“This Is Toronto”

9 March 2018 – I borrow the title and, in a bit, will show you the source.

What a good time I am having, in this visit to my old home town! Above all, for beloved friends. But also for the sheer pleasure of once again prowling the city’s alleys & streetscapes.

Enjoyment comes naturally. I don’t need this command to STOP and enjoy.

I enjoy …

Mural cat, with balloons …

and porch cat, with Jesus and a pair of cardinals …

and a pair of dogs …

a pair of caterpillars …

and a whole birdo animal fantasia.

I enjoy the long-view impact of one exuberant garage …

and the up-close impact of a love letter to Pete …

and a tribute to Baxter.

There is life guidance on offer.

Lower-right, tucked into this alley-corner mural, for example:

Here I must stop shooting photos at you and add a few more words.

The quote is beautifully lettered, and attributed to Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris. I carefully say “attributed,” because I cannot find it online. Which doesn’t disprove the attribution and, either way, I am charmed. Charmed to see the loving reference to Lawren Harris on a downtown alley corner.

Also charmed by the quote itself, which includes the lines: “It is blasphemy / to be merely moral … / to succumb to second-hand living”

Let us never succumb to second-hand living.

Less elegant, just as urgent, the guidance offered in the upper-right corner of this cinder block wall, over there in black, above the black grill and the black car.

I see a doorway tribute by someone who follows that advice, who explicitly promises never to give up on love …

and an implicit, and unexpected, message of respect.

Yes! Respect. The mural covers the wall and touches upon the parking sign, but — deliberately and carefully — does not obliterate it.

I usually curl my lip at stencil work. I make an exception for this statement, and I am delighted to run into it twice, in two days.

Later, I stand mesmerized on a street-corner, dancing my eyes around this big, bright, multi-coloured, multi-imaged proclamation of joy.

Can you read the inscription? Small letters, above the artwork, just to the left of the wooden hydro pole.

It says: “This is Toronto.”

And so it is.

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  1. Bill Allen (former Dorval Islander)

     /  9 March 2018

    Welcome home!!

  2. Tom

     /  9 March 2018

    Wow, that’s one mean cat! I’d hate to run into her/him in a dark alley.

  3. Mary C

     /  9 March 2018

    The mural with the alleged Lawren Harris quote is new to me. Do you remember where it is?

  4. Great photos – I like how you scaffolded them. And I love Lawren Harris. 🙂

    • Thank you, but now please explain what it means to “scaffold” photos! I seem to have done something without knowing there is a name for it, so now I’m curious.

      • It means to move progressively or positively. Your photos seem to move up a scaffold to those you found the most interesting or moving. But that’s just my interpretation. 🙂

      • I think more in terms of story arc — having photos support the arc (even when words are minimal, I have something in mind), and ending the post with a photo I feel suitably closes off that arc. But your interpretation is just as valid! I don’t determine story impact for its recipients — that’s up to them. So If you experienced scaffolding (and thanks for the explanation), then, for you, that’s what occurred.

  5. Lovely, Penny! I hope you are enjoying your visit. 🙂

  6. Welcome back! So nice you are visiting. Would have been fun to join for a coffee…perhaps another time. In the meantime have enjoyed your T.O. walks.


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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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