Art Near Sugar Beach

Sugar Beach

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #47! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

This Week

If you celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ve already enjoyed Canadian Thanksgiving in October so this week has been a regular week for me with several good happenings.

  • Plenty of sun and some clouds every day, except light rain on Thursday
  • A few enjoyable bike rides and lovely walks in nature
  • I saw a red fox in a park (first time this year)
  • Phone chats with my family and friends in the USA
  • A 5K walk-and-chat with my neighbour on a mild and sunny Sunday morning
  • I completed my regular meditation, language lessons, strength training and yoga
  • I had my haircut

Water-Themed Art

On one of my bike rides, I passed by Sugar Beach. The urban beach with pink umbrellas is named Sugar Beach to draw upon the industrial history of the area and its location adjacent to the Redpath Sugar Refinery that has been on Toronto’s Waterfront since the late 1950s.

Here are my photos of public art near Sugar Beach. They share a common theme: Water.

Light Showers art sculptures by Jill Anholt.
Light Showers: Three nine-metre-high art sculptures designed by artist Jill Anholt. Treated water flows from these sculptures located at Sherbourne Common to a channel then out to Lake Ontario.
Olamina art piece.
Olamina sculpture designed by Queen Kukoyi, Nico Taylor and Quentin VerCetty. Olamina is inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s Parable series, taking its namesake from the main character of Butler’s novels, Lauren Oya Olamina, and the folktales of the African water deity, Mami Wata. 

The next four images are the four-panel Water Clans mural created by Anishinaabe artist Que Rock. Each panel tells a story of water as a healer, a teacher, a protector, and a source of life. I transcribed the explanations from the Water Clans information board for each panel below.

The first panel tells the story of Turtle island and the original Anishinaabe peace treaty between the 6 nations: Plant, insect, bird, fish, animal, and human. The Grandfather Sun with seven rings around it representing the Guiding Principles of the Anishinaabe: Love, respect, courage, truth, honesty, humility and wisdom.

Water Clans first panel.

The second panel explores the duality of all life, both past and present thinking. The two spirits featured in the middle represent humanity and our role to defend and protect the Water Nation. Offering Tobacco to the water is a ceremony the Anishinaabe still practice to this day.

Water Clans panel 2.

The third panel symbolizes the teachings of water as a protector and how the Water Nation is the source of all. The loons represent unconditional love and duality of nature, as well as the connection to Grandmother Moon and Mother Earth. In the background, you can see many layers of sacred geometry based on traditional teachings of the medicine wheel, along with other patterns.

Water Clans third panel.

Lastly, the fourth panel tells the story of the human nation and the Wolf Clan and how we walk parallel through life together. What happens to the wolves affect us and vice versa; we are all connected. The 7 rings around the Grandfather Sun represent the 7 Grandfather teachings. The Rivers that flow in the background operate as the arteries of Mother Earth, if the rivers change so will she.

Water Clans fourth panel

I hope you enjoy the art work. Have a wonderful weekend!

Linked with #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC24.

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90 thoughts on “Art Near Sugar Beach

  1. Kirstin November 26, 2021 / 9:22 am

    Those were so cool Natalie. I love the sculptures the most, especially the one with the greenery meant to look like hair. Sounds like a great week


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 1:16 pm

      I like the bold blue and green hair of that Olamina sculpture. Thank you Kirstin for stopping by. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.


  2. Jill Weatherholt November 26, 2021 / 10:07 am

    I’d love to have my toes in that sand! Thanks for the tour, Natalie. I love the colorful artwork. Enjoy your weekend!


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 1:17 pm

      Thank you Jill for stopping by. The sand at Sugar Beach is pretty good. Have a wonderful weekend!


  3. Maria November 26, 2021 / 10:08 am

    Your week sounds very pleasant Natalie. It’s been an intense week for me, first at work, and the later part at home nursing a sick little girl. Thank you for the coffee 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 1:19 pm

      Maria, Sorry to hear you had an intense week. I hope this weekend is much more relaxing for you. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.


  4. Gary A Wilson November 26, 2021 / 10:39 am

    Hi Natalie. I did enjoy the art you shared. Thanks again both for capturing and sharing it and for hosting our get-togethers each weekend.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 1:22 pm

      Thank you Gary for participating in the weekly Coffee Share. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 November 26, 2021 / 1:18 pm

    Hi Natalie, what a lovely walking adventure this week. I enjoyed your photos and of course the 4 panels are my favourite – so much colour and vibrancy as well as the backstory for each panel. Perfect for my #bringmorecolourintoyourlife challenge that I’m doing on Instagram. Have a lovely week and thanks for hosting. #weekendcoffeeshare


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 1:28 pm

      Hi Sue, I thought you’d like these vibrant colours as I sure do. I look forward to reading your coffee share post. Have a wonderful weekend!


  6. Janet Alcorn November 26, 2021 / 1:19 pm

    Gorgeous photos, as always! Thanks for sharing them and for hosting the weekend coffee share!


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 1:30 pm

      Thank you, Janet, for your kind comment. I had fun photographing the artworks. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cee Neuner November 26, 2021 / 1:30 pm

    You found some real cool artwork for this week Thanks so much for playing 😀


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 1:33 pm

      Thank you Cee for co-hosting PPAC with Marsha. I had fun photographing and sharing these artworks 🙂


  8. Thistles and Kiwis November 26, 2021 / 1:37 pm

    You always manage to capture all the street art in the city. Love the look of Sugar Beach.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 6:16 pm

      Toronto has amazing public art. I’m glad you love the look of Sugar Beach. It’s a popular spot.


  9. Lydia C. Lee November 26, 2021 / 3:00 pm

    I love that beach!! Gorgeous shot! And I adore that sculpture where the tree makes the hair – I’ve seen other versions of it. Do take a photo when the tree is full!


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 6:18 pm

      I’m glad you love Sugar Beach. The pink umbrellas are pretty. The bold blue and green hair of the Olamina sculpture are eye-catching.


  10. Jennifer Jones November 26, 2021 / 4:33 pm

    What a beautiful place for a walk or ride. I love the art and all the vibrant colours. I love public art so always enjoy your photos.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 6:20 pm

      I had fun photographing and sharing these vibrant artworks. Glad you love them.


  11. Debbie November 26, 2021 / 5:13 pm

    You never cease to amaze me with your finds as you travel around Natalie. These sculptures and murals are fabulous! I’m off for a bike ride with friends shortly, unfortunately there are no public art displays along the way but there are lots of views over the verdant countryside to soak in! There is talk of our town becoming part of a Sculpture trail sometime in the future so that would be good :). Have a great week.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 6:24 pm

      Debbie, Views of the verdant countryside sound wonderful to me. Having a Sculpture trail is a good idea for artists and people who love and support the arts. I look forward to reading your coffee share post. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Retirement Reflections November 26, 2021 / 5:33 pm

    Hi, Natalie – The artwork in this post is absolutely stunning. You are fortunate to live in an area with so much art and culture readily available. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 6:27 pm

      Hi Donna, I’m glad you like the artwork that I shared. I’m very fortunate to live where I am.


  13. Deborah Drucker November 26, 2021 / 7:30 pm

    Interesting to learn about the Anishinaabe beliefs and see all the great art. I believe as they do that nature and humans are very interconnected and dependent on one another.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 7:38 pm

      I share similar thoughts, Deborah. Recent natural disasters (e.g. droughts) have affected the food chain.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. leannelc November 26, 2021 / 7:37 pm

    I like the waterfall Natalie – we have a small one in our park that is used to oxygenate the water and remove the iron content before it goes into a large pond that’s used for irrigation.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 7:46 pm

      Hi Leanne, That sounds like smart water management at your park. I look forward to reading your coffee share post. Have a great weekend!


  15. Suzanne November 26, 2021 / 9:01 pm

    Funny how scenic places have such mundane names, just the same here in New Zealand when we use North and South to describe our two islands. The philosophy behind the colourful panels is fascinating. As with most indigenous cultures, their whakapapa [ancestors] Pakiwaitara [myths/stories] derive from the papatuanuku [the land], the sea [moana] and the sky [rangi]. I enjoy learning how different cultures treasure the world. Linking in with you this week, and thanks for the invite.


    • Natalie November 26, 2021 / 9:16 pm

      Suzanne, Indigenous peoples are quite in tune with nature. I enjoy learning about indigenous culture in New Zealand via your blog. Thank you for linking up with me this week. I think your post and photos are beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. smkelly8 November 26, 2021 / 9:44 pm

    You always share amazing art. I love seeing so much sunshine. It’s been gloomy here.


    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 9:02 am

      Good to hear from you Susan. Over here, it’s been unusually mild and sunny in November. The forecast calls for snow tonight and tomorrow so it will be winter wonderland soon.


  17. Marsha November 27, 2021 / 1:10 am

    I am amazed at the amount and diversity of street art in Toronto. The more you post, the more I’d love to see it all in person. What a beautiful place. These panels are so colorful, and I’m glad you had some explanations to go with them because they would be hard to interpret otherwise. What an amazing place. Thanks for joining in PPAC. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 9:11 am

      Marsha, I’m also amazed at the art quality and quantity in Toronto. I go out exploring almost everyday and see new public art every time. I like the vibrant colours of the Water Clans mural and how Nature inspires the art. I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha November 27, 2021 / 3:27 pm

        Thank you Natalie. Your lovely comment just reminded me, I want to add a link to your post! 🙂


    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 9:14 am

      Thank you for joining me. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Teresa November 27, 2021 / 3:46 am

    My fave is the Olamina sculpture… so cool!


    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 9:16 am

      Excellent choice, Teresa. Olamina is a beautiful sculpture.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. trentpmcd November 27, 2021 / 9:55 am

    Sounds like a good week. All of the art is great. Thanks for the interpretations of the Water Clans mural. I love the murals, but they are even better knowing the meaning. I do wish I knew more about indigenous myth and philosophy. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 3:53 pm

      Trent, I found the information board of the Water Clans mural helpful so I transcribed the text to accompany my photos. Thank you for joining in. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 3:55 pm

      Pam, Thank you for stopping by. I feel fortunate to see amazing art so often. I’m glad you like the art I shared. Have a great weekend!


  20. Jackie November 27, 2021 / 12:17 pm

    Ah, something new for me to explore,thanks!


    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 3:57 pm

      You’re welcome, Jackie. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.


  21. Manja Maksimovič November 27, 2021 / 12:29 pm

    Olamina!! Have you read this series? I did so just recently and would be overwhelmed seeing this sculpture before me. Most wonderful.


    • Natalie November 27, 2021 / 4:00 pm

      Manja, I have the Parable series on request from my library. I’m glad you like the series and the sculpture. I like the bold blue and the ‘green’ hair. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Jo November 27, 2021 / 8:34 pm

    It amazes me how much art you have to visit. Great images as always.


    • Natalie November 28, 2021 / 9:31 am

      Jo, I feel fortunate to live in an area with so much art and culture readily available. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. csuhpat1 November 28, 2021 / 1:53 am

    What a great week you had and so love the art. So very cool. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.


    • Natalie November 28, 2021 / 9:32 am

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


  24. Antoinette Truglio Martin November 28, 2021 / 7:11 am

    Love the art! I am especially drawn to Mama Wata.
    Thanks for the tour.


    • Natalie November 28, 2021 / 9:33 am

      Me too, Antoinette. Thank you for joining me. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.


  25. Astrid November 28, 2021 / 8:32 am

    Glad you had a good week. Seeing that red fox sounds awesome!


    • Natalie November 28, 2021 / 9:35 am

      The red fox was cute. I kept a safe distance so not to scare it away but an excited dog charged towards the fox and it ran away super quick before I could get a good photo.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Writing Sparkle November 28, 2021 / 9:43 am

    I have to ask Natalie. Your first picture, the beach one, is that a recent picture? No snow in Toronto yet? I a lot of snow in Northern Alberta. So, much that we have gone sledding a few times. Haha. Thanks for the virtual coffee.


    • Natalie November 28, 2021 / 10:18 am

      Shari, Toronto finally got our first snowfall last night (November 27) and it’s snowing lightly atm. I was at Sugar Beach on Nov. 23 and 24 and both mornings were sunny. November is typically a grey month here but not this year. There were more sunshine hours than normal where I am. Our outdoor ice skating rinks just opened this weekend. Stay safe and warm even when you go sledding 🙂


  27. Dan Antion November 28, 2021 / 12:15 pm

    We had a good Thanksgiving, Natalie so I’m late catching up. I love the mural!


    • Natalie November 28, 2021 / 5:06 pm

      Glad to hear you had a good Thanksgiving, Dan. Now onto anticipating a merry Christmas 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Ju-Lyn November 28, 2021 / 9:01 pm

    Thank you for this cup of tea, chat and very fun venue – love the pink umbrellas!

    Sounds like you had a fabulous week! I like that you managed to get your haircut – this is a bit of an outing for us these days, so I am very happy for anyone who manages to get that done! Younger Daughter had hers cut this week as well, and she sighed with relief when it was done “My head feels so light now!”

    Such fabulous art you encountered ….
    Of course I am very partial to fountains & water sculptures, so I love Light Showers. It must have been stunning … 3 of them as well!
    I also love murals, as you know, and this series is so vibrant! I am very taken by the story it tells as well as the artist’s style of depicting animals – so endearing.


    • Natalie November 29, 2021 / 8:43 am

      I booked my haircut appointment on a weekday and was the only one in the hair salon. It was quick and nice to get it done before the holidays.

      I’m glad you like these water-themed art. I think they’re all so creative and bold either in design or colours. The info board for the Water Clans certainly helped visitors to understand the meanings of each panel.


  29. Deborah November 29, 2021 / 12:27 am

    Such beautiful artwork and sculptures. I have to admit I didn’t know Canada had a Thanksgiving until I saw something posted on social media recently. Sadly I’ve been too lazy to look up / google what it’s in celebration / honour of?


    • Natalie November 29, 2021 / 8:47 am

      Canada’s Thanksgiving holiday is on the second Monday in October. It’s a celebration of being thankful for what one has and the bounty or harvest of the previous year.


  30. Julie November 29, 2021 / 1:04 am

    That’s a gorgeous water sculpture! A few months ago, I read a book called “The Firekeeper’s Daughter” and it centers around the Anishinaabe culture. It was a wonderful introduction to indigenous authors!


    • Natalie November 29, 2021 / 8:57 am

      That sounds like an interesting book. If you like to read more Indigenous authors, I recommend Richard Wagamese’s books.


  31. Ally Bean November 29, 2021 / 10:08 am

    Your weather looks like it was meant for long walks and snapping pics of arty things. Looks like it was a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie November 29, 2021 / 11:40 am

      The first four weeks of November brought several unusually sunny and warmer than normal days. Toronto had the first snowfall on Sunday. This morning I went for a walk to take photos of winter scenery. It was beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Liesbet @ Roaming About November 29, 2021 / 10:42 pm

    Those water-clan panels are fascinating, enriching, interesting, and colorful, Natalie. Thanks for transcribing the labels. I wish our culture had a closer relationship with Mother Nature.

    I’m so glad you can do that 5K walk with your neighbor every weekend. Good exercise and there is always somewhere new to discover in Toronto! Have a fabulous week!


    • Natalie November 30, 2021 / 10:20 am

      Hi Liesbet, I’m glad you like the Water Clans panels. With some of the natural disasters that have been happening all over the world, we do need to have a closer relationship with Mother Nature and take better care of our natural resources.

      My neighbour is 82 years old and lives alone. She was looking for a companion to go for walks so I volunteered to walk with her an hour each week. We’ve been doing this since mid-September. It’s good for both of us health-wise, and one of my ways to give back to my community. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. November 30, 2021 / 1:41 pm

    I don’t know what has happened to my brain. I used to be able to think beyond the obvious and read into abstract art, pick up on themes. Now I just seem to focus on color and shape. And both of those are so pleasing in these pieces. In the woman’s face, is the bush actually part of the sculpture…does it represent her hair or is is just planted behind the face and kind of looks like hair? The water panels are gorgeous. Such intense color. See? There I go again.


    • Natalie November 30, 2021 / 6:53 pm

      Leslie, The green bush is part of the Olamina sculpture. It represents her hair. Olamina intersects both earth (green) and water (blue). Art with bold colours like Olamina and the Water Clans catch my eye so your focus on colour and shape seems normal to me. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week!


  34. Denyse Whelan Blogs December 1, 2021 / 3:42 am

    I am pleased to know you are still getting out and about and seeing such great art, Haircuts…how good is a haircut. The most recent one of mine after lockdown was an 18 week gap…the longest in time I can recall. I was so relieved to have it done and looking like me again!
    It was great reading your post today after linking up for #LifeThisWeek on my blog. Thank you! I can’t believe we are in December! Now “only” 3 more Mondays for #lifethisweek in 2021. See you next week too I hope. Denyse.


    • Natalie December 1, 2021 / 8:40 am

      Denyse, The first haircut after lockdown is great, isn’t it? Haircut is part of self-care and it makes us feel good when we have it done. I look forward to our blogging connection next week.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie December 3, 2021 / 11:32 am

      Thank you Cee! This is a nice surprise. Have a great weekend!


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