, right on the intersection’s curve, the words: “Garrison Creek.” You can follow an intermittent series of these Creek identifiers all the way south to Lake Ontario.

Garrison Creek ID, Dupont & Osssington

What you can’t do, is see Garrison Creek! Long since entombed, in the 19th-c. name of public hygiene (and the hidden name of real-estate windfalls). Once a river, now a sewer system — and still defiantly burrowing its way through the city.

Walk-walk, and then another stop.

First we enjoy this window display at Appliance Love. It certainly illustrates their boast: “Not your average appliance store.”

Appliance Love window, 950 Dupont

(Wretched shot; sorry about the reflection. Just see through it to contemplate the high-heel shoe casing for a stacked washer/dryer.)

After we have totally enjoyed the sight, we sober up enough to ask ourselves: Will appliances work, when on an angle?

I’ve already mentioned the train tracks just north of Dupont, and the number of factories once sited here as a result. Some  of these old buildings are being resued as is, some are gently crumbling away, & some are being spiffed up for fancy new lives.

This massive glass-faced structure at Dovercourt is surely being spiffed up.

repurposing an old factory, Dupont & Dovercourt

We’re still heading west, finding still more rewards as we walk. A lovely, gentle, layer-on-layer example of faded old advertising on this brick wall, for instance.

old advertising on a Dupont brick wall

Up close, the flaking paint remnants become pure tonal impressionism.

close-up of the faded old advetising

There’s nothing dreamy-impressionist about the paintwork at the Osler St. entrance to the West Toronto Railpath!

detail, street art at Osler & Dupont

Lots more murals all around the entrance, but I didn’t get the artists’ names, sorry.

We climb up to the Railpath & walk north, hoping for an explosion of street art similar to ones we’ve seen farther south on the Path. Alas, no luck. Some very snazzy (& over-elaborate, we think) fencing, with view-windows and all, but no street art.

Not much Railpath either. Soon we’re at Cariboo Av. — the north end of the trail. We dump out, walk on up to St. Clair & west to Keele.

Once this area was home to the stockyards, located here because of the junction of various railway lines. Now it is The Junction neighbourhood, with The Stockyards its crowning complex of commerce & retail.

I am not sneering. They have repurposed old buildings well, added new structures cleverly, and brought a derelict area back to humming life.

And. And.

And we find very decent coffee & scones.

Coming out, another sidewalk plaque. This one a quote by A.F. Mortiz, whom I only later discover is a US-born Torontonian, a poet/scholar/author.

sidewalk plaque, St Clair & Keele

Expand the photo, and you can read someone’s hand-lettered reply:

Actually, it belongs to the native people we stole it from.

Back, By Popular Request

Well, you love those leaping, twirling figures outside Bridgepoint Hospital as much as I do. Pity I still can’t discover their sculptor! At least I can offer you a few more photos.

Two runners, for example, speeding past tiered landscape lighting …

sculptures, Bridgepoint Hospital

and another angle on Yellow Guy, whom you met in my previous post …

sculpture, Bridgepoint Hospital

and this stunning couple.

sculpture, Bridgepoint Hospital

Eternally mid-air; eternally mid-embrance.

Leave a comment

7 Comments

  1. Larry Webb

     /  20 December 2015

    Hi Penny.

    Me again.

    The sculptor at Bridgepoint was Bill Lishman who also was responsible for that wonderful documentary about him being the mother goose to a flight of Canadian Geese!! Interesting guy – http://williamlishman.com/figures-faces/

    Also thrilled to see the A. F. Moritz quote – my first ex-wife Linda (there are two) and mother of my oldest son grew up in Niles, Ohio which is where AFM is from – and they went to the same schools at the same time – and through a good friend of mine who is a poet they have also been in written contact. Nice to see all these links with things familiar and unknown.

    Please keep walking and talking!

    Cheers, L

    Larry Webb

    larw18@webbpro.ca

    (416) 508-1291

    Reply
    • I swear, you begin to desere co-byline! I’ll pass on the information re Bill Lishman — I know the documentary, how wonderful he also created these figures. How shameful that one (or, this one) cannot find a plaque on the building to identify him. As for the Moritz quote, I thought the tart reply was justified…

      Reply
  2. That’s definitely an old printing press! Very cool stuff!

    Reply
  3. Some very interesting things you can find on the street these days. It’s amazing the history that is all around us in this city.

    Reply
  4. Some one just drew my attention to your site and the pictures of my sculptures at Bridgepoint glad you enjoy them they were really fun to do and place there. I also did a major stainless steel ice berg this year for the Canadian Museum of Nature there are a few shots on my web page http://www.williamlishman.com

    Reply

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