Sunday, June 21, 2009

Niagara Falls

I always wanted to see Niagara Falls, and today, I finally did it. The Maid of the Mist excursion tour is even better than I expected. I booked a day bus tour which at least gave me a taste of the place.









Passing Maids in the Mist.


A view of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a quaint town with strict restoration guidelines for its buildings. The result is a mostly intact turn of the century downtown.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mies van der Rohe in Toronto

One of the unexpected pleasures of living in Toronto this year is to be able to enjoy each and every day this epic scale International Style plaza, The Toronto-Dominion Centre. The original structure was opened in 1967, and to my surprise additional towers have been added over the years in the original style (most recently in 1991) with the exception of a small tower on Wellington built in 1986, a shortsighted addition if there ever was one. The cows are by Joe Fafard. A great deal of information can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto-Dominion_Centre
The spaces are so monumental it's difficult to get far enough back to photograph the spaces.




The final tower (presumably) was actually constructed over and around the Toronto Stock Exchange, leaving the Art Deco structure intact. This is the only example I've seen of this sort of accomodation in Toronto, though in subsequent posts I'll include photos of new buildings that retain older facades, often several stories. Often one does not even notice until one happens to look up.
A detail of the Stock Exchange Art Deco frieze.
Underneath the plaza is a large shopping mall, which for the most part has not been 'updated' except, as reported in the Wikipedia article, to accomodate the pleas of the businesses in the 1990s. Van der Rohe had insisted there were to be no individual logos -- all signages used the same lettering.
Note van der Rohe's Barcelona benches. Now that's class.