Sunday, February 9, 2020

Into The Big Smoke

The Big Smoke is one of several nicknames given to Toronto, capital of the province of Ontario. When I was leaving southern Ontario from my trip, I had time before my train was due to leave, and so went for a walk, both on the surface and using the extensive PATH network that links downtown buildings beneath the ground. My path first led me to Brookfield Place, which I've never been in before.

I passed by the Ed Mirvish Theatre on Yonge Street. It dates back to 1920. At the time of my visit, a production of Anastasia was playing. While I admittedly liked that animated movie, would it be so hard for theatre producers to come up with original works as opposed to adapting movies or putting together a story based on a rock album?

No, that's just too much work.

Just up the street is Yonge-Dundas Square. It is in my opinion the most hideous piece of real estate in the country: garish billboards everywhere, visual clutter. I didn't notice until I was putting this post together that the old Sam the Record Man sign, which once stood nearby here, now stands on a building rooftop here.

These two shots are inside the nearby Eaton Centre mall.

The geese sculpture set is at one end. Flight Stop is an installation by Michael Snow.

Here we have the city's war memorial, standing outside Old City Hall.

Old City Hall is now used as a courthouse. It stands near the present City Hall, and is here in the background at Nathan Phillips Square. The reflecting pool presently hosts skating.

Here we have a view of the present city hall. I vastly prefer the architecture of the old one.

Moving along, I passed by Osgoode Hall nearby. Its origins date back to 1829, and today it houses courtrooms and the offices of the Law Society of Ontario.

I took another shot of it on my way back from the furthest point I'd gone to.

University Avenue is one of the big north-south roads of the city, and it's close by. Here in the centre of the avenue is a monument for the South African War, with the grand Canada Life building to the left. This monument was designed by Walter Allward and dedicated in 1910. A decade later he would set to work on his masterpiece, the Vimy Ridge memorial in France.


  1. ...the 'Big Smoke' is a moniker that I have never heard before. Your tour has reinforced my plans to visit my neighbors to the north. Thanks William.

  2. Great architectural shots! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  3. London is also known as "The Smoke", a name which is not so relevant today as it was in the past when everyone had coal fires and London "smogs" caused many deaths among the population. The architecture is similar though as it is in cities around the world, though I don't think we allow so many billboards in the UK.

  4. Hello William, as always such an interesting post. I also prefer the older architecture of the city hall. And I love the look of the Ed Mirvish Theater. Thanks for sharing these images so someone like I get a glimpse of the other side of the world. Jo

  5. We call going down to Sydney at the big smoke. Took on a different meaning this summer - it didn't actually have any fires but the smoke all floated down the hill to blanket it for weeks.

  6. I went into Eaton Centre mall years and years ago when I was staying in Mississauga with my brother and SiL.

  7. Interesting to see some architecture from Toronto.

  8. Hello, nice tour of Toronto. I love the geese sculpture. Enjoy your day, wishing you a great new week!

  9. @Tom: thanks.

    @Linda: thank you.

    @John: the billboards are ridiculous.

    @Jo: you're welcome.

    @Joan: that's true.

    @Rosemary: I've been inside a few times.

    @Jan: thank you.

    @Eileen: thanks.

  10. Nice tour of Toronto!
    You have very large buildings there …

  11. A nice little tour around the city.

  12. Love that first photo and the geese in the Easton Centre are a favourite.

  13. It has been so long that it was nice to be reminded of these sites or sights.

  14. We have a Brookfield Place in Perth too :)
    The geese sculptures are beautiful.

  15. Quite a variety of architectural styles! I'll have to look up the South African war which Canada took part in...I missed yet another chapter of your history. Thanks.

  16. Great tour! Brookfield Place is a favourite of mine.

  17. Your second shot of Osgoode Hall is a good one. You caught some good light on the building.

  18. Nice photos, the ceiling in the first photo is quite artistic.

  19. what a wonderful walk and great photos ~ interesting juxtaposition of the old and new architecture ~ love the In Flight Stop sculpture ^_^

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  20. Those ceiling are incredible!

    Do you ever just look around at world, take a deep breath, and think, "Wow!"?

    I suppose that is the reason for your photo blog, 😊

  21. @Ella: there are some very large buildings there.

    @Sharon: thank you!

    @Marie: they stand out.

    @Anvilcloud: I'll likely pass through again in summer.

    @Sami: that sculpture set has become an icon of sorts.

    @Barbara: the South African War is often overlooked.

    @Jackie: I found it a pleasant surprise to be in.

    @Red: I had quite a variety in the sky that day.

    @Maywyn: that atrium lets in a lot of light.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @Sandi: true.

  22. I'd certainly love to visit Ottawa one of these days. Seeing it through your lens shows it be a very beautiful and interesting city.

  23. I really like the architecture, even the modern ones. :-)

  24. Interessante Bilder von der Tour in Toronto die Gänse Skulpturen sind klasse.


  25. Beautiful city. I love the geese sculptures!

  26. You had quite a walk on a grey day. I have always loved Brookfield Place.

  27. Thanks for showing us around this great City

  28. @Susie: thank you.

    @DJan: there's quite a mix.

    @Noke: thank you.

    @Tamago: I do too.

    @RedPat: I'll definitely go back, now that I've been inside that complex.

    @Cloudia: you're welcome.

  29. I follow you # 170 ,follow back?

  30. The city certainly has changed since I last visited.

  31. I like the look of Brookfield Place and the Eaton Center Mall.

  32. Toronto is a beautiful city.. we have a Brookfield Place also, pretty sure it's by the same group of architects.

  33. Super photos. Like the geese sculptures in the roof of the shopping centre:)

  34. @Buba: thank you.

    @Joanne: it always does.

    @Kay: I do as well.

    @Catarina: it can be.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Grace: probably!

    @Rosie: I do too.

  35. Thanks for the tour, such a lot to see, you artfully capture it all.