Well, here’s today’s 5.9 km rambling walk

Well, here’s today’s 5.9 km rambling walk

Did the final walk on the 1st Mapping Toronto route with a long rambling walk. It covers the Yonge – St Clair neighbourhood, #97 according to the city of Toronto definition. It’s a long narrow slice of Toronto that slides through both Summerhill and Deer Park, nipping just under Davisville. Might need to buy new inserts for my shoes if I keep this up.

Map showing the borders of the Yonge St Clair neighbourhood Took 2.35 hrs to cover the route, with a couple of stops along the way to take extra photos for the project, pit stops for water and a nice conversation with someone along the way **waves to Kainani **.  It made for an interesting walk.

I’m still sorting through which photos I want to showcase so it’ll take me a bit of time to decide and prepare them.  In the meantime, here are a few photos of today’s walk:

Peter Pan statue north west corner park Avenue Rd and St. Clair

Part of the Peter Pan statue in the park showing rabbits

Not quite sure what to make of this statue. It’s beautifully done and the animals are exquisite, but there’s something mildly unsettling about the fawning fairies at Peter Pan’s feet. Unfortunately, the statue is heavily shaded so the rich colours aren’t easily seen. I’ll be posting more photos later, but I need to do some thinking on it first.

Amsterdam Park north east corner park Avenue Rd and St Clair – rambling walk

Amsterdam Park fountain spoutThis is from the fountain in the Amsterdam Park.  Funky little guy, isn’t he? The closeup came out better than I’d hoped. Lots more on this park later, but if you’re looking for a quiet spot to escape and read a book, this is the place.

Train spotting at Davisville

Southbound subway above ground at the TTC Davisville station

One of my favourite spots to linger and watch subway trains. In case you aren’t familiar with the Toronto Transit Commission, parts of the subway pop up above ground, offering a chance to watch the trains. This section is visible from the Kay Gardner Beltway overpass. I can stand here for hours just watching the trains.

Yorkminster Park Baptist Church doors

Main doors of a church on Yonge near St Clair

I’ve trotted past these doors many times, but this is the first time I’ve stopped to take photos of the church. Lovely  building, and the doors are outstanding.

I’ll be posting more photos over the weekend so pop back and check them out. I have a lot of editing to do before I can post the first Mapping Toronto chapter. As usual, it’ll be later than expected.

Toronto skylines and a bit of bracketing

Toronto skylines and a bit of bracketing

I’ve been fussing about with bracketing photos to create a crisp HDR skyline. I’m experimenting with exposure bracketing and keeping things as simple as I can, hoping to get a crisp horizon. My first attempts were pretty sad and we’ll never speak of them again. I looked at the scene carefully this time and set everything up a bit differently, shrugged on my winter coat, setup the tripod and stood on the balcony in -10 windchill to take another stab at it.

Well, here’s the result:

Photo of Toronto Skyline using bracketing I’m blown away by the sharpness. I fussed with the vibrancy etc a bit, but the shadows and light playing off the buildings along Yonge street jumped right out on the bracketed shots. I’ve tried for months to try and get the reflections, but nothing worked until I was able to bracket the shots. When I looked closely, I could even make out details in the construction site across the street. This is the first time I’ve been able to get a fairly well balanced shot that isn’t underexposed to such an extent, the shadows were hopelessly blown out.

I have a lot of fine tuning to do, especially leveling out the tripod before taking photos, but not a bad beginning. I’ll lug the tripod off to other locations so you don’t have to keep looking at the same skyline. I think it’s time to start the Mapping Toronto project! Hopefully I’ll start in the Yonge St. Clair area in the next couple of days.

Look below ↓ for links to my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. I throw up a few extra shots on these accounts, ones that don’t always make the cut here.

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:  https://bittergrounds.com/massive-fire-yonge-st-clair/

Toronto weather – wanna be funnel cloud & relief from the heat

Toronto weather – wanna be funnel cloud & relief from the heat

It’s been unreasonably hot and humid here in Toronto over the last week. With the humidex, the temp has been pushed over 40c (that’s over 100 F for my American friends) for days now. Plus so dry, it’s become a worry. Well, today (Sat), Mother Nature sent us some relief. The promised, but not believed, cold front just roared over the city, bringing rain and lower temperatures. I stood on the balony and I could feel the temp dropping by the minute.  The clouds were moving overhead so fast, it was amazing. I did manage to snag this before it blew overtop: Photo of storm clouds rolling over western GTA

Don’t often see wannabe funnel clouds over Toronto, but it looked like this cloud bank was trying it’s best. The wind was whirling around and around, picking up speed for a short time, which caused this.   It’s west facing, must have been over Etobicoke and Mississauga.

Right now, windows open, enjoying the fresh air. I won’t have to water anything on the balcony tonight. The pots are over flowing with water, the wind has died down and the rain is coming down in bucket. Keep your fingers crossed the humidity doesn’t return.