Seeing the Lights

Hello blog friends! I’m glad you’re here. I hope you have a few minutes for a quick chat over a cup of coffee or tea. Our days are getting shorter as we move towards the longest night and shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, known as the Winter Solstice. So, I welcome daylight and the holiday lights at night.

The first few days of this past week, it was sunny, perfect for my cycling and walking to different parks during the day and seeing the lights in the city centre in the evening. I took a number of photos of various landmarks on my walk, all outdoors, except the last one. Let me show you in pictures.

Toronto Inukshuk Park

Natural daylight is my favourite type of light. Here’s the magnificent Toronto Inukshuk standing tall in full daylight on a sunny day at the Toronto Inukshuk Park.

The Toronto Inukshuk
The Toronto Inukshuk made by Inuit artist Kellypalik Qimirpik from Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Inukshuk is an Inuit stone structure often found in the arctic landscape. It serves as a guide to travellers on land and sea, providing comfort, advice and spatial orientation. The Toronto Inukshuk, one of the largest of its kind in North America, was made from about 50 tonnes of mountain rose granite. It stands 30 feet high with an arm span of 15 feet.

The Toronto Inukshuk is a legacy project to commemorate World Youth Day in 2002 that brings an important symbol of Canada’s Aboriginal people to the people of Toronto. On one of the rocks on the left of the structure, part of the inscription reads:

The Toronto Inukshuk invites each one of us to become beacons of light and hope, striving for justice and peace in this world.”

Coronation Park

Soft daylight.
Beautiful trees and soft daylight in Coronation Park.

East of the small Toronto Inukshuk Park is the much larger Coronation Park. In the above photo, the clouds and the tall trees filter the sun light and cast soft shadows of the trees on the grass and the trail.

Night Lighting at the CN Tower

The CN Tower and Toronto Union Station.
The CN Tower lit up in blue and a bright Christmas tree in front of Toronto Union Station.

The CN Tower is Canada’s most recognizable and celebrated icon, defining the Toronto skyline at 553.33m (1,815 ft 5 in). The Tower’s lighting begins at sunset and concludes at sunrise the next morning, except during spring and fall bird migration periods during which time lighting concludes at midnight.

The night time illumination from bottom to top of the CN Tower changes on a specific schedule and occasion. On the evening that I took this photo, the blue lights were for Toronto Miracle Community Food Drive.

Christmas Trees at the TD Centre

Three beautiful Christmas trees with twinkling lights at the TD Centre.
Three beautiful Christmas trees with twinkling lights at the TD Centre.

The Toronto-Dominion Centre, or TD Centre, is a prestigious office complex in the Financial District of downtown Toronto. These Christmas trees look stunning with simple twinkling lights for the holidays.

Hudson’s Bay Queen Street Store

Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker social distancing

Every year, thousands of holiday-loving Torontonians gather outside the windows of the Hudson’s Bay Queen Street store to catch a glimpse of the beloved Christmas display. The tradition has marked the start of the holiday season in Toronto for over 100 years. This year, of course, is different — with a much more low-key unveiling and signs reminding observers to social distance. 

The five displays all follow a “Santa’s Secret Workshop” theme. Please click on the slide show to see a snow-making department, a candy cane department, a gift-wrapping department, an ornament-making department and a mail-room department. 

Christmas Tree in the Eaton Centre

Christmas tree in the Eaton Centre
The Christmas tree at Toronto’s Eaton Centre.

The glittering 108-foot tall tree in the Eaton Centre is Canada’s largest Christmas tree. It covers three levels of Toronto’s downtown shopping centre. My photo is from 2019 for the same tree this year.

Finally

On December 9, 2020 Health Canada authorized the first Pfizer vaccine in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19. Ontario started administering its first COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare professionals on December 14, 2020 at two hospitals in Toronto and Ottawa. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

Copyright © 2021 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

79 thoughts on “Seeing the Lights

  1. Jill Weatherholt December 13, 2020 / 7:20 am

    Thank you for this festive tour, Natalie. I’ve always enjoyed seeing cities and homes decorated for the holidays. Your photographs are beautiful! I love the nutcracker! I’m happy you’re enjoying some beautiful weather. We’ve been unseasonably warm the past couple days, but a cold front is moving in late tomorrow night. Have a great week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 9:17 am

      Jill, I’m glad you enjoy my festive tour. Every year I do this walk to see the lighting, the trees and window displays. There are so many beautiful trees and holiday decorations around town. I was hoping that my photos capture some of that beauty. Stay warm and have a wonderful week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Antoinette Truglio Martin December 13, 2020 / 9:37 am

    Thank you for the festive stroll.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 9:52 am

      Thank you, Antoinette, for stopping by. Have a wonderful week ahead!

      Like

  3. Joanne December 13, 2020 / 11:04 am

    Beautiful! I love that trio of trees and those store window displays look so cute.

    Like

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 1:42 pm

      Joanne, I’m glad you like the trio of trees and the store window displays. They do put me in holiday mode 🙂

      Like

  4. Debbie December 13, 2020 / 11:40 am

    Oh, these photos are stunning, Natalie!! Sure, I love the outdoor shots (what clear skies you have, when we’ve had a string of gray days), but I LOVE the twinkling Christmas trees! Thank you for brightening my morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 1:45 pm

      Debbie, I’m glad you like the twinkling Christmas trees and they brighten your morning. There are many of them here. I tried to include just a couple of my tree photos.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 1:46 pm

      Dan, These trees look beautiful IRL. I’m glad you like them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. bearmkwa December 13, 2020 / 5:05 pm

    Thanks for the virtual Christmas tour, it was really satisfying. Our covid vaccine should be released any day. My husband is in a high risk group so he qualifies for the first wave… I do not. Not that I’m quite ready to trust an unproven vaccine, yet. I’ve also heard that people who have certain allergies to vaccines in past are restricted. I fall into that catagory, unfortunately. We spent most of Thurs – Sat in hospital for my Hubby. Just being thankful he’s alive…home… and feeling much better.

    Like

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 5:41 pm

      Bear, I’m glad to hear your hubby is home and feeling much better. Take care of yourself too. Wishing you a good week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      • bearmkwa December 13, 2020 / 6:40 pm

        Hehe… I’m sitting with TV on and watching the aquarium. Lol!

        Like

  6. csuhpat1 December 13, 2020 / 5:05 pm

    Wow, so very beautiful. I really want to visit that city. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 5:43 pm

      Patrick, I’m glad you want to visit Toronto. Have a good week ahead!

      Like

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 6:05 pm

      Exactly, Janis. I also like how their masks are coordinated with their outfit. Brain and beauty 🙂

      Like

  7. Jo December 13, 2020 / 6:29 pm

    Great pics as always.I’d never heard of Inukshuk & am off to google for more info. The masked nutcrackers are fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 6:40 pm

      Jo, Glad to add a new word, Inukshuk, to your vocabulary 🙂 I like how the nutcrackers wear coordinated masks with their outfit.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Laurie December 13, 2020 / 7:37 pm

    I love daylight too and hate to see us getting less and less of it at this time of year. But…the very best light of all is the light at the end of the tunnel we are now seeing with the vaccine on the horizon. Thanks for introducing me to Inukshuks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 7:44 pm

      You’re welcome, Laurie. I share the Inukshuk as not many people seem to know about it. 2020 is coming to a close with the arrival of the vaccine so it is indeed very good news.

      Like

  9. leannelc December 13, 2020 / 8:21 pm

    Hi Natalie – those were some beautiful Christmas trees. Here in Australia the sun is shining and we’re heading into Summer – such a contrast! And another contrast is how few covid cases we have and the resulting freedom of movement and the chance to be able to get together with family for Christmas (unlike many others where their numbers are still high). I’m still not sure about the vaccine – I’ll probably wait awhile and see how it goes as I don’t have any intention of travelling and our community covid cases are still zero. Interesting times indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 13, 2020 / 8:32 pm

      Hi Leanne – It’s great that Australia has few covid cases and people can get together for the holidays. The covid-19 vaccination is free for all Canadians and atm it’s voluntary. The rollout is by priority with health care professionals and older people first so it will be well into 2021 before my turn.

      Like

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 9:55 am

      Thank you, Donna. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  10. Debbie December 14, 2020 / 3:06 am

    Your lights and area look great Natalie, so different to what we have here! I love that Inukshuk too, so cool :). All the best to you as you move towards the light at the end of the tunnel. #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 9:57 am

      Thank you, Debbie. It’s festive and beautiful here in December even during the covid-19 pandemic. The first vaccine delivery has arrived in Canada as scheduled 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sanch @ Sanch Writes December 14, 2020 / 3:07 am

    Lovely lights! Christmas time is great for the lights which reminds me I haven’t been in to the city here to catch the lights. Need to rectify that! Hope you have a fab week ahead and hope the vaccine works well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 9:58 am

      Thank you, Sanch. I hope you go see the lights and post some pictures on your blog. Have a great week!

      Like

  12. Veronica @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf December 14, 2020 / 3:25 am

    I love all your Christmas snaps. The CN Tower is very similar to Centrepoint Tower in Sydney Australia.

    Like

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 10:00 am

      Veronica, I’m glad you like my Christmas photos. I hope to visit Sydney and see the Centrepoint Tower one day when it’s safe to travel again.

      Like

  13. Inspiring Max December 14, 2020 / 6:35 am

    Next time we visit your amazing country again I want to go to the Inukshuk Park. We also loved the Toronto Christmas Markets although my guess is that they didn’t happen this year as social distancing would be nearly impossible. Your photos brought back memories as we visited at Christmas time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 10:04 am

      Max, All non-essential shopping including the Christmas Markets are closed in Toronto at the moment. Online shopping for home delivery or curbside pick up only. I hope you visit Canada again when it’s safe to do so. The Toronto Inukshuk is huge IRL and its location is by Lake Ontario.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Frank Hubeny December 14, 2020 / 10:03 am

    The Inukshuk looks like it might fall down, but I imagine the pieces are bolted solidly together and the whole structure reinforced into the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 10:08 am

      Frank, It may be the angle that I took the photo, lol. The Inukshuk looks solid IRL and well reinforced into the ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. trentpmcd December 14, 2020 / 10:50 am

    Great little tour of downtown. The Toronto Inukshuk is very cool. Glad you were able to make it out and about during the week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 11:32 am

      Glad you like my virtual tour, Trent. The trail is in good condition without ice or snow yet so I go out side almost daily.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Beaton December 14, 2020 / 12:18 pm

    wow its definitely looking like Christmas… meanwhile this side of the universe havent seen any remarkable Christmas deor.. usually by now even the streetlights in Harare City Center would have Christams lights going on but looks like this year its not happening at least not yet,..
    as for the vaccine we probably some time away from a vaccine reaching us although it didn’t help that the Chief Justice of our neighbouring country made some statements about refusing the vaccine if its got the numbers 666 in it… I was just watching it like ok someone in the CJ’s position should not make public remarks like that.
    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 2:05 pm

      B, The sun sets around 4:30 PM here at this time of the year so I appreciate the holiday decor and lights which brighten things up. I hope you see some decorations in Harare city centre soon or maybe you’ve already done some decorations at home.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beaton December 14, 2020 / 11:36 pm

        Whaaat that’s an early time for sunset ours happens about an hour after that😎

        Yeah I should probably put up some colour around the house if it looks like Christmas maybe it will feel like Christmas even toying around with the idea of dressing up as Santa woo-hoo and bring the channel the holiday spirit
        ~B

        Like

  17. dprastka December 14, 2020 / 12:45 pm

    Such a BEAUTIFUL post with your beautiful city photos. The first park is gorgeous with the rose granite structure built there. My favorite is the nutcracker and all the festive photos. The Christmas trees are so pretty!! I hope you have a wonderful week ahead! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 14, 2020 / 2:07 pm

      Diana, I’m glad you like my photos. The nutcrackers are cute and the Christmas trees are very nice IRL. I hope you’re enjoying December. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com December 15, 2020 / 6:27 pm

    Hallelujah for that light at the end of the tunnel. Hope that giant nutcracker has only this year to don a mask. Poor chap! Love the slide show from Santa’s workshop. I was a photographer for a Santa’s workshop in a Memphis department store years ago. It was an enchanting place to be. The giant lit trees are magnificent. The green ones remind me of bottle brush trees. Just lovely.

    Like

    • Natalie December 15, 2020 / 7:09 pm

      Leslie, I’m glad you like the lit trees. I hope this year is the only year the nutcracker has to wear a mask, too. It sounds fun to be the photographer for Santa’s workshop and get to see the displays up close.

      Like

  19. Denyse Whelan Blogs December 16, 2020 / 3:11 am

    Fingers crossed for the COVID vaccine and that it helps us all feel safer in this world as it is now,

    Your pictures and stories are so interesting and just as you are readying for Winter Solstice, we have the Summer One! And we have lots of rain and cyclonic conditions in some parts of Australia too.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek on my blog. Next week it’s the final week for 2020. I have appreciated the bloggers who visit regularly to link up and to comment on my post as well. Next Week: 51/51 Own Choice. 21.12.2020
    #LifeThisWeek Returns on Monday 4 January 2021. May the festive season be kind to you and yours. Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 16, 2020 / 8:18 am

      Thank you, Denyse, for hosting and commenting. I’m glad you find my pictures and stories interesting. I look forward to the next link up. Wishing you a joyful holiday season.

      Like

  20. Annika Perry December 16, 2020 / 4:51 am

    Natalie, I love your tour of Christmas Toronto and feel I’m really getting to know the city (a tiny bit!)😀. The Toronto Inukshuk is incredible and one feels instant awe and humility as one gazes upon the structure! Ahh… the trees are beautiful and the windows wonderfully festive and fun – reminds me of olden days Christmas – last year! As we are not going out to shops apart from food stores this displays was a joy to see! Happy Walking and Biking and thank you for sharing your trails with us! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 16, 2020 / 8:23 am

      Annika, I’m glad you enjoy the virtual Christmas tour in Toronto 🙂 All non-essential shops are also closed here and move to online delivery or curbside pickup. Wishing you and your family a healthy and joyful holiday season.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. restlessjo December 16, 2020 / 4:59 am

    Hi, Natalie! 🙂 🙂 This is a lovely post. Hope you don’t mind if I substitute it for the Doors post you shared with me last week? My Monday walk next week will be Christmas themed. Wishing you happy times this Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 16, 2020 / 8:25 am

      Hi Jo, Go ahead and substitute 🙂 I look forward to reading your next walk. Wishing you a healthy and joyful holiday season!

      Like

  22. Veronica Lee December 16, 2020 / 5:08 am

    I enjoyed the festive tour, Natalie. Love the stunning photos!

    Like

    • Natalie December 16, 2020 / 8:26 am

      Veronica, I’m glad you like the festive tour and my photos. Have a wonderful holiday season!

      Like

  23. Min Write of the Middle December 16, 2020 / 7:07 pm

    Beautiful photographs as usual Natalie. Love the Christmas trees! Torontonians – that’s the first time I’ve heard that and I love it! Fantastic news about the vaccine starting to get rolled out. It hasn’t started here yet but next year will be the year. I think they are starting with health care workers and the elderly and working their way down by age. Not sure if they are factoring in the sick and immune compromised but whatever they do – by the end of next year hopefully most people will be vaccinated and life can become somewhat normal again. Have a wonderful Christmas Natalie, stay safe and healthy and cheers to a fabulous 2021. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 16, 2020 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you, Min. I’m glad you like my photos. The COVID-19 vaccinations have started here and will continue through 2021. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

      Like

  24. Liesbet @ Roaming About December 16, 2020 / 11:27 pm

    Toronto has so much to offer in any season! Reading your blogs and seeing your photographs for so long has really made me appreciate your city, Natalie. Still blue skies! It must be getting cold to walk and cycle, but I’d be like you and take advantage of every nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 17, 2020 / 8:55 am

      Liesbet, I’m glad my blogs and photos make you appreciate Toronto. Lots of interesting places to explore in this city. The weather is cold now but we have at least one sunny day with clear blue skies each week, sometimes a few sunny days in a row. I dress for the weather and when I cycle, I get warm quickly.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. PurplePumpernickel December 17, 2020 / 9:38 pm

    Love your take on “Light”!
    Thank you for sharing another lovely selection of sights around Toronto. I feel so Christmassy ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 18, 2020 / 9:13 am

      Thank you, Ju-Lyn, for joining me virtually. The holiday decorations are once a year so it’s a visual treat to see them. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  26. betty - NZ December 18, 2020 / 5:13 pm

    Christmas bring out some spectacular sights and what a fabulous tree! Thanks for sharing these awesome images with us.

    I appreciate your link at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week! Thanks for joining us!

    Like

    • Natalie December 18, 2020 / 5:50 pm

      Thank you, Betty, for hosting. I’m glad you like my photos. Wishing you a joyful holiday season.

      Like

  27. Erica/Erika December 19, 2020 / 9:50 pm

    You remind me, Natalie, how natural light is often the best light. This is a huge Inukshuk in comparison to other ones I have seen. Wow, about the Christmas display at the Hudson’s Bay. Another Wow, about the Christmas tree in the Easton Centre. And, yes, light at the end of the tunnel. Take care and I appreciate you sharing some of the beauty on our planet.

    Like

    • Natalie December 20, 2020 / 9:14 am

      Erica/ Erika, This Inukshuk is very big IRL. I have a close-up photo of it and it looks much more intimidating than the photo I posted on my blog. The window displays at Hudson’s Bay and the lighting of the tree at Eaton Centre have been annual events that usually draw crowds, except this year. Stay safe and well.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Terri Webster Schrandt December 20, 2020 / 10:40 am

    Hi Natalie, what a fun tour of fabulous Toronto! The lights are spectacular and the city views are gorgeous. I love that Inuit sculpture and those Christmas trees 🌲. Like Liesbet mentioned, Toronto is intriguing and I am always struck by the European flair and its cleanliness. I sure hope the vaccine provides a short trip to the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. Thank you for linking with Sunday Stills.

    Like

    • Natalie December 20, 2020 / 11:01 am

      Hi Terri, I’m glad you enjoyed the virtual tour of Toronto. Lots of places to explore and enjoy in this city. The current national plan is to have all Canadians who want the vaccine vaccinated by September 2021 so that’s promising news. Thank you for hosting Sunday Stills right after you moved.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. dawnkinster December 21, 2020 / 9:44 am

    Thanks for the tour! I was in Toronto once when I was in college (70s), but I don’t remember anything about what we did! We went to Toronto as part of our honeymoon, saw Phantom of the Opera and a Blue Jay baseball game there. My husband and I drove through Toronto on our wqy to Quebec about 10 years ago, during rush hour, did not stop and were glad to be out of town once we made it!

    Like

    • Natalie December 21, 2020 / 10:00 am

      Dawn, I’m glad you saw Phantom of the Opera and a Blue Jays game. Those events are some of Toronto’s greats. Driving through any big city at rush hour is a nightmare. I hope you had a wonderful time in beautiful Quebec.

      Like

  30. Dr Sock December 21, 2020 / 2:50 pm

    Beautiful Christmas photos, Natalie. During this very different Christmas 2020, it feels uplifting and reassuring to see the twinkling lights and various traditions still being observed (in a safe way).

    Jude

    Like

    • Natalie December 21, 2020 / 3:53 pm

      Jude, I agree with you that it feels uplifting and reassuring to see the twinkling lights and various traditions still being observed this year. The window displays at Hudson’s Bay Queen Street store were the same like last year, except for the addition of masks and physical distancing signage. Normally the store displays something new every year.

      Like

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