Bay of Fundy: 5 Historic Sites

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 45 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #95. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Remembrance Day

November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada. So I want to take a moment to honour all Canadian veterans who have served and continue to serve in upholding the peace and freedoms we enjoy today.

Poppy sculpture at The Royal Canadian Legion, Queen’s Own Rifles Branch

PPAC meets WCS

Today I’m combining Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) with Weekend Coffee Share (WCS). I’ve been a PPAC participant so when Marsha at Always Write blog had to step back from hosting and she asked if anyone would be interested in taking over PPAC, I volunteered to host.

I continue to leave the topic open. There is no prompt or theme. Existing WCS participants are free to participate without any PPAC entries and PPAC participants are free to participate with one or more images of public art (outdoor and free) without writing their post as a coffee share.

To new WCS participants:

  1. The weekly WCS linkup starts at 8 a.m. on Friday and ends at midnight Sunday night Eastern Standard Time.
  2. Join the linkup using the InLinkz button at the end of my WCS post. If you prefer to leave a comment with your link, be aware that a link in my Comments section requires moderation and is less visible to participants who use InLinkz.
  3. Please link one post, leave a comment on my blog and link back or pingback to my Weekend Coffee Share post. Links from bloggers who join without leaving me a comment will be removed.
  4. Read one or more participating blogs and leave a comment. Hashtag #Weekendcoffeeshare.
  5. I read all participating blogs and reply to comments left on my blog. I prioritize my visits and leave comments for bloggers who take the time to leave me a comment. Thank you.

Bay of Fundy: 5 Historic Sites

I’m continuing the story of my adventures on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I wrote my adventures in three posts. The first post on five Natural Wonders is here. This post is the second in the series.

The region surrounds the Bay of Fundy is rich with stories from the native Mi’kmaq people, Loyalist heritage and Acadian history. Here’s five Historic Sites on the Bay of Fundy to explore. Click on the top left image in the gallery to see captions and move through the gallery.

1. St. Andrews

St. Andrews, or Saint Andrews by-the-Sea, is nestled along Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick. Founded by Loyalists in 1783, many buildings in St. Andrews still reflect that history. St. Andrews’ Historic District, one of the best-preserved examples of colonial heritage in North America, is a National Historic Site of Canada.

St. Andrews is also Canada’s oldest seaside resort town and a great place for whale watching, deer watching, outdoor recreation, dining and shopping. I’ll share more on St. Andrews in another post.

2. Saint John

Saint John located on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick is Canada’s first incorporated city, established by royal charter on May 18, 1785, during the reign of King George III. The city offers beautiful historic architecture, funky cafés, creative galleries and shops, and more. Saint John in New Brunswick is not to be confused with St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Saint John City Market, established 1876, is Canada’s oldest farmers’ market. It is a good place to browse and pick up a snack, lunch, dinner, or local arts and crafts.

3. Digby

Named after Admiral Robert Digby, the town of Digby in Nova Scotia is famous for the local scallops and the fleet that harvests them. Along the Digby waterfront in Loyalist park are Digby Pier lighthouse and six cannons, five from Victorian era in the 1840s and one from the era of King George III sometime prior to 1820.

The cannons were part of fortifications constructed at Digby, primarily to protect the town from privateers. Each cannon has a plaque affixed to its carriage relating a small part of the story of the fortifications and the cannons.

4. Fort Anne

Set on the banks of the Annapolis River in Nova Scotia, Fort Anne was first fortified by the Scots as early as 1629. The site was later controlled by the French before falling for good to British troops in 1710. It would remain a regular scene of battles until the fall of Quebec in 1759. Fort Anne became Canada’s first administered National Historic Site in 1917.

It is a wonderful learning experience to stroll inside the fort and around the Perimeter Trail to explore a renovated 1797 Officers’ Quarters (now a museum) and a maze of defensive ditches, banks and bastions overlooking the Annapolis River.

5. The Landscape of Grand-Pré

The Landscape of Grand-Pré is both a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on Nova Scotia’s southern Minas Basin, an inlet of the Bay Fundy, the Landscape of Grand Pré (Grand Pré means Great Marsh) is subjected to the most extreme tides in the world. The tidal range averages 11.6 metres and the tides move in and out of the Minas Basin every 12 hours.

Starting in the late 17th century – an era which predates the introduction of engineered drainage systems – the Acadian settlers applied an inventive and ingenious system of earthen dykes, ditches and aboiteaux, or wooden sluices, to hold back the formidable tides. They also began a tradition of collective management that was community-based. Today, the agricultural landscape is still protected and drained by the same system, still exhibits distinctive field patterns, and is still managed through the same community approach.

Parks Canada website

The landscape is beautiful and the dykes in Wolfville are amazing to examine in real life. Information boards posted at the historic sites give helpful explanatory notes.

I hope you join me next weekend to discover fun attractions on the Bay of Fundy.

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Ward’s Island Homes and Gardens

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 42 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #92. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

During one of my island summer getaways, I took a walk to explore the residential area on Ward’s Island. There are 262 homes on Ward’s Island and approximately 650 people live there year round, including many seniors.

The following gallery shows some of the unique homes and gardens on my walk. Some are old cottages and some have been renovated. Note the cute self-serve library and art gallery. A number of artists live on Ward’s Island and Algonquin Island. I plan to do an art walk to see their artworks on another day.

The top left image in the gallery is The Waiting Shed which was built at the Ward’s Island ferry dock in 1916. Among its charming features that have survived are the bell-cast roof and multiple-pane windows. Over its 100 years, the shelter was modified in various ways.

In 2017, the city government responsible for parks and heritage, along with Island residents, began restoring and modernizing the aging building. Windows and doors have been replaced and the entrance made more accessible.

Click on the top left image and use the arrows to move through the gallery. Brief captions included.

I also visited the Grow TO Greens Food Security Project. It’s a joint urban agriculture initiative of the City of Toronto and the Toronto Island Café. All the organic produce grown in the Café garden is planted, tended, harvested, weighed and transported weekly (by bicycle) by volunteers to downtown Toronto food banks.

In front of Ward’s Island Association Club House is the beautiful 12-foot diameter Willow Square Mosaic, created by a group of Islanders to celebrate the Island’s history: its history, people and the natural world that has shaped it. The mosaics were inspired by the works of Maggie Howarth, a renowned pebble mosaic artist working in England and Europe.

The image represents an island with a central willow tree whose intertwined trunk symbolizes the two communities of Ward’s and Algonquin. The roots of the tree reaches into the surrounding water. The mosaic focuses on the natural world, with a small band of ceramic houses, bicycles and carts bringing Island community life into the image.

I always enjoy exploring the Toronto Islands. Last weekend I returned for a 8 km (5 miles) family walk on a beautiful sunny day. I hope to share pictures from that walk in my monthly update for October next week.

How was your week?

Shared with #ThursdayDoors, #PPAC#68.

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Celebrating 6 Years of Blogging

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 41 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #91. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

October 10, 2022 marked the 6th anniversary of my first post on the Natalie the Explorer blog. The milestone inspires me to share some of my thoughts on blogging, hosting and participating in blog linkups and photo challenges.


I started the blog on Blogger in October 2016. I moved from Blogger to WordPress in May 2019. The move to WordPress is good for me as most of the bloggers I connect with are on WordPress, and it’s convenient to read blogs and leave comments when you’re on the same platform.

What I enjoy about blogging:

  1. Having a hobby, a creative outlet and a digital record of my adventures.
  2. Sharing the beauty and wonders of our planet Earth by text and pictures.
  3. Connecting with and learning from other bloggers and blog readers around the world. I’ve had the pleasure to meet several bloggers in real life.

Thank you to everyone who visits Natalie the Explorer. I appreciate all the visits, likes, comments and shares over the years. I value each and every one of my blogging friends and everyone who took the time to leave a comment. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement through the years.


I experimented with hosting the monthly Wellness Wednesday linkup in 2018-2019 and the monthly Wellness Weekend linkup in 2020. I’ve been hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup since January 2021. I hope to reach the 100th linkup soon. 100 sounds like a nice milestone.

What encourages me to host:

  1. Receiving comments from linkup participants who take time to read my blog and leave a comment.
  2. Seeing a good number of bloggers join weekly and connect with other bloggers via comments.
  3. Seeing linkup participants do link backs and pingback to promote the linkup. Here’s WordPress how to create a pingback.

A linkup becomes stale when bloggers join in without leaving comments for the host and other participants. It’s like having a party with no conversation and no social connection.

Some blog hosts use InLinkz. Some hosts have participants leave their links in the Comments and the host does the roundup of participants. I’ve been using InLinkz for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup, however, I’m thinking about using the Comments and roundup in the new year. I’ll let you know when I decide to change how I host my linkup.

Thank you to everyone who actively participates in my weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup. I appreciate all the comments, contributions, link-backs and pingbacks.


I enjoy participating in selected blog link parties and photo challenges to support my fellow blog hosts and have fun. The following gallery (and my header photo) is my contribution to Terri’s Sunday Stills October colour challenge and Denyse’s Words & Pics linkup.

I hope to share a pleasant walk with you next week.

What keeps you blogging? What encourages you to participate in a blog linkup or blog challenge?

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Prime Berth in Twillingate

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 35 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #85. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Before reaching St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador, from Western Newfoundland, I passed through many small fishing communities and headed north to the town of Twillingate, located on the Twillingate Islands on the north east coast of Newfoundland.

Twillingate gets its name from the French word “Toulinquet,” given to the islands by French fishermen, who compared it to a group of islands off the French coast near Brest also called Toulinquet. Twillingate is known for icebergs, whales, ocean experiences and outdoor adventures. It was a historic fishing community (since the 1500s), but because of the decline of the fishing industry, its economy now relies more on tourism.

One of the attractions in Twillingate is the Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre. It is a private interpretive fishing center and craft studio created by David Boyd, with the support of his wife Christine, as a tribute to his fisher forefathers. Captain Dave also runs boat tours for iceberg viewing and whale watching.

Prime Berth refers to the age old practice of each spring holding a draw, or lottery of sorts, to determine the place, or “berth” where fishermen would set their cod traps during the coming summer. Everyone hoped and prayed that they would be lucky enough to draw the best spot, or “Prime Berth”, as it was called. In David’s case this was personal and special as all the fishermen gathered in his father’s kitchen each May for the annual cod trap draw. In honour of this tradition, and as a tribute to proud people so dear to his heart, David decided to call his heritage centre – “Prime Berth”- meaning literally -“the best spot!”

Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre

The following two slideshows highlight some of the displays that I found interesting at Prime Berth. Click on the arrows or swipe to move through the slides.

Buildings and Doors

These brightly painted buildings house fishing artifacts and tools. There are hundreds of items on display in the buildings and on or above the doors. The last picture shows the jaw bone of a fin whale found at Trinity Bay in the 1950s.


These murals depict life in a fishing community. Look closely to see fish, icebergs, whales, seabirds, boats, clapboard homes, fishermen and women, the ocean and the rocky coastline. The island of Newfoundland is nicknamed “The Rock” because of its rocky terrain and high cliffs.

I hope to take you on an easy walk in a charming and historic town next week.

Shared with #ThursdayDoors, PPAC#62, #SundayStills.

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5 Scenic Walks in Western Newfoundland

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 32 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #82. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

In my previous post I shared a sampling of the delicious meals that I had in Newfoundland and Labrador. I worked them off by taking as many walks as possible. It was easy to do because the province has 29,000 kilometres of pristine coastline and close to 300 hiking and walking trails.

Here are five scenic walks that I enjoyed in western Newfoundland. As always, click on any image in the galleries to see its bigger version and caption.

1. Corner Brook Stream Trail

I was staying at Glynmill Inn and the Corner Brook Stream Trail was steps from the inn entrance so I did two walks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon in opposite directions. The trails are well defined with minimal elevation.

The morning walk took me along the beautiful trail to the wetlands and into the forest. Pretty wildflowers, bright dandelions and adorable chipmunks were part of a wonderful start to my day.

The afternoon walk took me to another beautiful forest, then a bridge that crosses rushing waters and Glynmill Inn Pond with swans before I returned to Glynmill Inn.

2. Trout River Boardwalk

Trout River is a small rural fishing town located on the southern coastal edge of Gros Morne National Park, near the Tablelands. This town is known for its boardwalk and trails that connect to the National Park. I enjoyed the views over the water and a walk through town.

Trout River was settled in 1815 by George Crocker and his family, who were its only inhabitants until 1880. In 2014, a blue whale carcass washed up along the shore in Trout River which attracted international attention. The skeleton of this whale was later put on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

3. Shallow Bay Trail

This 1.3-km loop trail is easy and perfect when short on time. I extended my walk to see St. Mary’s botanical garden, St. Mary’s church, and Dr. Henry N. Payne Museum & Craft Shop (the longest running museum on the West Coast of Newfoundland). I returned to Shallow Bay just in time for a spectacular sunset.

4. The Dorset Trail, Port au Choix

The Dorset Trail winds across limestone barrens and through forest and heathland to coastal archaeological sites dating back 2,800 years. This was one of my favourite trails for the unusual landscape. Although the ground may look bare, when I took a closer look, to my delight, I discovered many plants living and thriving on these barrens.

5. Bottom Brook Trail

Bottom Brook received its name due to its location at the bottom of St. Anthony Harbour. The 1.4-km loop trail is an easy walk on a beautiful morning to start my day. After the walk, I took a boat tour from St. Anthony Harbour to see icebergs, seabirds and whales.


I love the uniqueness of the above walks and their beautiful natural surroundings. They are simple walks that I could fit in first thing in the morning to warm up, or last thing in the evening to wind down. I hope you enjoy the landscape as much as I did.

Shared with Jo’s Monday Walk, Denyse’s WW&P.

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5 Notable Lighthouses in Newfoundland

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 29 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #79. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

In my previous posts, I wrote about three amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites and my incredible iceberg viewing experience in Newfoundland and Labrador. Today’s post is about my road trip to see lighthouses.

Newfoundland and Labrador has over 29,000 kilometres of twisting coastline, laden with submerged rocks, hidden inlets, and icebergs. The province also has hundreds of lighthouses to guide fishermen and sailing vessels to safety on foggy and stormy nights. To make them easier to spot from a distance, many were painted plain white. Some have red and white stripes.

Lighthouses: A) Point Riche B) Lobster Head Cove C) Long Point D) Cape Bonavista E) Cape Spear

Here are five notable lighthouses that I visited on the island of Newfoundland. As always, click on images in the galleries to see bigger photos and captions.

A) Point Riche Lighthouse

Built in 1892, Point Riche Lighthouse is still active. The structure is 19 metres (62 ft) tall. The white wooden tower is octagonal pyramidal in shape; the entry door and lantern room are painted red. Its location is a windswept landscape with exposed ancient seabeds and expansive ocean views. I saw sea birds and whales here.

B) Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse

In the heart of Gros Morne National Park, Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse has guided ships into Bonne Bay since 1897. The tower is of iron, cast in St. John’s. Iron was fireproof, long-lasting and could be shipped to the site in pieces. The light is from England, built by Chance Brothers. All parts were landed below and hauled uphill by cart-and-oxen, overseen by first keeper Robert Lewis.

The setting of Lobster Cove Head Light was carefully chosen. The view gives the light beam a 180-degree sweep from north to south and out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In fine weather, it can be seen over 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) offshore.

C) Long Point Lighthouse

Long Point Lighthouse, built in 1876, is located on a prominent headland at the entrance to Notre Dame Bay, in Twillingate on the northeast coast of Newfoundland. At more than 300 feet above sea level, its location provides an open view of the islands that dot this section of coast, of shipping activities and of icebergs that drift south in the spring.

Along the cliff trails, tuckamores survive. Tuckamores are trees that have been bent and sculpted by constant strong onshore winds. The salt spray kills exposed buds, so growth only occurs on the tree’s sheltered inland side.

D) Cape Bonavista Lighthouse

Built in 1843, the light at Cape Bonavista is one of the few in the world where you can still climb up the stone tower and see the same seal oil fueled catoptric light apparatus that was used in the 1800s. I took the guided tour to learn about the hard life of the lightkeepers and see their quarters that have been restored to the 1870s.

As the place where John Cabot first made landfall in Newfoundland in 1497, Cape Bonavista Lighthouse is one of the most visited Provincial Historic Sites in the province. This is a prime location to view whales, icebergs and puffins. I was delighted to see hundreds of cute puffins fly from the cliffs and a fox family outside the lighthouse.

E) Cape Spear Lighthouse

Cape Spear, Newfoundland’s oldest surviving lighthouse and a National Historic Site, has served as the chief approach light for St. John’s harbour since 1836. Constructed by local builders, it consists of a stone tower surrounded by a frame residence, a common lighthouse design on Canada’s east coast.

The light mechanism in use in the 19th century came from Inchkeith lighthouse in Scotland. Modern equipment was installed in 1912 and remains in use in the concrete tower built nearby in 1955. Much altered during the 19th century, the old lighthouse has been restored to its original appearance.

On the day of my visit, it was foggy and windy on Cape Spear, a perfect opportunity to see the light flash from the new tower and hear foghorn sound.

Cape Spear is home to the most easterly point of land in North America. In this place on the edge of the continent, you can watch the sun rise first before anyone else in North America. Pretty cool, eh?

Cape Spear
Cape Spear

Are you road tripping this summer?

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These Icebergs Made My Day

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 28 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #78. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Iceberg viewing is one of the outdoor activities that I hoped to do when I traveled to Newfoundland and Labrador last month. While late May and early June is the best viewing time, there is no guarantee to see icebergs because it’s up to Nature.

To view icebergs, I headed north and took the ferry from St. Barbe to Blanc Sablon across the Strait of Belle Isle to the shores of Labrador (C in the map below). It was a clear and sunny day, high 18C (64F).

My itinerary in Newfoundland and Labrador
My itinerary

Iceberg #1

As we approached Blanc Sablon, I spotted a ‘dry dock’ iceberg with a U-shaped slot at water level, and three pinnacles or columns. It was a beautiful first sighting.

Iceberg near Blanc Sablon
Iceberg near Blanc Sablon
Iceberg near Blanc Sablon
Same iceberg, different angle

Roughly 90% of icebergs seen off Newfoundland and Labrador come from the glaciers of western Greenland, while the rest come from glaciers in Canada’s Arctic. It takes an iceberg about two to three years to reach Newfoundland and Labrador from Greenland – a distance of 1,800 nautical miles.

Iceberg #2

Two days later, I boarded a tour boat from St. Anthony (D on my itinerary map) and headed out to sea. St. Anthony is located in Iceberg Alley, an area that stretches from the coast of Labrador to the southeast coast of the island of Newfoundland.

Once again, I was fortunate to have a gorgeous, clear and sunny day, high 11C (52F). About fifteen minutes after the boat departure, I spotted two icebergs in the horizon. One ‘tabular’ iceberg had a flat top and one ‘dome’ iceberg had a rounded top. It was amazing to see these magnificent 10,000 year-old giants float silently in open waters. However, they were a bit far for good pictures.

Until we got close to this ‘pinnacle’ iceberg with one main pyramid on it. It was much bigger than the iceberg I saw in Blanc Sablon. Zoom in to see the streaks on its surface. Regardless of size, each iceberg is unique. As are the bluish-green streaks breaking through the bright white ice.

Iceberg in St. Anthony
The back of the same iceberg
Iceberg and small ice chunks
Iceberg and smaller ice chunks

Iceberg #3

As the tour boat rounded the corner, I saw a massive ‘wedged’ iceberg, with steep surfaces on one side and gradually sloping on the other, thus forming a wedge. And when I considered that 90% of an iceberg is actually below the surface, I was in awe to see this iceberg. Just stunning!

The boat captain turned off the engine so we could listen to hear the melting ice, the faint pops releasing the fresh, clean air previously trapped for thousands of years. As we circled around the iceberg, I realized how deceiving its first appearance was and how an iceberg sank the Titanic because there was more behind its massive size.

Iceberg in St. Anthony
Iceberg in St. Anthony
Streaks on iceberg surface
Beautiful streaks on the iceberg surface
Same iceberg, different angle
Same iceberg, different angle

Most icebergs weigh between 100,000 and 200,000 tonnes, and some, though more rare, as much as millions of tonnes. There are bergy bits the size of a small house and smaller ones called growlers that get their name from the sound they make as they plunge into the swelling seas. Icebergs are harvested to produce Iceberg Vodka, Gin, and bottled water in Newfounddland and Labrador.

On the way back to St. Anthony, I saw bergy bits and growlers. I touched and tasted the iceberg ice that the boat captain scooped up using a net. Icebergs are created from pure, fresh water and snow so iceberg ice is safe to consume and is not salty.

Bergy bits
Bergy bits
Iceberg ice
Iceberg ice

Since these icebergs and I have traveled thousands of miles to reach Newfoundland and Labrador, I was so happy we met on two beautiful days. Iceberg viewing is one of the highlights of my trip and a memorable experience for a lifetime.

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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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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

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



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.


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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