Hawthorne Cottage and Brigus

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 37 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #87. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

The beautiful town of Brigus is situated on the Avalon Peninsula, about 70km (43 miles) from the capital city of St. John’s, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Brigus was founded in 1612. The name “Brigus” is derived from “Brickhouse”, an old English town.

While in Brigus, I completed a self-guided tour of Hawthorne Cottage, a National Historic Site of Canada, then took a leisurely hike around charming streets sloping up into green cliffs to explore the town. Brigus’ well-kept old-style architecture, rustic stone walls, lush green gardens, and winding narrow lanes are reflective of its English, Irish, and Welsh heritage.

Here are my pictures of historic structures and scenery in Brigus. Except for the first two pictures, I grouped the rest of my pictures into three galleries. Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version and caption.

Hawthorne Cottage National Historic Site

Built in 1830, this charming cottage was the former home of Arctic explorer Captain Bob Bartlett, who took American explorer Robert Peary to the North Pole in 1909. I highly recommend the tour of the cottage. Many artifacts commemorate the family and Bartlett’s achievements as the greatest ice navigator of the 20th century.

Hawthorne Cottage National Historic Site

During the more than 50 years of his seafaring life, Captain Robert (Bob) Abram Bartlett skippered some of the most famous, dangerous, and controversial exploratory expeditions to the Arctic. He travelled further north than almost any other living person, was shipwrecked at least 12 times, survived for months in the inhospitable Arctic after sea ice crushed his ship, and journeyed hundreds of miles by dogsled to reach civilization. Despite these hardships, Bartlett returned to the Arctic whenever circumstance allowed and almost always came back with photographs, film reels, and scientific data that greatly contributed to the world’s understanding of the north.

Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage web site
Hawthorne Cottage
View of Hawthorne Cottage from its gardens

Historic structures built in the 1800s

From top left, clockwise: St. George’s Heritage church built in 1876; Stonewalls line the river; The Tunnel bored through solid rock on Brigus waterfront in 1860; Pinkston’s Forge built in 1889; The Leamon Museum: Ye Olde Stone Barn built in the 1820s.

Brigus Bay and Bishop’s Beach

From top left, clockwise: Steel Sails Monument erected at Bishop’s Beach in 1972 commemorating Captain Bartlett; Directional signs in Brigus; Blue bench at Payne Family Park; View of Brigus Bay; Stone table and bench at Bishop’s Beach.

Brigus Homes and Town Hall

From top left, clockwise: Brigus Town Hall in a beautiful blue; Brigus winding lanes; Birdhouses on a post; Side door at the Baldwin’s; Door with green trimmings; A house in Brigus.

My visit to Hawthorne Cottage and Brigus was informative and enjoyable. I hope to take you on an idyllic island getaway next week.

Shared with #ThursdayDoors, PPAC#64, Jo’s Monday Walk.

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The Charming Town of Trinity

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 36 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #86. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Trinity is a small town located on Trinity Bay on the Bonavista peninsula in Newfoundland, about 3 hours by road from the capital city, St. John’s.

The harbour at Trinity was first used by fishing ships around the 16th century. The Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real named the location “Trinity” as he arrived on Trinity Sunday, 1501.

Floating docks at Trinity Harbour

Before 1700, Trinity Harbour was mainly a summer station used by merchants and shipowners. After 1700, several major merchant houses from Poole, England selected Trinity as their headquarters and under their patronage Trinity developed as one of the main Newfoundland trading centres in the English fishery.

Trinity Harbour

The waterfront area on which once stood the commercial and fishery buildings of the Taverners, Lesters, Garlands and Lester-Garlands during the period 1700-1906 and in the twentieth century Ryan Brothers is named the Lester-Garland Provincial Historic Site. Some of the buildings were restored or reconstructed and are open for visitors.

The Lester-Garland Provincial Historic Site in Trinity

I picked up a map from Trinity’s Visitor Centre and explored on my own. A walk along Trinity’s scenic harbour and winding lanes lead to houses, museums, art galleries, and other historic buildings preserved from the 19th century. Information boards posted at the historic sites give helpful explanatory notes.

A grassy lane
Business signs
Lovely walking path

I created an image gallery of some of the historic sites and community buildings that I visited in Trinity below. For more history details on the buildings, check out the Town of Trinity website here. Click on the top left image and use the arrow to move through the gallery. Brief captions are included.

I thoroughly enjoyed my walk in the charming and historic town of Trinity. I found out after my visit that Trinity was named one of the 12 best small towns in Canada by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2021. I hope to take you to another scenic town next week.

Shared with #ThursdayDoors, PPAC#63, #SundayStills, #WW&P.

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Prime Berth in Twillingate

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

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

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

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

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

Prime Berth Fishing Heritage Centre

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

Buildings and Doors

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

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.

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

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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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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.

Wikipedia
 '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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Going Back To School

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #36! 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.

It was a week of sunny days and pleasant temperatures. A weather system passed through on Tuesday evening and brought thunders, lightning, and rain. By Wednesday morning, it was nice again.

It was also the first week back to school for students in Toronto. Last year most students were doing online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year with the available vaccines, vaccine mandate and indoor masking mandate, most students are returning to in-person learning.

I went back to the University of Toronto (informally known as U of T), not as a student but as a hobby photographer wandering at a relaxed pace. Originally established in 1827 as King’s College, the university is older than Canada itself. In 1849, King’s College was renamed to University of Toronto.

University of Toronto is the largest university in Canada by enrollment. The university has three campuses: St. George campus (downtown), Scarborough campus (east end), and Mississauga campus (west of Toronto).

St. George campus is huge with a mix of old and new buildings. From September to early May, the campus is busy with thousands of students. I made my trip before school started to avoid the crowds.

On this visit, I chose to photograph three buildings that have interesting architecture and significant history:

1. University College

University College is the University of Toronto’s founding College. Established in 1853, it was named the Provincial College, with a charter to make education available to every student regardless of religion or social status.

University College entrance.
University College entrance.
University College.
University College.

2. Victoria College

Victoria University, named in honour of Queen Victoria, was founded in 1836 by royal charter from King William IV, and federated with the University of Toronto in 1890. It comprises Victoria College (informally known as Vic), an arts and science college of the University of Toronto, and Emmanuel College, a theological college associated with the United Church of Canada.

Old Vic at Victoria College.
Old Vic is the oldest building of Victoria College. It was designed by architect W.G. Storm and built in 1891 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

3. Annesley Hall

Designed by architect George Martel Miller and built in 1903 in the Queen Anne style, Annesley Hall was the first residence built specifically for women in Canada. The building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.

Annesley Hall.
Annesley Hall.

Annesley Hall was home to the first female resident at the University, as well as the first woman to graduate from a Canadian medical school. The building was renovated in 1988 and houses female students in single, double and triple rooms. No two rooms are the same.

*****

It was a fun walk on a beautiful day. I enjoyed visiting the historic buildings at the University of Toronto. I’ll go back to take more photographs at St. George campus in the future.

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5 Things To See at Berczy Park

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #27! 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 typical warm week of summer with showers mid-week. Toronto’s cycling network has new routes, some are permanent and some are temporary pilots. I’m excited about new cycling possibilities and nice places to see, such as Berczy Park.

Berczy Park.

Berczy Park is named after William Berczy. Born as Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll in 1744 in Wallerstein, Germany, he later changed his name and studied at the Academy of Arts in Vienna, before sailing to the Americas in 1792. He was co-founder of York (now Toronto) in 1794 when John Graves Simcoe was Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

Here are 5 things to see at Berczy Park for your weekend.

1- Gooderham “Flatiron” Building: The red brick building in the Gothic Revival style was designed by architect David Roberts and built in 1892 for George Gooderham, the president of Gooderham and Worts Distillery.

Gooderham "Flatiron" Building.
Gooderham “Flatiron” Building, 1892.
Gooderham "Flatiron" Building plaque.
History plaque.
Gooderham "Flatiron" Building.
Gooderham “Flatiron” Building, 1892.

2- Flatiron Mural: Canadian artist Derek Besant created the Flatiron Mural on the rear wall of the “Flatiron” Building in 1980. It’s a beautiful optical illusion. Check out the amazing details and their ‘trompe l’oeil’ effects.

Flatiron Mural.
Flatiron Mural, 1980 by Derek Besant.

3- “Dog” Fountain: The park’s centrepiece is a two-tiered “Dog” Fountain with a unique and whimsical theme. 27 dog sculptures – and one cat – are situated around, in, and on the fountain, each spraying water from its mouth. A golden bone sits atop the fountain.

The fountain was turned off during the pandemic until June 11, 2021 when Ontario reopened. The flowing water is a welcoming sign that things might be returning to normal.

Dog Fountain at Berczy Park.
Dog Fountain, 2017 by architect Claude Cormier and Associates.

4- Jacob’s Ladder: Designed by Toronto artist Luis Jacob, the artwork encompasses two giant bronze hands, with a rope lattice suspended between the fingers, forming a whimsical string game. The rope lattice is to be installed. Once it’s in place, it’s perfect for climbing, swinging, or a backdrop for a play.

Jacob’s Ladder, 2018 by artist Luis Jacob.

5- The William Berczy Family sculpture: The sculpture was designed by artist Almuth Lutkenhaus-Lackey and is in the south-east corner of the park.

Berczy became a well-known Canadian painter, architect, surveyor and writer before dying en route to England in 1813. His older son, William Bent Berczy, was a Member of The Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada and a gifted painter. His younger son, Charles Albert Berczy, was the first president of the Consumers’ Gas Company from 1847 to 1856 and Postmaster of Toronto.

William Berczy Family sculpture.
William Berczy Family sculpture by artist Almuth Lutkenhaus-Lackey.

One more thing…The Garden in Berczy Park is lovely with a mix of plants, shrubs, trees and pretty flowers.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Visiting City Halls and Courthouses

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #24! 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.

It’s been a good week with lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Much needed rain came and gone on Monday afternoon. Over the years, the original City of Toronto had a total of four City Halls. On one of my cycling and walking excursions, I visited all of them, plus a historic courthouse.

1. St. Lawrence Hall

Toronto’s first City Hall: From the time of the City’s incorporation in 1834 until early in 1845, the Council met in a building at King and Jarvis Streets. The building was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1849. Following the fire, architect William Thomas designed St. Lawrence Hall in the Renaissance Revival style in 1850. It stands on the site today and was designated a National Historic Site in 1967.

St. Lawrence Hall.
St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King Street East.

2. South St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s second City Hall: From 1845 to 1899, the seat of City government was located at Front and Jarvis Streets, in the South St. Lawrence Market. The City’s Market Gallery now occupies the 19th century City Council Chamber on the second floor of the Market.

South St. Lawrence Market.
South St. Lawrence Market, 92-95 Front Street East.

3. Adelaide Court

Adelaide Court was designed by the firm of Cumberland and Ridout and built in 1851-1852 in the Greek Revival style. It served as York County Court House from 1852 until 1900, when the courts moved to “Old” City Hall. It currently houses Terroni restaurant.

Adelaide Court.
Adelaide Court, 57 Adelaide Street East.

4. Old City Hall

Toronto’s third City Hall, known as Old City Hall, was designed by Toronto architect Edward James Lennox. It took more than a decade to build and was officially opened on September 18, 1899. The civic building in the Romanesque Revival style contained a Council Chamber, courtrooms and municipal offices.

Old City Hall.
Old City Hall seen behind the Freedom arches at Nathan Phillips Square.
Old City Hall main entrance.
Old City Hall main entrance. Note the words Municipal Buildings above the arches.

Old City Hall at 60 Queen Street West was the home of the Toronto City Council from 1899 to 1966 and was designated a National Historic Site in 1984. When Toronto’s fourth City Hall opened in 1965, Old City Hall became a Provincial courthouse.

5. Toronto City Hall

Toronto’s fourth and current City Hall at 100 Queen Street West was designed by Finnish architect, Viljo Revell. His design was divided into three main parts: The podium, the convex circular council chamber and two office towers of differing heights. The building was opened on September 13, 1965.

Toronto City Hall.

On September 13, 2020, Toronto City Hall turns 55 years young. This virtual tour highlights its history and many features of the building, including a peek into the Mayor’s Office and views from the 27th Floor Observation Deck.

*****

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve had the pleasure to see the interiors of all of the above buildings. During the pandemic, St. Lawrence Market is opened with public health protocols in place. The other four buildings are closed to the public. I look forward to their re-opening day.

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Things To Do in The Distillery District

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.

Heritage Buildings

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.

Clock and Gooderham & Worts Limited sign.

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.

The Stone Distillery building.

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.

Spirit of York Distillery.

Art Installations

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.

Still Dancing by 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.

Love exhibit by Mathew Rosenblatt.

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.

Art store.

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.

Cafe Balzac's and an art truck.
Cafe Balzac’s and an art truck.

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.

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5 Fun Finds

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #18! 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.

This past week has been fun and productive. A new month just began so I mapped out new cycling and walking itineraries, started a new body weight training program, and updated my reading list. Here are five fun finds from my cycling and walking excursions.

1. Purple Flowers

Jude at Travel Words blog asked “Have you any purples in your neighbourhood?” – Yes, I have many. Tulips and hyacinths are some of the common flowers in spring here and their blooms are beautiful. Here are my picks.

Purple tulips.
Purple tulips with daffodils, grape hyacinths and ivy.
Purple hyacinths.
Purple hyacinths.

2. Heritage Churches

Continuing my visits to historic and surviving buildings in Toronto, I found two churches designed by the same architect Henry Bowyer Lane: Little Trinity Church on King Street East and the Church of the Holy Trinity at Trinity Square.

Little Trinity Church: The Tudor Gothic church was built in 1843 making it the oldest surviving church building in Toronto. The structure is red brick with accents of tan brick and stone. The 18 m (60 ft) square bell tower has contrasting octagonal buttresses at each of its four corners.

Click on any image in the following gallery to enlarge it.

The Church of the Holy Trinity: The modest Gothic Revival structure was built in 1847. Like many Gothic churches, the Church of the Holy Trinity uses limestone for its foundation and window tracery, as well as sandstone, brick, and wood.

Church of the Holy Trinity.

3. Henry Scadding House

While I walked around the Church of the Holy Trinity, I found the old Rectory and Henry Scadding House built in 1862 adjacent to the church. Henry Scadding was the church’s first rector and Toronto’s first historian. He lived here until his death in 1901.

Linked to Dan’s Thursday Doors.

4. Weather Beacon

Terri’s Sunday Stills Weather theme inspired me to share Toronto’s weather beacon at the top of the Canada Life building and its code.

The Canada Life building is a historic office building opened in 1931 in Toronto. The fifteen-floor Beaux Arts building stands at 97.8 m (321 feet) including its 12.5-metre-tall weather beacon.

Fun facts about the Toronto’s weather beacon:

  • It’s Canada’s oldest weather beacon.
  • It’s been keeping Torontonians abreast of weather conditions since 1951.

Employees at Canada Life’s front desk update the weather forecast four times a day in conjunction with Environment Canada’s weather station at Toronto Pearson International Airport. If you’re looking up at the tower, here’s how to read the code.

The beacon light on top indicates sky conditions:

  • Solid green = clear
  • Solid red = cloudy
  • Flashing red = rain
  • Flashing white = snow

The beacon tower lights explain the temperature story:

  • Lights shooting up = temperature is warming
  • Lights shooting down = temperature is cooling
  • Lights steady = steady temperature

The time of day is also important:

  • Daytime = signals the balance for the day
  • Night time = forecasts for the following day

Sunny or cloudy or rainy or snowy, as long as it’s not extreme, I dress for the weather and head outside to explore. For my cycling and walking, the cool temperatures in Spring feel great.

Move the slider arrows to compare the following images.

Sunny and cloudy views.
Forsythias with and without snow within hours.

5. Goose Diet

We had sun, clouds, wind, and rain this past week. I wondered how Lucy the nesting goose was doing on windy or rainy nights. I found her nesting and looking healthy. She got a new “wall” as the Empire Sandy tall ship has docked next to her nest. A flyer from Ontario Waterfowl Society, attached near the nest, gives interesting tidbit about her diet.

Lucy on May 3

I’ve got more fun finds to share next week. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to those of you celebrating!

Linked to #LifeThisWeek.

How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.

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