Friday, September 20, 2019

College Circuit

September 2019 - Toronto ON

We covered so much ground and murals on this walk, that it needed its own (one of several) post.
Some College St. doors
More College doors

College St. is home to an ethnically diverse population in the western residential reaches, and institutions like the Ontario Legislature and the University of Toronto in the downtown core.
College Street takes its name from the University of Toronto, originally King's College. Between Spadina Avenue and Yonge Street, College marks the southern boundary of the original 1827 land grant for the college. 

We step off the streetcar at College and Bathurst. This part of College borders Kensignton Market.

An old Clandestinos mural.

Viviana Astudillo

Hogtown Vegan College at Borden.

We've crossed over into Kensington Market now.

Albert Samuel Waxman,  (March 2, 1935 – January 18, 2001) was a Canadian actor and director of over 1000 productions on radio, television, film, and stage. He is best known for his starring roles in the television series King of Kensington (CBC) and Cagney & Lacey (CBS).

Following his death, a statue of him, created by Ruth Abernethy, was erected in Kensington Market, the Toronto neighbourhood where King of Kensington takes place. The inscription in front of the statue reads "There's lots to do down the road, there's always more. Trust your gut instincts. In small matters trust your mind, but in the important decisions of life – trust your heart." In May 2014, the statue was vandalised with graffiti and resembled the Joker, a Batman villain. A relationship anarchy symbol was also on the statue's forehead. The statue was later cleaned and polished.

Alice and Dan Heap were life-long community organizers, trade unionists, and socialists dedicated to providing jobs and housing for all and to achieving peace in the world. Both were active in the Student Christian Movement where Alice (1925-2012), born in Quebec, met Dan (or Don, 1925-2014), born in Manitoba. After they married in Montreal in 1950, Dan was ordained in the Anglican Church and became a worker-priest. In 1954, they moved to Toronto, where Dan worked in a cardboard box factory and was later elected a Toronto City Councillor (1972 to 1981) and then New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina (1981 to 1993). In 1965, in support of the civil rights movement, Dan marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, while his family in Toronto joined sit-ins in front of the U.S. Consulate. Alice steadfastly organized for many social justice and international solidarity causes, and participated in the co-op housing movement. The Heaps lived in this house with their seven children from 1968 to 1990. Their home was a centre for political activism where the door was always open to people needing shelter. In 1990, Alice and Dan sold this house to the Homes First Society for considerably less than its market value.

Inside a juice bar.

Bilal Al Rasoul doesn’t even drink coffee, but his new life in Canada revolves around a coffee shop in the heart of Toronto’s diverse Kensington Market.

The Livelihood Cafe on Augusta Ave. is a home-away-from-home for the Syrian teenager and other newcomers who work at the not-for-profit social enterprise that’s staffed entirely by refugees and immigrants and aims to teach them new job skills and help them ease into Canada’s multicultural fabric.

When a recent public opinion poll found the majority of Canadians are in favour of limiting immigration and against taking in more refugees, Rasoul and his coworkers were disturbed by the findings.

“We felt so sad and disappointed because that’s not the Canada we knew,” said the 18-year-old, whose family arrived here in 2016 as part of the wave of Syrian refugees who resettled in Canada. “People in this community are very nice to us. We feel so welcomed and safe here.”

After a staff meeting where they shared their emotions about the poll, the newcomer baristas and chefs decided to take action. They launched their Toronto is for Everybody campaign — with a T-shirt and a video produced pro bono by marketing firm, Zero Trillion — to spread a message of love to other Canadians that the city can be stronger and richer if we all open our arms to welcome each new neighbour. SOURCE

I think Prince would have liked the Kensington Market vibe.

Back on College and walking west.

We're now on a part of College also known as Little Italy for its Italian Canadian restaurants and businesses. There is also a significant Latin-Canadian and Portuguese-Canadian community in the area. The district is centred on a restaurant/bar/shopping strip along College Street, centred at the intersection of College and Grace Streets and the adjacent residential area, but spreading out between Ossington Avenue and Dufferin Street. The exact borders of the district are imprecise. The area south of College to Dundas Street is almost always considered part of Little Italy. The area north of Harbord Street is known as Palmerston–Little Italy or Bickford Park.

On the southwest corner of College and Grace streets can be found this set of two 2008 Heritage Toronto plaques about this gentleman and the piazza. Here's what they say:Johnny Lombardi 1915-2002

One of this city's best-known personalities, John Barbalinardo "Johnny" Lombardi was a pioneer in the promotion of Toronto's cultural diversity. Born in this city to an Italian immigrant family, he became a self-taught trumpeter and entertainer before serving in the Canadian Army in the Second World War. Returning to Toronto, he quickly achieved success by appealing to the needs of this city's rapidly growing Italian immigrant neighbourhoods - first as the proprietor of a grocery store, opened in 1946, then as an impresario of Italian entertainment.
In 1966, Lombardi launched two vital Toronto institutions: CHIN Multicultural Radio and the CHIN International Picnic. CHIN, the first station in Canada licensed to provide full-time multilingual programming, began in rooms above Lombardi's supermarket at 637 College Street, and expanded into television in 1970. CHIN Radio now broadcasts in over 30 languages from 622 College Street. The CHIN International Picnic, now a three-day festival, annually attracts more than 250,000 people to celebrate Toronto's cultural diversity.
Dynamic and generous, Johnny Lombardi received numerous awards fro service to his community and his country, including the Order of Canada in 1981.

Piazza Johnny Lombardi

Following the death of Johnny Lombardi in 2002, the City of Toronto joined local businesses and the Lombardi family to create this piazza as a memorial to his life and work. Managed by the City of Toronto, the project was nearly fully funded through the generosity of businesses and individuals.
Sculptors Veronica and Edwin Dam de Nogales, winners of a public art and design competition, designed the piazza and created the artwork, in partnership with landscape architects Ferris + Associates. The curving seating walls recall the ocean and radio waves that brought Johnny Lombardi together with the diverse cultures he celebrated. At the heart of the piazza is a bronze statue of Johnny, engaging and full of life. Across from him is a statue of a young boy wearing Johnny's cap. By drawing continents, nations and peoples together with one continuous line of his etching tool, the boy describes Johnny's inspiring vision of a multicultural Canada.

The Portuguese Pioneers Park, College and Crawford,  is dedicated to the Portuguese Pioneers who helped build Canada. It was very nicely manicured with lots of colorful plants and flowers. There was even a (very small) wall of fame!

And a small wall of fame. Top left is Nelly Furtado.

Blue and white tile mural showing some of the historical moments of the Portuguese arrival in Canada.
It was installed in 1988 on the side of a building which was a Portuguese community centre but no longer.

What a treasure trove of murals this corner was! Standing at the Portuguese park John snapped this photo. The theatre is now the Royal shown above. In 1939 it was the Pylon. It included a roller-skating rink at the rear of the theatre, and a dance hall on the second floor.

Across the street from the park were these murals.
Look at that cat! The newspaper has an ad for Sam the Record Man on the back page and the little girl is showing off a 45.

Ice Cream! But it wasn't open which was a shame.

Spotted as we waited for the streetcar. I have not even covered the laneway of incredible (30-40) murals we also saw.


  1. ...Jackie, a visual overload, my head is spinning, but 'Hogtown Vegan College at Borden' take the cake.


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