Hello, TDOT

28 February 2018 – I emerge onto Bloor St. West from the rapid transit link between the airport and downtown Toronto, and start to laugh. Right there on that busy sidewalk, with traffic whooping by in the railway underpass.

“Hello TDOT,” I say to myself, and take the photo.

A whole riot of street art, running through the underpass. Definitely Toronto. (And thank you Barb, for this bit of local slang: Toronto aka T.O.; i.e. tee-dot-oh-dot; thus TDOT.)

That’s yesterday.

Today I’m walking around a bit of Riverdale, mostly on Pape between The Danforth and Gerrard. And yessir, TDOT just keeps kicking up more street art.

A fish threatens to swallow a phone box …

and he might as well, having already swallowed the phone.

A car makes a coffee-brake, right over the Schmooz café …

which I extra-love, since I made that same coffee brake pun in a post last October.

A guy eats an ice-cream cone, and clearly doesn’t like the taste …

which is fair enough, since the owner of this now-closed corner store has pinned a furious handwritten note to his store door, making clear he really doesn’t like the graffito.

On the other hand, a very spiffy meat & deli shop just south of Danforth not only accepts the mural on its side wall …

but the owner probably commissioned it, since it bears his store name in bold block caps.

About face, I’m heading south again. Some homeowner loves poppies, right there on his front porch.

Maybe painted them himself? (Or herself, come to that.)

Monkeys on a utility box, beside the Lucky Coin Laundry …

and, under the laundry’s neon logo, a beautiful poem by 14h-c. Persian poet Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz.

Forget washing your clothes! It’s dog-wash time at the Fur Factory …

and, if you get close to that vertical line of thumbnail images, cats are also acknowledged.

Another dog under the adjacent Atomic Age comix store, looking back in some amazement — as well he might — at the red techno-monster behind him. And robot dog.

It’s cat-and-dog time farther south as well.

Be sure to read both signs …

and if you think the second one says, “Beware of the dog,” read it again.

I know. I had to read it twice myself.

Your reward for close scrutiny is …

a flower.

Tacked to a utility pole that has clearly had many other things tacked to it in its time.

But none as pretty, I bet.

 

 

Three Dog Alley

13 February 2017 – Not that I particularly followed Three Dog Night in its heyday, but the name does pop to mind, as my feet lead me into yet another alley.

My friend Chloe & I have just come from the Michael Snow exhibit at the Christopher Cutts Gallery on Morrow St. She is off to work, but me … I have time to follow my feet.

Into this alley, just north of Dundas West before it smacks into Roncesvalles.

Dogs One & Two!

alley e. from Morrow, n. of Dundas

 

I really love this. How silly these woofs are, how ragged the artwork, how raffish the garages; all the elements all floppy & happy together.

And a bit farther down, Dog Three. Different mood.

alley e from Morrow n. of Dundas

Maybe he’s not grumpy, maybe he’s just yowling in happy anticipation of that cup of coffee.

Then again, maybe he really is grumpy. (See that “beware of dog” sign on the fence at the corner?)

I round myself back out onto Dundas, and –bonus — one more dog.

Dundas W nr Howard Park

Except that I, in knee-jerk reaction, true downtowner that I am, I read him as a raccoon. Only later do I see that, no, he is not our wily Urban Bandit with opposable digits, he’s a dawg.

A Tease

Next post will not be from Toronto! I’m off on another adventure … You’ll see.

Lights! Action! & Camera!

24 February 2016 – The lights are supplied by Nature, bright sunshine bouncing off the lake and ice-skimmed rocks & bushes. The action is courtesy of the Tuesday Walking Society, west-end this time along Humber Bay Shores & through Humber Bay Park (West). The camera? Well, you know about that.

We are revelling in all the brilliant colour, whole colour-fields of colour — what  a contrast to our snow-blurred trip to the Beaches Winter Stations.

The restored butterfly arch welcomes us to the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat, leads us on down to lake-edge and pathways toward the twin lobes of Humber Bay Park (West & East), spreading comfortably into the lake.

arch into Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat

Lake Ontario, flat grey last week, is today blue to beat the Caribbean — bands of dark blue & light, streaks of turquoise, all dancing in the sun. There’s no snow and little ice, nothing permanently on the ground this mild winter, just some evidence of frozen spray.

Sometimes it wraps a second skin around rocks at water’s edge …

sheen of ice on rocks by Lake Ontario

and, sometimes, it drapes delicate lacework on a shrub.

ice-draped shrub; city & CN Tower in the background

Away from the water, tucked back by tall winter grasses, a lone birdhouse. Charming at mid-distance, but its defect show once you are up close! Any resident bird would need to keep his umbrella up, even indoors.

a "handyman's special" bird house

We point to reviving colour in trees and shrubs — spring is coming! we cry. The deep red bark of the Siberian Dogwood (aka Redtwig Dogwood, for good reason) …

Siberian (Redtwig) Dogwood

and the golden yellow, soon to become acid-green/yellow, on neighbouring tree tops.

yellow-tipped trees

But the brightest colour, the very brightest, comes as we work our way back through a condo-side park toward our streetcar stop.

For one hallucinatory moment I think the birch tree is blowing a big wad of brilliant blue bubble gum. Then I shake my head, and realize it is a very small child’s sock, put on display by some considerate passer-by so the parent has a chance of retrieving it.

Phyllis laughs at me.

lost dog-boot on display

“It’s a dog boot!” she explains. Which it is.

Beach & Boots & a Q&A

14 January 2016 – We’ll start with the Q&A. Well, with the Q.

As follows:

Why did the traffic light turn red?

I’ll get to the A later. Promise!

Meanwhile, join me at the very eastern end of the Beaches neighbourhood, right where Queen Street begins/ends, a boundary marked with Art Deco flourish by the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant — still functioning in that role, but with historical designation for its architecture.

I’m not gawking at the water treatment plant. I’m down on the beach gawking at ice on rocks, glinting against the grey Lake Ontario waters under a chilly grey sky.

ice on Beaches rocks, Lake Ontario

Even the nasty abutments pushed into the lake to baffle wave action become sculptural, given a sheathing of ice.

Beaches, Lake Ontario

 

As always, quite a few people are larking about with happy, bounding dogs — the pooches busy fetching sticks, lugging fluorescent tennis balls to and fro in their mouths, & pushing indelicate snouts into delicate places on total strangers, in equally total certainty they will be praised & stroked, not scolded.

Lifeguard stations dot the lakefront year-round, all currently bearing their seasonal notice.

on Kew/Balmy Beach

After a while I take myself back up to Queen St. East, planning to walk on west toward home until … well, until I either reach home or hop a streetcar en route.

Not surprising that I almost immediately see another dog. This community loves it dogs.

outside a Queen E grocery store

I contemplate Doggie-Two-Boots a moment. Has the little devil shucked two boots, or — for some arcane reason — does he only have two? (About an hour’s-worth of walking time farther west, I see him again — all four paws neatly encased in boots.)

Somewhere near Coxwell, I catch a surprising sight down a short alley-cum-parking-lot. I start down the alley to investigate. “Yes?” calls a voice behind me. The man attached to the voice is wearing a restaurateur apron & has just rushed out of the adjoining building. “Can I help you?”

Which, we all know, means: explain yourself.

“Just want a photo,” I reply, smiling as endearingly as I know how & waving my camera in his direction. His smile matches mine as he waves me on down the alley.

This is what the fuss was all about.

off Queen nr Coxwell

Well, it’s very odd, isn’t it? I realize I’m thinking of it as a barn, a corrugated metal barn, but of course it isn’t that & I don’t know why it strikes me that way.

A bit later on, another just-off-Queen sighting, this time at Curzon.

N/W Queen E & Curzon

It could have been projected, that tree silhouette; a perfect art installation against the wall. (Come to that, it is projected. By the sun.)

Somewhere in there I peer hopefully up Craven Rd., home to “Tiny Town” and the city’s longest municipally maintained wooden fence. Also the city’s longest wooden-fence public art gallery.

Except… it isn’t, not any more. Finally all that wonderful art work has tattered itself to the point of (or so it seems) being removed. Just a long, very naked fence. I’m glad I have images, first shared on this blog in November 2013 and several times since then.

Between McGee and DeGrassi streets, some public art that is increasingly battered looking, but still in place: the animal vignettes running the length of the railway underpass.

Queen E railway underpass at McGee

This guy is one of my individual favourites in the series. Each side bears a whole wall’s-worth of images, currently enhanced with a few icicles in the framing arches.

RR underpass south wall

I angle toward home through Joel Weeks Park, north of Queen & just east of the Don River. I could have chosen many other routes — but I cannot resist the squirrels.

south end, Joel Weeks Park

I’m as amused as ever. Acorn worship!

detail, squirrels & acorn in Joel Weeks Park

The A to the Q

Did you get all impatient on me & scroll down? Or did you wait?

Before totally wowing you with the A, let me give credit where credit is due: I read this on the sidewalk “street talker” for The Sidekick, a Queen East coffee & comic books emporium.

Remember the question? It asks: “Why did the traffic light turn red?”

Answer.

You would too, if you had to change in the middle of the street.

Was it worth the wait? I hope so.

 

 

  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "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

    • 93,401 hits
  • Since 14 August 2014

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

    Join 1,712 other followers

%d bloggers like this: