TORONTO’s articulated light rail (ALRV) streetcars have laboured long and hard since the late 1980’s. They weren’t expected to live so long, but they have, thanks to a huge investment by the TORONTO Transit Commission. Once there were 52 of them, and now only a couple remain in service. And those two take their last rides on Monday, September 2nd. One will head west from the Russell Carhouse near Queen E. & Greenwood Ave.; the other will depart from Bathurst and Wolesley Streets. The very last departure will be from the Wolesley Loop to the Russell Carhouse. Rides are free from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.
Why a new plaza? The ROM’s goal is to make its Bloor Street entrance a gathering spot – a place for music, dance, plantings, bubble blowing, and enjoying the passing parade at one of the busiest intersections downtown.
“We don’t necessarily have a lot of space between our building and the street,” said ROM Director and CEO Josh Basseches, “but let’s turn that space into something that really serves the city and beyond.”
A big plus for the Plaza – Philosopher’s Walk – a lengthy, green connection from Bloor Street West to the University of TORONTO. In the heart of the city, this is a walk in the country. The performance terrace was made possible by Helga and Mike Schmidt, and the Reed family gave their support to the Plaza. Designer – Siamak Hariri. <PHOTO ABOVE – Craig White>
CBC television reported this week that JAKARTA, capital city of Indonesia, is one of the world’s fastest sinking big cities. Because of that, a new capital on the island of Borneo is in the planning stages. Over 30-million live in Jakarta, which makes it even larger than Mexico City, and just below the population of Tokyo.The BBC has created a hair-raising video of this massive metropolis with some of the worst air quality almost anywhere. The address – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOSwBIstZUs
<ABOVE – Nassau Street & Spadina Avenue, acrylic on linen, by Rajeev Singhal, 2011, Baldwin Collection>The Toronto Public Library collects family, business documents and ephemera about Chinese-Canadians and their lives in the Greater TORONTO Area (the GTA). The selection of photos below come from various donors, and give us a small glimpse of a diverse community, which now numbers about 550,000. The Library’s exhibit from the award-winning Chinese archive continues until October 27/2019 in the TD Gallery, Main Floor, 789 Yonge Street – http://www.tpl.ca/tdgallery<PHOTO – Minister DAVID LEE visits the CHONG Family, date unknown>
<ARLENE CHAN performs a ribbon dance at the Opera Ball, 1965; photo – Ray McFadden><The dynamic JEAN LUMB (I remember meeting her). She was successful in protecting TORONTO’s Spadina-area Chinatown from demolition by developers, 1967. Photo – Doug Griffin><Robert Wong <above> and his brother Tommy started the Central Airways Company. Through the decades, they trained over 8,000 pilots while they watched TORONTO’s changing skyline. Above – Robert strikes a pose at Toronto Island Airport, 1946><Yoot Loy Laundry on King Street East, 1887, Baldwin Collection><Ing Lee Laundry on Main Street, ca1900, Baldwin Collection><Elizabeth Street, watercolour on paper, 1931, by W. F. G. Godfrey, 1884-1971, Baldwin Collection>
‘Fan Expo Canada’ is celebrating 25 years bringing fans in all shapes and sizes together again. This has become a huge event at the Metro TORONTO Convention Centre, and offers up countless photographic opportunities. STEVEN EVANS was there with his camera and sent along these black-and-white images of the Storm Troopers.For more of Steven’s work go to – http://www.stevenevansphotography.com
In the Travel Section of the New York Times, August 25/2019 – “Like the largest city in the United States, TORONTO, Canada’s largest, offers a wealth of cultural and culinary attractions. Just over half of the city’s population, 51%, is foreign-born (with) 231 nationalities, a source of great culinary diversity.”“The prices pale in comparison to the New Yorks, San Franciscos and Chicagos of the world, but the value is there,” said Franco Stalteri, who, since 2009, has hosted pop-up dinners with globally renowned chefs. “We benefit from a vast multiculturalism I’ve never seen anywhere else.”Also mentioned – the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Power Plant, Airbnb, October’s international art fair, and other attractions.Columnist ELAINE GLUSAC writes “American travelers can stretch their budgets wherever the US dollar is strong. One place is, conveniently, our northern neighbour.” That’s us!
I hadn’t encountered one of these books before. It happened to be sitting all alone on a shelf in TORONTO City Hall. Published by the city, it’s free, well researched, gives travel directions, photos, maps, touring loops, advice on eateries, history, architecture – everything you’d need to know.THE SCARBOROUGH SIGN (page 86), built in 2018, is moved to sites and events in different parts of the borough to promote community pride. Scarborough’s population is 626,000; first settled in the 1790’s; has a very diverse culture; is popular with new immigrants; went from a township to suburb, to borough, to a city, and now it’s a ‘division’, amalgamated with TORONTO.Top attractions – TORONTO Zoo (largest in Canada), The Scarborough Bluffs (cliffs and beaches along Lake Ontario); strip malls with some of the best take-out multi-cultural food anywhere in the GTA; and eat-in restaurants (some of which were recommended by the New York Times’ Frugal Traveler).Map from Wikipedia – Scarborough is in red on the east side of TORONTO. Find out more about the Cultural Hot Spot service, this book and others by going to this address —— http://www.toronto.ca/culturalhotspot —— BELOW are some excerpts from ‘Explore Scarborough’.ROUGE VALLEY NATIONAL URBAN PARK (page 28), 1749 Meadowvale Road, is the largest urban park in North America, stretching from TORONTO into Markham and Whitchurch-Stouffville. The Conservation Centre is housed in an 1893 house owned by the Pearse family, who operated a saw mill on the Rouge River. The park is massive.FINCH HYDRO CORRIDOR EAST TRAIL, photo by Corey Horowitz, (page 11), a recreational & biking trail underneath Ontario Hydro’s transmission lines. Plans are to lengthen it. SEWELLS BRIDGE, Sewells Road, north of Old Finch Avenue, is one of the oldest bridges in Scarborough and the only remaining suspension bridge in Ontario. – (page 26)
One of many MURALS across the district. This one commemorates the women who worked in the General Engineering Co. plant during World War II. It’s in the underpass at Warden and St. Clair.THE SCARBOROUGH SRT (rapid transit line connects with subway line #2, page 39). Completed in 1985 the SRT was once thought to be technological and transit for the future – with its magnetic propulsion system promoted by the provincial government. It hasn’t worked out that way. Delays and breakdowns, especially in winter, are common. But the idea was passed on to Detroit and Vancouver with much greater success.SCARBOROUGH COLLEGE (pages 70, 71), within the University of TORONTO, founded in 1964. It was designed by Australian, JOHN ANDREWS, who is known in Canada for also designing the CN Tower – our #One attraction. The campus is known for its Brutalist and Modernist buildings as well as some contemporary ones. It starred recently in Oscar-winning feature ‘The Shape of Water’.DORIS McCARTHY GALLERY (pages 73, 107 & 108), 125 Military Trail, is named after Calgarian Doris Jean McCarthy, born in 1910. She spent more than 70 years living in her house on top of the Scarborough Bluffs, affectionately known as “Fool’s Paradise”. That name came from her mother who thought the purchase was excessive for a young school art teacher. She was known for her Canadian landscapes, and became a very successful painter.ST. AUGUSTINE’S SEMINARY, (page 99) 2661 Kingston Road. It’s on private property, and can only be observed from the street. Built in 1910, and dedicated in 1913, it’s the first seminary in English-speaking Canada, and the first institution of higher learning in Scarborough.
“Photographers tend to be collectors. Most people travel through life experiencing the world in successive moments. Photographers, however, stop to concentrate, preserve and collect certain of those moments.” – Michael Mitchell, 2005. <PHOTO ABOVE – Michael Mitchell in 2019 by Ken Straiton>
And collect them he does . . . Michael’s new book, ‘FINAL FIRE’, a memoir, recently came out, published by ECW Press in TORONTO. Fellow artist and filmmaker MICHAEL SNOW writes “the book breathes. Eloquent descriptions of contact with nature alternate with the narration of extremely varied episodes (in the author’s life) – from the hilarious to the profoundly sad.”Canadian photographer EDWARD BURTYNSKY: “Mitchell’s many friendships and adventures with exquisite observations (are) woven into every page, and offer glistening reflections of a passionate and creative life fully lived. Here is a must-read for anyone wondering what artists do with their lives – in this case a Canadian life.”‘A Telling Portrait – The Work and Collection of Michael Mitchell’ was shown at the Ryerson Image Centre, 30 Gould Street, in April & May 2015. <ABOVE – the catalogue self-portrait of Michael for the show, polaroid, 1983> Highlighting his professional background in anthropology, the exhibition celebrated Michael’s approach to the medium of photography, and his long-term commitment to TORONTO’s photographic community. My partner and I have both read ‘Final Fire’ and highly recommend it. ECW indie publishers are located at 665 Gerrard Street East. The company has published over 1,000 books so far; phone – 416-694-3348 . . . . . . https://ecwpress.com/collections/vendors?q=Mitchell%2C%20Michael
Canada’s second busiest rapid transit system – and without a doubt, the most beautiful – is just waiting to be photographed. The combination of colour, concrete, murals, tiles, and the rubber-tired blue trains themselves present commuters with a visual feast. <PHOTO ABOVE – Rush Hour at McGill station, 2010, Alexcaban, Wikipedia><ABOVE – a train leaving DE LA SAVANE station> CHRIS FORSYTH is working on a ‘Metro Project’, a personal exploration of the art and architecture of subway stations around the world. From Montreal’s Brutalist creations to Stockholm’s hand-painted bedrock caves, to Berlin and Munich, each one of them communicates a unique atmosphere – something different – a product of design.<ABOVE – LASALLE station><ABOVE – CHAMP-DE-MARS><JEAN-TALON><SHERBROOKE – ABOVE><LANGELIER station> . . . . . For more underground photography by Chris Forsyth, spend some time here and see what he’s doing – https://www.chrismforsyth.com/themetroproject . . . and when in MONTREAL be sure to ride the Metro, which serves a wide variety of neighbourhoods.