Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: RichmondStW

Eaton Centre & The Bay, 2014

So, I don’t know if shots from 2014 qualify for inclusion in my so-called series From The Vaults (i.e. old shots of Toronto). I found these the other day while browsing and thought I’d post them as they are a bit of a blast from the past, so to speak.

Some of the shots are slightly “arty”; I was experimenting at the time with capturing urban life using a slow shutter speed, hence the intentional motion blur.

The Bay at Queen and Yonge

The original Bay store at Yonge and Queen Streets only partially exists since Saks Fifth Avenue took over the entire east half of the building in 2016. These shots are prior to the merge and remodel of the building.

The Bay’s southeast entrance on to Yonge Street. This entrance is long gone; in its place is a trendoid coffee bar/resto, which is part of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Pay phones!!?? Remember those? In the lobby of The Bay’s southeast entrance.
The Bay sales floor, ground level
Riding The Bay’s escalators
More people movers
Ground level sales floor, Women’s jewellery (note Ivanka Trump’s jewellery line, far right – that dates it!)

In The Old Queen Street Bridge

I shot these while crossing over from The Bay to the Eaton Centre in the old pedestrian bridge spanning Queen Street West. This bridge has long disappeared and been replaced with a new one (check out my Eaton Centre bridge post here).

Above Queen Street during a rainstorm
The old Eaton Centre pedestrian bridge

Inside the Eaton Centre

Another busy Saturday afternoon in the Eaton Centre

Speeding through Yonge and Richmond Streets

Artwork Off Camden Street

There is a small street in the Spadina Avenue/Richmond Street West area called Camden Street. While passing Camden Street this past weekend I noticed a flash of bright colour from a side alley there and decided I just had to explore further. What greeted me were some very colourful murals and artwork.

North Side

On the north side of Camden Street there is an unspectacular – actually rather dismal – parking lot. Here are the murals I found there (’tis a pity the tag vandals have damaged so many of them):

South Side

On the south side of Camden Street there is an unassuming, dark alley that displays some pretty impressive artwork. These cartoon-style murals remind of that Lichtenstein art that was so popular in the 80s.

The murals below were painted in 2006 by youth from the Cecil Harbourfront Community Centre as part of the City of Toronto’s Graffiti Transformation Project. These are seriously good:

In the same alley but not part of the City of Toronto’s Graffiti Transformation Project, are these pieces:

Frequently the best art can be found in the most unassuming places…. like this.

“Uniform, Measure, Stack”

At 438 Richmond Street West, on the northwest corner of Spadina Avenue and Richmond Street West, there is an intriguing bronze sculpture by artist Stephen Cruise. Created in 1997, the piece is entitled Uniform, Measure, Stack. The sculpture consists of a thimble, buttons and markings of a tape measure which wraps around the northwest corner of Richmond Street West and Spadina Avenue (please ignore the vandal tagging and snow on the artwork!).

The sculpture was created to commemorate the surrounding area of the city that was once the textile factory district. Even with the Toronto Eaton Centre just blocks away, this area once housed a majority of the textile factories that would produce products for the mega-distributor. As textile production moved out of the city, these factory spaces were re-purposed into artist studios. Now, the neighbourhood has transformed again and condo developments dominate the area.

The piece’s artist, Stephen Cruise, has this to say about his creation:

Spadina has an incredible history that goes back to when workers walked out of Eaton’s in 1905 I believe, on strike for better conditions. And they decided to reorganize themselves and they moved out and moved in and along Spadina Avenue.

So, I guess in thinking about some of the research, it did direct me to what it was that could make up the components of this sculpture. And that is to keep it very simple. And what making a garment is all about draws back to one’s hands. It’s… it’s not so much even the machine, it’s choosing the thimble and choosing the buttons and hand sewing. It’s something that would draw you back to more the personal aspect of it so – I tried to keep the tools as simple as possible and…

Unfortunately, I think, it was a beginning of a foothold for so many people who moved on and with the competitive nature and pressures from offshore it’s become next to impossible to be able to provide that opportunity. And as much as the street signs have the additional text to them, saying “fashion district,” in another short period of time it’s going to be just a memory. So the stacking of the buttons and placing the thimble atop it, trying to create some kind of setting with trees that would mature over time, there still was very much this thought that I was creating something as a memory. So it’s evidence of what once was a colourful past, but at the same time it’s what something once was.

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