Parkdale Walk OR Parkdale Alleyways

Sadly, no one was able to answer the question I posed in my outing summery of the Parkdale outing for a free drink. The definition of a gladstone is a suite case with flexible sides on a ridged frame that opens flat into two compartments. Neither Pam nor Joanne won a free drink. Sorry guys. Joanne should, however, get brownie points for doing research on the history of the neighbourhood. Not only did she do the research, but brought a print out in a file folder.

According to Wikipedia Parkdale has a riches to rags story. Some of the most prominent families and what would be founders of Toronto lived here. However, the thing that’s causing so much headache and debate today was the neighbourhoods destruction in 1955. The Gardner Express. What we’re seeing now with condo’s happened then with block apartment buildings. Hundreds of homes were destroyed. And now the neighbourhood is no longer well to-do, but house working class families and new-comers to Canada. Although condos’s and new townhouses in this area are starting to be built up, it will take time for the area to become gentrified again.

We started a little too far east, but made our way west through side streets but found interesting alley ways that seemed to have the most interesting textures on fences, garages, garage doors and stone walls. I recommend to anyone to keep a folder of textures for any future Photoshop projects.

Something we’ve noticed was how neat and tidy these alleys were; not an inch of graffiti to be seen. There were however, dilapidated sheds that stuck out like a sore thumb among otherwise pristine properties. There was only one or two sad streets in need of the love and attention for someone to spruce up a house here and there. Parkdale is no longer what it was. It’s come a long way over the years. After I had a call from one of our clients who still believed Parkdale was still populated with druggies, I was even more interested in seeing the neighbourhood. I was quite delighted with it. Nestled in itself behind the train tracks divided from the hustle and bustle of Queen St.

We went into two vintage stores. One of which Pam was saying went downhill in the past three months. She said it use to be so organized. Now there were items in the isles. There was no rhyme or reason to anything. The second was full of stuff. Though I was disappointed with the lack of frilly dresses. Perhaps they were downstairs with the bolts of fabric I purposefully for another day when I had more time to look.

For lunch, Pam suggested as Tibetan restaurant. There was one that I ate at twice before called Tibetan House or something like that, but we say a cute little yellow place that served both Indian and Tibetan cuisine, so we decided to try that. We ordered four dishes to try between us. A veggie fried noodle dish, spicy pork, a beef soup, steamed beef dumplings, and our waiter gave us a free dish of rice to sooth the spicy food.

Every dish was quite different in taste and all very delicious. Our waiter was telling us the traditional meat was Yak. But since there is only one at the Toronto Zoo, and it would be expensive to import otherwise; what dishes would be yak are make with pork instead. I would defiantly eat there again. If you’re looking for something different, try Om Restaurant.

Although it was cold and blustery, and starting to rain, we decided to check out a lush community garden and another alley. One so different from the others we came from; it was an extension of Graffiti Alley, but further west at Roncesvalles. There were a few fantastic sections, my favorite, a wall painted in multiple shades of green with vines hanging over it. I’d call it the Hanging Garden, but the feeling was nothing like the movie. These graffiti artists are amazing!

On the way home there was much debate about going to Nuit Blanch that night. I don’t think anyone of us made it. We’ve endured the chill of the days wind, but I we shivered at the thought of how cold it would be that night.

Junction Walk

There were four of us on the first outing of the Beach Photo Club season; Catherine, Joanne, Pam and myself. It rained on and off all day, but that didn’t deter us as it was but a mist, not getting any worse than a drizzle. People had suggested more outings to be with in the city, and through I put them on the calendar, I was a little disappointed with the lack of interest this day but hope it was only the weather that kept people snug and warm.

As it happened we went on a little side adventure. After meeting at Keele Subway Station as planned, we went south instead of north to an ally way that ran parallel to the subway line. When the train comes up from underground to the station, you can see a stretch of buildings with beautiful graffiti. We must have spent an hour or more there finding other nook and crannies with beautiful container gardens on balconies. There was a garden by a Hockey store that made its fence from broken hockey sticks. It was beautiful cherry tomato’s ( I wonder if they were growing them in lieu of Don Cherry. That would be cute), zucchini and another type of tomato growing.

When we finally did go north, we headed west onto Dundas. I was surprised at how beautiful this part of Dundas was. There are still old buildings on this corner and along this stretch that reminded me of the main drags of smaller towns through out Southern Ontario. Pam , our local guide for the walk, commented on some black and white images she found of the junction and how she was still able to recognize the area. And building in relation to where she lives now. It’s nice to know a neighborhood can still have its character in tact.

What was really great about this neighbourhood was all the wonderful salvage shops. The first one we went into was Post + Beam Reclamation Ltd. It’s chalk full with old windows, doors, tools, mantel pieces. Once of which had crackled paint of a beautiful blue. We all agreed that if we were to purchase it, we would preserve the paint as is. To do otherwise would be sacrilegious. They also had two claw foot tubs (I’ve always wanted a claw foot tub!) and so much more. I asked if we could take photos and they said yes. All of the shops we went in to were very obliging in this respect.

In SMASH, I bought a pair of deer antlers that were cut to a smaller size from the full rack. Ever since I took the photos of Amanda last weekend, I had in my head the Vogue fashion photos of models wearing antlers. Now, I just have to figure out how to affix them to a headband sturdy enough to stay on the models head.

For Lunch, in between salvage shops, we went to lunch at Indi Ale House. Pam had suggested this as an outing, but seeing how small the back room was with the copper kettles, I don’t think there would have been enough room to shoot. Even if we didn’t plan any outings, there’s always a good excuse to go back. Three of us had the Breakfast Porter, a creamy dark beer with a smooth caramel woody flavor. Porters are considered to be a strong beer, almost a stout, but it’s very hard to find one in a Toronto restaurant. I know only one other place who has it and they too make it themselves. It’s the place where I first discovered porter, Black Creek Village. To eat I had the special, a grilled chicken club sandwich on a pretzel bun with Caesar dressing, crispy kale, cheese, and tomato. It was so large, I wondered if I could fit my mouth around it, but it squished down to a more palatable size. I told the waiter it was the best club sandwich ever. I only said that once before at Shanghai Cowgirl on Bathurst. When the table behind us heard, they asked to see it, but I asked them not to be fooled by its sorry state.

One of the last shops we went to was Mjolk, http://store.mjolk.ca, a mix of Scandinavian and Japanese furniture with an air of vintage all about it. In one corner was a high-end record player. I turned around to the clerk asking, “Can you hear the difference between vinyl and digital?” “Oh yes. I can hear it.” We all listened to the warm classic 1940’s jazz as we watched the vinyl spinning, the needle gliding over it. I would love to have a turntable again. I wonder if there’s still one in my parents basement. Hmmmmm…… But how to get it up here is the question.

I had a revelation that day. I discovered the Junction might be a neighbourhood I would consider moving to because of all the nostalgic reclamation stores. But to bee so far away form the water, is unthinkable. People say West is Best, but you know me, always and forever the East Coast girl.