On an Urban Photo Safari in T.O.
August 26, 2008 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Aside from landmark buildings and tourist architecture, where can I take my out-of-town friend (an amateur photographer) to capture unique shots in Toronto this weekend?

I haven't explored every nook and cranny of the city, but am looking for special places that would provide him with great souvenirs of his trip to Toronto. Examples of things similar to what I'm looking for might include the back alleys near Queen/Bathurst (amazing grafitti) and Kensington Market. Did the secret swing disappear long ago?

I'd like to avoid the CNE.

posted by nathaole to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Distillery District and the Don Valley Brick Works are always swarming with photographers.
posted by meerkatty at 11:34 AM on August 26, 2008

I really can't speak for any other amateur photographers, landmark buildings are incredibly dull. What's the point in taking a photo of something that's effectively been constructed to be photo-friendly?
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:35 AM on August 26, 2008

I took some friends from NYC out to the end of Leslie Spit last weekend and they were delighted by it. There's a lighthouse at the end and a strange abandoned shack on the way. you'll need bikes to do it though. As for downtown stuff, i recently discovered Bright Street, which was, apparently, the first Toronto neighborhood to get electricity. The buildings are all very old and leaning against each other and out into the street. It seems more like an old European street than anything else.
posted by melgy at 11:39 AM on August 26, 2008

Response by poster: Tomorrowful, I agree wholeheartedly! They're even more dull for the person without a camera who sees them each day, which is why I've asked for other suggestions.
posted by nathaole at 11:40 AM on August 26, 2008

I would maybe check out [daily dose of imagery] and see if anything inspires you.
posted by inigo2 at 11:51 AM on August 26, 2008

As well, the Torontoist Flickr pool might be inspiring.
posted by thisjax at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2008

The TTC yard near Donlands station -- I think it's called Greenwood Yard?

Google earth has linked pictures (check "panoramio" box, I think) and exploring Toronto that way might be interesting and productive for ideas.
posted by Rumple at 11:56 AM on August 26, 2008

Better is the TTC yard over on.. Bathurst? The Humber Yards, I think it's called. Some gorgeous old signage.

That lovely bridge on the lakeshore, near the streetcar loop, west of Roncesvalles.

There's some lovely alleyways running parallel to Roncesvalles, just east of it.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:16 PM on August 26, 2008

Centre Island has the cool houses and the mini amusement park. I am always partial to the Empire cottages on Draper Street (walking distance to Queen & Bathurst graffiti). Parkdale is always cool to walk around in, as is any of the little's (little india, littel italy etc). Riverdale farm is directly opposite a cool cemetary. After 6 pm the (dead) financial district has neat outdoor art to goof off on. If you want to be naughty there is always infiltration. The building and neighbourhood around the trash palace is pretty cool.
posted by saucysault at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2008

posted by pised at 2:53 PM on August 26, 2008

No no no. Don’t go to the Greenwood Yard, which is on Greenwood at Torbrick/Athletic south of Danforth. You can get an amazingly Ballardian photo looking down and along the rooftops of one of the shops, but that won’t cut it for transit fandom…

which is a viable thing to go searching for in Toronto. First, take pictures of the type and tile in the subway. For the love of God look at the Sheppard line.

The Russell Division yard at Queen and Connaught (east of Greenwood) has edges that can be walked along quite easily, particularly on the south side (Eastern Ave.). At dusk or similar periods of interesting light, the photos can be great.

(Actually, a lot of Leslieville buildings are so weird they work well as photographs. I could link you to my own site about my hood for that.)

You want to take advantage of Toronto’s strengths, which are nooks and crannies. Sidestreets in the Beach (and the Harris filtration plant)… the ugly Junction… Cabbagetown, sure. I think Queen West and K-mart will not be all that interesting, but that may be due to familiarity or bias on my part.
posted by joeclark at 3:30 PM on August 26, 2008

If you are looking at the whole alley thing, one of the more interesting is Croft street. The south end, at College, is a loft conversion of an old factory/warehouse, but as you travel north it turns into the typical back lane that you find all over the neighborhood.

Another possibly interesting bit of transit history is the remains of the Yonge Subway open cut around Davisville and Summerhill. I've never actually stopped to look though..

I have to agree about the Leslie Street Spit. I mean, you can't pass up the combination of active land fill operation and public park :P

The Toronto Islands housing is actually on Ward's and Algonquin Islands. There are also some ruins that you should still be able to see -- old disused walkways mostly -- I think that is mostly along the south edge of Ward's Island, but a lot of houses were torn down, so it might be visible in other locations too.

You could go check out the aftermath of Sunrise Propane..
posted by Chuckles at 7:33 PM on August 26, 2008

Can't believe no one's mentioned Chinatown, so I will! Or how about Riverdale Farm and the Necropolis? Heck, all of Cabbagetown is cool and has interesting little nooks and crannies when you're a-wandering.
posted by twiki at 6:15 AM on August 27, 2008

I always thought that the Ted Reeve arena building looked kind of cute, but I may be alone in that sentiment. :)
posted by Citrus at 11:37 AM on August 27, 2008

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