Advice needed on a photo expedition to Toronto

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by Dave Krueger, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    My son and I are considering a week-long trip to Toronto and were wondering how photographer friendly they are, what the public transportation is like, and where to stay for easy access to photogenic locations and public transportation. I am basically into cityscape, streetscape, and urban architecture style of photography. I would almost certainly be interested in waterfront areas as well.

    I shoot only 35mm B&W film, so my plan would be to fedex the film up there and fedex it back when I leave. I assume I could send it right to the hotel. It might be useful to know of any places that sell B&W film in downtown vicinity. I would probably be carrying a monopod and tripod, both small light weight. I shoot only for fun, so there is nothing commercial about the trip.

    Any advice and recommendations would be appreciated.

    -Dave
     
  2. spijker

    spijker Subscriber

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    Huh, why fedex film to Toronto and not bring it in your carry-on luggage on the plane yourself? Henry's (www.henrys.ca) still sells B&W films of Ilford, Kodak and some Fuji & Kentmere. Check out their website for store locations and inventory. You can call ahead and have film delivered to a Henry's store of your choice free of charge. That's what I often do. Film might be cheaper in the US but fedex-ing it to Canada isn't cheap. Been there, done that. :smile:

    I don't know Toronto very well so I can't give you advise on scenic locations. But there are enough Torontonians here so that it will be just a matter of time before more useful advise will show up. Have nice trip!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2013
  3. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    Public transit is excellent, particularly if you are located near a subway line.

    Plenty of waterfront access near downtown Toronto. I was there a few months ago and I shot the city skyline from Polson Pier and Humber Bay. There are a ton of really interesting neighbourhoods to explore. I'm sure a Toronto local would have more suggestions for you.

    If I had time I would have spent more time shooting in Hamilton where I was staying with a friend. You can easily take the GO train from Toronto. It is a fascinating place for photography. In a really dense area you have natural areas, industrial, 300 year old buildings, modern stuff, military stuff, railroads, waterfalls...
     
  4. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Very short notice, but just in case you're able to travel real soon, May is the month for Contact Photo, a major annual photography festival in Toronto:

    http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/
     
  5. davidjfthomas

    davidjfthomas Member

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    Take the ferry from downtown to the Toronto Islands for great shots of the city skyline across the water. There are no cars on the islands and you can walk their length easily.
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Transit is fantastic in Toronto, Henrys, Downtown Camera, Aiden Camera all downtown, If you come in May a great time of the year for Photography, Many unique ethnic districs for street photography, which means great locations to eat.

    Have fun.
     
  7. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Wow! What great timing! The plan is to go either on April 27th or May 4th. I need to check out the temperatures to make sure it won't be too cold. I'm sure we will be looking for exhibits of analog B&W photography.

    Thanks for the list of places to get film.

    I've been looking on Google at pictures of the city. It looks very promising. I will start looking these places up on the map. I don't plan to get a car, so it's good to hear that public transportation is good.

    -Dave
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    May 2 is the day we open a show which does exhibit analoque work, Salgodo is also on at the ROM

    you cannot go wrong with your timing.
    I should have added you will need a Parka and Mucklucs as our Igloos have not melted yet.
     
  9. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Well, after looking at airfares and hotels, we may be better off pushing the date out closer to the end of May. I'm now looking at May 19 to 26 or . Also, the temperatures will be a bit warmer, although light jacket weather is fine.

    Going to Toronto was a last minute change of plans which is why we are only now researching these things. Originally we were going to go to Boston, but started considering other options in light of recent events. I now think Toronto is a better choice.
     
  10. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    If you are used to the weather temperatures in Bama, be sure to check out the long range forecast for Toronto on the WeatherNetwork web site the week before you leave, to decide how to pack.

    I have a friend who married a gal from Bama and moved there where she set up her practice (eye surgeon). He found a job with his skill set quickly.
    He never sweated so much in his life the first summer there he related to me, and that was with work, home and the car all fitted with A/C.

    We consider a high of 6-10C a nice spring day if the sun is out, after a winter of cooler cloudier times.
    If you are planning a few early morning shoots, down by the water, then for you a pair of long underwear and a set of layered warm upper coverings that cam be progressively stuffed to a back pack may not be a bad call on some mornings.

    The other thing is that the rain here in the spring makes you both wet and cold. Not at all like the rain where the weather is warm. Bring a rain coat; it will be a good wind breaker at the very least on early morning outings.
    I lived in for a time sub tropical Australia, where the regular evening rains were a relief to feel after the day's heat.

    If you are looking for a neat half day trip and are up for about 10km of walking, going out to the end of the Leslie St Spit - now called Tommy Thomspon Park is a nice change of pace.
    Still part concrete lake fill site by weekday, but the idle sections have seen nature take over, and that is a pretty quick green contrast to so much of downtown.
    I am pretty sure the Leslie bus gets pretty close.

    High Park can be nice in the spring.

    The Distilery District I find pretty photogenic.
    Nearby, the underside of the elevated Gardiner Expressway, which is Lakeshore Boulevard, still a major traffic artery, gives a different look quickly, just one short walk under the railway corridor.

    Yonge Dundas Square on a friday night is always a pretty good street shoorter location unless it is pouring rain. Right on one of the subway interchange points.

    Union Station has nice architecture. Bring fast film, lens - not all spots that bright inside. Again, another major public transit interchange point.

    If you are wondering, I live in the city of 600,000 next to Toronto, where your plane will be landing. About a 20 minute trip downtown in light non-peak traffic.
     
  11. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    I will probably look up all the suggestions posted here and print out the info to take with me on the trip. I am thinking of picking a downtown hotel somewhere fairly close to the waterfront.

    Here is the weather site I looked at:

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/ca/toronto/m5g/may-weather/55488

    Late May looks like mid 40s at night and mid 60s during the afternoon. Cooler temps might be nice when I'm walking around carrying a bunch of camera equipment. The rain could be an issue, but it sounds like there would be a lot of indoor activities (like the photography exhibits) to fill that time.

    I actually don't like Alabama weather except in spring and fall. The heat and humidity are terrible during the summer. I'd rather not wait for warmer weather later in the summer now that I know about that photography festival. :smile: When is the peak tourist season in Toronto? I wouldn't be heartbroken about missing that. LOL!


    So far no one has commented about whether photographers are well tolerated in Toronto. Do "they" ever harass people for using tripods in public areas or for not having a photography permit or anything like that?
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Whatever you do, don't base your travel plans on the Leafs' playoff chances.:munch:

    The locals can correct me if necessary, but I don't know of any place in Canada where photographers are hassled, unless they actually are in the way at a location where that really matters.
     
  13. Marc B.

    Marc B. Member

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    It wouldn't hurt to fill-out custom's forms in advance of your trip.
    Information from these USA forms can be photocopied by Canadian officials at the boarder.
    Most photo equipment has serial numbers...include all of these #'s on the declaration forms.
    This will save you paying duty on items you already own...in both directions, coming and going.

    Marc

    Certificate of Registration For Personal Effects Taken Abroad

    http://forms.cbp.gov/pdf/cbp_form_4457.pdf
     
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  15. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Thanks, Marc. I have a valid passport, but I haven't been out of the country in a couple decades. If you think of any other useful tidbits like that, please let me know. That would never have occurred to me.
     
  16. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    That's good to know. I don't know of many places where photographers are hassled on a wide scale, but I've heard stories. In New York I was accosted by what I assumed to be a private security guard outside one of the many skyscrapers there and he got all in my face about how I wasn't allowed to take pictures of the building we were standing in front of. He was wearing a suit and he had a gun in a holster under his coat. I knew he was wrong (and I told him so), but I wasn't about to spend any of my valuable vacation time trying to educate him (and his ego). Ever since then, I've made it a point of asking about photographer friendliness whenever I plan for a trip.

    That reminds me, are there any parts of Toronto that I am better off to avoid? I was walking around on a photo expedition in Atlanta once and wasn't paying attention until I realized I had wandered into a rather scary looking area.
     
  17. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Well, after coming across some stories on the web about photography policies in Toronto, I decided to post in the Toronto forum to see if I could reach a few more people who actively shoot in that city. I don't want to take for granted that I can just go around taking pictures and then find out after I get there that Canada has much more strict photography laws than the U.S.
     
  18. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    I don't live in Toronto but one hour south in Hamilton; I have however never had an issue anywhere in Toronto, nor with taking a picture anywhere. Having said that I think street photography anywhere is more confrontational than years back. The one exception is the Gooderham building, the owners of which seem to think they have a ownership of the light we see. If you set up a tripod or are seen hanging around the front taking pictures, they will come out and hassle you. As far as I know, we good Canadians have never put up a fuss and settled the issue.
     
  19. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Thanks for assurances. I will make a note of the Gooderham building. I could do without the hassling. :smile:
     
  20. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    As spijker already suggested, my plan to ship the film by Fedex isn't going to be as simple as I thought. Crossing international boundaries introduces a whole new set of issues (and costs).

    So, I have the option of bringing the film with me and then taking it back with me, or buying the film in Toronto and carrying it back to the U.S. when I leave. Which is easier? I'm expecting to shoot about 20 rolls or so of 35mm. I roll my own, so it would be much cheaper to bring it with me from home. Can I declare it on the Certificate of Registration For Personal Effects Taken Abroad (suggested by Marc B) the same as camera equipment?

    If I buy film in Toronto, do I have to pay a duty on it when I come back to the U.S.?

    I have heard horror stories about transporting film in checked baggage, so I assume I will need to take in a carry-on bag of some kind and send it through the x-ray. I'm not thrilled at the prospect of carrying a large-ish bag of film along with all my camera equipment around with me and I don't trust their claims about x-rays not hurting film, but it sounds like that's going to have to be the plan.
     
  21. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    I really don't think you are going to have any issues at all with customs.
    Either way.
    Carry on xrays are not a problem.
    Bring your own or buy here no problem
    Take it back or pay to develop here, no problem.
    Customs are not going to be interested in film camera gear, but it is a good idea if you can to register the major pieces. Here we get the RCMP to fill out a little card with serial numbers to carry with us. But I have never been asked for it in 40 years and I carry serious gear.
     
  22. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    ...
     
  23. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    I've been going through all the exhibits listed as part of the photography festival and came across one at a place called Arta Gallery curated by a guy named Bob Carnie. Now where have I heard that name before...:D
     
  24. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I would suggest a stop past what I think Bob and Kevin still call the front of their shop - the Dylan Ellis Gallery- they always has great stuff on the walls.

    The location is listed on their Elevator Digital site. Don't let the name scare you - lots of silver loving still happens there.
     
  25. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Thanks, Mike. I looked it up and added it to my list with a note that you recommended it. I looked through the list of artists, too.

    One thing I noticed about the listings on the festival site is that it's usually no easy matter to tell from the descriptions of the exhibits whether to expect analog or digital when you get there. I have come to assume digital unless specified otherwise.

    I'm not a bigot toward digital photography. I think it's wonderful because it's done so much to open up photography to exceptionally talented people who might not have given it the time of day back when film reigned supreme. But, I have practically zero interest in going out of my way to see it unless it's the subject matter that interests me.

    Film photography, and especially darkroom prints, are another matter. That I will go to see regardless of the subject matter. I will stand back and take in the composition. Unworthy though I may be, I will arrogantly pass judgement on the artistic merit. I will press my nose right up to the glass to see the texture of the grain. And, if the photographer happens to be present, I will go stand close enough to bask in the euphoria of his aura.

    Digital isn't bad. It's probably what made me really appreciate darkroom photography. Until digital came along, I was like everyone else. Now I'm weird.
     
  26. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    May 2 we open at Arta with mostly enlarger prints, right across the laneway is Picto and on the same night Shin Sugino is showing , I believe dags.
    May 8 Anthony Macri is exhibiting Mural solarizations and lith prints.