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#TPThursday: Toronto’s Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Toronto’s street art. New York is considered the center of the art world but whenever I visit Toronto, it’s their art scene that I’m most interested in experiencing.

This time around, I was taken by the amount of street art I noticed mostly on the sides of buildings. Here in Toronto, graffiti is legal provided it is approved by the property owner or occupant. It must also enhance the surface it covers and add to the general community surroundings.

The city has even implemented a graffiti management program called StreetARToronto. Its mission, according to its website, is “to counteract graffiti vandalism by developing, supporting, promoting and increasing awareness of street art and its indispensable role to add beauty and character to neighbourhoods across the city.” You gotta admit, that’s pretty progressive, right?

Here’s a taste of the street art I was able to photograph.

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

Toronto's Street Art

Street Art

My friend and I happened upon a rock balancing artist at work. We joined the crowd and watched as he painstakingly placed small and large rocks, and cinder blocks on top of each other without them toppling over. It was my first time seeing rock balancing done and it was fascinating. You could see the concentration on his face, like he was willing the rocks to stay in place. When he finished a piece, the tension in his facial muscles relaxed ever so slowly.

I overheard him tell someone in the crowd how centering the work was but he can’t do it if he’s angry.

Toronto's Street Art

 

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out their website for other travel photos from around the world.

 

#TPThursday: A Colorful Jamaican House

Jamaican house

As I travel around, I’m fascinated by some of the Jamaican houses I see. Styles change as the population changes so I’m not surprised to see European, Asian and African influences, and materials such as wattle and daub, brick, wood and zinc being used. Usually, based on the design and the materials, I can pinpoint the time period during which most were built. I’m still trying to figure out where on the design continuum this one falls.

Jamaican house

Jamaican house

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.

 

 

 

 

 

The Awesome Splendor of Kingston’s Holy Trinity Cathedral

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston Jamaica

With more than 3,000 square feet of murals and frescos on its ceiling and walls, Kingston’s Holy Trinity is, undoubtedly, the most beautiful church in Jamaica and one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. It covers 12,600 square feet.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Like a beacon, its 85′ copper dome guides the faithful to its doors. It was built in 1911 to replace the original Roman Catholic church that was constructed in 1811 and destroyed by earthquake in 1907.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

The new building, of Byzantine architecture, was commissioned in 1908 by the Catholic community and U.S. Bishop John Collins. It was designed and constructed by Walker-Fyche, a Canadian company at a cost of US$150,000. The artwork was created by Jesuit Lay Brother Francis Schroen. It is believed to be one of the largest of  his work.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Sadly, the murals were painted over in the 1970s either because they had deteriorated over the years and there were no funds to restore them, or in response to liturgical trends following Vatican II, they were considered a distraction.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Whatever the explanation, the cathedral was in serious disrepair. When restoration began in 2008, it was discovered that the murals had been buried under ten coats of grey paint. Many of the stained glass windows that had been destroyed by hurricane in 1951 had not been replaced, the baldachin had been removed, the ceiling and pews were infested with termites, and the organ – only five of its kind exist in the Caribbean — did not work.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston, Jamaica

Restoration begun under the leadership of master restorer Professor Antonio Sanchez-Barriga Fernandez of Spain and a team that included 32 young people from the community. The painstaking work continues.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston Jamaica

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston Jamaica

The day I visited, the doors were closed so I walked the grounds taking photos of the exterior. I had started back to the car when someone called and offered to let me in. I gasped when I saw the interior. Though I had seen photos, they didn’t prepare me for the remarkable tableau in front of me. Except for the floor and pews, every surface was decorated. I didn’t know where to start and fumbled the camera several times. My ‘guide,’ one of the trainees, heard my running comments on the beauty of the artwork and invited me to Mass that Sunday so that I could see the cathedral when it is decorated and illuminated. I promised to return.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston Jamaica

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston Jamaica

The ceiling and most of the walls have been restored. New stained glass panels featuring Catholic saints and icons like Saint Josephine Bakhita of the Sudan, Saint Martin de Porres of Peru and Pierre Toussaint, a Haitian slave who purchased his freedom and went on to contribute significantly to raising funds for the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, have been installed.

Restoration detail, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston Jamaica

Restoration detail, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kingston Jamaica

As I was preparing to leave, the current restorer arrived and offered to show me one of the walls that was being worked on. Several layers of paint were still left to be removed.

Holy Trinity Cathedral has welcomed the Pope and is the venue for many official services and funerals. In 2000, the Jamaican Government named Holy Trinity to the register of historic places.

Holy Trinity Cathedral
1 George Headley Drive at North Street
Kingston
876-922-3335
Sunday Mass: 8:30 a.m.

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.

 

 

 

 

#TPThursday: At the Montego Bay Flower Show

Red & Yellow Hibiscus

As is to be expected, there was a wide variety of flowering plants at the Montego Bay Flower Show last weekend. There were several species of orchids, including Broughtonia Sanguinea that is indigenous to Jamaica, the ZZ Plant, cacti, anthurium, bird of paradise, crown of thorns, ginger lily, etc. But it was the hibiscus that had me pull out my camera. They were gorgeous!

See what I mean?

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Double Yellow Hibiscus

Double Yellow Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Peach Hibiscus

Red & Yellow Hibiscus

Red & Yellow Hibiscus

I did eventually wander over to the orchids.

Orchid

Orchid

I love orchids but they’re very finicky around me so when the flower seller told me the Broughtonia didn’t have to be treated with kid gloves, I felt I had found my orchid match. Here’s the sweet little Broughtonia Sanguinea that I bought. They love indirect sunlight and do well hanging onto the trunks of trees.

Broughtonia Sanguinea

Broughtonia Sanguinea

If you love flowers and are going to be on Jamaica’s south coast this month, be sure to check out the Manchester Horticultural Society’s Flower Show, which will be  held in Mandeville on May 23rd (Labor Day here).

Later this month, from May 22-26, the Jamaica Horticultural Society is scheduled to participate in the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in London. If you’re in London, hope you can check it out.

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.