Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: Queen'sPark

“Cracked Wheat”

Sitting in front of the Gardiner Museum at 111 Queen’s Park is a curious ceramic and bronze sculpture entitled Cracked Wheat. Created by artist Shary Boyle in 2018, this quirky and cracked flask-shaped vase stands tenuously on two little gold legs.

The gold cracks serve as an homage to the 16th century Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. The tradition celebrates breakage and repair as part of an object’s history. This detail is a tribute to the Kintsugi collection at the Gardiner Museum, a place that is known for showcasing craftsmanship and quality from all over the world, in addition to commenting on colonialism and object valuation.

In contrast, the Canadian Wheat pattern on the front of the vase is a nod to mass-produced tableware designs that were made popular in the 1960s, work that would not likely be on display at the Gardiner Museum. Here, Shary Boyle has aspired to create a work that speaks to the universality of ceramics and show us what they can teach us about our history.1

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Statues & Monuments of Queen’s Park

It was a sunny Sunday (finally!) this past weekend, so I opted for a little wander through Queen’s Park to shoot a few of the statues, monuments and memorials there.

Tribute to Salome Bey, Canada’s Queen of the Blues

Not in Queen’s Park but this utility box on my way there caught my eye. In front of 2 Grosvenor Street, west of Yonge Street is “Tribute to Salome Bey, Canada’s Queen of the Blues” by Adrian Hayles, mounted in 2021. If the style looks familiar, this DJ/artist/muralist has done numerous murals in the city. In 2016, Adrian took 8 weeks to paint a 22 storey Downtown Yonge BIA music mural on the north wall of 423 Yonge Street, just south of College Street. The next year, he painted the south wall of the same building, continuing the musical theme. Adrian also painted a substantial mural on Reggae Lane in the Oakwood Avenue/Eglinton Avenue West area.

Hours of the Day Monument
Whitney Plaza, 23 Queens Park Crescent East

Ontario Police Memorial
Whitney Plaza, 23 Queen’s Park Crescent East

Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe Monument

Lieutenant-Colonel John Graves Simcoe 1752-1806, First Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, 1791-1796. Founder of the City of Toronto July 30th 1793.

Northwest Rebellion Monument

Ontario Veteran’s Memorial
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West

Afghanistan Memorial
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West


Someone at Queen’s Park has a sense of humour

Robert Raikes

This bronze statue of Robert Raikes was executed by the sculptor Sir Thomas Brock in 1930. Raikes was often regarded as being the founder of Sunday schools. This statue was first erected in Great Britain in July 1880 and replicas where installed in Gloucester (1929) and then in Toronto.

Dr. Norman Bethune

Cannons at the Legislative Assembly

At the entrance to the Legislature there are two Russian cannons that were captured by the British during the Crimean war and sent to Toronto as a gift.

Queen Victoria Monument
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West

Installed in 1902, this bronze statue of Queen Victoria on a stone pedestal was designed by Mario Raggi.

Post One Monument
Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley Street West

To celebrate Canada’s centennial in 1967, a bronze map of the country was installed. It features surveyor tools and a time capsule to be opened in 2067.

Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Monument

This monument to the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, erected on the grounds of the Ontario provincial legislature in Toronto in 1995, was the first to commemorate Canadian involvement in International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War. Approximately 1500 Canadians volunteered to fight for the Republican cause, many out of ideological motives and class convictions underpinned by the experience of the Great Depression. They were often forced to make the long and arduous journey to Spain independently, since in 1937 the Canadian government had forbidden the involvement of its citizens in the Spanish Civil War through the passing of the Foreign Enlistment Act. Initially a number volunteered with the American Abraham Lincoln Brigade, but the substantial number of Canadian volunteers would ultimately lead to the formation of a separate battalion, named after two leaders of the unsuccessful Canadian rebellions against the British Crown in 1837-38.

Makeshift Memorial

Pairs of shoes have been placed in front of Queen’s Park as part of a makeshift memorial in response to the discovery of 215 children whose remains were found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Plaque: King George V’s Silver Jubilee

Installed in 1935, this plaque commemorates the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Time and tide have taken its toll on the inscription and it’s difficult to see, but the text reads: “This tree was planted by James Simpson, Esq., Mayor of Toronto, on the occasion of the celebration of the Twenty-Fifth anniversary of the accession of King George the Fifth to the throne. May 6th 1935”.


A Walk Up & Down Avenue Road

It was a crisp fall day when I started my Avenue Road photowalk at Bloor Street West. I made my way up Avenue Road, reached Dupont Street, then returned south until I hit University Avenue and Dundas Street West. Here’s a little of what I encountered along the way.

The Prince Arthur Condo
38 Avenue Road
The Prince Arthur Condo, 38 Avenue Road
I’ve always loved this entryway – so elegant, dramatic
New Condo Construction: 183 Avenue Road
Construction on the northeast corner of Avenue Road and Pears Avenue in Yorkville. This is a proposed 10-storey mixed-use condominium building designed by BBB Architects for K P Isberg.
Hazelton Lanes Residences
55A Avenue Road
Galerie de Bellefeuille
87 Avenue Road
Future Site of “The Webley”
121 Avenue Road
Bike Memorial For Adam Excell
On the corner of Avenue Road and Davenport Road. Adam Excell was riding his bike on Avenue Road, near Davenport Road on June 13, 2015, when he was struck and killed by a car that did not remain at the scene.
David Drebin Mural
On the northwest corner of Avenue Road and Davenport Road. David Drebin is a Toronto-born professional photographer.
David Drebin Mural & “Super Convenience”
Northwest corner of Davenport Road and Avenue Road
The Hare Krishna Temple
The Hare Krishna Temple is located at 243 Avenue Road. The building is the former home of Avenue Road Church. It was built in 1899 and was originally the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. The building was designed by Toronto architects Gordon & Helliwell.
The Church of the Messiah
240 Avenue Road. This Anglican church was founded on March 24, 1891 by members of the Church of the Redeemer further south on Avenue Road. The building, and the rectory next door, were designed by Gordon & Helliwell, the same architects who designed what is now the Hare Krishna Temple across the street.
Fall Leaves
Somewhere on Avenue Road
Mural Outside Havana Coffee Bar
233 Davenport Road, southwest corner of Davenport Road and Avenue Road
Flower Markets
Avenue Road, south of Davenport
Giant Ring
Outside Louro & Sons Jewellers, 104 Avenue Road
These cast bronze figures are entitled “Mixer” by sculptor An Te Liu, a Taiwanese-Canadian artist living and working in Toronto. “Mixer” envisions its installation as a stage inhabited by a pair of cast bronze figures engaged in dialogue with passersby, hotel visitors, and each other. Bold and distinctive in silhouette and richly finished in a lustrous deep gold patina, the sculptural ensemble forms a vivid and iconic tableau establishing the Park Hyatt as a singular destination. As a public artwork, “Mixer” is monumental in scale – visible from afar and instantly recognizable. Open and intimate, the work invites visitors to experience the artwork fully and in the round. People become a critical part of the scenography, which unfolds within the architectural proscenium and extends out into the city.

“Mixer” finds shape and expression in the rich history of Park Hyatt Toronto, merging classical figurative allusions with industrial, artisanal, and organic forms culled from glassware, vessels, and couture. The forms also stem from a reinterpretation of the artistic legacy of Henry Moore, a seminal figure in the history of the modern era in Toronto. “Mixer” captures the allure of social encounters and celebrates imbibing in all the senses. They form a continuity between the illustrious past of Park Hyatt Toronto and its present renaissance as an exemplar of elegance and luxury. An Te Liu’s inspiration for this work comes more specifically from an archival photograph of the Park Hyatt Rooftop Lounge, commonly known as “The Rooftop bar at Park Plaza,” years ago. An Te Liu would visit during his years as a student at the University of Toronto – understanding its’ social significance as a landmark in the city. Park Hyatt Toronto invites visitors to experience the artwork in the round, as this ensemble of works seems like an encounter or conversation. The hotel program inspired this meaningful concept as a place of social convergence, where friends and strangers cross
Lillian Massey Building
Building used by University of Toronto, 125 Queen’s Park
“Freedom Fighters”
Queen’s Park
“Freedom Fighters”
Queen’s Park
Fall Leaves
Queen’s Park
Al Purdy Statue, Queens’ Park
Al Purdy was a 20th-century Canadian free verse poet. Purdy’s writing career spanned 56 years. His works include 39 books of poetry; a novel; two volumes of memoirs and four books of correspondence, in addition to his posthumous works. He has been called the nation’s “unofficial poet laureate” and “a national poet in a way that you only find occasionally in the life of a culture.”
Iranian Demonstration
There was an Iranian demonstration happening that day at Queen’s Park, and this guy was ripping up and down Queen’s Park and University Avenue with his balloons and flag
U of T’s Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre
112 College Street, at University Avenue
“Happy Lunar New Year”
Canada Post box at University Avenue and Dundas Street West
The United Building
481 University Avenue. On the corner of University Avenue and Edward Street. Converting into luxury condos.
The United Building
481 University Avenue. On the corner of University Avenue and Edward Street. Converting into luxury condos.

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