A place where sails are cut and made is called a “sail loft”. I learned that when Brian Chapman opened one at the top of our hill. His flag “sign” was a distinctive asset to our little retail strip.
Brian died suddenly just over a year ago. The loft stayed open, I presume to finish existing orders, but the shop is being packed up and emptied out now. I will miss that flag and so will a lot of Toronto sailors.
The Toronto Transit Commission and billionaire Jim Pattison belong to the huge club of art users who like artists to work for free, just for the thrill of exposing their efforts to the public. Touching idealism or practical patronage?
Maybe both. Posters could provide a boost for a young artist’s career. Similarly, free rides could boost transit ridership and free billboards erected by Mr Pattison could boost sales for all kinds of goods.
The clock tower stands with phallic persistence while preparations are made to erect a much, much taller condo around it. Sorry for the irresistible language. Until 1987, the tower identified the site of a popular gay bar called the St. Charles Tavern.
The tower dates to the 1870s and was originally part of a fire hall. A newer hall was built in the 1920s and the old one saw use as a car dealership and a restaurant before gay old times from the 1960s to 80s.
Yonge Street, between College and Bloor is living on borrowed time. Soon it will look like any other urban canyon, anywhere. For now, it’s a somewhat seedy mix of tenant businesses … retail weeds growing where concrete will soon be poured.
Psychic readers, pop-up liquidators, a used book store, a strip joint, and sex toy shops dot spaces between indie fast food hopefuls, all trying to make a buck before the wrecker’s ball swings in.
An unusual sculpture stands across the street when you come out of the Hudson’s Bay subway station. The bottom part looks bent or damaged, as if someone had stubbed a giant aluminum cigarette butt on the sidewalk.
The upper part of the sculpture is not dented and squashed, but the cylinders are apparently hinged together and can sway. I didn’t notice any movement but the concept put me in mind of those tube man attractions car dealers like.
For all its jointed parts, “Safe Hands” is a curiously disjointed object to experience. Up close, it seems monumental in scale, but it is dwarfed by the condo colossus it adorns.
The slick upper part contrasts oddly with the banged up bottom part. It really does look damaged. The intended appearance can be seen here. Below is my less idealized first impression.