What’s In The Garden? #SundayStills

I’m delighted to be hosting the Sunday Stills photography challenge while host Terri Webster Schrandt is away.

This week’s theme: In The Garden

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘In the garden’? I think of beautiful living things that I saw in the public gardens and my small herb garden. Let me share a few photos, all captured with my cell phone, with you and #CellpicSunday.

Butterflies

Bees and butterflies are buzzing in the gardens in August here. Photographing butterflies has taught me to be patient. I received a few rewards for my patience.

A Red Admiral butterfly.
A Red Admiral butterfly with black and orange wings and white spots.
Camberwell Beauty or Mourning Cloak butterfly.
A Mourning Cloak butterfly with dark maroon and yellow wings and iridescent blue spots.
Monarch butterfly.
A Monarch butterfly with orange and black wings and white spots.
A Cabbage White butterfly.
A Cabbage White butterfly with creamy white wings and single black dot.

Birdhouses

It’s a delight to find painted birdhouses in the gardens. Art and nature together.

Roses

In the summer, I like to visit the Rose garden at Exhibition Place. The staff take good care of rose varieties and other flowering plants here. At peak blossom time, the roses are beautiful and their scent is lovely. This year, I was happy to see the Shrine Peace Memorial fountain and smaller fountains in the Rose garden turned back on after a long lockdown.

Fountains at Shrine Peace Memorial.
Fountains at Shrine Peace Memorial.

Tomatoes

This spring I grew a small herb garden of sweet basil, chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. There was space left in the centre of the planter box so I added cherry and plum tomato plants. Here come the tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes.
Cherry tomatoes.
Plum tomatoes.
Plum tomatoes.

Those are a few lovely things I saw in the gardens. I’m looking forward to seeing all your entries for this week’s Sunday Stills photography challenge.

I’ll be hosting Sunday Stills again in the next two weeks. Next week’s theme is ‘Afloat’. Have a wonderful week!

How to participate in the Sunday Stills photography challenge

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title the post a little differently than mine.
  • Enter the link party by clicking on the blue InLinkz button below.
  • If you’re on WordPress, remember to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week (not just on a Sunday).
  • Use the hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

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Laneway Art and Recent Reads

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #33! 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 week of sunny, warm and humid days. I had fun cycling, walking, kayaking, canoeing, and playing disc golf. Today I’m sharing wonderful art in a laneway, my recent reads, and a friendly reminder.

Laneway Art

I cycled to Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood then walked a quiet Euclid-Palmerston laneway. This laneway is a vast display of seventy five colourful garage doors painted by an amazing array of Toronto’s mural and street artists.

In 2018 and 2019, Jieun June Kim and Erika James (also known as KJ Bit Collective) partnered with the city’s StreetARToronto program to transform this community laneway into a giant canvas of graffiti and mural art. KJ Bit organized seventy five artists to paint garages in two live-paint jams. The initiatives were well supported by local residents who now enjoy their revitalized laneway.

Jieu June Kim art
208P – Painted doors by Jieu June Kim

I’m sharing twenty two images of the painted garage doors in today’s post, and the remaining garage door images in future posts. I’ve noted the street number, artist’s name and year based on my look-up.

Remember to click on any image in the gallery to see it in full view and use the arrow to move to the next image. Sharing for #ThursdayDoors, #PPAC10, Monday Murals and #LifeThisWeek.

Which door(s) in the gallery do you like?

Recent Reads

I’m pleased to contribute to the first #WhatsOnYourBookShelf challenge, co-hosted by four lovely bloggers Donna, Sue, Jo and Debbie.

I use the Toronto Public Library 2021 Reading Challenge categories to read widely and discover new books, authors, and genres. You can see the full list of books I’ve read and the categories I’ve met so far this year on my Books in 2021 page at the top of my blog.

My recent reads in July and August by author’s last name include:

  1. The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes
  2. Love At First – Kate Clayborn
  3. Dreamland – Sarah Dessen
  4. The Anthropocene Reviewed – John Green
  5. The Good Sister – Sally Hepworth
  6. Life’s Too Short – Abby Jimenez
  7. The Editor – Steven Rowley
  8. From My Mother’s Back – Njoki Wane

Five of the eight authors were new to me. I was pleased to discover them. I linked the book title to the author’s web site or GoodReads. If I were to rate this batch of books, on a 5-star scale, I’d give 4.5 stars to The Good Sister and The Anthropocene Reviewed. The other six books got 4 stars.

What’s on your bookshelf?

Friendly Reminder

I’m delighted to be hosting the Sunday Stills photography challenge on August 22 while host Terri is on blogging break. The theme is ‘In The Garden‘. I look forward to seeing all your entries for this week’s Sunday Stills photography challenge.

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Walk the Fleurs de Villes Trail

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #32! 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 hot and humid week with scattered thunderstorms. Daytime high temperatures reached 31C (88F) and felt like 41C (106F) on Wednesday. I enjoyed kayaking and stand up paddling within Toronto Islands where the water was calm and great for swimming. I also cycled, walked and played disc golf earlier in the day when it was cooler. One of my walks was a floral trail.

Fleurs de Villes Rosé

Toronto’s Fleurs de Villes (Flowers of Cities) took place on August 4-8, 2021 in Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood. The five-day, Rosé-themed event showcased over thirty five stunning fresh floral installations and mannequins designed by over twenty of Toronto’s top florists in support of Breast Cancer Research.

I spent time meandering around the streets of Bloor and Yorkville exploring the floral trail and taking pictures. I grouped my photos into two galleries. Feel free to browse either one or both. Remember to click on any image in the gallery to see it in full view and use the arrow to move to the next image.

Doors and Entrances

Beautiful flower arrangements adorn these doorways. Shared for #ThursdayDoors.

Mannequin and Other Florals

The mannequin florals are stunning. I love them all. The Breast Cancer Society of Canada (BCSC) Warrior mannequin reminded me of my girlfriends who fought breast cancer. I also learned about Sophie Scholl and the White Rose.

The other floral designs are unique: Look up to see the floral Cloud, strings of Lights and a butterfly spreading its Wings. Get a coffee from Jacked-Up Coffee Truck then hop on the cool turquoise Bicycle or the hip orange VW Van for a ride to the market.

Pose for photos by the Stairs, the Swing, or Entry and Benches. Pick up fresh flowers at the Pop-Up Shop Cart, see the floral Tree and try yummy snacks from the Market Stall.

It was a beautiful and fun walk! Shared for #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC#9.

Guest Hosting

I’m delighted to be hosting the Sunday Stills photography challenge for three weeks when host Terri at Second Wind Leisure Perspectives is on her blogging break. I’ll have dedicated link-ups and posts for Sunday Stills on the following dates and themes:

  • Sunday August 22: In The Garden
  • Sunday August 29: Afloat
  • Sunday September 5: Colourful Murals

The weekly Weekend Coffee Share link-up continues as usual, no change. The Sunday Stills photography challenge runs from Sunday at 10 a.m. to Saturday at 10 p.m. Toronto time. I hope to see you at both link-ups.

Which floral designs you would pick as your Top Three?

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Tasty Meal and St. James Park

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #31! 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 week of sunny days with fluffy clouds and fun activities. In this post, I’d like to share a new-to-me recipe and my walk in St. James Park.

Asparagus and Sausage Penne

This tray bake by chef Adam Liaw is a winner. I substituted asparagus for broccolini and penne for spaghetti. I skipped the optional anchovies and the red chili. It was an easy-to-make, quick and tasty meal. Sharing for #WhatsOnYourPlate challenge, hosted by Donna at Retirement Reflections and Deb at The Widow Badass.

Asparagus and sausage penne

A Walk in St. James Park

St. James Park is located at the intersection of King and Jarvis Streets in downtown Toronto. From spring 2018 to spring 2021, the park has undergone improvements and is a beautiful space to stroll and relax. The park layout has four entry plazas, one central plaza, plenty of benches and a formal garden. On the west side of the park is St. James Cathedral.

St. James Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of St. James is an Anglican cathedral. It is the location of the oldest congregation in Toronto, with the parish being established in 1797. The cathedral, with construction beginning in 1850 and opening for services in 1853, was one of the largest buildings in the city at that time. It was designed by Frederick William Cumberland and is a prime example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Click on any image in the gallery to see it in full view. Sharing for #ThursdayDoors.

Arbour: The clematis covered wrought-iron arbour at the northeast entry plaza was added to St. James Park in the early 1980’s.

Lighting feature: The new lighting feature at the northeast entry plaza is a sculptural abstract interpretation of the St. James Cathedral in silhouette. It looks better at night when the lights are on.

Sculpture: The Robert Gourlay bust welcomes visitors coming into the park from the northwest entry plaza. Robert Fleming Gourlay (1778 – 1863) was a Scottish-Canadian writer, political reform activist, and agriculturalist. The bronze bust was created by Toronto sculptor, Adrienne Alison.

Robert Gourlay sculpture by Adrienne Alison.

Playground: Families with young children enjoy the new market-themed playground that features elements such as the asparagus climber, giant-sized produce, a tower made of stacked farmer’s baskets, a merry go-round, a flexible seating platform under a tree perfect for story time and a small water-play area.

St. James Park playground.

Pavilion: A new open-air park pavilion located on the east side of the enlarged central plaza. The pavilion, made of heavy timber columns and a trellis canopy with recessed lighting, is in part, inspired by the Gothic arches of the cathedral’s architecture. It’s suitable for a variety of community events.

St. James Park Michael Comstock Pavilion.

The pavilion was officially named Michael Comstock Pavilion this summer. After a long lockdown, live music at an outdoor concert in St. James Park brought me tremendous joy. Below is the north view of the pavilion and the garden.

Garden: Walking trails traverse the grass and tree dotted area. The St. James garden in Victorian garden style was renovated in 2003 by landscape designer Wendy Shearer. It has several rose beds, shrubs, ornamental stone statues, and a fountain.

Seat Wall: The seat wall in the southwest plaza near the cathedral features a bronze silhouette of the architectural skyline of the area through several historic periods by Canadian artist Scott Eunson.

Bronze silhouette by Scott Eunson.

Linked with #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC8.

Have a seat and tell me something good about your week.

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Hawk, Heron and Kayaking Fun

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #30! 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 fantastic week with a mix of sunny days and some showers. I enjoyed cycling, walking, playing disc golf, strength training, meditation, yoga, learning French and Spanish, watching Olympic highlights, photography, reading and writing. I went canoeing and kayaking. I had a few nice surprises.

1. A Red-Tailed Hawk

One morning as I cycled to Ontario Place to go kayaking, I spotted a hawk on a fence post. I turned my bike around to get a good look. I’ve seen hawks in Toronto before but this was the first time I was about 2m (6 ft) from a calm red-tailed hawk. What a thrill to observe this beauty up close!

Red-tailed hawk.
A magnificent red-tailed hawk.

2. Dr. Duke Redbird

I continued cycling to the South Marina. Dr. Duke Redbird was at the Big House Canoe (Wigwam Chi-Chemung) that I wrote about here. I said hello and we chatted. As a few ducks swam towards us, he mentioned that they like oatmeal. It was an unexpected and nice encounter with Dr. Redbird at his houseboat.

Dr. Redbird at his Wigwam Chi-Chemung (Big House Canoe).
Dr. Redbird on his houseboat.

3. A Great Blue Heron

I picked up my kayak rental and paddled for about two hours. I saw many colourful fish amid green aquatic plants. Blue and red dragonflies flitted around me and some of them landed on my kayak.

Blue kayak.

At the Fish Habitat, I saw a Great Blue Heron! This stately heron with its subtle blue-gray plumage stood motionless as it scanned for prey. I paddled quietly to get closer and we watched each other in silence.

A Great Blue Heron – What a majestic sight!

I paddled away and when I circled back, the Great Blue Heron was still there. It moved from the tree log to the river bank, to the rock, and flew to a small island in the Habitat before I left.

Great blue heron.
“I’m over here”
Great blue heron.
Wait, I see something!

4. Other Aquatic Life

I saw cormorants, a variety of ducks, and a muted swan. The cormorants are swift divers. The ducks and the swan were less shy and let me take their photos. Some of the ducks swam merrily alongside my kayak. I love it when they do that.

The water was so calm and clear, I could see the bottom of the lagoon. I also got a close-up view of green floating mats and white water crowfoot flowers.

Aquatic plants and flowers.
Aquatic plants and flowers.

5. Over Floe by John Notten

My kayaking fun continued as I paddled to Over Floe, a floating art creation by John Notten. He also designed the Plant It Forward urban garden sculpture that I shared in my previous post. I was glad to see this interesting art exhibit first on the water.

Truck, School
Bank, House and Factory

Then from land after I finished kayaking. Here are two views of Over Floe and what Notten says about each view. Click on each image to enlarge it.

It was a wonderful outing. I had a blast!

Linked to #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC7, #TreeSquare30, #WWE90.

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

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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 #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC6, #SundayStills, #ThursdayDoors, #WWE89.

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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