Enjoying the Holiday Season

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 49 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #99 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.

Are you looking forward to the upcoming holidays? By next weekend, I would have hosted fifty consecutive Weekend Coffee Share linkups in 2022. So, I look forward to taking a blogging break and enjoying the holiday season.

I started my holiday fun with two walks: 1) Gingerbread Lane at Royal York hotel for their incredible displays and 2) Fleurs de Villes Noël in Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood for their gorgeous floral designs. Both events are free to the public.

I’m sharing my pictures for #ThursdayDoors photo challenge and PPAC. Click on any image in the gallery and use the arrow to move through the pictures.

1. Gingerbread Lane

The life-sized Gingerbread Lane consists of about 8500 gingerbread bricks and 12 different types of candy. The floor-to-ceiling bricks are glued together using royal icing and the lane is 90% edible!

Along the lane are windows that look like storefronts with twinkly lights and festive scenes of gifts, gingerbread, decorative cookies and candies. I love everything about this Gingerbread Lane. Such a creative and “sweet” theme!

2. Fleurs de Villes Noël

Fleurs de Villes Noēl is a festive floral trail of over 30 gorgeous floral installations, created by Toronto’s favourite florists. Some of the installations are floral mannequins and some celebrate world-class Canadian figure skaters.

I’ve attended a few Fleurs de Villes events in Toronto and Niagara Falls before. The florists continue to amaze me with their designs using fresh flowers and greenery.

3. New Badge

December 16th-18th is the last Weekend Coffee Share linkup for 2022. It’s also the 100th linkup that I have been hosting since January 2021. I hope to ‘see’ you there before the holidays. After the holidays, I’ll be back with a fresh post on Friday, January 6, 2023.

For 2023, I created a new Weekend Coffee Share badge and added it to my blog sidebar. Weekend Coffee Share and PPAC contributors are welcome to display the badge on their blogs. I look forward to your contributions.

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Good Books Beautiful Lights

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #50! 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.

Weekend Coffee Share Holiday Schedule

As posted last week:

  • December 24: No link-up
  • December 31: No link-up
  • January 7: Weekend Coffee Share resumes with link-up #51

Week 50/ 52 of 2021

1. Mild Weather

It’s been a good week with a few sunny days and above seasonal temperatures every day. Last Saturday and this Thursday the daytime high temperatures reached 16C (61F). I enjoyed cycling and walking, including one walk with my neighbour.

A beautiful morning
A beautiful morning

The sun sets around 4:40 p.m. here at this time of the year. The mild and sunny weather also brought fiery sunsets when I took my evening walks.

A gorgeous sunset.
A gorgeous sunset

2. Good Books

I enjoyed reading six fiction books this past month. I use the Toronto Public Library 2021 Reading Challenge categories to read widely and discover new books, authors, and genres. You can see the full list of books I’ve read and the categories I’ve met so far this year on my Books in 2021 page at the top of my blog.

My recent reads by author’s last name include:

  1. Gone by Midnight – Candice Fox
  2. Hostage – Clare Mackintosh
  3. The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary
  4. Address Unknown – Kathrine Kressmann Taylor
  5. The Dictionary of Lost Words – Pip Williams
  6. Much Ado About You – Samantha Young

Four of the above six authors were new to me: Mackintosh, Taylor, Williams and Young. While I enjoyed reading all six novels, my admiration goes to Address Unknown. The book, written in the form of a series of letters (known as epistolary style), is impactful and thought-provoking.

So far this year, Address Unknown (64 pages) is the shortest book and Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land (751 pages) is the longest book that I’ve read. They’re both illuminating reads.

3. Dazzling Lights

After sunset, elaborate light displays and beautiful holiday decorations in downtown Toronto make December feel festive and different from all other months in the year. I have zero holiday shopping to do so my evening walks are pure leisure.

Brookfield Place Allen Lambert Galleria
Dazzling lights in Allen Lambert Galleria
Moose family
Sparkling deer and stars
Trees with white lights
Trees with white lights
Tree at Commerce Court
Tree and ornaments shine under ceiling lights
Blue light tunnels
Glittering light tunnels as part of #CavalcadeOfLights
Lit-up picture frame
A whimsical picture frame and over 100 lit trees glimmer
Light strings
Shimmering light strings
Happy holidays

Happy Holidays

I’d like to thank the Weekend Coffee Share blogging community for your active participation. Whether you posted once, or every week, I appreciate your effort. Together we’ve made the weekly link-up a success. Total 50 link-ups in 2021.

I’d also like to thank my regular blog readers and fellow bloggers for your ongoing support. Your comments enrich my day and make my blogging journey fun. I greatly appreciate our blogging connections.

I look forward to enjoying the holidays and ringing in 2022 with gratitude and optimism.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday season!

Linked up with #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC27, #SundayStills, #WhatsOnYourBookshelf.

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Delightful Holiday Displays

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #49! 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.

Weekend Coffee Share Holiday Schedule

  • December 17: Weekend Coffee Share link-up #50
  • December 24: No Weekend Coffee Share
  • December 31: No Weekend Coffee Share
  • January 7, 2022: Weekend Coffee Share link-up #51

Week 49/ 52 of 2021

It’s been a social week with family, friends and neighbours.

  • I had a virtual gathering with my siblings
  • I called a niece to wish her a happy birthday
  • I chatted with and sent gifts to my nieces and nephews
  • I wrote holiday letters to my overseas friends
  • I volunteered to run a community food drive until December 31
  • I walked with my neighbour and gave her a surprise gift for her 83rd birthday

Delightful Holiday Treats

I took my ‘traditional’ walks to see delightful holiday displays. I love the festive atmosphere leading to Christmas and New Year’s in Toronto. My festive treats include many calorie-free ‘eye candy’ items. Let me show you in photos.

Candy cane light path.
Candy Cane entrance and light path
Eaton Centre Christmas tree
Eaton Centre 32.92-metre (108-foot) Christmas tree, covering three levels of Toronto’s downtown mall, is Canada’s tallest Christmas tree
Freedom Arches at night in Toronto
Freedom Arches at Nathan Phillips Square skating rink

Everything about the Freedom Arches photo, to me, is symbolic of Toronto during winter. On the left, are the letters TO (short for Toronto) and the red maple leaf (on Canada’s flag). Old City Hall clock tower is in the background.

A Zamboni (an ice resurfacing machine) is at the far end of the rink with its tail lights on. The ice surface shows the fresh part (smooth and shiny) and the used part (matte white). Skaters patiently wait around the rink until they get the call back.

Toronto's official Christmas Tree 2021
Toronto’s official Christmas tree with more than 300,000 energy-efficient lights and 500 ornaments

Toronto’s official 17.67-metre (58-foot) Christmas tree was delivered on a flatbed truck from Baldwin, Ontario and is being lifted into place with cranes. It takes approximately four hours to install the tree. The tree requires three days to settle before it can be decorated. The Christmas tree does not need watering. It will remain on display throughout the holiday season and will then be recycled.

Light Tunnels made from thousands of energy-efficient bulbs #CavalcadeofLights

One fun walk is to visit Hudson’s Bay department store window displays. Santa Secret’s Workshop includes five animated departments and traditional nutcrackers.

Click on any image to see its bigger version and use the arrows to navigate through the gallery.

Then there are beautiful reindeer and gorgeous trees in Toronto’s Financial District. Each of the buildings in the district has its signature tree. I love the trees as well as the light reflections on the doors and windows around them.

Shiny reindeer
A beautiful silvery reindeer
Blue and red Christmas tree
Tree with shiny blue and red ornaments
Blue and silver Christmas tree
Tree with metallic blue and silver ornaments
Gold. silver and red Christmas tree
Tree with metallic gold, silver and red ornaments

I’ve been enjoying the magic of the season. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Linked up with #ThursdayDoors, #FestiveBonbon, #PPAC26, #SundayStills, #LifeThisWeek.

How has your week been?

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Seeing the Lights

Hello blog friends! I’m glad you’re here. I hope you have a few minutes for a quick chat over a cup of coffee or tea. Our days are getting shorter as we move towards the longest night and shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, known as the Winter Solstice. So, I welcome daylight and the holiday lights at night.

The first few days of this past week, it was sunny, perfect for my cycling and walking to different parks during the day and seeing the lights in the city centre in the evening. I took a number of photos of various landmarks on my walk, all outdoors, except the last one. Let me show you in pictures.

Toronto Inukshuk Park

Natural daylight is my favourite type of light. Here’s the magnificent Toronto Inukshuk standing tall in full daylight on a sunny day at the Toronto Inukshuk Park.

The Toronto Inukshuk
The Toronto Inukshuk made by Inuit artist Kellypalik Qimirpik from Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Inukshuk is an Inuit stone structure often found in the arctic landscape. It serves as a guide to travellers on land and sea, providing comfort, advice and spatial orientation. The Toronto Inukshuk, one of the largest of its kind in North America, was made from about 50 tonnes of mountain rose granite. It stands 30 feet high with an arm span of 15 feet.

The Toronto Inukshuk is a legacy project to commemorate World Youth Day in 2002 that brings an important symbol of Canada’s Aboriginal people to the people of Toronto. On one of the rocks on the left of the structure, part of the inscription reads:

The Toronto Inukshuk invites each one of us to become beacons of light and hope, striving for justice and peace in this world.”

Coronation Park

Soft daylight.
Beautiful trees and soft daylight in Coronation Park.

East of the small Toronto Inukshuk Park is the much larger Coronation Park. In the above photo, the clouds and the tall trees filter the sun light and cast soft shadows of the trees on the grass and the trail.

Night Lighting at the CN Tower

The CN Tower and Toronto Union Station.
The CN Tower lit up in blue and a bright Christmas tree in front of Toronto Union Station.

The CN Tower is Canada’s most recognizable and celebrated icon, defining the Toronto skyline at 553.33m (1,815 ft 5 in). The Tower’s lighting begins at sunset and concludes at sunrise the next morning, except during spring and fall bird migration periods during which time lighting concludes at midnight.

The night time illumination from bottom to top of the CN Tower changes on a specific schedule and occasion. On the evening that I took this photo, the blue lights were for Toronto Miracle Community Food Drive.

Christmas Trees at the TD Centre

Three beautiful Christmas trees with twinkling lights at the TD Centre.
Three beautiful Christmas trees with twinkling lights at the TD Centre.

The Toronto-Dominion Centre, or TD Centre, is a prestigious office complex in the Financial District of downtown Toronto. These Christmas trees look stunning with simple twinkling lights for the holidays.

Hudson’s Bay Queen Street Store

Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker social distancing

Every year, thousands of holiday-loving Torontonians gather outside the windows of the Hudson’s Bay Queen Street store to catch a glimpse of the beloved Christmas display. The tradition has marked the start of the holiday season in Toronto for over 100 years. This year, of course, is different — with a much more low-key unveiling and signs reminding observers to social distance. 

The five displays all follow a “Santa’s Secret Workshop” theme. Please click on the slide show to see a snow-making department, a candy cane department, a gift-wrapping department, an ornament-making department and a mail-room department. 

Christmas Tree in the Eaton Centre

Christmas tree in the Eaton Centre
The Christmas tree at Toronto’s Eaton Centre.

The glittering 108-foot tall tree in the Eaton Centre is Canada’s largest Christmas tree. It covers three levels of Toronto’s downtown shopping centre. My photo is from 2019 for the same tree this year.


On December 9, 2020 Health Canada authorized the first Pfizer vaccine in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19. Ontario started administering its first COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare professionals on December 14, 2020 at two hospitals in Toronto and Ottawa. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

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Checking Off My Holiday Fun List

Greetings! It’s December 21st, time to share how I did on my holiday fun list that I wrote here. I had five items and wanted to have free or low cost, and environmentally-friendly fun. So here we go:

1) View the holiday light displays: I walked with my family in the downtown core to see beautiful holiday light displays. In Eaton Centre, the tallest Christmas tree was quite a centrepiece. Big banks and major department stores also set up amazing decorations.

Christmas tree at Toronto Eaton Centre
Christmas tree at Toronto Eaton Centre

2) Listen to live holiday music: My friends and I walked to see the Cavalcade of Lights at City Hall. This event marked the official start of the holiday season in Toronto. The 53rd annual celebration featured the first lighting of Toronto’s 15-metre (50-foot) Christmas tree, live musical performances, a skating party and a spectacular fireworks display. I love the hundreds of dazzling lights that hang above the ice rink and all around Nathan Philips Square.

Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto
Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto

3) Bake a Ration cake: I baked a Second World War Ration cake with the recipe found here while listening to music. It was an easy and relaxing activity. The kitchen smelled good. The cake turned out well even though I used an 8-inch round pan instead of a square pan. My family and I enjoyed the yummy treats. Success!

A slice of Ration cake
A slice of home made ration cake

4) Give food and hope: The local Metro grocery store creates convenient, ready-to-go food bank bags. Metro will make a donation of $1 to Feed Ontario for each bag purchase. I bought a few bags of food items to let the recipients know that I care.

Food donation
Food donation at Metro grocery store

5) Walk to show the Earth some love: I walked outdoors with my family through the Financial District to the main shopping centre (see item 1 above) and with my friends to City Hall (see item 2 above). Each time we stopped to watch the Hudson’s Bay Christmas window displays. Here’s a snapshot of what’s behind the five windows and the toy soldiers on guard (click on the photos to enlarge them):

So I checked off my holiday fun list. We enjoyed the lights, the live music, the cake, and the outdoor walks. It felt good to donate food to help less fortunate people in the city. All of these activities were either free or low cost, and I’d say environmentally friendly.

What I love most is how Mother Nature displays a simple and beautiful decoration for the season: Fresh pine cones on the tree.

Coming up next week: My sister is hosting our annual family holiday get-together. Three generations in my family will be there, plus a few family friends. We’ve coordinated the dinner menu and each of us will bring food and drinks to share. I’m looking forward to this party!

Wishing you peace, joy, and good health for this holiday season and in the New Year 2020.

Click here to join Leslie and share your holiday list update.

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