Friday, March 31, 2023

Leonard Cohen - AGO

March 2023 - Toronto ON

We saw the Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows exhibit at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) this week.
We are huge Cohen fans!

Click here to see the Leonard Cohen exhibit we saw in Montreal in 2018.

An enduring artistic force, Canadian novelist, poet and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) is renowned the world over for his meditations on beauty, death, loss and the human heart.

Thanks to Leonard Cohen Family Trust the exhibition boasts an incredible number of personal items from the late artist — from diaries, letters and ephemera to hundreds of private photographs and even his Grammy award!

Cohen understood the importance of preserving his work, so he has been saving everything from the early stages of his career, and now hundreds of his personal items are part of the University of Toronto archives.

Click here for the AGO audio tour and soundtrack, it will describe in detail many of the photos below.

I didn't know that he was quite an artist.
Cohen is mostly known as a poet and singer-songwriter, famously for his songs “Hallelujah”, “I am Your Man” and “Everybody Knows”, after which the exhibition is titled. Yet, this exhibition showcases that Cohen also had talents in visual mediums, in photography and drawing. His lifelong interest in graphic arts was kept relatively private until several exhibitions were staged in 2007. He did not want to be remembered as a visual artist, yet his albums and touring merchandise’s imagery had been influenced directly by his artworks.

The AGO always use the stairs to promote an exhibit.

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016) was a Canadian poet, singer-songwriter and novelist. His music, lyrics and books, which have been read by generations of readers, are admired globally. Born and educated in Montreal, Cohen’s artistic career began in 1956 with the publication of his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies. Over his long and productive career, he published numerous books of poetry and two novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, and in 1993, Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs. He has recorded more than a dozen music albums, and numerous tribute albums, in many languages, have celebrated his songs. He died in Los Angeles in 2016 (the day before the US election) and was secretly buried in Montreal a few days later.


Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows beautifully illustrates Cohen’s life journey and the importance of places like Montreal, Greek island Hydra, Tennessee, New York and Israel. The exhibition starts with Cohen’s childhood home videos in Montreal and ends with a recording of his final concert in Tel Aviv in 2009. Cohen’s kaleidoscope of artistic talents and charisma shines throughout the exhibition.
It establishes the origins of Cohen’s deep Judaic faith, which informed his world view even as he voraciously studied other religions and spent six years during the 1990s sequestered at a Zen Buddhist monastery.

Handwritten Everybody Knows.

The show offers a peek into the hundreds of pocket-sized notebooks that, over the years, Cohen would always carry with him, writing down ideas for couplets or for songs. Sometimes he would sketch or doodle on a napkin or a piece of cardboard.

The Spice-Box of Earth is Canadian poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen's second collection of poetry. It was first published in 1961 by McClelland and Stewart, when Cohen was 27 years old. The book brought the poet a measure of early literary acclaim.

On the Greek island of Hydra where, in the 1960s, Cohen found a creative refuge among its intellectual community and met his famous muse, Marianne Ihlen.

John, it is quiet as 10:30 to 11:30 is for members only. It got very busy after that.

The exhibition explores the creative process in which Cohen was functioning, from the sparks of inspiration to the artistic execution of his projects. He started his career as a poet and novelist in the 1950s and released his first music album in 1967. 

Photography was a critical medium for Cohen, who enjoyed documenting himself, being both in front and behind the camera. He carefully controlled his image. Also, his fascinations with everyday objects — from Shabbat candles to his son’s cup — is presented through polaroids, sketches and watercolours. His handwritten postcards and notebooks with well-known lyrics are on display for visitors to see.

Did you know? Cohen's classic song "Hallelujah," which has been covered by hundreds of artists, originally appeared on his 1984 album, Various Positions. The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in December 2016 following his passing.

His daughter's cup.

The symbol of The Unified Heart that Cohen devised first appears with Book of Mercy, 1984: The Star of David transformed into two entwined, interlocking hearts. The Unified Heart refers directly to Cohen's personal and universal resolution of the existential twist. You can see it below in the left corner.

I found this image of the original book cover online.

2008 Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Cohen won his first career GRAMMY for 2007 Album Of The Year as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters at the 50th GRAMMY Awards.

He was honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Songs Of Leonard Cohen was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2015.

2017 Grammy Award, Best Rock Performance for "You Want it Darker."

Who knew that this polymathic artist, poet, author and musician transformed Grandpa’s classic fedora into a weapon of mass seduction?

I had at least one of the albums - Songs of Love and Hate.



Welcome to The Weekend Roundup...hosted by Tom The Back Roads Traveler

1. Starts with "M"
2. A Favorite
3.  MULTIPLES chosen by Tom




Maximillian's in Berlin, man, mannequin, mug, moustache


MYRTLE Beach - only a MOTHER could love!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Tuesday Treasures

  Tom the backroads traveller hosts this weekly meme.

March 2023 - Toronto ON

Yesterday I posted this building on Monday Mural and its everchanging murals. The building has always intrigued me as it is empty for as long as I remember.

I took this photo last week, the scaffolding has just been erected.

Photo from Toronto Archives - information from BlogTO.

We took this in 2019. Raccoon mural by Emily May Rose.

38-40 Dundas Street East is a three-storey office building in a classical, early 20th-century commercial style at the northeast corner of Dundas Street East and Victoria Street.
It's a building with over a century of history, and, at present, an uncertain future.

Construction of 38-40 Dundas Street East has been identified as 1913 in several contemporary sources. However, there is the possibility that the extant building may have incorporated parts of an older structure predating the 1910s.

The building has been painted since at least the mid-1920s. Peeling paint on the rear (east) elevation has revealed yellow brick (likely from the mid-19th century) on the lower levels with red brick (likely from the early 20th century) on the upper levels.

By the mid-1880s, a blacksmith and marble works had also opened operations on or near Victoria Street Lane.


In about 1887, the property became home to James H. Cash – a picture framer by trade; and Henry Cash – a carpenter by trade. 1887 also saw the severance of the southern section of the grounds to facilitate the construction of buildings and residences along Wilton Avenue.

City of Toronto Directories indicate that various boarders and residential tenants were associated with the property until 1912. Between 1913 and 1920, the property had a mix of commercial and residential occupants with the building becoming wholly commercial (offices) by 1921. In 1913/1914, the property first appears associated with William A. Murphy — a builder, carpenter, and contractor by trade.

Murphy was the earliest commercial occupant of the building. Alongside William A. Murphy, John Gearon (a teamster) and Harry Teasdale (a painter) are also listed as occupants of the address in 1913/1914.

By 1920/1921, the building was wholly offices. Occupants included: Osborne Electric; Samuel Osborne Canadian Ltd. – a steel company; Auto Supplies Company Ltd.; the offices of architect Thomas White Lamb; the offices of manufacturing agent Edward W. Fisher; and the jewellery manufacturers Paquette & Hughes. Paquette & Hughes Ltd. were the victims of two high-profile armed robberies in January 1921 and November 1923.

In 1921/1922, the Powell Chemical Company moved into 38-40 Dundas Street East (then still known as 269 Victoria Street). The Powell Chemical Company – also known as the H. Powell Chemical Company — were manufacturing chemists.

In 1922/1923, the City of Toronto undertook steps to eliminate a significant jog on Dundas Street that had formed as a result of Agnes Street and Wilton Avenue not being in direct alignment with each other.

This street realignment project – known as the Dundas Street Extension - resulted in the acquisition of several properties along the north side of Dundas Street East between Yonge Street and Victoria Street Lane, including part of the Powell Chemical Company property.

A November 1922 The Globe (Toronto) article specifically references that the City of Toronto's Assessment Department was slated to "arrange for a piece to be taken off the southwest corner of the Powell Chemical Company building on the east side of Victoria Street" as to prevent the "building project[ing] slightly beyond the line of the new diagonal piece of roadway" and to allow the completion of the realigned Dundas Street East.

This realignment also resulted in 38-40 Dundas Street East becoming situated directly at the intersection of Dundas Street East and Victoria Street; whereas it had previously been located several buildings north of the intersection.

Interestingly, a photograph of 38-40 Dundas Street East (then known as 269 Victoria Street) published in The Globe (Toronto) on 11 June 1923 – which shows the building prior to the creation of its distinct angled façade – specifically references the building as being the former home of Egerton Ryerson and notes that the building had become recently revealed due to street changes.

A subsequent photograph dated 3 November 1923 - taken after the creation of the distinct angled façade – uses the name The Powell Chemical Company Building in its caption. A similar fenestration pattern on the south elevation is visible on both the June 1923 and November 1923 photographs.

The June 1923 photograph also shows masonry that appears to have been recently altered and/or added around the doors, windows, and 3rd floor — indicating potential alterations, additions, and renovations to the structure.

The address 36-40 Dundas Street East and the name Powell Building had been formally assigned to the property as of 1924/1925.

The Powell Chemical Company remained in operation at 38-40 Dundas Street East until 1952. The Kahn Optical Company — an ophthalmic laboratory and manufacturer on the 2nd floor — was another long-term occupant of the Powell Building and was based there from 1925 until 1967.

In May 1930, 38-40 Dundas Street East suffered a major fire that originated in the offices of the Kahn Optical Company.

The Toronto Daily Star described the fire as a "spectacular blaze [...] so much water was poured into the building that it came out in a Niagara-like torrent, carrying hundreds of partly burned tortoise shelled eyeglass frames into the street" This fire likely resulted in further alterations to the building.

By the late 1960s, 38-40 Dundas Street East was entirely vacant. By the mid-1970s, 38-40 Dundas Street West was used as the offices of Teela Market Surveys / Teela Publications. Teela remained at 38-40 Dundas Street East through the early 1980s. The latest commercial tenant was Hakim Optical. The building has been entirely vacant since 2010.

The property was expropriated by the City of Toronto in the mid-to-late 1990s as part of the 1996 Yonge Dundas Redevelopment Project, which eventually resulted in the creation of Yonge-Dundas Square in the early 2000s.
Popular proposals have included use as a museum and/or music incubator.

In 2015, an engineering study was undertaken to assess the condition of the building. This 2015 study — not presently available to the public but referenced in public documents — reportedly notes "structural concerns with the building's masonry façade, masonry parapet walls, floor areas within the building and fire escape."

Subsequently, in February 2023, the City of Toronto issued an Order to Remedy Unsafe Building to itself, noting that "NO work has been carried out to date to permanently repair the building and remediate the structural concerns that are creating the unsafe conditions to the public in and around the building." Scaffolding has since been erected around the building as of early March 2023.

Monday Mural

 I'm linking up at Monday Mural 

March 2023 - Toronto ON

Painted by One Direction (?) September 2022 - Dundas Square

This wall has had other musical themed murals.

August 2022

May 2020


I thought for fun, that I would reverse post my Monday Murals - July 2013 Calgary Alberta