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Playing amidst a fallen empire


The children playing on Canada Day around the equestrian statue of Edward VI, originally mounted in New Delhi to celebrate the British Empire and later shipped to Canada when independent India had enough of it, evoked the fall of empires to me.
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  • Orville Lloyd Douglas is critical of Black Lives Matter on Pride, calling it out for being self-appointed representatives of black Canadians.

  • Alex McKeen writes in the Toronto Star about First Nations groups holding ongoing ceremonies in Queen's Park.

  • Betsy Powell, also in the Star, notes new restrictions and licensing Toronto is set to impose on Airbnb locally.

  • CBC notes that King Street is slated to become a street where transit, particularly streetcars, will have priority over other traffic.

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  • Beyond the Beyond notes some anti-drone activists' efforts to get drones controlled.

  • blogTO reports on the history of the strip mall in Toronto, looks at the abandoned Whitney Block Tower by Queen's Park, and reports from the attic of Queen's Park.

  • Discover's Body Horrors notes the possibility that global warming might lead to the reemergence of anthrax from the Siberian wastes.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes the discovery of exocometary gas in the debris ring of HD 181327.

  • Far Outliers notes the brutality in the Japanese naval academy and reassesses Admiral Yamamoto.

  • Noel Power at The Power and the Money looks at inequality in American history, after Piketty's arguments.

  • Peter Rukavina reports on an interesting art installation in Charlottetown, of floating tents.

  • Savage Minds describes the "silo effect" besetting organizations.

  • Torontoist reports on the first game of cricket in Toronto.

rfmcdonald: (photo)
Towards the northwestern edge of Queen's Park, where Queen's Park Crescent curves into Hoskins Avenue and the University of Toronto campus, there is a concrete circle, a flower bed. Monday, this bed was packed with orange tulips, brilliant in the early evening sun.

I'm only happy with the photo of the single tulip taken from above. I don't think that I quite adjusted for the evening light with the group tulip shots, that I didn't not capture their intense brilliance. Perhaps I'll go back. Until I do, consider these photos as indicative.

Orange tulip in a circle #toronto #queenspark #orange #tulips #flowers


Orange tulips in a circle #toronto #queenspark #orange #tulips #flowers


Orange tulips in a circle, 2 #toronto #queenspark #orange #tulips #flowers


Orange tulips in a circle, 4 #toronto #queenspark #orange #tulips #flowers
rfmcdonald: (photo)
My most recent photograph of the equestrian statue of King Edward VII in Queen's Park, transplanted from India in the 1960s, was taken in July.

Equestrian statue of King Edward VII, Queen's Park


Torontoist's David Wencer wrote a nice post explaining the background for the move to Queen's Park. Apparently quite a few people were left wondering what to do with it.

The origins of the Edward VII equestrian statue go back to July 1910, when the All-India Memorial Committee sought to commemorate the late king with a statue in Delhi. They turned to Thomas Brock, an established English sculptor nearing the end of a very successful career. A 2002 essay by John Anthony Sankey notes that Brock was one of Great Britain’s leading sculptors in the early 20th century, associated with the new sculpture movement which placed a renewed focus on naturalistic representation. Brock’s other notable sculptures include the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace, and an equestrian statue of Edward, the Black Prince, in Leeds City Square.

Brock worked on the design for the Delhi statue over the next year, electing to depict Edward atop his horse Kildare, wearing a Field Marshal’s uniform and holding his hat in his hand.

The statue took several years to create, and production was further delayed by the First World War, which curtailed bronze casting operations. Although many sources give the year of the statue’s creation as 1919, Sankey’s research indicates it was not actually completed until 1921. In his diary, King George V recorded a 1921 visit to Brock’s studio to see the finished statue before it was shipped to India, and the Times of London reported its official unveiling in February of 1922, an event attended by the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII. “The bronze equestrian statue, itself on a high red sandstone pedestal, is distinctly good,” wrote the Times, “and the whole spectacle, with the glittering staffs and double guard of honour of the Seaforths and Gurkhas and the massed spectators, was very striking.”

Toronto’s acquisition of the statue was largely orchestrated by the Indian government and Canadian governor general Roland Michener, but the credit is generally given to Harry Jackman, who financed its transportation from Delhi to Toronto. Jackman, a former MP for Rosedale and chairman of the board of Empire Life Insurance, reportedly paid $10,000 to have the statue disassembled and shipped across the Atlantic. Available correspondence indicates that the statue was in Toronto by late 1968 and stored in a building on Cherry St. owned by the Harbour Commission. In December 1968, Ivan Forrest, the Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation, wrote to Mayor William Dennison, verifying the statue’s present location and acknowledging Jackman’s preference for the statue to be erected in the northern section Queen’s Park, in a location which had previously housed a bandstand.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Last Sunday, I visited the Toronto incarnation of The Word on the Street. Queen's Park Crescent, surrounding the park and provincial legislative assembly of the same name, was blocked off for the day-long street book festival.

I can't speak about the morning, but the afternoon was a beautiful day. It was quite nice to spend a bright warm September summer afternoon in the middle of the city surrounded by books. Getting my picture taken with Polkaroo was an added benefit.

At Word on the Street, Toronto, Queen's Park. #toronto #Torontophotos #queenspark #torontowots


Looking south on Queen's Park #toronto #torontophotos #torontowots #queenspark


The tents of Word on the Street. #toronto #torontophotos #torontowots #queenspark


More of WOTS. #toronto #torontophotos #torontowots #queenspark


Looking north at the TVOKids stage, WOTS. #toronto #torontophotos #torontowots #tvo #tvokids #queenspark #bloorstreet #bloorstreetwest


Annick Press tent. #toronto #torontophotos #torontowots #queenspark #annickpress


Looking south on Queen's Park, WOTS. #toronto #torontophotos #torontowots #queenspark #cntower
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Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew's brief Toronto Star article just touches upon the rather enjoyable time I had at Word on the Street on Queen's Park. (I'll have plenty of pictures in coming days.) When I was there in the afternoon, the weather was happily perfect.

Sunday morning’s thunderstorms didn’t dampen spirits at the 25th annual Word on the Street.

The Toronto book and magazine festival drew an estimated 210,000 people to Queen’s Park Circle, mostly in the afternoon, organizers said.

“During setup at 8 a.m. it was really bad. Lightning, rain. Bad rain. We can handle any weather, but lightning does scare us. But that’s over,” spokesperson Stephen Weir said in an interview.

“I suspect the audience we lost in the morning arrived in the afternoon.”

This year’s roster of over 200 authors included Canadian writers Claire Cameron, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Sean Michaels, and Shani Mootoo.

“The festival is huge now,” said one festival-goer, Sue Peters of Toronto. “I haven’t been her for a few years and I can’t believe how big it is.”
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Polkaroo!


I went to Toronto's Word on the Street literary festival yesterday, and had a wonderful time. The streets surrounding Queen's Park were cordoned off from traffic and filled with booksellers and literary events amid photogenic scenery.

One thing I appreciated was the TVO Kids stage outside of the Royal Ontario Museum. There, Ontario's public television station had some of the most iconic characters of their programmers posing and taking pictures. Polkaroo, for instance.
rfmcdonald: (photo)
I went on an extended hike east and south across Toronto

Of course, I wore my red-and-white plaid shirt. How much more Canadian could I get?

My red-and-white plaid shirt, perfect for Canada Day


I last shared a picture of this statue of King Edward VII, built for a park in Delhi but later relocated to Queen's Park, in May 2009.

Equestrian statue of King Edward VII, Queen's Park


I love these art deco office buildings east of Queen's Park.

Art deco office buildings east of Queen's Park


I like what a simple Instagram trick did for this shot on Bay Street, looking south at the towers.

Towers of Bay Street #bay #baystreet #toronto


This alley lies just west of Yonge Street on Wellesley.

An alley of Toronto, off Wellesley #toronto #alleys

The painting on the side of the Armen Art Gallery is worn.

Authentic Canadian Native Art #toronto #alleys


The display of some of the books on sale at the Glad Day Bookshop was fresh.

Book for sale at Glad Day #gladday #books #toronto #queer


The Paul Kane House, set in its own parkette and named after the famous 19th century painter of First Nations, is almost entirely surrounded by towers.

Paul Kane House among the towers #toronto


This mural at Church and Wellesley is part of a #pinbuttonpride street history project put on by the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Pin button pride in the Village #toronto #worldpride #churchandwellesley #pinbuttonpride


Crews & Tango was still colourfully decked out for Pride.

Crews and Tango, Pride edition #toronto #churchandwellesley #worldpride


This rainbow of tulips planted outside a convenience store was adorable.

Tulips of Pride #torontopride #worldpride #churchandwellesley #flowers #rainbow #tulips


Outside Mies van der Rohe's Toronto-Dominion Centre, the Pride flag flew alongside the flags of Canada and Ontario.

Pride in the Financial District #toronto #worldpride #financialdistrict #flags #miesvanderrohe


The twin towers of the Royal Bank of Canada headquarters, with their gold-impregnated windows, rise up.

Royal Bank of Canada towers #toronto #financialdistrict #rbc
rfmcdonald: (photo)
Comic Sans for the Lieutenant-Governor, Ontario Legislative Building


While visiting the Ontario Legislative Building for Doors Open on Sunday with a friend, said friend noticed that the document announcing the most recent appointment to the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, David Onley, was written in the font Comic Sans.

I don't get the hatred of this font, the sort recounted in this BBC article. I think it a pleasant and mildly goofy font, quite suitable for friendly or informal occasions. It's just that I certainly didn't think it suitable for an official document like this one!
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Two stone lions, originally from a 17th century Beijing palace, guard the Royal Ontario Museum's rotunda facing Queen's Park.

I took two photos of the southerly lion, using different settings for each. The first photo shows what the lion looks like in the 11:30 light, but the second looks more vibrant. Which do you prefer? and why?



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Taken at the interesction of University Avenue and College Street, south of the seat of Ontario's legislative assembly, in 2008.
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The announced Tamil protest scheduled for this evening on the front lawn of Queen's Park did happen, with crowds filling almost all of the front lawn. In fact, I took video of it.









The protest seemed to live up to its promise

The GTA's Tamil community returned to Queen's Park on Friday, but unlike previous gatherings, this one had a distinctly different tone. Gone were the flags, the banners and the chanting that had marked previous protests against the carnage taking place in their Sri Lankan homeland.

It was replaced by a quiet desperation, a feeling of hopeless grief that will culminate in a candlelight vigil after sundown.

For most of the black-clad mourners gathered at the scene, it's about remembering what was lost. The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people died in the 25-year long war.

Many were relatives of those gathered at the Legislature.

"This one is about the fallen soldiers and civilians that came to fight for our freedom ... and people back home," explains Hamzny Krish. "It's not a good idea to be celebrating. And so, that's why we're here. No one's going to be in a good mood today because ... our own flesh and blood has passed way ... Half your body is taken away."

Several hundred people showed up as the gathering began at 4pm, and so many arrived after that, many were forced to watch the proceedings from across the street.

The sombre mood likely means there won't be the kind of marches and traffic disruptions that have marked the demonstrations in the past.


And there weren't any traffic disruptions. There was, however, at least one person waving a banner of late Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, and there was definitely a heavy police presence.



After I left the scene of the protest, a man and his daughter, both apparently Tamils, accosted me.

"Where is the protest?" he asked me.

I told him to go east and then south. "You can't miss it."
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Walking home from the AMC Yonge & Dundas movie theatre last night, I saw the last bit of the most recent Tamil protest at Queen's Park. There were perhaps a bit more than a hundred people in total, some holding signs to face the northcoming traffic on University Avenue, others clustered around CP24 news reporter who was standing in front of some young Tamil women, concluding her piece by Omar.

The chanting protesters were just outside the provincial legislature, and no, I don't know if anyone of import was at home. The chants followed a standard call-and-response slogans led by the guys with the megaphones.

"Stop the
genocide"

or

"We want a
permanent ceasefire
When do we want it?
Right now"

(My post about Sunday's protest will be up tomorrow; I just need to find something to replace my camera's UPS cable.)

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