A Colourful Evening : Yorkville Mural Festival

While sitting here at my computer, trying to come up with a good title to describe a recent evening out with my friend Isabel, I absentmindedly gazed at the thumb-nails of the photos I was going to include in the post. You could say that the title popped right out at me, because everything was just so colourful!

We were in Yorkville, with the main goal of seeing the newly painted murals that resulted from the first annual Mural Festival held there in September.

In a nutshell, what happened was that nine world renowned street artists painted murals within a courtyard, which were revealed during a three day arts festival.

While it sounded really cool, I couldn’t make it to the festival, but not all was lost because the murals are still there, and will be until the festival takes place again next year, when (I think) they’ll be painted over with new pieces.

So, the site of the Yorkville Mural Festival at 99 Yorkville Avenue, was our first stop …

↑ By WhatisAdam

↑ By Ola Volo

↑ By Mateo (left) and Peru143 (right) ↑

↑ By XRay

↑ By Mr. Brainwash

Then, Isabel knew of another interesting place for us to check out. We walked up to the corner of Hazelton Avenue and Scollard Street, where one of the oldest buildings in the whole area still stands : Heliconian Hall, built in 1876.

Using wood cleared from the surrounding forest that was there at the time, this old building is an example of “Carpenter Gothic” also known as “Rural Gothic”. I’d never heard of this style of architecture before; it was used in North America and, in brief, is when the look of Gothic Revival is achieved with wood rather than carved in stone.

The building was first built as a church, but in 1923 the “Toronto Heliconian Club” bought it to use as they’re head quarters. They have been using it as such to this day.

To quote their website : “The Toronto Heliconian Club, a non-profit organization, is the oldest association of its kind in Canada, founded in 1909 to give women in the arts and letters an opportunity to meet socially and intellectually. Members range from women who have earned great distinction to those in the early stages of their careers.

The plaque out front of the building goes on to say, “the club brought together professional women from an eclectic mix of artistic disciplines, including music, art, dance, drama and literature, offering a much needed venue where they were free to express, share and develop their talents at a time when men dominated the arts.

The building was designated a Canadian National Historic Site in 2008 and continues to house The Toronto Heliconian Club, offering art shows, stage performances, concerts and lectures. Check out their site, linked above, for the schedule.

As we were out front looking around, a gentleman who worked there came out and spoke to us about the interesting building. Apparently, it was first located further to the south, but was moved from that corner spot because a new church was to be built there.

Then, lucky for us, he invited us to take a quick look inside …

↑ There was a blind covering the stained glass rose window when we entered, which they keep drawn because, situated as it is, facing west, the setting sun streams right in, making the whole place very hot. But he kindly rolled it up to give us a look. ↑

↑ Some seating is provided in the form of the original pews that had been in the building when it was a church. ↑

↑ Hidden behind the wall panels inside are the original stained glass windows, which you can see from the outside. ↑

From there, we walked down to Bloor Street to have dinner in one of Isabel’s favourite restaurants, Museum Tavern.

↑ The restaurant is across from “The Royal Ontario Museum” ↑

The place was packed when we got there, but there was space out of the balcony, which we gladly accepted, as one of the features of the place is the view from there.

↑ Across the street is the “Royal Ontario Museum” on the left, and the gates to “Philosopher’s Walk” to the right. (The gates were installed in 1901 to commemorate a royal visit, that of Prince George, Duke of Cornwall – later King George V, and Mary, Duchess of Cornwall – later Queen Mary, and later still, Queen Elizabeth’s Grandmother.) ↑

I didn’t mess with the colour of that sky … that is how it came out of the camera.

↑ A bit to the west is “The Royal Conservatory of Music Building”, where Isabel works! It is said to be haunted and a few years ago Is took me on a ghost tour of the place, which I wrote about in this post — it includes lots of photos of this gorgeous old building (but, alas, no ghosts!) if you’d like to see. ↑

↑ There’s a bad photo of our dinner, a chicken sandwich for me and fish and chips for Is. We shared a half-litre of Shiraz. ↑

Everything was delicious and our server was very friendly.

↑ Walking to the subway station, we passed this great window display for Halloween at Reminyi House of Music. ↑

In all, it was a terrific night out with this longtime and much loved friend. Thank you for reading about it! xo loulou