Toronto Architecture

I’ve always loved buildings, since I was a little kid. I was fascinated by castles and old buildings of all kinds (I grew up in a house that predated the Civil War in a town that was burned by the Confederates). Now, I’m equally fascinated by modern urbanity. Here’s some of my take on super urban Toronto.

I like black and white for architecture, especially modern glass and steel architecture, because it amplifies the abstraction of geometry found in modern design.

A street car emerges from the shadows of the urban canyon carved between high rise office towers. Pedestrians become silhouettes in the early morning light. An early Sunday morning in downtown Toronto:

Early Morning, Downtown Toronto
Early Morning, Downtown Toronto

A daring facade wiggles between more traditional office towers:

University Street, Toronto
University Street, Toronto

A modern condo building rises above the traditional Victorian and Edwardian streetscape of the city center. Taxis fill the street below in the hustle and bustle of the human beehive of activity, while overhead power lines for streetcars divide the sky into grids:

New Condos, Toronto
New Condos, Toronto

The CN Tower soars above downtown, framed by other towers. The sweeping roofline of the concert hall below directs the eye to the CN Tower from any angle:

CN Tower, Concert Hall
CN Tower, Concert Hall

Modern apartments frame an industrial-era chimney in a contrast of textures:

Two Towers, Toronto
Two Towers, Toronto

Two street lamps crane forward into the scene in zoomorphic curves, the necks and heads of two flamingos, breaking the chaotic geometry of the polygonal tower behind them:

Two Streetlamps, Reflections, Glass and Steel
Two Streetlamps, Reflections, Glass and Steel

Looking straight up, towers and street lamps criss-cross the sky:

Streetlamp and Skyscraper
Streetlamp and Skyscraper

Mirrored windows of one tower reflect upon another, as vertical lines converge out of frame:

The Two Towers Between Two Towers
The Two Towers Between Two Towers

Toronto Streets – More Random Images

I’ve called this one “Because, William Shatner” because the woman on the street is striking a similar pose to the cardboard cutout of William Shatner in his Captain Kirk uniform in the second story window. Which is there for no apparent reason beyond the fact that William Shatner is Canadian. And the jerk in the BMW seemed to think it was ok to park on the sidewalk underneath the Captain Kirk cutout, despite the no parking sign on the pole. Because, William Shatner… you see where this is going.

Because, William Shatner
Because, William Shatner

Across the street from the watchful gaze of the Cardboard Kirk, stands this sculpture. The first time I saw it, back in June, I thought it was an ice cream cone that had been dropped on its head. This time, I saw the tape measure embedded in the sidewalk and the signs proclaiming the area “Toronto’s Fashion District”, and I realized it is a thimble. But I still think whatever it’s sitting on looks nothing like anything relating to fashion, sewing, fabric, or otherwise so much as a stack of smashed ice cream scoops. Or maybe weird Italian cookies.

Ice Cream Thimble
Ice Cream Thimble

The aforementioned stylized tape measure, embedded in the sidewalk. I tried to capture the sparkly gold glitter in the tape measure, but it didn’t quite work – the glitter tends to record too bright and washes out.

Sidewalk Tape Measure
Sidewalk Tape Measure

And over on King Street again, we have the For Your Eyes Only “Gentlemen’s” club, aka titty bar. At least they’re showing their civic pride with the skyline emblazoned on their front doors in steel cutouts.

For Your Eyes Only Club
For Your Eyes Only Club

Art In America, September 2014

A photo of mine has been used in the current issue of Art In America (September, 2014) as the signature image for the Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco (Art SV/SF) art fair, happening Columbus Day weekend (October 9-12). The image is of my friend Nick Dong’s “Enlightenment Room” piece when it was installed here last year at the Renwick Gallery.

Art In America, September 2014 - Art SV/SF Art Fair Ad
Art In America, September 2014 – Art SV/SF Art Fair Ad

I would complain that they didn’t give me proper credit for the image (The Copyright notice you see in this image was added by me for the purpose of posting this here), but they also screwed up the name of the piece in the ad caption, so I’m not the only one being dissed.

That said, it’s still VERY cool to have one of my images used in an advertisement in Art In America.

Toronto Distillery District

Some random photos of the buildings and spaces at the Distillery District in Toronto.

Ivy, Fire Escape, Distillery District
Ivy, Fire Escape, Distillery District

The central plaza in the middle of the distillery district is occupied by this interpretive sculpture designed to reflect the history of the complex, and provide a focal point for people to converge upon. I don’t know how comfortable it would be to sit beneath it; while it certainly provides shade, all that copper would make for a terrific radiator on a summer day.

Distillery Sculpture
Distillery Sculpture

I went for a more abstract look with this composition – this is about angles and forms, and visually leading lines. The structure is a chute used to move barrels of liquor from the top floor of the distillery to the waiting trucks to be loaded and sent out.

Distillery Chute
Distillery Chute

The sign of the distillery still graces the covered walkway between two brick and stone structures in the distillery complex.

Gooderham & Worts Distillery
Gooderham & Worts Distillery

Toronto Urban Grit

Some random finds from around the urban center of Toronto. These were in the area of King and Queen Streets, between Bathurst and Spadina for the most part.

The first three were found on Queen Street. Queen Street is a bit rougher around the edges, but in a kind of hipster/grunge way. It looks worse than it is – I ran into a panhandling junkie getting set up for the morning, baby-sitting his friend’s Rottweiler puppy. We had a great chat about my Rolleiflex, he didn’t even ask me for money, and the Rotty came over to me of her own free will, licked my hand, and rubbed up against my legs. That’s pretty emblematic for how friendly Toronto is – even the panhandler’s dog is nice.

Bang-On T-shirts
Bang-On T-shirts

I think it’s the wildest coolest thing that a dive bar would decorate their wall with a mural of a face, smoking and talking on the phone, and giant
insect sculptures crawling over the upper floors. It makes me actually want to go in and find out what’s so special about the place – I bet they have some really funky live music.

Cameron House
Cameron House

Isn’t this a terrific cultural contrast? Poutine next door to Falafel. About the only way you could outdo that is to put a Kosher deli next door to a Carolina Pulled Pork shop. But it wouldn’t surprise me if such a juxtaposition existed somewhere in Toronto.

Poutine Falafel
Poutine Falafel

Over on King Street, we’re getting a bit more upscale with this pan-asian restaurant. This stretch of King was where all the beautiful people attending TIFF were hanging out.

Pan-Asian, King Street
Pan-Asian, King Street

Perfect Leather looks sketchy on the outside, but from what I could see through their windows, this looks to be THE place to shop for leathers and fabrics if you’re in the garment trade in Toronto.

Perfect Leather
Perfect Leather

Ordinary Objects series – Toronto

I know I’m repeating hydrants in the same post, but they’re substantially different takes on the same subject.

Hydrant, Graffiti
Hydrant, Graffiti

I also find it interesting that we have Mueller hydrants in Washington DC but they look very different.

Mueller Hydrant, Toronto
Mueller Hydrant, Toronto
Mueller Hydrant, K Street, DC
Mueller Hydrant, K Street, DC

Another pay phone shot, showing the much-abused state of the poor neglected utility. I see a lot more pay phones around Toronto, but still not many people using them.

Bell Pay Phone
Bell Pay Phone

Wide or Tight? You decide – Toronto Graffiti

Two versions of the same scene- which do you think works better?

Cine Cycle - Wide
Cine Cycle – Wide
Cine Cycle - Close
Cine Cycle – Close

I’m still on the fence – the wide shot has that extra splash of color from the door on the next building, and the visually leading lines, but the tight shot pulls your attention to the sign.

Photography, Alternative Processes, Really Big Cameras, and other cool stuff

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,331 other followers

%d bloggers like this: