Toronto Through My Lens

Month: December 2023 (Page 1 of 2)

“Toronto & Stadt Frankfurt Am Main”

This mural at 20 Charles Street East – on the west side of the Green P parking garage – was conceptualized and painted over six days by Becker from Frankfurt, Germany, with support from local artists Alexander Bacon, Quentin Rockford, Christina Mazzulla and Kyla Buium.

The piece is entitled Toronto & Stadt Frankfurt Am Main. The landscape of Toronto and Frankfurt appear in the reflection of the glasses on the mural and illustrates the special friendship the two cities have shared for the past 30 years.

The space at 20 Charles Street East was provided by the Toronto Parking Authority.

Diversity is what Frankfurt and Toronto hold in common, and that very much influenced my concept. The vibrant and colourful pallet represents the diversity of people in Toronto and the fingerprint represents the idea that each one of us has an impact in our society.
Becker, the mural’s artist

This is my last TOcityscapes post for 2023


A Christmas Walk

Well, it is a black and rainy Christmas this year in Toronto. Regardless, I took a little photo-spin yesterday to see how the city is setting up for the season.

There are some much-loved (at least by me) Toronto traditions missing this year: unfortunately no festive windows at The Bay on Queen and Yonge (due to the massive construction of the new subway on Queen Street). The Flower Show at the Allan Gardens conservatory is extremely scaled back due to the renovation of the Palm House, and “Holiday Fair”, normally held at City Hall, was moved to Mel Lastman Square in North York (I suspect, again, due to the mess caused by the Queen Street subway project). Despite these, it is still Christmas in the city… a special time. Here is a bit of what I encountered yesterday:

Allan Gardens Christmas Flower Show

I wish I had more shots to post here, but the few below were the extent of the Flower Show this year:

“Winter Glow” at Yonge-Dundas Square

Yonge-Dundas Square had a mini-festival going on, although I only saw a couple of people there. There were carnival rides, a 45-foot-tall Ferris Wheel, the “Great Canadian Carousel” and a few midway games.

On the Yonge Street side there was a 40-foot “Remembrance Tree”, sponsored by the Rotary Club. Visitors make a donation to the cause, then receive a yellow ribbon on which to write a message to a loved one who has passed.

Eaton Centre

As usual, the Eaton Centre was abuzz with people, a massive Christmas tree (114-foot high, said to be the tallest in North America) and giant glittering reindeer:


Christmas Lights: Rosedale & Bloor Street East

Finding a few dry moments from the incessant rain of late, I took a little spin last night to see some of the Christmas lights in Rosedale and on Bloor Street East.


The owners of this Rosedale home went to some *serious* effort to recreate The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, along with a miniature Whoville:

Moving on to Bloor Street East:

Allegedly, there are 138 lit Christmas trees along Bloor Street this Christmas; I never stopped to count…

“Dream Ballet”

Dream Ballet by Hamilton native Harley Valentine sits at the southeast corner of Yonge Street and Front Street East, outside Meridian Hall (formerly the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts). Installed in 2016, the three metal abstract sculptures are 5.4-metres (18 feet) high.

The three towering figures are abstract representations of dancers and pay homage to the Meridian Hall’s former tenants, the National Ballet of Canada. The sculptor has remarked that if kids want to skateboard around the pieces, that’s fine with him; Valentine views skateboarding as a type of dance, and dance as a form of kinetic sculpting,

Sculptor Harley Valentine, with a model of his installation “Dream Ballet”

Harley Valentine has public art installations in several places in the Toronto area — including the Barbarians at the Gate exhibition at Campbell House on Queen Street West, a sculpture park in Scarborough, a permanent piece outside Humber College and a temporary installation in the Yorkville area. He’s also bidding on other projects in Palm Desert, California, New York and Detroit.

Scadding Cabin

Scadding Cabin is a 1794 log cabin on the grounds of Exhibition Place. It was constructed for a pioneer named John Scadding and is now the oldest surviving building in Toronto.

The cabin was originally built on the property of John Scadding, an immigrant from Devonshire, in order to fulfill his settlement duties to the Crown. The cabin stood at the east side of the Don River south of Queen Street East on a 253-acre land grant that stretched north from Lake Ontario to present-day Danforth Avenue. Scadding lived in the cabin until he returned to England in 1796.

When Scadding returned to York in 1818, he sold his property, and cabin, to a farmer named William Smith, who used the cabin as an outbuilding. The cabin remained in the Smith family until 1879 when the cabin was offered to the York Pioneers (Ontario’s oldest historical society, and the second-oldest historical society in Canada).

1879 was also the beginning of the Toronto Industrial Exhibition (later the CNE) and the York Pioneers worked with the Exhibition’s founders to move the cabin to its current site (2 Strachan Avenue) to celebrate the fair’s inauguration. The cabin was dismantled, moved and reconstructed by the York Pioneers on the grounds of the first Industrial Exhibition (now Exhibition Place) on August 22, 1879.

Current use

The York Pioneers currently operate Scadding Cabin as a museum. The cabin is furnished as a pioneer home from the 1830s to early 1840s, although there are artifacts that date back to the 1790s. The oldest item is a baby’s cradle, made by Scadding himself. Furnishings include two spinning wheels and a wool winder, equipment for making bread and butter, a candle mould and utensils for cooking on an open hearth.

Scadding Cabin is open during the CNE. The cabin is also open through special arrangements and for community events during the summer months such as Toronto’s Doors Open. In the past the cabin has been open during the Luminato Festival and annual CHIN picnic when these events are held at Exhibition Place.1


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