Summer Week 5: A Grand Day Out

Kayaks at Trout Pond

Hello blog friends! Glad to see you. Come on in to my blog space, make yourself comfortable with tea or coffee (hot or iced) and let’s have a chat.

Summer week 5, from July 19 to 25 inclusive, was mostly sunny and warm. The high temperatures ranged from 26C to 31C. With humidity, it felt like 30C to 36C (86F to 97F). We had severe thunderstorm and lightning on Sunday afternoon and intermittent showers on Wednesday. The rain water turned the grass in the parks from yellow to green again.

Kayaking to and within Toronto Islands

On a hot and sunny day of the week, I had a grand day out kayaking with my small social bubble. We paddled from the city side towards Hanlan’s Point (lower right on the map) and weaved our kayaks to Trout Pond (top right).

Source: City of Toronto, Toronto Island Park map

We explored the aquatic plants and bird life in and around Trout Pond and Lighthouse Pond. I saw white water lilies, baby turtles, small fish, ducks and ducklings, geese, swans, dragonflies, terns, and many other birds. We kayaked and swam in the ponds for a while as the water was so nice.

White water lily on Toronto Islands

Around 1 PM, we left our kayaks by the shore and had a nice picnic lunch on a grassy area under a few big trees. There was a lovely light breeze all afternoon. After lunch, we walked to Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, Gibraltar Point Beach, and Gibraltar Point Sand Dune.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

The Gibraltar Point lighthouse, which now stands inland because of shifting land masses, was built in 1808 to protect ships coming into Toronto harbour from washing ashore during storms. It’s the oldest landmark in Toronto, the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and the second oldest surviving lighthouse in Canada.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

It is said that the Gibraltar Point lighthouse is haunted. Its first lighthouse keeper J.P. Radan Muller, was murdered by two soldiers from Fort York. The ghost of of J.P. Radan Muller returns every summer, and on hot summer nights, his howls can be heard from one end of the island to the other.

Gibraltar Point Beach

With a blue sky and a sandy beach, it’s hard to believe we’re only 15 minutes from downtown Toronto. Gibraltar Point Beach is perfect for taking a swim during the hot summer. The City of Toronto has advised people to practice physical distancing at a beach or park (or can receive a $1,000 ticket).

Path to Gibraltar Point Beach
Path to Gibraltar Point Beach. The water was clear and felt great on a hot summer day.

Gibraltar Point Sand Dune

The Toronto Island Sand Dunes are home to several rare plant species and have been classified as an Environmentally Significant Area by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Dunes are fragile so visitors must stay on designated trails and boardwalks, and respect vegetated areas.

Boardwalk at Gibraltar Point Sand Dune.
Boardwalk at Gibraltar Point Sand Dune

Egrets and Herons

Late afternoon, we got back to our kayaks and paddled to Long Pond, then towards Centre Island and Ward’s Island before heading back from Royal Canadian Yacht Club marina to the city side.

I spotted two snowy egrets and two great blue herons in various areas of the islands. Click on the photos below to enlarge them. Can you see the egrets and herons?

Snowy egret on Toronto Islands
Snowy egret on Toronto Islands
Great blue heron on a tree trunk on Toronto Islands
Great blue heron on a tree trunk on Toronto Islands

It was tricky to paddle quietly to get as close to the birds as possible, then got my phone out from the pocket of my life jacket, and balanced myself in my kayak to take some photos before they flew away.

The egret and heron sightings filled me with a sense of awe and ended my grand day out with a big smile.

Snow egret on Toronto Islands
Snowy egret on Toronto Islands
Grey heron on Toronto Islands
Great blue heron on Toronto Islands


Summer week 5 was fantastic. I got all my outdoor and indoor activities done. I broke my own ‘personal best’ record of the number of books I read in a month in 2020. Eleven books so far with five days left in July. The weather forecast predicts sunny and warm days for this coming week. I look forward to making the most of summer week 6.

How did your week go? What made you smile? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

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72 thoughts on “Summer Week 5: A Grand Day Out

  1. Jill Weatherholt July 26, 2020 / 6:19 am

    We have a pair of snowy egrets that live at the lake behind our house. They are so beautiful. I love the photos of the lighthouse, Natalie. Thanks for sharing its history. We had a hot and stormy week here with temperatures in the upper 90s each day. Our hummingbirds seem to enjoy the tropical downpours we’ve been receiving in the afternoon. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 1:01 pm

      Jill, that’s so wonderful that you have a pair of snowy egrets at the lake behind your house, and the hummingbirds in your backyard. I’d be watching them all the time. I’m glad you liked my photos. Even though I took many photos of the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse over the years, the one that I shared in this post is my favourite. Stay cool and have a great week ahead! Congrats on the upcoming release of your book A Home for Her Daughter! That’s a huge achievement.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanne July 26, 2020 / 7:22 am

    That does sound (and look) like a fantastic day out. We had a pretty hot week too and spent much of our time in and around the water.


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 1:03 pm

      Joanne, Being close to the water on hot summer days is fantastic. I’m glad you had fun, too. Have a great week ahead!


  3. trentpmcd July 26, 2020 / 8:11 am

    Looks like a great day out, and so wild for being so close to the city.


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 1:06 pm

      Yeah, we’re very fortunate to have the islands so close to the city centre and yet they still retain the wilderness.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzanne@PictureRetirement July 26, 2020 / 9:06 am

    What a wonderful activity for a hot summer day. Very interesting place, sand dunes, lighthouse, beach, wildlife…so much to take in and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 1:10 pm

      Suzanne, We’re fortunate to have the beautiful Toronto Islands so close to the city centre. They’re less than 15-minute by ferry from the city and yet feel so far away once you’re on the islands. I enjoy kayaking there and within the islands themselves.


  5. Retirement Reflections July 26, 2020 / 10:02 am

    Hi, Natalie – It truly is incredible that these sand dunes, rare plant species and wildlife are minutes from the city of Toronto. What a gorgeous and peaceful setting. Thank you for taking us there.
    Congratulations on exceeding your personal best reading record!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 1:14 pm

      Hi Donna, I’m grateful for the conservation efforts that preserve the natural habitat on Toronto Islands. After an active day, I love to relax with a good book in the evening. It’s been a fabulous summer.


  6. Gary A Wilson July 26, 2020 / 10:28 am

    Another great tour Natalie.You are a exploration and reading machine. Work slows me down in both of these areas, and Covid is doing it’s fair share. I’m 65 and considered at risk, so being allowed to go shopping has become so rare that it has become a treat when I get to go at all. Writing went well this last week and I posted a new short story that I’m really proud of. I’m trying my hand at the less than 1000 words area so it’s fun to cram all the visuals and detail and entertainment value into such a short collection of words. It was fun and gratifying. If you stop by my coffee share, there’s a link to it. It’s way too short to count as a book length effort but all who have commented back were surprised at the warmth and ending. Regardless, I, again enjoyed visiting Toronto through your eyes and lens.


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 1:22 pm

      Gary, Congrats on your new short story! It’s wise to stay cautious while covid-19 is still around. I try to be outdoors during off hours to keep social distancing. I go shopping to buy essentials only and it’s in and out as quickly as possible. Have a great week ahead!


  7. anexactinglife July 26, 2020 / 11:13 am

    What a great day! So you skipped the clothing optional beach, then? 😉


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 5:20 pm

      Yes, I greatly appreciate the Toronto islands.


  8. Lydia C. Lee July 26, 2020 / 5:08 pm

    What a fabulous excursion!! How lovely. It’s raining here so doubly jealous!


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 5:21 pm

      It was a fabulous day! Sending some sunshine your way.


  9. Jo July 26, 2020 / 5:30 pm

    What a lovely day trip. You’re having a fabulous summer – both weather and activity wise. I look forward to seeing your list of books.


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 6:23 pm

      Jo, It was a fabulous day and this summer has been so much fun. I plan to share my list of books read in my next post. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Debbie July 26, 2020 / 6:12 pm

    Natalie I love that lighthouse and the story that goes with it. What a great day out, I must say your summer is going exceedingly well! Thanks for the tour 🙂 #lifethisweek


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 6:26 pm

      Debbie, I love lighthouses and the Gibraltar Point lighthouse is special to me because it’s a Toronto landmark. This summer has been fabulous so far. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Liesbet @ Roaming About July 26, 2020 / 6:15 pm

    What a beautiful excursion, Natalie. A day like this would make me very happy – exercise, beautiful surroundings, nature, a very special lighthouse, a fresh water lake, a sandy beach, a swim, some walks, a picnic lunch, blue skies, and a groups of friends! I particularly like the photo of the egret and its reflection. Have a fun summer week six!


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 6:35 pm

      Liesbet, It was a fantastic day for all the elements you mentioned. Seeing egrets and herons on our way home was a huge bonus. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Jennifer Jones July 26, 2020 / 7:19 pm

    Sounds like you’ve had a lovely week Natalie. I loved seeing your summer photos. They cheered up a wintry day here


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 7:59 pm

      Jennifer, Glad my summer photos cheered up your wintry day. I think I’ll be looking at them again when it’s winter season here to cheer me up. Thank you for stopping by. Have a good week ahead!


  13. Janis @ July 26, 2020 / 7:39 pm

    What a lovely place to kayak! I’m glad you included the map of the Island Park. I had wondered how you got the shots of the city across the bay (in other blog posts) and now I know!


    • Natalie July 26, 2020 / 8:04 pm

      Janis, Map are so useful 🙂 If you take the ferry to the islands, you can get very nice shots of the city skyline, too. Kayaking within the Toronto islands is wonderful. I’m glad I’m home this summer to enjoy the islands.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. leannelc July 26, 2020 / 9:09 pm

    What a beautiful spot Natalie – I learn so much about all these hidden gems when I read other blogs. All Donna’s hiking posts did the same – Canada seems to be a truly gorgeous place to live.


    • Natalie July 27, 2020 / 7:35 am

      Leanne, I agree that Canada is a gorgeous place to live. The Toronto Islands are beautiful and calm even though they’re close to the city, about 15 minute by ferry and a bit longer by kayak.


      • leannelc July 28, 2020 / 11:42 pm

        Hi Natalie – just back for #MLSTL and have shared on my SM x


        • Natalie July 29, 2020 / 7:45 am

          Thank you, Leanne. Have a great week!


  15. vanessa July 26, 2020 / 9:27 pm

    That looks like a great day out. I love it when these types of activities are accessible near a city and not something that needs hours of travel to get to them.


    • Natalie July 27, 2020 / 7:37 am

      Vanessa, Yes, I appreciate how easy and quick it is to access the Toronto Islands. They’re close to the city but feel worlds away once I arrive on the island side.


    • Natalie July 27, 2020 / 7:38 am

      Thank you, Lizl, for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Veronica @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf July 27, 2020 / 8:40 am

    It looks like you have had a wonderful week. The photos are amazing. I’m looking forward to Spring and Summer in Australia. You have had an amazing reading month. I hope they were all great books.


    • Natalie July 27, 2020 / 12:09 pm

      Veronica, I’m glad you liked my photos. The books have been great. I’ll share my book list next week. I don’t know what part of Australia you are in. Hope you’re doing well and not affected by the lockdown.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Ally Bean July 27, 2020 / 9:35 am

    Gibraltar Point lighthouse is haunted? I love lighthouses as a rule, but a haunted one is over the top cool. I’m happy that you got to explore the outside via kayak. It looks like it was fun. Thanks for sharing your photos.


    • Natalie July 27, 2020 / 12:14 pm

      Ally, Yes, it’s said Gibraltar Point lighthouse is haunted. Some say the lighthouse keeper was murdered on the 13th step, some say his body was never found, etc. I’m happy to explore the islands by kayak, too. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. msomerville2014 July 27, 2020 / 7:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing the wonderful pictures, I felt like I was along for the day. Shared on my Facebook page. Blessings, Michele


    • Natalie July 27, 2020 / 8:09 pm

      Michele, I’m glad you liked the pictures. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week!


  19. Sagittarius Viking July 28, 2020 / 11:06 am

    What a lovely little adventure. You always spend time in such beautiful nature. Very inspiring! I too have read more books than usual this year. That is a positive side effect of the worlds craziness. 🙂


    • Natalie July 28, 2020 / 11:21 am

      Maria, Nature and books are my best friends this summer 🙂 Sounds like they are to you, too. I’m grateful there is plenty of beautiful nature here and many good books to read. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Suzanne July 28, 2020 / 5:00 pm

    Always lovely to venture somewhere new with you Natalie.


    • Natalie July 28, 2020 / 9:26 pm

      Thank you, Suzanne, for joining me virtually. Good company makes the adventure more fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Lydia C. Lee July 28, 2020 / 5:26 pm

    You really do get out and about – it’s lovely to see! Literally.


    • Natalie July 28, 2020 / 9:29 pm

      I think my archetype is “Explorer”, just like my blog name 🙂 The weather has been warm and sunny so being close to the water is lovely.


  22. csuhpat1 July 28, 2020 / 7:51 pm

    Looks like such a wonderful day out. Thanks for taking us along. #MLSTL


    • Natalie July 28, 2020 / 9:30 pm

      Thank you, Patrick, for stopping by. I greatly appreciate it.


  23. Nancy Andres July 28, 2020 / 8:01 pm

    Sounds and looks amazing! Visiting you at Midlife Share the Love Party 127 #MLSTL. I loooks like you’re having a fantastic summer Natalie.


    • Natalie July 28, 2020 / 9:32 pm

      Nancy, Yes, I’m having a fantastic summer, doing activities where and when it’s easy to keep a safe distance from other people. Thank you for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.


  24. Jennifer July 28, 2020 / 8:47 pm

    That really is such a lovely park. Enjoyed living vicariously through you!


    • Natalie July 28, 2020 / 9:34 pm

      Jennifer, Nice to hear from you. Hope you’re doing well. Toronto Island Park is one of my favourite go-to places. Glad you liked it, too.


  25. Denyse Whelan July 29, 2020 / 3:08 am

    So good to see the beauty and the season where you are. We have just has a huge week of big rains and flooding in East Coast Australia. We are ok, but some people living on the edge of the beaches in places may lose their homes because of sea surges.

    Thank you for linking up this week for #lifethisweek 199. Next week, the optional prompt is Food. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.


    • Natalie July 29, 2020 / 7:47 am

      Denyse, Glad to hear you’re OK and sending better weather your way. I look forward to next week’s link-up. Have a wonderful week!


  26. samfiftysomething July 29, 2020 / 4:25 am

    What a great way to spend the day…Peace on the water, amazing scenery and beautiful and interesting wildlife, in a stunning part of the world. Perfect 🙂 #MLSTL


    • Natalie July 29, 2020 / 7:49 am

      Thank you, Sam, for your visit and comment. It was a beautiful day. I had another fun excursion yesterday. This time it was Stand Up Paddling (SUP). Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • samfiftysomething July 29, 2020 / 8:22 am

        Wonderful! We too have canoes and paddle boards, a wonderful way to spend a day 😊 carry on having fun!


  27. Deborah July 29, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    Another great week Natalie and the kayaking looks like fun. I’ve actually only ever been briefly once and wonder if I’d be fit enough to have to do it for any length of time, like on a day trip?


    • Natalie July 29, 2020 / 7:19 pm

      Deb, If the water is calm, I’m sure you can kayak for a while and take breaks when you want or need to. It’s not a race 🙂 I enjoy kayaking within the Toronto islands as the water there is much calmer than in the harbour.


  28. Min Write of the Middle July 29, 2020 / 7:25 pm

    What a beautiful area Natalie! I love the lighthouse. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a natural stone one like that. Ours are mostly painted white – over goodness knows what. Whatever was available at the time I believe – stone, concrete, brick, wood, some even made of steel or cast iron.


    • Natalie July 29, 2020 / 7:44 pm

      Min, I’ve seen some white-painted lighthouses. I like the red door and stone exterior of the Gibraltar Point lighthouse. Glad you liked it, too.


  29. Erica/Erika August 2, 2020 / 9:41 pm

    Hi Natalie, It is rare for us to get too much humidity around here. Wonderful how you take advantage of kayaking. The breeze would be welcoming. Interesting about the history of the lighthouse. Your photos are exceptionally beautiful. I was away for a few days and I enjoy catching up reading blog posts. Thank you for sharing, as always a beautiful post.


    • Natalie August 3, 2020 / 7:34 am

      Thank you, Erica/ Erika, for your kind comment. I hope you had a wonderful getaway. We tend to have high humidity and heat waves here in July and August. I appreciate to have easy access to the Toronto islands as they’re calm and beautiful. I’ve enjoyed kayaking within the islands and seeing some of the birds and aquatic plants up close.

      Liked by 1 person

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