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.

 

 

Love & Bubble Gum

16 September 2016 – Love & bubble gum? Incompatible in my books but to some, as you’ll see later, a match made in heaven.

I left you (Stalking the White Elephant) closing in on Dovercourt Road, with the elephant duly “captured” but so much more to see.

And the next hit is right here, at Dovercourt & Hallam. In Dovercourt Village. (Want proof? Read the box.)

detail, Elicser mural at Dovercourt & Hallam

It’s one detail of an engaging long-wall mural by one of the city’s higher-profile street artists, Elicser. Here’s the rest.

Elicser mural, Dovercourt & Hallam

His work is always good, always powerful, always distinctive. And the faces … always doleful. (I’d say “Lighten up,” except that would brand me such a philistine.)

Soon after, perhaps still on Hallam, some front-yard prayer flags. Well, not exactly. Typical of prayer flags in size, colouring & the way they are casually looped around the yard, but lacking the prayer calligraphy.

Instead …

front yard flags, probably on Hallam w. of Dovercourt

I don’t know what they represent. (Ideas welcome.) I like them anyway. I am a firm convert to the view that you don’t have to “understand” visuals in order to enjoy them.

We duck down another alley, Mary C. & I, off Hallam & still east of Dufferin.

It does not reward our interest in any of the usual ways. It is, in almost every respect, a candidate for World’s Most Boring Alley. But all that grey & white sterility has one unexpected, and therefore redeeming, feature:

alley off Hallam, e. of Duffferin

Solar panels!

All that eco-virtue, and a crisp zigzag against the sky as well.

We’re at Dufferin St. now, a major north-south artery, and we court death to cross it mid-block. All because of the words either side of a narrow gap between two dreary buildings.

w. side of Dufferin, nr Shanly

I know: if you follow Mary’s blog, you’ve already seen this shot. But for everyone else, it’s new. And worth a laugh. Mary & I are laughing — though I must admit that Guy In Chair, ‘way at the back, is unamused.

And on into yet another alley, this one off Wallace near Brock, and full of delights.

A cheerful, I’m pretty sure home-made, garage door, for example …

alley off Wallace nr Brock

and the world’s simplest pussycat sketch …

alley off Wallace nr Brock

and proof that rust alone can create a city skyline, if you’re willing to see it that way.

alley off Wallace nr Brock

I become quite mesmerized by this, transported to some eastern city of miranets & towers.

Then I clear my head, and stop for a more prosaic 3-storey back wall, albeit one with visuals on every level.

alley off Wallace nr Brock

We identify the next garage mural from a good distance away. No missing this artist. “Spudbomb!” we shout.

alley off Wallace nr Brock

From hand grenades (albeit happy ones) to sweet self-affirmation …

alley off Wallace nr Brock

 

even if you hail from a distant planet.

off Wallace nr Brock

And finally — and not a moment too soon, either, for fans of Love & Bubble Gum — this garage door.

alley off Wallace nr Brock

There! Wasn’t she worth the wait?

Now I leave you cooling your heels in mid-alley yet again. Next post will complete the walk, and bag the second of our two targets for the day.

 

  • 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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