Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Guild

Cat People, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

I discovered The Guild today thanks to my friend, Jude Marion. The Guild sits on bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario and includes a number of historic buildings within a public park. Surrounding the buildings are more than 70 architectural fragments and sculptures within its gardens.

As per the City of Toronto's website:

Originally a private residence, the main building was renovated extensively to become a public hotel, and the buildings which surround it were pressed into service to become The Guild of All Arts, a Depression-era arts and crafts colony. The extensive private gardens surrounding the buildings became the site of a personal building conservation program by Rosa and Spencer Clark, whereby fragments from demolished buildings in and around Toronto were rescued by their efforts and re-erected to create a sculpture garden. Passing into the public domain in 1978, the grounds became a public park and the art and sculpture on display in the gardens became a unique attraction to this lovely setting atop the Scarborough Bluffs.

If you haven't been before, I'd highly recommend it. Thanks for the tour Jude.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

At the End of the World

At the End of the World, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

The skateboard park in the 'hood was deserted today. I thought there might be the odd hearty kid trying out a new Christmas skateboard but we had the place to ourselves. Wimps. I like to wander the oddly shaped concrete forms and try out a picture or two while walking the dog. I understand the TTC has agreed to pay for Phase II of the park as part of the new streetcar yard deal. I can't wait to see "the pool" and some of the more extreme features of the park that weren't included in the original development due to budget issues.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Automolove, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

This photo recently placed first/best overall in the City of Toronto's Photo Contest in the citybiz or business category. Winners were invited to a reception with the mayor at City Hall in January.

I took this picture of a neighbourhood storefront since I once had a black MGB and I've always liked the concept of a car in a shop window. My MGB was a fine and fun automobile and I enjoyed every kilometre in it.

The name of the photo was inspired by Queen's song, I'm in Love With My Car.

I'm in love with my car
Gotta feel for my automobile
I'm in love with my car
String back gloves in my automolove

Congratulations to all of the other winners in the City's photo contest. See you at Dave's party.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fred's Not Here

Fred's Not Here, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Years ago, when my Dad lived in Toronto, we occasionally went to a restaurant on King Street West called, Fred's Not Here. It was, and I believe still is, a happening joint and we had a lot of fun and a lot of great food. When I took this picture in the neighbourhood, the name of the restaurant came to mind along with the many memories.

Featured in the The Daily Photoist: December 15, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Storm Warning

Winter Storm Warning, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Well, the first storm of the season arrived yesterday. It wasn't as big as the media would have led us to believe but it did mess up the morning commute. I hope that's it for the year and spring is just around the corner. Yeah right.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Transit Tales #48

Transit Tales #48, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

This diminutive woman boarded the streetcar while a second TTC employee stood beside the driver talking - as they tend to do. She awkwardly shuffled and squeezed her cart by the standing guy and sat down in the first seat in her red accessories after glaring at the TTC employee for partially blocking the aisle.

After a few moments, I noticed her anxiously looking around, checking her pockets and obviously distressed about something. Suddenly she lunged at the standing TTC driver at the same time that I glanced down to see what turned out to be her missing red glove firmly planted under the TTC employee's big dirty boot. He was still talking to the driver and unaware of his indiscretion. She literally dove at him, poking him in the leg, causing him to lift his foot in surprise thereby freeing her bright red glove. He was startled but after realizing this woman wasn't actually trying to kill him, cautiously resumed his conversation with the driver.

The woman returned to her seat glaring with disgust at the guy with the inconsiderate boot, smacked her glove back and forth a few times on the railing to knock the dirt off it, placed the glove back on her hand and sat back with her ensemble once again complete. I took this picture shortly after the return of the glove although I was careful not to get caught in the act lest I face her considerable wrath as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Fat Lady Has Sung

The Fat Lady Has Sung, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Metro has announced the three winning entries for each Canadian contest category. The image, Cloud Factory took first place for my category, Climate Change. Congratulations to romwar, 'tis a fine image.

Thanks once again for your support and votes over the last few weeks. I went from initial apathy to a full marketing lather and enjoyed every minute. I was honoured to be selected as a semi-finalist and enjoyed sharing the spotlight with the talented uwajedi (last year's worthy winner).

In the immortal words of Hot Chocolate, "Everyone's a winner, baby..."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Butt Out

Butt Out, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Ha, looks like my butt shot made The Daily Photoist on The Torontist website :) This was taken through a window of the Ontario College of Art & Design on the way to an Art Gallery of Ontario visit.

The Daily Photoist: November 30, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Crunch Time

Crunch Time, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

If you feel like you're starting to see shopping buggies everywhere, you are but it's almost over as voting winds down for my entry in the Canadian Climate Change category of the Metro Global Photo Challenge.

  • Voting ends this week, so if you've already voted, thanks!
  • If you were thinking of voting, but haven't, now is the time to vote.
  • If you haven't contacted everyone you've ever known and asked them to vote, now is definitely the time.

Just click on one of the vote links in this message and then click on the Vote for the winner link on the Metro website to register your vote and make a difference. The end is nigh (and I mean it this time).

Thank you for your ongoing support and indulgence.

[Image generated using]

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Exercise Your Right

Exercise Your Right, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Modern Consumerism (2009)

This image has been short-listed by a panel of judges in the Metro Global Photo Challenge contest and is one of ten remaining photos in the Climate Change category. One winner within this category will be identified based on voting by YOU with global winners selected by judges from the winner list between November 30th and December 3rd. The grand prize per category is a trip for two to anywhere that Global publishes. Giddy-up.

Please VOTE for your favourite photograph in this category (hint: it has a shopping cart in it) and spread the word. Thanks for your support!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Consumption, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

It's sad to see an abandoned shopping cart on the steps of the Palace of Purification however I thought it made for an unlikely and interesting composition. I don't have to mention that the waves were absolutely crazy that day. Dudley had no interest in getting any closer to the surf than I made him. Dogs are smart that way. Humans, not so much.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Free All-Night Contemporary Art Thing

I attended this year’s Nuit Blanche along with fellow flickrites, Jude, Scott, Ron, Rick and Jeff. While I had been to this dusk-to-dawn event a couple times in the past, I had always gone solo and it was a welcome change to see it in a group. We met up around 7:00 pm at a downtown coffee shop before we took off into the night. We covered a lot of ground, a number of installations and ended the evening at some funky chicken shawarma joint near Richmond and Spadina.

Soon afterwards, we parted ways on Queen Street where I attempted to catch a streetcar home. You'd think the streetcars would be fairly quiet around 1:30 am but that wasn't the case with most cars filled beyond capacity and few and far between. I eventually ducked down to King and caught a short-turned streetcar over to Parliament where I was then able to walk up to Queen and catch another streetcar. Needless to say, I slept well and didn’t get to look at my shots until the following evening. I may post a few more over the next few days. Thanks Jude for organizing a great event and I look forward to next year’s Nuit Blanche.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Palace of Purification

Best Friends, originally uploaded by Michael Mitchener.

Those of you who know me, know that I like to visit and photograph the Waterworks at the end of the Beach - a lot. More formally known as the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, this facility supplies Toronto with over 45% of its drinking water and has done so since it opened its beautiful Art Deco doors in 1941.

More importantly, it is possibly the best place in Toronto to walk your dog with lots of beach, steep hills and a view to die for. If you haven't been, treat yourself and your furry pal, and make the trip. Check out my Waterworks Collection for a sample of what you'll see. You'll find this treasure where Queen Street East meets Victoria Park and trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The View From Here

The View From Here

We went for a late season paddle on the lake this morning, departing from Cherry Beach and wandering around the western shore of the Leslie Spit. The sunrise was spectacular, the water was relatively calm, the company was great and the cameras stayed nice and dry. What more could you ask for other than maybe three more months of summer and a few million dollars.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Broken Red Umbrella

Broken Red Umbrella

It was raining this evening and we debated whether it was worth taking Dudley to the Waterworks but it seemed to clear up so we made the trek. The Waterworks for anyone not familiar with Toronto is heaven on earth for dogs and close to the same for photographers. It's perched on the steep shore of Lake Ontario and was built at a time when public architecture was more than just functional. Check out this art deco treasure if you get the chance and be sure to bring along a mutt or two.

Leuty Will Set You Free


I, like a lot of photographers, have a thing for Leuty. Leuty is a lifeguard station in the Beach at the bottom of Leuty Avenue (go figure) and it is one of the most photographed landmarks in the area. Is it a cliche to photograph Leuty or does it challenge you to find that one overlooked perspective or interpretation? I choose the latter and say, give into the lure of Leuty and fill that 10 GB card with as many images as you can cram onto it. You just might find something that someone else missed.

Modern Consumerism

Modern Consumerism

Dudley and I recently came across this abandoned shopping cart on one of our Waterwork walks. While it was sad to see a cart littering this section of the beach, I thought it made for a striking scene and took a shot of it from the retaining wall above the beach. Since the image was taken from above, I thought it might be a good candidate to try tilt-shift processing, which places the focal point where you specify and can give a overall miniaturized feel to the image.

We haven't seen the shopping cart on our more recent trips and I hope it's been returned to whatever grocery store it came from but the cynical side of me thinks it's probably at the bottom of the lake by now.