Toronto Music Garden in Autumn

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 47 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #97 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

I had written about the Toronto Music Garden in Spring (here), Summer (here) and Winter (here). To complete my series, I visited the garden in Autumn (early November). A week after my visit, we had our first dusting of snow.

Toronto Music Garden

The Toronto Music Garden springs from the imagination of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, the garden is made up of six “movements” whose forms and feelings correspond to that suggested in the music: Prélude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue.

Prélude

This section imparts the feeling of a flowing river. Granite boulders that came from the Canadian Shield represent a stream bed. Low-growing plants soften its banks. Circular designs on the ground and at the edge of the boulders represent the water movements. The trees with straight trunks are native Hackberry trees. This is the only section in the garden that is not a dance form.

Prélude in autumn

Allemande

This section imparts the feeling of a forest grove of wandering trails. The allemande is an ancient German dance. The trails swirl inward and move higher and higher up the hillside. A circle of dawn redwood trees and a small birch forest provide shades to the various contemplative sitting areas that look over the harbour.

Allemande in autumn

Courante

This section imparts the feeling of a swirling path through a wildflower meadow. The courante is an exuberant Italian and French dance form. The trails swirl upward in a spiral form, through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. At the top of the swirling path is the maypole, with Celtic-patterned spirals and iron wheel, designed by Anne Roberts.

Courante in autumn

Sarabande

This section is envisioned as a poet’s corner with a centerpiece. The sarabande is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. The trails go in an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Japanese maple trees are also grown here. The centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

Sarabande in autumn

Menuet

This section imparts the feeling of a formal parterre garden of flowers. The menuett is a French dance movement. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of a circular pavilion. The pavilion is hand-crafted with ornamental steel by Tom Tollefson. It is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

Menuet in autumn

Gigue

Gigue section imparts the feeling of a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The gigue, or “jog”, is an English dance. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree.

Gigue in autumn

Photographing Public Art Challenge

To my delight, as I reached the east end of the Toronto Music Garden, I saw a new mural on an utility box by artist Varvara Nedilska.

Art by Varvara Nedilska, 2022
Art by Varvara Nedilska, 2022

In early November, Toronto Music Garden still had plenty of colours such as pink and white anemones, pink and purple asters, snow berries, holly berries, and more. I love walking through the garden and take in the beauty around me.

December Schedule

Please note the following Weekend Coffee Share linkup schedule:

  • December 2: Linkup #98
  • December 9: Linkup #99
  • December 16: Linkup #100
  • December 23: No linkup
  • December 30: No linkup

I’ll repeat this announcement between now and December 16th since some bloggers don’t participate every week. I’ll be taking a break in the last two weeks of 2022. After the holidays, I’ll resume the Weekend Coffee Share linkup on Friday, January 6, 2023.

How was your week?

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk.

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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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Toronto Music Garden in Spring

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 25 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #75. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

This week I welcomed summer arrival in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21. As if on cue, Toronto had a heat event on June 21 and 22 with maximum temperatures reached 33C (91F), and felt like 39C (102F) with humidity. It was sunny and warm the rest of the week.

To pay tribute to a beautiful spring that I had, I’m taking you on an easy stroll in the Toronto Music Garden in spring. Aside from the gorgeous tall trees, let’s see colourful flowers, listen to birdsong, and smell the gentle floral scent.

The Toronto Music Garden springs from the imagination of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, the garden is made up of six “movements” whose forms and feelings correspond to that suggested in the music: Prélude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version and image name.

1. Prélude

This section imparts the feeling of a flowing river. Granite boulders that came from the Canadian Shield represent a stream bed. Low-growing plants soften its banks. Circular designs on the ground and at the edge of the boulders represent the water movements. The trees with straight trunks are native Hackberry trees. This is the only section in the garden that is not a dance form.

2. Allemande

This section imparts the feeling of a forest grove of wandering trails. The allemande is an ancient German dance. The trails swirl inward and move higher and higher up the hillside. A circle of dawn redwood trees and a small birch forest provide shades to the various contemplative sitting areas that look over the harbour.

3. Courante

This section imparts the feeling of a swirling path through a wildflower meadow. The courante is an exuberant Italian and French dance form. The trails swirl upward in a spiral form, through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. At the top of the swirling path is the maypole, with Celtic-patterned spirals and iron wheel, designed by Anne Roberts.

4. Sarabande

This section is envisioned as a poet’s corner with a centerpiece. The sarabande is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. The trails go in an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Japanese maple trees are also grown here. The centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

5. Menuett

This section imparts the feeling of a formal parterre garden of flowers. The menuett is a French dance movement. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of a circular pavilion. The pavilion is hand-crafted with ornamental steel by Tom Tollefson. It is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

6. Gigue

Gigue section imparts the feeling of a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The gigue, or “jog”, is an English dance. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree.

In spring, the Toronto Music Garden is a wonderful place to stroll, check out what’s blooming, watch birds, listen to birdsong, and reconnect with nature. Benches are available throughout the garden to sit and enjoy the scenery.

How has your week been?

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Corktown Common and Don River

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you are here. It’s week 23 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #73. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s chat.

Today I have two lovely walks and a few beautiful peonies to share. The walks can be combined to get in more steps and to see distinct landscapes.

1. Corktown Common

Corktown Common park is a versatile place for either an easy walk on flat surfaces or a cardio workout using the stairs. The trails go in sort of a spiral pattern. Beautiful redbud trees and other native flowers bloom in spring.

Lots of birds to watch in this park, especially the red-winged black birds that fly back and forth across the curved boardwalk, and cute duck families in the ponds. Benches are available to rest and enjoy the park.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version.

It was a blissful walk in glorious sunshine to get in my steps, enjoy nature, and be grateful for the little things that make life better.

2. Don River Trail

The Lower Don River Trail is a beautiful, serene trail that follows the Don River. The trail is perfect for a peaceful walk or bike ride, and offers stunning views of the river and its surroundings. Coming to the trail on a sunny weekday, I had the place almost to myself.

Green trees, green grass, the dappled shade, and the reflections on the river were pleasant to see. Several bridges contribute to the uniqueness of this trail. Birdsong filled the air as I walked. Sunshine and a gentle breeze were ideal conditions to stay out longer. I cycled home feeling light and relaxed.

3. Beautiful Peonies

I was delighted to see peonies in three different colours: yellow, hot pink and red. I look forward to seeing them in a local garden every spring. These blooms are huge, almost the size of a dinner plate. There were many of them so the branches just bent over with the weight. I love their layers of petals and gentle fragrance.

Spring walks are my favourites as the weather is mostly sunny, temperatures are usually cool, the landscape is fresh green, and flowers bloom everywhere. I hope to have more beautiful outings this weekend.

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Happy Easter Weekend

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #65! 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 15/ 52

It was a week of sunny days, periods of showers, and above normal temperatures that reached 18C (64F) on Wednesday afternoon. I’m thinking of good things that happened this week.

1. Friendship

One of my longtime friends lives in the suburbs, about an hour drive from me. She had appointments downtown yesterday so we arranged to meet for coffee. It was a happy reunion because even though we’ve been in touch, we haven’t seen each other for over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winter aconites – Yellow is often seen as the universal colour of friendship

2. Garden walks

I took several lovely garden walks this week. In any garden, especially in spring, a walk is a sensory and therapeutic experience. At least, I see flowers, hear bird songs, smell the freshly churned soil, and feel the coolness in the air and the warmth of sunlight.

My neighbourhood looks more and more beautiful every day as we get further into spring. Sunlight, rain, and warmer temperatures have sped up plant growth. I enjoy looking out for early spring flowers in gardens. They are emerging and showing off their cheerful colours.

3. Birding

I saw beautiful red cardinals, American robins, European starlings, and red-winged blackbirds. They were all singing their wonderful bird songs. Toronto is on one of the major bird migration paths so we have many bird species year-round. I feel fortunate to hear the sounds of nature so clearly while living in a big city. I also found four new cute birdhouses.

4. Photography

I went through my pictures taken at Allan Gardens Conservatory and had fun creating an Orchid slideshow. I’ve seen most of these orchid varieties in stores, except the Bell orchid tree from tropical Africa. Their beauty brightens my day and transports me to faraway places. Click on the arrows or swipe to see the images.

5. Books

Three e-books that I requested from the library arrived. They were new releases in January and February 2022. Two of the books are from familiar authors, and one is a debut novel from a new-to-me author. I’m excited to read new books and discover new authors. I love my library’s digital services and the convenience of e-books. I keep track of what I’ve read here.

***

That wraps up Week 15 of 2022. In spite of mixed weather, it was a lovely week. Trees are in bloom, birds are singing, good coffee and new books are waiting. I look forward to a relaxing weekend with my family and Week 16 coming up. I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend.

How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #Lens-Artist Challenge, #PPAC, #SpringFestival, #ThursdayDoors.

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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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Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring 2022

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #62! 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 12/ 52

Spring arrived on Sunday March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere. I was ready to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring. On Monday, the daytime high temperature was about 14C (58F) and sunny.

A sunny spring day was the perfect opportunity to visit the 7th annual Winter Stations outdoor art installations at Woodbine Beach before the exhibits end on March 31st.

Lifeguard chair at Woodbine Beach.
Lifeguard chair at Woodbine Beach

Goodbye Winter 2022

Winter Stations began in 2015 as a way to highlight the beauty of Toronto’s east end beaches and make them a destination point for outdoor art installations during the winter. The artworks are set up at the lifeguard stations along Woodbine Beach, and each year an international competition receives entries connected to that year’s Winter Stations’ theme.

The theme for this year was Resilience. I’m sharing my pictures of the five winning designs for 2022. For each design, I included lake view and city view.

Click on the arrows or swipe to see the slides.

If you’d like to read the Station description, click on its name on the following list:

  1. S’winter Station – Design Team: Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science, Canada.
  2. The Hive – Design Team: Kathleen Dogantzis and Will Cuthbert, Canada.
  3. Introspection – Design Team: University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, Canada.
  4. Enter-Face – Design Team: MELT – Cemre Onerturk and Ege Cakir, Turkey.
  5. One Canada – Design Team: University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Canada.

It was a beautiful day at Woodbine Beach where I said goodbye to winter. I love that even though Toronto is an urban centre, it has several Blue Flag beaches like Woodbine Beach. To see interesting public art on the beach is the icing on the cake.

Hello Spring 2022

Speaking of Resilience, on Tuesday, another sunny day, I spotted several early spring flowers in the public gardens. They have survived the cold winter months and bloomed amid the dead leaves. Seeing them made me so happy.

Hello snowdrops, hellebores, and a variety of crocus flowers! Welcome back. Even though winter still seems to linger, spring will take over. I look forward to seeing more lovely flowers in the coming days.

Click on the arrows or swipe to see the slides.

Your Turn:

  1. Which Winter Station is your favourite?
  2. What signs of Spring (or Fall in the Southern Hemisphere) have you seen?
  3. How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #FOTD, #PPAC41, #SpringFestival2022, #SundayStills, #ThursdayDoors.

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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.

How has your week been?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #LifeThisMonth, #PPAC39.

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What’s In The Garden? #SundayStills

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

This week’s theme: In The Garden

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

Butterflies

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

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

Birdhouses

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

Roses

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

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

Tomatoes

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

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

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

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

How to participate in the Sunday Stills photography challenge

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

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Tasty Meal and St. James Park

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #31! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate or a cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a week of sunny days with fluffy clouds and fun activities. In this post, I’d like to share a new-to-me recipe and my walk in St. James Park.

Asparagus and Sausage Penne

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

Asparagus and sausage penne

A Walk in St. James Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Gourlay sculpture by Adrienne Alison.

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

St. James Park playground.

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

St. James Park Michael Comstock Pavilion.

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

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

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

Bronze silhouette by Scott Eunson.

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