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.

Murals

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.

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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.

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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.

NewfoundlandandLabrador.com

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.

NewfoundlandandLabrador.com

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
Turntable

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

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

Freight and Passenger Cars

Locomotives

Towers

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

Mural

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

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

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

What’s your favourite train story?

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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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Weekday Walk: Exhibition Place

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 18 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #68. Come on in for a cup of coffee or tea and let’s chat.

Last week I took a self-guided architecture walk at Exhibition Place to revisit some of the buildings and public artworks. I’ve shared a few structures on the grounds of Exhibition Place on my blog before such as the Princes’ Gates, Fort Rouillé, Scadding Cabin, and Liberty Grand.

Dufferin Gate

On this walk, I started from Dufferin Gate, located at the north-west end of Exhibition Place, to visit the Gouinlock buildings first.

Dufferin Gate

This gateway to Exhibition Place has been rebuilt three times (1895, 1910, and 1959). Before the Princes’ Gates were built, the Dufferin Gate served as the main entrance to the grounds. In 1959, construction of the Gardiner Expressway necessitated the demolition of the 1910 gate, which was replaced with the current parabolic arch.

Exhibition Place website

Gouinlock Buildings

From 1905 through 1912, fifteen elaborate structures by architect George W. Gouinlock were constructed in the west end of Exhibition Place. The five still standing buildings are designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988. The oldest is the Press Building with its façade in Beaux-Arts style.

The Press Building
Original name: Administrative Building; Current name: The Press Building, built in 1905
The Music Buidling
Original name: Railways Building; Current name: The Music Building, built in 1907
Toronto Event Centre
Original name: Horticulture Building; Current name: Toronto Event Centre, built in 1907
Medieval Times
Original name: Government Building; Current name: Medieval Times, built in 1912
Fire Station 346
Original: Fire Station; Current: Fire Station 346, built in 1912

Other Buildings

Walking towards the east end of Exhibition Place, I chose the following buildings for their unique architectural styles:

Horse Palace
The Horse Palace built in 1931 in Art Deco style
Stanley Barracks, built in 1841
Stanley Barracks, built in 1841, in military style
Stanley Barracks looking east towards Hotel X
Stanley Barracks looking east towards Hotel X

The British army established a military post here in 1840-41 to replace aging Fort York. Known as the New Fort, it consisted of seven limestone buildings around a parade square, and a number of lesser structures. Massive defensive works were planned for the perimeter but never built. In 1893 the fort was renamed Stanley Barracks in honour of Governor General Lord Stanley. Canadian forces assumed responsibility for the post in 1870 and garrisoned it until 1947. The barracks then served as public housing until the early 1950s, when all but this building, the Officers’ Quarters, were demolished.

Text from the Stanley Barracks plaque
Beanfield Centre built in 1929 by architect Douglas Kertland, in Classical and Modern styles

Exhibition Place has many buildings and public artworks. I enjoyed my Architecture walk on a sunny spring day. The approximate distance was 5 km (3 miles). I’ll be back for an Art walk.

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

How has your week been?

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What’s Blooming at Allan Gardens?

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #64! 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.

Week 14/ 52

While waiting for more spring flowers to show up outdoors, I cycled to Allan Gardens Conservatory, located in downtown Toronto, to see what’s blooming. I had so much fun exploring the Conservatory. The first two pictures in this post are from my archive. The remaining pictures are new from the visit.

Allan Gardens Conservatory

The domed Allan Gardens Conservatory was initially built in 1909 by Robert McCallum in a neo-Classical and Edwardian style. It was expanded several times during the 1920s, in 1956, 1957, and in 2004 with the addition of six greenhouses.

Allan Gardens Conservatory.
Allan Gardens Conservatory

Behind the ordinary white doors, in total, the Conservatory’s six greenhouses cover approximately 1,500 square metres (16,000 sq ft). Each with its own distinct climate and associated plant collection:

  1. Arid House for cacti and succulents such as barrel cactus, jade plant, agave and aloe.
  2. Orchid House for a stunning collection of orchids and bromeliads mixed with a variety of flowering tropical plants and vines.
  3. Palm House also known as ‘The Dome’ contains palms, bananas and other tall plants.
  4. Temperate House for citrus, olive trees, and seasonal floral displays.
  5. Tropical Landscape House for plants like cycads, gingers, hibiscus and a jade vine.
  6. Children’s Conservatory is closed to the public but offers horticultural programs for children.
Looking up the dome of Allan Gardens Conservatory.
Looking up the 16-sided dome of Allan Gardens Conservatory

Inside the Conservatory, from floor to ceiling and on both sides of the pathways, are numerous plants, some with stunning flowers and some with fruits.

Inside Allan Gardens.
Inside Allan Gardens Conservatory

Two small ponds with soft sounds of water and distinct features add to the charms of the gardens.

Koi fish pond.
At the Koi pond, bright koi fish swim around Leda and the Swan sculpture
Turtle pond.
At the Turtle pond, turtles pile up to warm themselves in the sun

Below is a sample of what’s blooming during my visit. I save the cacti and orchids for future posts. Click on the arrows or swipe to see the slides.

It was a wonderful visit to see so many gorgeous plants and landscape designs in a charming setting. Allan Gardens once again gave me warmth and a mood booster. I’m thankful for nature’s leafy beauty worlds away yet close to home.

Allan Gardens Conservatory is open year round. Admission is free. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conservatory provides a few spectacular flower shows annually. I hope the flower shows resume this year as I look forward to revisiting the Conservatory.

Was any of the flowers in my slideshow new to you? How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #LifesStories, #PPAC43, #SpringFestival2022.

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Visoleil, moonGARDEN and Dreaming

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #60! 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.

Week 10/ 52

A lovely evening outing gave me an opportunity to photograph three modern art installations in downtown Toronto. Here they are in pictures with excerpts from their information boards.

1. Visoleil

Visoleil sculpture, 2021.
Visoleil sculpture by CIBC SQUARE and Delos Labs, 2021.

Sunlight has great potential to impact our well-being and the circadian rhythm by which we operate. Visoleil, designed by CIBC SQUARE in conjunction with Delos Labs, is a light-emitting public sculpture that simulates natural sunlight to help alleviate the negative effects caused by lack of bright light during the harsh winter months.

The 8 ft circular sculpture generates full spectrum bright light that may help improve circadian rhythm alignment, alertness, and mood by suppressing melatonin and stimulating serotonin production, helping to give observers an energized start to their day.

Visoleil at CIBC SQUARE

2. moonGARDEN

moonGARDEN traveling art installation includes a set of five giant illuminated spheres. The spheres range from six to twelve feet in height, and are filled with immersive animated shadow theatre designs. It was created by Montreal-based design firm Lucion in 2012 and has travelled to about 20 cities around the world.

moonGARDEN by Lucion, in Toronto in Winter 2022.
moonGARDEN art installation by Lucion, in Toronto in Winter 2022.

The colours and light brightness of the spheres change as music plays and the animated theatre designs appear. Sometimes all the spheres show the same colour, other times they vary. It’s mesmerizing to watch the changes.

Click on the arrows to see the slides.

Storytelling with shadows originated around 1000 BC in India and China. They were used to tell local legends and caricature current events. They became a symbol of the wishful, subjective fleeting emotions; the antithesis of light and reality.

moonGARDEN’s shadow theatres are used to project an evanescent dreamlike vision. Much like the effect of music, the visual composition evokes a whimsical poetic moment reminiscent of the imagery we mused over as children.

The multiple shades of grey, the quality of the images, the ever changing positions creates abstract mandalas which flavours daydreaming.

Displayed in a cluster of extra large spheres, bathing in a magical soundtrack, the installation underlines the all inclusive nature of the Set Theory.

moonGARDEN – Lucion

3. Dreaming

Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa created Dreaming in 2017. It was installed in Toronto in September 2020. Created with polyester resin and marble dust, this sculpture is over eight meters high. At first glance, the large and powerful, white sculpture represents a portrait of a young girl with closed eyes.

Dreaming sculpture by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, 2017.
Dreaming sculpture by Jaume Plensa, 2017.

As you walk around it, its look and feel changes depending on where you are standing. From some angles, the head appears giant and somehow soft. From others, it appears tall, long, and angular. The sculptor’s skills and creativity are impressive.

Dreaming and moonGARDEN together.
Dreaming and moonGARDEN together.

These art installations make me think of the sun, the moon, the galaxy and dream of peace on earth.

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