Monday, October 17, 2011

A Day of Adventure with the Tour Guys

My buddy Debbie and I had a fun day on Saturday taking a walking tour of China Town and Kensington Market in Toronto.  It was the first sort of real blustery cold fall days, but the rain held off for the most part and we had a great time.  Our tour guide Jason Kucherawy is a social anthropologist who adores the vibrancy of this area especially the urban artwork - commonly known as graffiti.  There were five of us on the tour - Pat from Toronto - her mum from Regina, Deb, me and Reese - a pastry chef from England.

We started at the Henry Moore just outside the Art Gallery of Ontario.  You can see from the warn away section that this lovely form is widely enjoyed - unlike the Moores in the museum that are completely out of reach.

We headed west and into our first alley - where we learned about tags, throw-ups and the code conduct of Graffiti artists.  Once a mural is done - it's not to be defaced by anyone - or otherwise face the consequences.  It would seem the best protection a business owner could have would be to engage a local artist to keep his business looking cool rather than shabby.

You can see the difference between the wall that Debbie and Reese are checking out, compared to the one behind her.

This thin home is in a lane behind Kensington.  Love the ode to Escher on the wall.

Good to know that the rent is cheap and there would appear to be a great deal on telecommunication services.

In the back alley the cat who owns 42 Kensington appears to have forgotten his keys.  I've never heard a kitty yell so loud to be let in.

I love the fact that even in the back lanes, there's gardening going on.

The veggies and annuals continue on into October.

I love having my head twisted about - I don't usually think about pristine lanes and walls full of grafitti.

These bubble letters are a good example of a throw-up. And the pots - an example that you can grow anything anywhere.

Back out on the street, I was amazed by all the little patches of gardens in front of the rows of houses.  This dahlia was spectacular.

Again, more dahlias right by the front door.

Maybe this is one residence that might not be improved by a bit of greenery.

Enlarge the photo and you can see my partner in crime Debbie hiding in the rose bushes.

Most of the front gardens were combinations of annuals and vegetables - something for the soul and another for the stomach.

A restaurant endorsed by our guide Jason - sadly by the time lunch rolled around we were too far away (and too hungry) to make the trek time.

Can you believe the owners below were given a notice to remove graffiti by the city of Toronto.  Apparently you have to have permission to create a mural.....needless to say there was a bit of back-tracking and Miles was allowed to stay where he was.

And here's a carden!  The city has decided this mini-attraction can stay put, providing it was insured (against people climbing on and falling off).  I didn't get a good shot, but looking through the side windows you could see how carefully the soil had been prepared.

Jason and me beside the lawn and carden.

More lovely murals.

Neat house, neat garden & of course a bicycle.

If you've got no room for a mower, there's no point in having grass.

Folks had shared seed along this stretch of houses.  Looks like a lovely old variety of morning glory.

Check out the elevated irrigation system.

Just think of what you do with a little garden - maybe they'll catch the gardening bug next year.

So it was back to Spadina and the hum of Saturday shoppers

and of course a couple of dumpling ladies.  And, best of all a new appreciation for city art and the zest that this neighbourhood has to offer.

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