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 #22! 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.
I know we are a few days into June already. In the first week of every new month, I usually look back at the month that was and plan fun activities for the new month. So what made May marvellous for me?
Temperatures quickly warmed up in May and it was like the switch flipped. Vegetation just go from buds on a tree to full leaf, and all of that happened within about 10 days. There were many beautiful blooms in the gardens in May as my photos show below. Click on any image to see it bigger.
I continued my health routine in May with cycling, walking, playing disc golf, body weight training, meditation and yoga. I’ve enjoyed more cycling on weekends in May thanks to 2 conditions: 1) Good weather and 2) Weekend road closures when a few routes are closed to vehicles and open to cyclists and pedestrians.
My family and friends are well. Most of us have received our first COVID-19 vaccine dose, some of us are fully vaccinated. Starting May 22, outdoor social gatherings of up to 5 people are allowed so I met my sister for a walk on a beautiful day.
On May 20, Ontario announced a three-step plan to gradually reopen the province through June, July and August based on vaccination rates and key public health and health care indicators. Things are looking up after a long lockdown. Hurrah!
What I did for fun in May
Explored the city by bike and on foot.
Walked in public gardens and smelled the scents of flowers.
Played disc golf in a beautiful park.
Watched bird families and listened to bird songs.
Visited Heritage buildings, art murals and sculptures.
Hosted 4 Weekend Coffee Share link-ups.
Started a small herb garden.
Learned French and Spanish on Duolingo.
What I read in May
I enjoyed reading 8 fiction novels in May and increased my Books in 2021 total to 40. Here’s my list of books with asterisk indicating new-to-me author:
Keeping The Moon – Sarah Dessen.
The Trespasser – Tana French.
Force of Nature – Jane Harper.
The Dry – Jane Harper.
The Survivors – Jane Harper.
Naïve. Super – Erlend Loe. *
Camp – L. C. Rosen. *
The Burning Girls – C.J. Tudor.
I’m now caught up with C.J. Tudor’s and Jane Harper’s published books, 4 from each author. This includes The Burning Girls and The Survivors, both were released in 2021.
May was marvellous! I’m grateful for all the good things that happened. I hope you had a good May, too. I’ve blocked time for my health, home, and leisure activities in June. I look forward to making the most of every day.
What do you look forward to in June? Let me know in the 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 #15! 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.
First, it’s been delightful to see Spring flower blooms around here. I went for a walk in the Toronto Music Garden and took tons of photos. I’m sharing a few in violet colour below.
Here are a few more from my photo archives in alphabetical order.
Next, let me introduce you to how to play disc golf at a beautiful 9-hole disc golf course. If you have never played or heard of disc golf before, read on.
How To Play Disc Golf
Review the map of the golf course posted at the entrance. Note the direction to throw. We’re at a 9-hole course so the numbers go from 1 to 9. At a 18-hole disc golf course, the numbers go from 1 to 18.
Here’s the game objective, how to play, and course courtesy.
The tee pad is rectangular with soft padding. Next to it is a post that shows the tee number, par number, and the distance from the tee to the corresponding basket. Par is the number of throws a disc golfer is expected to need to complete an individual hole. Par 3 is common.
Start at tee #1. Stand in the tee and throw your disc towards the corresponding basket (hole). The varying distance at each hole and obstacles such as trees or hills make the game fun and challenging.
The basket for each tee is also numbered. Once your disc lands in the basket, pick it up, and follow the directional red arrow at the bottom of the basket to go to the next tee.
Continue playing until the last hole. Have fun and remember the course courtesy. The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Disc Golfers Code is posted at each tee.
About The Discs
Below is a sample of 3 discs, each has a name, an image and 4 numbers on it. The yellow disc is the Driver for maximum distance, the white disc is Mid-range for a wide range of distances, and the blue disc is the Putter for short distance and putting into the basket.
The discs have fancy names and come in different colours. When you’re new to disc golf, the variety of discs can be overwhelming. Start with an inexpensive set of bright coloured discs (not green or brown). The bright colours make it easy to locate the discs on the course. I also label the back of my discs with a sharpie.
The 4 numbers on a disc golf disc are a flight ratings system to indicate how a disc is supposed to fly. For first time players, I’d suggest to have fun playing and not be concerned about these numbers yet.
Why Disc Golf?
It’s a fun sport that I can play with others or alone (safer in COVID-19 times).
It’s outdoors, usually in a park where I can play any time, weather permitting.
It involves mental estimates, body movements, and walking.
I like the calm and meditative feels when I play and walk the course.
Like any sport, part of the fun is to keep playing to improve.
The discs are light and easy to carry. Each of my discs weighs about 150g.
The initial cost is minimal. A set of 3 discs costs about US$20.
A disc golf bag to carry the discs is nice to have but not required (about US$20).
The ongoing cost to play is $0 in Toronto where disc golf courses are in public parks.
I hope my introduction to how to play disc golf is good. Consult with your doctor before starting any new sport activity. For more information, check out the Professional Disc Golf Association web site and YouTube.
What’s your favourite violet flower? Is my introduction to disc golf helpful? I’d love to hear your comments.
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!
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #5! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself with a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station, and let’s chat.
1. The Best Indoor Food Markets
One of my recent bicycle rides was to St. Lawrence Market, which was constructed in 1803, and was named the best food market in the world by National Geographic in 2012.
The St. Lawrence Market Complex consists of the South Market (Main market), the North Market (Saturday Farmers’ market), and St. Lawrence Hall (Offices and rental venue).
St. Lawrence Market reminds me of the Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall, the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest, Hungary, built in 1897.
Both markets have similar interior layouts. St. Lawrence South Market has two levels: The main and lower levels of St. Lawrence South Market contain over 120 specialty vendors, known for the variety and freshness of their fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, grains, baked goods and dairy products, as well as for the uniqueness of the non-food items for sale.
The Great Market Hall has three levels: Most of the stalls on the ground floor offer produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices, and spirits. The second mezzanine floor has eateries and tourist souvenirs. The basement contains fishmongers, vegetables stalls, and a few specialized butcher shops.
Both St. Lawrence Market and the Great Market Hall are amazing indoor markets to explore, browse or buy and savour fresh food.
Now that we’ve got our fresh pastries from the market, let me tell you about my upcoming guest post and my blog party wondering.
I’ve known Min in the blog world for some time now as we both link up with some of the same blog parties. I’d like to thank Min for the opportunity to share my ideas on her blog. It’s cool that my blogging voice gets to travel to Australia before I visit the country IRL. See how blog parties open doors to new adventures?
3. What Attracts You to A Blog Party?
Coffee Share party #4 was well-attended with 35 bloggers. Thank you for your participation! Now that we’ve had four blog parties in January, I wonder what attracts bloggers to a blog link-up. Is it simply a nice place to hang out with other bloggers or is there more that attracts you to it? Such as:
The blogs at the link-up.
The dates and time when the link-up is open.
The new visitors and comments that you receive.
The reciprocity among participants: You visit a blog, leave a comment, and the blogger visits your blog.
By word of mouth from a blogger you follow.
The host’s responsiveness to reply to comments on his/ her blog and leave comments on your blog.
Perhaps the best blog parties are those that keep bringing you back.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #3! I’m glad you are here. Please come on in and help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station. I’m eager to share my news and photos with you.
1. Awesome Coffee Share Party #2
At closing time this past Sunday, Coffee Share party #2 had 30 participants, a new high! Several blogger friends accepted my direct invitations and joined the link up for the first time. Thank you, everyone, for coming.
I’m liking the diversity of the blogs that we have so far. I hope you enjoy the party. Please continue to link back or ping back, and leave a comment on my blog and the blogs you visit so we know you’ve dropped by.
2. Winter Cycling
The weather here was good this past week, cloudy with some sunny breaks and scattered flurries with no significant snow accumulation. I was happy to cycle outside to exercise most days. I choose quiet places to keep a safe distance from everyone else.
One example of a quiet public space is the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. The buildings in this huge area sit empty since all events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At normal times, they’d be filled with conference or exhibition organizers and attendees.
The main entrance to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds is the Princes’ Gates.
3. The Princes’ Gates
This entrance was built in 1927 to commemorate 60 years of Canadian Confederation. The stone and concrete gates were designed by the Toronto firm of Chapman and Oxley and are a fine example of monumental architecture in the Beaux-Arts mode.
A Roman arch forms the centre gate and is flanked on each side by a colonnade of nine Ionic columns. The nine columns represent the participating provinces of Confederation (Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949). At each extremity of the Gates are curved pylons with fountains at their bases.
Sculptor Charles D. McKechnie created the statues. The Winged Victory atop the central arch is flanked by figures representing the CNE’s commitment to progress through industry, education, and the arts. In the lowered hand of the Winged Victory is a single maple leaf, a symbol of Canadian independence and autonomy.
The gates were opened officially on August 30, 1927 by Edward, Prince of Wales, and Prince George. They have been known ever since as the “Princes’ Gates“.
In front of the Princes’ Gates is the Piazza Princes’ Gates designed by firms from Milano and Toronto. The landscape elements of this piazza celebrate the Princes’ Gates and the Canada-Italy connection. Ten long bands of Canadian granite interpret the original symbolism of the Gates’ columns into the surface of the piazza – each is engraved with the motto of a Canadian province.
Seating blocks at the end of the granite bands are marked with the name of the corresponding province or a territory. The blocks are crafted of twinned pieces of granite – representing Milano and Toronto – joined together by light. Piazza Princes’ Gates was officially opened on July 19, 2006.
I enjoyed cycling in the sunshine on a gorgeous winter day. The rest of my week went well. Your turn:
Hello and welcome to the new location for Weekend Coffee Share! I’m glad you are here. Please help yourself with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my “coffee station”.
Alli at Eclectic Alli used to host the party until last weekend. I’m your host with the followingguidelines for this weekly Coffee Share blog feature:
Everyone is welcome to join in the Weekend Coffee Share in any and every week.
Topics are open – e.g. What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
Use the Inlinkz link provided to join the party or leave the link to your Weekend Coffee Share post in a comment below my Coffee Share post.
You can link to your post any time between 8 a.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday (both Toronto time).
I will be flexible in the way I title my Weekend Coffee Share posts.
I’d ask that participants be social. Read my post and two posts from other Coffee Share participants and leave a comment so we know you’ve dropped by.
I’m trying to build a fun, positive, social, and supportive blogging community here. So, as the owner of the blog and the host of the link-up, posts that I deem to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include ads, “drop and run” links, promotions, and any that are offensive in nature, overly political or religious.
Two in One excursion
This past week, the weather was typical for winter here with the average temperatures slightly above freezing point. I went cycling a few times on the Waterfront Trail which is reserved for cyclists, joggers, and pedestrians and is cleared of ice and snow.
I made a stop at a building complex that would be a fabulous place for us to virtually celebrate our first Weekend Coffee Share in 2021. It has a grand entrance, red carpet, and total floor area 9,300 square meters (100,000 square feet).
I call this excursion a Two in One because the building has two names (Ontario Government and Liberty Grand) and my trip serves me two purposes (Health and Leisure). By visiting the building complex, I get my exercise from cycling outdoors and have fun examining the building architecture and taking photos.
Name #1 Above the arch – The Ontario Government Building, in Beaux-Arts style, is a heritage building, designed by the architectural firm of Chapman and Oxley in 1926. It was built to display Government of Ontario exhibits during the Canadian National Exhibition.
Name #2 Below the arch – Since 2001, the Liberty Entertainment Group has a long term lease to use the building for private events. The Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex has several areas for banquets and balls, including three grand ballrooms, and one contemporary open-concept room.
There you have it. A Two in One highlight from my first week of 2021. The rest of my week went very well.
Weekend Coffee Share is now underway from Natalie the Explorer blog. I hope that together we make this a fun social event for every weekend in 2021. I’d love to hear your comments.
Today is the last Wellness Weekend link up in 2020. The optional prompt is Wrapping Up. I hope you join in on the fun right here.
We’ve all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020. Personally, it started in mid-March for me. Since March, I’ve lived through two waves of the pandemic and two lockdowns in Toronto: The first lockdown from March to June and the second lockdown from November 23 to January 4, 2021 at least.
To wrap up the year, I reflect on what I’ve accomplished and how I spent my days in 2020. Here’s the ten things that stand out for me.
Self-care – On the Health front, I’ve done well in 2020. I practice the 3Ws (wash my hands, watch my distance, and wear my mask) to keep myself and others safe from COVID-19. I meditate daily, cycle, exercise, practice yoga, and walk most days. The physical activities and being outside close to nature keep me in good spirits.
Trying new and healthy things – When the gym and swimming pool are closed, I find several body weight training videos on YouTube. I learn new exercises and do workouts at home. In the summer, I go canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddling. I focus my time and energy more on healthy or useful activities and less on news and social media.
Enjoying home comforts – For the first time in many years, I stay home the entire year without traveling. I keep my home tidy and designate space for my workouts and my leisure activities. I embrace the quietude, stock up on essential items, bake new recipes, and make all meals at home.
Socializing outside – In the summer when the first lockdown is lifted, I meet with my family and friends outdoors. We practice physical distancing, stay at least 2m (6 feet) apart, and bring our own drinks and snacks to our coffee dates.
Using technology – The second lockdown requires Torontonians to limit contacts to the people we live with and the cold weather makes meeting outdoors less inviting so I rely on my phone, email, and FaceTime to stay connected with my family and friends. The important thing is we are all well.
Continuing cultural fun – During the pandemic, I go almost 100% digital with my cultural activities. I learn French and Spanish on Duolingo, listen to concerts online as opposed to at indoor venues, visit outdoor public art installations as opposed to indoor art galleries, and watch virtual shows or movies at home as opposed to in the theatres.
Exploring – 2020 is the year when all my trip reservations are cancelled with full refunds. Since I’ve been to many countries, some several times, I feel fine to wait until it’s safe to travel again. The pause of travel this year is an opportunity for me to explore wonderful places in Toronto, and to prioritize my international travel in the future.
Reading – I read a lot of books in 2020. My current count is 111 fiction novels and memoirs from more than 70 authors. This is my best annual reading record to date. A tough one for me to repeat. I switch from books to e-books in the summer. To my surprise, I love this change.
Writing – I enjoy writing 55 blog posts and one guest post in 2020. I’m still having fun after four years of blogging. I’m thrilled when my blog readers find my story and photos interesting or inspiring. The best is when I make you smile.
Gratitude – I feel grateful every day for many things, such as a new day, my good health, my family and friends, comfortable home, good food, amazing technology, excellent library system, well-maintained city parks, beautiful Lake Ontario, fantastic Waterfront Trail, and more.
I’d like to thank all of you who read my blog and share your thoughts. Your blogging friendships and comments are my awards. I wish everyone a healthy holiday season and a happy New Year 2021.