Toronto Through My Lens

A Yorkville-Annex Walk

The Annex is one of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods. It has an old world feel to it and is somewhat diverse, including U of T, trendy eateries, art galleries and one-of-a-kind shops. On its side-streets are gorgeous residential homes — many built around 1880.

For this walk I started at Bay Street, crossed Scollard Street, went down Hazelton Avenue, then on to Yorkville Avenue. From there I completed the rectangular route of Avenue Road, Prince Arthur Avenue, Huron Street, Lowther Avenue, returning to Avenue Road.

Scollard Street

Let’s start out with some beautiful spring tulips on Scollard Street:

Table of Love

At 120 Scollard Street there is this absolutely delightful sculpture called Table of Love by the artists Gillie & Marc.

The text accompanying the work reads:

Even though it was their first date he asked her to marry him. And she said YES. They say when you know, you know, and Dogman and Rabbitwoman both did after just one date. They met, they had dinner, he asked, she said yes. And within a week of first meeting each other they were in Nepal getting married in the foothills of Mount Everest. They still love going on dates together, sharing food, laughter and conversation. And after all this time – to adventure, to chance, to each other – they always say yes.

Hazelton Avenue

Outside Gallery Gevik at 12 Hazelton Avenue I encountered The Chorus, a 1966 sculpture by the Canadian artist Sylvia Lefkovitz:

I’ve always thought this sculpture dark, depressing, foreboding; it fills me with a sense of dread, à la the Dementors in the Harry Potter movies…

Time to move on to something a little cheerier…

Prince Arthur Avenue

Prince Arthur Avenue was named for the Duke of Connaught (1850-1942) who became Governor-General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. He first visited Canada in 1869 and this street name appeared on the Toronto registered plan in 1870.

I’ve been wanting to revisit Prince Arthur Avenue for a while. I’ve always admired the historic homes and buildings on this relatively upscale street:

15 Prince Arthur Avenue
“This dwelling dates to the 1870s. Its side entrance is innovative for the time, but the general tone is conservative as symmetry prevails under a conventional gable roof. Of special interest are the pairs of semicircular arched windows across the façade”.

If you’d like to read my post dedicated to Uno Prii’s architectural creations in the Annex, click here.

Painted utility box outside 20 Prince Arthur Avenue
The Duke of York – 39 Prince Arthur Avenue
The Duke of York Pub is a Toronto landmark restaurant with a long history. It opened in 1976 and has been in successful operation since.
36A Prince Arthur Avenue
Outside the restaurant Trattoria Fieramosca
“Rosamund” by Frances Gage (1968) – 50 Prince Arthur Avenue
“Able to work in a variety of media (wood, plastic, terracotta, plaster and cast stone) and execute a number of techniques (carving, modeling, commercial bas-relief, garden sculpture and portraiture), Frances Gage is one of Canada’s most prolific sculptors. After studying at Oshawa Collegiate and Technical Institute (1943), the Ontario College of Art in Toronto (1951), and the Art Students’ League in New York (1953-55), she received a scholarship from the Royal Society of Canada to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she remained for two years.

Frances Gage’s numerous commissions include a twice-life-sized sculpture and four walnut relief panels for Fanshaw College in London, Ontario (1962), a portrait relief of Dr. Bertram Collip for the University of Western Ontario (1963), crests for the Metro bridges in Toronto, a fountain for the rose garden of Mrs. F.S. Albright of London, Ontario, “Woman,” a marble sculpture for the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, and many others. A member of the Council of the Royal Canadian Academy, and teacher at the Artists’ Workshop in Toronto, her other accomplishments include the Rothman purchase award (1965) and the development, with the help of her engineer father, of a new durable material called epoxy-resin. Her work has been shown in several group exhibitions, perhaps most notably at the International Congress of Medallic Arts in Florence, Italy (1984), but also in Colorado City, Colorado (1987), Helsinki, Finland (1990), and London, England (1992).”

Lowther Avenue

Construction of permanent dwellings began on Lowther Avenue around 1875, and shifted to the semi-detached houses that are so characteristic of the 1880s.

82 Lowther Avenue
“Architect Frederick H. Herbert designed this 1896 house, which is part of an attractive group of houses lining Lowther Avenue. This home’s hallmark is a circular tower with terra cotta stylings accompanying the dormer. The requisite arches and recessed entryway mark a Romanesque inspiration”.
80 Lowther Avenue
This home is a City of Toronto Heritage Property, built in 1900 by architect F.H. Herbert.
78 Lowther Avenue
This heritage Eaton Coach House was originally built in 1899. It was converted into luxury three-unit condos in 1985. Suite sizes range from 1800 square feet to 3500 square feet. One of the units is currently on the market for a mere $4.295 million. Alternately, one can rent the townhomes – in 2017 they were renting for $14,000.00 per month. The listing agent says Ryan Reynolds once lived here for a little while.
39 Lowther Avenue
Carriageway Houses: 25-29 Lowther Avenue
“The Georgian style had come and gone and not quite come back again when this singular duo was constructed in 1875. Although not much older than their neighbours, the twin units recall an earlier urban type far removed from high-Victorian eclecticism. Restrained in detail and guided by symmetry, the houses follow the standard Georgian rules. Curiously, however, the central focus is a shared carriageway (which led to the backyard stables), topped by a gingerbreaded gable. The latter contains an oriel window, the only eccentricity in an otherwise tempered composition. Number 25 (the left side) gets the oriel”.
31 Lowther Avenue
This cute little house is a Heritage Property, built in 1877.
6-8 Lowther Avenue
This double house is a Heritage Property, built in 1892. It exhibits the Bay-n-Gable architecture theme of that era, embracing a Romanesque arch.

Avenue Road

Returning to my starting place of Avenue Road, I noticed this intriguing sculpture entitled Figure Catching a Fly by David Altmejd (2019).

Made of bronze, the sculpture sits in front of the Yorkville Private Estates at 200 Cumberland Street; the front of the sculpture faces Avenue Road.

“Altmejd’s bronze statue, standing more than eight feet in height, fancifully updates the traditional bronze figurative monument. Clad in billowing, flowing robes, the sculpture’s striding female figure arrives like a deity, simultaneously gesturing downward to earth and skyward triumphantly. With arresting appeal, Almejd’s animated bronze figure conjures the history of the Yorkville neighbourhood that in the 1960s became Toronto’s epicenter of fashion, fine art, and nightlife, signalling the city’s sophistication and cultural aspirations.” –

That’s it for today! Thanks for joining me on this mini-tour of Toronto’s Yorkville-Annex neighbourhood.

Old Toronto Houses by Tom Cruickshank

1 Comment

  1. David

    I worked here so many of your shots are familiar. But you did a good job of covering the area!

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