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Neighbourhood Appreciation

Whenever I travel I tell people that I am from Toronto – it’s just easier than saying I’m from a smaller city a half an hour from Toronto. But I did live there for many years and upon every return visit it’s inevitable that some memory of those times will spring up. And it’s usually typical that I’ll take a photo of the thing that sparked the memory.

Some of those photos then become painting subjects, like this miniature: “Along Front Street, Toronto”.

Along Front Street, Toronto

Visiting this area not long ago, memories of my first job in Toronto came flooding back, as I used to work in this neighbourhood and walked past this corner twice a day. I recalled feeling so “metropolitan” amongst the historic and iconic buildings, mixed in with the glass and steel towers. At lunch time, I’d go to St. Lawrence Market for a peameal bacon sandwich and go sit in the park behind Toronto’s version of the Flat Iron, the Gooderham Building (the brick one on the right in the painting). I’d marvel at the mural attached to the back of the building and revel in how cool everything was around here.

Then that metropolitan-cool feeling gradually wore off, and I started eating at my desk at lunch time and kept my eyes down as I raced to and from the nearby subway station. It all had become commonplace.

Upon my return to the area thirty years later, I was once again bowled over by this atmospheric scene. All the older buildings have beautifully withstood the test of time, even as more glass and steel towers have gone up around them. There is more greenery and more traffic than I remembered but the heart and soul of this neighbourhood is still present.

As I painted this scene, I thought a lot about how quickly I have let my appreciation and attention fade or get replaced with other things throughout my life. I guess we all do it to some extent. Painting has helped me lock in some of this appreciation, but it’s a lesson I know that I will always have to keep relearning…. away from my brushes.

Ink and watercolour, 2.5″ x 3.5″

For information on where you can purchase this iconic urban beauty, click here.

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