Shades of Toronto Graffiti (Part 3- Designs)

On the walls of Toronto some of the street art exhibits strong elements of design, such as these examples. I especially like the piece just above, which is painted on a piece of plywood tacked onto the side of a building.

Shades of Toronto Graffiti (Part 2 – P.S)

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I realized after I shot these four images that the faces had similar characteristics and they were all tagged “P.S” and were likely done by the same street artist.   Their creator  favors funky, angular faces and there’s definitely a certain style going on with these.

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Similar Posts:

~ Shades of Toronto Graffiti (Part 1 – Overview)

Seen Its Better Days

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Antique Farm Combine, Near Clarence, Nova Scotia

 

In Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley wintery weather maintains its grip late into March as the province bounces back from the fierce winds and driving snow of this past week’s Noreaster.  Although this old relic of a farm combine sits in a forlorn state shortly after the storm, it’s a beautiful piece of machinery with its pops of orange-red on the wheels and threshers contrasting nicely with the muted colors of the rest of the combine and the bleak surroundings.

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The Daring Canadian Pulps: Oh, My!

Spurred on by a wartime ban on the importation of non-essential foreign goods, including the lurid magazines from below the 49th parallel commonly referred to as “pulps”, the Canadian pulp magazine industry flourished during World War II and the decade after.  Like all good pulp publications, the featured stories often blurred the lines between fiction and reality and routinely served up tales that were risque, grisly, shocking and as often true as not.  Avid readers ate up this stuff!

Adding to its diverse holdings, Library and Archives Canada acquired in the late 1990s a core collection of pulp magazines dating back to the golden post-War era of such publications.  These cover images are from the Archives’s fascinating “Tales From the Vault” exhibition.  Of these covers, I think my favorite might be the fairly simple red-and-black layout above that promises dirt on a Vancouver cult and Winnipeg’s pock-marked Frankenstein. I’ll bite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shades of Toronto Graffiti (Part 1 – Overview)

Toronto, being the big city that it is, has more than its share of diverse street or wall art, more commonly called graffiti.  This isn’t every one’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to ignore the creative expression that goes into these highly stylized works.

Among the varieties to be found gracing the corner wall of an old building, on either side of the occasional alley way or wherever else you may find these quirky pieces are classic graffiti tags, the enigmatic or humorous character scenes, the images laden with social or political messages, and designs that are as much about vibrant colors as anything else.  I took a lot of shots of these recently, so have broken them up with some being posted here and others planned for a later set of shared images.

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Similar Posts on O’Canada:

∅ Ossington Avenue Graffiti

∅ Montreal’s Vibrant Walls of Graffiti

∅ Wall Art a la Montreal

The Good Old Days: Rural Life in Vintage Postcards

Hay Making, Nova Scotia (about 1960)

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Out in the country people work hard, and back in the proverbial good old days they worked even harder.  Whether on a farm, a fishing village or in the forest, rural folk have always had to put their bodies and souls into their labors to eke out a living.

As these vintage postcards from the eastern parts of Canada attest they at least did so amidst beautiful settings.

River Saguenay at Chicoutimi, Quebec (about 1940)

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Ox Cart, Rural Quebec (about 1940)

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Spinning in Rural Quebec (1950)

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Back of Spinning in Rural Quebec (1950):   “Dear Ma – That’s you and me working. Lots of little farms and little houses here. Horses do most of the work. Farms are very small. In winter the men work in the lumber business, in summer farming. Women do fancy work in winter to sell it in the summer. Love Helen”

 

 

Similar posts in O’Canada:

⊕  Quebec Charm in Vintage Postcards

⊕  “Dear Auntie . . don’t be cross”: Scenic British Columbia in Old Postcards

⊕  Moonlit Views of Yesteryear Canada

“Three Things . . .”

Graffiti Sunburst, Kensington Market, Toronto

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.”                          

                                      ~ Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)

“I’ll Meet You There”

Can’t help but smile about this quirky handmade sign stumbled upon recently in the Kensington Market district of Toronto.

The words are from a poem by Rumi that is generally understood to be about putting aside judgments that divide people and instead to focus on appreciating the wonders of being and the things that connect us all.

William Kurelek and Winter on the Prairie

W. Kurelek, "Home on the Range" (1967)

W. Kurelek, “Home on the Range” (1967)

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On previous visits to the AGO in Toronto I’ve noticed William Kurelek’s paintings but for some reason his artwork stood out more notably on my most recent visit.  Perhaps this was because my trip there was during a week of extreme cold just before year-end and many of Kurelek’s scenes on display at the AGO are prominently set during the winter.

Kurelek’s parents were Ukrainian immigrants to Canada and settled in the prairie regions, initially in Alberta and later, after his parents lost their farm during the Great Depression, in Manitoba.  Winters can be harsh in much of Canada, but the vast unpopulated stretches of the country’s midsection make for a particularly stark cold season.  While a viewer of his paintings can find other themes in his work (for example, his Catholicism or the influence of Hieronymous Bosch in Kurelek’s “Harvest of Our Mere Humanism Years” below), the experiences of his family and his youth on the Canadian prairie permeate many of his paintings, often in dichotomies. Thus, one can glean the tough slogging of farm work during winter (such as in “Child With Feed in Winter” below) as well as the whimsy and high-spiritedeness of childhood even in the midst of endless snowscapes or the as yet unknowable worries of the adult world (such as with “Reminiscences of Youth” and “After the Blizzard in Manitoba”, both also below).

Kurelek was a prolific painter and other aspects of life on the Canadian prairies can be found in his extensive body of work, but at this time of the year his “winter works” speak most clearly to me.   The collaborative art site William Kurelek / The Messenger is a terrific resource for more background on this notable artist and his distinctively Canadian art.

W. Kurelek, “Reminiscences of Youth” (1968)

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W. Kurelek, “Untitled (Child With Feed in Winter)” (1967)

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W. Kurelek, “After the Blizzard in Manitoba” (1967)

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W. Kurelek, “Sunset Cape Dorset Airstrip” (1968)

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W. Kurelek, “Harvest of Our Mere Humanism Years” (1972)

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W. Kurelek, “Wintertime North of Winnipeg” (1962)

 

Similar Posts on O’Canada:

♦  Magical Winterscapes By Group of Seven

♦  Bob Pitzel’s Art of the Vanishing Prairie

♦  Retro Winter Recreation and Travel Ads

Go Fish!

During the week after Christmas Toronto’s temperature plummeted to a 57-year record low.  Brrrrr!  Bundled up tightly against such crazy wintery weather, the day was slightly brightened by coming across this group of colorful sculptures of fishing bobbins.  Situated in Canoe Landing Park in the CityPlace neighborhood, these cheerful works were created by noted Vancouver artist Douglas Coupland.  Elsewhere in the park there is an oversized sculpture of a red canoe (also by Coupland), in which park-goers can sit and look out across Gardiner Expressway toward nearby Lake Ontario.  Clever and fun subject for sculptures and another great example of the vibrant public art that can be found throughout metro Toronto.

 

Fred Herzog’s Vintage Vancouver

Fred Herzog, Bogner’s Grocery (1960)

I’ve seen the street photography of Fred Herzog previously but a brief essay by Geoff Dyer in today’s New York Times Magazine prompted me to look anew at Herzog’s work.  Herzog came to Canada in the early 1950s from Germany and from the late 1950s through the 1960s pioneered color street photography in his adopted city of Vancouver.  His candid shots provide a splendid if unvarnished documentary of the city and its people during that period.  The vintage images also subtly illustrate many things that have changed in Vancouver and other urban areas throughout Canada (and America) in the past several decades.

More of Herzog’s work can be seen at Vancouver’s Equinox Gallery and on its website.

Fred Herzog, 2nd Hand Store Boy (1959)

 

Fred Herzog, Alexander Street (1967)

 

Fred Herzog, Granville Street from Granville Bridge (1966)

 

Fred Herzog, Granville/Robson (1959)

 

Fred Herzog, White Lunch Granville (1959)

 

Photo Credits:  Fred Herzog and Equinox Gallery

Similar Posts on O’Canada:

⊕  Vintage / Mod Design: The City Bus

⊕  Love These Vintage Neon and Bulb Signs

⊕  Regent Gas Station and Sleek Modern Design

Hello, Yellow . . .

Sun Carving by Local Artists David Taylor, Black Rock, N.S.

A collection of yellows from various photo outings across Canada to brighten the impending blue of winter.

Similar posts on O’Canada:

→ Green With Envy

→ Joy of the Blues

Seeing Red 

Weathered Blue Barn

Rustic Old Barn, Phinney’s Cove, N.S.

Aside from its overall weathered appearance and striking shades of blue, this barn stands out for its second-story house-style doors and its slightly asymmetrical design with an upper window thrown in for good measure.

Artist to Appreciate: Miyoshi Kondo

M. Kondo, Take Off 2011

Miyoshi Kondo, Take Off (2011)

Many of Miyoshi Kondo’s brightly colored gouache paintings may appear at first to convey images of pure whimsy, but looking deeper there is very thoughtful and wry commentary at work in her art.   Among the themes that Kondo explores in her recent art are concepts of home and place, our relationship to the environment, and how technology influences us in ways both positive and less than desirable.  Overall, I discern a strong sense of optimism that comes through in her art, which I think is reflective of this highly personable artist herself.

Originally from Toronto and a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Kondo’s distinctive style is a wonderful example of the vibrant arts scene in and around the charming town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where she resides, and the province generally.  She is also among the many fine artists represented by the very progressive Argyle Fine Arts in Halifax.

More of Kondo’s terrific work can be seen at her official artist site here and at Argyle’s site here.

M. Kondo, Take Me Home 2016

Miyoshi Kondo, Take Me Home (2016)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Life is A Highway (2017)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Seaside (2013)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Flight (2017)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Excess Baggage Messenger (2017)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Holdout (2015)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Hung to Dry (2013)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Over the Edge (2010)

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Miyoshi Kondo, Red Rooves (2010)

(Image Credits: Miyoshi Kondo)

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall . . .

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Walking Path Along the Shore, Kejimkujik Seaside, N.S.

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”

                                                    ~ Henry David Thoreau

Vintage Cover Art: The Goblin

Prior to the great stock market crash at the end of the decade and the ensuing economic chaos, the prevalent mood of the 1920s in many places was upbeat and carefree. Magazine covers from the era typify this, including these fabulous illustrations from Canada’s Goblin, a monthly humor magazine.  Launched in 1921, it was in print for about ten years during which time its highly stylized, and at times witty, covers helped it to become Canada’s then most widely circulated magazine.

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(Image Source:  University of Toronto Archives)

“Maudie”

Before seeing the acclaimed “Maudie,” I knew a little about Maud Lewis and her folk art but I was unaware of her life story and the everyday struggles that she faced from a very early age.  Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke each give deft performances in this emotionally touching movie about persevering and finding happiness in the face of difficult circumstances.  There are notes of grace here, along with a number of tear-jerker moments.

Lewis received some early art instruction as a child from her mother, with whom Lewis would make homemade Christmas cards to sell.  From this basic foundation, Lewis’s many, mostly smallish paintings of bright-colored animals, plants and farm and shore scenes provided her solace in the face of a hardscrabble life in rural Nova Scotia.  The occasional sale of her artworks eventually provided a modest income for her and her husband, Everett, in the later years of their lives.  The movie does a nice job exploring the initially reticent relationship that the two shared and the deep interdependent love that they came to nurture.  A more thorough overview of Lewis’s life can be found in the online Canadian Encyclopedia.

(On a side note, for those familiar with the Maritime Provinces, the rocky shoreline and cozy coastal villages featured in the film will be recognized as distinctively those of Newfoundland, which is where much of the movie was filmed.  Quite ironic given the subject matter and that there are, of course, many beautiful vistas in Nova Scotia.  The explanation for the filming in a different province appears to be the greater availability of film production tax credits in the more northern province.)

Similar posts on O’Canada:

Denny Lunn’s Buoyant Folk Art

Vintage Tools From 1912 Hardware Catalogue

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Because I love doing projects that involve hand tools I probably have way more than any reasonable person should have.  But if you work enough with your hands you know that the right tool makes all the difference.  Traditional hardware stores are now a dying breed of retail but back in the day they were the one-stop shop for most tool needs. The McLennan, McFeely & Co. Hardware Store opened in Vancouver in 1885 and for many years was a substantial business enterprise.

These pages are from that merchant’s 1912 catalogue.  Among the wrenches above, the crescent adjustable wrench must have made quite a splash because it was only first introduced around 1907 and to this day is a standard in any well-equipped tool box. Though less common nowadays, variations of the hand drills pictured below can still be found today and are quite useful.

The City of Vancouver Archives has digitized some of the old McLennan, McFeely catalogues, and flipping through the pages makes for an interesting diversion as you ponder how much more laborious it was to do various chores over a century ago.

Hand Drills

Connectedness

Pebbles along Hampton Wharf Beach, N.S.

“Oh, but I can hear you, loud in the center / Aren’t we made to be crowded together . . .”

                                    ~ Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), “Third of May” 

More pebbles on Hampton Wharf Beach, N.S.

Notes:  

1.  Kristina Boardman’s wonderful pebble paintings, which I highlighted in a post last year, inspired me to take these photos along the shore.  Her paintings show why even with the amazing capabilities of digital photography, masterful paintings by talented artists of a given subject capture an expressive element that photos can’t match.

2.  Fleet Foxes, one of my favorite folk-rock groups, after a several years’ hiatus released the album “Crack-Up” earlier this year, which contains the song from which the above quote is taken.  While the song is principally about Pecknold’s challenging relationship (like most!) with a close friend, like many Fleet Foxes songs it also contains some thoughtful ruminations on life.  For me, the line quoted above conveys nicely how we as people are meant to be social and connected, in varying degrees, and how goodness and purpose flow from that.   Song video below.

 

Sarah Hatton’s Visual Creativity

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Sarah Hatton, Vimy (2015)

I’m always impressed with how a talented creative person can take a concept and come up with an unexpected interpretation that enables others to understand an aspect of that concept from a dramatically different perspective.  Such is the case with Sarah Hatton, a contemporary visual artist based in Chelsea, Quebec, who has developed a knack for employing non-traditional materials in service to her artistic vision.

Her “Detachment” series utilizes thousands of brass fastener pins, each originally stamped with a star on its head, salvaged from archival paper records maintained on Canadian soldiers during their WWI service and repurposes these pins to map out constellations of stars matching those that the soldiers would have seen during key battles of the time. This video from her artist site gives a nice overview of this brilliant work.

S. Hatton

Another body of her work seeks to raise awareness about the adverse effects of pesticides on declining honeybee populations.   This award-winning work incorporates dead bees into depictions of some of the natural geometric patterns found in the flora pollinated by these indispensable but threatened creatures. Wow!

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Sarah Hatton, Circle 1 (2013)

Hatton is also an accomplished painter.  Her artist site showcases several series of imaginative paintings that reflect her curiosity about the natural world and individual mortality.  I especially like her “Fathom” series, which seems to play with ideas about the vulnerability and comfort that we feel with watery environments.

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Sarah Hatton, Fathom 3 (2014)

I encourage you to view more of Hatton’s excellent work at her artist site here as well as the several galleries that represent her, such as Ottawa’s Galerie St- Laurent-Hill or the James Baird Gallery in Pouch Cove, NL.

(Image Credits: Sarah Hatton)

 

Cool Vintage Junkyard For Sale

I came across a news story that led me to a real estate listing for a well-organized junkyard in Tappen, British Columbia with over 300 vintage cars and trucks crammed into 5 acres.  Along with the land comes a few buildings and all of the classic junkers to boot.  Asking price is almost CDN $1.5 million!

The colorful pictures taken by the selling real estate agency (Century 21 Agent Hudson Purba) are superb, several of which are posted here (more can be viewed on the listing site).  This throwback reminds me of Old Car City in northwest Georgia, a salvage yard dating to the 1930s which is filled with truly old rusty vehicles that Mother Nature has slowly reclaimed. Both places are full of eye-candy for photographers and the just plain curious.

(Image credits:  Century 21 Agent Hudson Purba)

“Now! All Together”: Songs From Long Ago

Songbooks fascinate me, particularly when they highlight song variations from earlier times.  So while browsing through a dusty stack of materials in a used bookstore a few months ago I was drawn in by this 8-page vintage booklet of songs, which was printed as a promotion around 1930 by the Dominion Life Assurance Company of Waterloo, Ontario.

This bit of ephemera is spare of graphics and contains a wide variety of songs, including songs specific to Canada (such as “O Canada!” and “Alouette”), American standards (“Home on  the Range” and “She’ll Be Coming’ Round the Mountain”), and songs indicating the then closer historical connection to Great Britain (“God Save the King” and “Loch Lomond”).  A few of these have lyrics that would not be considered racially sensitive but presumably reflected the time back then.   It’s an interesting mix of tunes, many that I’ve not heard in ages and others for which I only knew a line or two of the lyrics.

(Click image to enlarge)

Similar posts on O’Canada:

Songs & Ballads From Nova Scotia

Summer Evening On the Shore

Evening Sunset, Phinney’s Cove, Nova Scotia

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

                                                       ~ Rabindranath Tagore

 

In Praise of Aislinn Hunter’s “Linger, Still”

Earlier this year, Gaspereau Press, a small press in Kentville, Nova Scotia devoted to exquisite bookmaking, released Linger, StillAislinn Hunter’s most recent poetry collection.  (Aside from the wonderful writing, I think it’s great that a brilliant writer from Vancouver is published by one of the country’s highest caliber presses, all the way on the opposite coast.)

Hunter has penned many riveting pieces in this volume, which I highly recommend. Here’s one of her standouts for me:

Esk, Part V.

The starry heads of the woodruff

are saying No to the wind,

 

though they might also be nodding along

to the song of their own great ideas.

 

Still, today it feels like

the clock of the world,

 

its ticking heart,

is less fired-up than usual.

 

The talk last night was of violence,

and the right to be offended.

 

Tonight I’ll aim for lightness

and fail —

 

forget the names

of the field flowers,

 

say the wrong things at dinner,

ghost past the dusky mirror.

 

I’ll try to talk about the girl I met

at a workshop in London,

 

the one whose brother

mounted neon signs

 

on the outside walls

of cemeteries —

 

YOU ARE STILL ALIVE one said,

in a pulsing red fluorescence.

 

YOU ARE STILL

ALIVE.

           ~ Aislinn Hunter

Halifax’s Manhole Covers

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While recently running an errand in Halifax I snapped these manhole covers as examples of subtle industrial design.  I didn’t notice as much variety among them as I’ve seen in other cities but that’s probably because I collected these so quickly.  Still, there are a few distinctive examples to see, including one that’s a square cover formed by two triangles.

Similar posts on O’Canada:

⊗ Creativity Afoot:  Toronto’s Varied Manhole Covers

⊕ Manhole Covers of Quebec City

Denny Lunn’s Buoyant Folk Art

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During a recent visit to the Low Tide Gallery in Bridgetown, N.S., I encountered the colorfully vibrant work of Denny Lunn.  He is a self-taught artist who first took up painting in his mid-70s and whose style is best described as being within the folk art tradition.

Lunn lives in the Annapolis Valley area and, like many folk artists, his subject matter reflects his community, which for him are the coastal and agricultural landscapes of Nova Scotia.  These are scenes that I suspect many Canadians are familiar with — depictions of the maritime shore, lobster and fishing boats, winter skating and hockey, and cows in pastures that joyfully capture the province’s landscape in bright colors.  For Lunn just about any available surface suffices as a canvas for his art, including fishing buoys, shovels, hand saws, paddles, milk buckets, baking tins, rocks, driftwood or any other utilitarian or natural object readily at hand, with every nook and cranny becoming filled with glorious detail.

Some of the imagery takes artistic license and doesn’t fit with the actual landscape but nevertheless conveys a consistent imaginative sensibility.   Thus, in some of Lunn’s paintings snow-covered mountain peaks hover in the background while boats sail along in summer waters.

Low Tide Gallery proprietor Steve Skafte, who is a writer, fine art photographer and genuinely nice fellow with terrific insights and is passionate about the authenticity of Lunn’s art, deserves great credit for helping bring more attention to Lunn.  Skafte created the above documentary video and this coming Sunday, July 30, his gallery will kick off a showcase of Lunn’s work.  It will be well worth visiting if you are nearby.  When Canadians think of folk artists, fellow Nova Scotian Maud Lewis frequently comes to mind (the Nova Scotia Gallery of Art has an exhibit of her work) and she was certainly one of the country’s more prominent such artists.  I believe Lunn deserves to be in her company.

More about Lunn’s work and the gallery is available on the Low Tide Gallery Facebook page.

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Steven Skafte displaying some of Denny Lunn’s works.

 

 

Regent Gas Station and Sleek Modern Design

Regent Gas Station (Left View), Toronto (1949),
Designed by John Parkin, Photo by Hugh Robertson

Although these vintage images only showcase a humble gas station they’re amazingly good! That’s because they combine the modernist industrial design of distinguished Toronto architect John Parkin and the often-dramatic photography of Hugh Robertson and his team at Toronto’s former Panda Associates firm, both of whom helped popularize modern design in Canada during the 1950s and 60s.

Regent Gas Station (Right View), Toronto (1949),
Designed by John Parkin, Photo by Hugh Robertson

A trove of other vintage architectural photos can be seen at the Panda Associates Digital Image Collection, Canadian Architectural Archives, which is maintained by the University of Calgary, and in the book John C. Parkin, Archives and Photography: Reflections on the Practice and Presentation of Modern Architecture (University of Calgary Press 2013).

(Image Credits:  Hugh Robertson/Panda Associates, Canadian Architectural Archives, University of Calgary)

Happy Canada Day 150!

Quiet Morning Along the Rocky Shore, Kejimkujik Seaside, N.S.

Happy Canada Day!  

As many know, throughout 2017 Canada has been marking its 150th anniversary as a confederation.   Of course, the history of the country is much richer and extends more than twice as far into the past. More notably, in recent years Canada has truly shined as a stellar example on the world stage.  Like any country, it has its issues but it generally gets a lot of things right and that resilient effort, its vibrant culture and its wonderful people deserve immense appreciation.

Best wishes on this day and in this year and for 150 more! 

The Calgary Stampede: “A Romping Rangeland Rumpus”

Calgary Stampede 1912Poster from First Calgary Stampede in 1912

Many people associate Calgary, affectionately nicknamed “Cowtown”, with its annual summer Stampede in the same way that a place like New Orleans is tied to Mardi Gras. The character of those places seems inextricably linked to these major civic festivals. Prior to the area’s post-WWII oil boom, Calgary was predominantly an agricultural area and held a traditional yearly agricultural fair called the Calgary Industrial Exhibition.

The Stampede was conceived in 1912 by an American rodeo promoter, Guy Weadick, as a way to add a cowboy-themed element to the fairly staid farm-focused Exhibition.   After some fits and starts the two events combined in 1923, with the Stampede under Weadick’s longtime guidance eventually overshadowing the Exhibition.   Ever since, the cowboy theme has stuck with Calgary even though agriculture, farming and ranching are now only a very small part of its economy.   This year’s Stampede will take place July 7-16 and, as can be seen on the official Stampede site, will be quite a spectacle with something to offer just about everyone.

 

 

 

Image Credits:  Calgary Stampede Archive, University of Calgary

Canadian Music Vibes: A Little Folk Rock, Alt Rock, Reggae, Traditional . . .

 

I truly love all sorts of music and I thought I might share a few tunes that showcase the wide diversity of offerings by Canada’s talented musicians. Since it’s always hard to choose favorites and there are way too many other performances — oh my gosh, so many good ones! — that I appreciate from this country, I’ll just note that the songs below are among those that I like a great deal because they inspire me, move me or just make me smile.

 

(The titles below are linked to YouTube videos.)

⇒Joni Mitchell, “The Circle Game”

⇒Neil Young (with The Band and Joni Mitchell), “Helpless” 

Leonard Cohen, “Hallelujah”

Johnny Osbourne & Bunny Brown, “Love Makes The World Go Round”

⇒Noel Ellis, Jackie Mittoo, Willie Williams & Jerry Brown, “Rocking Universally”

Gordon Lightfooot, “If You Could Read My Mind”

⇒Len, “Steal My Sunshine”

⇒Stompin Tom Connors, “Muleskinner Blues”

Alan Mills, “A La Claire Fontaine”

Alanis Morissette (with Salif Keita), “The Prayer Cycle Movement I – Mercy”

 

 

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Community and the Restoration of 174-Year Old St. Croix Cove Church

Personal confession:  I fit most comfortably in the “spiritual but not religious” persuasion, and especially value the sense of human connectedness and community that touches all of us, which spiritual and religious traditions tend to foster.  With that in mind, I thought this post would be fitting for a Sunday.

About a year ago I posted some photos I snapped one late-Spring afternoon of a well-weathered but cozy church picturesquely situated on the Bay of Fundy in the rural community of St. Croix Cove, N.S.   As a modest amateur photographer I was happy to see the photos used a few months later to promote a chapel choir concert by Acadia University.  Now these images have been put to an even more appropriate use to assist with a just-launched GoFundMe campaign to restore this almost 175-year old structure.

Darla Mitchell, who grew up in the St. Croix Cove area and is one of the organizers of the restoration effort, notes on the GoFundMe site:

“Many people have come to love this little church and the surrounding communities. Countless photographers have admired its simple sturdy lines, people share memories of first communions and every Christmas multiple generations return to fill the church to sing carols, hear the Christmas story and continue the traditions of our grandparents and great grandparents. Most importantly, gathering in fellowship with each other. “
I love how this project and this enduring church represent so much about the best aspects of community connections.  Other interesting historical and architectural details about this lovely church and the restoration campaign can be found on the GoFundMe site here.

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The historic St. Croix Cove Church

 

Artist to Appreciate: Mary Garoutte

Mary Garoutte, “Sundown, Lincoln Street” (2015)

What strikes me most about Mary Garoutte’s urban landscape paintings is the way she highlights the play of light at the beginning and the end of days.  These quiet periods that brim with potential, while also evoking a mixed sense of meditative loneliness and reflection, seem to be as much the subject matter of her work as are the historic houses and store fronts of Halifax, where she is based.  Garoutte cites the Group of Seven artists and Wayne Thiebaud as among key influences on her art, which are evident in her choice of colors and the strong textural brush strokes on her canvases.  Her wonderful art also brings to mind for me the feelings of solitude conveyed by Edward Hopper in his own paintings of dwelling places during the quiet hours.

More of Garoutte’s work can be seen on her artist website here and is also available through Argyle Fine Art.

Mary Garoutte, “Yellow Door (Falkland Street)” (2013) 

Mary Garoutte, “100 Montague Street” (2015)

  

Mary Garoutte, “Dwellings (Light in the Window)” (2015)

Mary Garoutte, “Glass House” (2016)

Mary Garoutte, “Single Dweller” (2016)

Mary Garoutte, “Late Night Visit” (2016)

Mary Garoutte, “Red Bicycle, Young Street” (2014)

Mary Garoutte, “Sunset on Agricola Street” (2013) 

Similar posts on O’Canada:

—  Artist to Appreciate: Katharine Burns

—  Stewart Jones’s Vivid Cityscapes

—  Artist to Appreciate: Christopher Pratt

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