Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

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2021/05 Moments May 2012

Brighter days of spring, with slight dips in temperature to remind us our four-seasons climate.
Toronto, Ontario

Varsity Stadium
Varsity Stadium: Blue and white are the colours for UToronto, so the track is thus themed. Summer session officially starts in 2 days, although the pandemic stay-at-home order precludes organized athletics, even outside. View south catches the CN Tower, a landmark years before the field was constructed. (Varsity Stadium, Bloor Street West, University of Toronto) 20210501
Hamers Coffee
Hamers Coffee: Imagery of sky and hands painted on #CommunityFridge, alongside green and white sign on pantry, is more artistic than other locations. Well-kept venue is open to all, at the corner of a major thoroughfare. Shelves were almost empty, maybe turnover is faster as elderly and families came to empty their bags in, and take a few items out. (Hamers Coffee, Dundas Street West at Manning Avenue, Little Portugal, Toronto, Ontario) 20210502
Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade
Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade: Naturally rusted steel panels of varying heights obscure the trenches of construction to the south. Probably not intended as a brutalist art installation, temporary wall puts function first. Municipal facilities won’t be completed within this calendar year. (Ashbirdges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant, North Service Road, east of Leslie Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20210506
Leader Lane
Leader Lane: Looking south, in courtyard #AndrewPosa (1982) U. V. Ceti sculpture in honour of architect #EdwardIsaacRichmond. In the distance, the L Tower designed by #DanielLibeskind is shaped with a backward curve so that the 58-floor residential condominiums don’t block the light onto #BerczyPark. Biking down to the building, it’s the repurposing of the southern wing of #MeridianHall, formerly known as #SonyCentre, #HummingbirdCentre and #OKeefeCentre. (Leader Lane, 30 Wellington Street West, St. Lawrence district, Toronto, Ontario) 20210508
Meridian Hall Plaza
Meridian Hall Plaza: View north from triptych @HarveyValentine (2016) Dream Ballet stainless steel sculptures, against a background of reflections with buildings in mirrored windows across Front Street at 33 Yonge Street. Grey tiles confuse the shapes in the chrome with strange angels. Plaza is a natural open space for children from the L Tower to the south. (Meridian Hall, Yonge Street at Front Street East, Toronto, Ontario) 20210512
Tommy Thompson Park
Tommy Thompson Park: Convex mirror at fork in road suggests vehicles travelling too quickly on the asphalt trail? First tried direct southbound route, but there’s a high fence because the lift bridge is still out. Doubled back to then ride east and south around the wetland cells, on the alternate road along the endikement.(Tommy Thompson Park, Toronto, Ontario) 20210517
Nelson Mandela Walk
Nelson Mandela Walk: Outdoor conversation pit features cantilevered granite plank with rectangular depression carved out of top near far end. Construction along pedestrian walk has been completed after two winters. No students on campus in late spring, a few people lounging on benches, enjoying clear weather. (Nelson Mandela Walk, Ryerson Community Park, Toronto, Ontario) 20210520

Centenary Hospital
Centenary Hospital: Father receiving second Moderna vaccination after 10 weeks, accelerated from the 16 week expectation. Hospital was proactive in following up, to offer an earlier slot. Spent 15 minutes in observation room, amongst families and younger people getting first shots. Nurses caution that full immunity takes 2 weeks, keep wearing masks! (Margaret Birch Wing, Scarborough Health Network Centenary Hospital, Ellesmere Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario) 20210628

2021/04 Moments April 2021

Short bike rides around town, in variable spring weather under pandemic stay-at-home orders,
Toronto, Ontario

Wilson Rail Yard
Wilson Rail Yard: Looking west into developing Keating Channel Precinct, with a sliver of land between the Don River shunted towards the city centre to the south, and the GO Transit Don Yard to the north. Metrolinx has plans for adding 5 new tracks and reconfiguring 3 tracks, to accommodate train movements for future Regional Express Rail. Land has been owned by the Toronto Port Authority for a long while, infrastructure takes time. (Wilson Rail Yard, Lakeshore Boulevard East, Toronto, Ontario) 20200401
Coffee And Clothing
Coffee And Clothing: Paid more attention to “Free Food” #CommunityFridge and pantry, outside of shop just west of @GerrardSquare. Sign says “Take what you need. Leave what you can”. “Do leave: Fresh produce, dairy, bread, protein, pantry items, grab and go foods, personal care items, PPE”. A network of volunteers in mutual aid for those struggling with food security. (Coffee and Clothing, Pape Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20210402
Strada Lane
Strada Lane: Tracks originally leading to Toronto Container Port are covered over by pavement, southbound curving to the west. On the other side of the fence is a yard of aggregate, amongst many other piles of earth and gravel around the Port Lands. Turning basin to the west, Tommy Thompson Park to the south, Leslie Street Allotment Gardens to the east. (Strada Lane, Port Lands, Toronto, Ontario) 20200407
House of Parashos
House of Parashos: Painted white house in Hellenistic theme turns heads of cyclists and drivers, northbound on the one-way residential street, in contrast with the duller-hued Victorian buildings. Patriarch immigrated to Canada in the 1980s, and freshens the paint annually. Surprised to see this style on the west side of town, Greektown is conventionally along the Danforth on the east side. (House of Parashos, Shaw Street, Christie Pits neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20210410
Massey Hall
Massey Hall: Shuter Street at Yonge Street shut down, as a crane lowered a large ladder cage from the theatre vertically to the ground. Easing the steel structure to horizontal, then crews reattached cables to swing the it over to the flatbed truck. Construction work would seem counter to the new pandemic lockdown additions announced by the province, yesterday. (Massey Hall, Shuter Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20210417
R. Fraser Elliott Building
R. Fraser Elliott Building: Kosso Eloul (1978) Innercity Gate sculpture welds three black stainless steel rectangular boxes in a precarious balance. Straight lines show influences of artist’s studies with Frank Lloyd Wright. Outside a wing of Toronto General Hospital, not on a medical visit, just bicycle tourism. (R. Fraser Elliott Building, Elizabeth Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20210425

Spadina Quay Wetlands
Spadina Quay Wetlands: Anne Roberts (1999) Bird House Sculpture is a set of buildings doll-sized, raised on stilts over the natural habitat, a dry bed at the end of winter. Harkens back to the early 20th century, when industrial businesses were alongside recreational spaces by the harbour. No apparent signs of birds interested in nesting in the structure. (Spadina Quay Wetlands, Queen’s Quay West, Harbourfront, Toronto, Ontario) 20210426

2021/03 Moments March 2021

Days brightening and temperatures above freezing, optimism with vaccinations against the pandemic.
Toronto, Ontario

One City Hall
One City Hall: View southeast from 12th floor of apartment tower in historic Old Chinatown. After Asian businesses moved west to Spadina, a 12-storey office tower was built in 1974, then bombed by the Italian Mafia in 1977 and feared with bad feng shui. In 1999 that tower was imploded, and then replaced by three towers completed in 2007. (111 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20210306
Eastern Avenue at Carlaw Avenue
Eastern Avenue at Carlaw Avenue: Sign of the times with “Cyclists Accommodated With Only Minor Delays”, suggesting that automobiles and trucks will be completed diverted. Consistent with the joke that Canada has two seasons: winter, and construction. Temperature swing of 10 degrees Celsius has citizens abandoning parkas. (Eastern Avenue at Carlaw Avenue, Riverside neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20210310
Jeff’s No Frills
Jeff’s No Frills: Scheduled appointment to receive AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, responding to call for under-age 65 subjects. Received quick jab in office of grocery store, in the afternoon after National Advisory Community on Immunization expands recommendation of formulation for all ages. Ontario pharmacists are now reporting that supply is depleting, hard to plan more than a week ahead. (Loblaws Pharmacy at Jeff’s No Frills, Carlaw Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20210316
Centenary Hospital
Centenary Hospital: Father receiving Moderna vaccination, with second appointment scheduled 16 weeks away. Registration on vaccineto.ca led to coordination by local hospitals, decentralized registration online with friendly reminder phone call. Venue on the eastern edge of Metro Toronto has physical distancing not common in the downtown core. (Margaret Birch Wing, Scarborough Health Network Centenary Hospital, Ellesmere Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario) 20210318
Philosophers Walk
Philosophers Walk: Looking south beyond university campus, CN Tower in the far distance, on a bench alongside @zaid___khan. Discussed science as a pursuit of better answers, with philosophy as a pursuit of better questions. The tension between attention and intention can be portrayed as a struggle between phenomenology (ecological epistemology) and teleology. Spring equinox drawing out many pedestrians with upswing in temperature. (Philosophers Walk, Queen Park Crescent West, University of Toronto) 20210321
Essroc Silos
Essroc Silos: Crews convening amongst earth movers, on the growing berm for the south end of the new Cherry Street North Bridge. On the roll-up door of the defunct Essroc cement plant, the Framework photograph of 130 Commissioners Street installed in October 19 by #VidIngelevics and #RyanWalker hasn’t faded. The industrial heritage of the Port Lands persist. (Essroc Silos, Cherry Street, Toronto Port Lands) 20210323
MEC
MEC: A trip for bicycle brake pads is mundane, but shopping in person seems extraordinary after pandemic shut down changes to pandemic grey zone. Cantilever style brakes aren’t so common these days, the charitable might describe my old bike with a steel frame as vintage. (MEC, Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20210327

Bike and Forth Services
Bike and Forth Services: Acquired another modest bicycle with low regret if it’s stolen. I found the vintage Miyata mountain bike on Facebook, posted by James. John installed slick tires, and tuned up the cables. Neighbourhood bike shops are getting rarer in the big city. (Bike and Forth Services, Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20210328

2021/02 Moments February 2021

Limited excursions outside for the month, due to extreme cold weather, and the pandemic shutdown.
Toronto, Ontario

Stargate (installation, west)
Stargate (installation, west): Public art installation of crayon yellow alien with 6 spiderlike legs, by #BlueRepublic (2016), 4.5 metres in height amongst smaller human-scale artifacts, has a blue counterpart blowing a horn across the street. Around the midtown condominiums, the theme of inhabitants moving in and out inspired the artists who were emigrants from Poland. Locale is a little farther from home than I would bike, especially on this cold but sunny day. (Stargate art installation, 150 Redpath Avenue, Mountain Pleasant west neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20210221

Don Roadway
Don Roadway: Mounds of earth, staging for a future Don Roadway Valley Wall Feature that will eliminate the risk of flooding to the east. South of Lakeshore Boulevard East, and the elevated Gardiner Extension, transformation of the Portlands continue. Snowfalls have abated, so the clear skies mean cold temperatures, still. (Don Roadway, Portlands, Toronto) 20210225

2021/01 Moments January 2021

Mild January weather during pandemic constraints, month ending with snowfalls and cold weather alerts.
Toronto, Ontario

Duncan Street
Duncan Street: From Queen Street West, looking due south, the CN Tower is illuminated, but not with the light show of the previous evening New Year’s Eve. Big flakes of snow starting falling, minutes after taking this shot. Return journey on bicycle covered by glove and coats in white. (Duncan Street south of Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20210101
Massey Harris Park
Massey Harris Park: Pushing silver button on blue stanchion under #JamesMcLeod (2006) “Evolution Unrolling” art canopy doesn’t start water feature, both due to winter season and pandemic restrictions. Overhead pattern evokes rope, chain and DNA, reflecting the times and cultures of the neighbourhood history with headquarters for farm equipment manufacturing. Park replaced one block of Crawford Street thoroughfare, as an affordance for residents of nearby apartments to meet and/or walk their dogs. (Massey Harris Park, King Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20210109
Eastern Avenue at Leslie Street
Eastern Avenue at Leslie Street: Just before lunch, electrical power went out at the house. Reports of a two truck hitting an pole led to @TorontoHydro forecast of service restoration within 4 hours. Biked over to find lineman finishing off rewiring. Lights came back on 30 minutes before sunset. (Eastern Avenue at Leslie Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20210115
Riverdale Park West
Riverdale Park West: Tree carved with owls on top, and raccoon inside, located just south of Riverdale Farm. In the open air, families together and friends socially distanced in clusters, despite the local attractions closed for pandemic lockdown mandated by the province. Horses visible in the pens at the periphery behind closed gates. (Riverdale Park West, Riverdale Park Road at Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20210116
Louis Kesten Lane
Louis Kesten Lane: Extreme cold alert in the laneway behind our house, with snow lingering on the ground from 3 days ago. Bundled up for a walk in the fresh air, but not for very long. Optimistically, the forecast for a week from now could be for rain. (Louis Kesten Lane, Riverside neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario) 20210129

Humber Bay Arch Bridge
Humber Bay Arch Bridge: Skim ice at the mouth of the Humber River gives way to open water flowing south into the bay by Sunnyside. The CN Tower in downtown Toronto is visible to the east. Clear weather saw many pedestrians enjoying fresh air, bundled up for below-freezing temperature. (Humber Bay Arch Bridge, Toronto, Ontario) 20210130

2020/11 Moments November 2020

Day shortening and temperatures dropping meant bundling up for bicycling.
Toronto, Ontario

Queen Street Viaduct
Queen Street Viaduct: Sunset arriving earlier, after the shift back to Standard Time. Looking westward along Queen Street East, the lit windows of bank towers on Bay Street and the CN Tower are familiar orientation points. Temperature dipped, so first day for winter wear for bicycling. (Queen Street Viaduct, Toronto, Ontario) 20201103
Russell Carhouse
Russell Carhouse: North side of maintenance facility for streetcars has painted curves marked “no parking” and “fire route”, towards exit door #1. Tracks curve around the west side, and down Connaught Avenue to the east. Facility was rebuilt in 1924, with other part of fleet housed overnight at Roncesvalles. (Russell Carhouse, 1411 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario) 20201105
Sherbourne Common
Sherbourne Common: From the north of three #JillAnholt (2011) Light Showers towers, water isn’t flowing, probably not restarted in spring 2020 before pandemic shutdowns. The original design treated storm water, to be aerated trickled down the mesh veil southbound to the lake. Unseasonable almost-summer temperatures drew teenagers to hang out arond the playground equipment. (Sherbourne Common, Merchants Wharf, Toronto, Ontario) 20201108
Jennifer Kateryna Koval’s'kyj Park
Jennifer Kateryna Koval’s’kyj Park: Sunset view of Toronto skyline attracts photographers, couples, and friends who take selfies. Crowd lingering, I wonder what event will signal the visit is complete. Official park is a small patch of green, renamed in 1998 after a 6-year who posthumously received a citation for bravery, in trying to protect her grandmother from an attack from a schizophrenic father. (Jennifer Kateryna Koval’s’kyj Park, Polson Street, Toronto Portlands, Ontario) 20201109
Hudson’s Bay Queen Street
Hudson’s Bay Queen Street: Santa Claus still uses mainframe green screen terminals and pneumatic tube transport containers. List of names and geographic coordinates have presumably been checked twice. Animated Christmas displays in store windows have shown up by Remembrance Day. (Hudson’s Bay Queen Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20201111
Ossington Laneway
Ossington Laneway: Rattlesnake sculpture mounted on second-floor alley wall for @thestrumbellas 2019 album release endures. Installation was an unexpected sight while pedalling along Queen Street West, leading to explore a route northbound. Path led to a series of murals on garage doors seeing weather, dropping temperature may see snow within weeks. (Ossington Laneway, Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 2020114
Dundas Street West Chinatown
Dundas Street West Chinatown: Huron Street Square, designed by #KenLum #PennDesign, a modern alternative to traditional arches marking gates into Chinatowns throughout the western world. Modification of the original vision persists one-way street on ordinary days, convertible into a public space on special days. Only a few local residents in the neighbourhood on a cold fall evening. (Huron Street Square, Dundas Street East, Toronto, Ontario) 20201116
South Central Letter Processing Plant
South Central Letter Processing Plant: Animation loop @winnietron “Interchanges” #BigArtTO inspired by seed dispersion in urban flora, and connecting with friends via tangible mail. Three large screen projectors aimed above cars in the parking lot, onto the north wall of a major Canada Post sorting station. Creative invitation to enjoy art in the evening in local neighbourhood, with minimal physical distancing issues during the pandemic. (South Central Letter Processing Plant, Eastern Avenue, Leslieville, Toronto, Ontario) 20201119
Village of Yorkville Park
Village of Yorkville Park: Clusters of red lights in the crabapple trees, and extra lights in the pergola, brighten up pedestrians walking by the dense public park. Warmer than normal temperatures have encouraged visitors to sit in twilight at the movable tables and chairs. Couple appreciate the illumination for selfies. (Village of Yorkville Park, Cumberland Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20201120
Power Plant Gallery
Power Plant Gallery: Between two large screen animations @ThePowerPlantTO, #HowieTsui (2019) Parallax Neon (White Camel Mountain) is a transparency print in lightbox. Show #FromSwellingShadowsWeDrawOurBows mixes Chinese and Colonial cultures in disasporic animations of scrolls. Nightmarish, violent illustrations. (The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario) 20201121
St. Michael’s Cemetery
St. Michael’s Cemetery: Opened in 1855, and at capacity by 1900, the Catholic graveyard originally well outside the city became urbanized with the 1954 arrival of the original Toronto subway system extended one stop further north. Approached from the south, when I noticed headstones beyond a residential driveway. Office towers and apartment buildings to the north, and commercial businesses to the east, hide the sacred grounds to the general public. (St. Michael’s Cemetery, Yonge Street south of St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario) 20201123
Yonge Street at Dundas Street
Yonge Street at Dundas Street: Sign asks “Which side are you on?”, presuming only choices are binary. Peaceful demonstration of the Shut Down Canada Solidarity Action had police on bikes redirecting traffic one major block each direction. Pandemic shutdown means the practically no disruption, with activist serving entertainment on a sleepy early evening. (Yonge Street at Dundas Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20201126

Cherry Street North Bridge
Cherry Street North Bridge: First of four bridges @WaterfrontTO arrived earlier in November, now staged west of the original bascule lift bridge built in 1968. Connection from Corktown south into Villiers Island of 2024 will be linear, straightening out the east then south current routing. Expect new parkland promenades both north and south of the Keating Channel. (Cherry Street North Bridge, Lower Don Lands, Toronto, Ontario) 20201128
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