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What happened here?

What do you get for Presto fare failures, massive route diversions, falling ridership growth rates, sweltering street cars, mechanical break downs, broken vehicle delivery contracts, failed substance abuse tests and chronic overcrowding?

What happened? Who did we beat? When did Andy Byford know that the APTA Award was coming?

Back on January 7th, the Toronto Star quotes Mr Byford saying, ““I think we will meet that objective of being back to number one in North America by the end of this year.” Something’s fishy about this award, and not just the obvious.

John Lorinc has done a much better job with the subject than I can.

Corley innovation: Small home, small car

A couple of weeks ago, Danica and I were happy to see work resuming on Corley Avenue’s innovative pied-à-terre. The stacks of new timber are going into place, in a way that surprised us.

Skilfully engineered into the small frontage, 6×6 timbers form stepped planter boxes. Look at the hill beside, on the right. That’s basically all the space that’s been used. Now it’s going to give the little house some presence on the street.

Today I was fortunate to be passing at lunchtime. Rob and Josh were out front and filled in some blanks. What’s happening in the centre opening? A small car will be going in there. Perfect companion for the concept.

Usually the landscaping gets done last, but in this case the timber planter boxes will not impede construction and they will provide a stable base for scaffolding, when it comes time to do the windows and stucco.

This search link will pull up previous posts about this nifty project. Of course, more will follow.

Graceful garlic

Admiring my neighbour’s garden today, I asked if she had tied the garlic plant this way. No, she assured me … it took the shape itself.

I was dubious. Garlic knows how to tie a knot? On close inspection, I see that it’s not a knot … but almost!

Bazaar doc and street festival

TVO will soon be airing a documentary that Danica and I saw being filmed last summer. Air date: July 1, 2017 Time: 9:00 pm

Also in July, the don’t-miss, 2-day annual street festival that runs from NOON to 11 PM. It’s a free event but you’ll probably want some money for food, beverages, shopping and maybe a piece of art. Gerrard Street is closed to vehicle traffic, so we get the whole street to walk.

Festival of South Asia, 2017

Food, horsepower and hand held zoom

Brian Hickey has fulfilled my request for a change of blog content. He even provided the title.

I asked for pictures from Brian’s just-completed trip with Ralph Luciw to the National Hot Rod Association’s drag racing event in Ohio.

The photos hit the essentials. Perhaps we’ll get some details in comments.

Here’s the sound file Brian mentions in his comment … the perfect thing to show us how quickly these races are over.

A Zolte/McBride artistic collaboration

Beachers have long known Harold Zolte as the proprietor of the Ends bargain clothing store and some are aware of his artistic side. Framed example of Harold’s designs hang inside the store and some very distinctive sculptures are his, too. They are assemblages made from wooden casting forms, dating back to the 1880s.

As Harold winds down his Ends operation, he needs help to deal with the big collection of foundry forms that aren’t finished yet, as works of art. Enter Toronto sculptor, Rob McBride.

Slide show


Jumbled together, partially painted, don’t some of these things look like cubism that predates Cubism? Just what condo buyers need, to overcome the curse of drywall sterility.

Positive wooden shapes were used to make sand casts. The wooden shapes were removed, leaving negative shapes to receive molten iron and steel. Rob pointed to the train wheels. Other shapes were much harder to identify. Wonderfully steampunk, though.

The pieces are being sorted out, recombined and readied for an upcoming show … hopefully by the time Queen Street fills up with Jazz Festival crowds. Better work fast!

I introduced myself to Ron when I found him working on a 350 pound piece in one of Harold’s stockroom/studio spaces. He’s an easy guy to talk to, with wide-ranging life story. I caught some of it over a coffee today. You’ll find some of it here, on his developing website. Probably, more coffee will be necessary.

A faint hope

Some things seem to burn brightest just before they go dark. The corner of Queen Street East and Elmer is bustling, as Harold Zolte’s crew puts out boxes and boxes of new clothing and accessories onto the sidewalk tables. The stock has to move. Ends is closing this summer. Sad. The Beach retail strip needs this kind of place.

Can the vibe survive on this little corner? Don’t we all assume that the two-storey stores will fall to condo developers. Harold says he doesn’t know, but maybe not. There’s more than Ends adding character.

Buds’s Coffee place is about as laid back as you can get … two doors east of Ends. The counter man says they are going to try to hang in. I hope so.

Bud’s is where I had coffee today with a sculptor I just met. That’s another story about this busy little corner. It’ll need its own post, and slides. Coming up next.

Modest but mighty

You have to be good … super, in fact … to keep a bargain store going in the same block as a Dollarama, a Dollar Tree and a Home Hardware. Super Bargain is a resource we sometimes forget about, until the others fail us. Often enough, what we need is there, and at surprisingly good prices.

For example, the other day, I needed an adapter. RCA audio-to-35mm audio, female connector, if you must know. Staples came close, except the jack was wrong and the price was over 20 bucks. Dollarama and Dollar Tree flubbed out entirely. Super Bargain had it. 3 bucks … and the proprietor knows his stock. He went right to what I needed and handed it to me.

When my watch battery dies, he puts in the new one, while I wait. It’s a great little spot, crammed with all kinds of household necessities, tools, gadgets and electronics. The store has been on Coxwell, near Lower Gerrard, for as long as I can remember. Time to give it the recognition it deserves.