West40, Toronto Movers Help Clean St Marys of the Virgin Church at 40 Westmoreland

Its a sign of the times that churches are now going condo all over downtown Toronto.  West40 is a loft conversion by Dog Day Developers in what was once St Marys the Virgin Church at 40 Westmoreland Ave.  This stunning example of Neo Gothic architecture stands out as being ultra unique in an age of steel and glass condominium towers. This is living in history.

Toronto movers at West40Architects Asen Vitko and W. A. Langton have combined history,  grand architecture and urban living into this unique project. West40 has been designed with attention to brick detailing, a stunning bold tower and Tudor-arched openings.who was recognized for his attention to brick detailing has clearly demonstrated his flare on this century-old church.

Other key elements include a stunningly bold tower and Tudor-arch openings all of which will be restored to its original glory.

The style was distinguished from the late 19th century Gothic Revival by its reduced scale and more restrained interpretation of design elements associated with early medieval English architecture.

Seventeen one-of-a-kind residences will be carved from the church, each one incorporating the beautiful interior details that include soaring cathedral ceiling with heights up to 21 feet

Toronto movers are clearing out the appliances found in the makeshift worker’s Kitchen as the property gets another overhaul by the sandblasters who are due to arrive

moving fridge, Toronto movers, automatic tailgate on truck

YELP Josephson Opticians is a neighbourhood optical shop ; buy glasses in Toronto

In the 1920s and early 1930s there was reknown Anglican ministers who made St. Mary’s Church popular with the people of the city. The church always had a rich Music Ministry, and was known for some measure of Liturgical Reform.

St Mary’s Parish remains at 130 Bathurst St, Toronto Ont.

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Spray foam guys insulate upscale Toronto

What is it like to be a spray foam guy?  There is a good story on Bizcovering magazine with an inside look at life as a spray foam insulation guy in Toronto and the piece used some pictures seen below.  This is Tim, a spray tech, who is also the truck driver and generator operator.  He’s on site to meet me first thing in the morning, opening up the back of the company truck and getting ready to help his teammate, the prime applicator. The prime is the rock star spray foam applicator who has had lots of training in the fine art of insulating residential houses with polyurethane rigid foam insulation. The pictures below shows Rob Campbell’s ride along on Oct 22nd to document a Toronto spray foam insulation company at work insulating a new home construction in a posh Forest Hill neighbourhood.

Opening Sprayfoam truck , day in the life  of spray foam guy

Spray foam insulation is an excellent albeit more expensive choice for home insulation.  The cost is minimum $3 per square foot of wall and roof, and the price varies depending on whether its open cell or closed cell foam being installed. Spray foam comes in two varieties, open-cell and closed-cell composition, and both types have different properties which make them good for one thing or another.. i might explain. Of the two options, closed-cell foam is the better insulator. Once cured, it also becomes a vapor retarder (because the tiny cells are closed moisture cannot enter the foam). but its disadvantage is price and weight.  Its heavy and expensive and sometimes you dont need that much insulation , and sometimes its too much and open cell is better.  Open cell foam has open bubbles Open-cell foam has a lower R-value, and acts as more of an air temperature and acoustic barrier; open cell foam is not an effective vapor barrier. Open cell foam is lighter, less dense and cheaper (because less material is used as it expands larger) and is applied as interior wall home insulation in places where moisture isn’t a variable.

Below Montana Mike puts on a full has-mat suit with respiratory system, boots and gloves, helmet and visor. Its intense.

put on suit for spray foam insulation application, back of truck,

Like any good chemical reaction there are some rather noxious chemicals produced as a bi-product of spray foam reaction between Isocyanates and the Walltite resin, both components are prepared by BASF and detailed on Fuel Ghoul blog about spray foam insulation in Toronto which outlines the process by which a Graco H40 component proportioner heats and pumps both liquids to the sprayer unit whereupon they combine at the nozzle tip of the gun.

mixing spray foam components together on job site with Graco H-40 Plural Component Reactor

The two substances must be hot when they combine to create the best chemical effect, and to make the best R-value rigid foam insulation. In the photo below, the tech tweaks a Graco H-40 Hydraulic Series Plural Component Reactor‘s front panel , adjusting temperature on the 12.0 kW heater in the machine. From residential foam insulation projects to high-volume commercial projects, Graco brand proportioners are a mainstay in the mobile spray foam industry. This rig alone, not including the truck and generator could cost about thirty five thousand dollars and comes with fifty foot of hose, and ten feet of heated whip and a Fusion AP  spray gun applicator.

Graco H-40 Hydraulic Series Plural Component Reactor With 20.4 kW Heater

Spray foam insulation is a bit of phenomenon especially here in Canada partly due to celebrity endorsements the home renovation TV shows that have propelled spokespeople to fame and fortune. These TV personalities have made deals with spray foam insulation manufacturers to endorse the product as being green and environmentally responsible, energy efficient, and 100 % cost effective – all of which is true.

spray foam tech basement wall headers in Forest Hill neighbourhood TorontoAll the same, spray foam insulation has been in the news lately and the people and processes have been called into question by a CBC Marketplace TV news doc that shows ‘how spray foam can go very wrong’ by examining the unlivable homes of unhappy customers.

The History Spray Foam Insulation

Otto Bayerm Germanchemieist who created polyurethane riigid foamWhat we know today as rigid foam insulation was invented in the 1950s by the German scientist Otto Bayer. He was trying to come up with something to replace rubber tires. He was eventually quite successful, but polyurethane wasn’t used to make wheels until the 1970s . Today the wheels under the folding metal steps of modern escalators are made of polyurethane, as are skateboard wheels.

Polyurethane has been around for about sixty years now – it has history stretching back to Germans scientists who pioneered many synthetics before World War II.  They were searching for synthetic textiles, rubber and silk. Twelve years after the war ended, in 1957 Otto Bayer and a German research team made advances with alkyd resins when they modified them with diisocyanates for the first time and made coatings and the first ever rigid foam products.  Today, anyone that has ever taken high school shop class, or refinished furniture, or stained a deck knows something about urethane wood finishes and the hard substance created when it hardens on the brush.

spray foam technician doing basement headers in Toronto Here is the crew starting work insulating the basement of a new home in Forest Hill.  They start at the bottom of the building doing the exterior wall ‘headers’. The team takes over the job site for a few hours each day and they often work lunches and late into the evening to be there when the other contractors are absent.  These guys are very careful not to expose any other tradespeople to the noxious gasses often created during the spray foam application process (I had to wear a breathing mask, visor and cover-alls as I followed the applicator around the basement).

Spray Foam in Toronto

Fuel Ghoul reports that the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA) estimates that spray foam insulation was installed in approx 350,000 homes in Canada last year, a number that has been growing by 33 percent every year over the last decade. Part of the product’s appeal is that, when properly installed, spray foam insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to fifty (50) per cent, according to the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA) and so this really is advanced chemistry at work.

Residential Basement Waterproofing After Summer of 2013 Flood Raises Toronto Real Estate Property Value

On weds Sept 9th 2013, a wet basement calls forth a couple of very experienced ‘Dry Guys’ who tackle the waterproofing project from inside the house!  They make it look easy because they’re very efficient, and full of handy DIY tips and tactics.  These guys are good people and I learned a lot while hanging out with them for an afternoon.  a couple of dry guys do wet basement waterproofing remedyScarborough Jack and Ian Boghagdan know that a good happy house has to have a warm and dry cellar, and they know that a house for sale has to advertise that is has a warm dry basement esp after it flooded in the July 2013 storm of the century.

345 Godsen Ave, wet basement

The Summer of 2013 will probably go down in history as being one of the wettest seasons on record. It rained for weeks at a time and one flash flood in late July dumped an entire month’s worth of rainwater onto the city in one night.  People who have never had a basement flood were suddenly deluged, and one such residential property was the house across the way… just fresh on the Toronto real estate market.

Myself and a nosy neighbor had the pleasure of watching a residential DryShield Waterproofing Solution Corp team tackle the job from inside the house. They were in and out of the space of a week, and they didn’t make a lot of noise about it.

taking out the trash1The first phase of the assignment was to remove the moldy drywall and wet insulation from the summer flood.

Six garbage bags of material were brought outside on the very first day, and a few more the next.  The wall was filled with old newspapers, fiberglass insulation and sawdust as the piece on Dumpdiggers blog illuminates no animals were seen or harmed.

The house is very clean at the moment, as the homeowner has moved out of the domicile on account of the flood.  The torrential rain drowned his prospects of a quick summer sale, but the waterproofing work is also fast and relatively painless. While I watched, the DryGuys went about clearing the wall under which the run-off entered the basement and they began cracking away the concrete under the wall to make an eight inch gully along which they ran a long length of perforated plastic pipe covered in a course silky hose . The trench slops down into a well in which there’s an electric sump pump.

shovel gravel in trench, waterproofing wet basementThe internal gutter remedies wet basement in Toronto story on Fuel Ghoul outlines the building supplies and gives more details alongside original pictures from my Typepad photo hosting account.  There is another story about how frost action cracks Victorian era brick walls on the Distillery District blog.

The wall of the basement is then affixed with a thick plastic membrane that has nipples and runnels to drain away any excess moisture down into the freshly dug gutter at the bottom of the wall.

Here is Scarborough Jack cutting the plastic waterproof membrane with a special blade; this stuff is hard to cut.

Image

Next it must be nailed to the wall.  Look how Bogdhon has maneuvered the piece to fold it over the joint between the wall and the floor.

Apply_membrane1

Membrane_overlap_gravel

This is literally a ‘dry shield’ that covers the cement wall and forms a barrier between the wood and drywall and wet concrete.

Do you see how it overlaps? And how it ends over top of the eight inch gulley.  Wall panels will cover this trench with a special wainscoting or floorboards trim.

There is a Bizcovering article about waterproofing wet basement from inside the home which also outlines these procedures and has even more original pictures and DIY tips.

Ornilux Bird Friendly Glass Fosters Bird Friendly Building Trend in Toronto

Do you have many bird friendly building examples in your city or town?  What is it in particular that makes them bird friendly? Please answer in comments. The  trend has other elements like decoys and disruptive lighting and audio discouraging elements.  What do you do ?

Ornilux glass if ornithologically superior glass, birds see spiderwebs over reflection of skyWhen birds strike office tower windows at great speeds, it’s not because they want to get inside these places, or because they’re out of their minds on toxic chemicals, but rather its because they see a reflection of an open sky and believe they have clear passage.   Autopsies on bird carcasses taken from city streets often show perfectly healthy animals that simply cracked open their skulls like egg shells in a high impact collision with a plate glass window.

Ornilux glass is ornithologically superior glass. Bird friendly glass has evolved from innovations in glass making since 2nd century AD. The first stain glass windows for churches appeared in 6th century ad but were very crude and often composed of thinly sliced alabaster. After Rome was sacked by the Goths in 465 AD glass making went into decline for almost 800 years until it was revived in Venice Italy.

Cristallo is a glass which is totally clear (like rock crystal), without the slight yellow or greenish color originating from iron oxide impurities and so it was the first truly reflective glass that even sparkles like a gemstone in certain lighting conditions.  You can understand how blue and red Cristallo could mimic rare gemstones!   This effect is achieved through small additions of manganese oxide – an improvement on pyrolusite recipes.  Often Cristallo has a low lime content which makes it prone to glass corrosion (otherwise known as glass disease).

how Geber made red glass

Persian alchemist, Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, known simply as “Geber” or Jabir recorded dozens of formulas for the production of glass in specific colors.  Geber was Arabia’s most prolific chemistry writer and thinker at the head of one of the world’s foremost academic intuitions in Persia.

Jabir’s writings describe methods, for evaporation, filtration, sublimation, melting, distillation, calcination and crystallization. At least two treatises attributed to him lay down the basic rules for conducting, recording and verifying experiments.

How to Make Fake Ruby Red Glass

Jabir was also the first to describe the preparation of cinnabar, arsenious oxide, alum, alkalis, antimony, saltpeter, mercury oxide and lead acetate. He also determined that a mixture of sulfuric and nitric acid (aqua regia) would dissolve gold. His acid was key to making red glass.  Cranberry glass is made in craft production rather than in large quantities, due to the high cost of the gold. The gold chloride is made by dissolving gold in a solution of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid (aqua regia). The glass is typically hand blown or molded. The finished, hardened glass is a type of colloid, a solid phase (gold) dispersed inside another solid phase (glass).

Today, most tall buildings in North America have highly reflective windows that trick birds’ vision, and what these creature’ brains perceive as the open sky, is instead a 3/4 inch thick wall of glass.  Dead birds liter the sidewalks in big cities.  Residential sunrooms and conservatories are equally deadly.

There’s discussion about bird friendly building trends on urban Toronto and a similar conversation about the need to recognize bird friendly building practices in Canadian Content environmental science forum and both are designed to raise awareness for the problem of modern glass creating such perfect reflections of the sky, and thereby causing bird strikes which are now, over time, having a drastic negative affect on the population of migratory birds all over the world.

Ornilux is ornithologically superior glass which birds perceive as shifting thick spiderwebs and something to be avoided.  The Arnold Glass co innovation comes at the end of along line of advances in stained glass windows propel glass making technology, but this breakthrough alone is not enough – the architects and engineers have got to want to make change. They have to want to seek out special glass that’s expensive and hard to find.

Name:  good_bird_friendly_building3.jpg Views: 0 Size:  89.8 KB

What are some known bird friendly buildings in your area? what makes them so special?  What else can we do to raise awareness to help prevent bird strikes?

Lenzr.com: New Look, New Contests

Lenzr.com has been quietly revolutionizing the concept of online storytelling for the past two years through its serial photo contests. Now, as of June 1, 2011, Lenzr.com has an updated website featuring new technology so compelling it’s possible that photo contests may be the next big thing in terms of online marketing. It’s still essentially the same great site: budding photographers compete with each other, upload photos to the sponsored contests, persuade their friends and family to vote on their work and vie for real prizes whilst participating in a competitive, but also encouraging, photography community.

What the new site offers that the old Lenzr.com never had are ‘Community Contests’. These contests can be set up by anyone (an individual, business or organization) at any time, to show (not tell) the world about a story topic of their choice.

In addition to these exciting new changes, Lenzr.com has just launched four new sponsored contests, for prizes of laptops and digital cameras!

Summer Photo Contests on Lenzr.com

Construction Sights Photo Contest on Lenzr.com

The Construction Sights photo contest is hoping to receive submissions illustrating a necessary summer protocol in the city: Construction. Like the glass analogy, there are two ways of looking at construction sites–positive or negative. On one hand, it’s hot, there’s dust flying around, and your bus has been detoured thanks to another construction delay. On the other hand, roads are being improved, housing is being created and many people are busily employed with construction work. There are two sides to this story–show us how you feel about the Construction Sights in your area and win!

The prize is a Sony laptop, courtesy of this contest’s sponsor, a family-owned Ottawa roofing company.

Best Office Staff Party Photo Contest on Lenzr.com

The Best Office Staff Party is looking to see submissions that juxtapose a stuffy office environment with a rollicking good time. How does your office let loose? Mini cupcakes? Interns working the ‘bar’? Who’s the life of the party–your boss? Show us your hilarious office party moments and don’t forget to include a sentence or two to put the photo in context. Also, while we want to see shots of people having a great time, make sure your co-workers are OK with your entry before submitting it–we are not responsible for any trouble you might cause!

The prize is a Sony laptop, thanks to an incredible IT staffing agency located in downtown Toronto.

The A Counting Exercise photo contest is looking for submissions featuring a repeating visual pattern to be counted. Tap into your inner Count von Count and take a look at the world from an arithmomaniac’s perspective: sure, those may be faces in a crowd, lines on the highway or a handful of pretzel sticks, but they’re counting exercises, too! Get creative with this one–this contest has received a lot of entries already featuring many amusing counting exercises. Show your never-ending profile in a three-way mirror, the Lego pieces your kids left all over the floor or a parking lot full of bicycles in a progressive European country–give the Lenzr judges something to count and you could win!

The prize is a Sony laptop, courtesy of this contest’s sponsor, a team of North York accountants.

Finally, the Shafts of Sunlight photo contest is looking to see tangible lines of natural sunlight in the submissions. There is somethiShafts of Sunlight Photo Contest on Lenzr.comng divine about the way light can take on the appearance of matter–observe in the picture to the right–these shafts of sunlight look almost like monkey bars sent down from the heavens. Try to capture a similar effect in your photo. This is the most specific contest; the rules state very clearly that shafts of sunlight, not other light tricks, are the desired outcome. Snap the most spectacular shaft of sunlight and you may win!

The prize is a Sony Cyber-Shot digital camera, courtesy of the contest’s sponsor, fittingly, a sunrooms installer.

2011 Antique Bottles Show and Sale in Toronto

The history of the industrial age is written in glass. The ‘slug plates’ that make the embossed labels in Canadian whiskey, soda, dairy, liquor and medicine bottles, read like pages in a book.  The names of the merchants and the contents of the vessels are from a simpler time of men and machines.

There is no better place to study this history then at a large bottle show in an urban center. The area’s most valuable glass is on display and the dealers are storytellers with lots of rare and precious knowledge locked up in their heads.

The annual Toronto Bottle Show, was Sunday April 17th 2011.

Dwight Fryer, UK and European poisons at the bottle show

The annual Toronto Bottle Show event is produced by the Four Seasons Bottle Collectors, one of Canada’s oldest and most respected clubs.  On this wet and rainy Sunday afternoon, more than forty antiques dealers tables proffered over 5,000 glass bottles, crocks, jugs, cans, cards, comics and period advertising pieces on tables inside the Humber College gymnasium.

In the picture above you can see Dwight Fryer sitting behind a massive collection of pretty blue and green ‘window bottles’.  These are actually poison bottles and he’s one Canada’s foremost poison bottles experts – almost all of the very pretty cobalt blue and green and amber glass you see here was priced to sell quickly between $30 and $50 each, and Dwight was selling off these gorgeous glass bottles hand over fist. It was a moment in time.

If you study glass bottles you’ll find there’s no better place to see such a huge assembly of everything that’s decent and worthy of display in the antique glass bottle collecting discipline.  Here’s some of the great stuff.torpedo bottles and terry matz on display at 2011 Toronto Bottle Show

These are absolute treasures – look here at the aqua green and cobalt blue torpedo bottles in Terry Matz display case . These are all dated between 1855 -1885 and they are all super rare. The average price for any bottle in that display case is approx $1200.  The guy sitting behind all those pretty torpedo bottles is Terry Matz, and he’s an expert and very passionate storyteller.

Dumpdiggers like Newf have large collections of salt glazed stoneware

salt glazed stoneware 2 gallon jug - merchant J.Steele, Brantford Potterymetal signs at the 2011 Toronto Bottle Show, Ed LockeThere not making anymore of these salt glazed stoneware jugs.

A real sweet spot for buying antique bottles,

Old advertising signs are growing harder to find and more valuable because they look great in modern offices and condominiums. The contrast between the new building and old signs is cool. The white walls need old paper posters, framed glass pictures and painted metal panels , and two or three colour wood or good condition cardboard advertisements. There are a lot of freshly painted white walls in our society that need embellishing with antique signs

People generally bring really rare, one-of-a-kind pieces to the bottle show.

The fellow named Ed Locke, seen in the photo to the right, brought in a Solnhofen Stone printing slab which was used in the early days of lithographic printing – $150 this piece shows an early advertisement for a Brandon Manitoba brewery which is also extremely rare.seen below

Solnhofen stone, lithographic printing, advertism,ent, Brandon, Manitoba, brewery

This is real early lithographic printing technology with a period  advertisement stamped on the surface of the limestone.  The piece stands as a reminder of how far we have come; there is a lot of water under the bridge in the evolution of this platform to the digitally replications done today. Our modern printable coupons have barcodes and expiry dates. To make such a system in the 1800s would mean hand carving a new stone for every coupon issued  Yet there are examples of the world’s first discount media buyers doing exactly that in the early 1900s. This exremely fine limestone block may only be obtained from one quary in Solnhofen Germany.

The history of pop bottles and beer bottles is another fascinating chapter in this Canadian history book. The screw cap is a very recent invention, and today’s most dominant closure method.

H. CHRISTIN stoneware ginger beer bottle, crackled glaze, OttawaThe closure mechanisms slowly evolved from simple corks to cod stoppers and complex ‘gravitating stoppers’, hinged plugs and Charles G. Hutchinson’s five bottle-stopper patents.

Here’s a cream and tan stoneware ginger beer bottle from a proprietor named H. Christin who was a brewer in Ottawa in the 1880s. This vessel was made by Brantford Pottery right here in Ontario, or  ‘Upper Canada’ as it was then known.

This bottle had a cork stopper and from this point forward there would be many different closures vying to be the dominant method. The crown cap became industry standard for this type of beverage in the 1920s.

Sharpen your eyes for cottage kitsch

Cottagers know that Kitcsh is King and the most simple furnishings and colourful trappings look great in cottages. The bottle show has lots of stuff with charm and character like some Mennonite furniture and folk art,

The chemistry of our culture dictates that cottages needs campy collectibles to feel cozy.

Modern muskoka cottage needs kitsch to look more like a cottageThe modern Muskoka cottage suffers from being too sophisticated, clean and culturally void of character

Each new domicile in the Muskoka Lakes needs large amounts of kitsch to look and feel more quaint. So many of the million dollar mansions that border Lake Muskoka are ultra modern constructions. They’re not made of pine or poplar anymore – they’re not timber frame houses at all, but rather insulated concrete forms , steel and glass monstrosities.  They lack the quaint charm of a cottage and often feel too sanitary. They dont have the charm of a family cottage, but rather feel like a house in the suburbs.

Things that look great in new cottages include,  utilitarian items like 1950’s 60s and 70s kitchenware and beer coolers, antique fishing lures, vintage boating equipment, art deco furniture and native crafts. These items find ready buyers in antique markets and in online auctions

I wrote a longer and more detailed account of the 2011 Toronto Bottle Show on Dumpdiggers blog; it’s about ten pages of text with over twenty pictures. The piece profiles 15 of the 35 dealers present at the show.