1 Jun 2023

Laneway garage mural


Mural painted on a garage, featuring a woman wearing a flowered hairband, with her eyes closed. Waves, and cabbages and buildings surround her

Location: Jefferys Lane
Date photo taken: 1 June 2023  

Walking Toronto's laneways, you never know what you're going to find. A pick-up basketball game maybe, or a gorgeous lilac in full bloom. Or a garage covered by a lovely mural. This is the work of Kingston, Ontario born artist Oriah Scott.

18 May 2023

First World War uniform


Early armed forces uniform on a mannequin in a display case

Location: 426 University Avenue
Date photo taken: 8 November 2018

Did you know that Toronto has literally dozens of museums? As today is International Museum Day, I thought I'd feature an exhibit from one that is perhaps lesser known. This is an Artillery Dress Uniform on display at the Royal Canadian Military Institute Museum (RCMI) on University Avenue. RCMI is an independent member-supported organization but their museum is open to the public, by donation, and tours can be arranged on request. Their collection has over 12,000 artifacts and archival materials, including the seat from World War I flying ace Baron von Richthofen's plane, making it one of the largest museums of military history in Canada. 

11 May 2023

Purple cat

 colourful mural of a cat painted on a brick wall

Location: Laneway near Davenport and Uxbridge
Date photo taken: 7 December 2022

For today, a splash of colour. This kitty is part of a larger wall featuring the work of three different artists. This is by Jieun (June) Kim and while this picture doesn't do the colours justice, it gives you an idea of her glorious, trippy style. 

4 May 2023

Metropolitan Apartments


Three story brick building with stone detailing. Camera shop with bright yellow signage on ground floor.

Location: 89 Queen Street East, just east of Church
Date photo taken: 14 July 2021

The Metropolitan Apartments, located on Queen Street where it meets Dalhousie running north, opened around 1910. Built with 15 apartments, it replaced several earlier wooden structures that housed business including two barbers, a shoemakers and book shop. Now this location is about to undergo some serious densification. A proposal has been submitted to build a 701 unit condo tower on a parcel including this property and several others fronting on Church Street. The intention is maintain this structure as part of the podium of the new 60 storey building. I don't think this development has a name yet, but I think that something starting with R should be given serious consideration. For reasons I have been unable to discover, the keystone on the arch above the door features a small carved R . 

27 Apr 2023

Legendary Goalies

Life size bronze statues of wo hockey goalies in full gear outside Scotiabank Arena

Location: Maple Leaf Square
Date photo taken: 30 January 2021

As part of their centennial celebrations, the Maple Leafs decided to bring some of the most loved and respected players from the franchise's history out to meet the fans. Over the course of four years, fourteen life-sized bronze statues of Leafs greats were added to an installation on the west side of the arena. Johnny Bower, on the left, was one of the first to be added to Legends Row, in September 2014. He won four Stanley Cups during his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing for them from 1958 to 1970. Turk Broda, on the right, spent his entire career with the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing from 1935 to 1951.

21 Apr 2023

Berry buddies

 Mural painted on side of a garage. Features a mouse standing on a snake's head to pick berries, with flowers and leaves. On a black background.

Location: Laneway north of Dundas, just west of McCaul
Date photo taken: 4 September 2018

I wanted something spring-like for this week and have opted for this mural by Sarah Cannon (@nightarcade). With the plucky mouse figure and its unlikely partner, it just makes me happy. It's yet another mural in the laneway transformed back in August 2018 by a WomxnPaintTO event.

13 Apr 2023

Beware: red-winged blackbirds

 warning sign affixed to a fence, marshy grasses in background. features images of a bird with red capped wings.

Location: Corktown Common
Date photo taken: 12 October 2021

Living in Toronto, most of us have been conditioned to recognize robins as one of the early signs of spring. In terms of feathered harbingers of nicer weather to come, I would also put forward the red-winged blackbird. While perhaps less evenly distributed across the city than robins, they are very common in Southern Ontario and just as distinctive. If you spend any time in parklands near water, you have likely seen them. Their bright red epaulets make them highly visible, and they're pretty loud as well. If you hear one in the spring, I advise you to not to stare. As the sign above notes, "Birds may exhibit aggressive behaviour protecting their young." Showing too much interest may lead to a close encounter. As someone who has experienced this first hand, it's not an experience I care to repeat. If you hear a red-winged blackbird, especially in the spring, I suggest you try to remain as non-threatening as possible: stick to the path, keep moving and do not stare or actively search out the nest.