Lurking around Toronto with my camera & misc thoughts

Lurking around Toronto with my camera & misc thoughts

I’ve been wandering around Toronto in my spare time, testing out routes for the Mapping Toronto project.  After doing a few test runs in a couple of neighbourhoods, I realized some will take multiple trips just to scratch the surface. As well, the sheer volume of photos started to make the logistics of posting and editing a monumental task. I’ve rearranged and relabeled the files about 4 times as I grapple with staying organized.

Some areas have so much to look at, it’s difficult to figure out what to leave out. I was in Cabbagetown recently and realized I could do one series of photos just documenting the historic plaques.  I could spend another day photographing people along Parliament and another on the architecture. During summer months, Cabbagetown is stunning so that means another exclusively on the flower.  Couple that with the trips to the library for historical info on each area, well, there you have it – years worth of work.

I’ve figured out a way of addressing the irritating issue of setting up routes.  Plot a route is an AMAZING website that calls up detailed maps that include topographical details, distances, timers and the ability to upload photos to any given route.  After setting up a route, you can download it for printing or upload it to a GPS or a smartphone. The site allows users to post unlimited public routes, but if you want to keep your route private, you have to pay a nominal fee ($22 US a year).

After playing around with Plot a route, I had a brainstorm. I’m going to add the routes as part of the Patreon perks. Subscribers will have full access to all the routes that will have photos attached to the map.  I’ll also offer access to one time donations that hit a certain amount.  I’ve been casting around looking for interesting perks to offer and this one struck me as a great idea. I’ll be revamping my Patreon account in the next few days (oh and YEA … I have my first Patreon supporter as of yesterday) that will focus strongly on the Mapping Toronto project.

Here’s a test route I’ve been playing with:

Lurking around the neigbhourhood - Map of St Clair Yonge proposed route that likely won't make the cut

It’s based on a little walk I like to take occasionally around the neighborhood. I can adjust the various points on the map to emphasis spots to photograph (or cafes with decent espresso and desserts).  Once completed, I will upload photos and notes so the user can enjoy the route.  I’m excited about this. It dropped the final piece of the project into place so this spring I’ll begin.

If you want to support this project look to the right-> and use either the yellow button for a one-time donation or the orange button to become a subscriber.


St Clair/Yonge St fire aftermath – nothing but the wreckage

St Clair/Yonge St fire aftermath – nothing but the wreckage

I went out yesterday to take a look at the aftermath of Tues’ 6 alarm fire. The phrase “nothing but the wreckage” comes to mind when I look at the Club. But amazingly, there’s not even a hint of smoke left in the area and it’s pretty much back to business in the neighbourhood.

Some of the stores/restaurants along the north/west side of Yonge were closed. No damage was visible but according to some of the workers, the water damage was extensive. To put this into perspective, the Fire Department poured water from 7 aerial hoses, plus hoses strung along condo balconies for over 12 hours. Even after the fire was contained, the water kept coming for about another 12 hours. All through the night, we could hear the pumper trucks on the streets. View from balcony of fire fighters working into night @ Yonge St Clair fire

Not the best photo, but it was damned cold on the balcony so I didn’t stick around to make sure all the camera settings were good. By this time, the department had called in an excavator to tear some of the roof off so they could get at the fire inside. Not sure how much water this works out to, but   basements along Yonge & St. Clair were completely flooded. The boilers and electrical systems were severely damaged, many will likely need replacing.

A few restaurants and my bank (along St. Clair, south side) were already open by the time I padded along yesterday. I peeked in and saw a mountain of food containers and food etc all bagged up ready for the garbage, but they were already opening their doors for business.  The restaurants (just west along St. Clair) closest to the driveway leading into the Racquet Club were closed though.

When you walk along St Clair, going west, you can’t help but see the damage:
View of the Racquet Club roof damage from St. Clair St.

I struck up a conversation with one of the gas company workers and he showed me where the best spot was to see the damage. It isn’t until you turn the corner that you realise how extensive it is: View of damage looking south onto the Racquet Club

The next photos give a better idea of how densely packed everything is on that tiny patch of land. Must have been a bastard of a fire to fight. The balconies on the right, in the first photo below, are where the firefighters strung hoses to point down onto the Club. Aerial ladders ringed the area from the south, west and north.

View of damage with condo balconies
View of damage looking south onto the Racquet Club

I’m not a construction person (not even a handy DIY kind of soul) but it doesn’t look like there’s much left to salvage. Close up view of wreckage from fire
See photos of the fire here: