Bay of Fundy: 5 Historic Sites

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 45 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #95. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Remembrance Day

November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada. So I want to take a moment to honour all Canadian veterans who have served and continue to serve in upholding the peace and freedoms we enjoy today.

Poppy sculpture at The Royal Canadian Legion, Queen’s Own Rifles Branch

PPAC meets WCS

Today I’m combining Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) with Weekend Coffee Share (WCS). I’ve been a PPAC participant so when Marsha at Always Write blog had to step back from hosting and she asked if anyone would be interested in taking over PPAC, I volunteered to host.

I continue to leave the topic open. There is no prompt or theme. Existing WCS participants are free to participate without any PPAC entries and PPAC participants are free to participate with one or more images of public art (outdoor and free) without writing their post as a coffee share.

To new WCS participants:

  1. The weekly WCS linkup starts at 8 a.m. on Friday and ends at midnight Sunday night Eastern Standard Time.
  2. Join the linkup using the InLinkz button at the end of my WCS post. If you prefer to leave a comment with your link, be aware that a link in my Comments section requires moderation and is less visible to participants who use InLinkz.
  3. Please link one post, leave a comment on my blog and link back or pingback to my Weekend Coffee Share post. Links from bloggers who join without leaving me a comment will be removed.
  4. Read one or more participating blogs and leave a comment. Hashtag #Weekendcoffeeshare.
  5. I read all participating blogs and reply to comments left on my blog. I prioritize my visits and leave comments for bloggers who take the time to leave me a comment. Thank you.

Bay of Fundy: 5 Historic Sites

I’m continuing the story of my adventures on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. I wrote my adventures in three posts. The first post on five Natural Wonders is here. This post is the second in the series.

The region surrounds the Bay of Fundy is rich with stories from the native Mi’kmaq people, Loyalist heritage and Acadian history. Here’s five Historic Sites on the Bay of Fundy to explore. Click on the top left image in the gallery to see captions and move through the gallery.

1. St. Andrews

St. Andrews, or Saint Andrews by-the-Sea, is nestled along Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick. Founded by Loyalists in 1783, many buildings in St. Andrews still reflect that history. St. Andrews’ Historic District, one of the best-preserved examples of colonial heritage in North America, is a National Historic Site of Canada.

St. Andrews is also Canada’s oldest seaside resort town and a great place for whale watching, deer watching, outdoor recreation, dining and shopping. I’ll share more on St. Andrews in another post.

2. Saint John

Saint John located on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick is Canada’s first incorporated city, established by royal charter on May 18, 1785, during the reign of King George III. The city offers beautiful historic architecture, funky cafés, creative galleries and shops, and more. Saint John in New Brunswick is not to be confused with St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Saint John City Market, established 1876, is Canada’s oldest farmers’ market. It is a good place to browse and pick up a snack, lunch, dinner, or local arts and crafts.

3. Digby

Named after Admiral Robert Digby, the town of Digby in Nova Scotia is famous for the local scallops and the fleet that harvests them. Along the Digby waterfront in Loyalist park are Digby Pier lighthouse and six cannons, five from Victorian era in the 1840s and one from the era of King George III sometime prior to 1820.

The cannons were part of fortifications constructed at Digby, primarily to protect the town from privateers. Each cannon has a plaque affixed to its carriage relating a small part of the story of the fortifications and the cannons.

4. Fort Anne

Set on the banks of the Annapolis River in Nova Scotia, Fort Anne was first fortified by the Scots as early as 1629. The site was later controlled by the French before falling for good to British troops in 1710. It would remain a regular scene of battles until the fall of Quebec in 1759. Fort Anne became Canada’s first administered National Historic Site in 1917.

It is a wonderful learning experience to stroll inside the fort and around the Perimeter Trail to explore a renovated 1797 Officers’ Quarters (now a museum) and a maze of defensive ditches, banks and bastions overlooking the Annapolis River.

5. The Landscape of Grand-Pré

The Landscape of Grand-Pré is both a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated on Nova Scotia’s southern Minas Basin, an inlet of the Bay Fundy, the Landscape of Grand Pré (Grand Pré means Great Marsh) is subjected to the most extreme tides in the world. The tidal range averages 11.6 metres and the tides move in and out of the Minas Basin every 12 hours.

Starting in the late 17th century – an era which predates the introduction of engineered drainage systems – the Acadian settlers applied an inventive and ingenious system of earthen dykes, ditches and aboiteaux, or wooden sluices, to hold back the formidable tides. They also began a tradition of collective management that was community-based. Today, the agricultural landscape is still protected and drained by the same system, still exhibits distinctive field patterns, and is still managed through the same community approach.

Parks Canada website

The landscape is beautiful and the dykes in Wolfville are amazing to examine in real life. Information boards posted at the historic sites give helpful explanatory notes.

I hope you join me next weekend to discover fun attractions on the Bay of Fundy.

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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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Postcard from St. John’s

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 33 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #83. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

Today’s post is my postcard from St. John’s. After a long stretch of beautiful sunny days in Newfoundland and Labrador, I finally experienced overcast sky and brief periods of rain, drizzle and fog in St. John’s. I came prepared with my rain gear and took a long walk to explore this historic, artistic and colourful city.

St. John’s (always abbreviated and with an apostrophe) is the most easternly city in North America and Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital. St. John’s is not to be confused with Saint John in New Brunswick, another province in Atlantic Canada.

Art Works

Terry Fox Marathon of Hope Mile 0 Memorial

“I just wish people would realize that anything is possible if you try; dreams are made if people try”

Terry Fox (1958-1981)

If you don’t know who Terry Fox is, please read about him here.

Our Newfoundland and Labrador Dogs sculptures by sculptor Luben Boykov
Our Newfoundland and Labrador Dogs sculptures by sculptor Luben Boykov
A Time sculpture by sculptor Morgan MacDonald
A Time sculpture by sculptor Morgan MacDonald
A Time sculpture
A closer look at A Time sculpture
Making Fish sculpture by artist Jim Maunder
Making Fish sculpture by artist Jim Maunder

Historic Sites

Cabot Tower at the highest point of Signal Hill National Historic Site of Canada
Km 0 marker outside St. John's City Hall
Km 0 marker outside St. John’s City Hall
Km 0 marker of the Trans-Canada Highway that links ten Canadian provinces

Officially opened in 1962, the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) is one of the longest highways in the world. From St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Victoria, British Columbia, the TCH covers over 7821 km and crosses six time zones.

Jellybean Houses

There are blocks and blocks of brightly painted houses on the hilly streets that rise from St. John’s harbour.

Jellybean houses
Jellybean houses on Victoria Street in St.John’s
Jellybean houses in St. John’s
Colourful houses at St. John's Harbour
Colourful houses at St. John’s Harbour

Pubs and Music

George Street in downtown St. John’s has some of the best pubs and restaurants in Newfoundland, as well as all types of music – Irish, blues, rock n’ roll, dance, country and traditional music.

YellowBelly Brewery in St. John’s

It was a wonderful discovery walk in St. John’s.

Shared with #PPAC60, #WQW31.

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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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3 Amazing World Heritage Sites in Newfoundland and Labrador

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 27 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #77. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

In June, while in Newfoundland and Labrador, I explored three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the province:

  1. Gros Morne National Park
  2. L’Anse aux Meadows
  3. Red Bay Basque Whaling Station

UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In case you’re unfamiliar with local name and geography, the official name of the province is Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). The Strait of Belle Isle separates the province into two areas: 1) Newfoundland and 2) Labrador.

This post includes the highlights of my visits to the three sites. The first two sites are along the Viking Trail on Newfoundland’s west coast and the third site is on Labrador’s south coast. I included links to Parks Canada and UNESCO official websites for more information. As always, click on photos in galleries to see a bigger version and read their captions.

1. Gros Morne National Park

In 1987, Gros Morne National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both its unique geological history dating back 1.25 billion years and its exceptional scenery. Gros Morne French meaning is “big lone mountain” or more literally “great sombre.”

The park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle lie exposed. More recent glacial action has resulted in some spectacular scenery, with coastal lowland, alpine plateau, fjords, glacial valleys, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and many pristine lakes.

UNESCO Gros Morne National Park

I visited the majestic Western Brook Pond, a fresh water fjord which was carved out by glaciers. The photo below shows the Long Range Mountains where the fjord is located. The steep escarpment on the right marks a crack (or fault) in the Earth’s crust. The fault was created when continents collided about 400 million years ago.

Western Brook Pond
Western Brook Pond
Western Brook Pond
Western Brook Pond photo in my hotel room

I took a boat tour on beautiful Bonne Bay. It was a clear and sunny day so the 806 m high flat-topped Gros Morne Mountain and the Tablelands with a dusting of snow were visible.

I also visited the park’s informative Discovery Centre and hiked the picturesque Tablelands Trail. The landscape is so spectacular that I can easily spend two weeks here to explore more hiking trails.


2. L’Anse aux Meadows

L’Anse aux Meadows was designated a National Historic Site in 1975 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. It is the only authenticated Viking site in North America and the earliest evidence of Europeans in North America. It comprises 80 square kilometers of forest, bog, coast, bay and islands.

L'Anse aux Meadows reconstructed sod huts
L’Anse aux Meadows reconstructed sod huts

Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine, were searching for Norse landing places along the coast of North America. With the help of local resident George Decker, they would uncover the only Norse encampment ever to have been discovered in North America. Following excavations, they determined Leif Erickson and crews of Norse explorers arrived here and built a small encampment of timber-and-sod buildings over a thousand years ago.

My visit started from the Visitor Centre to watch a short documentary for an overview and to see the authentic artifacts that proved the site’s origin. A tour guide took visitors along a beautiful boardwalk to the Meeting of Two Worlds sculpture, created by Luben Boykov and Richard Brixel and unveiled in July 2002. This sculpture symbolizes the meeting of human migration from the east through Asia to North America and from the west through Europe to North America. The two groups met when the Norse landed at L’Anse aux Meadows. Anse French meaning is “cove“.

Meeting of Two Worlds sculpture: Viking ship (left) and Aboriginal sword (right)

We continued to the actual site to see the fascinating archeological remains of three halls and five smaller buildings where the Vikings lived and worked have been carefully preserved as they were when discovered by the Ingstads. We then followed the boardwalk trail to the reconstructed sod huts and met costumed interpreters.


3. Red Bay Basque Whaling Station

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station is the earliest, most complete and best preserved 16th-century Basque whaling site found anywhere in the world. Red Bay was listed as a National Historic Site of Canada in 1979, and designated a World Heritage Site in 2013.

Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

For about 70 years beginning in the 1530s, whalers from the Basque region of Spain and France used the harbour at Red Bay as a seasonal base for hunting whales and producing the whale oil that lit the lamps of Europe. Each spring as many as twelve ships and upwards of 2000 men arrived after a dangerous voyage from Europe to set up operations at Red Bay, one of about a dozen seasonal whaling stations along the south Labrador coast.

To visit Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, I traveled from Newfoundland to Labrador by ferry. Labrador means Big Land. At the Visitor Centre, I viewed a remarkable collection of original artifacts, archaeological remains, videos, models and the restored 16th century Chalupa, the oldest known whaling boat in the world. Behind the Chalupa exhibit is a stunning ‘whale and mariners’ mural created by Newfoundland-born artist Lloyd Pretty in 1999.


I’m grateful to be able to visit these three amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Newfoundland and Labrador. I hope you enjoy them through my lens.

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What Stories Do These Trains Tell?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 20 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #70. Come on in for a coffee or tea chat.

A sunny morning was just right for my visit to John Street Roundhouse at Roundhouse Park, specifically to see the Toronto Railway Museum outdoor exhibits that tell the stories of Toronto’s railways. The John Street Roundhouse is the best example of a surviving roundhouse in Canada.

John Street Roundhouse

This complex was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929 to service the steam locomotives of its passenger trains using nearby Union Station. The 32-stall roundhouse featured the most modern technology. Its direct steaming facility was the first of its kind in Canada, allowing a faster and more economical operation, and a smokeless environment. Abundant natural light is provided by its monitor roof and large windows. The switch from steam power to diesel, completed by the CPR by 1960, spelled the end for Canadian roundhouses. The John Street complex was closed in 1982. It was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.

Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Doors at John Street Roundhouse
Doors at John Street Roundhouse

It’s easy to do a self-guided walk and learn about Toronto’s railway history thanks to the information plaques that accompany each exhibit item. I enjoyed my visit so much, I was at Roundhouse Park longer than expected.

Map of Toronto Railway Museum outdoor exhibits
Map of Toronto Railway Museum outdoor exhibits

Don Station, Cabin D and the Turntable

I started from the Canadian Pacific Railway Don Station built in 1896. The station has been moved a few times until the City of Toronto moved it to Roundhouse Park. The building’s distinctive turret was typical of hundreds of stations across Canada but only a handful of these buildings survive. The Don station is the only 19th century Toronto station remaining.

Don Station built in 1896.
Don Station

Steps from Don Station is Cabin D, a wooden interlocking tower built by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1896. It is one of a few, if not the only, surviving examples of an interlocking tower in Canada that used an entirely mechanical system instead of electrical. It is also the only surviving interlocking tower of its type in Toronto.

Cabin D
Cabin D

The Roundhouse turntable is 120 feet long, in order to accommodate the Canadian Pacific Railway’s largest passenger steam locomotives. It’s one of the longest ever built in Canada.

John Street Roundhouse turntable

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

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

Freight and Passenger Cars



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


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

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

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

What’s your favourite train story?

Shared with #WQW18, #ThursdayDoors, #PPAC, #Lens-Artists.

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Weekday Walk: Exhibition Place

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

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

Dufferin Gate

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

Dufferin Gate

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

Exhibition Place website

Gouinlock Buildings

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

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

Other Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

How has your week been?

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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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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.

Shared with #LifeThisWeek, PPAC#13, #SundayStills, #ThursdayDoors.

Tell me something good about your week.

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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.

Linked to #ThursdayDoors, #LifeThisWeek.

How well do you know your municipal buildings and their history? I’d love to hear your comments.

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