Painted Ladies and Historic Buildings

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #66! 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 16/ 52

When I cycle or walk in downtown Toronto, I’m drawn to study buildings. Most building exteriors are in neutral colours so those that are painted in non-neutral colours with unique architectural designs stand out to me. Here are a few painted buildings that I found interesting:

Painted Ladies

The first two images show six private homes in ‘painted ladies’ style. They’re located in a neighbourhood known as The Beaches in Toronto. I love that although these houses are side by side, each is unique in their architectural details and exterior colour schemes.

In American architecture, painted ladies are Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings repainted, starting in the 1960s, in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. The term was first used for San Francisco Victorian houses by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book Painted Ladies: San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians.

 'Painted ladies' trio.
First ‘Painted ladies’ trio
 'Painted ladies' trio
Second ‘Painted ladies’ trio
Close up of one of the Painted Ladies.
Close up of one of the Painted Ladies

P.J. O’Brien Irish Pub

P.J. O’Brien Pub is noticeable for the bright yellow and blue colour scheme on its exterior. Though the name of the place is P.J. O’Brien, it’s owned by the Quinn family. The building was completed in 1854.

P.J. O'Brien pub.

Many people come to the pub for Irish food served with pints of Guinness, and to have their photos taken beside the Guinness clock at the side of the pub.

Guinness clock at the side of P.J. O'Brien pub.
Guinness clock, P.J. O’Brien pub

Queen’s Wharf Lighthouse

The Queen’s Wharf Lighthouse, designed by the architect Kivas Tully, is a wooden 11-metre (36-foot) octagonal lighthouse. It projected red light, and along with a second, larger white light lighthouse, marked the entrance to the Toronto Harbour from 1861. It was deactivated in 1912.

Queen's Wharf lighthouse.
Queen’s Wharf Lighthouse

Today, the Queen’s Wharf Lighthouse is one of two surviving lighthouses in Toronto; the other being the stone Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Islands that I last mentioned here.

Gibraltar Point lighthouse.
Gibraltar Point lighthouse

Royal Alexandra Theatre

The Royal Alexandra Theatre, commonly known as the Royal Alex, is a theatre located near King and Simcoe Street in Toronto. Built in 1907 by the architect John M. Lyle, the 1,244-seat Royal Alex was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1986.

Royal Alexandra Theatre.
The Royal Alexandra Theatre

Constructed in 1906-07, this theatre is an intimate but lavish version of the traditional 19th century theatre, with two balconies as well as side boxes. John M. Lyle (1872-1945), one of Canada’s most distinguished architects of the 20th century, designed the Royal Alexandra Theatre following the Beaux-Arts style, thus providing an elegant setting for Toronto’s sophisticated theatrical and musical events. Since its rescue and rejuvenation by Ed Mirvish in 1963, when it was to be demolished for a parking lot, this theatre again plays a central role in the social and cultural life of the city.

Royal Alexandra Theatre plaque, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Royal Alexandra Theatre main doors.
Royal Alexandra Theatre main doors

The Royal Alexandra Theatre web site provides a virtual tour of its gorgeous suites, lounges and seating map. Attending a show at the Royal Alex is a special experience.

Have you heard of ‘Painted Ladies’? What do you think of the above buildings?

Shared with #CellpicSunday, #PPAC, #ThursdayDoors, #ThursdayTrios.

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16K Walk to Hanlan’s Point

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #44! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

The first week of November was cool with a mix of sun, clouds and brilliant Fall colours. Before jumping into November, I wanted to reflect on October and what a wonderful month it was. I had a beautiful Thanksgiving with my family, I stayed healthy, I enjoyed time with my niece, friends and neighbour, and I had plenty of fun from my leisure pursuits.

I chose to write about one event that combined three elements that I value: family, fitness and fun. After a wonderful visit to Ward’s Island in September, I planned another trip with my family to Hanlan’s Point on Thanksgiving long weekend in October.

Hanlan’s Point is on the west side of the Toronto Islands. Unlike Ward’s Island, there is no residential home in Hanlan’s Point. We come here mainly for nature and a few historic points of interest. For a brief history of Toronto Islands, click here.

The ferry service from the mainland to Hanlan’s Point was temporarily suspended so we boarded the ferry to Centre Island then walked towards Hanlan’s Point. The weather was sunny with daytime high temperature 22C (72F), ideal for being outdoors.

View towards Hanlan's Point.
A beautiful morning and adventures await. Looking towards Hanlan’s Point.
Island Public/ Natural Science School.
First, we visited Island Public/ Natural Science School which dates back to 1888. The current school was built in 1999 with an environmental focus.
Notice - Coyotes.
We stayed vigilant after seeing this Notice of Coyotes.
Island Water Treatment Plant.
Next, we passed the Island Water Treatment Plant.
Island Water Treatment Plant information board.
We learned about its history and important function.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.
We visited Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. Constructed in 1808-09, it’s the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
Trout Pond.
We walked the circumference of the Trout Pond and admired the reflections in the water.
Grey heron and snowy egret.
We saw a grey heron and a snowy egret in the wetlands.
The main trail to Hanlan's Point.
We walked on the paved main trail…
Trail into the woods.
then headed into the woods.
View of the CN Tower.
We caught a glimpse of the CN Tower.
Ned Hanlan's statue.
We reached Hanlan’s Point ferry dock where Edward Hanlan’s monument is located. The statue was sculpted by Emanuel Hahn.
"Ned" Hanlan's sculling achievements.
We learned about “Ned” Hanlan’s sculling achievements, including his world championship win in 1880.
Ned Hanlan Tugboat.
Nearby is Ned Hanlan Tugboat, built in 1932, retired in 1967, and named after world champion rower Ned Hanlan.
Gibraltar Point Beach.
We skipped the clothing-optional Hanlan’s Point Beach and walked to Gibraltar Point Beach for beautiful nature: Sky, sunlight, water, sand and shells.

Back on the trail, we looked up to see bright red wild berries and looked down to find a variety of fungi in the grass.

We stopped by Franklin’s Children Garden which is inspired by Franklin the Turtle from the celebrated book series written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Brenda Clark. It’s an interactive garden for families.

We explored the seven sections of this garden: Franklin’s Pollination station, Hide-and-Seek Garden, Snail Trail, Little Sprouts Garden, Turtle Pond, Pine Grove, and TD Storybook Place Amphitheatre.

We continued to Far Enough Farm on Centre Island to meet the animals there. The farm was quiet since the animals have left for their winter home north of Toronto. We hope to be back and pet them next spring.

The direct distance from Centre Island to Hanlan’s Point is merely 3.25 km (2 miles). In typical Natalie the Explorer fashion, we had a lot of fun exploring and enjoying the beauty all around us.

How much fun? We walked 16 kilometers (10 miles) and came home smiling! This outing was one of the highlights of my October.

Linked to #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC21, #TheChangingSeasons, #ThursdayDoors.

How was your week? What were the highlights in October for you?

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My Favourite Doors from 2020

Dan at No Facilities blog is hosting the Thursday Doors photography challenge. The challenge is open to everyone to participate in. Since December is a month of holidays, I’m sharing my favourite doors from 2020 with red, green, gold and a few more bright colours. Here’s my entry this week.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse built in 1808.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse built in 1808.

The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was built in 1808 to protect ships coming into Toronto harbour from washing ashore during storms. It’s the oldest landmark in Toronto, the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and the second oldest surviving lighthouse in Canada.

It is said that the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is haunted. Its first lighthouse keeper J.P. Radan Muller, was murdered by two soldiers from Fort York. The ghost of of J.P. Radan Muller returns every summer, and on hot summer nights, his howls can be heard from one end of the island to the other.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, I had a wonderful summer paddling around the Toronto islands where the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is located. The red door accentuates the quintessential beauty of the lighthouse.

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

Art Gallery of Ontario entrance.
Art Gallery of Ontario entrance.

The bold red AGO sign and a modern set of doors welcome people to the Art Gallery of Ontario, one of the largest art museums in North America. Enter the AGO to see, experience, and understand the world in new ways.

Union Station in Toronto

Christmas tree outside Union Station entrance.
Christmas tree outside Union Station entrance.

Union Station is Canada’s busiest passenger transportation hub and a designated national historic site. In December, a Christmas tree is brightly lit at the station entrance with snowflake-designed banners in the background. The tall columns are some of the 22 limestone columns, each column weighs 75 tons and is 40 feet high.

I’d love to hear your comments.

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