Down, Down the Don

22 August 2016 – Who needs the Loch Ness Monster? We have our very own mutant fish, right here in the Don River.

detail, fish mural along the Lower Don Trail

Oh, all right, beside the Don River.

I don’t know that he, specifically, awaits me downstream, but I do anticipate art-by-the-Don, as I drop down from the Riverdale Park pedestrian bridge to join the trail heading south to Lake Ontario.

A powerful reminder: Bridgepoint Hospital there on the east bank, with its Bill Lishman sculptures tumbling down the river-side terrace.

view south down the Don, from Riverdale Park pedestrian bridge

I can’t, from here, see the sculptures with my physical eye, but my mental eye conjures them once more. (You can conjure them with this link to my December post, Artful Flows the Don.)

Some traditional graffiti art under the Gerrard St. bridge — framed & enhanced by reflections in the river itself.

under the Gerrard St bridge

Then again, who needs graffiti?

River reflections make art all by themselves.

reflections in the Don

I promise you: this image is right-side-up. That buff-colour horizontal line at the top is the far bank of the river; the greenery bottom-left is right at my feet; everything in between is converging reflections from a playful sky.

More not-amazing graffiti under bridges as I go, ho-hum, yawn.

I perk up again south of Queen Street, with this view westward through various bridge underpinnings to the edge of — I’m pretty sure — Underpass Park. Major-fine murals & graffiti in there!

view west toward Underpass Park

This means I’m approaching Don Landing, and access to the West Don Lands Park, once toxic wasteland, now wonderful. This takes me off-river — but hey, this is my walk, right? I can divert if I want to.

Up the stairs to Corktown Common, the playground at the park’s high point of land. Full of parents & kiddies — here a dad carrying off his toddler after patiently pushing her in one of those bucket swings for ages. (I know, I’ve been sitting under a tree watching.) They leave, but another little girl has already claimed a seat, and a young boy is fast approaching.

Corktown Common, West Don Lands Park

It’s all charming, but I find myself most charmed by the water-fountain arrangements. First, that they exist, because I am thirsty and appreciate free, pure water.

water founains, Corktown Common

And, second, that there is tri-level water for everyone: the Big People fountain, the Little People fountain, and the Doggie water bowl bolted into position on the ground.

Back to the Lower Don trail, and on to that mutant fish, just a little farther south.

mural south of Don Landing

I cannot find an artist’s signature. Sorry!

Then, just north of Lake Shore Blvd. East, I hit more expressway trestles & more art. Memory clicks in: I came by here in spring, when the artists were first beginning to lay on base coats.

Well! Look at it now …

expressway trestles n. of Lake Shore Blvd

The fish is the work of an artist that’s new to me. Correction: two artists, known as PA System.

Next up, girl with green hair, by MC Baldassari, someone I’m beginning to appreciate a lot.

MC Baldasaari's trestle

And then girl with black hair, by EGR — so distinctive! Once you’ve seen her work, you always know it.

EGR trestle

Right here, trails diverge east & west. I could head farther east, on to Ashbridge’s Bay, but I choose west instead, starting to loop back through woodland toward home.

One last art installation to amuse me as I go. Very urban-art. Very downtown.

in the woods...

Oh, those shopping carts. They do get around. (And so much for the vaunted “wheels-will lock” technology.)

I eventually emerge from the trails, pick up Cherry St., and cut north-west through the Distillery District.

Distillery District

Where, to my amazement and no doubt yours, I do not stop for a latte.

 

 

 

 

Street-Wise Street Eyes

28 February 2016 – Out in the Queen St. West (aka QSW, I discovered on a so-cool sign) & Ossington area today, giddy with the sunny +10C warmth and all the street art you find around there. First, up the alley just west of Ossington, running north from QSW; then eastward in an alley just north of Queen, from Gladstone to Ossington; then north on Ossington itself.

And eyes and more eyes, everywhere I look.

Sometimes downcast-demure  eyes …

in the E/W cross alley just n. of Queen & w. of Ossington

sometimes fiery-slavering-wolf eyes …

N/S alley w. of Ossington

sometimes totally SPUD eyes …

detail of a SPUD mural, same alley w. of Ossington

or just as distinctive Birdo eyes.

Birdo, same n/S alley w. of Ossington

Euro-weary Marlene Dietrich eyes …

N/S alley w. of Ossington

and, this is Canada after all, hockey-goalie-mask eyes.

N/S alley w. of Ossington

Screen eyes …

N/S alley w. of Ossington

and a slanted glance over some wheelies …

E/W alley n. of QSW, near Gladstone

followed by Birdo fish eyes …

same E/W alley, at Beaconsfield

and EGR eyes …

same E/W alley, at Lisgar

and very sulky eyes on a very pouty man, crossed arms & all.

Ossington & Argyle

And finally, to prove I can still turn my own eyes to other themes …

Bazara Asian Cuisine street sign, 188 Ossington

Courtesy of Bazara Asian Cuisine, on Ossington itself. I giggle appreciatively, but don’t go in. I’m saving myself for a latte later on, in Kensington Market.

It is worth it.

Gita in the Underpass

1 February 2016 – I didn’t expect to find chapter 3, verse 35 of the Bhagavad Gita in a Dupont St. underpass. Who would? Nor would I have known I had found it, but for the fact that I did my Saturday walk with my friend Gauri, just back from a month visiting family & friends in India.

We don’t start the walk on Dupont, we’re up on St. Clair West near Dufferin. I have food slightly on the mind. Before we set off, Gauri shows me some photos from her trip, including a close-up of a succulent dish traditionally prepared for Marathi weddings, but — because she loves it so — prepared in her honour during her visit.

Perhaps that’s why I interpret the central image in this street-corner montage as a jar of jam.

Lauder Av at St. Clair West

It seems singularly drab, compared to the Marathi feast. Still, the two heads are lively enough …

We walk, we talk, we laugh, we stop for coffee a bit farther west & finally head south, angling across Davenport to Lansdowne. More laughter as we go, being with Gauri involves lots of laughter, but we fall silent at the intersection.

Davenport at Lansdowne

We contemplate the “ghost bike,”  a white bike marking the spot where a cyclist has died. This young man died in November 2012; the bicycle has been here for years, but these are new floral tributes.

Down Lansdowne, more public art, yet another mood. These graphics swoop along the underpass that guides us all beneath railway tracks. It’s another StART (Street Art Toronto) project, perhaps a commentary on the construction above?

Lansdowne n of Dupont

We defy death — death, I tell you — to scamper across Lansdowne in order to see that graphic as a whole. “I’m just back from India,” boasts Gauri. “This is nothing!” I scuttle along in her wake.

Barely through the underpass, and we see another image, this one small enough that we consider recrossing the street to see it up close. Then we assess the increased traffic, plus the jump involved in getting ourselves down to street level — and chicken out.

So here is Green Lady. From afar. In the gloom. (Sorry.)

Lansdowne n of Dupont

Now we’re at Dupont, and I drag Gauri westward. There’s a small gallery along here I like to check out — and another much-decorated underpass along the way.

I know this underpass, I’ve seen these images before, but … wait a minute … is this something new?

Right here next to an EGR face … is that an Anser tease? Just a few elements of his distinctive flowing face-graphic, woven into somebody else’s design?

Dupont w of Lansdowne, n side

Not sure, but what do you think? Here, for comparison, is a full-blown, for-sure Anser (photographed a year ago in the Distillery District).

Anser face, Distillery District

I’m still squinting at the maybe-Anser on Dupont. Gauri has moved on, very slightly. I join her. She reads a dramatic triangular panel, and says: “Gita!”

Pardon?

Bhagavad Gita,” she says.

Dupont underpass w. of Lansdowne

It’s a translation of a verse, she explains, and then quotes the Sanskrit. (“My grade 10 Sanskrit!”)

I demand a transliteration, which she supplies right there on the spot — and later supplements with the bhagavad-gita.org link for this verse online, complete with quotation, transliteration, anvaya and translation, all four.

Gauri’s transliteration is very good indeed. Let’s hear it for grade 10 Sanskrit classes (and her excellent memory).

The online translation is rather more fulsome than the Dupont St. version.

Performing one’s natural prescribed duty tinged with faults is far better than performing another’s prescribed duty perfectly; even death in performing one’s natural prescribed duty is better; for performing prescribed duties of others is fraught with danger.

An advantage of the online version: it completes the final thought, blanked out by someone’s aluminum paint on the Dupont St. version.

After this, the gallery show is an anticlimax.

 

 

 

 

 

  • 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"

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