Toronto Through My Lens

Month: March 2024 (Page 1 of 2)

Stackt Market

Stackt Market is a truly unique concept. Located at 28 Bathurst Street at Front Street West, Stackt Market has been awarded “Public Space of the Year” by Designlines Magazine, and is also the winner of “Retail Innovation for Fast Company’s Innovation by Design”.

Opened in the summer of 2019, Stackt Market is built entirely from 120 reclaimed shipping containers which create 100,000 square feet of art, retail, events and public space. The containers are – wait for it – stacked, with those on the bottom retrofitted and occupied by pop-ups, creative incubators, 30+ retailers and food/beverage vendors. The shipping containers up top act as large canvasses for local and international artists, drawing attention to the site from the many surrounding condo developments and office towers. Stackt Market is also home to 300+ annual events and 7 annual festivals which put community at the forefront.

Designed by LGA Architectural Partners’ Janna Levitt and Danny Bartman with Stackt Market founder Matt Rubinoff, Stackt Market inhabits the site of a former smelting plant. The 2.4-acre-lot is roughly the size of two city blocks.

Onsite Art Gallery

Even the WC were container-like…

Stackt Market is strong on community and art. According to their website:

STACKT is on a mission to innovate a new experience where customers, businesses, art and hospitality thrive as one. STACKT is built on the idea that commerce is culture, and culture is community made. The community is made up of innovators, creators, collaborators, and consumers alike.

Come check it out!

Toronto Comicon 2024

Toronto Comicon is an annual comic book and pop culture convention held in Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre since 2001.

When it comes to the worlds of Fantasy, Sci-fi, Cosplay, Roleplay, LARPing, etc., I’m quite out of the loop and couldn’t identify with much of what I saw that day, but it was all quite fascinating nonetheless. I’ve come to the conclusion that people just simply love to dress up no matter the occasion, and this convention gives them a very generous outlet to do just that.

To attend a Comicon to shoot the costumes has been on my photo radar for a number of years, and it was fun to finally do that this past weekend. The sheer mass of people was almost overwhelming and all 3 floors of the Metro Convention Centre, plus the North Building, were jammed with attendees.

This event had it all, including:

Wardrobe malfunctions…

Miles of comic books…

Masses of people…

Epic battles…

Boardgames…

Memorabilia for sale (lots!)…

And – of course – some great costumes…

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

In a nutshell, St. Patrick’s Day observes the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking (and more drinking, and more drinking) and the wearing of a whole lot of green.

Here’s a few shots of the parade that went down Yonge Street. In true Toronto style it proved to be a fully multi-cultural event:

A Walk Down Roncesvalles Avenue

I love Roncesvalles (aka Little Poland) – it has such a welcoming village-feel to it and exudes a laid-back yet slightly hip vibe. Roncesvalles Avenue itself stretches for 1.8 km, and is filled with gardens and charming, independent shops along the way. About 15,000 people live in Roncesvalles Village’s vintage buildings.

Known as “Roncy” to the locals, Roncesvalles consists of the stretch of Roncesvalles Avenue from Bloor Street south to Queen Street West.

“They Came From Roncesvalles”
The mural wall which greets visitors. The artists who painted this mural are Spud1, Wales, Random & Cruz.
More of the Mural
Artists: Spud1, Wales, Random & Cruz

A Very Brief History of Roncesvalles

Roncesvalles Avenue was originally owned by Colonel Walter O’Hara who named the street after the Roncesvalles gorge in Spain, where he had won a battle against Napolean’s army circa 1813. British settlers began to arrive in the early 1900’s as residential homes appeared. After WWII large numbers of Polish immigrants arrived and set up all sorts of businesses; that is why this neighbourhood celebrates the Roncesvalles Village Polish Festival every year.

Little Poland

Culturally, the area is known as the centre of the Polish community in Toronto with prominent Polish institutions, businesses and St. Casimir’s Catholic Church located on Roncesvalles Avenue. The businesses along Roncesvalles have formed the Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area and hold the largest Polish Festival in North America, which takes place every September.

Mural Outside “Jimmy’s Coffee”
2210 Dundas Street West. You know the area is urban-hip when there’s a Jimmy’s Coffee in the ‘hood.
The Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue
Built between late-1911 and early-1912, the theatre is a designated heritage site and is Toronto’s oldest standing movie theatre in use for showing movies. When news of its closure became public, a grass-roots community movement sprang up in order to save the cinema. After a great deal of effort, the movement was ultimately successful and the Revue reopened in October 2007. It is now operated by the not-for-profit “Revue Film Society”.

Roncesvalles is very well known for the large number of small restaurants, cafés and specialty food shops of various cuisines. There are several bakeries and delicatessens found along the full length of Roncesvalles.

Patios along Roncesvalles Avenue
One of the many fruit and veg shops along Roncesvalles Avenue
Sweetpea’s Floral & Gift Boutique
This is a floral studio located at 294 Roncesvalles Avenue. It’s widely recognized as Toronto’s Best Florist (Toronto Life, BlogTO).
Another shot of Sweetpea’s
Sweetpea’s was just so colourful and inspiring I had to take yet another shot…
Neighbourhood garage doors, Roncesvalles Avenue
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
263 Roncesvalles Avenue
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
Pope John Paul II Monument
The piece was created in 1984 by Alexander von Svoboda. The bronze statue sits outside St. Casimir’s Polish Parishes Credit Union Limited at 220 Roncesvalles Avenue.
The Chopin Restaurant
Polish cuisine, 165 Roncesvalles Avenue
More fruit & veg shops
Old-style barber’s pole on Roncesvalles
In window of Roncesvalles restaurant. Plenty of restaurants in Roncesvalles.
Grafton Community Garden
In Grafton Avenue Park, 23 Roncesvalles Avenue. Resident Walter Ruston painted the mural (on wall behind the garden) of the Sunnyside Amusement Park. This area used to be a neglected scrap of land but was turned into a thing of beauty by local gardening committees.

I’ll leave you with a couple of sites to explore it you’d like to learn more about Roncesvalles:

From Destination Toronto:
An excellent post on their website

Roncesvalles BIA:
Local info found here

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