Toronto Through My Lens

Category: Special occasions (Page 1 of 2)

Prepping For Pride

Pride Weekend in Toronto is soon upon us. In preparation, this month an explosion of rainbows and inclusion messages from local business and merchants have been appearing in the downtown core. Here’s some of what I’ve come across in the last few weeks:

Eaton Centre

Rogers Headquarters, 333 Bloor Street East

Manulife Head Office, 250 Bloor Street East

OrangeTheory Fitness, 160 Bloor Street East

160 Bloor Street East

175 Bloor Street East

Circle K, 121 Bloor Street East

The Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA)

RBC, 2 Bloor Street East

Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor Street West

TD Canada Trust

A Pride Chicken at Nandos, 832 Bay Street

Ontario Nurses’ Association, 85 Grenville Street

Pride Bicycle Lock, Church Street


Rexall, Church & Wellesley Streets

Scotiabank, Yonge & Wellesley Streets

Shopper’s Drug Mart, Yonge & Charles Streets

Jack Astor’s, Yonge & Bloor Streets

Toronto Public Library, Yorkville Branch

The Wine Rack, Church & Wellesley Streets

Dudley’s Hardware, Church Street

And, of course, the epicentre of it all:
the corner of Church & Wellesley Streets

Happy Pride Everyone!

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…

Remembrance Day 2023

A sombre Remembrance Day ceremony took place today around the Cenotaph at Old City Hall, 60 Queen Street West.

The City focused this year’s events around the 70th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement that brought about the end of the Korean War. Other milestones honoured today were the 75th anniversary of Canadian participation in peacekeeping missions for the United Nations and the centennials of the Naval Reserve of Canada and HMCS York, a Royal Canadian Navy Reserve Division in Toronto.

The ceremonies began at 10:45 AM, starting with the singing of our national anthem, a reading of In Flanders Fields, a two-minute silence at 11:00, and a trumpeteer playing The Last Post:

A fly-past by the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association (CHAA)
Mayor Chow delivered her Remembrance Day message
The laying of wreaths on the Cenotaph
The ceremony concluded with people leaving their poppies on the Cenotaph
A special “Toronto Remembers” presentation on Queen Street West, outside Old City Hall

Other locations for today’s Remembrance Day ceremonies were:

  • Scarborough War Memorial: 2190 Kingston Road
  • East York Civic Centre – Memorial Gardens: 850 Coxwell Avenue
  • York Cemetery – Cenotaph: 160 Beecroft Road
  • York Civic Centre Cenotaph: 2700 Eglinton Avenue West
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – Cenotaph: 399 The West Mall
  • Fort York National Historic Site: 100 Garrison Road

Halloween on Church Street!

It was another very busy Halloween night on Church Street once again this year. The weather was crisp and quite cool, but there was no rain to speak of. The turnout was massive, having a lot to do I’m sure with events re-energizing after COVID-19.

The mayhem ran from Carlton Street to Gloucester Street, and every inch of the street was packed with people. There were so many inventive and impressive costumes; people’s creativity never ceases to amaze me:

The non-slideshow version is here

Here’s a short video of the scene at Church & Wellesley Streets last night:

Happy Canada Day!

Time for some fireworks! The photoset below is from the Canada Day celebration of our 150th birthday. On July 1, 2017 the CN Tower hosted a massive fireworks display with a live music stream of Canadian music from Boom 97.3. Here’s how it went down:

Here’s a video of the entire show:

Toronto Pride 2023

Well, the streets have been swept, the tourists have (mostly) gone and the village has settled back down to its everyday rhythm. Toronto Pride is over for another year but it left in its wake a lot of memories. For today’s TOcityscapes, I give you a small sampling of this past weekend’s mayhem (each image is clickable for a larger view).

There were…

Merchants & Vendors…

Dancing In The Street…

Pride Pups…

Lots of Love, Colour & Messages…

Random Oddities & Mayhem…

If I could put a thought bubble above this woman, it would say: “What the f…?!” I thought the same when I first saw this tree taking a cigarette break.

And Of Course, Drag Queens!…

– That’s about it… see you next year! –

Pride Is Bustin’ Out All Over

I went for a little spin around the ‘hood this evening to find that, yes, Pride is indeed bustin’ out all over…

… At Turning Point:

… At TD Canada Trust (Church & Wellesley branch, natch):

… At RBC:

… At Wellesley subway station:

… At Scotia Bank:

… On rooftops:

… At the LCBO:

… Even at the Green P!:

… At the Fox & Fiddle:

… At the OPSEU office:

… At Rexall:

… At The Wine Rack:

… At Dudley’s Hardware store:

… And not to forget Dudley’s always-entertaining Barbie window:

… and lastly, good old Out On The Street:

See you this weekend!

Good Friday Procession

The annual Good Friday Procession is a Toronto tradition which has been held every Good Friday for the last 70 years. After three dormant years due to COVID-19 the Procession, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, has returned to take over the streets of Toronto’s Little Italy on Good Friday.

The Good Friday Procession starts on Good Friday at 3 PM at St. Francis of Assisi Church (Mansfield Ave & Grace St), and goes through the Little Italy neighbourhood, before circling back to the church. The Procession includes religious statues, bands and people representing different characters associated with the Passion of Christ.

The Good Friday Procession follows this route:

Assembling The Procession

I’ve attended the Good Friday Procession once, in 2018, to photograph the spectacle. The most interesting shots are the ones in which the participants assemble at St. Francis of Assisi Church prior to the actual procession through Little Italy:

The Good Friday Procession Across College Street

The procession is a mile-long march re-enacting the fourteen Stations of the Cross (Jesus on his way to his crucifixion):

Distillery Winter Village

After years of planning to attend and then never going (hearing reports of the crush from massive crowds had turned me off), I ventured down to the Distillery District’s Winter Village last night. Luckily (for me, anyway) we’d had the big “storm” last night and the weather was not great; this kept a lot of people away. The event has become so popular and crowded over the years that the Distillery’s Winter Village is now a ticketed, timed event – at least during the evening hours on the weekends.

I’ve always wanted to photograph this event during a white Christmas, so last night’s storm worked in my favour. Also, the temperature kept a lot of people away: it was -12°, with the “feels like” wind chill dropping the temp to a balmy, breezy -27°. I bundled up and was good to go, although my hands were turning into blocks of ice while hanging on to the camera… talk about suffering for your art.

This year’s 51-foot tall white spruce Christmas tree has been designed by Parfums Christian Dior. It features 70,000 twinkling lights, 400 custom midnight blue ornaments, 1,700 shiny and matte gold balls, and 1,000 custom DIOR star charms. Over 500 hours of labour went into creating this sparkling, one-of-a-kind tree.

The historic Distillery District has 65+ local shops, restaurants and cafés. Many of these were in full operation for the Winter Village event, plus vendor cabins offered specially curated seasonal items and gifts. Several food cabins also lined the cobblestone streets.

Distillery Winter Village, shot with a fogged-up lens & six-point star filter
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