It was a grey old day in Toronto but unseasonably warm, and having suffered with severe bronchitis over the past 10 days, I really needed some outdoor exercise so on went the good walking shoes and I headed down Yonge Street (the longest street in the world, apparently) to take in the Christmassy sights.
My first stop for quick snaps was the gorgeous old College Park building which still has a number of its original bronze light fixtures (above) and architectural details in tact. when I first arrived in Toronto in the mid-70’s, this was a big department store called Eatons, with many floors of clothes, furniture, home decor, toys and haberdashery – it even had a wooden escalator which, I’m told, is still there hidden behind false walls. The building has been converted into stores, offices and condos – sad but that’s progress for you. If you look up and also up close you’ll notice beautiful carvings and bronze roundels (below)
A few blocks further down and I came to the Yonge-Dundas Square, a gathering place for tourists, students and shoppers, and today there was a community event promoting drug-free student life with all sorts of exhibits and displays (below)…..
… sadly, all I could smell in the air around the area was dope!! At least the folks in the Square were doing their best. Surrounding this square is a mass of billboards and advertising hoardings, sorta like a mini Times Square…and the famed Hard Rock Cafe (below)
Last night, the annual lighting of the city’s official Christmas Tree took place – this year I stayed in bed with a box of tissues, Buckley’s cough medicine and crap on TV, so as I wasn’t able to enjoy the entertainment and fireworks in person, I decided to pop over to Nathan Philips Square and take a few shots of the tree, City Hall & the skating rink in daylight and without all the crowds.
As I walked back up Yonge, I noticed a large tent with signs saying it was a pop-up Christmas market featuring local artisans and craftspeople so I popped in for a quick look-see and the first vendors I met were a delightful couple featuring African hand-crafted cushions, carvings and other home decor pieces.
Jean-Renaud (above left) and Kalinka (above right) told me about the beautiful cushion covers that Kalinka designs – leather corners and heavy cotton with stunning tribal prints. She is an interior decorator (Klemya Interior Decoration) as well as designer [ http://www.klemya.com ] Jean-Renaud (JR) heads up a company called mTIDI which represents beautiful handcrafted items from Cameroon [ http://www.mTIDI.ca ]. Directly behind them was Rococoa Chocolates, a local chocolatier with delicious treats including these dark chocolate pearls…
…and (below) chocolate covered Oreo Cookies…complete decadence! http://www.rococoa.ca
I started feeling a bit fatigued – this was my first real outing since being in bed for 3 straight days) – so decided to grab the subway home. Caught myself in the mirrored advertising display at Yonge & Bloor subway station…hmm, not looking too worse for wear, eh?
Whew! Made it…am now sitting down, watching The King’s Speech on TV and enjoying a nice refreshing mug of Earl Grey tea. And how was your Sunday afternoon?