5 Eye-Catching Art Stations

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #29! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate, or cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a mainly sunny and warm week. Ontario moved to Step 3 of the 3-Step Reopening plan on July 16. This means indoor dining, indoor fitness centres, indoor swimming pools, movie theatres, art galleries, concert halls, conservatories, and more businesses are re-opened with capacity limits.

I enjoyed cycling, walking around town to see outdoor art exhibits and taking photos at different angles. After sixteen months of restrictions and lockdown, fountains with water flowing gave me joy.

Fountains at Nathan Phillips Square.
Fountains and Freedom Arches at Nathan Phillips Square facing Old City Hall.

I’m sharing five eye-catching art stations for the weekend. In each of my photo galleries, I encourage you to click on the “About” photo and read it as it explains the artists’ intentions.

The first four stations are winning designs for Toronto’s 2021 Spring Stations exhibition. They were selected by a jury from a record-breaking 400+ submissions from around the world. The theme of the exhibition, Refuge, asked designers to “reflect on the ongoing pandemic and consider what refuge means to each of us: a shelter, a place of comfort and security, a sanctuary.”

1. ARc de Blob

ARc de Blob.
A colourful arch created by Aleksandra Belitskaja, Ben James and Shaun McCallum, Austria/UK.

2. The Epitonium

The Epitonium.
A leaning structure created by a group of Iranian artists aiming to provide physical shelter with architecture inspired by nature.

3. From Small Beginnings

From Small Beginnings.
Created by Jack Leather and Charlie Leather, UK, From Small Beginnings is made up of an entire tiny forest of seedlings planted on 15 wooden shelves and provides both seating and standing space for spectators to seek refuge. Visitors have taken most saplings by the time of my visit.

4. THROBBER

THROBBER.
A rainbow neon piece made up of 10 colourful rooms and created by Alexandra Grieß and Jorel Heid, Germany.

5. Plant It Forward

This urban garden/ sculpture installation created by John Notten is one of five winners of Toronto’s 2020 Temporary Parklet Design Build Competition.

Plant It Forward sculpture/ urban garden.
Plant It Forward sculpture, street-facing side.
Plant It Forward urban garden with wheelbarrows.
Plant It Forward urban garden with wheelbarrows, park-facing side.

The concept of Plant It Forward by John Notten:

I enjoyed these art stations and their messages. Happy weekend, everyone!

Shared with #PPAC6, #ThursdayDoors.

Which of the above art stations do you like? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Paddling within Toronto Islands

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #28! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate, or a cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

My first stand up paddling (SUP) excursion of summer 2021 was a resounding success. The morning started with some clouds. By the time I reached Toronto Islands to pick up my SUP board and go paddling, it was clear and sunny.

These surf boards are outside the centre where I book my SUP board. For my fantasy beach cabin, I’d like a mini version of these boards at my cabin door. My favourite is the O board with the blue waves.

WELCOME surf boards.
WELCOME Surf Boards. Sharing for #PPAC#5.

I love paddling within Toronto Islands and experience nature. The island vibe is totally different from the city vibe even though the two sides are only ten minutes apart by ferry. In the summer, the Toronto Islands are beautiful.

For readers who are unfamiliar with Toronto, the following map shows Toronto city centre with the CN Tower at the bottom of the map and Toronto Islands in green, surrounded by Lake Ontario in blue.

Map of Toronto Island Park.
Map Source: City of Toronto.

Once on the island side, I picked up my rental board, the red Starfish, by the water’s edge.

Then gently paddled towards Long Pond to see aquatic life and the wetlands.

SUP board.

Beautiful white lotus flowers are in bloom at this time of the year. Their presence is a display of purity and tranquility.

White lotus flower.

A few snowy egrets were catching fish in the wetlands. They flew away when I tried to get closer for a good photo. Better luck next time.

Snowy egret.
A snowy egret amid the green trees.

The painted turtles were out on tree logs to bask in the sunshine. Their name comes from the brightly colored markings on their extremities, which range from yellow, to orange, to red.

The head of the turtle is distinctive. The face has only yellow stripes, with a large yellow spot and streak behind each eye, and on the chin two wide yellow stripes that meet at the tip of the jaw. Their feet are webbed to aid swimming.

Painted turtle.
This big painted turtle is basking on a tree log. Zoom in to see its face and webbed feet.

A double-crested cormorant perched atop a tree. Up close, cormorants have gorgeous aqua green eyes and orange-yellow skin around the base of the bill and chin.

I saw beavers, fish, birds, geese, swans and duck families with cute little ducklings. The islands are green and idyllic at this time of the year.

After about two hours of paddling, it was time to return to the city. I’m grateful for a wonderful SUP outing on a beautiful morning with blue skies, green trees and water everywhere! I’ll be back next week to canoe with friends.

Before leaving Toronto Islands, I always take a few photos of Toronto’s skyline which has changed over the years with new skyscrapers and green space along the waterfront.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Linked with #Colour2021, #LifeThisWeek, #Pond, #SundayStills, #TreeSquare, #WWE.

How was your week? I’d love to hear your comments.

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5 Things To See at Berczy Park

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #27! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate, or a cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a typical warm week of summer with showers mid-week. Toronto’s cycling network has new routes, some are permanent and some are temporary pilots. I’m excited about new cycling possibilities and nice places to see, such as Berczy Park.

Berczy Park.

Berczy Park is named after William Berczy. Born as Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll in 1744 in Wallerstein, Germany, he later changed his name and studied at the Academy of Arts in Vienna, before sailing to the Americas in 1792. He was co-founder of York (now Toronto) in 1794 when John Graves Simcoe was Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

Here are 5 things to see at Berczy Park for your weekend.

1- Gooderham “Flatiron” Building: The red brick building in the Gothic Revival style was designed by architect David Roberts and built in 1892 for George Gooderham, the president of Gooderham and Worts Distillery.

Gooderham "Flatiron" Building.
Gooderham “Flatiron” Building, 1892.
Gooderham "Flatiron" Building plaque.
History plaque.
Gooderham "Flatiron" Building.
Gooderham “Flatiron” Building, 1892.

2- Flatiron Mural: Canadian artist Derek Besant created the Flatiron Mural on the rear wall of the “Flatiron” Building in 1980. It’s a beautiful optical illusion. Check out the amazing details and their ‘trompe l’oeil’ effects.

Flatiron Mural.
Flatiron Mural, 1980 by Derek Besant.

3- “Dog” Fountain: The park’s centrepiece is a two-tiered “Dog” Fountain with a unique and whimsical theme. 27 dog sculptures – and one cat – are situated around, in, and on the fountain, each spraying water from its mouth. A golden bone sits atop the fountain.

The fountain was turned off during the pandemic until June 11, 2021 when Ontario reopened. The flowing water is a welcoming sign that things might be returning to normal.

Dog Fountain at Berczy Park.
Dog Fountain, 2017 by architect Claude Cormier and Associates.

4- Jacob’s Ladder: Designed by Toronto artist Luis Jacob, the artwork encompasses two giant bronze hands, with a rope lattice suspended between the fingers, forming a whimsical string game. The rope lattice is to be installed. Once it’s in place, it’s perfect for climbing, swinging, or a backdrop for a play.

Jacob’s Ladder, 2018 by artist Luis Jacob.

5- The William Berczy Family sculpture: The sculpture was designed by artist Almuth Lutkenhaus-Lackey and is in the south-east corner of the park.

Berczy became a well-known Canadian painter, architect, surveyor and writer before dying en route to England in 1813. His older son, William Bent Berczy, was a Member of The Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada and a gifted painter. His younger son, Charles Albert Berczy, was the first president of the Consumers’ Gas Company from 1847 to 1856 and Postmaster of Toronto.

William Berczy Family sculpture.
William Berczy Family sculpture by artist Almuth Lutkenhaus-Lackey.

One more thing…The Garden in Berczy Park is lovely with a mix of plants, shrubs, trees and pretty flowers.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Linked with #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC4, #ThursdayDoors, #TreeSquares.

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What Made June Joyful

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #26! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or a cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a warm and humid week with thunderstorms. I had a reflective Thursday July 1. It was Canada Day and the beginning of a new month. As usual, I look back at the previous month (June) and look forward to fun activities in July. Let me share what made June joyful with my nature-inspired photos.

Nature

Nature gave wonderful gifts in June: Sunny days, blue skies, green trees in parks, beautiful flowers in the gardens, sparkling water by the lake, fluffy white clouds, warmer temperatures, and some rain. Summer arrived on June 20 evening. I’ve been spending more time outdoors to savour all the good things that summer brings.

A crabapple tree.
Crabapple tree: A pretty obstacle on the golf course.

Health

In June, I continued to keep myself healthy with regular cycling, walking, playing disc golf, body weight training, meditation and yoga. I’m fully vaccinated and feel good to do my part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

It helps that vaccination uptake has been phenomenal in Toronto and the city’s mask mandate in all indoor public spaces continues to September. On Sunday June 27, Toronto set a world record after 26,771 doses were administered in a single day in one clinic.

Redbud trees.
Redbud trees brighten up a nice walking trail.

Home

On June 2, Ontario ended the province-wide lockdown and allowed the province to gradually reopen in three steps. We started Step 1 on June 11 and Step 2 on June 30. This means I can do things such as outdoor dining with my family and friends and get a haircut.

I love exploring my home city by bike and on foot. I can easily stop when I see something interesting and go when I’m ready. Here are three public art displays that I stopped to photograph impromptu.

A Runaway Forest by Jaakko Pernu.
A Runaway Forest, 2015 by Finnish sculptor and environmental artist Jaakko Pernu.
Garden Court sculptures by Scott Burton.
Garden Court (furniture sculptures in granite), 1992 by American sculptor Scott Burton.
1942 Ford fire truck known as "Little Red".
1942 Ford Fire Truck known as Little Red with Pride flag.

Leisure

What I enjoyed

  • Cycling on the Waterfront trail and Toronto’s bike network.
  • Walking on green grass in parks.
  • Smelling floral scents and identifying new plants in the gardens.
  • Watching young goslings by the lake and listening to bird songs.
  • Savouring summer fruits and the occasional ice cream.
  • Viewing public art and learning about the artists.
  • Visiting Heritage buildings and tracing Toronto’s history.
  • Taking photographs of places and things that I like.
  • Blogging and hosting Weekend Coffee Share link-ups.
  • Learning French and Spanish on Duolingo.

June was a month with many beautiful flowers in the gardens.

What I read

I read five novels and brought my total of Books in 2021 to forty five. Here’s my list with asterisk indicating new-to-me author:

  • The Only Story – Julian Barnes.
  • The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah. *
  • People We Meet On Vacation – Emily Henry.
  • War Horse – Michael Morpurgo. *
  • The Refugees – Viet Thanh Nguyen. *

What I wrote

I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in June. My July Fun calendar is looking fabulous. Happy weekend, everyone!

Linked to #TreeSquares, #TheChangingSeasons, #PPAC, #LifeThisWeek.

How was June for you? What do you look forward to in July? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Big House Canoe and Corktown Common

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #25! 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.

The weather has been mainly sunny this past week. I spent plenty of time outdoors cycling along the Waterfront trail and walking in parks. I’d like to share two unique places: Wigwam Chi-Chemung and Corktown Common.

Wigwam Chi-Chemung or Big House Canoe

Wigwam Chi-Chemung, which roughly translates to “Big House Canoe” in Ojibway, is a houseboat purchased by Elder Duke Redbird in 2019 and became a ‘canvas’ painted and outfitted with a series of Indigenous themes and murals. It’s a floating art installation located at the Ontario Place South Marina until October.

Wigwam Chi-Chemung
An elder in a canoe offering a peace pipe to a loon, messenger to the Creator.

June is National Indigenous History month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. I encourage my blog readers to watch this 3-minute video where Elder Duke Redbird and Phil Cote talk about their artwork on the boat from an Indigenous lens.

Corktown Common

Corktown Common is a park located in Toronto’s West Don Lands. Here are three reasons and a few photos why this park is special.

1. Multi-purpose use of land

Corktown Common is a former industrial landscape transformed into a natural urban oasis and community meeting place. This sophisticated 7.3 hectare (18 acre) park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and opened in 2013. The park sits atop flood protection hill (landform) which protects over 200 hectares (over 500 acres) of Toronto’s eastern downtown from Don River flooding.

Corktown Common trail.

2. Natural habitats and organically-managed park

Corktown Common is a showcase for Southern Ontario native plant species. Native plants have been planted in unique groupings to create a variety of habitats, including woodland, marsh and prairie, for a growing population of birds, amphibians and insects.

Native plants and marsh at Corktown Common.

Corktown Common is Toronto’s first organically managed park. This means that emphasis is placed on supporting ecosystem health and soil biology. Nearly all of the potable, splash pad, irrigation, and storm water is collected on site and reused in the marsh and irrigation system. The irrigation cistern holds approximately 568,000 liters (150,000 gallons) of water; enough to irrigate the park for a week.

Water collection in Corktown Common.
Corktown Common boardwalk.

3. Comprehensive park features

Aside from the marsh, beautiful marsh trails, and urban prairies, Corktown Common park features include a pavilion terrace, sprawling lawns, benches, playground areas, a splash pad, and a variety of inviting features like a fireplace, permanent barbeque, large communal picnic tables and washrooms. Solar panels on the pavilion offset the park’s energy needs and the pavilion’s power needs.

Pavilion and playground
Pavilion and Playground
Benches by redbud trees
Benches by redbud trees

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto’s residents are encouraged to get outside to exercise. My go-to places are Lake Ontario and parks like Corktown Common. A bicycle ride along the lakeshore or a walk in a green space always makes me feel good. I’m grateful to have easy access to the great outdoors.

Linked to #LifeThisWeek, PPAC#2, #SundayStills.

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Visiting City Halls and Courthouses

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #24! 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.

It’s been a good week with lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Much needed rain came and gone on Monday afternoon. Over the years, the original City of Toronto had a total of four City Halls. On one of my cycling and walking excursions, I visited all of them, plus a historic courthouse.

1. St. Lawrence Hall

Toronto’s first City Hall: From the time of the City’s incorporation in 1834 until early in 1845, the Council met in a building at King and Jarvis Streets. The building was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1849. Following the fire, architect William Thomas designed St. Lawrence Hall in the Renaissance Revival style in 1850. It stands on the site today and was designated a National Historic Site in 1967.

St. Lawrence Hall.
St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King Street East.

2. South St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s second City Hall: From 1845 to 1899, the seat of City government was located at Front and Jarvis Streets, in the South St. Lawrence Market. The City’s Market Gallery now occupies the 19th century City Council Chamber on the second floor of the Market.

South St. Lawrence Market.
South St. Lawrence Market, 92-95 Front Street East.

3. Adelaide Court

Adelaide Court was designed by the firm of Cumberland and Ridout and built in 1851-1852 in the Greek Revival style. It served as York County Court House from 1852 until 1900, when the courts moved to “Old” City Hall. It currently houses Terroni restaurant.

Adelaide Court.
Adelaide Court, 57 Adelaide Street East.

4. Old City Hall

Toronto’s third City Hall, known as Old City Hall, was designed by Toronto architect Edward James Lennox. It took more than a decade to build and was officially opened on September 18, 1899. The civic building in the Romanesque Revival style contained a Council Chamber, courtrooms and municipal offices.

Old City Hall.
Old City Hall seen behind the Freedom arches at Nathan Phillips Square.
Old City Hall main entrance.
Old City Hall main entrance. Note the words Municipal Buildings above the arches.

Old City Hall at 60 Queen Street West was the home of the Toronto City Council from 1899 to 1966 and was designated a National Historic Site in 1984. When Toronto’s fourth City Hall opened in 1965, Old City Hall became a Provincial courthouse.

5. Toronto City Hall

Toronto’s fourth and current City Hall at 100 Queen Street West was designed by Finnish architect, Viljo Revell. His design was divided into three main parts: The podium, the convex circular council chamber and two office towers of differing heights. The building was opened on September 13, 1965.

Toronto City Hall.

On September 13, 2020, Toronto City Hall turns 55 years young. This virtual tour highlights its history and many features of the building, including a peek into the Mayor’s Office and views from the 27th Floor Observation Deck.

*****

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve had the pleasure to see the interiors of all of the above buildings. During the pandemic, St. Lawrence Market is opened with public health protocols in place. The other four buildings are closed to the public. I look forward to their re-opening day.

Linked to #ThursdayDoors, #LifeThisWeek.

How well do you know your municipal buildings and their history? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Things To See in Canary District

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #23! 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.

A Warm Week

Toronto broke a record on Saturday June 5 when the temperature rose to 31C (88F). According to Environment Canada, the highest temperature recorded for June 5 is 30C set in 1940. The scorching temperatures and heat warning continued on Sunday and lasted through Wednesday.

I went outside earlier in the morning when it was cooler to cycle and walk. In spring season, I like to visit the gardens at least once a week to catch the new flower blooms before they disappear or get destroyed by strong winds or rain.

Gorgeous Flowers

Here are something pink for Terri’s Sunday Stills photo challenge: Poppies, azaleas and peonies. The attractive Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale) flowers have large, layered, crepe papery, pink petals with dark purple eyes and black splotches at their base. Have you seen them before?

Interesting Sculptures

On one of my cycling excursions I passed by the Canary District in Toronto’s West Don Lands. I took a cycling break and walked along Front Street East and Mill Street to see five interesting sculptures. Once I took time to examine each of them at different angles, I liked them more than at first glance.

Water Guardians.
Water Guardians created by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins with James Khamsi consists of a 7.2 meters tall blue-painted steel structure with three heads and glowing LED eyes watching over a water feature.
Garden of Future Follies created by Hadley Howes and Maxwell Stephens is a garden of 7 bronze sculptures that brings together elements from over 80 existing public sculptures and architectural details from around Toronto.
Untitled (Toronto Lamp Posts).
Untitled (Toronto Lamp Posts) created by Tadashi Kawamata has the appearance of Mikado sticks just before they fall. To make this piece, a selection of lamp posts was sourced from various yards and depots and the artist worked in an organic way, selecting on the spot which post would go where, to create the effect he intended.
Peeled Pavement.
Peeled Pavement created by Jill Anholt consists of 4 bronze and cast-glass elements. The work punctuates the side walk, revealing an underside of industrial artifacts lit from below.
No Shoes.
No Shoes by Mark di Suvero was installed at Mill Street and Bayview Avenue in 2013, the same year that di Suvero was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Canary District was the site of 2015 Toronto Pan American Games Athletes’ Village. After the Games were over, the six buildings were converted to condo buildings, a YMCA Centre, and student housing for George Brown College students. Forty one plaques along Front Street promenade display the names of the participating nations at the Games.

Sunny days, gorgeous flowers and interesting sculptures. I enjoy my discoveries and feel grateful for this leisure time. Life is good.

Linked to Marsha’s #PPAC Public Art Challenge #1.

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What Made May Marvellous

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #22! 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.

I know we are a few days into June already. In the first week of every new month, I usually look back at the month that was and plan fun activities for the new month. So what made May marvellous for me?

Nature

Temperatures quickly warmed up in May and it was like the switch flipped. Vegetation just go from buds on a tree to full leaf, and all of that happened within about 10 days. There were many beautiful blooms in the gardens in May as my photos show below. Click on any image to see it bigger.

Health

I continued my health routine in May with cycling, walking, playing disc golf, body weight training, meditation and yoga. I’ve enjoyed more cycling on weekends in May thanks to 2 conditions: 1) Good weather and 2) Weekend road closures when a few routes are closed to vehicles and open to cyclists and pedestrians.

Home

My family and friends are well. Most of us have received our first COVID-19 vaccine dose, some of us are fully vaccinated. Starting May 22, outdoor social gatherings of up to 5 people are allowed so I met my sister for a walk on a beautiful day.

On May 20, Ontario announced a three-step plan to gradually reopen the province through June, July and August based on vaccination rates and key public health and health care indicators. Things are looking up after a long lockdown. Hurrah!

Leisure

What I did for fun in May

  • Explored the city by bike and on foot.
  • Walked in public gardens and smelled the scents of flowers.
  • Played disc golf in a beautiful park.
  • Watched bird families and listened to bird songs.
  • Visited Heritage buildings, art murals and sculptures.
  • Took photographs.
  • Hosted 4 Weekend Coffee Share link-ups.
  • Started a small herb garden.
  • Learned French and Spanish on Duolingo.

What I read in May

I enjoyed reading 8 fiction novels in May and increased my Books in 2021 total to 40. Here’s my list of books with asterisk indicating new-to-me author:

  • Keeping The Moon – Sarah Dessen.
  • The Trespasser – Tana French.
  • Force of Nature – Jane Harper.
  • The Dry – Jane Harper.
  • The Survivors – Jane Harper.
  • Naïve. Super – Erlend Loe. *
  • Camp – L. C. Rosen. *
  • The Burning Girls – C.J. Tudor.

I’m now caught up with C.J. Tudor’s and Jane Harper’s published books, 4 from each author. This includes The Burning Girls and The Survivors, both were released in 2021.

What I wrote in May

Looking forward

May was marvellous! I’m grateful for all the good things that happened. I hope you had a good May, too. I’ve blocked time for my health, home, and leisure activities in June. I look forward to making the most of every day.

What do you look forward to in June? Let me know in the Comments.

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Things To Do in The Distillery District

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #21! 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.

The Distillery District is a favourite place to explore Victorian industrial architecture, heritage buildings, interesting art installations, delightful coffee shops, a distillery, a beer brewery, a sake brewery, delicious restaurants, unique art galleries, and specialty stores.

What began as the Gooderham and Worts Distillery in 1832 grew to become the largest distillery in the world. The Distillery District was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988. Let me show you in pictures.

Heritage Buildings

The Distillery District itself is popular with locals and visitors alike. Upon entering the district, you’ll be greeted by hues of dark green and burnt orange. You can wander the ten pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets to see more than forty heritage buildings, the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America.

A good meeting place is at the clock in the main square where one can see the Gooderham & Worts Limited sign and the streets that branch out from there.

Clock and Gooderham & Worts Limited sign.

The Stone Distillery and fermenting cellar built in 1860, rebuilt 1870, takes up a long block on Distillery Lane. It’s the building with white-grey stone colour. Its original use: Gristmill and granary, mashing and distillation areas, and steam engine room.

The Stone Distillery building.

On Trinity Street, on display is the Millstone that was brought from England in 1832 and used for grinding grain. There’s history everywhere you look and I was interested in reading the Heritage Plaques indicating the original function of each building and its date of construction.

Green doors and windows are consistent throughout the Distillery District. However, their designs vary.

Spirit of York Distillery has taken up residence in what was once the Gooderham & Worts malting room. Spirit of York produce gin, vodka and whisky using locally sourced water from Springwater, considered some of the purest water in the world.

Spirit of York Distillery.

Art Installations

At the intersection of Trinity Street and Distillery Lane is the gigantic Still Dancing sculpture, a twisted and colourful depiction of the area’s past as a distillery, designed by artist Dennis Oppenheim.

Still Dancing by Dennis Oppenheim.

Along Gristmill Lane, there are three notable Love, Peace and Red Heart art installations by Toronto-born artist Mathew Rosenblatt. The Love sign is filled with love locks.

Love exhibit by Mathew Rosenblatt.

Also on Gristmill Lane, Michael Christian’s I.T. sculpture looks over the neighbourhood with a red eye alien stare from its post.

Aside from public art installations, the Distillery District is home to more than twenty art galleries, two theatres, and many specialty shops.

Art store.

Cafés and Eateries

The Distillery District is a wonderful place for wanderings with a stop for takeaway coffee and cake. Café Balzac’s is a local favourite. Inside this coffee shop, you’ll find exposed brick, vintage posters and chandeliers. The shelves are full of colourfully packaged coffee beans and tea, while the counter is lined with cookies, pastries and cakes.

Cafe Balzac's and an art truck.
Cafe Balzac’s and an art truck.

The Distillery District offers something for every taste bud. Examples: Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie, El Catrin Destileria, Izumi Sake Brewery, Mill St. Brew Beer Hall, and Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill.

In normal times, the Distillery District is packed with people. I appreciate the lack of crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic and Toronto’s lockdown.

Although I’ve been to the Distillery District on many occasions, I’ve still only scratched the surface. You could easily spend an entire day here. My walk began and ended at Cherry and Mill Streets. It was a fantastic outing.

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Spadina Quay Wetlands and Fun List

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #20! 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 past week the weather was glorious, lots of sunshine and blue skies with daytime high reached 27C (81F), felt like 30C (86F) yesterday. Since I’ve been cycling, walking, exploring and having fun with photography most days, I have a backlog of things to write up.

Today’s post is about my walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands and my Spring fun list update.

Spadina Quay Wetlands

Spadina Quay Wetlands is a gem located in Toronto’s waterfront area. It’s a thriving ecosystem full of plants, birds, butterflies, ducks, and fish. It’s complete with flowering heath plants, poplar trees, flagstone paths and a creek. Aside from nature, there is also art.

1. Birdhouse Sculpture

Artist Anne Roberts designed the Birdhouse sculpture on stilts that was installed in the wetland garden. This sculpture recalls the human activities of the Toronto lakeshore at the turn of the 20th century, with warehouses of the Toronto Electric Company, the corner bank, the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion and clusters of ice cream parlours and boathouses attracting Toronto residents to the lure of the water.

Birdhouse sculpture by Anne Roberts.
Birdhouse sculpture by Anne Roberts.

When the water level in Toronto Harbour is high, water fills up the small creek where the Birdhouse sculpture is located and it’s not accessible to foot traffic. This spring, since the creek has been dry, I was able to visit the sculpture up close.

A bird flying above the towers on the left.
Can you spot the bird flying above the towers on the left?

2. Bright Birdhouses

While walking around the wetland garden, I found these bright birdhouses. They made me smile.

Which birdhouse would you choose?

3. Gosling sightings

Remember I mentioned Lucy the nesting goose and my previous check-in? Her nest was close to the Spadina Quay Wetlands. She delivered five cute goslings.

It was a delightful walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands. As an urban dweller, I appreciate this green space and enjoy seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.

Spring Fun List – May Update

Back in March, I wrote a Spring Fun List of things to do while in COVID-19 lockdown. Most of my activities are outdoors or online and follow public health protocols so I’ve been checking off a few items in April.

I’ve recently completed two more items (#3 and #7). Here’s my update and contribution to Leslie’s Spring link-up.

  1. Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre: Yes, most days.
  1. Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art: Yes, most days.
  1. View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival: Yes, I saw gorgeous cherry blossoms and tulips in Toronto. I viewed the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa virtually due to the province-wide lockdown.
  1. Meet my family and friends outside: Pending. Starting May 22, outdoor gatherings for up to 5 people are allowed.
  1. Play 9-hole disc golf in a public park: Yes, here’s my intro to how to play disc golf.
  1. Paddle around Toronto Islands: Pending.
  1. Plant a small herb garden: Yes, it was warm enough to plant. A small bed, soil, assorted herbs, sunlight, water, and voilà, a herb garden that is manageable and useful for the next several months.
  1. Read 1 book per week and add to my Books in 2021: Yes, average 1.8 books per week.
  1. Take photos and share my explorations on my blog: Yes, every post so far.
  1. Try a new restaurant take-out: Yes, from Salad King.

So eight done, two to go. I hope to complete the remaining two items in June.

Linked with #LifeThisWeek.

How did your week go? What do you do for fun this weekend? I’d love to hear your comments.

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