What’s Been Happening | February 2023

The last Friday of February is a good time for me to reflect on what’s been happening and what I enjoyed during the month. February has been a calm and joyful month that is ending with an exciting travel plan.

Health & Fitness

I continued my outdoor cycling and walking which supplemented my indoor fitness routine of cardio, strength workouts, meditation and yoga. I was pleased with how often I was able to cycle this winter. I enjoyed time in nature โ€“ always a happy time for me.

Up until this week, February weather conditions have been mild with above normal temperatures on most days. On Wednesday, an overnight winter storm brought about 15 cm of snow. With a few days left of this short month to go, this would be Toronto’s only significant snowfall for February.

Inspiring nature

Family & Friends

My sisters and I made plans for a reunion next week. If everything works out, we’ll be together for the first time since the pandemic started. I’m looking forward to this exciting trip and quality time with my sisters. Stay tuned for my destination reveal in March.

I enjoyed three walks with family and friends to explore public art exhibits and free cultural events in February.

Walk #1 was the Icefest 2023 Dreams and Fantasies ice sculpture trail. The daytime high temperature reached 8C (46F) so we arrived early to see the sculptures before they melt. We all oohed and aahed over more than thirty incredible ice sculptures. For my complete Icefest23 image gallery, click here.

Bejeweled Crown

Walk #2 was to the Art Gallery of Ontario where we saw the remarkable bronze Couch Monster elephant sculpture by artist Brian Jungen. Check out the information board or the link provided to learn why he called this creature “couch monster”.

Couch Monster by Brian Jungen, 2022

Walk #3 was to Toronto Sculpture Garden to see the Afrophilia sculpture installation by artist Frantz Brent-Harris. These sculptures in their vibrant orange and red reflect the energy and attitude of young Black people. This installation celebrates a culture of self acceptance.

Afrophilia by Frantz Brent-Harris, 2023

What public art have you discovered recently?


I continued hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup and Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Thank you to all who have shared updates, comments and/ or photos from around the world. Here’s the links for February’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

For more blogging fun, I’m linking up with #TheChangingSeasons hosted by Ju-Lyn and Brian, and #WBOYC hosted by Donna, Sue, Jo and Debbie.


Aside from reading up on my travel destination to prepare for my trip, I also read or listened to four excellent books and discovered four new-to-me authors. Thank you to all who shared the best book you read in January. I read three of the books you shared. Here’s what I enjoyed reading this month:

What’s the best book you read in February?

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys in your week, and/ or favourite public art from around the world in the comments or via Weekend Coffee Share linkup #108 InLinkz below.

Happy March!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Copyright ยฉ 2023 natalietheexplorer.home.blog โ€“ All rights reserved.

103 thoughts on “What’s Been Happening | February 2023

    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:09 am

      I was impressed with the artist’s creativity of the Couch Monster. Thank you, Alex, for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. leannelc February 24, 2023 / 8:20 am

    How lovely to be able to meet up with your sisters after all this time – you must be so excited. I loved all the sculptures – especially the ice ones – something we only see in restaurants here because the weather never gets cold enough for them to last outside in the open!


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:13 am

      Hi Leanne, I’m very excited to meet up with my sisters. I’m pleased you loved the ice sculptures. It was great fun to walk the ice sculpture trail and take pictures. Due to the warm temperatures, a few of them already melted and toppled over by the time we got there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion February 24, 2023 / 8:20 am

    Thanks for including the Couch Monster and information on it. It’s always inspiring to read about all you do, Natalie. I hope the planning for your reunion goes well. There nothing like getting together after a long absence.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:16 am

      Dan, I was impressed with the Couch Monster sculpture and how the artist created it. I’m very excited to meet up with my sisters. Fingers crossed that our travels go smoothly. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen February 24, 2023 / 8:25 am

    I ooohhh & ahwwweed over the ice sculptures too. Amazing! #Weekendcoffeeshare


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:17 am

      Karen, The ice sculptures were impressive. I’m pleased you like them, too. Thank you for linking up. Have a great weekend!


  4. Alison February 24, 2023 / 9:02 am

    The red sculptures are amazing and also love the ice sculptures. I hope you enjoy your very exciting reunion with your sisters, how lovely


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:19 am

      Ali, I’m fortunate to see so many beautiful artworks and learn about these accomplished artists. I’m pleased you love the sculptures. I’m excited to meet up with my sisters. Fingers crossed our travels go smoothly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Alison February 24, 2023 / 8:07 pm



  5. Bernie February 24, 2023 / 9:33 am

    Ice sculptures and 8 degrees. Our winter festival is postponed a week because it’s -32. But we’ve got lots of snow and we need it and one can dress for cold. As to the reunion, awesome! Enjoy.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:23 am

      Yes, the above normal temperatures were challenging for the ice sculptors. By the time I got to the ice sculpture trail, a few of the sculptures already melted or toppled over. I heard about the extreme cold temperatures in the Prairies and Alberta. Stay safe and keep warm, Bernie.


  6. navasolanature February 24, 2023 / 10:01 am

    Good to see you are off on interesting travels again. Those sculptors are amazing. Any plans for Spain again? I am off to Mexico for a wedding but also a little exploration. Best book, I think I will recommend The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas, set in Mumbai. She blogs on wordpress too.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:27 am

      Georgina, How lovely to hear from you. I’m pleased you like the sculptures. Spain is on my list of places to revisit. I have a few trips to make this year. If I do go to Spain, it will be either May-June or in the fall. I’ll let you know when I know. Thank you for your book share. I’ll take a look. What part of Mexico will you be visiting?


      • navasolanature February 24, 2023 / 12:49 pm

        Cancun for 10 days and so will go to Tulum and Merida and various sites and wildlife places. Then we go to Monterrey in north for the wedding of my friendโ€™s son to a lovely mexican girl! Fun!


        • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 4:48 pm

          Your itinerary sounds wonderful. I liked Cancun and Tulum when I visited those places. Chichen Itza is well worth a visit, too. Have a safe and fabulous trip!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Joanne February 24, 2023 / 10:11 am

    That Couch Monster is amazing! I hope you and your sister have a wonderful time together. I’ve been looking at airline prices and hoping to fly down to see my sisters… at some point this spring.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:29 am

      Joanne, I was impressed by the artist’s creativity of the Couch Monster sculpture. I’m pleased you like it, too. I hope you get to see your sisters soon.


  8. Liesbet @ Roaming About February 24, 2023 / 10:57 am

    Those ice sculptures are amazing. That would be my favorite walk!

    I wish I could tell you my favorite book of February, but I – literally – havenโ€™t touched a book (except for the Lonely Planet) in over six months. No time to read. Or, better, different priorities, as always.

    Sad about the couch monster. I hate it when humans โ€œbreakโ€ animals and think they are above everything else.

    Have a great trip in March, Natalie, and happy weekend!


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:35 am

      Liesbet, I’m pleased you like the ice sculptures. I enjoyed that ice sculpture walk very much. A few of the sculptures melt or toppled over but most were still in good shape when we got there. The Couch Monster sculpture is thought-provoking. I was impressed by the artist’s creativity. I understand how your lifestyle doesn’t leave you time for leisure reading. I hope all’s well with you and we’ll share travel stories after I get back from my trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ally Bean February 24, 2023 / 11:24 am

    The Secret Lives of Church Ladies has been calling to me. The unicorn ice sculpture seems perfect to me, a mythical being slowly melting away. How cool is that!


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 11:42 am

      Ally, I love that unicorn ice sculpture, too. I was glad to see it before it melt or toppled over. I’d love for you to share your rating of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies if you decide to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Writing Sparkle February 24, 2023 / 12:44 pm

    Those ice sculptures are cool. You always share the best images for the PPAC. I participated this week too.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you, Shari, for your compliment of my images for PPAC. I’m pleased you like the ice sculptures. I’ll be over to your blog this evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Antoinette Truglio Martin February 24, 2023 / 1:03 pm

    THe sculptures are so interesting! Thanks for the tour.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you, Antoinette, for joining me.


  12. Thistles and Kiwis February 24, 2023 / 1:36 pm

    The ice sculptures are amazing – you do find the most wonderful things to share. I need to get out on the streets of Wellington and see what I can spot, or rather, not just walk past and ignore because ‘it is always there’.

    I am glad you enjoyed the Richard Osman! It is a fun read.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 4:53 pm

      Thank you, Barbara, for your compliment. I’d love to see public art in Wellington, NZ. I started paying attention to public art in Toronto a few years ago and have discovered so many talented artists and amazing artworks. Thank you for your January book share. If you have a best read in February, please let me know.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 5:08 pm

      Thank you, Sarah, for your comment and PPAC contribution. I’m pleased you love the ice sculptures and the Couch Monster. Those sculptors are so talented. I’m excited about my trip; will share after it’s complete ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jo February 24, 2023 / 2:16 pm

    Toronto seems to have so much amazing public art – you seemingly have new (and interesting) places to visit each week. The ice sculptures are amazing. Glad you enjoyed the latest Richard Osman – I think they’re getting better.


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 5:12 pm

      Jo, Yes, Toronto has amazing quantity and quality public art and best of all, they are free. I’m just scratching the surface. The latest Osman book was a fun read.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Maria February 24, 2023 / 2:57 pm

    Hi Natalie, those ice sculptures are exquisite, very beautiful. How exciting to have a trip with your sister to look forward too. I hope your plans come true. Enjoy this weekend!


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 5:16 pm

      Hi Maria, I’m pleased you like the ice sculptures. The sculptors did an excellent job while working in challenging weather conditions. Have a great weekend!


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 5:18 pm

      I’m glad you love it. The top part of the crown was getting porous due to above freezing point temperatures.


  15. Retirement Reflections February 24, 2023 / 6:48 pm

    Hi, Natalie – Thank you for linking up with us at What’s Been On Your Calendar. I am delighted to read that your February has been calm and joyful. โค
    Our area of Vancouver Island also received a big pile of snow over the past two days (with even more predicted on the weekend). This is our third significant snowfall this winter. As pretty as it look from my window, I am wishing for it to all go away soon.
    Wishing you a warm, happy and snow-free March ahead!


    • Natalie February 24, 2023 / 7:06 pm

      Hi Donna, It must be unusual to have three significant snowfalls and more snow to come on Vancouver Island this winter. In Toronto, February has brought more sunshine than January so I’m enjoying that. Thank you for your warm wishes for March. I wish you the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 February 24, 2023 / 9:10 pm

    Hi Natalie thanks for joining us for #WBOYC and sharing your month with us. I have my fingers crossed that you and your sisters will be able to catch up. We have had a late Summer with very hot and humid weather and you have the snow! Enjoy March and see you for the next #WBOYC x


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 11:48 am

      Thank you, Sue. I’m excited to meet up with my sisters. I hope the weather cooperates for our travels. Have a wonderful March!


  17. Gail Is This Mutton February 25, 2023 / 2:43 am

    Loved looking at your arty walks, particularly the ice sculptures! They’ve always fascinated me. Thanks for the link-up!


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 11:49 am

      Gail, Thank you for linking up. The ice sculptors did an excellent job in spite of the balmy weather. I’m pleased you like those ice sculptures.


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 11:51 am

      Thank you, Sofia, for your PPAC contribution. I’ll be over to your blog shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. trentpmcd February 25, 2023 / 7:40 am

    Sounds like a great February. I hope you have a good weekend and a wonderful week ahead. Also hope your March is even better than February ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 11:52 am

      Thank you, Trent. I look forward to meeting my sisters. March will be better than February with longer daylight time and spring arrival ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Michelle February 25, 2023 / 9:55 am

    You have some beautiful places to cycle! And what interesting art exhibits. The elephant is particularly fascinating to me. I love the Afrophilia busts – and what they represent. I enjoyed reading โ€œJane Goodall: 50 Years at Gombe.โ€ It was such a good overview of her lifeโ€™s work. She has always been one of my heros.


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 11:59 am

      Michelle, I’m fortunate to live close to a cycling network and have lots of public art to explore. Thank you for your book share. I’ll check with my library.


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 12:03 pm

      Thank you, Teresa, for your PPAC contribution. I’d love to see your photos from the Philippines. I’ll be over to your blog shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 3:44 pm

      Miss Andi, Welcome to my blog and thank you for taking part in the WCS! I’m pleased you like the sculptures. Like you, I was impressed with the artists’ creativity and skills. I did a lot of “oohs and aahs” when I saw those sculptures ๐Ÿ™‚ If you like other WCS participants to easily see your post, feel free to add your link using the InLinkz blue button at the end of my post. It’s optional. I hope you enjoy the linkup and consider joining again any week.


  20. Astrid February 25, 2023 / 2:27 pm

    It sounds like your February was quite good. I loved reading about all these sculptures. It makes me miss city life (I was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands), since there’s hardly any public art here.


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 3:47 pm

      Astrid, Cities do have some perks. Does your care home organize excursions? Perhaps they could organize a trip to see art.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Astrid February 25, 2023 / 5:32 pm

        Unfortunately not that Iโ€™m aware of. I do try to go to different places with my husband though.


        • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 6:47 pm

          Hopefully as the weather gets nicer, you’ll be able to go out more often.

          Liked by 1 person

  21. Gary A Wilson February 25, 2023 / 2:49 pm

    Loved the ice sculptures Natalie.
    I’ve always wished I had such skills.


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 3:49 pm

      Gary, I’m pleased you love the ice sculptures. Those sculptors were highly skilled and worked in cold outdoor conditions.


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 6:47 pm

      Thank you, Pam. I’m pleased you like them.


  22. OmoresOtempora February 25, 2023 / 9:33 pm

    Those ice sculptures would make me ooh and ahh. I liked the others as well, but the ice sculptures are only possible in winter and make the season beautiful.


    • Natalie February 25, 2023 / 9:55 pm

      Exactly. I was happy that the Icefest event returned and I got to see all those beautiful ice sculptures before they melted.


  23. Beaton February 26, 2023 / 1:56 am

    wow, stull trying to get my head around the Ice fest… so the ice sculptures just melt by the end of the day? ๐Ÿ˜ญ


    • Natalie February 26, 2023 / 9:30 am

      B, Yes, they melt and fell into pieces by the end of the day as the temperature rose to 8C. The annual Icefest event is on for two days. February is our winter month and it’s normally cold. When the temperatures stay below freezing point beyond the event dates, the ice sculptures last longer than 2 days. This year day 1 overnight temperature was about minus 15 Celsius but on day 2, the day temperature rose to 8 Celsius. This was why we went early on day 2 morning to see them while they were still in good shape. When we got there, at least two sculptures already toppled over and broke into pieces.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beaton February 26, 2023 / 10:03 am

        looking at those temperatures I am going to have to say I am child of winter who does not know winter hahaha our winters very rarely gets below 15 degrees Celsius… and right now we chilling at a warm 25 Degrees… Summer I guess.

        Checked out the post the with the ice sculptures, there’s some creative people out there…. and next burning question is how do they make them haha put water in a freezer than chisel it with a chain saw or something? hahahaha actually at those temps I am guessing water in a bucket would just wake up frozen ? Who needs a fridge lol



        • Natalie February 26, 2023 / 10:41 am

          Excellent questions, B. The ice sculpting process goes something like this: Big ice blocks are delivered to the event site. Depends on the design, ice blocks may be stacked to different heights. The sculptors carve the ice blocks using saws, chisels and other tools. Some sculptors wear eye goggles to protect their eyes from the flying ice powder while they power saw the ice. They work outdoors in winter conditions and wear winter clothes and gloves as needed. These ice sculptors are highly skilled and know how to work with unpredictable weather conditions on ice. The usually cold outdoor temperatures keep the sculptures in shape. This is one event that I look forward to attending every winter. The theme changes every year.


  24. Janet Alcorn February 26, 2023 / 10:29 am

    I love the story behind the Couch Monster–and the artist is right about how creatures are never the same once held in captivity to perform for us.

    Have a great time with your sisters!


    • Natalie February 26, 2023 / 10:43 am

      Thank you, Janet. I was impressed with the Couch Monster sculpture. I’m pleased you love the story behind it.


  25. csuhpat1 February 26, 2023 / 2:22 pm

    Such beautiful walks. So very nice. Love all of them. Thanks for hosting this great party.


    • Natalie February 26, 2023 / 4:04 pm

      Patrick, Thank you for your comment and linking up.


    • Natalie February 27, 2023 / 8:13 am

      Hi Ganga, I hope you had a nice visit in Toronto. Thank you for your weekend coffee share.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Suzanne February 26, 2023 / 9:53 pm

    Natalie, you are fortunate to have sisters you want to spend time with and have things in common. Hopefully all goes well. Always good to catch up with you and your walks.


    • Natalie February 27, 2023 / 8:16 am

      Suzanne, Yes, I’m fortunate to have sisters and we get along well. We traveled and vacationed together a few times before covid pandemic. I enjoy following your updates and walks, too.


    • Natalie February 27, 2023 / 8:23 am

      Jez, Thank you for your PPAC contribution. The Album pathway is a brilliant idea. I wonder how many or what percentage of bands you recognize.


  27. Kirstin Troyer February 27, 2023 / 7:11 pm

    LOVE those ice sculptures. That couch elephant is awesome too. The creativity of people is amazing. I’m hoping to finish a book by tomorrow night. I didn’t do a lot of reading in February. I’m reading Before we Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, and I’m listening to Giver of Stars. Both I’m really enjoying though the first one is heartbreaking. I love getting reading ideas from others.


    • Natalie February 27, 2023 / 7:27 pm

      Kirstin, I’m pleased you love the ice sculptures and the Couch Monster sculpture. I look forward to the Icefest event every winter. Thank you for your book shares. I’ve read and enjoyed Giver of Stars. I’ll add Before We Were Yours to my TBR list. Have a great week!


  28. Julie February 28, 2023 / 12:50 am

    I really like the Afrophilia busts — it’s such a nice contrast on a snowy day. The couch monster is interesting too — I couldn’t tell if those were couches for a moment. My favorite read in February is “Pachinko” — it already made its way to be a contender for my top reads for 2023.


    • Natalie March 3, 2023 / 7:32 pm

      Julie, Thank you for your book share. I’ll check with my library after I finish my current book loans. I’m pleased you like the Afrophilia busts and the Couch Monster sculpture. They’re visually interesting and carry important messages.


  29. Debbie March 1, 2023 / 3:57 am

    Those ice sculptures are brilliant Natalie! I do hope your reunion with your sisters goes well and you have fun together. Thanks for joining us for #WBOYC this month. I’ve been busy with family the last few days so am late reading everyone’s posts.


    • Natalie March 3, 2023 / 7:38 pm

      Thank you, Debbie, for your comment. My reunion with my sisters went very well and we had a lot of fun. I’m late replying to your comment as I was with them ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m pleased you liked the ice sculptures. Happy March!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie March 4, 2023 / 8:15 am

      Ju-Lyn, Thank you for sharing the beautiful Sumatran Tiger sculpture and its important message. I’d love for you to add my February wrap-up post to The Changing Seasons. I updated my post to include #TheChangingSeasons. Will visit yours shortly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ju-Lyn March 10, 2023 / 10:27 pm

        So happy to share my capture as I was reminded of it from yours.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Natalie March 11, 2023 / 11:48 am

          It’s cool that I get to see public art in Singapore without leaving home.


  30. bushboy March 4, 2023 / 8:46 am

    Sounds like a fun filled month. Love the art.
    Thanks for joining in The Changing Seasons ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Natalie March 4, 2023 / 6:31 pm

      Thank you, Brian, for hosting The Changing Seasons. I thought I missed the date to contribute but Ju-Lyn was kind to let me in ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.