Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Art and shoes along Queens Park

Queen's Park is the seat of government for the Province of Ontario and the name of the road that passes beyond and around the legislature building. Steeped in historical significance, the site includes a war memorial and a statue of a guy on a horse as well as a fence around the entrance so you can't get in. Placed along the 'keep you out of the house' fence are a lot of shoes representing the lives lost in Canada's residential schools. The sad spectacle of children's shoes lined up several feet wide laid at the foot of the building where the politicians lead Ontario is doubly disturbing with the recent discoveries of old, unmarked cemeteries around the country and the reality of what Canada did to the indigenous populations.

The shoes are a memorial to the memory of the children, unlike the other memorial at the north end of the park dedicated to war and those that died in battle, including those that served in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014. We need to make a permanent memory at Queen's Park for the children as well.
The war memorial monument erected by the 48th Highlanders, built in 1923
Afghanistan was added to the monument and now even that war has ended

In the centre of the park is the statue of a former king, originally installed in India in 1922 where King Edward VII made the journey as Emperor of India. When Indian independence occurred they removed many of the colonial monuments, including this one which was later sold to a Canadian and assembled in Queen's Park in 1969. The crumbling base of the statue was recently reconstructed which has much improved the looks of the installation.
I remember a time when U of T's engineering students dressed in yellow and sometimes coloured purple flock to the park and kiss the statue as part of frosh week.
King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions.

At Queens Park and College Street you can find the Notre Place monument to Franco-Ontarians, installed in 2018. Notre place means our home and features a series of shiny columns with painted sections.

Notre Place

McLaughlin Planetarium to be demolished

The nuclear reactor looking building sitting beside, and was part of, the Royal Ontario Museum was closed in 1995 and was sold to the University of Toronto where it has not been showing the cosmos to anyone ever since. The round hunk of concrete was a star theatre that projected the night sky onto the inner part of the dome, you could even listen to concert series and watch fancy light shows. It sits well off the sidewalk along Queens Park so you kind of miss it unless you look for it.

In 2009 the sale of the site to U of T would allow for the expansion of the St. George campus while still allowing the museum to use the property for storage until the development takes place. The City of Toronto has designated several adjacent buildings under the Ontario Heritage Act, however the planetarium was not protected and will be demolished. Its removal would provide a buffer to the new 9 storey building slated to become the Centre for Civilizations, Cultures and Cities.

Friday, August 20, 2021

MOCA Toronto 2021

The Toronto Museum of Contemporary Art is open and I'm pretty sure there is a lot of art type stuff in there, so keep it in mind if you want to get out again and do stuff. MOCA reopened on July 23 and you can always check out the first floor for free, then get your tickets and check out the rest of the building. Currently on the ground floor is Kapwani Kiwanga's Flowers for Africa, Archipelago by Michael Lin and a sound installation by Florence Yee and Joy Wong called yeet nao.
Archipelago by Michael Lin

Michael Lin: Archipelago (November 19, 2020 — August 29, 2021)
From MOCA's website "Michael Lin’s unconventional paintings invite visitors to position themselves within an artwork and to reconsider their perception of the space around them. His works take their inspiration from everyday fabrics—pillows, blankets, and other domestic textiles. The juxtaposition of Lin’s florals against stark, institutional architecture—especially at MOCA, a former auto factory—creates spaces that feel both softer and more tranquil. The motifs included in this installation come from Taiwanese, Indonesian, and Hawaiian-inspired textiles."

The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday and is located at 158 Sterling Rd #100, Toronto, ON M6R 2B7. The hours are Wednesday 11 am–6 pm, Thursday 11 am–6 pm, Friday 11 am–9 pm, Saturday 11 am–6 pm and Sunday 11 am–6 pm.

Flowers for Africa by Kapwani Kiwanga

Kapwani Kiwanga: Flowers for Africa (July 23, 2021 — August 29, 2021)

From the MOCA website, "For this body of ongoing work, Kapwani Kiwanga conducted iconographic research that focused on the presence of flowers at diplomatic events linked to the independence of African countries. Placed on negotiation tables and on podiums during speeches, these floral compositions become ambiguous witnesses to these historic moments. Destined to wilt over the course of their display, these flowers invite us to reflect on time, beyond the idea of the monument and the commemoration, in order to continue in the tradition of vanitas art."
The original 1919 industrial building has been repurposed to provide "Art for our sake".

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Toronto graffiti 2021

Graffiti don't care about no Covid, it happens whether you like it or not, and the best graffiti is often the murals found around the city, in alleys and in certain neighbourhoods. Or it could be just a phrase on some random street furniture - like "we're burning" on the St Patrick subway entrance.

Kensington Market

Back in the Junction

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Sunflowers and giant ducks in Hamilton

Sunrise Sunflower Farm along Highway 6 between Hamilton and Guelph features fields of sunflowers and a giant rubber ducky along with two giant baby rubber ducks. The fields are planted at various times so there will be blooms till the end of September. Now I do like sunflower fields, but I stopped here because of the big rubber duckies.

The big bird is in the back 40s

The address is 1846 Highway #6 (east side) and their hours are Monday to Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-7pm. Adult tickets are $10.

The two baby rubber duckies
Waiting to open up

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Casa Del Sol Pottery on Highway #6

I have passed this place several times and have always been struck by the colourful patterns painted into the side of the building along Highway #6 and finally dropped in when was open. The storefront itself was closed but the sales take place behind the store in a pottery corral.

Casa Del Sol Pottery sells hand made ceramics and pottery imported from Mexico and is located at 1134 Highway #6 in Waterdown. Hours are 10am to 6pm, except on Sundays when they close at 5pm. Openings are seasonal and switch to weekends so check with the company to confirm it is open before you make the drive.

Fire at Over Easy in Toronto

There was a fire at 56 Yonge Street in Toronto on Monday, August 16, 2021 with several fire trucks and police dispatched to the site, closing Yonge Street between King and Wellington Streets.

While police were taping off the scene after the fire had been put out and witnesses were being interviewed, on the sidewalk it looked like the building had vomitted out quite the collection of damaged goods - including a mattress. 

Over Easy is past well done

Monday, August 16, 2021

Olamina sculpture at the waterfront

The massive blue head lies in Aitken Place Park in Toronto, a temporary art installation called Olamina from Earthseeds: space of the living on view until early October 2021.

From the​ ​Black Speculative Art Movement (BSAM) website​, "Olamina is a larger than life public art sculpture currently living at Aitken Place Park by the Toronto waterfront. This installation is part of the BSAM Canada Earthseeds: Space of the Living Waterfront Artist Residency supported by Waterfront Toronto and Waterfront BIA. It is greatly inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s Parable series, taking its namesake from the main character of Butler’s novels, Lauren Oya Olamina, and the folktales of the African water deity, Mami Wata."
"Consider - we are born not with purpose, but with potential"

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Peacemaker's Canoe at Harbourfront Square Harbour

A shiny canoe sits in the inner harbour of Lake Ontario, reflecting the history of the indigenous peoples and the original Five Nations and their Great Way of Peace. The canoe is just west of the ferry docks.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square