January 2011 Archives

Strange Doings at the Dome

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It looks like the site of some mysterious government conspiracy - like there's aliens being autopsied underneath the dome.  It's actually a dome over an outdoor stadium, but it really got our imaginations going.

Liberty Village - Ivy vs. Mural

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Which came first, the ivy or the mural?  And which will last longer?  I'm always fascinated by the way ivy colonizes a wall.  It seems that, in this case, the ivy is going to win, long term, unless the owners of this building get rid of it.  Another shot from my trip to Liberty Village.

Liberty Village - Roastery in Winter

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There are some seriously cool looking cafes and restaurants in Liberty Village.  I love the name of this one - The Roastery.  I wonder if their menu reflects the name - roasted coffee, roast chicken, roast beef, roast veggies...  I think it would be harder to come up with a dessert menu, though.

Liberty Village - 72 Fraser Ave

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The address is part of a former carpet factory turned into hip loft office space.  I love the look of the whole neighbourhood that's sprung up around the former factory.  I'd love to get a look inside - I bet it looks wild.

Liberty Village - Kuda Buddha

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I love the multicultural nature of Toronto.  You never know what culture you're going to run into when you walk through the city.  This, for example, was nestled into a neighbourhood that looks no different than some of the suburbia that I grew up in.  Down the street, the neighbourhood switched from residential to industrial.  However, doesn't he look cold, sitting in the snow like that?

Liberty Village - Vogue Supperclub

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Every year, for my birthday, we go on a photowalk.  Usually, we end up going somewhere around the city that I've never gone.  This year, we headed down to Liberty Village to see what's there. It's a formerly industrial area now turned into offices, restaurants and such.  The building in the middle of the shot is called the Vogue Supperclub.  I have no idea if they still need the tall smokestack, but it's definitely a distinctive part of the neighbourhood. 

Marilyn Shelter

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It's kind of creepy to have a giant Marilyn head staring at you as you wait for the next streetcar.  I mean - it feels like she's staring at me when I'm in this shelter.  And she's larger than life size, too.  I suppose it could be worse - it could be Don Cherry. (heh)

Berries in Winter

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Frozen berries wait for the spring.  The bush was lush and full in the summer, but in winter, the bare branches and hanging berries hold only the promise of greenery.  Everything seems so grey and dull in the winter, but spring is just around the corner. 

Traffic and Snow

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Winter, winter, winter - and along with the cold, we get snow.  It was only flurries, but it is a precursor of times to come.  I love the way the headlights catch the snowflakes - with the slow shutter speed, the individual flakes become streaks of light.  It can be challenging to take pictures in a snowstorm.  The camera tends to get wet, and electronics and moisture don't always play well together.  The best thing that I've found is to rest my hands on top of the camera when I'm not taking shots, but when it's bad enough, I put the camera away, or put the body into a ziploc bag to protect it.  (Put the camera in the bag, with the lens poking out - the plastic protects the electronics, and the lens is free and clear.)

Night Tunnel

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Ever pass by a tunnel at night and wonder where it goes?  Does it go to a simple parking garage, or does it lead somewhere different?  And are different parking garages connected together?  I know - in most cases, the tunnels lead to simple, self-contained parking garages, but wouldn't it be cool if you could go into one and end up somewhere else?  Like in the underground PATH system in downtown Toronto, which lets you travel from Union Station down by the lake all the way up to to Dundas Street, and from Yonge, all the way over to Simcoe.  

Quarter to Six

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Closeup of the clock tower on Toronto's Old City Hall.  I hate the amount of darkness that we end up with through the winter. When it's dark on my way to work, and dark on my way home, it gets tremendously depressing, and makes me not want to go out of the house.  As you can see from this picture, at a quarter to six in the evening, it's pretty much fully dark out.  I can't wait for summer to come, with it's long hours of sunlight, and warm weather, so that I can go out taking pictures in the evenings again.

Crystal Growth

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The ROM Crystal seems to be growing on top of the old museum structure like some sort of mineral deposit.  My wife hates the Crystal, but I like it.  I like that it doesn't look like a traditional building.  I like that it takes chances with architecture.  God save us from boring boxes of glass and steel - give me something that challenges my perceptions of what a building can be. It doesn't have to be outrageous, like the Crystal, or like the OCAD building, but at least make it visually interesting.  

More Winter Weeds

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More weeds waiting for the snow at Ashbridges Bay.  

Bounty on Queen

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A pedestrian walks by the windows of a Shoppers Drug Mart on Queen St.  Lately, it seems that Shoppers is carrying more and more groceries.  According to a report I heard on the radio, they're getting a tremendous margin on their groceries, and are refocusing their stores to reflect that margin.  I wonder if they'll eventually morph into a grocery chain with a pharmacy.


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Architectural details are incredibly important for setting the tone of a space.  In this case, the carvings at the top of each pillar give me a sense of importance and seriousness in this space.  (But then, when I look at these things, I find myself planning out the project of carving them by hand, and they were probably carved by machine, in a factory somewhere.) 

After the Skate

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You'd think that the designers of this park expected people to skate on the pond.  The boardwalk that rings the pond is very skate friendly - no need to clip on skateguards to walk across to the benches.  You can see more of the condition of the ice in this picture - it's pretty solid, as far as I could see - and it looks like these two enjoyed themselves, based on the skate ruts and scrapes that I saw.

Skating on the Pond

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Skating on a pond is a time honoured Canadian tradition.  Skating on the Woodbine Park pond, only a couple of days after temperatures of 9C (48F) is a little bit risky.  However, the ice seemed very solid, and the pond is only waist deep anyways, so I guess it's not much of a risk.  I'll be heading down there more often, now that we have regular cold temperatures and snow, to see if I can get more shots. 

Water Treatment Building

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I've loved the look of this building since I first saw it, driving along Lakeshore Blvd.  It sits, looking like a huge sculpture, north of Lakeshore, just west of Coxwell.  At one point, I think that I learned that it's part of the Ashbridges Bay Water Treatment Plant, but I could be wrong.  All summer long, there was scaffolding around it as they did maintenance, but most fo the scaffoldign is down now, and you can see the wonderful sculpted sides of the building.  It looks wonderful in the late afternoon light, too. 

Beach Light

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The patio at The Boardwalk Pub, down at Ashbridges Bay Park, is probably not used much in the winter.  But during the summer, it's open and usually full.  One of the things I love about living down here is that it's just a short walk down to the beach.  This past summer was really busy, but I'm sure that we'll get down here in 2011 to sample the fare and enjoy the atmosphere.  Somehow, I don't think that the patio would be nearly as enjoyable in January, though.

Ducks on Ice

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These guys seem to hang around all winter long.  I often wonder what makes one bird decide not to fly south with the rest of them.  Is it that they are smarter, and know that they'll find food all year long?  Is it that they're injured, so will have to expend too much energy or effort?  Or are they lazy, and would rather take the chance on finding food in the northern climes?  It's definitely got to have something to do with the climate effects of the cities - heat islands, more food, etc.

Winter Weeds 2011

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There hadn't been much snow so far this winter when I took this picture.  It's been really strange, actually, how little snow there has been.  However, as of today, there's plenty of snow on the ground, and more falling.  The entire landscape has been transformed, so it's good to actually have a record of what the plants looked like before the snow got dumped on them. 

Can't Wait for Spring II

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More summer playground equipment waiting for spring to arrive.  Could you play baseball in the winter?  Probably not.  I remember a few times playing in late fall where the crack of the bat was followed by a curse as the vibrations stung cold hands.  And at this point of the year, the infield would not be fun to slide on.  I guess we're better off sticking to games like hockey, and sports like skiing. 

Can't Wait For Spring

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Winter in the park can be very lonely.  It's a long, cold, dark season, and there are few, if any, people around in the park.  This year, I want to get out and enjoy the season more, rather than do the usual hibernating that happens all to often.  I want more fresh air, and sunshine even if it's cold air. 

Winter at the Track

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There's something lonely about a stadium in winter.  The warm weather is gone, and the stadium sits there, unused until spring, waiting for people to visit.  And with such bright colors on the track, too.  It's got that nice inflatable dome over the field, but there's not much going on all winter.  I wonder if the stadium hibernates...

Ivy and Cable

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Looking at this picture, I wonder which came first - the ivy or the electrical cables.  Given the age of some of the buildings on the campus, it could be a tossup.  There are some serious quantities of ivy on the walls of U of T, and it seems to like to go underneath the exterior conduit.  I have to think that ivy will damage the walls, given enough time, but it seems to be tremendously popular on old buildings. 

Street Light and Leaves

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More from the University of Toronto.  I have to go back there in the summer to take pictures.  We got tons of great shots, but - OMG it was cold.  We were not the only people wandering around taking pictures, though.  I saw at least three other people wandering around with their cameras out, braving the chills.


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Construction continues throughout the winter, all around Toronto.  I often find myself wondering what it's like to work high up in a new building during the cold - do you feel it more up there?  It's got to be somewhat awe inspiring to see a storm swirling around you while you're 300 feet up from the street, and to feel the wind and snow pelting you as you work in the open air.  I know that I wouldn't want to do that work, but I certainly appreciate the folks that do it. 

Happy New Year!!!

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Happy New Year, folks!  Did you celebrate the arrival of 2011 in style?  Did you go out partying, or stay home with family?  Did you stay up till after midnight, or did you go to bed earlier?  The new year stretches ahead of us, filled with possibilities, lined with milestones and events.  I hope all of you have a wonderful year.