Montreal – July 2019 – Olympic Park

The city of Montreal was the host of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The area that most events were held still exist in the east side Olympic Park.



A number of the venues are still used for sporting events.



While it has recently been remodeled, the pool complex dates from the 1976 games. It is used for competitive events, with seating for 3,000, but is also used as the neighborhood pool when not in competitive use.




The Montreal Olympics are the poster child for cost overruns often associated with hosting the games. It is estimated it cost 720% (not a typo) more than originally planned.

Much of the cost overruns was due to the construction of Olympic Stadium.

Today there is a small museum dedicated to the games and the construction of the stadium.





The stadium looks like a 1970s sci-fi movie space ship. The large tower on the left was originally built to remove what was to be the first retractable stadium roof in history. Unfortunately it was not completed in time for the games, and when it was eventually completed it didn’t work.

So for the first 12 years or so of the stadium it was open air, and after that a permanently closed dome.



Walking around the large concrete plaza on this day with very few people gives one the feel of desolation in the middle of a large city.

Many North American stadiums used to sit in the middle of large concrete plazas like this – the newer generation of stadium more integrated into the cities are far nice, even if one can question the cost for holding so few events a year.



After the Olympics the stadium became home of the Montreal Expos baseball team. Unfortunately in 2004 they left town, moving to Washington DC. leaving the stadium largely quiet, except for a few concerts and other events like monster truck racing.



The cavernous domes stadium echos with the smallest noises. I did have the opportunity to attend a couple of baseball games here (one with the open stadium, the other with the roof in place). It was a great experience, baseball in French, with passionate fans using their own unique to Montreal style of cheering on their team.

Hopefully some day major league baseball returns to Montreal (but to a more appropriate venue).



The tower is now a tourist attraction. The inclined elevator is billed as the longest in the world.



The top of the tower offers panoramic views of Montreal.



The view of the Olympic Pool, and other venues in the park.



The Olympic Village apartments are still used. The soccer stadium is a recent addition.



The day was a bit hazy, but made the views towards downtown interesting.



Montreal’s east side is a working class neighborhood with numerous row houses.



The view of the islands in the middle of the St Lawrence River, as well as some of the bridges crossing the river.



Because much of Europe is fairly far north, the port of Montreal is the shortest route between a European port and North America.

Olympic Stadium cost the city of Montreal and all of Canada significant money, but as with most things Canadian, they have made the most of it.





Ottawa – July 2019 – Capital Views

As the Capital of Canada, Ottawa has a number of historic government buildings. With their longstanding connection to England, they tend to have a similar look to those in London.

The majority of the buildings are located on Parliament Hill.



The large Central Block (right with clock tower) has just started undergoing a 10 year restoration.




They offer tours of the House of Commons. With the Central Block under construction they enclosed this former courtyard to make it the new meeting chamber.

One interesting fact – the seats are green because the seats in London’s House of Commons is green. Why is England’s green – nobody knows.






A committee room.



Many other buildings in the city have the same look.



The Canadian Supreme Court.


Another government building on Parliament Hill.



The Canadian Mint.





The entrance to the Prime Minister’s Residence.



The Canadian History Museum across the river in Gatineau, Quebec.







The Alexandra Bridge.







The famed Rideau Canal.











The Rideau Falls.



Our day in Ottawa ended with an impressive light and sound show, detailing the patriotic history of Canada.





Toronto – July 2019 – For This Collection You Need a Large Garden

In the 1960s Spencer and Rosa Clark started a collection that required a very large garden – they acquired architectural artifacts from large buildings in downtown Toronto that were being torn down and replaced with even larger ones.

This garden is located in suburban Scarborough, in what is now Guild Park and Gardens.



The archway from a long gone building leads you into the park.



What were once decorative pieces on the Toronto Star newspaper building are now giant building blocks.



Remnants from a Music Hall.



Smaller pieces are integrated directly into the gardens.



While others are added together to make a new sculpture.



Toronto’s second fire hall was located at Richmond and Portland Streets. Dating from 1871 it was torn down in 1968. In the background is a brand new events center.



The Greek Theater (also the featured photo for this posting). What was once the Bank of Toronto Building is now a theater in a park.




The grounds are immaculate, with the artifacts well spaced throughout.





The facing from the Quebec Bank Building has porcelain lions.



Additional random artifacts.












Easily the largest collection is from the former Bank of Montreal Building at King and Bay Streets in downtown Toronto. With this many fantastic items, this must have been an amazing building!



















Toronto – July 2019 – Hall of Fame Hockey Jerseys (or Sweaters if you are Canadian)

The Hockey Hall of Fame is filled with memorabilia of the sport. Easily the most prevalent are the jerseys from the various teams.

Let’s start with the NHL – both current and former teams.



The Toronto Arenas played the first two NHL seasons in 1917 and 1918. They eventually became known as the Maple Leafs.

This jersey is clearly a reproduction, with the modern NHL logo on it.



The Boston Bruins are another of the ‘Original 6’, with this jersey being one of the early ones.



The original Pittsburgh Penguins jersey, which made a return as an alternate jersey a few years ago.


The famed ‘Winged Wheel’ of the Detroit Red Wings.


The original NHL team in New York were the Americans, with the strange nickname of the Amerks – they were soon eclipsed by the Rangers and eventually folded.



Continuing with the short lived series of teams starting with the Cleveland Barons…



Kansas City Scouts…


Atlanta Flames…



And finally one that never should’ve been allowed to move – the Quebec Nordiques.



Some random cool Juniors and Minor League teams…













And finally an amazing collection of international jerseys, including many countries you wouldn’t think would have ice hockey – like India, South Africa and Argentina.
















Toronto – July 2019 – An Impressive Skyline with Architectural Variety

The city of Toronto has the 3rd best skyline in North America, according to the building website Emporis. There are more than 60 buildings at least 500′ high.


We had the opportunity to take an architectural tour with Daniel, from the Toronto Society of Architects. If there was someone you wanted to wander downtown Toronto with to learn about the history of the city, and the buildings, it is Daniel, as he has over 40 years of experience designing many of them.



Not all the buildings on this posting were seen on Daniel’s tour, but with the knowledge from him we were able to seek out more than what he had time to cover.

Included in these is (to me) the Mecca of Hockey – Maple Leaf Gardens. The Gardens were closed to NHL hockey more than 20 years ago, but the good folks of Toronto had the sense to retain the building and re-purpose it.

Most of the 1st level is a large grocery store, while Ryerson University uses the remainder of the building for athletics.



The highlight is on the current 3rd level – the ‘original ice’, as well as the exposed original ceiling!



Since the 1970s Toronto has had a near continual skyscraper building boom.



There are pockets of historic buildings scattered throughout downtown. In the distance is the clock tower of the ‘old’ city hall.

Completed in 1899 it was used as city hall until 1966 when the new city hall (feature photo for this posting) was completed.



E J Lennox was the primary architect for the old city hall in the 1890s. As was custom at the time he expected to have his name engraved on the building. When city council told him no – he got his revenge – by doing a ‘grotesque’ of himself. He is in the center with the mustache.

Even better was his revenge on his bosses in the city council – he included them as goofy looking people in grotesques, which means 120 years later he is still getting his revenge.



If you look enough you find many art deco touches, including these nice skylights in the Toronto Coach Lines building. Not bad for a bus station.



Another art deco entrance along Yonge Street.



All around you get glimpses of old and new.







The Bank of Nova Scotia building is one of the better art deco examples.





As is the Canadian Bank of Commerce.



A portion of the Hockey Hall of Fame is in the ornate lobby of an old bank.



Union Station is another example, and will shine even more when the renovations are completed in a few years.



Not downtown, and not a skyscraper the ‘Palace of Purification’ is the R C Harris Water Treatment Facility in Scarborough. It is an art deco masterpiece with a great setting along Lake Ontario.



Toronto is a city on the move, and their architecture shows it.







Columbus – July 2019 – Greenlawn Cemetery

Our Saturday continued with a tour of Greenlawn Cemetery. While nowhere close to as impressive as Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, or even Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Greenlawn is the final resting place for numerous famous Ohioans including 5 governors, as well as a number of military sections for the various wars since the mid 1800s, among the 150,000+ people buried here.

























Columbus’s favorite son – famed aviator and more – Eddie Rickenbacker.








Cleveland – July 2019 – The Garden Walk

A beautiful Saturday afternoon was the perfect time to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Only in this case we chose to go to the ‘Detroit Shoreway’ neighborhood in Cleveland for our walk.

Why – because this neighborhood, and many others in Cleveland, were participating in ‘GardenWalk Cleveland 2019’. We were fortunate enough to meet one of the founders of Cleveland’s, who said they go the idea from Buffalo, New York’s.

The Detroit Shoreway neighborhood is named so from Detroit Avenue, which is the original road from Cleveland to Detroit, and it is located along Lake Erie. Most of the homes in the neighborhood are over 100 years old, with many being exquisitely restored.

For the Garden Walk there were over 80 gardens to see, each with their own unique interpretation! Each had a sign indicating they were participating in the walk, and to guide us to which part of the yard was open (front, side, back)