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Reflections on Canadian Culture From Below the Border
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    ___ Americans celebrate Thanksgiving later this week, about a month and a half after Canadians mark their own similar holiday.  A trip last week to the picturesque City Market in the heart of downtown Saint John, New Brunswick — filled as it is with vibrant colors, numerous tastes and smells, all manner of local and […]

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    ~ A while back I posted a collection of Quebec City manhole covers as an offbeat photo subject.   From a recent trip to the wonderful urban melting pot that is Toronto, here’s another assortment of these often overlooked cast iron street fixtures.  Having encountered at least 25 variations, I’m intrigued by the subtle expressiveness reflected in these compact […]

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  • 08/01/14--02:00: Neighborly Toronto!
  • The mosaic or melting pot, as you prefer, that is Toronto is notably defined by its many distinct neighborhoods.  By the time I realized I was working on a theme with these signage shots I had already overlooked about a dozen or so too many feet-miles earlier to readily retrace my steps.   Tagged: Canada, […]

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  • 08/17/14--07:39: Ossington Avenue Graffiti
  • Crisscrossing the streets of Toronto, it struck me that I had to look harder there than in Montreal to find graffiti or street art.  But what’s to be found in Toronto is every bit as varied and creatively expressed, as shown by these two examples, both in the Ossington Avenue area.  I’ll post more later. […]

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    Since the early 1800s, the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto has been a traditional marketplace for fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses and all manner of other agricultural products.  It’s a colorful and happily bustling scene that has the distinction of being named by National Geographic in 2012 as the world’s best  market.  Even if a matter of […]

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    Mixed in among modern urban streetscapes, the look and feel of the rare classic neon and bulb-lit signs are distinctive. I spied these in Toronto and one in New Brunswick (the fabulous sign for Mel’s Tea Room!), which happily stand the test of time. ~ ~ ~ ~ Tagged: Canada, Neon, New Brunswick, Old Signs, […]

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    Stewart Jones, Wellington Composition (2013) Stewart Jones is an immensely talented Canadian artist with a passion for painting vivid cityscapes — many set in Ontario — that are simply wonderful.   He refers to his paintings as “love letters to the forgotten corners and alleyways” of our cities. Jones’s images often depict buildings at irregular angles or […]

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    Andrea Kastner, Progress (2014) Andrea Kastner is an up-and-coming young painter whose art deals with what she calls the “sacred nature of rejected things” and the stories that underlie society’s no longer useful objects, structures and places.  The scenes she paints are ones that are readily familiar in urban landscapes across Canada and the U.S., with […]

    canadashadowA. Kastner, Progress (2014)A. Kastner, Noah's Ark (2013)A. Kastner, The One That Got Away (2013)A. Kastner, The Inventory of Dreams (2014)canadashadowA. Kastner, Progress (2014)A. Kastner, Noah's Ark (2013)A. Kastner, The One That Got Away (2013)A. Kastner, The Inventory of Dreams (2014)

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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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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 […]

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  • 01/28/18--07:51: “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 […]

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  • 02/10/18--03:38: “Three Things . . .”
  • “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.”                                                                 ~ Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)

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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. ~ ~ Similar Posts: ~ Shades of […]

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    ⊕ 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. ⊕ ⊕ ⊕

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