Cross street: Queen St. West and Augusta
The original Original was already gone by the time Cummins took the first photo in 1984, but the S.L. Simpson Gallery was there, part of the early eighties Queen West art scene. The Vitrolite was too, those British-made glass tiles that once were ubiquitous across the city, on our storefronts and in our subway stations. The original 1954 subway stations were all lined with it but only Eglinton still is, and Broadview Furs, opposite, like Davisville, Rosedale, College and the rest, isn’t. And some typefaces are worth returning to.
Cross street: Borden Street and Bloor
We don’t see any these days, but bible signs were once seen regularly on Toronto’s Presbyterian streets. As for the worthwhileness of 1990s infill projects like this one, maybe we need to wait another few decades before kinder judgements can be made
Cross Street: Kensington Avenue and St. Andrew
Patrick Cummins and Shawn Micallef’s Full Frontal T.O. isn’t the only book in 2012 to look at the street level city. Illustrator Michael Cho’s Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes (Drawn & Quarterly) also hit bookshelves this spring.
Michael Cho began creating drawings of the back alleys near his Toronto home in 2008. With his book, he has amassed a collection that speaks to the beauty of the urban landscape: sometimes grittily citified, sometimes unexpectedly pastoral, and always bewitching. Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes meanders through the city, functioning as a sort of caught-on-paper psychogeographical Jane’s Walk.
Coincidentally, Coach House has found one storefront that’s featured in both books: the Kensington Variety convenience store.
Check out the two versions of the Kensington Variety at 56 Kensington Avenue.
56 Kensington Ave., shot by Patrick Cummins
56 Kensington Ave., illustrated by Michael Cho
To find out more about Michael Cho’s Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes visit the Drawn & Quarterly website.
Cross street: Bathurst Street and Nassau
Toronto doesn’t do Rust Belt decay much but for a few rare examples like this. Whoever lived on the second floor endured a while, until at least the second-last picture. The cat in the window seems sanguine about it all, and as it went, so too did the radiator shop next door, but that hole was filled in. The life is exhaling out of this house.
Cross street: Queen St. East and Carlaw
Queen East toward the Don River is the oft-forgotten bit of Queen that isn’t East Queen, west of Leslieville, moving from hand-painted mom-and-pop to tattoos to, most certainly, soon, a Starbucks, to serve the new condos going in all around.
Cross street: Bathurst Street and King St. West
Full Frontal T.O. photographer Patrick Cummins lived on the second floor, here on once-Spartan Bathurst. Things were actually made in this part of the city (or broken things were fixed up). The nail guns from the furniture upholsterer below could be heard all day long in the apartment above. Behind is the Summit, part of the first wave of condo building three decades ago, before we perfected the repeating glass box form. Over time this location may have gotten fancier, but it’s the trees that make the difference.
Cross street: Gerrard St. East and Logan
A once-famous sight on Gerrard Street just past the East Chinatown, one man’s battle to preserve the real Canada (and rally against drunk drivers and language laws) is finally over.