Dear Readers, so here we are, back in Toronto for a visit to catch up with my husband’s Mum, who is 95 next week and has severe memory problems. Normally we would have caught up with my favourite aunties who lived out in Collingwood, but they both passed away last autumn, so this time it’s a very city-centric visit. Still, I like Toronto, though they can’t seem to leave anything alone – every year there are more skyscrapers, more building sites and more cranes.
It has always been a bit of a vertical city – there are spires aplenty.
This is the Metropolitan United Church, one of the largest churches belonging to the United Church of Canada. It was built in 1872 in a neo-gothic style, and houses a carillon of no less than 54 bellths, which probably explains why I can hear it from my hotel room. It also has Canada’s largest pipe organ. It’s been cleaned up recently, and the yellow stone is really rather fetching.
In the grounds I noticed this tree – its bark is so pale that at first I thought it was a eucalyptus, but no, it’s a London plane, and clearly Toronto must have had extremely high temperatures and /or drought over the past few years for it to lose so much bark.
And here are some angels, just for luck.
Just down the road is St Michael’s Catholic Church, another fine building. Construction started in 1845, in gothic revival style. The building contains fragments of a pillar and some pieces of the roof from York Minster in the UK, sealed into the cornerstone – Toronto was known as York when it was first founded in 1793.
All in all though, the speed of building work is really something. There is plenty of what London’s Gentle Author and Toronto’s Shawn Micallef would call ‘Facadism‘, where just the front wall of a building is retained and all of its substance is demolished.
Some interesting buildings have survived, though I wonder for how much longer – this wooden-clad yellow building has always fascinated me. It seems to have been everything from a music venue to a shawarma house, and I note that in 2021 there was a campaign on Facebook to save it. Now, it seems to be closed so things don’t look good.
Our favourite bookshop in Toronto, Ben McNally, has found yet another new home, so I’m expecting to make a visit early next week.
And finally, how about these? They’re used to designate the bike lanes in the city, and are hated every bit as much by drivers as the various bollards that are used in London. These have been painted by various artists, and I particularly like the centipede one (surprise surprise). See what you think.
Lovely spires; not so keen on the tall bocks and the facadism. Hope your visit goes well.
Hello, hello Vivian and John
Rosemary and Linda’s friend here near Collingwood. Would so love to see you or at least talk. 705 888 0524
Interesting separators for the bicycle lanes – I wonder if they were painted in situ?