I recently visited Crawford Lake, located NW of Toronto, near the City of Milton. Crawford Lake is a conservation area that is managed by Conservation Halton, which is a regional land use administrative authority.
Although Crawford Lake Park is named after a farming family that settled by the lake, the park is known for the reconstructed Indigenous longhouses located on the site. The original inhabitants of this site were Nations of the Iroqoian linguistic group, who occupied a village on the site from around the 13th to the 17th centuries.
Three of the longhouses have been reconstructed and are used as presentation spaces and to display artifacts found during archaeological investigations at the site.
The images presented focus on the wooden structure of the longhouse. They are also being posted in conjunction with this week’s theme of Black & White Sunday: Structure on Paula’s Lost in Translation blog.
The basic structure consists of tree trunks that are buried in the earth, and connected at the top with flexible poles. The cladding consists of bark from trees. I am unsure of the materials used to construct the roof membrane.
Over the centuries, stone masons have been known to chisel their unique, distinguishing mark into a stone, leaving their signature for future generations. Moving forward in time to the past century, concrete has become a prolific construction material.
Here in Toronto, I have discovered that sidewalk installers have been keen to embed their “signatures” in freshly laid concrete. Here are a few examples of modern day concrete markers, indicating the dates when the concrete was installed. These are my submissions in response to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Numbers for this week.
For the budding urban archeologist, these sidewalk markers can be used to determine the dates of previous infrastructure upgrades, and identify the businesses that were active in their trade at that time. Anyone interested in doing some sidewalk rubbings?
Functionality is the theme this week for my Thursday Doors contribution. You can label it brutalism, you can call it minimalism – these doors serve a specific function. There is very little unknown about what lies behind these doors.
Most of these doors are contemporary and have very little aesthetic value. However, it is interesting to look at the high voltage access door, where the designers still felt it was important to surround the door with an art deco frame. This is a more attractive door, which may be interesting to the passing public, even though entry remains strictly controlled.
I selected a couple of images of old wheels to post in response to Cee’s weekly Black and White Photo Challenge for this week. These wheels belong to old carts that were the primary means of transporting commodities in their day. Presently, they are on display for public viewing at museums or antique shops, as a reminder of the past.
The Cumnock Star wagon was built in the 1870’s and operated on a round trip route between Cumnock and Molong, in central New South Wales, Australia. This wagon was drawn by a team of 9 clydesdales, carrying wheat in one direction, and beer, spirits and supplies in the opposite direction. The Aussies have always needed to be well supplied!
The old cart and wheelbarrows are on display at the Weald and Downland Living Museum, located in southern England, and the subject of one of my previous blog posts.
I have discovered that Toronto is a great source for taking photos of garage doors. Here are a few local doors as my contribution this week to Norm’s Thursday Doors blog.
Most of these garage doors are provided for use by automobiles, which continue to dominate our urban landscape. My favourite image in this set is titled a drive down memory lane. The painting of an circa 1960 American convertible rolling down a country lane brings back memories of a more innocent past when cars were king, and the size of a pocket cruiser!
For many cyclists who have owned a bicycle for a long time, it is difficult to give up on the old, trusty machine when it has truly passed its functional life cycle. How can you recycle a bicycle?
Some tips are provided on the internet. One pessimistic suggestion is to just leave the bicycle unlocked on the street, and it will soon disappear and become someone else’s solution – or problem. Some bikes can be dismantled, and the components reused on another bike, or crafted into some unique decoration.
The following images illustrate other approaches to repurposing old bicycles. Some have been strung up on a wall and used as signposts. Others have been sprayed with neon paint to attract the attention of a passer-by – it is intersting to note that these bicycles have still been secured to their final resting place with a lock and chain, regardless of their lack of functionality.
On two occasions over the past decade, I have visited the Louvre Museum in Paris. On both of my visits, I viewed The Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci. This is my first example of the use of this week’s theme word – I am certain that an infrequent visitor to the Louvre, like me, will “typically” view this iconic painting during a tour of the museum.
I took a photograph during each visit, and both images display a “typical” crowd of viewers crowded around the painting. Cameras and mobiles ready to shoot.
Perhaps “atypically,” there is one person in each image who is pointing a camera or phone in the opposite direction. The 2016 version is likely for a selfie, but not the earlier version.
These images have been posted in response to Paula’s Lost in Translation challenge for this week – Typical.
This is my third and final post on the downtown Toronto buildings that I visited as part of Doors Open Toronto. Before I describe these buildings, I thought that I would provide some more background on the event.
Doors Open Toronto provides an opportunity to visit buildings in the GTA that may or may not be regularly open to the public. The event also includes walking tours and other special events such as guest speakers, visits to architects’ offices and concerts.
This event was originally developed by the City of Toronto as a millennium project in 2000, and just completed its 18th annual showing, on the last weekend in May. Toronto was the first North American city to offer a Doors Open program, which has inspired many similar events. The event relies on all of the participating businesses and organizations, the financial support of several sponsors, and the efforts of many volunteers.
The Toronto Star newspaper (one of the sponsors) publishes a broadsheet map and listing of all of the opening buildings a couple of weeks before the event. This is very useful for planning your itinerary. The City of Toronto also maintains a website that lists all of the buildings and provides some background information on each one.
Some of the most useful information on the website includes the photography regulations for each site. There are three basic options for shooting indoors: not permitted; permitted without tripod; or permitted with or without tripod. There are similar levels of restrictions on interior filming. I have discovered in other indoor shooting in Toronto that there is a lot of emphasis placed on governing the use of tripods. I am at a loss to understand why tripods are not allowed inside some buildings.
The theme for this set of images is social spaces. First on my itinerary was St. George’s Hall, which is home to the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto. This building – opened in 1891 – was originally the home of the St. George’s Society, a charitable organization which supported new immigrants to Toronto. The A&L Club moved in as a tenant in 1920 and, much later, purchased the building in 1986.
As this is a private club, public access on the weekend was a special occasion. It was only in 1985 that the Club welcomed women as members. The Club has a permanent art collection on display, and also exhibits artistic work by its club members. In the 1920’s, the Club became a meeting place for artists, some of whom became known as the Group of Seven. They included J.E.H. MacDonald, who was Club President from 1928 to 1930.
Massey Hall is a concert hall that was first opened in 1894. The building was financed by Hart Massey, a devout Methodist and a founder of the Massey-Harris agricultural equipment corporation. Massey donated the hall to the city for “musical entertainments of a moral and religious character, evangelical, educational, temperance, and benevolent work.” The temperance movement was an important part of the hall’s history, as no alcohol was allowed on the premises until a bar – named Centuries – was opened 100 years later.
Massey Hall was the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir until 1982, when both groups moved into their new location at Roy Thompson Hall. Both of these facilities are collectively managed by one non-profit corporation. Massey Hall is now primarily used for rock concerts, and it can seat about 2,700 patrons.
The fire escapes were added to the front facade in 1911 to improve fire exiting. A revitalization project, to be funded as part of the development of a nearby condominium on Yonge Street, will address some of the shortcomings in public gathering areas outside the main hall and the backstage area. If the project renderings are to be believed, the exterior fire escapes will be removed as part of the upgrade.
The address of Massey Hall is listed as 178 Victoria Street, yet the main entry doors and box office are actually located on Shuter Street. I find this confusing.
St. Lawrence Hall is located one block north of the St. Lawrence Market. The hall was constructed in 1850 and it was Toronto’s first large meeting hall. It was named for the downtown neighbourhood, or ward, where it is located.
When the hall first opened, thousands of African American slaves were fleeing to Canada after the US Congress enacted the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The hall became an important meeting place for the abolitionist movement, and hosted the North American Convention of Colored Freemen in 1851.
The opening of larger performance centres, such as Massey Hall in the 1890’s, led to a decline in use of St. Lawrence Hall. However, it was refurbished in 1967 as part of a centennial project, and is now a popular venue for weddings, conferences and art shows.
I like the symmetry of the front entrance and facade. Too bad that the period street lights were not so precisely aligned.
This is my second contribution to the Lost in Translation blog Black & White Sunday Photo Challenge. This week’s topic is “Traces of the Past Y2-06,” which instantly reminded me of images I have taken of ancient standing stone monuments in my travels in the UK. I enjoy visiting sites like these because they stimulate your imagination, and make you wonder how these structures were used when they were first built.
The portal into the past is probably the most recognizable image, as Stonehenge is a popular tourist destination, located in Wiltshire in southern England. It is a neolithic standing stone circle that is several 1000’s of years old.
Lanyon Quoit is much lesser known. Located in Cornwall, south-west England, this stone structure was once part of a dolmen, or ancient tomb. The stones that remain are a reconstruction of the original tomb, with many missing parts.
The theme for my second part on Doors Open Toronto is the judicial system. I visited two buildings along Queen Street West that accommodate the courts and other aspects of the legal system.
Osgoode Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Toronto. It houses the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice and the Law Society of Upper Canada. The facade has a lot of neo-classical elements that convey an “orderly” message – hence my photo title Law and Order.
Lawyers and paralegals in Ontario are self-governed, and the Law Society of Upper Canada, originally established in 1797, is responsible for this role. The Law Society is governed by a board of directors, who are referred to as “benchers.” The present Benchers’ Quarters are located in the original east wing of Osgoode Hall, which was opened in 1832. Several steps lead up to the Benchers’ Entrance which is sheltered under a portico. Parts of the steps and surrounding stone work were recently repaired or replaced.
Old City Hall was opened in 1899 as the third city hall for the growing City of Toronto. It originally accommodated both city hall and court facilities, but it now operates solely as a courthouse.
There is a great amount of detail in the stone carvings that surround the building. Some of the faces that appear around the front entrance are said to resemble some of the city councillors from the time of construction. If you look carefully, you can read the “Municipal Buildings” carved into the frieze above the front entry.