Symbol City (T.O. Version)

11 April 2017 – I’ve given you one Symbol City already — an array of Vancouver images that, to my delighted visitor’s eye, stood for the Vancouver I was beginning to discover.

Now I’ll offer the Toronto version. A delighted, fresh eye here as well, partly because I am recently back from a 5-week absence — but much more because, in just a few weeks’ time, I shall move from Toronto to Vancouver.

So I am acutely aware of sights that are symbols of my own personal Toronto.

Here are a few.

Riverdale Park, straddling the Don River, with its 1840s Francy Barn attracting hordes of visitors this mild spring day …

William Lishman’s exuberant sculptures, cascading down the river-side face of Bridgepoint Health Care …

a random example of railway underpass street art, this bit on Logan south of Gerrard …

a silly sign!

Jimmy Chiale’s great, pulsing wall mural on Queen St. East, adding energy to the city all around it — from parked cars to streetcar stop, pedestrians, hydro poles trailing wires, vines about to bud on the brick wall …

a whole mural celebrating the city’s distinctive red streetcars …

and a real streetcar, pulled up next to yet another wall mural, this one by Elicser and proclaiming one of the city’s east-end neighbourhoods …

and of course a café!

An attraction in itself, but, really, also just one component of an entire downtown streetscape: patio, traffic sign, bicycle, parked car & all.

I go in, assuming I’ll order a latte. Don’t I always?

Except, this time, no I don’t. I am beguiled instead by an organic hot dog (I always eat a hot-dog in spring, it’s a ritual), smothered in mashed avocado & salsa. Soon my face follows suit, smothered in the generous dressings, ear to ear and nose to chin. The man next to me, knocking back his tortillas, observes the state of my face with some awe. “I’ll try that next time,” he decides.

I loop back west toward home, angle through a scruffy laneway just off Parliament & Queen.

I am here to pay homage to …

Golden Girl!

and to …

Famous Dog!

I don’t know why he is famous — but, come to think of it, he is famous with me.

I’m just happy both murals are still with us, they’ve been around for years & years, and they are part of my Toronto, yes they are.

Here’s lookin’ at you, dawg…

Leave a comment


  1. This has to be a very unique view of Toronto! It’s interesting to see what one person chooses to focus on. I understand how you’d be wanting to take photos if you’re leaving. Including all the bits and pieces in the photo of the cafe is just what will bring it back to life later for you, I think. That was smart! I wish I’d taken more photos of the most ordinary scenes in New York before I moved out here – the unremarkable things I saw every day. Next time!

    • It’s true, isn’t it? When we move, we often most miss what was very “every day” about the other place… Thanks for picking up on that.

  2. As always, some real treats among your photos! I’ll miss your posts about Toronto after your move, but I look forward to seeing Vancouver through your eyes.

  3. Graça Moreira

     /  12 April 2017

    I hope, Penny , you keep on looking at the beauty of Vancouver. I am following your blog and wonderful “joie de vivre ” from Portugal, after living in Toronto and having visited Vancouver.
    Thank you só much

    • And thank you, Graça, for your enthusiasm & support. I’m so happy I can help you feel still connected to cities here in Canada.

  4. Good luck with the move.

  5. Larry Webb

     /  12 April 2017

    What the %$@& are we going to do without you here in Toronto delighting us with your perspectives!

    But best wishes in your new adventure! Why are you moving, said he being very nosey!?

    Cheers, L

    Larry Webb

    (416) 508-1291

    • Thank you!! So let’s discover Vancouver together… And other places I go, for e.g. England for most of May. I arrive in Vancouver end of April, am in town long enough to take possession, and boom, off to England. So the blog and I, we’ll be bouncing around for a while yet.

  6. What a lovely farewell to a city. I ask anxiously whether Vancouver offers street art as copiously as Toronto. I particulalrly like the cascading sculpture and the sign which is a good poster for the paranoid life! The whole post is rich in colour and detail. May the move offer all you – and we – could wish for!

    • Not as much street art as in Toronto, or, not that I’ve found. But Vancouver has its own attractions, & what fun to explore them…

  7. How Toronto will miss you, but on the other hand, how lucky for Vancouver! Keep it up – no matter where you are.

    • Oh, I will keep it up — and a good part of the motivation is my feeling of connection with readers & fellow bloggers like you. Thank you!

  8. I always enjoy your posts and your take on many sights I know so well in Toronto! Best wishes for happiness and beauty in your new home.

  9. Love all the photos and your comments. It will be fun to look at them I am sure. You will be busy with a move and then a trip to England. I read a wonderful article recently in the NY Times about Vancouver. I will visit there in early fall. I hope the weather will be good. Good luck with your move, trip and adventures!

  10. Bob Georgiou

     /  16 April 2017

    A great post Penny — and of the East End! I’ll enjoy your Vancouver musings, good luck with everything!


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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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