Wandering

28 July 2019 – My feet are wandering, as they tend to do, but more obediently than usual. This time they are trotting along with others, all of us on a neighbourhood tour of “lower Mount Pleasant” (close-ish to the south-east end of False Creek).

The guide is pointing out evidence of the social, industrial and built heritage of the area: remnants of the vernacular residential architecture of the 1910s, for example (gables, wood cladding and off-set front doors) …

or …

remnants of mid-century shop signage. (Bike Woman is listening to our guide, who is out of frame to the left.)

I am also listening, I am, but while my feet are obedient wanderers, my eyes are rebellious wanderers, and they keep leading my mind a-stray.

Here we are being shown one of those early homes, still surviving and freshly painted.

Only my eyes bounce off the bright paint, weave through the tree branches, and fasten on that bit of street mural beyond.

Now we’re being told more about the history of this house, and the (woeful) state of heritage designation in the area. My eyes instead slide along the building’s side wall and hop over alley space to contemplate the shipwreck in turquoise waters, ‘way down there.

And so it goes.

Another intersection, more information, and, though my feet are behaving themselves, my eyes are still on the prowl.

Look! A whole exuberant dance across that white wall over there, nicely framed by modes of transport: a sturdy truck up close, a sleek auto-share vehicle across the street, and guy wheeling his bike through the doorway.

Next, a neat little square of mural, far end of that parking-lot grid, tucked behind the hydro pole …

and, later, a huge full-wall’s worth of faces, with the vacant lot offering an unobstructed view of every detail.

Nothing distant about this one! We’re on the pavement right in front.

Smack-dab under the dog’s whiskers, and still, the guide manages to ignore him.

She is just not a street-art kind of gal. (I shouldn’t beat up on her — we all edit what we’re going to notice and not notice, otherwise we couldn’t get through the day.)

She does mention the company, though: apparently Mount Pleasant Furniture does a roaring business renting props to movie shoots in town.

Their doorway window gives just the tiniest indication of how many props must be on offer.

Tour over, and my feet, eyes and mind are now free to wander in unison.

Feet stop while eyes and mind enjoy this real, live dog on Main Street, patiently waiting for his human to abandon the delights of the Cartems “donuterie” and take him home.

Feet stop again just across the intersection.

Eyes read, mind again enjoys this street ode that I have read before …

with summer tree-shade bringing the text to life.

I do pause, one further moment.

And then — feet, eyes, mind, and everything in between — I wander on home.

 

Quebec, Vancouver

19 May 2019 – Not the city, not the province, but the street right here in Vancouver. Imbued, I am now convinced, with all the creativity and flair of its eastern namesakes.

There is Quebec Manor, for example, corner of Quebec and East 7th, which first strutted its splendid stuff in 1912, a 32-suite luxury apartment hotel, and is now a non-profit housing co-op.

Wonderful old details still abound …

I go woo-woo every time I pass.

So I should not be surprised, really not at all, to be just as amused and delighted, farther south on the street, ‘way up by East 20th.

I am walking back north toward home, pleased with the visit I’ve just had, pleased with the leafy residential street, everything just “lying down and behaving itself”  — a definition of good design that I’ve long cherished, courtesy of a Calgary photographer I knew decades ago.

And then I see this fence, rolling on down Quebec, defining the boundary of a home that fronts on the cross-street.

Talk about street art! This one has everything, all exuberant, and pretty well all repurposed and recycled and flung into a bright new life.

A big old circular installation, for example …

crammed with lovingly rescued bits of stuff.

And larger-than-life wooden figures … this one proclaiming, board by board: “What I am / after / above all/ is / expression.”

Beyond it, more and more.

A painted orange flower, nicely framed, flirting with all the real flowers outside the frame …

a whole line-up of bird house façades …

another circular installation …

just as crammed full of reimagined bits & pieces.

Who knew rusty can lids and old CDs could dance together so happily?

My own favourite, the painted crow. Who is contemplating either a rorschach inkblot test over there to the right .. or just an inkblot, skip the tortured analysis.

A butterfly …

and I turn for one last loving look northward.

But wait!! (As the infomercials love to say) There’s more!!

One block down, right at the alley corner, a canoe.

Rusty bedsprings behind, assorted garbage and recycling containers all around, and fresh new seedlings emerging in the canoe bed.

Québec, j t’aime!

 

 

Not-Toronto Alley

31 August 2017 – No, no! You do not go looking for one city in another, judging the latter by how much it does, or doesn’t, resemble the former.

So I am slightly embarrassed to confess that this alley immediately reminds me of Toronto alleys that I have walked & loved.

But it is not Toronto.

It is Vancouver. Lower east side Vancouver (between W. Cordova & W. Hastings, and Richards & Homer).

Still, it is very reminiscent, is it not?

I am a tad nostalgic, as I watch this old fellow pause to light his cigarette and then slowly wander on his way.

A whole lotta paint on this walls. No wonder this aerosol can is lying flat, exhausted.

(The cat, of course, would not dream of slumping in exhaustion.)

Even a bare pole isn’t quite bare.

I haven’t seen this little red Angry-Mask before, but suspect it has been pinned to many other surfaces as well.

On the pavement beneath my feet, more art work.

 

Then there’s Peek-a-Boo, with Dumpster. (Vincent Van Gogh Division.)

And Peek-a-Boo, with Truck.

And Peek-a-Boo, with Shoulder.

I emerge.

And pretty soon, on the edge of Gastown, I’m enjoying a different vista entirely.

On the right, the 1910 Dominion Building, Vancouver’s first steel-framed high-rise (once the British Empire’s tallest building); on the left, and wonderfully sympathetic in its architecture, a market-price residential tower in the redeveloped Woodward’s complex.

Definitely not Toronto! Definitely Vancouver.

 

Moss & 13th (East & West)

14 March 2017 – The sky is exceedingly grey, & the air oozes moisture. The trees are grey-brown-black, sombre camouflage for a sombre day.

Only the moss stands out.

How happy it is! I stop thinking about the air, the mist, & focus on the moss.

I am besotted. I lurch along 13th Avenue, East 13th morphing to West as I go, following the moss, tree to tree. Admiring the branches’ furry sleeves, stretching out from the trunk …

Admiring swirls of colour, texture, pattern …

moving in close …

then refreshing my eye with the restraint of this narrow trunk, just one tree farther down the line.

Then a big guy, big fat trunk.

I step in to enjoy the sheen of the day’s moisture upon the bark …

which brings me close enough to see how the buds are just starting to swell.

Another block, and I start to laugh. No need to get close.

Nature’s very own Wretched Excess, flaunting herself out there in front of God & everybody, totally shameless.

I’m attracting attention; people turn, try to see what fascinates me so. They can’t find anything. Small dismissive shakes of the head, & they walk on.

Oh, but look …

is this not totally loopy-delightful?

I move even closer to the trunk, crane my neck backwards …

study the black & white of fern silhouette against bare branches & sky.

On westward, another tree, and I’m laughing again.

 

Visions of a mad orchestra conductor, resplendent in green velvet, raising his arms for the downbeat. “Our tempo,” he intones, “is 30.”

Out to Cambie Street & north to 12th. Time for some visual contrast.

No furry-fuzzy textures here.

Just the strong, clean lines of Vancouver City Hall — built & opened in 1936, a make-work & civic-pride project that tempered the architectural exuberance of 1920s Art Deco with the sobriety of 1930s Moderne. The only colour all those flags, and the neon-circled clock.

I giggle again, thinking of the old joke: “What’s black & white & read [red] all over?” A joke that only works when spoken. Because then you can triumphantly reference the other spelling, and contradict either correct answer.

(I debate not giving you the answers. I relent. Answer # 1: “A newspaper.” Answer #2: “A blushing zebra.”)

Sun City

27 February 2017 – Vancouver knows how to get even. I twice label it “Wet City” and what does it do? Next time I go out the door, it pummels me with sunshine.

But my initial thought is not for the sun, as I stand on the Main St.-Science World Station platform; I am thinking about the mountains. About how they pop up, at the turn of your head, at the flick of an eye, where you don’t expect them at all.

Through the Skytrain station’s north-facing window, for example.

looking north from Main St.=Science World Skytrain station

Right there, apparently at the north end of Main St., but more precisely across False Creek and across downtown Vancouver and across Burrard Inlet and behind North Van. Right there. I allow myself a small, tourist-y wriggle of delight. In my Calgary days, the mountains were always leaping into view — but even then, I loved every flash. Never got tired of it.

What fun to be playing peek-a-boo with mountains again!

I decide to ride the train right to its Burrard Inlet terminus, Waterfront Station, and then walk back south through the city.

A choo-choo train station when it opened in 1914, now — to use the jargon — an “intermodal transit link” and beautifully restored to boot. People stream in, for various Skytrain lines; or out, into the city; or onward, connecting with SeaBus for the ride across Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver.

Whichever, they stream through a glorious lobby, in all its Neo-Classic splendour.

"The Station" - Waterfront Station, Skytrain

I stream out, first to play tourist on Granville Square facing the Inlet and the iconic sails of Canada Place. And the mountains …

Canada Place on Burrard Inlet, facing north

I don’t have a very firm plan of action, but I do have the Official Walking Map of Downtown Vancouver. And I have my own two eyes, showing me inviting pathways southward through green space.

Which lead me to the dolphins. Well, I think dolphins. Something heraldic & fanciful & marine, in any event. Very elegant.

window ornamentation, Sinclair Centre

They adorn the lower ledge of elegant windows in an elegant, restored building. The Sinclair Centre, I read: now a shopping mall, but very upscale, and brought into being by connecting four heritage buildings via an atrium. I don’t go in; I just smile at the dolphins. I’m pretty sure they are smirking, not smiling, but the sun is shining and I don’t mind.

Onto Grenville Street proper for a while, I pass an alley and — of course! — turn into it. I’m up for some alley art, that’s my Toronto training.

No alley art.

But who could resist a pink-&-gold playground? With a hopscotch painted in at this end, and dotted arcs for basketball (or perhaps ball hockey) farther down?

off Granville, between W. Pender & W. Hastings

Something leads me sideways, don’t remember, but here I am on Howe St.and — boom! look! I recognize that! (I’m still at the stage where I can’t anticipate what will come next, geographically; I can only enjoy whatever appears, awarding myself modest extra points if I recognize it.)

Yes, the Vancouver Art Gallery, which I visited just days ago with my friend Sally to see the Susan Point exhibit. Now I walk on down into Robson Square, and half-climb steps back up, to just right here, to position Abraham Etungat’s “Bird of Spring” just so against the VAG façade.

looking north to the VAG from Robson Square

And on down through Robson Square, very uncompromising concrete at its lowest level, then climbing up, literally up, into more greenery, and up again on narrow pathways, and I’m not sure where I’m headed, or if it is public property. But no gates, and it is appealing, so I keep climbing.

landscaping on upper level, The Law Courts

Terraced shrubbery & plants around me, but I become fascinated by that tower, and the reflections mirrored onto it. The influence of where I am, surely, but … don’t they remind you of totems? Twenty-first century urban totems?

tower detail

No exit up here, it turns out, all doors locked. I rewind my steps, down onto the sidewalk, see I’ve been up in The Law Courts landscaping.

I turn onto Smithe St., no particular reason except that eventually it will feed me onto the Cambie Bridge.

And then, at Homer, I have another of those “boom! I recognize that!” moments.

This time thanks to a walk last fall with my friend Louise, who pointed out The Homer. An apartment building with ground-level retail when first built in 1909, and that same combination today. Except that tenants undoubtedly now pay a lot more rent, and the ground-floor sequence of a dye works, a steam cleaner, an ice delivery service & a corner store has yielded to a very elegant café & bar.

Fair enough, The Homer has been restored to elegance as well.

bay windows of The Homer, at Homer& Smithe

Happy with my discoveries, my rediscoveries, I let Smithe St. guide me onto Cambie Bridge. Where I hang over the edge to gaze lovingly at False Creek (inconveniencing the cyclist who, rightly, thought that side of the shared track belonged to him). And flick my eyes upwards at those mountains again.

view eastward into False Creek, along the north side

I think I’m done with them, as I hit ground on the other side and walk east into Mount Pleasant.

But of course I’m not.

I stop to admire the painted building at Ontario & East 8th, and there, above it all …

view north past Ontario& E. 8th

dancing with the sky & clouds … the mountains.

Post-Script

Yes, the sun shone all day like crazy & at one point I was carrying my jacket, not wearing it.

This morning I stepped out into a snow flurry.

Towers, Terracotta, & a Joke or Two

19 September 2016 – By now Mary & I are having our first how-about-lunch thoughts, but they’re still just gentle background murmurs, nothing to focus on. (Or even, on which to focus…)

So let’s all focus here instead.

On this otherwise so-what photo of the Lansdowne subway station. Please notice the little wet paint sign.

Bloor line subway station

Now look at it again.

And if you’re still all “????”, read it yet again. Spell it out to yourself, letter by letter.

Joke # 1, as promised above.

All our wandering has dropped us south to Bloor Street, so we head north-ish again, following a very handsome fence along TTC lands north of the subway station. They’re doing something-or-other in there, and the usual chain-link is covered with really attractive, locally relevant, silhouette images.

My attention is first caught by a detail, though, not the big picture. I like the way wild vines just go where they want to, including right through an art installation if it happens to be in their path.

fence north from Bloor between Paton & Wallace

And I really like the local references, though not being local I can’t decipher them all. This one I do recognize, especially since the real thing to which it pays homage, the water tower, is visible in the background.

TTC fence with image & real water tower

Up & around, and soon we’re back on Wallace Av., east of Lansdowne, at the GO train tracks, with a good look at that water tower.

“Symbol of the Junction,” says Mary. Originally part of the Canada General Electric complex, in the Junction’s industrial heyday, it has since declined & again risen with the fortunes of the area itself, now a handsome exclamation mark for a location with renew energy & purpose.

the old, now repurposed, CGE water tower on Wallace at the GO train tracks

We cross the tracks, pay a moment’s attention to Mr. Red Bull …

on Wallace, just west of the GO train tracks

head north to Dupont, and carry on west.

Thoughts of lunch are becoming more insistent. Assorted little cafés on offer, we pick the one promising Ecuadorian cuisine and, with muted Ecuadorian fútbol on the big screen & Ecuadorian love songs on the sound system, we study the Ecuadorian menu. I choose a whole feast of ceviche — it’s been so long! — and we amiably discuss past adventures in Peru while waiting for the food.

It’s good, we eat well, and out the door again.

To have ourselves another Spudbomb moment.

Dupont at Symington

We goggle. We’re both used to his garage & wall murals, this is a whole other thing — and what fun! Otherwise it’s just a sad old vacant corner lot (Dupont & Symington, if you’re curious), how much better to let Spudbomb prance all over it.

Farther west, still on Dupont if memory serves, a palimpsest moment.

faded advertising, on Dupont west of Symington

We cock our heads side to side, as if shaking our eyes will clarify the image. We can half-read it, but wholly don’t care — it’s lovely the way it is, a muted, gently faded murmur from the past.

West & west we go, closing in on the second target of our walk.

Remember Sally the White Elephant, ‘way back on Yarmouth, near Christie St.? Now we’re tracking down 20 Jerome St. — which takes us just over Dundas St. West, and down Indian Rd. a tad, and left on Jerome.

To sneak up on this …

20 Jerome St.

I know. You rub your eyes. You know you’re looking for the Terracotta House, and this sure is terracotta, so you are conceptually prepared for the sight … but you still rub your eyes.

Terracotta House, 20 Jerome

NOW magazine gave the back story. It was built in 1905 by a man named John Turner, who owned a flourishing construction business and thought this a splendid way to use up left-over materials from other projects — and, bonus, to advertise his business in the process.

detail, 20 Jerome St.

We don’t know whether it pulled in new contracts or not. We do know that it has survived to this day, and will continue to do so, now being included in Toronto’s inventory of Heritage Properties.

(That house, depending on your sense of humour, may or may not qualify as a joke. Hence the careful “joke or two” in this post title!)

End of walk, time to drop down to the Dundas West subway station at Bloor — but of course we find an alley to get us there.

With a very cheerful mash-up right at the corner …

alley south fro Abbot, west of Dundas W.

and words to live by, farther south.

alley s. from Abbott, w. of Dundas West

Oh all right, one word to live by.

 

 

More Icons of the City

8 June 2016 – Well, more of what I consider icons, of my particular version of the city — but I explained all that in the previous post.

Which ended halfway through Saturday’s walk, with me still laughing at the thought of a dog ordering his owner to fill in that hole! (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check the previous post…)

Out of Coronation Park, on around a few streets, zoop down toward the Billy Bishop island airport, come round a corner — and bag myself a hat-trick of icons!

black Ierland Park  boundary, grey Malting silo, & the CN Tower

Yessir, neatly piled on each other, as you round the corner heading east: the soaring grey hulk of the Canada Malting silos, the jagged black edges of Ireland Park, and, down there in the distance, the needle of the CN Tower.

I’m headed around the edge of the marinas at this end of the harbour, my mind and my eyes pretty well set on the Toronto Music Garden, which is already in view. But I’m snagged by the water-edge railing just east of the Malting silo. It’s small-scale, as snags go, but vivid.

railing east of the Malting silo

An icon? Do I care to defend the label?

Sure. Street art is iconic. Well, railing art, if you want to get all sub-category about it. Anyway, I like it, and it’s my blog. (That bit of arrogance a deliberate bow to William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, who, when asked by what right he got to define good writing, replied: “It’s my book.”)

I head into the Toronto Music Garden, a sculpted tribute to Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Major for Unaccompanied Cello BWV 1007 — co-designed by cellist Yo Yo Ma and landscape designer Julie Masservy, in collaboration with city Parks and Recreation landscape architects.

Each movement is interpreted in its own section of the park. I always seek out # 3, the Courante.

Music Garden sign

As the sign promises, it features a spiral pathway, up to a glorious maypole, designed by Anne Roberts. I climb the path, every visit.

The Courante movement, with its maypole

Handsome from a distance; even better when you’re right next to it, craning your neck backward for the full vertical hit.

the maypole

Back down the spiral, following parkland at water’s edge again, into the Harbourfront complex, where I see one of the tall ships at anchor — and, for the first time, also  see people busy at work in the rigging. It all looks very 18th century.

Except for the clothing. And the tourist cameras. And the flags, come to that …

tall ship at anchor, Harbourfront Park

And on, and on I go, and now I’m at HTO Beach. (HTO, think H2O / water, remember TO = Toronto … oh, you get it. Forgive me for thinking it needs to be explained.)

on HTO Beach

Choose your icons: beach umbrellas, bicycles, sailboats, and the Toronto Islands just across the harbour.

I bang hopefully on the Power Plant gallery doors as I go by, but the facility is closed for maintenance. Or something. Oh well, another day. I pass one of my favourite Harbourfront coffee bars — and keep walking! I’m still fully caff’ed, thanks to that earlier Merchants of Green Coffee hit at the Fair Trade Show.

And then, whoa.

Major icon moment.

chairs in front of Queens Quay Terminal

Big red Muskoka chairs are all over the waterfront now — an invitation from the City to its residents and visitors: slow down, sit down, take a moment, enjoy being where you are, right now. This pair, right in front of Queens Quay Terminal (condos + retail).

I smile at them, but I don’t sit. I keep on hoofing.

Which brings me to the foot of Yonge Street, having just stepped my way along a kilometre marker paying tribute to the world’s longest street (if you allow Yonge + its continuation, Highway 11, to count as a single street): 1,896 km from Rainy River on the Ontario-Minnesota border, to right here.

Yonge St. & Lake Ontario

I always do a little hippety-hop on the 0 km marker.

But not yet 0 km for me! I walk on east, and a wee bit north, to home.

Can’t rival 1,896 klicks, but I do rack up something like 14.6 all told, so I am pleased with my day.

 

Rising, and Risen

27 March 2016 – This little fox (I think he is) has nothing to do with my theme. But then, when I set out on this walk, I have no theme in mind. He just amuses me, with his two tails, stencilled onto an alley wall just off Berkeley & Queen St. East.

stencilled fox, Berkeley/Queen E. alley

I’m still innocent of any theme as I head south on Berkeley Street, even though I’m planning to get myself to St. James Cathedral by 4 p.m. for an organ recital. And even though this is, after all, Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate the day Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead.

No, it is this streetscape, just north of Adelaide, that sets my theme. I begin to muse about urban renewal, about the new buildings now rising up among, and almost always towering over, the old.

row housing Berkeley n. of Adelaide E.

This Victorian row housing has a whole new skyscape rising to the south.

I take another look from the corner of Berkeley and King St. East. Smack on the S/W corner, protected by Heritage designation, still sits the lovely brick building that, in 1891, housed the Reid Lumber Company.

view of S/W Berkeley & King E.

And there, just to the west & appropriating the whole skyline, rises the imposing new Globe and Mail Centre, a LEED Gold structure by Diamond Schmitt Architects, due to open this year.

East-downtown Toronto, once so scruffy, is changing fast!

In between those two shots, when just south of Adelaide, I lower my eyes long enough to admire yet again the Bell Box mural painted in 2013 by Natasha Kudashkina.

It is smack in front of the Alumnae Theatre, and suitably theatrical in motif. You’ll have to take my word for most of the front side, alas, since a car blocks almost all of it. Here is the one end panel on view …

Bell Box mural detail, 70 Berkeley St.

I squeeze behind the box, & find myself caught firmly against some shrubs and the theatre wall, No room to back up, so here is a necessarily partial view of the Comedia del Arte couple on this reverse side.

detail, reverse side

All happy with art & architecture, I now head west on King Street and, over by Sherbourne, find another example of — let’s call it — Architecture Rising. Here is one of a pair of pillars, guarding the arched doorway of an old building, now subject to restoration & expansion.

1 of matching doorway pillars, King E. nr Sherbourne

As is often now the case, the façade of the old building is being preserved, with its charming & human-scale presence on the street. But inside, it is being gutted for new purposes, and the new structure will rise far above the old building’s original height — though with a set-back that preserves street scale.

I lean toward the companion pillar, to capture a bit of what is happening behind the archway.

companion pillar, with view to construction behind

After that, a very happy stop for a latte & scone in the Rooster coffee house on King (sibling of the original, on Broadview Ave.), and then on to St. James Cathedral.

steeple, Cathedral Church of St. James

I plan to leave after the organ recital, but end up staying for the Sung Evensong that immediately follows. I am glad that I did.

 

Out of Jail

10 March 2016 – And that’s just how we feel, this Tuesday morning, in the unseasonable, spring-like warmth. Out of winter’s jail!

Remember the fox in Joel Weeks Park (previous post), with snow tucked behind his ear? Just days later now, and his beaver colleague basks in the sun.

beaver sculpture, Joel Weeks Park

We bask too, Phyllis & I, both in summer-weight peaked caps and  bare-handed. We have no very precise plan, apart from wandering our way east of the Don River up toward Danforth.

The “toward” takes us to Gerrard St. East, and the still-surprising view of a recently restored, now-resplendent and repurposed Renaissance Revival heritage building.

former Don Jail, from Gerrard E.

Yes. The former Don Jail. It, too, is now “out of jail.”

It was a model of the latest thinking in penal reform when it opened in 1864 — natural light, fresh air, healthy work by day & an individual cell to sleep in by night. It was a dirty, overcrowded disgrace when it finally closed in 1977.

Now it is the administration building for Bridgepoint Hospital right next door, an historically appropriate use since penal & health-care facilities have long shared this site. An Isolation Hospital was built here in 1893, renamed Riverdale Hospital in 1904, the “half-round” hospital went up in 1964, renamed as Bridgepoint Hospital in 2002 and finally replaced with today’s Bridgepoint Active Healthcare facility in 2013.

And there sat the Don Jail, deterioriating in reverse lockstep with the health-care improvements next door. Now, finally, the buildings are in synch, and functionally linked as well.

The public is encouraged to tour the former jail. We march in through the imposing main door with its Father Time gargoyle.

Father  Time gargoyle, main door

Somehow we miss the stack of self-guiding leaflets, and have to depend on our own curiosity.

It takes us first into the central rotunda, to stare upwards at the iron catwalks that ring the rotunda and connect with the building’s two wings. We blink against the daylight pouring in from above — restored daylight, part of the original progressive design, but blocked in later, meaner years.

partial view of rotunda, from main level facing north

The ironwork is original, including the scrollwork dragons that support the wooden catwalk floors.

"dragons" support the catwalks...

Up to level 2, where we can see how cunningly long lines of cells have been joined up to become office space. Many original iron-bar doorways are now blocked, with handsome new wooden doors here and there, to mark the new, more generous footprint.

level 2, east wing

Signs, still, of the former padlocks at each of those one-time doors.

once padlocked

Down, down to the lower level, where some original cells (and heating ducts) have been preserved — though with a spanking fresh black & white paint-job, surely not a feature of the 1970s jail.

original group of cells, lower level

Even so, and even knowing the cells were originally meant to be for one inmate only, and only at night — even so, the size of the cell is a shock.

a cell -- full width!

We leave by the north door, into what is now pleasant park landscaping that leads on up to Riverdale Park. Well, it’s not entirely pleasant. Canada’s last executions took place in this jail in 1962, and these paving stones outline the one-time cemetery. (All bodies were exhumed and now lie in St. James Cemetery.)

site of cemetery

Up into Riverdale Park next, where a man ignores plentiful benches to perch on a tree stump instead, peacefully reading his book in the sun.

in Riverdale Park East

Much later — after a wander along Danforth and blissful coffees & treats at Leonidas — we double back through the Bridgepoint grounds. This time we are between the hospital itself and the Don River.

Where we see yet more out-of-jail joy in light, colour and movement.

e.g. of Bill Lishman's sculptures at Bridgepoint

Right.

It’s a return visit to Bill Lishman‘s exuberant sculptures, dancing their way down the slope.

 

 

  • 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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