The Railway Gallery

For some time now I've been meaning to make a concerted effort to photograph more of the amazing graffiti and street art that shows up in Toronto. This weekend I finally did so, taking advantage of the warm and clear spring weather, as well as my newly rebuilt bike. I meant to ride down through the Don Valley trails, out along Queen East, and then come up through the city's core. However, I found so much quality graffiti within a relatively small area of the valley that I wound up spending the better part of three hours down there, just photographing.

What follows are photos from an area of abandoned track that I've dubbed the Railway Gallery. The name might sound a little grandiose were it not for the fact that there is, quite honestly, a gallery's worth of quality street art along this one section of track. Here's a taste of it, but the full breadth can be found in my Flickr Set.

Also, if you recognize the work of any artists, please use the contact form on this site to identify which works belong to which artists so that I can credit them properly. Further, if you have tips for places with amazing graffiti, let me know so I can document that as well.

Headshots for N

A friend at work was in need of some headshots for a side project she was taking on, so we availed ourselves of some of the best end-of-day light to be found in North York for an quick photoshoot.

The 4000 Car

In case you're living in Toronto and you're not aware of it, some of the earliest pieces of current-era-streetcar history are actually still out on our streetcar routes. I knew nothing about them until I read an article in the Torontoist/blogTO/The Grid. That article helped me recognize the weird, red, moulded plastic I saw when I sat down on my streetcar this evening. I recognized it as something special—as a part of transit history—so when everyone cleared off the car, I made sure to snap a few photos.

This #4000 car is one of 3 or 4 of the earliest streetcars Toronto ever bought for the earliest fleet. These early cars (numbered something like 4000, 4002, 4003—I think one of them has been taken off the roads) were actually the only ones to bebuilt in Europe and shipped over to Toronto by boat. Subsequent cars were built to order Canada-side.

Thought I didn't get to spend much time with the car, here's a quick look at what it's like on the inside. Here's hoping these few pictures can make the day of a fellow streetcar nerd.

Big Smoke

We had some amazing fog in Toronto this past week, and it served as a rather whimsical canvas for all of the light that this city pours out. Here are just a few shots taken around a friend's birthday. I'm particularly fond of the last one, which I thought looked like the Rogers Mothership coming in for a landing until a friend mentioned that it more closely resembled the Shinra building!

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Sakura in the Park

Sakura/cherry blossoms are a huge deal in Japan. When they make their rolling arrival every year, moving in a line of blossoms from south to north along the island chain, they are greeted by blue tarps, barbecued meat, and ample amounts of booze. The parties are referred to as Hanami, and they are energetic, explosive events that often lead me to confuse the word "Hanami" (cherry blossom party) with "Hanabi" (fireworks).

Unfortunately, the archaic, turn-of-the-(last)century, repressed sensibilities of our public policy here in Canada means that the only booze flowing at Canadian Hanami events is clandestine in nature. However, if you're in it purely for the sakura, there are few better places in Toronto to take them in than High Park. 

This is no secret, which means that the park is taken over for a week and a half by people wielding these:

 

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You can't click a shutter in the place without winding up with three photographers and an engagement shoot in the background.

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Being someone who loves people but has little patience for photographer pissing matches, the zoo of glass can sometimes leave me feeling that sakura photography has become rather cliché.

This clichéd feeling lead me to resort to video, rather than photos, when the Toronto Japanese community organized a massive picnic in High Park (entitled Sakoolah) a week ago Sunday. 

I wasn't initially that titillated when Lindsay expressed interest in taking some sakura pictures in High Park last week. However, I wound up really enjoying the shoot, and part of the credit for that is owed to Lindsay for being such a willing and cooperative model. Here are the results from the shoot.

Sometimes an alley...

Since last month's K-Pop event had been so much fun to shoot, I decided to go out for the May event as well. In addition to the dance party, there was meant to be a Harajuku fashion show, and, having previously had my mind blown by Harajuku in person...

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...I assumed a whole fashion show would have been a blast to photograph.

Turns out it was just a bunch of Gothic Lolita/Some Other Randomness girls standing on stage and answering interview questions about how they learned to coordinate all that lace.

As interesting as that may be to some, it failed to live up to the Harajuku Fashion Show Of Awesome hype, so we left in search of other adventures and wound up in an alley with a lot of graffiti and a little bit of sakura.

Though I lacked a tripod or a lightstand, we made do.