Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bricks on King Street

Windows on the downtown neighborhood
London, ON, July 2007 [Click to embiggen]

I took this image two minutes and five frames after this one. I quite literally stood in virtually the same spot, only instead of pointing north at the red metal tree, I shot south at the really beautiful old brick building. I was walking with my wife on a gorgeously sunny afternoon. She gets that I often - and very suddenly - "see" things as I'm walking. I guess part of me is always looking for the unique and the memorable, and when I see it, I almost always want to lock it in my camera and bring it home.

This afternoon was no different. We were on a street corner, King and Talbot, that's possibly one of the most interesting spots in London's downtown.
  • The northwest corner, where I was standing when I captured these frames, is home to the very new and expensive John Labatt Centre - think a really large arena/multipurpose facility where the city's London Knights hockey team plays when washed up musical acts like Stevie Nicks aren't testing the sound system.
  • On the northeast sits the similarly new and expensive Covent Garden Market. It's a great place to grab some non-fast food, then sit on the patio and watch it all go by.
  • Both southern corners present a different perspective. To the southeast sits a funky snack-style restaurant, J-Dees, with old-style windows overlooking the time-worn sidewalk. The resulting tone on this corner is much dimmer than the brilliantly-reflected concrete by the market and the arena. Dimmer, but more fascinating in so many ways. I think this stretch has so many more stories to tell than the newer stuff across the street.
  • Finally, the southwest corner is home to the lovely old building pictured above. The second and third floors of so many downtown buildings are abandoned, likely no longer up to code. It is for this reason that I traditionally don't look up when walking downtown: the old facades often seem too far gone to be worth capturing. But on this brilliant day, the bricks seem to be telling a different story. Perhaps they point to a brighter future for this building, for this neighborhood, and for the rest of the folks in this town who seem to look to this rundown/in-transition street corner as a barometer of the entire city's future.
Funny how a couple of minutes on a downtown sidewalk can unleash this rambling narrative that hopefully hasn't put you to sleep. I think I'll be bringing my camera back here on another day, if only to see what other stories this multifaceted convergence point of our city wishes to tell.

Your turn: Crossroads. Please discuss.


Jennifer said...

That's gorgeous, Carmi. I love old buildings...the charm of the windows and walls is so refreshing next to our steel and brick and boring square windows today. Thank you for sharing!!
I'm here from Michele's today, although I read your blog every day...I may not make it all the way here but you're in my feed reader. I feel like my comments will be dumb most of the time so I rarely say anything :) I'm a faithful reader, though...and this is one of my favorite spots :)

susie said...

Carmi! I have been horribly lax in blogging and reading my favourite blogs.

But I'm trying to get back into it!

Great picture, and this is the reason I always have a camera with me. You never know when you're going to come across something memorable.

PS. Thanks for your kind words on my blog tonite. I know you know what I'm talking about when it comes to being involved as a father. Nothing makes a woman fall in love with her man more and more than him loving their kids as much as she does. At least IMHO. :) I guess we both have lucky kids. Isn't that great? :)

Shephard said...

I had to zoom in to get the full effect... because it looks like a painting until you do. Amazing building... the kind that would stop me on the street.

Michele says hello!

Anonymous said...

"washed up musical acts like Stevie Nicks" Hardly!

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I think if we pay attention we can find the crossroads & connections all around us ... JP

Awareness said...

good morning carmi.

Beautiful was the metal tree.

Downtown cores are so interesting. It tells you so much of the heart and history of a place AND I believe a bit of their future.

It's been a long time since I visited London Ont.....I would like to see it again. I'm sure there have been many changes. It's such a pretty city.

Heather said...

That is a fantastic picture that captured some great brickwork. I hear about the John Labatt center all the time since I usually listen to your radio stations 96.9 and 103.1 Fresh. They come in great right across the lake and beat most of what I have in the Erie area. I also hear a lot about the London Knights, they consistantly beat the tar out of our Erie Otters.
It's nice to see some pictures of a city I hear so much about but have never seen.

Kim said...

Thank you for visiting my blog an commenting last weekend! I love the photo. You really have an eye!

I also watched your TV spot. What fun to see what you might be like IRL!

I enjoyed your posts on your sons birthday. You really have a lovely family....

Anna said...

I love brick...the patterns and colors. Great capture here. It was good to hear from you also on my blog last night. Thanks for stopping by and seeing me! Hope you and the family are well.

Yaeli said...

Once again Carmi you have provided a beautiful photo for our enjoyment. That building is a lovely piece of architecture. Beautiful stone work! Here from Michele's today.

Indigo said...

Wow, the picture is GORGEOUS!!!

Michele sent me! How are you?

sophie said...

I love the beautiful bricks, and the simple yet interesting pattern. You capture some wonderful images.

I am at a personal crossroads as far as job and health are concerned. My new job is (hopefully) just around the corner, and my back is just on the brink of being right again.

Michele says hello.

Janet said...

I really admire people who have the ability to bring out the beautiful in every day things via pictures. That's such an awesome talent!

colleen said...

That looks like the cover of a fantasy book. It says "come on inside," to me. I just love it.

Drew said...


I am one of the moderators over at Fuel My Blog and I set up a group on Flickr just for FuelMyBlog participants. You can post 2 photos each day to the group. You can find and contact me on Flickr at

Add me as a contact and drop me a note and I will add you to the group. Or you can request to join the group at

I don't see your FuelMyBlog badge. Fuel has had some changes lately and you can get an updated badge widget for your blog at the FuelMyBlog site.

Thanks for using FuelMyBlog.

Hails said...

Hello, Michele sent me! Beautiful picture. Looks like a painting! Enjoyed reading this post - I'll be back...

Bob-kat said...

That brickwork is an artform in itself and then you capture it as photographic art. Neat :)

I came all by myself without anyone sending me :)

Mr. Althouse said...

I love the colors captured in this shot. I especially like the blue reflected in the windows.

Crossroads: Physical or metaphorical?
Sacramento is very much a metroplex that is a mixture of old and new... of rural and suburban and urban. Of cultures and legacies.

Metaphorically speaking, it is where my life took a new and exciting turn... a crossroads of life.

Michele sent me,


Heidi said...

Beautiful. I love the charm of old buildings. Hence the reason I choice to live in an old neighborhood myself. Can't get enough of the uniqueness of each abode. :-)

Michele sent me.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

don is really a HUGE City! That Arena is enormous! Much to see and do in London Town, Carmi...And as always, you capture it BEAUTIFULLY for all of us to see!

BTW: I haven't had the time to try to post the video stuff..I am taling more and more and MORE pictures and video of this amazing display by the birds..Because, soon, this show will be all over. The Flowers are very much on the wane and within just two or three days, will be finished...BUT,I am hoping to try to do something on the attempt to post this video, on Saturday... Pray for me, my dear! (lol)
Michele's sends her love!

D.O.M. Dan said...

You certainly did not put me to sleep with the description of that intersection. Thanks to your links I could visualize it even more. I would think a tenant would want to bring up to code the upper floors of the building you pictured.

Do you really think Stevie Nicks is washed up? I guess I haven't heard her lately.

Awareness said...

two visits in one day.....can't think of a better place to visit twice in one day.

Crossroads? I'm definately standing in the middle of one right now, trying to figure out which path to venture down. Sometimes I wish someone would just hang up a big neon sign that states......"This way Dana!" It would help with the incessant waffling going on in my head. Maybe I should change my name to Exit. It would make the decision much easier, now wouldn't it?

Michele says howdy doo to you!

Ellen said...

That is why I sometimes like to be the passenger and not the driver when we go places.... you get to see the cool things while the driver is paying attention to the road. Your picture of the bricks is, I consider, a very cool happenstance just waiting to be snapped. Lucky for us, you carry your camera religiously, and share your finds.

Sorry for being a no-show for the past couple of months.... but I did take time today to read quite a few posts that I missed. I am trying to get over the lump in my throat over your sons birthday post. What a delightful human being he is!

craziequeen said...

Wow - what a fantastic didn't even look like a photo, those bricks are incredible....but my eyes are drawn to the broken blind constantly.

Subjects for blogging?

Frazier!! :-) I adore your pooch!

Michele sent me this Friday evening to say hello :-)


Cin said...

Ah, brick buildings. How I love 'em. Concrete just doesn't compare.

I'm really enjoying your London descriptions, but sadly am too 'meh' to come up with an intelligent crossroads opinion.

Can I offer a little softshoe routine instead?

Thumper said...

I love old brick buildings like that. Brick houses, too...not something you'd find out here; if there ever were any they've probably been knocked down as being not very earthquake friendly.

I do want to reach out and fix that mini-blind, though...

Here via Michele's today :)

Rainbow dreams said...

three windows - three different perspectives.. love the crooked blind.. imagine someone peeping out of it...

busy streets where different lives converge and very different lives can sit next to each other fascinates me...

Tawcan said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

For a sec I thought that pic is from a drawing. Nice pic!

Meeta said...

As always, beautiful pictures. I love this picture.