Boards Up, Walls Down in Toronto - Part One

June 29, 2020

I recently published two blog posts which document the signs and storefronts of businesses in East Toronto during the coronavirus lockdown.

Simon's Wok (797 Gerrard Street East)

I found these handwritten and personalized signs very moving. (Click here for part one, and here for part two to see more of this photo series).

John's Hairstyling (742 Broadview Avenue)

In this blog post I share images of stores that were boarded up due to a perceived threat of violence that might occur during protests against anti-black racism that were planned for the weekend of June 6 and 7 2020.

Aritzia (50 Bloor Street West)

While violence did occur in Toronto ten years ago during the G20 protests (an event I was present at and documented elements of) - mostly due to a group of "Black Bloc" actors who infiltrated the protests (see this BlogTO article for more on the "Black Bloc") - the Black Lives Matter marches and protests that happened June 6 and 7 were peaceful and free of any violence.

Roots Eaton Centre (220 Yonge Street)

I was unable to attend the protests, though I would have liked to so I could listen, learn, and show my quiet support.

The images shared in this post are from a run through downtown on Saturday morning, June 6th, and are all taken with my phone.

I returned in the late afternoon that same day, and captured more images of a boarded up downtown with my DSLR and on film. I will share from those images in a second blog post in the next few  weeks.

Royal De Versailles (101 Bloor Street West)

Winners and HomeSense (110 Bloor Street West)

Gucci (130 Bloor Street West)

Max Mara (151 Bloor Street West)

The white Ghost Bike is in acknowledgement of the death of Darcy Allan Sheppard.

ARC is the most current site I can find for more information about ghost bikes in Toronto.

Visit CycleTO for current information on safe cycling in Toronto.

Louis Vuitton (150 Bloor Street West)

I headed south off of Bloor and came across this sign at College and Spadina...

Seeing strong advocacy movements and activism always makes me encouraged for the future of Toronto.

I headed east across Queen Street and made a quick stop at Toronto City Hall...

Lone Pigeon

Sunlight on the Square

I then headed east on Queen and back up Yonge Street.

Sweat and Tonic (225 Yonge Street)

Burger King (243 Yonge Street)

Roots Eaton Centre (220 Yonge Street)

Shoppers Drug Mart (279 Yonge Street)

Formerly Friar's Tavern, an important site of music history in Toronto.

Who Is With Me?

10 Dundas East Shopping Centre

  Rogers Store (302 Yonge Street)

Tokyo Smoke (333 Yonge Street)

I'll always remember this address as the site of HMV, one of the great music stores
on Yonge Street that I loved to frequent along with Sam the Record Man

and Sunrise Records (which is thankfully still in business, although no longer on Yonge Street).

 

Some businesses were not afraid to remain open...

Ginger Viet Famous Food (355 Yonge Street)

Zanzibar (359 Yonge Street)

Some businesses were boarded up well before the June 6-7 weekend, due to the coronavirus lockdown/quarantine,

and had artists/artist collectives such as @kadence.world make amazing artwork on their boarded up exteriors.

Here is a great write-up - "The Art of Appreciation" - about with lots more details about these.

 

While fear led to the boarding up of shops, a quote that I saw along my run on the morning I took these photos seems quite appropriate - for the weekend's circumstances, and for the times that we are living in...

"Here is the world.

Beautiful and terrible things will happen.

Don't be afraid."

- Fredrick Buechner

From "Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABCs of Faith"

 

I will share another post soon with images captured later this same day (June 6, 2020) with my DSLR and my film cameras.

Let me end with a photo I saw (not during this morning run) on Avenue Road, north of Lawrence, which delivers the message that was being communicated during the protests happening on June 6 and 7, and at events since then - a message that I/we need not fear, but acknowledge and face up to and take action based on...

Visit these links to learn and to take action:

Black Lives Matter

Across Boundaries

BBPA


Culture Snap Photography features the work of Toronto-based photographer Henry VanderSpek. Henry specializes in documenting the work of local and international non-profit organizations, special events, live music, street and art photography. To hire Henry for an assignment, please click here to get in touch.
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