Loving Life in September 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 39 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #89. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

It’s the last day of September and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. Here’s my monthly update for a social and adventurous September.

Health

I maintained my wellness routine and enjoyed a lot of cycling and walking throughout September. There is always something beautiful and colourful to see along the way.

Home

Family – My sister and I had a nice evening out together. We enjoyed good conversation, tasty dinner at a new-to-us pub and a walk along the waterfront. The Redpath Waterfront Festival was on that weekend so we saw the For A Better Planet floating installation by Bonterra and Theodore TOO Tugboat, the 65-foot working replica of the original TV character.

Community – I was up early on two Sunday mornings to volunteer for the annual Terry Fox Run and the 40th Longboat Roadrunners Toronto Island Run. The Terry Fox Run raises funds for cancer research. Longboat Roadrunners partner with SchoolBOX North, an organization whose mission is to make education possible for kids in Indigenous communities across Canada. It felt good to contribute to these events.

Friends – A friend and I went for a two-hour walk on a beautiful morning, followed by a break at Dark Horse Café where we got delicious coffee, quick service and nice outdoor seating. This is the last stop of my Tour of Indie Cafés for 2022 which I started in April.

Four friends and I rented a sailboat to go sailing in Toronto Harbour. We lucked out with the weather and enjoyed a glorious, sunny afternoon. It was a fabulous farewell to summer 2022. In the image gallery below, our boat is the closest to the dock on the right.

Leisure

Blogging – I’ve included the links for September’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

Traveling – My adventure of the month was to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I started and ended my tour in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.

An adventure from beginning to end, around and across the Bay of Fundy

After I arrived in Halifax, I met with Dar (An Exacting Life blog) for dinner. I greatly enjoyed our first meet-up and conversation. In hindsight I’m glad that we met before hurricane Fiona hit Eastern Canada.

I had a wonderful trip, visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nova Scotia and exploring the Bay of Fundy and surrounding cities and towns in New Brunswick. Now I have loads to write about, but it will have to join the queue.

I was in Saint John, New Brunswick when hurricane Fiona hit east of Nova Scotia on Saturday September 24. By the time I returned to Halifax on Sunday September 25 afternoon, the sun came out and downtown Halifax was lively.

While I was safe and didn’t experience any hardship, many people in Atlantic Canada experienced devastation caused by the hurricane. I found ways to help. Here’s how to donate to Fiona relief for Atlantic Canada.

Gratitude

When I think about my 100 days of summer this year, I’m grateful for a summer of health and happiness. I’ve explored and enjoyed Toronto’s beautiful beaches, islands, parks and Lake Ontario. I’ve supported local businesses and volunteered for community events when I could.

At the beginning of 2022, I hoped to resume travel to see family, friends and explore new-to-me places. I’m grateful to have an amazing adventure to Newfoundland and Labrador in June, joyful time with family in Hamilton in July and in Calgary in August, and a wonderful tour in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in September.

Happy October!

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Loving Life in August 2022

Trumpet vine flowers

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 34 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #84. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

The last weekend in August is a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. I was in two cities, Calgary and Toronto, this month. Here’s my monthly update for August.

Health

I continue my wellness routine throughout a hot August. To manage the heat waves in Toronto and Calgary, I drink a lot of water, wear sun protection, and go out earlier in the morning when it’s less hot. While I was in Calgary, I took daily walks on a trail near where I stayed.

In Toronto, most mornings I cycle along the shore of Lake Ontario, stop by a park and enjoy nature. I also go to the beautiful Toronto Islands to kayak and explore the many waterways. I love being enveloped by nature and seeing aquatic plants, waterbirds and turtles from my kayak.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version and caption.

Home

Family – Home in August is with my family in Calgary and Toronto. Calgary is in the western Canadian province of Alberta, about four hours by plane from Toronto. My flights to and from Calgary were both on time. I traveled with a carry-on so there was no waiting for baggage. It was my first time back in Calgary since the COVID-19 pandemic started and it was joyful to be with my family there.

Friends – After my trip to Calgary, I had some catching up to do in Toronto. My friends and I continued our Tour of Indie Cafés of 2022 and met up at Fahrenheit Coffee. Fahrenheit Coffee is within walking distance to St. James Park so we took our cappuccinos there and enjoyed our coffee chat in the lovely gardens. We hope to meet again in September and will end the tour once the weather gets too cool to sit outside.

Community – In August I volunteered for two events:

  • The SuperPower race: Funds raised through the SuperPower race go directly to the Holland Bloorview hospital to help kids with disabilities.
  • The Terry Fox Run: Funds raised through the annual Terry Fox Run support cancer research. Even though the Terry Fox Run is in September, there is work to do before race day. I’m happy to be sharing Terry’s message of hope, courage and determination and giving back to my community.

Leisure

Photography – I discovered many amazing artworks on my walks. Here’s a sampling of some of the colourful murals that I’ve seen. They depict Toronto’s urban wildlife with remarkable details and realism.

Which mural is your favourite?

Another source of joy is summer blooms in public gardens. August blooms include different varieties of bougainvillea, coneflowers, daylilies, dahlias, daisies, hibiscus, hydrangeas, marigolds, moss roses, sunflowers and more. The flowers in my header photo are Trumpet vine flowers. I’m sharing a sampling of some of the gorgeous daylilies below.

Which daylily would you choose for your garden?

Reading – In August, I read four books. Here’s my list by author’s last name:

Writing – Before today’s post, I wrote three posts about my experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve included the links for August’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

Overall

Similar to July, August has been a beautiful and joyful summer month. I’m grateful for time with family and friends in Calgary and Toronto and all the good things that happened in August. Happy September!

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Loving Life in July 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 30 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #80. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

It’s the last weekend in July and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus. The month started with Canada’s 155th birthday on July 1st and finished with me having lived in two cities (Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario). Here’s my monthly update for July.

Health

July has been a mainly sunny and very warm month. I maintain my wellness routine and pay extra attention to hydration and sun protection when outdoors. The lakefront, tree shades and iced drinks help. When I stayed in Hamilton, I was within walking distance to the Dundurn Stairs (326 steel steps) which lead to nature trails and waterfalls. So I included the stairs to my walks.

Home

Family – I went to Hamilton and stayed for ten days to assist with a family project. Hamilton is 58 kilometers (36 miles) southwest of Toronto. It was joyful to finish the project with my family despite an unexpected full-day Internet service outage and a heat wave.

Friends – It was also joyful to catch up with friends in Hamilton. I haven’t seen them in person since the pandemic began. We met outdoors and took walks several times for iced coffee and conversation. When I returned to Toronto, I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés for 2022 and met up with my friends at Dineen café.

Dineen café is located in the historic Dineen Building, once home to W. and F. Dineen Co., who originally made fur clothing. The building is one of the oldest structures in Toronto, and is listed as a Toronto Heritage Property. This café is on busy Yonge Street and is usually full. We were pleased to get quick service, good coffee and comfortable seats at their outdoor patio.

Leisure

Outings – The rest of July was relaxing summer living with visits to farmers’ markets, music festivals, beaches and parks along the shore of Lake Ontario. I took a self-guided tour on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship HMCS Glace Bay 701, a Royal Canadian Navy coastal patrol vessel, when she docked in Toronto.

Photography – At this time of year, it is easy for me to spend hours in public gardens to photograph an array of colourful flowers, including different varieties of bee balms, coneflowers, daylilies, roses and more. Bees and butterflies hover to nectar or flit and flutter everywhere. Plenty of berries to pick, too.

Aside from summer’s beautiful bounty, it was delightful to discover new public art. Here’s a sampling in July:

Indigenous Hoop Dance Gathering Place

Reading – Before this weekend, in July, I read many blogs (more than 110 Weekend Coffee Share blogs alone) and four books. Here’s my book list by author’s last name:

Writing – I’ve been documenting my experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador for me. It’s the icing on the cake when my blog readers enjoy my travel posts and pictures. I’ve included the links for July’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

I used to be able to leave comments on all blogs. Recently, I’m unable to leave comments on Blogger blogs that set Sign in with Google as the only option. Some blogs let me comment with Name/ URL or Anonymous. I haven’t been able to resolve this issue with Google yet.

Overall

July has been beautiful and joyful. I’m grateful for time with family and friends in Hamilton and Toronto, and all the good things that happened in July.

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Why My June Was Wonderful

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 26 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #76. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

July 1, 2022 is Canada’s 155th birthday and the start of a long weekend in Canada. It’s a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus and last month. Here’s my monthly update for June.

Travel

June 2022 was an extraordinary month as I traveled to Newfoundland and Labrador (abbreviated as NL). NL is the easternmost province of Canada, in the country’s Atlantic region. It was my first time visiting the province and my first air travel since the pandemic started.

Despite recent negative news about Toronto’s Pearson International airport delays and flight cancellations, I experienced excellent service at the airport and with Air Canada. Security lines were quick and my flights were on time.

Left: Red box marks Toronto. Right: Blue line marks my itinerary in NL.

I flew from Toronto to Deer Lake in NL (Flight distance = 1785 kilometers or 1110 miles). On my way home, I flew from St. John’s to Toronto (Flight distance = 2109 kilometers or 1311 miles). Newfoundland Daylight Time is 1 hour 30 minutes ahead of Toronto.

I had an AMAZING trip and experienced many wonders in NL in two weeks. Highlights include iceberg viewing, hiking in two magnificent national parks (Gros Morne and Terra Nova), whale watching, bird watching (bald eagles, puffins and other seabirds), enjoying delicious food and warm hospitality, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, National Historic Sites, several coastal fishing villages, lighthouses, and St. John’s, North America’s oldest city.

This was one of the trips that was cancelled in 2020 when the pandemic started. I’m glad to complete it in June. As a result of my adventures in NL, I have a backlog of things to write and pictures to share.

Health

Last month, I continued my wellness routine to stay healthy. It’s a pleasure to go cycling and walking along the waterfront. I look forward to paddling around Toronto Islands.

Home

Family – This summer I’m assisting my family with two projects that involve out-of-town stays. The first project is in July in Hamilton, Ontario. I look forward to helping out.

Friends – I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés of 2022 and enjoyed meeting with my friends at two Dark Horse coffee shops (Queen Street East and Canary District locations) in downtown Toronto.

I preferred Dark Horse Café in the Canary District. This café is below a George Brown College residence so they have plenty of loyal customers (students). Its location is close to Corktown Common, with interesting public art and a beautiful green space for a stroll before or after coffee.

Community – I supported my international community by volunteering at two events:

Toronto Corporate Run: Before the race started, we had a heavy downpour. It cleared up in time for the race and turned into a pleasant evening with a lovely sunset. I got a photo of two police officers on horseback as they patrolled the area. The event successfully raised funds to support the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation to help Ukraine in their struggle.

Toronto Biennial of Art: The weather was beautiful on the day of the one-of-a-kind “A Tribute to Toronto” smoke sculpture by American pyrotechnic artist Judy Chicago. A five-tiered scaffold on a barge was put in place at Sugar Beach with the help of the red Radium Yellowknife tugboat. The artist and her team directed from shore.

The show started with a row of flares igniting along the bottom tier of the scaffold. Then the environmentally friendly and non-toxic smoke started billowing from the stage in sequence of purple, blue, green, yellow, and white. It ended with volleys of fireworks and applause from hundreds of attendees.

Leisure

Reading – I read eight books. Here’s the list by author’s last name:

  1. Birds of California by Katie Cotugno
  2. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
  3. The Day The World Came To Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
  4. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  5. The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
  6. Wait For It by Jenn McKinlay
  7. Around the World (Dora the Explorer) by Suzanne D. Nimm
  8. Dora’s World Adventure by Suzanne D. Nimm

Writing – I wrote four blog posts with lots of pictures in each:

  1. 5 Easy Walks To Cool Off
  2. Corktown Common and Don River (and gorgeous peonies)
  3. 5 Colourful Murals To See
  4. Toronto Music Garden in Spring

Overall

June has been adventurous, extraordinary and fun. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador and all the good things that happened in June.

Happy July!

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Toronto Music Garden in Spring

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 25 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #75. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

This week I welcomed summer arrival in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21. As if on cue, Toronto had a heat event on June 21 and 22 with maximum temperatures reached 33C (91F), and felt like 39C (102F) with humidity. It was sunny and warm the rest of the week.

To pay tribute to a beautiful spring that I had, I’m taking you on an easy stroll in the Toronto Music Garden in spring. Aside from the gorgeous tall trees, let’s see colourful flowers, listen to birdsong, and smell the gentle floral scent.

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.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version and image name.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Menuett

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.

6. 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.

In spring, the Toronto Music Garden is a wonderful place to stroll, check out what’s blooming, watch birds, listen to birdsong, and reconnect with nature. Benches are available throughout the garden to sit and enjoy the scenery.

How has your week been?

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5 Colourful Murals To See

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 24 in 2022 and Weekend Coffee Share linkup #74 is open. Come on in and help yourself to a coffee or tea.

Week 24 in 2022

I’ve been on a few wonderful adventures this week. Initially, I thought of pausing the linkup for one or two weekends when I’m unavailable to put together a post or to host. It turns out I have time to create this short post in advance so here it is.

The Weekend Coffee Share linkup has been going well. There are about thirty participants every weekend. Thank you for your active participation and supportive comments. Even though I have limited time for blogging this week, I’ll reply to your comments as soon as possible.

5 Colourful Murals

Aside from taking many nature walks in spring, I’ve also done art walks and have many mural images to share. Nature inspires me and I’m drawn to art with natural elements. Take a look at these five murals in downtown Toronto. They were created by accomplished artists who have done many murals in Toronto and internationally.

The first three murals were on Bell utility boxes. Bell is Canada’s largest communications company. The Bell Box Murals have transformed utility cabinets into works of art.

Bird mural by Jarus
Bird mural by artist Jarus, 2019
Flower mural by Jon McTavish
Flower mural by artist Jon McTavish, 2019
Flower mural by Jon McTavish
Flower mural by artist Jon McTavish, 2019
Owl mural at Saint George hotel by birdO.
Owl mural by artist birdO (also known as Jerry Rugg), 2018
Rise of the Pollinator mural by Nick Sweetman, 2016
Rise of the Pollinator mural by artist Nick Sweetman, 2016

In the last picture, in the top right corner of the mural, the tree (unfortunately) covers the pollinator above the hibiscus. This mural is amazing to see in real life. Nick Sweetman, the artist, has done many murals to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, bees and butterflies.

Which mural is your favourite?

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5 Easy Walks To Cool Off

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 22 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #72. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

It’s been a week of hot and humid weather from Monday to Wednesday. Toronto hit a record-breaking high of 32.1 C (89.8F) on Tuesday. It felt more like 36C (97F) with humidity. Cooler air arrived on Wednesday night. Trees are full of green leaves, flowers are blooming and pollinators are busy.

I cycled to the waterfront for a fresh lake breeze and walked in the morning when it was cooler. Here are some pictures from the two parks, two beaches and a courtyard that I explored.

1. David Crombie Park

David Crombie Park is located in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood in the east end of downtown Toronto. The park is named after the former Mayor of Toronto who served from 1972 to 1978 and oversaw the creation of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood.

It’s a long park with plenty of tree shades. At the east end, there is a wall with two murals on its two sides. The murals, with nature and community themes, were painted by artists Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky (also known as Los Clandestinos) in 2014.

Mural by Los Clandestinos
One side has a circular stage for performances.
Mural by Los Clandestinos
The other side is a basketball court.

2. Sugar Beach

A few blocks south of David Crombie Park is Sugar Beach with white chairs under pink umbrellas, a tree-lined promenade and beautiful lake views. In May, bright daffodils and tulips were planted along the bike path and sidewalks. It’s a nice place to relax and enjoy a sunny day.

3. Sunnyside Park

Sunnyside Park is located in the west end of Toronto on the shore of Lake Ontario. The park has big trees, grassy fields, picnic tables, a nice 3 km (1.9 miles) long boardwalk, and benches facing Humber Bay.

Sunnyside park
Sunnyside park
Sunnyside beach
Lovely tree-framed lake views

4. Sunnyside Beach

Running parallel with the park is Sunnyside Beach, a wonderful spot to cool off on warm days. Walking on the beach, on a clear day, one can see the CN Tower to the east and the white Humber Bay Arch bridge to the west.

Sunnyside Beach looking east
Sunnyside Beach looking west

5. Sunnyside Pavilion Courtyard

Steps from the beach is Sunnyside Pavilion Café which has a lakefront patio and a charming courtyard behind the iron gate. The small garden complete with a fountain was designed by landscape architect, artist and horticulturist H. Stephen Went (1952-1989).

Sunnyside Pavilion garden
Garden
Sunnyside Pavilion fountain
Courtyard with fountain

Sunnyside park and beach are blissful places to enjoy nature and stay cool. I cycled home feeling healthy and content.

How has your week been?

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Loving Life in May 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 21 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #71. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

May is almost over and we’ve had a few warm days that felt more like Summer than Spring. The last weekend of May is a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure to live a healthy and enriched life. Here’s my monthly update.

Health

In May, I continued my indoor exercises (meditation, language lessons, strength training and yoga) and outdoor activities (cycling, walking and playing disc golf). I’ve been cycling more often and longer distance.

I also took many walks to enjoy sunny spring days and May flowers. They make my heart sing and delight me with their beauty, colours, scents, shapes, textures and varieties.

Home

Family: I took the regional GO train to visit my sister. We had a good time together. It was my first time taking public transit since the pandemic started. I traveled during non-peak time and had the clean and comfortable car to myself. Currently, mask is mandatory and hand sanitizer is provided on the GO trains.

Friends: I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés in downtown Toronto. In May, my friends joined me at Boxcar Social at Harbourfront and Café 23 on Queen Street West. Both locations are wonderful for a stroll before or after coffee.

Boxcar Social: Cool interior designs and nice outdoor patio overlooking the skating rink/ pond and Lake Ontario beyond that. Quick service, delicious cappuccino. They use Subtext coffee roasters. In the area where the skating rink usually is during the winter, there’s a huge mural on the ground by artist Amanda McCavour based on her “Spirograph” art, consisting of joyful, colourful, and circular images.

Café 23: Behind the simple exterior is a stylish, Parisian-style café with chandeliers, artworks, books, mirrors, reading/ coffee nooks, and a charming two-level garden patio. Parisian-born owner Vanessa Sansonetti’s background in architecture, eye for design and love for plants influenced her choice of decor. Friendly, quick service, good selection of pastries sourced from local bakeries and delicious cappuccino. They use De Mello and Hale coffee roasters.

Leisure

Photography – I love exploring and photographing Toronto’s neighbourhoods, parks and the waterfront. Nature shows that changes are constant. I experience delightful moments and something new every outing. One example is this Canada geese family with fourteen fuzzy goslings!

Canada geese family
Let’s go for a walk
Canada geese family
Then a swim

Reading – I read six books (five easy and engrossing fiction books and one children’s book in the Dora the Explorer series). Here’s my list by author’s last name:

  1. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  2. The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves
  3. The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
  4. The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
  5. The Layover by Lacie Waldon
  6. Dora’s Camping Trip by Wendy Wax

Writing – I wrote three blogs and hosted three weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkups before today’s post:

  1. Weekday Walk: Exhibition Place
  2. Sakuras and Fleurs de Villes 2022
  3. What Stories Do These Trains Tell?

Overall

May has been an outdoorsy and social month. Most pandemic restrictions have been lifted and the nice weather continues. I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in May. It’s also the month to firm up my summer plans. I’ll probably have less time to blog. I’m looking forward to enjoying June.

How has your May been?

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What Stories Do These Trains Tell?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 20 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #70. Come on in for a coffee or tea chat.

A sunny morning was just right for my visit to John Street Roundhouse at Roundhouse Park, specifically to see the Toronto Railway Museum outdoor exhibits that tell the stories of Toronto’s railways. The John Street Roundhouse is the best example of a surviving roundhouse in Canada.

John Street Roundhouse

This complex was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929 to service the steam locomotives of its passenger trains using nearby Union Station. The 32-stall roundhouse featured the most modern technology. Its direct steaming facility was the first of its kind in Canada, allowing a faster and more economical operation, and a smokeless environment. Abundant natural light is provided by its monitor roof and large windows. The switch from steam power to diesel, completed by the CPR by 1960, spelled the end for Canadian roundhouses. The John Street complex was closed in 1982. It was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Doors at John Street Roundhouse
Doors at John Street Roundhouse

It’s easy to do a self-guided walk and learn about Toronto’s railway history thanks to the information plaques that accompany each exhibit item. I enjoyed my visit so much, I was at Roundhouse Park longer than expected.

Map of Toronto Railway Museum outdoor exhibits
Map of Toronto Railway Museum outdoor exhibits

Don Station, Cabin D and the Turntable

I started from the Canadian Pacific Railway Don Station built in 1896. The station has been moved a few times until the City of Toronto moved it to Roundhouse Park. The building’s distinctive turret was typical of hundreds of stations across Canada but only a handful of these buildings survive. The Don station is the only 19th century Toronto station remaining.

Don Station built in 1896.
Don Station

Steps from Don Station is Cabin D, a wooden interlocking tower built by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1896. It is one of a few, if not the only, surviving examples of an interlocking tower in Canada that used an entirely mechanical system instead of electrical. It is also the only surviving interlocking tower of its type in Toronto.

Cabin D
Cabin D

The Roundhouse turntable is 120 feet long, in order to accommodate the Canadian Pacific Railway’s largest passenger steam locomotives. It’s one of the longest ever built in Canada.

John Street Roundhouse turntable
Turntable

I visited freight cars, locomotives, passenger cars, water towers, coaling towers, a watchman’s shanty, and other interesting railway artifacts. I imagined the farewells and greetings that took place at Don Station, and the stories that the trains and rail workers have witnessed.

I included links to the Toronto Railway History Association blog in case anyone is interested in the history of each exhibit.

Freight and Passenger Cars

Locomotives

Towers

Left to right: Coaling tower, the old wooden water tower and the new water tower with Steam Whistle Brewery logo. Steam Whistle Brewery has leased to use bays 1 to 11 at the Roundhouse.

Mural

My walk ended at a stunning mural on the side of the underground parking building. This mural is a reproduction of a painting, titled A John Street Morning, by artist David A. Oram.

A John Street Morning by David A. Oram, 2003
A John Street Morning by David A. Oram, 2003

I enjoyed spending a beautiful morning at John Street Roundhouse where I learned more about Toronto’s railway history and discovered an amazing mural by a talented Canadian artist.

What’s your favourite train story?

Shared with #WQW18, #ThursdayDoors, #PPAC, #Lens-Artists.

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Sakuras and Fleurs de Villes 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 19 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #69. Come on in for a cup of coffee or tea and let’s chat.

May is mid-spring in Toronto and beautiful flowers are in bloom everywhere. This week has been sunny with daytime high temperatures ranging from 16C to 24C (60F to 75F). I enjoyed some lovely walks and two stunning floral events: Sakuras and Fleurs de Villes.

Sakuras (Cherry Blossoms)

Sakura trees have a long history in Toronto as written here. Since Sakura peak bloom only lasts about a week, I was happy to see the beautiful and delicate flowers before they’re gone. Just walking under the trees and enjoying spring weather is a wonderful experience.

Sakura (Cherry blossoms)
Clusters of pink cherry blossoms

The easiest way to spot the difference between a cherry, plum, or peach flower is by observing the petal’s natural shape. Cherry blossoms have a unique cleft at the tip of their petals, which add to their pretty features and incredible popularity.

Cherry blossoms also have long stems that attach them to the branch from a single bud. One bud can produce more than one flower and you see whole branches of trees covered in pink, pale pink, or white.

Since April 1959 when the first 2000 Somei-yoshino sakura trees were presented to the citizens of Toronto on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo, Toronto has planted many Sakura trees in different parts of the city for its residents to enjoy every spring. I feel fortunate to see Sakuras close to home.

Fleurs de Villes 2022

The Fleurs de Villes event returned to Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood from May 4 to 8, 2022. This year’s theme is Femmes to celebrate remarkable women and raise funds for breast cancer research. The trail displayed over thirty stunning fresh floral designs by incredibly talented florists.

My slideshow below includes ten pictures of the fourteen incredible floral mannequins inspired by a remarkable woman – each with a unique story, and each making a profound impact. Click on the arrows or swipe to see the images.

There are fun floral designs as well, such as a bike, a phone booth, a swing, a heart, a heart-shaped frame and Mom since the event ended on Sunday May 8th which was Mother’s Day in Canada. The fresh flowers were gorgeous to see up close and their scent was lovely.

I enjoyed my walks and all the fresh flowers that I’ve seen this week.

How has your week been?

Shared with #SpringFestival2022, #PPAC, #SundayStills, #CellpicSunday, Jo’s Monday Walk.

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