Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: LakeshoreBlvdW

The Toronto Inukshuk

The Toronto Inukshuk resides in Toronto Inukshuk Park at 789 Lake Shore Boulevard West, west of Coronation Park.

The sculpture is one of the largest of its kind in North America, according to the City of Toronto. It stands 30 feet high and its arms span 15 feet. Made of granite, it
weighs about 50 tonnes. The Inukshuk was unveiled in 2002 to commemorate World Youth Day, when Pope John Paul II visited the city.

The Inukshuk, a sculpture made up of piled stones, is a familiar symbol of the Inuit, mostly found in the Arctic landscape and often used as a navigational tool.

This Inukshuk was designed by Nunavut-born artist Kellypalik Qimirpik.

Former Mayor Mel Lastman spoke at the 2002 unveiling. His speech is engraved on this granite slab next to the Inukshuk. Part of it says:

World Youth Day has been a true navigational guide for millions of young people throughout the world. The Toronto Inukshuk invites each one of us to become beacons of light and hope, striving for justice and peace in this world.

The Victory Peace Monument

The Victory Peace Monument is located in Coronation Park, 711 Lakeshore Boulevard West, just beside Lake Ontario. Victory Peace was unveiled on November 14, 1995, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, built in honour of those who died.

Designed by John McEwan, a Toronto-born artist, the structure is made up of two bronze arcs that sit on the ground quite close to the lake. When looking at the monument from afar, it appears as though the arcs form the sides of a boat’s bow. You can see the lake peeking through an opening between the two arcs, as if you’re on the boat headed through the water. The other opening faces inland.

The powerful words SACRIFICE and HOPE are part of the monument, within engravings of maple leaves.

The words for “peace” in multiple languages are engraved on the plaques on the ground.
A plaque sits at the monument that says, in both English and French: “A tribute to all Canadians at home and overseas who served their nation with courage, hope and sacrifice during World War II”

The Tip Top Lofts

At 637 Lakeshore Blvd. West just west of Bathurst Street sits the Tip Top Lofts. Just behind it lies Lake Ontario. This building has a long and prominent history in Toronto. Formerly known as the Tip Top Tailors Building, it was constructed in 1929 and housed the manufacturing, warehousing, retail and office operations of Tip Top Tailors Ltd., a menswear clothing retailer founded in 1909 by Polish-Jewish immigrant David Dunkelman.

The building was designed by Bishop and Miller architects, incorporating the Art Deco style. In 1972, the building was designated as a heritage structure by the City of Toronto.

In spring 2002, Dylex (the company owning the building) sold the property to Context Development, who converted it into condominium lofts. The conversion was designed by architects Alliance of Toronto. The conversion included the addition of six stories on the roof. The neon Tip Top Tailors rooftop sign was retained and given a slant. Inside, there are 256 beautifully renovated lofts.

A few notes on the interior lofts courtesy of the website condos.ca:

Offering “hard” and “soft” lofts: When the building was converted into lofts in the early 2000’s, Context Developments was smart-thinking to create both hard and soft lofts. What that means is that Tip Top Lofts offers both the classic, exposed brick and woodbeam “hard loft” style, as well as more modern “soft loft” styles that will feel like a contemporary condo.


A Few Historical Photos

Courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives and torontolofts.ca, here are a few photos tracing the history of this magnificent Art Deco building:

1926
1930
1940
1980: Tip Top Tailors building in the background with a Joy Gas Station in front
1985

Monument To The War Of 1812

This monument was created by Canadian author and visual artist Douglas Coupland after being commissioned by Malibu Investments, the company which built the condo behind the sculpture. The toy soldiers characterize the combatants in the War of 1812, in which the United States attacked Canada – then a British colony – to remove it from British rule and expand our country into the U.S.

The gold soldier representing Canada stands, while the silver American soldier lies fallen.

The standing gold soldier is wearing the 1813 Royal Newfoundland Regiment uniform, while the silver soldier, lying down, wears the 16th United States Infantry Regiment uniform.

The plaque at the base of the piece summarizes the relevance of the sculpture:

Two abandoned toy soldiers pay tribute to Toronto’s history in this artwork. Without Fort York there would have been no Canada – the British would have lost Canada to the Americans in the War of 1812, and Canada would have been absorbed into the United States.

Commissioned by Malibu Investments and unveiled by Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, November 2008

The Monument To The War Of 1812 is located at the intersection of Lakeshore Blvd. West and Fleet Street, just south of the Fort York National Historic Site. Fort York is home to Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings.

The artist, Douglas Coupland, talks about the monument in the video below:

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