The Fish & the Fox

27 January 2017 – And a mouse, and more fish, and a dragon. With a rooster in mind.

It’s Tuesday, so Phyllis & I are out & about — down east-end trails & parkland by the Lower Don River to Lake Ontario and up again through the Port Lands. To our own surprise, I might add, because the plan had been an assault on west-end city pavement. But sometimes you get distracted, or a streetcar doesn’t arrive,  so you let your feet take you somewhere else.

And it works out just fine, thank you. We’ve walked through Corktown Common & the West Don Lands Park, and here we are on the Lower Don Pan Am Path — legacy of the 2015 Pan Am Games — enjoying not only the expanded bike/walking paths, but the overpass-trestle art work.

pasystem mural, Lower Don Pan Am Path

We’e seen these murals before, but no reason not to admire them again. They are legacy of another event, the 2016 Love Letter to the Great Lakes mural project all over the city.

First up, as you walk south, this glorious fish, the work of a duo with the collective name thepasystem.

There’s the big effect (above), and then there are the tiny details as well. This fish hook, for example, taking cunning advantage of a stray utility wire.

detail, pasystem mural

From fish to fox — a detail in the mural just two trestles along.

detail, EGR mural same project

I love it, I love it; I always love EGR‘s work.  She is a “notorious Toronto visual artist,” says her website, but I think “celebrated” might be the better adjective … And certainly “distinctive.”

Brer Fox is just one detail in her Love Letter mural — here is the rest of it. Complete with mouse.

EGR mural, same Love Letter project

More precisely, the mural on the north face of the trestle. Each face has its own image.

On down the river, into the Port Lands, and a westward stretch on Commissioners St. — where, just possibly, we see more fish.

by a depot on Commissioners St.

Or see the space where the cargo container had been, which might have contained fish.

I like to imagine it was fish — fish from the Arctic waters of Nunavik (northern Quebec), or Nunavut (the adjacent Territory), perhaps. See the syllabics below the English name, KEPA? This company, though based in Val d’Or, Québec, is wholly owned by two Cree communities, the Chisasibi and the Wemindji.

Now south on Cherry St. to Cherry Beach and Lake Ontario.

Whose waters, it is reasonable to assume, teem with yet more fish.

heritage lifeguard station, Cherry Beach

Though that is not why I take this photo. I am fascinated, as I have been all day, by the opacity of the sky, the sun reduced to a faint disc barely glowing through the calm, thick, unbroken grey veil in which it is swaddled.

Never mind! Colour is, almost, to hand.

All we have to do is walk north again on Cherry St., and drop into T&T.

It is more than a huge, Asian-foods supermarket, it is a universe. A place for Asian-Canadian families to find familiar produce and products and — as the T&T website explains — a place for mainstream Canadians to discover the diversity of the Asian food culture. T&T launched in 1993 with two stores in BC; now it has going on 30 or so, in BC, Alberta and Ontario.

And I bet that, right now, every one of those stores features at least one dragon.

Year of the Rooster display inside Cherry St T&T Supermarket

Because Chinese New Year is upon us, ushering in Year of the Rooster.




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  1. That subtle fish hook is so clever!

  2. It may not be the walk you originally intended, but I enjoyed it!

  3. Very interesting street art! Best wishes from Berlin


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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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