Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: MutualSt

City Walk on a Foggy Day

This post was originally from a couple of weekends ago when the weather was not cooperating. I am reposting this one as I don’t believe it was published recently given all my trouble with my automated sender.

This post is one-part city walk mixed with two-parts photography experiment.

Does anyone remember what sunshine looks like?

It’s a distant foggy memory, much like the weather we’ve had recently. Given that, I thought it would be interesting to take a walk in the fog/darkness and shoot in black and white to emphasize the moodiness.

I love shooting in black and white; it makes everything look so different and dramatic – details stand out, creating emotions. In addition to shooting in soft black and white I used a diffusion filter which removed much of the “digital edge” from modern digital cameras, leaving a soft B&W treatment looking like it was shot on film. The shots are intentionally dark and muted, and the fog enhanced the effect.

Condo on Jarvis Street, below Gerrard Street East. Taken from Mutual St.
Mutual Street below Gerrard Street East
Condos at Jarvis Street & Dundas Street East. Shot from Mutual Street
St. Michael’s Hospital, Shuter Street
Fran’s on Shuter Street
Diamonds on Shuter Street

Inside OctoZone

Located at 247 Yonge Street, across from the Eaton Centre, is OctoZone. OctoZone is a huge claw machine-themed gift shop. The interior is very Asian-styled, infused with copious amounts of bright turquoise and hot pink neon (the effect lost, of course, in my black and white shots). I’ve passed this place several times and have always wondered what it is; this time I decided to take temporary refuge from the fog and drizzle, go in and check it out. It’s quite an interesting place: click here if you’d like to watch a short YouTube video about OctoZone.

Later, Back On Yonge Street…

Looking north on Yonge Street. Shot from Yonge-Dundas Square.
The electronic billboards of Yonge-Dundas Square in the fog
“I see you”: Eaton Centre in the fog
The Aura condo in the fog. Shot from Yonge-Dundas Square.
The World Food Market at 335 Yonge Street, below Gould Street
336 Yonge Street, below Gerrard Street
Ryerson, from Gould Street
The corner of Church Street & Carlton Street

Next stop: home, where it’s warm and dry! 🙂


This mural is entitled Lovebot, by artist Mathew Del Degan. It’s located on Mutual Street, just below Dundas Street East, on the side of the Purple Haze cannabis shop.

The panel on the side of the mural reads:

Lovebot lovingly disrupts our robotic routines to remind us that there is love in our cities and kindness around every corner. Lovebot reiterates the fact that we all have the privilege of being human, and that we are not restricted to the algorithms and programming of our tech driven counterparts. Even though many of us work like robots in concrete jungles, we all have capacity to share love and kindness with one another each day.

I painted this mural for my son and for all that enjoy it – Lovebot

I found a little more on the artist and his project courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Lovebot character was created by Toronto artist and designer Matthew Del Degan, consisting of a geometric, faceless robot with a red heart logo (called the “hero heart”) on its torso. The character is used as a symbol for the “Love Invasion,” a movement that aims to share love and kindness globally. He invented the idea for the campaign and character after moving to Toronto and noting the uninspired actions of city subway passengers and realizing he personally felt that people needed to express more compassion.

Del Degan chose to add the heart to the robot’s design to signify that people of the city have ability to love and be kind to one another. He decided to use concrete as the Lovebot’s artistic medium, which he felt referenced Toronto’s urban architecture and history.

The campaign was initially created as a street sticker art campaign but Del Degan and his team eventually chose to also create more than 100, 2 foot concrete statues, each weighing 200 pounds which they placed throughout Toronto. Each robot sculpture was made by hand in his backyard with over 30 volunteers. Each robot is now dedicated to a person who has made a difference in some way and is intended to inspire others into performing additional acts of kindness. In 2013 the campaign took off with a great deal of press coverage, like the Toronto Star, MTV and The Grid (which gave Del Degan a Mensch Award for his work with the Lovebot character and named him one of fifty individuals that had “made Toronto a better place this year”).

Lovebot is now a brand owned and operated by Matthew Del Degan. Together the company offers Lovebot merchandise and a toy design that was crowd funded through Kickstarter. In addition, the Lovebot continues to be a vital part of Del Degan’s artistic practice in street art and design. Those volunteering for Lovebot continue to work together under the name “The Lovebot Leaders.” The group has doubled since its conception has plans for global outreach. The Lovebot Leaders also emphasize work with charitable initiatives while continuing to build and distribute Lovebot sculptures.

If you’re interested in learning more about the artist Mathew Del Degan and his Lovebot project, click here.

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