Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: BaySt (Page 1 of 3)

“Across Time and Space, Two Children of Toronto Meet”

In 2011 sculptor Ken Lum completed his work: Across Time and Space, Two Children of Toronto Meet. The piece is located west off Bay Street and south of Dundas Street West, directly behind City Hall. It involves a long passageway from Bay Street to City Hall.

Two bronze sculptures placed on either end of this corridor represent historical immigrants to the area in the form of two children from different eras. The boy wears traditional Chinese clothing, closely related to the clothing worn during the Qing dynasty including the six paneled “Little Hat,” and the tunic with a mandarin collar and frog buttons which were popular during this period.

Pinned lettering in oxidized bronze separating the children reads: Across time and space, two children of Toronto meet…

The girl wears a simple collared, long sleeve dress with a bandana tying her hair.

The work calls the audience to think about the children’s divergent histories which have preceded their settling in Toronto. Specifically, the figure of the boy in traditional clothing is symbolic of the Chinese immigrant community through his cultural clothing. In contrast, the figure of the little girl in European dress, becomes a reminder of Canada’s white immigrant history, which has interacted directly with the Chinese immigrant history in the nation.

By facing the children toward one another, Lum uses his art to point towards a complicated web of national settler histories that converge and negotiate with one another, which has taken place in this very area of the downtown core.1

1Kaliyah Macaraig, Open Library

Lower Bay Station

Below the main platform of Bay subway station there is an additional platform which has long since been abandoned. The platform was used for only six months in 1966 when the TTC experimentally ran trains whose routes included portions of both the Yonge–University and Bloor–Danforth lines.

This abandoned platform is sometimes referred to as “Lower Bay” by the general public or “Bay Lower” by the TTC.

A few years ago the station was opened to the public during the Toronto Doors Open event, and there were a ton of interested people – myself included – exploring the station.

At the entrance to Lower Bay Station
Heading down into Lower Bay station

The platform was in service from February to September 1966, after which time it was shelved. The experiment (called “interlining” in transit-speak) was deemed a failure, largely because delays anywhere on the subway line quickly cascaded to affect the entire system. Also, as the stations had not been laid out effectively for cross-platform interchange, trains travelling east from St. George and west from Yonge alternated between the two levels, leading passengers to wait on the stairs in-between the levels, since they were unable to tell which platform would receive the next train.1

A Second Life As A Film Set

Lower Bay and the tracks leading to it still exist and are now used to train new operators, to move trains between the two current lines, for platform-surface experiments, and to allow filming in the subway without disrupting public service. For film sets, the station has been modified several times to make it look like a regular North American subway station.

Notable movies shot at Lower Bay include The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Don’t Say A Word, Johnny Mnemonic, Bulletproof Monk, Mimic, End of the Line, The Recruit, and The Sound. The sandwich boards for the movies shot at the station were prominently on display that day:

Lower Bay did not look terribly different from the regular, upper platform, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

1Wikipedia

“Pi”

Last week I happened across a curious piece found at 220 Bay Street, nestled in a passageway behind the TD Centre off Wellington Street West. Created by Canadian artist Evan Penny, this large sculpture – entitled Pi – is of a man’s head which has been cut into four pieces. The pieces are cut at ninety degree angles with straight lines which are in sharp contrast to the roundness of the outside of the head and the features of the face. The tallest piece measures approximately four feet high.

The features of the man’s face are very strong but they show little expression as if he is lost in thought and the fact that his head has been turned into a puzzle has not registered.

The bronze is a deep green colour which gives this sculpture a warm complexion.

This sculpture has been in place since 1996. I am amazed I had not come across this work until just recently; it resides in kind of a hidden pocket in the King/Bay area so that may explain it.

Street Art by Niyi Adeogun

I came across these last weekend, painted on the side of a building on the northwest corner of Bay Street and Adelaide Street West. Quite good, I think.

According to the bio on the right of the image, the creator is Niyi Adeogun, an interdisciplinary artist, design engineer and creative entrepreneur. He has a passion for art and innovation and continually explores how integrating both can improve people’s daily interactions with the world around them. He founded and leads a creative agency called ZeroResistance studios. His website can be found here.

“Blossom”
“Blossom”
“Double Standards”

Clover Hill Park

And exactly where is Clover Hill Park you may ask? Situated in the northwest corner of Bay Street and St. Joseph Street, it is nestled in amongst the University of Toronto buildings and St. Basil’s Catholic Parish at U of T. It’s kind of small and easy to miss but has a few interesting things to offer.

At one point, neighbourhood residents were incredibly frustrated with the park’s development. In the late 2010s it was finished and ready to enjoy, yet remained closed for months surrounded by fencing. City Councillors at the time – Mike Layton and Kristyn Wong-Tam – received many letters of complaint from area residents. At the time, both Councillors cited issues with payment of the developers, Saddlebrook, which had prevented the City from opening the park.

The building of the park was part of a master plan in 2006 for new condos in the area along with a green space for residents tied to the 50 St. Joseph Street parkette enlargement. Construction of the park began in 2017; in November 2020 it was finally opened and warmly welcomed by the community as a much needed green space.

Although it looks pretty dismal in mid-January, as below, it’s a green and inviting park in the summertime. There’s a little bit of something for everyone at Clover Hill Park:

Mushrooms of the non-magic variety

Bunnies, snails and foxes, oh my…

Sculptures

This piece is entitled Zen West. Created in 1980 by Kosso Eloul, the stainless steel sculpture was donated by Father Dan Donovan of the Basilian Order in 1980.

And of course, the beloved Primrose!

Shameless self promotion:
If you’d like to learn about her story, please visit my Primrose post here.

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