Stantec Window Gallery was recently exhibited at Barcelona’s Architecture Festival

STANTEC1Currently on exhibit: Weave” by Margo Whitfield and Nicole Liao.  Their installation is inspired by textiles. (PHOTO BELOW)  The former McGregor Sock Factory on Spadina Avenue now has its own contemporary art gallery.  Housed in the entranceway, the Stantec Window Gallery is free of charge, and open to all who pass by – pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, streetcar riders, skateboarders and vampires (we have plenty of those in Toronto).  Curated by the office, artists are given some funding to create their installations.   http://www.stantecwindowgallery.comSTANTEC2

The Scadding townhouse & Scadding cabin connect us to Toronto’s past

TRINITY SQUARE, cradled by the Eaton Centre and a stone’s throw from City Hall, was home to the Reverend Henry Scadding from 1862 to 1901.  His modest brick townhouse <ABOVE>, with its little balcony, sits between downtown’s largest indoor shopping centre and Church of the Holy Trinity.

This Gothic Revival church <PHOTO BELOW> was built in 1847 by architect Henry Bower Lane, with funds provided by Mary Lambert Swale of Sette, England.  Holy Trinity was the fourth Anglican church in Toronto, after St. James Cathedral, Little Trinity and St. George the Martyr.  HENRY SCADDING, a native of Devonshire, came to Upper Canada in 1821.  He was educated at Cambridge University and Upper Canada College, and was ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1838.  In that same year, he was appointed Master of Classics at Upper Canada College, and nine years later rector of  the Church of the Holy Trinity –  next door.  He served until 1875.  The townhouse, which complements the church, was designed by Scottish architect William Hay.  In this house, Scadding wrote numerous religious, literary and historical works, including his best-known books, ‘Toronto of Old’(1873) and, in collaboration with J.C. Dent, ‘Toronto: Past and Present’ (1884).TORONTO’s oldest house, the John Scadding Cabin, was constructed by the Queen’s Rangers in 1794.  JOHN SCADDING (1754-1824), clerk to Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, and eventually the father of three sons, lived here in a single room.  The cabin, constructed of squared, white pine logs with dovetailed corners, was a typical settler’s first house.  <PHOTO BELOW>  It was originally on the east bank of the Don River.  In 1879, the York Pioneer Society moved the cabin to its present location at Exhibition Place – Toronto’s earliest example of architectural preservation.These buildings still exist – the Church of the Holy Trinity and Henry Scadding’s townhouse in Trinity Square; and John Scadding’s log cabin at Exhibition Place.  They’ve played an important role in building our city – and the church continues to do so today.

After a 10 year reno, AMSTERDAM’s beloved Rijksmuseum has re-opened

The Dutch must be the most patient museum-goers in the world.  They’ve waited 10 years and paid out nearly $500 million to rebuild a neo-gothic, 19th century art palace in the centre of AMSTERDAM.  On April 13/2013, the Rijksmuseum opened its doors once again.  Eighty new galleries were inaugurated, showing over 8,000 objects and paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.

JHML1207_8445PHOTO – Jannes Linders, Gallery of Honour, Rijksmuseum, – The Dutch must be the most patient museum-goers in the world.  They’ve waited 10 years and paid out nearly $500 million to rebuild a neo-gothic, 19th century art palace in the centre of AMSTERDAM.  On April 13/2013, the Rijksmuseum opened its doors once again.  Eighty new galleries were inaugurated, showing over 8,000 objects and paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.  The building – constructed in 1885 –  is young by European standards.  It was cleaned, inside and out.  Several rooms were demolished; others rebuilt as they once were – the Gallery of Honour, the staircases, the monumental hall.   It’s one of the first times that a national museum has had a complete makeover. With 3,000 square meters of additional exhibition space, the Rijks has become a completely new museum.

Semi-isolated MOOSE FACTORY, 850 kilometres north of TORONTO

MOOSE7<Map of the Province of Ontario, Natural Resources Canada>  TORONTO is the capital city of a vast land mass known as the Province of Ontario.  Second largest province in Canada, ONTARIO covers an area of 415,000 square miles (or 1 million square kilometres), population 12 million.  By comparison, TEXAS (area 269,000 square miles or 696,000 square kilometres), population 27 milion.  To drive from east to west in the province takes the better part of 2 days.

At the top end of Ontario, just below the Arctic tundra line, on James Bay, you’ll come to MOOSE FACTORY, 850 kilometres north of TORONTO.  There’s no road access to Moose Factory.  To get there you must travel to COCHRANE, then take a five hour train ride to MOOSONEE, and from there board a boat, helicopter or water taxi.  CHRISTOPHER MANSON (Documentary Media MFA/2011), winner of Ryerson University Magazine’s photo competition, visited Moose Factory last summer.  He was working on a project documenting the rise of Type 2 Diabetes in the area.  <PHOTOS BELOW – 1) overhead utility pipes provide steam heat – cannot be buried because of permafrost; 2) Teepees are sometimes used as garages and storage facilities for aboriginal families.

<Wendy Innis inspects her grocery bill; food prices are high in Moose Factory, 3 times that in Toronto>  For more of Christopher’s photos of Moose Factory, visit

Too much progress? BEIJING’s Air Quality Index rockets to 755!

PROGRESS5Thanks to the US Embassy, Beijingers now know how toxic the air over their capital can be.  Yesterday, the Embassy’s Air Quality Index, using North American standards, reported an ohmygosh reading of 755 at 8 pm.  The World Health Organization deems a score above 500, to be more than 20 times the level of airborne particulate matter considered safe.

PROGRESS6According to the New York Times, residents described the air as “post-apocalyptic”, “terrifying”, and “beyond belief.”  The American Embassy’s pollution measuring machine (which, according to a spokesman, was functioning perfectly) and its Twitter feed are unpopular among Chinese officials.  In 2009, a Chinese Foreign Ministry officlal, Wang Shu’ai told the Americans to halt the Twitter feed, saying it “is not only confusing, but also insulting.”  (WikiLeaks)

Unique in North America, HARVEY SHOPS can rebuild streetcars from scratch

The TTC’s Hillcrest maintenance shop, 1138 Bathurst Street, is where the streetcars and buses go for an overhaul and repairs. Opened in 1923, the property was once home to the Hillcrest Race Track. It’s now a major TORONTO Transit Commission maintenance centre.  <PHOTO – Vic on Flickr>

Highly skilled employees here have the expertise and equipment to rebuild streetcars from scratch, a project the Commission undertook a few years ago.

The Harvey Shops, unique in North America, are named after D. W. Harvey, the TTC’s general manager from 1924-1938.  They’re actually a series of small repair shops under one roof – each specializing in different skills – from sheet metal and upholstery, to motor, body repair and paint.  For anything and everything about TORONTO’s transportation system – subways, buses and streetcars – take a look at Steve Munro’s excellent website:

Hospital for Sick Children, one of the world’s foremost pediatric institutions

SICKKIDSTORONTO’s Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children worldwide.  Known locally as SickKids, it was founded in 1875 and is affiliated with the University of Toronto.  A footnote: the hospital is situated on the site of actress Mary Pickford’s birthplace.  <PHOTOS BELOW>