Little Norway Park Benches

I met up with a friend in Little Norway Park for a walk and chat. Little Norway Park was built on the same site where a training camp for Norway’s Air Force was located during World War II.

The park was officially opened by His Majesty King Olav V of Norway on November 20, 1987. It features a ball diamond, a wading pool, a children’s playground and many walking paths through gardens.

While we were at the park, I was delighted to discover five benches painted by Lead artist Jim Bravo, Athena Patterson and Jannai Goddard in July 2014. I’ve been organizing my digital images of public art into themes. These bench photos go under my On the Bench theme.

On the Bench

Yellow bench with Sun designs
White bench with Moon phases
Midnight blue bench with Constellations (and a squirrel in the upper right corner)
Black bench with white letters
Red bench with Greek alphabet and symbols

Little Norway Park has many black and grey squirrels that run away when they see humans. This grey squirrel, however, approached me and perched on a tree branch for me to take a few photos.

A cute squirrel

My friend and I had a good catch-up and many laughs. I enjoyed sunshine, friendship, colourful art and squirrels. I headed home with a smile and photos.

Questions

  1. Are black and grey squirrels common in your corner of the world?
  2. If you were ‘on the bench‘ (as in a judge), which bench would you give the highest rating?

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #105 InLinkz below.

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What’s Been Happening | January 2023

The last Friday of January is a good time for me to reflect on what’s been happening and what I enjoyed during the month. January has been a calm and joyful month in lots of ways.

Exploring Outdoors

I enjoyed time in nature – always a happy time for me. Outdoor cycling and walking supplemented my indoor fitness routine. Toronto has experienced relatively mild temperatures throughout January and just had a major snow storm on January 25.

A glorious winter day
Canada geese having a snack
Beautiful blue space
Resilient Hellebores flower in winter
Snow on tree branches
Holly berries give a pop of colour
Snow on evergreens

Socializing, Art and Culture

I celebrated New Year’s Day and Lunar New Year’s Day with my family. Good food, good company, and twice in three weeks, what not to love? We all hope for a year of good health, peace and joy.

I also met up with friends for a few fun outings. Outing #1 was to the Bentway Skate Trail which is under the Gardiner Expressway, a major road in Toronto. On display at the skate trail is artist Shellie Zhang’s Beacons installation of five colourful flame-like features that light up at night.

Outing #2 was a nature walk and coffee catch up in the downtown core where I photographed Thing’s End sculpture by artist James Carl. I love the crafty title, the unique design of a rubber band and the soft blue colour.

Thing’s End, 2012 by James Carl

Outing #3 led to discoveries of public art in Chinatown.

Blogging

My blogging and hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup has been going well. Thank you to all who have shared updates, comments and/ or photos from around the world. Here’s the links for January’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

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

Reading

This month I enjoyed discovering four new books and three new-to-me authors (Mandel, Patchett and Picton). While all four books are very good, the most delightful is The Knighton Women’s Compendium. It was published on January 4, 2023, set in Australia, and told from a child’s point of view.

  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • The Knighton Women’s Compendium by Denise Picton

What’s the best book you read in January?

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #104 InLinkz below.

Please note that starting in February, I’ll end the WCS linkup on Sunday at 5 p.m. Toronto time. The start date and time stay the same. This change should not affect regular participants since all add their links on Friday or Saturday and before 5 p.m. on Sunday. If any blogger wants to join in after the linkup is closed, feel free to leave me a comment with the link to their WCS post or a pingback. Thank you.

Happy February!

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Outside the Box | St. John’s

It’s been a good week with a few simple joys:

  • Sunny Sunday and Monday
  • Cycling and walking outdoors
  • Watching beautiful winter birds in the harbour
  • A walk and coffee catch up with a friend
  • Chatting with family and a longtime friend
  • Discovering new public art
  • Finishing a good book and starting another good book
  • Organizing my digital images (see below)

I organized my digital images of public art into themes and will post them in small batches. I named one of my themes Outside the Box for all sorts of painted boxes. Here’s the first batch.

Outside the Box

I photographed the following five utility boxes when I went for a walk in St. John’s, Newfoundland. There are seven images since the “Jellybean Houses” utility box has different paintings on three sides.

Picture 1: This is the front view of the utility box with painted houses and doors on actual doors.

Jellybean Houses – front

Picture 2: Side view of the same utility box. I like the painted flowers at the bottom. There is an actual green door behind the box, to the left of the picture.

Jellybean Houses – side

Picture 3: The back of the same utility box. Again, I like the painted shrubs and flowers at the bottom.

Jellybean Houses – back

Picture 4: An octopus in nice water bubbles.

Octopus

Picture 5: Quidi Vidi is a picturesque neighbourhood in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Quidi Vidi

Picture 6: These two boxes together show St. John’s Harbour. The wall behind them is a mural of sea life.

St. John’s Harbour

Picture 7: A violinist in bright colours; a sample of the rich music culture in St. John’s.

Violinist

As I reviewed my pictures, I am reminded that travel provides many gifts: Anticipation before the trip, participation during the trip and recollection after the trip. Going through my pictures brought back fond memories of my walk in St. John’s.

Where Are the Doors?

The paint hides the door handles and locks on these utility boxes. They are there if you look closely. Visit Dan’s Thursday Doors for more door photos.

Weekend Coffee Share

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Garden of the Greek Gods

A sunny morning prompted me to cycle to Exhibition Place with a garden in mind. Entry to this garden is free to the public which means it can get busy on a nice day. Did I choose the right time to visit?

The Garden of the Greek Gods is a collection of 20 amazing limestone sculptures by renowned Canadian sculptor Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox (1914-2003). They were originally sculpted in the 1960s and were previously displayed in less accessible locations. They are once again on display in a beautiful garden setting.

Even though visitors can enter the garden from any side, an official plaque about the garden located near Hercules, the tallest sculpture in the collection, seems like a logical place to start. Each sculpture has a plaque explaining the Greek mythology.

Exploring the Garden

In the first row on the south side of the garden, I meet:

  1. Hercules: The mighty hero of ancient Greece. The gods tested him with 12 labours. He is seen here after slaying the Nemean lion.
  2. Medusa: One of the three gorgons, with hair of snakes, whose glance changed all who looked at her into stone.
  3. Narcissus: A handsome young man who pined away for love of his own reflection, finally turning into the flower of the same name.

Next row along the garden path:

  1. The Sphinx: A strange creature with claws of a bird and the body and tail of a lion. This woman would devour passing travellers if they could not answer her riddle correctly.
  2. Centaur: One of a jolly race of creatures, half man, half horse who lived in the forest of ancient Greece, and were very hard to catch.
  3. The Minotaur: Half bull, half man, he guarded the maze for the King of Crete until vanquished by the Greek Prince Theseus.
  4. Aphrodite: Goddess of Love, also known as Venus. Born of the sea, she reached shore riding a scallop shell.
  5. Orpheus: He charmed the creatures of the forest with his wonderful playing of the lyre and his heavenly singing.
  6. The Three Graces: These beauties were judged by Paris, and the most beautiful of them received the golden apple.

Around the corner, six intriguing sculptures beckon:

  1. The Hydra: A monstrous dragon with nine heads originally – However if one head was cut off, two heads grew in its place.
  2. Cyclops: One of a race of giant one-eyed men who herded sheep for a living. They were finally done in by Hercules after a fierce struggle.
  3. The Typhon: Supposed to be a fearsome creature, half man, half snake. This last surviving speciman doesn’t seem so very fierce.
  4. The Triton: He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.
  5. Cerberus: This savage three-headed dog guarded the gates of Hades, to keep good people out and bad people in.
  6. Pan: The elusive god of the forest, half man, half goat, full of fun and games. He invented the reed pipes and filled the woods with their sounds.

Five smaller sculptures in the last row and a block with the sculptor’s name and date marks the end of the garden:

  1. Mermaid: A sea nymph having the body of a woman and tail of a fish. Here she holds a merbaby and a young dolphin.
  2. Boy on a Dolphin: Many stories come down from antiquity of children having dolphins for playmates, and of lost sailors being helped to shore by dolphins.
  3. Sea Horse: These creatures appeared on the surface of the Mediterranean as whitecaps. In large groups they could stir up quite a storm if the wind was right.
  4. The Phoenix: After living in the desert for 500 years this bird was consumed by fire. It rose anew from its own ashes and is the symbol of eternal life.
  5. The Harpies: These bird-women were the embodiment of conscience and tore at the hearts of evil-doers.

I was fortunate to have the garden all to myself. I headed home feeling great about my choice for the day. I got sunshine, fresh air, an enjoyable bike ride, and a delightful walk to see beautiful sculptures.

What colour are the sculptures?

Would you say they are gray? I’m sharing this walk with Jo’s Monday Walk and Terri’s Sunday Stills January white/ gray colour challenge.

Weekend Coffee Share

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Happy New Year 2023

I would like to wish everyone a healthy, joyful, and fulfilling new year. I hope you had a lovely holiday season. Mine was enjoyable and relaxing. Nature has given us here a gentle start to 2023 with light rain and mild temperatures, high 4C or 39F, on New Year’s Day.

To ring in 2023, I watched the 15-minute fireworks display launching at midnight across Toronto’s waterfront. I celebrated New Year’s Day with a healthy breakfast, a gentle yoga session, a good lunch, a bike ride, a delicious family dinner, chocolate, and an intriguing book. It was a wonderful day!

Forecast and Outlook

My activity forecast for 2023 follows nature’s four seasons: Quiet reflection and preparation in winter (January-March), emergence and new beginnings in spring (April-June), abundance and growth in summer (July-September), and gentle wrap-up in autumn (October-December).

I have an optimistic outlook for 2023. While we don’t know what this new year will bring us, I know there are at least three things that I can and love to do:

  1. Maintain my health and fitness in various ways.
  2. Show support to family, friends and community.
  3. Explore and enjoy life via my hobbies and travel adventures.

On the Blog

During my break, I did some blog housekeeping behind the scene and on my Home page:

  1. Changed my blog header image from a beach to an island.
  2. Updated the pages on the menu at the top of my blog.
  3. Updated the widgets on my blog sidebar.

I hope to continue documenting my explorations and discoveries with pictures on my blog. I have a few outings in the queue to write up. For this week, I am sharing a recently painted mural that I discovered on one of my walks. I like its nature theme and cheerful colours.

The Bathurst Quay Mural featuring artwork by Shawn Howe depicting birch trees growing against a purple, pink and orange sky with a stream surrounded by rocks in the foreground and a large moon or sun in the sky.

Bathurst Quay Mural, 2022, by Shawn Howe
North side
West side

Weekend Coffee Share

I continue hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Welcome to WCS linkup #101! This weekly linkup allows bloggers to come together to share what’s been happening, simple joys from their week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world.

Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own WCS or PPAC post each week and then sharing your link in the InLinkz dashboard or comments below, anytime between 8:00 am Friday morning and midnight Sunday night (Canada Eastern Time). I look forward to hearing from you.

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Wrapping Up 2022

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 50 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #100 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

This is my last post for 2022 before the holidays. I’d like to wrap up my 2022 with beautiful lights and gratitude. Below is my selection of blue light displays for PPAC and Sunday Stills photo challenge.

Beautiful Lights

I started my walk at Nathan Phillips Square to see the 56th annual Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto. The event is on from November 26 to January 7. It includes lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree and thousands of energy-efficient bulbs adorn the heart of downtown Toronto.

Along Bay Street, all the major banks have glittering trees and holiday decorations. Royal Bank of Canada displays their signature blue and silver tree for the holidays.

I ended my walk at Union Station. The Pixel Matrix, created by Michael Awad and David Rokeby, is a three-dimensional cube made up of 30,000 individually controllable LED lights on strings, with constantly changing lighting effects.

The Pixel Matrix, 2009

On another walk, I discovered an intense blue aluminum sculpture. I thought it would be fun to add it to this post.

Blue Chip, 2016 by Brendon McNaughton

Gratitude 2022

On January 2, 2022 I hoped to continue focusing on Health, Home and Leisure to live a healthy and enriched life. Reflecting on 2022, I feel truly grateful for an amazing year.

Here’s the gifts in 2022 for which I am grateful.

  1. My good health throughout the year. I enjoyed cycling on recreational trails, exploring from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island, kayaking around Toronto Islands, playing disc golf, sailing in Toronto Harbour in the summer, and walking. I love being with nature and taking in the beauty around me.
  1. My family and friends near and far. I’m grateful for the opportunities to meet some of them in person in Calgary, Hamilton and Toronto after a long gap due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. My home and city with many cultural and recreational opportunities. I appreciate Toronto’s festivals, events, art, history, parks, gardens, beaches, ravines, rivers, Lake Ontario, trails, and more.
  1. Hobbies that are fun and enriching. I celebrated my 6 years of blogging in October. I appreciate all the visits, likes, and comments on my blog and contributors to my weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup and Photographing Public Art Challenge, as well as my fellow blog hosts. I’m grateful for easy access to books and films from the Toronto Public Library.
  1. Travel: I’m grateful to be able to explore amazing natural wonders in Newfoundland and Labrador, on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and enjoy fun adventures, historic sites, delicious seafood and desserts in these three beautiful Canadian provinces.

My three ways to give back in 2022:

  1. Met with family and friends at local eateries and Indie cafés to support small businesses.
  1. Volunteered to run my first food drive for Daily Bread Food Bank, and helped out at one public art event and six running races.
  1. Traveled in Canada to support Canadian airlines, hospitality and tourism industry.

A friendly reminder that there is no WCS linkup on December 23rd and 30th. I’ll return with a fresh post on January 6, 2023.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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Enjoying the Holiday Season

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 49 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #99 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Are you looking forward to the upcoming holidays? By next weekend, I would have hosted fifty consecutive Weekend Coffee Share linkups in 2022. So, I look forward to taking a blogging break and enjoying the holiday season.

I started my holiday fun with two walks: 1) Gingerbread Lane at Royal York hotel for their incredible displays and 2) Fleurs de Villes Noël in Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood for their gorgeous floral designs. Both events are free to the public.

I’m sharing my pictures for #ThursdayDoors photo challenge and PPAC. Click on any image in the gallery and use the arrow to move through the pictures.

1. Gingerbread Lane

The life-sized Gingerbread Lane consists of about 8500 gingerbread bricks and 12 different types of candy. The floor-to-ceiling bricks are glued together using royal icing and the lane is 90% edible!

Along the lane are windows that look like storefronts with twinkly lights and festive scenes of gifts, gingerbread, decorative cookies and candies. I love everything about this Gingerbread Lane. Such a creative and “sweet” theme!

2. Fleurs de Villes Noël

Fleurs de Villes Noēl is a festive floral trail of over 30 gorgeous floral installations, created by Toronto’s favourite florists. Some of the installations are floral mannequins and some celebrate world-class Canadian figure skaters.

I’ve attended a few Fleurs de Villes events in Toronto and Niagara Falls before. The florists continue to amaze me with their designs using fresh flowers and greenery.

3. New Badge

December 16th-18th is the last Weekend Coffee Share linkup for 2022. It’s also the 100th linkup that I have been hosting since January 2021. I hope to ‘see’ you there before the holidays. After the holidays, I’ll be back with a fresh post on Friday, January 6, 2023.

For 2023, I created a new Weekend Coffee Share badge and added it to my blog sidebar. Weekend Coffee Share and PPAC contributors are welcome to display the badge on their blogs. I look forward to your contributions.

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Amazing Walks and Art in November

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 48 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #98 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

This weekend is a good time for me to reflect on November and my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. The first half of November was filled with wonderful bike rides, hikes and walks thanks to well above average and record-setting warm temperatures (daytime high 25C or 77F on November 5). The second half of November brought wet snow on November 15, cooler temperatures and the start of festive events.

Here’s my monthly recap for November.

1. Health

I hiked in High Park and along Grenadier Pond a few times. High Park has all sorts of trails to explore. Flat and easy trails as well as long hills, steep staircases, winding trails through woods with more challenging terrain. On each hike, I used all my senses to connect with nature and immersed in the beauty around me.

2. Family

My family and I picked a beautiful sunny 18C (64F) day to stroll along the water’s edge from Kew Beach to Woodbine Beach and Ashbridge’s Bay. A few days later, we had our first dusting of snow that signaled the transition from Autumn to Winter. I took a few ‘fresh snow’ pictures before it all melted.

3. Friends

A friend and I enjoyed wonderful walks at Evergreen Brick Works. Evergreen Brick Works was a clay and shale quarry for one hundred years. The 16.5-hectare (40-acre) area is now a thriving green space, with ponds and many varieties of nature trails to explore and wander. We love seeing turtles, fish, grey herons, ducks and beaver dams in the wetlands.

Evergreen Brick Works connects to Moore Park Ravine so we walked in the stunning ravine as well. Tall trees tower above and envelope us while leaves crunched beneath our feet. We feel fortunate to have such beautiful green space right in the heart of the city.

4. Photographing Public Art Challenge

Here’s a sampling of public art at Evergreen Brick Works.

My favourite is Legacy (the mud beneath our feet) sculpture by Dave Hind. It’s 10′ x 10′ made by reclaimed steel, aluminum and wood. A.P. Coleman’s legacy as the geologist who put the North Slope of the Brick Works quarry on the map is represented in a sculpture depicting a pair of his boots.

Legacy (the mud beneath our feet) sculpture by Dave Hind, 2010

5. Blogging

Photography – I posted square images with a brief caption on four Wednesdays in November. It’s my way to support Becky at The Life of B blog while participating in her Walking Squares and other photo challenges. These posts have the #photography tag in their titles.

Weekend Coffee Share – On November 11th, I started hosting both Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) and Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) under the weekly WCS linkup. I’ve included the links for November’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

December schedule – Please note the following:

  • December 9: Linkup #99
  • December 16: Linkup #100
  • December 23: No linkup
  • December 30: No linkup

I’ll repeat this announcement on December 9th and 16th since some bloggers don’t participate every week. I’ll be taking a break in the last two weeks of 2022. After the holidays, I’ll resume the Weekend Coffee Share linkup on January 6th, 2023.

I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in November. Happy December!

Linked to Ju-Lyn’s #TheChangingSeasons.

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Toronto Music Garden in Autumn

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 47 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #97 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

I had written about the Toronto Music Garden in Spring (here), Summer (here) and Winter (here). To complete my series, I visited the garden in Autumn (early November). A week after my visit, we had our first dusting of snow.

Toronto Music Garden

The Toronto Music Garden springs from the imagination of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, the garden is made up of six “movements” whose forms and feelings correspond to that suggested in the music: Prélude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue.

Prélude

This section imparts the feeling of a flowing river. Granite boulders that came from the Canadian Shield represent a stream bed. Low-growing plants soften its banks. Circular designs on the ground and at the edge of the boulders represent the water movements. The trees with straight trunks are native Hackberry trees. This is the only section in the garden that is not a dance form.

Prélude in autumn

Allemande

This section imparts the feeling of a forest grove of wandering trails. The allemande is an ancient German dance. The trails swirl inward and move higher and higher up the hillside. A circle of dawn redwood trees and a small birch forest provide shades to the various contemplative sitting areas that look over the harbour.

Allemande in autumn

Courante

This section imparts the feeling of a swirling path through a wildflower meadow. The courante is an exuberant Italian and French dance form. The trails swirl upward in a spiral form, through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. At the top of the swirling path is the maypole, with Celtic-patterned spirals and iron wheel, designed by Anne Roberts.

Courante in autumn

Sarabande

This section is envisioned as a poet’s corner with a centerpiece. The sarabande is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. The trails go in an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Japanese maple trees are also grown here. The centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

Sarabande in autumn

Menuet

This section imparts the feeling of a formal parterre garden of flowers. The menuett is a French dance movement. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of a circular pavilion. The pavilion is hand-crafted with ornamental steel by Tom Tollefson. It is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

Menuet in autumn

Gigue

Gigue section imparts the feeling of a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The gigue, or “jog”, is an English dance. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree.

Gigue in autumn

Photographing Public Art Challenge

To my delight, as I reached the east end of the Toronto Music Garden, I saw a new mural on an utility box by artist Varvara Nedilska.

Art by Varvara Nedilska, 2022
Art by Varvara Nedilska, 2022

In early November, Toronto Music Garden still had plenty of colours such as pink and white anemones, pink and purple asters, snow berries, holly berries, and more. I love walking through the garden and take in the beauty around me.

December Schedule

Please note the following Weekend Coffee Share linkup schedule:

  • December 2: Linkup #98
  • December 9: Linkup #99
  • December 16: Linkup #100
  • December 23: No linkup
  • December 30: No linkup

I’ll repeat this announcement between now and December 16th since some bloggers don’t participate every week. I’ll be taking a break in the last two weeks of 2022. After the holidays, I’ll resume the Weekend Coffee Share linkup on Friday, January 6, 2023.

How was your week?

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk.

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