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.
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?
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.
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.
How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2. Bright Birdhouses
While walking around the wetland garden, I found these bright birdhouses. They made me smile.
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.
Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre: Yes, most days.
Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art: Yes, most days.
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.
Meet my family and friends outside: Pending. Starting May 22, outdoor gatherings for up to 5 people are allowed.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #19! 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 week of sunshine, blue skies and pleasant temperatures meant more time outdoors and less time indoors. Let me show you in pictures a few nice things that I’ve seen. My photos start with neutral gray then get more colourful.
The City of Toronto has launched the ActiveTO weekend road closures for 2021. Starting May 1, on weekends, a few routes will be closed to vehicles and open to cyclists and pedestrians. The objective is to make more space for people to get outside and exercise while practicing safe physical distancing.
The ActiveTO weekend road closures mean additional cycling and walking routes for me, yay! Before May, I cycle on weekdays and stay home on weekends. Now I go cycling on weekends as well while the weather is good.
I visited two historic buildings on the same street and the street name is Toronto!
Toronto Street Post Office, also known as Toronto’s Seventh Post Office, was built in 1851-1853 in the Greek Revival style. It served as a post office until 1873 and as a government office building until 1937. It was then used by the Bank of Canada until 1959 and by investment businesses to date.
In 1958, the building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. In 2006, it was designated a Heritage building by the City of Toronto. The building was sold to Morgan Meighen & Associates, an independent Canadian investment manager, in 2006 for CA$14 million.
Consumers’ Gas Company Building: The Italianate/neo-Renaissance style Consumers’ Gas Building was first built in 1852, as the Consumers Gas company’s head office at 19 Toronto Street. The company remained in this location for 125 years.
May is a beautiful time to be in Toronto’s public gardens where many spring flowers bloom. See my sample below (and the painted flowers on Simcoe Murals).
4. Simcoe Murals
The lead artist, Tannis Nielsen, who is of Metis/Anishinaabe and Danish ancestry, began the murals at Lower Simcoe Street underpass in 2017 and welcomed young artists from Toronto’s Indigenous community and other members of the local community to help paint the final artwork. Simcoe Murals were officially unveiled in September 2019.
The Elder/Honour Wall, on the west side of the underpass, consists of 28 portraits of Indigenous Peoples named by the local community while honouring the Indigenous Elders and leaders of the local Toronto community. Colourful flowers and plants adorn this wall.
Click on any image in the gallery to see it bigger.
The Water Wall mural, on the east side of the underpass, is inspired by the work of Josephine Mandamin, an Anishabaabewe grandmother who has walked almost 18,000 kilometres around each of the Great Lakes in order to bring attention to the physical plight of the planet’s greatest resource, water.
Gray, black, white, blue and green dominate this wall. Click on any image in the gallery to see it bigger.
5. Lake Beach
I’ve been going to various lake beaches since March. The water is still too cold for swimming so the beaches are nice and quiet, except for natural sounds from the waves, the wind, and birds. Here I find soothing neutral colours from pebbles, water, and gray feathers on gulls.
Lakes, trees, and rocks are common elements in Ontario landscape. The rocks vary from small pebbles to big boulders. Many of them have beautiful patterns in shades of gray, rose, orange, or amethyst. Amethyst is the official gemstone of Ontario with many amethyst clusters found around the area of Thunder Bay.
Looking for nice rocks is just as fun as looking for shells, then let the rock stacking begin.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #18! 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.
This past week has been fun and productive. A new month just began so I mapped out new cycling and walking itineraries, started a new body weight training program, and updated my reading list. Here are five fun finds from my cycling and walking excursions.
1. Purple Flowers
Jude at Travel Words blog asked “Have you any purples in your neighbourhood?” – Yes, I have many. Tulips and hyacinths are some of the common flowers in spring here and their blooms are beautiful. Here are my picks.
2. Heritage Churches
Continuing my visits to historic and surviving buildings in Toronto, I found two churches designed by the same architect Henry Bowyer Lane: Little Trinity Church on King Street East and the Church of the Holy Trinity at Trinity Square.
Little Trinity Church: The Tudor Gothic church was built in 1843 making it the oldest surviving church building in Toronto. The structure is red brick with accents of tan brick and stone. The 18 m (60 ft) square bell tower has contrasting octagonal buttresses at each of its four corners.
Click on any image in the following gallery to enlarge it.
The Church of the Holy Trinity: The modest Gothic Revival structure was built in 1847. Like many Gothic churches, the Church of the Holy Trinity uses limestone for its foundation and window tracery, as well as sandstone, brick, and wood.
3. Henry Scadding House
While I walked around the Church of the Holy Trinity, I found the old Rectory and Henry Scadding House built in 1862 adjacent to the church. Henry Scadding was the church’s first rector and Toronto’s first historian. He lived here until his death in 1901.
Terri’s Sunday Stills Weather theme inspired me to share Toronto’s weather beacon at the top of the Canada Life building and its code.
The Canada Life building is a historic office building opened in 1931 in Toronto. The fifteen-floor Beaux Arts building stands at 97.8 m (321 feet) including its 12.5-metre-tall weather beacon.
Fun facts about the Toronto’s weather beacon:
It’s Canada’s oldest weather beacon.
It’s been keeping Torontonians abreast of weather conditions since 1951.
Employees at Canada Life’s front desk update the weather forecast four times a day in conjunction with Environment Canada’s weather station at Toronto Pearson International Airport. If you’re looking up at the tower, here’s how to read the code.
The beacon light on top indicates sky conditions:
Solid green = clear
Solid red = cloudy
Flashing red = rain
Flashing white = snow
The beacon tower lights explain the temperature story:
Lights shooting up = temperature is warming
Lights shooting down = temperature is cooling
Lights steady = steady temperature
The time of day is also important:
Daytime = signals the balance for the day
Night time = forecasts for the following day
Sunny or cloudy or rainy or snowy, as long as it’s not extreme, I dress for the weather and head outside to explore. For my cycling and walking, the cool temperatures in Spring feel great.
Move the slider arrows to compare the following images.
5. Goose Diet
We had sun, clouds, wind, and rain this past week. I wondered how Lucy the nesting goose was doing on windy or rainy nights. I found her nesting and looking healthy. She got a new “wall” as the Empire Sandy tall ship has docked next to her nest. A flyer from Ontario Waterfowl Society, attached near the nest, gives interesting tidbit about her diet.
I’ve got more fun finds to share next week. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to those of you celebrating!
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #17! 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 my eclectic cycling and walking excursions. It’s also month end when I reflect on what’s been happening during the month. I’d like to share some of my photos on my blog and link to a few photography challenges.
1. Spring Flowers
This week is the peak bloom period of the Japanese Sakura or cherry blossoms in Toronto. The people of Tokyo gifted 2000 Sakura trees to the people of Toronto in 1959 and we’ve been enjoying the gorgeous cherry blossoms every spring since.
Magnolia trees are also blooming. It’s amazing to see the trees full of flowers.
I visited the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, the oldest school still standing in Toronto and the first free school in the city. It was built in 1848 when it was known as the Ward Street School for immigrants’ children to attend. It is now a historic site and museum.
The school was a one-storey, red-brick building in the simple Gothic Revival style. The narrow peaked windows were trimmed with stone. The doors and window frames were painted green. Yellow bricks were inserted at the corners of the structure, around the main doorway, and in a solid multi-brick row near the roof line.
Click on any image in the following gallery to enlarge it.
A trip downtown gave me the opportunity to revisit and photograph bronze sculptures that I like. Why photograph them again? Different time of day, different lighting, and different angles yield new results. Sometimes the art object is the same but its surroundings have changed.
Today’s picks: Immigrant Family honoring immigrant population in North America and The Anonymity of Prevention showing a worker working with a chisel and hammer with safety goggles.
One morning, on my way to Cherry Beach, I saw Toronto’s coolest new bridge over the Keating Channel. This area is under major developments and a few new bridges will be added in the next three years.
The Keating Channel is a 1 km long waterway in Toronto. It connects the Don River to inner Toronto Harbour on Lake Ontario. The channel is named after Edward Henry Keating, a city engineer who proposed the creation of the channel in 1893.
Toronto Harbour is where I take the ferry or kayak across the harbour to reach Toronto Islands for a good time and great views of Toronto skyline.
Lake Ontario shore line is 1,146 km or 712 miles long. I’m grateful for the many beaches that I can go to for fresh air and relaxation.
April started off with a province-wide lockdown until at least May 20. By April 29, vaccination has accelerated. Ontario anticipates all adults over 18 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by end of May. Here are my April highlights:
I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
I feel fit from regular cycling, walking, body weight workouts, meditation, and yoga.
I stay optimistic in spite of the long lockdown.
My sisters received their COVID-19 vaccines.
One niece got accepted into her first choice University with financial awards for her excellent grades.
Another niece and her boyfriend bought their first home and gave everyone in our family a virtual tour.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #14! 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 fab few days here…
Beautiful spring weather has been ideal for my cycling, walking, playing disc golf, visiting local beaches, gardens, parks, and the city centre. I choose to go outside on weekday and Sunday mornings and to places that are quiet so I can keep a safe distance from people.
I mapped out new cycling and walking routes that offer me plenty of things to see and photograph. I usually cycle to the destination, lock the bike, go for a walk, then pick up the bike, and cycle home. Fitness and fun combo wins! See my walk in Yorkville and my photos below.
I had a fun interview with Marsha Ingrao at Always Write blog about hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share blog link-up. Click here to read the full interview. (Virtual) coffee and beignets from the historic Café du Monde in New Orleans were on the table. Marsha retrieved comments from my blog for the interview so you may see your name and comments in her post.
My Walk in Yorkville
Yorkville is a historic and upscale neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. Established as a separate village in 1830, Yorkville was annexed into Toronto in 1883. In the last three decades, many smaller buildings in Yorkville were demolished and office, hotels, and high-priced condominiums built.
Yorkville is now home to some of Toronto’s most expensive condominiums. It has art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, spas, and luxury hotels catered to the wealthy clients. Fortunately, it still retains its attractiveness with pedestrian traffic, narrow streets, quaint row houses, and charming curb appeal.
Let me show you a few of my favourite Yorkville murals and architecture in pictures.
Yorkville Murals in August 2020 was a cultural event that celebrates contemporary muralism and public art. It was a huge success despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s scheduled to return in August 2021.
Click on any image in the image gallery to see it bigger.
Tuesday March 30, 2021 was sunny with daytime high 17C (63F) and ideal for my walk in the Toronto Music Garden. A variety of bright and cheerful early spring flowers made me smile. Here’s my selection.
2. St. Andrew’s Church
A second walk was to St. Andrew’s Church, a large and historic Presbyterian church in downtown Toronto. St. Andrew’s was founded in 1830 as the first Church of Scotland congregation in the Town of York. It was first located at the southwest corner of Church and Adelaide Streets but this building was abandoned when it became too small for the expanding congregation.
William George Storm was chosen to be the architect for a larger building. The present building at King and Simcoe Streets was opened for worship in 1876 and is built in the Romanesque Revival style. The geometry of the church’s facade is amazing.
St. Andrew’s today is a living church. The church interior includes rich and handsomely carved wood, the Gallery Organ and choir loft, and beautiful stained glass windows.
St. Andrew’s manse, located south of the church, is in the Second Empire style with a Mansard roof. Again, the geometry of this building makes it attractive.
3. March At A Glance
We had a mild March with plenty of sunny days and warmer than normal temperatures. Daylight saving started on March 14. Spring arrived on March 20 with clear blue skies and sunshine. The nice weather was ideal for my outdoor explorations.
In March, I cycled, walked, did body weight workouts, practiced meditation and yoga regularly. I started playing disc golf as the weather warmed up.
March was also the month when Ontario entered Wave 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic while the vaccination rollout made small progress. Toronto has been in lockdown since November 2020. I continue the 3Ws to stay safe and healthy: Wash my hands, wear my mask, and watch my distance.
In March, I celebrated virtually with two family members and one longtime friend on their birthdays. I baked a blueberry banana loaf, first of 2021.
To support local businesses, I ordered Pad Thai and curry dishes from Salad King, a new-to-me eatery. The delivery was quick. The food arrived hot and tasty. I got a break from cooking. Win-win-win!
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #12! 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 first week of Spring has been fantastic. Daytime high temperatures ranged from 12C to 20C (54F to 68F) with clear blue skies for most of the week. The mild and sunny days made all my outdoor activities enjoyable and me happy.
Here’s my 5 selected themes for a fun week:
On sunny morning #1, I cycled to Queen Street West to visit several heritage-designated buildings. I’m sharing two of them with Thursday Doors photo challenge this week: Campbell House and Osgoode Hall. Click on my image gallery for more photos and history details.
Campbell House is the oldest remaining house from the original site of the Town of York, and is one of the few surviving examples of Georgian architecture left in Toronto. It was built in 1822 by Chief Justice William Campbell and his wife Hannah. It’s now a heritage house and museum owned by the City of Toronto government.
Osgoode Hall is named for William Osgoode, the first Chief Justice of Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario). The original building was constructed between 1829 and 1832. The iron fence around the property dates from 1867. The so-called “cow gates” were based on the design of cattle guards meant to keep out grazing animals.
Osgoode Hall was built over a period of 190 years, so as to accommodate the growing needs of its owners. A National Historic Site of Canada and a Heritage building of Ontario, it currently houses the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Law Society of Ontario.
Before COVID-19, I had done tours inside both Campbell House and Osgoode Hall. The impressive interior of Osgoode Hall includes the Rotunda with the original tile floor, heritage courtrooms from the late 1800’s, the Great Library with holdings of 100,000 volumes, Benchers’ Quarters, and Convocation Hall that boasts ten gorgeous stained glass windows covering 4,000 years of law. I highly recommend this tour when Osgoode Hall re-opens to the public.
On sunny morning #2, I cycled and walked around to see outdoor public art: Two portraits at the Femme de Fleur exhibit by Apanaki Temitayo M, one Untitled display by Jun Kaneko, and Cracked Wheat by Shary Boyle.
I realized later that coincidentally, all four art items have a human body theme. The Cracked Wheat vase stands on two human legs. Click on the images to see their bigger version.
On sunny morning #3, I cycled along the shoreline of Lake Ontario and checked out several beaches. It was a glorious day to be by the calm water. By lunch time, I sat down on Sunnyside beach and watched a group of mute swans. They swam, ducked their heads for food, spread their wings, etc. It was an amazing swan show!
4. Disc Golf
On sunny morning #4, I cycled to the local 9-hole disc golf course and played my first disc golf game of 2021. It was a perfect day to play. Calm wind, pleasant temperature, and soft sunlight. I enjoyed playing while listening to birds, watching the squirrels, and looking at the lake.
5. Nature Trails
On sunny morning #5, I cycled to High Park, a big and beautiful park in the west end of Toronto. I explored nature trails, walked among tall trees, listened to birds, and watched the ducks in Grenadier Pond. Total bliss!
Overall, it was a fun-filled week. I’m grateful that I’m able to do what makes me happy.
Hello friends! This is my post to share some of my ice sculpture photos from Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville IceFest21 event with the theme A Trip Around The World. As I type this, Toronto is still in lockdown. The IceFest21 is a nice change of scenery without traveling out of town.
From Canada to the USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Japan, and Australia. Bon voyage!