Toronto Through My Lens

Author: Marvin Job (Page 1 of 54)

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:

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…

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