Capturing a Toronto winter on canvas is a daunting task. I prefer to sketch directly onto the bare canvas, placing an easel on the sidewalk, but this is not possible for winter scenes. For these paintings, only quick sketches were completed on site, the scenes then transferred to canvas and finished in my studio. Photos were employed to provide details. Many Canadians dread winter, but it also has its beautiful side, especially when the sun bursts forth in a clear blue sky following a snow storm. Even storms have a beauty, when the city is hushed and the noise of traffic dimmed.
Painted in 2006, the above view gazes toward the southeast corner of Spadina Avenue and King Street West. The painting is 16” x 20”, acrylic on stretched canvas. This is one of the scenes that has now disappeared. The car rental company on the southeast corner of the intersection, on the north side of the Winners Store, now contains an LCBO outlet. It is soon to be demolished to construct a high-rise condominium. The assortment of buildings to the right of the CN Tower has also changed greatly, with many more structures having been added to the skyline. When I painted this canvas, I had no idea that the view would disappear so quickly. I merely considered it a dramatic view of the CN Tower that I wished to preserve.
Painted in 2008, this scene is a view gazing south on Simcoe Street, from a short distance north of King Street West. The CN Tower and Ritz Carlton Hotel are evident in the background, behind the Roy Thomson Hall. The painting is 16”x 20”, on Masonite board.
View of Cecil Street in the College and Spadina area. Painted in 1991, it depicts a man hauling home a Christmas tree. A young child bubbles with excitement at the sight of the tree. The painting is 16” x 20”, acrylic on stretched canvas.
Mackenzie House on Bond Street, the home of Toronto’s first mayor. It is now an heritage property and operates as a museum, furnished in the style of the 1860s when the Mackenzie family lived in it. The left-hand painting is acrylic on canvas board, 8” x 10”, painted in 1975. The right-hand painting is 11”x14” on stretched canvas, painted in 2000.
A streetcar travelling east on Queen Street West, the view gazing south on John Street. In the background, a partial view of the Chapters Book Store at John and Richmond is visible. The store closed in 2014. The painting is 24” x 36”, on Masonite, painted in 2005.
This blustery winter scene gazes east on Queen Street West from Spadina Avenue. The tower of the Canada Life Building on University Avenue can be seen in the distance through the swirling snow. The Letteiri Restaurant on the southeast corner of the intersection is now gone and a Hero Hamburger outlet is on the site. Painted in 2003, it is 8” x 10” on stretched canvas.
These snow-laden roof tops were on the north side of Adelaide Street West, between Brant Street and Spadina Avenue. View is from an apartment building on Camden Street, one block north of Adelaide. In the distance a westbound streetcar can be seen on King Street West. Almost all these buildings have been demolished to create the condominium, Brant Park. Painting is 16” x 20 “ on stretched canvas, painted in 2003.
View of houses on Bellevue Street, opposite Denison Square, in the Kensington Market. The Toronto Western Hospital is evident through the alleyway between the houses. Painted in 2002, the canvas is 8” x 10”, on stretched canvas.
View gazing north on Kensington Avenue following a heavy snow fall in 2004. European Meats is evident at the head of the street, on Baldwin Avenue. Since this painting was completed, the European Meat Market has departed the scene. Painting is 8” x 10” on stretched canvas.
Sledding in High Park in 1999. Canvas is 8” x 10” on stretched canvas.
View of the Grange from Grange Park, 8”x 10”, on stretched canvas, painted in 2002.
In a previous post, I shared paintings that stimulated memories of my boyhood. For a link to this post:
For a link to paintings of the Kensington Market: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/capturing-torontos-kensington-market-in-art/
To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/
To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern
Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.
To place an order for this book:
Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791
Theatres Included in the Book:
Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto
Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), the Photodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)
Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons
Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown
Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s
Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede
Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression
Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro
Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years
University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema
Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres
Savoy (Coronet), Westwood
Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes
Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)