Monday, 17 September 2012

Urban Hike - Beltline Trail

Who would have thought a hike through an urban area could be so interesting!  We joined the Bruce Trail Club for a hike on the Beltline Trail in midtown Toronto yesterday.  While I have to sometimes fight my way to the front to get some unobstructed photo shots, I have to confess walking with a group made me walk faster and not think about when I should stop.   Of course, there was also less dawdling for photos and it meant taking shots very quickly so I don't get run over by people coming up behind me!   The 12 km hike went quickly and we completed it with a total walking time of less than 3 hours.  There was plenty of time to have water breaks and an extended snack break at the Loblaws at St. Clair and Spadina.   It was all very enjoyable.

The Beltline Trail - originally a railway track ran through it.  It was well-hidden behind houses and I must have driven by it countless times without being aware of its existence.

After about half an hour on the shady Beltline Trail, we emerged onto the bridge over Allen Road - an unusual spot for me;  it would be more typical for me to be sitting in the traffic jam below!

My first glimpse of early fall colours

The beautiful Cedarvale Park

We even caught a glimpse of the CN Tower through the trees

All that remarkable green space!

Not to let us forget that we were in an urban area - graffiti on the overpass

Coffee break with musical accompaniment at Loblaws - very civilized!

Lovely flowers on someone's front lawn

A green porch curtain!

The grand Grace Church-on-the-Hill on our way through Forest Hill

What a gorgeous courtyard!

Cutting through the immaculate track and football field of the Upper Canada College with its familiar bell tower

We finished where we started, very conveniently, at Davisville station.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Chicago - Art deco Elevator Doors

I have never seen so many exquisite elevator doors as I did in Chicago.  It could be because I was looking out for them, but it certainly didn't take a lot of effort to end up with the batch below...

Now these don't look art deco but exceptional nonetheless -

and see how impressive a whole bank of them looked!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Chicago - Stained Glass Museum

We hardly ever go near ferris wheels any more although they are very photogenic.  We wouldn't have gone to the Navy Pier with its ferris wheel if it were not also the home of the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows - another must see freebie in Chicago.  You can see some of my faves below.

Tiffany panels 

St. Cecilia playing the organ 1937 above and King David playing the harp below -
art deco designs by Conrad Schmitt Studio in Wisconsin

One of a pair of panels designed by Louis Sullivan 1889-90

A pair of very Wright windows
The two panels below are excellent examples of Wright's brilliant use of both the plane and the diagonal for which he was famous.  These were from the Oscar Steffens House.  1909

Designed by George Grant Elmslie 1920  - use of the disc is very similar to Wright designs

Another Tiffany

Navy Pier building

And the ferris wheel of course!

Chicago - the awesome Chicago Art Institute

Like many other large museums, the Art Institute of Chicago could take you days to go through.  We spent two half days here on a 5 day visit to Chicago and barely skimmed the surface.  There were many impressionist works but the modern art collection is impressive.  What I'd found most fascinating though was the collection of 68 exquisitely decorated rooms of miniature period furniture in the Thorne Room in the basement.  I could spend hours going through each window case - they are great fodder for the imagination!  Below are some of my favourite pieces at the Institute.

Renoir's The Wave

Degas Dancers

The Captive Slave by English painter John Philip Simpson, 1827.  This was a very bold statement at the time as it was six years before the Slavery Abolition Act was passed by the British Parliament.  Ira Aldridge, the free-born son of  a New York lay preacher who posed for the picture would go on to an important career on the London stage.

Unmistakable Frank Lloyd Wright hanging here and there

The famous Jackson Pollock drip, pour and splash...

I love this!  Gerhard Richter's Woman descending the stairs

Don't forget to turn around and look outside the wall to wall windows in the new wing to catch another perspective on the magnificent Chicago towers (they might be behind blinds if you visit in late afternoon)

Neat design - a collapsible stool

A granite buddha from the 12th century
and here are some of the miniature rooms...