Toronto Through My Lens

Month: April 2024

“Mixer”

These cast bronze figures, located in the driveway of the Park Hyatt Toronto hotel at 4 Avenue Road, are entitled Mixer. The work is created by sculptor An Te Liu, a Taiwanese-Canadian artist living and working in Toronto.

Mixer envisions its installation as a stage inhabited by a pair of cast bronze figures engaged in dialogue with passersby, hotel visitors, and each other. Bold and distinctive in silhouette and richly finished in a lustrous deep gold patina, the sculptural ensemble forms a vivid and iconic tableau establishing the Park Hyatt as a singular destination.

As a public artwork, Mixer is monumental in scale – visible from afar and instantly recognizable. Open and intimate, the work invites visitors to experience the artwork fully and in the round. People become a critical part of the scenography, which unfolds within the architectural proscenium and extends out into the city.

Mixer finds shape and expression in the rich history of Park Hyatt Toronto, merging classical figurative allusions with industrial, artisanal, and organic forms culled from glassware, vessels, and couture. The forms also stem from a reinterpretation of the artistic legacy of Henry Moore, a seminal figure in the history of the modern era in Toronto.

Mixer captures the allure of social encounters and celebrates imbibing in all the senses. They form a continuity between the illustrious past of Park Hyatt Toronto and its present renaissance as an exemplar of elegance and luxury. An Te Liu’s inspiration for this work comes more specifically from an archival photograph of the Park Hyatt Rooftop Lounge, commonly known as “The Rooftop bar at Park Plaza,” years ago. An Te Liu would visit during his years as a student at the University of Toronto – understanding its social significance as a landmark in the city.

Park Hyatt Toronto invites visitors to experience the artwork in the round, as this ensemble of works seems like an encounter or conversation. The hotel program inspired this meaningful concept as a place of social convergence, where friends and strangers cross paths and mingle.

Text source: Park Hyatt Toronto website

Night Walk On Yonge Street

Photo Project

Using a filter and utilizing some moody street lighting, my intent was to emulate – if possible – those wonderful, grainy old 1940s/50s night images of a large urban centre in the wee hours.

I captured these images a few weeks ago when walking in the Yonge-Dundas area:

Wellesley Street East During Solar Eclipse

When the solar eclipse passed over Toronto this past Monday (April 8, 2024) I dashed out of my workplace on Wellesley Street East with camera in hand and shot a few images as the darkness progressed.

Although we were not in the path of totality, it became quite dark. There was some very heavy cloud cover that day, so unfortunately we weren’t afforded a direct view of the eclipse, but it was still a very unique experience. Here’s how things looked in my corner of the world that day:

2:10 PM

2:13 PM

2:17 PM

2:18 PM

2:19 PM

2:20 PM

And then it quickly passed and became light again. The eeriness of it was great while it lasted…

Jean Lumb Lane

In Chinatown there exists a small lane dedicated to the memory of a remarkable Chinese-Canadian woman named Jean Lumb:

Jean Lumb Lane, off Dundas Street West, near Huron Street

Who Was Jean Lumb?

Since coming to live in Toronto I have heard the name Jean Lumb mentioned but was not aware of her historical importance and influence until doing a bit of research.

Jean Lumb was the first Chinese-Canadian woman, and the first restauranteur, to receive the Order of Canada for her community work. Most notably, she was recognized for her pivotal role in changing Canada’s immigration laws that separated Chinese families, and for her contribution in saving Toronto’s First Chinatown.

Jean Lumb was very active in community work throughout her life. As mentioned earlier, she was instrumental in organizing the campaign to save Toronto’s First Chinatown from complete demolition. She also galvanized the community against further expropriation of remaining portions on Dundas Street West.

Jean was a major force – and the sole woman – in the 1957 Chinese delegation which lobbied the government of John Diefenbaker. They lobbied to repeal explicit racial discrimination from the immigration laws, which contained race-based criteria for admission to Canada.

Early History

Jean Lumb was born in Nanaimo, B.C. in 1919. Her father emigrated to Canada to work as a farm labourer. Jean Lumb left school at age 12 to work and support her family. In 1935, she moved to Toronto and later opened her own grocery store here at the age of 17.

The mother of six children and grandmother of nine grandchildren, Jean Lumb was the co-owner (with husband Doyle Lumb) and director of the Kwong Chow Restaurant in Toronto for 23 years. The restaurant was highly successful and popular with both Chinese and Westerners, with many clientele who were politicians due to its proximity to Toronto’s City Hall.

Jean achieved many “firsts” in Toronto. This included being the:

  • First Chinese woman on the board of governors of the Women’s College Hospital.
  • First Chinese woman on the board of University Settlement House
  • First Chinese restaurateur and first woman to receive the Fran Deck Award for outstanding achievement in Toronto’s restaurant industry
  • First Chinese-Canadian woman to sit on the board of Rotary-Laughlen Centre

She also served as director and honorary advisor of the Yee Hong Chinese Nursing Home for Greater Toronto and the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, respectively.

Jean Lumb was honoured with around 20 Awards, her first being the Order of Canada in 1976.

This remarkable woman’s legacy continues long after her passing in 2002. The Jean Lumb Foundation awards high school students with Chinese heritage annually for their accomplishments.

You can visit the Jean Lumb plaque in Diversity Garden (southeast corner of Elizabeth Street and Foster Place) near the original site of the Kwong Chow restaurant.

The Jean Lumb Lane was officially opened on November 13, 2019 (below):

Photo: Chinatown BIA

If you’d like to listen to Jean Lumb’s daughter Arlene Chan and Jean Lumb herself, here is an interesting YouTube video:

© 2024 TO Cityscapes

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Subscribe to TO Cityscapes

Subscribe to TO Cityscapes

Join my mailing list to receive an email alert when I publish a new post.

You have successfully subscribed! Check your email for further info.

Pin It on Pinterest