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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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

“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.

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.

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

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.

 

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)

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

 

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! 

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

 

Patience . . . But Ready For Spring

Can Spring just come on and get here already?

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Daisies Along a Rocky Path, Near Black Rock, N.S.

“The progress of the intellect is to the clearer vision of causes, which neglects surface differences.  To the poet, the philosopher, the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all [persons] divine.”

                                                                    ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Vintage / Mod Design: The City Bus

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City Bus on Vancouver Street (about mid-1950s)

Distinctive industrial design reveals itself in many ways and, when done well, can be a genuine pleasure to take in.   While the specialness of such design is often difficult to see in our contemporary surroundings, its otherwise subtle impact jumps out when looking back at vintage images. A case in point: the humble municipal bus, operated in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and other cities across Canada.  Over this period theses buses began to display a very mod sensibility as they evolved from the severe boxiness of earlier 1930s and 1940s versions to later, during the 1950s through the 1970s, being adorned with more rounded contours, sleek curves and very stylized lines and chrome elements.

Toronto Loves Public Art!

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“Large Two Forms” (1966 & 1969), Henry Moore

Toronto’s diversity is reflected in the wide array of public art, especially sculpture, that can be seen on block after block in its downtown core.  Encounters with public art as we hustle from place to place provide moments for reflection and inspiration and help to remind us of our connections to deeper things and to one another.

These pieces from out and about merely scratch the surface of the city’s offerings. (I forgot to get the titles for a couple of these pieces.)

Angela Carlsen’s Retro Americana Art

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Angela Carlsen, “Boulevard Drive In”

If you take creative photography, neon signs and other roadside kitsch and mix them together with a retro-pop art sensibility, for me that’s a winning formula and is the approach taken by Nova Scotia-based artist, Angela Carlsen with her artwork.   Much of her recent mixed media art focuses on bygone Americana as a result of her road trips over the last few years through the American West.   Vanishing roadside relics, such as those depicted in this sampling, comprise a significant part of both the Canadian and America car cultures, and her work serves as a fitting artistic bridge between them.

You can see more of her retro art at Carlsen’s artist site here.  She’s also represented by Argyle Fine Art in Halifax.

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Angela Carlsen, “Copper Manor Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Fresh Donuts”

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Angela Carlsen, “Supai Motel”

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Angela Carlsen, “Four Winds Motel”

Related posts on O’Canada:

Artist to Appreciate: Katharine Burns

Artist Appreciation: Andrew Horne

Vintage Quebec: Helen’s Motel

— Acadia Theatre’s Classic Neon Splendor!

Broke-Down Farm Equipment

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Abandoned barns, decrepit factories and broken down equipment fascinate me.  I ponder the stories behind these once highly functional things that now rest in a decaying state. As testament to the utility of the wheel, the circular form is often present in such man-made landscapes.  There’s also the mystery, mundane though it may be, about why particular discarded objects come to be abandoned in a given place and usually piled together randomly with other well-worn debris.  The unkempt farm field, the ramshackle shed off to the side of a property or the makeshift junkyard along an overgrown  path all withhold such stories.

These photos of old farm equipment are from just such a place alongside a back-country road I happened upon early one morning near Granville Ferry, N.S.

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Related Posts:

— Andrea Kastner and Rejected Things

— Scenic Northville Farm Heritage Center, Annapolis Valley, N.S.

— Old Farm Tractor Along Charlevoix / St. Lawrence Shore

The Ancient Prayers of Compline

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I’m definitely an amateur photographer at best.  So I was pleased to be asked recently to allow a photo I’d taken of a simple, well-worn pew inside an old church on the Nova Scotia shore to be used for a poster for an upcoming concert  by Acadia University’s distinguished Manning Chapel Choir.  Of course, I was more than happy to do so (and the request  made my day)!

The sunset concert of Compline, or night prayers, will be sung, appropriately, in a former old church in the small town of Harbourville on the Bay of Fundy about a week before Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.  The concert poster is above and the original blog post and series of photos that prompted the request is here.  More about the concert and the Manning Chapel Choir can be found here.

Green With Envy

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Headstones, Old Burying Ground, Halifax

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Given its immense size, Canada is blessed with vast forests, sprawling farms and sweeping fields all of green.  Adding to previous posts featuring red- and blue-themed photo galleries, this collection showcases many shades of green that I’ve encountered through my photos from coast to coast across Canada.

For the Love of Old Barns

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Rustic Barn with Red Doors, Windows and Roof, Ile d’Orleans, Quebec

“I’m so glad you’re here . . . 

It helps me realize how beautiful my world is.”

                                                              ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Joy of the Blues

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Small Fishing Boat, Near Port Rexton, Newfoundland

I love playing around with themes.  In an earlier post, I grouped together a bunch of my photos from across Canada that featured a strong element of red.  Today, I thought I’d do a similar thing with some photos that incorporate blues (of the uplifting kind).

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