Thursday, December 29, 2022

Walking Out Back

Down the Back Alley

Today I had a beautiful mild sunny morning in Toronto so I decided to explore the back alleys, laneways and back yards in the neighbourhood. I wrote on my last visit to Toronto about the lovely old brick houses here in the Garden district of Toronto; these lovely old houses present a dignified elegant front to people walking the streets, but behind many of them are narrow lanes which provide access to the back yards and parking areas for these houses. Although many of these lanes are disappearing with new large high-rises and condo development, here in The Garden District and Cabbagetown there are still many old fashioned back lanes. 
The way to the back yard

Once upon a time most streets had houses built so close together you could not get to the back doors from the street. Instead the streets had parallel lanes running behind where deliveries were made, garbage cans were stored and I suppose the horses and carriages were kept. Now they are used for cars, barbecues, back patios, and still garbage cans. 

As many of these elegant old houses were converted to rooming houses or divided into multiple units, the back yards and laneways got crowded with multiple vehicles and subdivided outdoor spaces. You still see some nice elegant back gardens, but they are often hidden behind high fences, but most have been converted to additions to the houses, garages or in recent years into In-law or children’s suites. Where the houses have been divided there are now multiple stairways to back doors and fire-escapes as well as precariously perched patios and outdoor areas. 

Interesting Lane names

Although many of the old houses still look elegant and quite beautiful from the front things get a bit more dilapidated out back, and I found many examples of street art and some interesting doors to add to my growing collection. 

Many of the lanes have been dead-ended by modern buildings and some twist and turn around buildings, but I managed to find many to explore and photograph; it made for an enjoyable walk.  

Back Lane Street Art

A "nice" back door

Nicely Decorated Garage Door

A Back Lane "Screen" Door

Street Art & Garbage Storage

CabbageTown Street Art

A place to store garbage

Back doors, back patios and fire-escapes