Things To See in Canary District

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #23! 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.

A Warm Week

Toronto broke a record on Saturday June 5 when the temperature rose to 31C (88F). According to Environment Canada, the highest temperature recorded for June 5 is 30C set in 1940. The scorching temperatures and heat warning continued on Sunday and lasted through Wednesday.

I went outside earlier in the morning when it was cooler to cycle and walk. In spring season, I like to visit the gardens at least once a week to catch the new flower blooms before they disappear or get destroyed by strong winds or rain.

Gorgeous Flowers

Here are something pink for Terri’s Sunday Stills photo challenge: Poppies, azaleas and peonies. The attractive Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale) flowers have large, layered, crepe papery, pink petals with dark purple eyes and black splotches at their base. Have you seen them before?

Interesting Sculptures

On one of my cycling excursions I passed by the Canary District in Toronto’s West Don Lands. I took a cycling break and walked along Front Street East and Mill Street to see five interesting sculptures. Once I took time to examine each of them at different angles, I liked them more than at first glance.

Water Guardians.
Water Guardians created by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins with James Khamsi consists of a 7.2 meters tall blue-painted steel structure with three heads and glowing LED eyes watching over a water feature.
Garden of Future Follies created by Hadley Howes and Maxwell Stephens is a garden of 7 bronze sculptures that brings together elements from over 80 existing public sculptures and architectural details from around Toronto.
Untitled (Toronto Lamp Posts).
Untitled (Toronto Lamp Posts) created by Tadashi Kawamata has the appearance of Mikado sticks just before they fall. To make this piece, a selection of lamp posts was sourced from various yards and depots and the artist worked in an organic way, selecting on the spot which post would go where, to create the effect he intended.
Peeled Pavement.
Peeled Pavement created by Jill Anholt consists of 4 bronze and cast-glass elements. The work punctuates the side walk, revealing an underside of industrial artifacts lit from below.
No Shoes.
No Shoes by Mark di Suvero was installed at Mill Street and Bayview Avenue in 2013, the same year that di Suvero was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Canary District was the site of 2015 Toronto Pan American Games Athletes’ Village. After the Games were over, the six buildings were converted to condo buildings, a YMCA Centre, and student housing for George Brown College students. Forty one plaques along Front Street promenade display the names of the participating nations at the Games.

Sunny days, gorgeous flowers and interesting sculptures. I enjoy my discoveries and feel grateful for this leisure time. Life is good.

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

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What Made May Marvellous

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #22! 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.

I know we are a few days into June already. In the first week of every new month, I usually look back at the month that was and plan fun activities for the new month. So what made May marvellous for me?

Nature

Temperatures quickly warmed up in May and it was like the switch flipped. Vegetation just go from buds on a tree to full leaf, and all of that happened within about 10 days. There were many beautiful blooms in the gardens in May as my photos show below. Click on any image to see it bigger.

Health

I continued my health routine in May with cycling, walking, playing disc golf, body weight training, meditation and yoga. I’ve enjoyed more cycling on weekends in May thanks to 2 conditions: 1) Good weather and 2) Weekend road closures when a few routes are closed to vehicles and open to cyclists and pedestrians.

Home

My family and friends are well. Most of us have received our first COVID-19 vaccine dose, some of us are fully vaccinated. Starting May 22, outdoor social gatherings of up to 5 people are allowed so I met my sister for a walk on a beautiful day.

On May 20, Ontario announced a three-step plan to gradually reopen the province through June, July and August based on vaccination rates and key public health and health care indicators. Things are looking up after a long lockdown. Hurrah!

Leisure

What I did for fun in May

  • Explored the city by bike and on foot.
  • Walked in public gardens and smelled the scents of flowers.
  • Played disc golf in a beautiful park.
  • Watched bird families and listened to bird songs.
  • Visited Heritage buildings, art murals and sculptures.
  • Took photographs.
  • Hosted 4 Weekend Coffee Share link-ups.
  • Started a small herb garden.
  • Learned French and Spanish on Duolingo.

What I read in May

I enjoyed reading 8 fiction novels in May and increased my Books in 2021 total to 40. Here’s my list of books with asterisk indicating new-to-me author:

  • Keeping The Moon – Sarah Dessen.
  • The Trespasser – Tana French.
  • Force of Nature – Jane Harper.
  • The Dry – Jane Harper.
  • The Survivors – Jane Harper.
  • Naïve. Super – Erlend Loe. *
  • Camp – L. C. Rosen. *
  • The Burning Girls – C.J. Tudor.

I’m now caught up with C.J. Tudor’s and Jane Harper’s published books, 4 from each author. This includes The Burning Girls and The Survivors, both were released in 2021.

What I wrote in May

Looking forward

May was marvellous! I’m grateful for all the good things that happened. I hope you had a good May, too. I’ve blocked time for my health, home, and leisure activities in June. I look forward to making the most of every day.

What do you look forward to in June? Let me know in the Comments.

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Spadina Quay Wetlands and Fun List

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #20! 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.

This past week the weather was glorious, lots of sunshine and blue skies with daytime high reached 27C (81F), felt like 30C (86F) yesterday. Since I’ve been cycling, walking, exploring and having fun with photography most days, I have a backlog of things to write up.

Today’s post is about my walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands and my Spring fun list update.

Spadina Quay Wetlands

Spadina Quay Wetlands is a gem located in Toronto’s waterfront area. It’s a thriving ecosystem full of plants, birds, butterflies, ducks, and fish. It’s complete with flowering heath plants, poplar trees, flagstone paths and a creek. Aside from nature, there is also art.

1. Birdhouse Sculpture

Artist Anne Roberts designed the Birdhouse sculpture on stilts that was installed in the wetland garden. This sculpture recalls the human activities of the Toronto lakeshore at the turn of the 20th century, with warehouses of the Toronto Electric Company, the corner bank, the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion and clusters of ice cream parlours and boathouses attracting Toronto residents to the lure of the water.

Birdhouse sculpture by Anne Roberts.
Birdhouse sculpture by Anne Roberts.

When the water level in Toronto Harbour is high, water fills up the small creek where the Birdhouse sculpture is located and it’s not accessible to foot traffic. This spring, since the creek has been dry, I was able to visit the sculpture up close.

A bird flying above the towers on the left.
Can you spot the bird flying above the towers on the left?

2. Bright Birdhouses

While walking around the wetland garden, I found these bright birdhouses. They made me smile.

Which birdhouse would you choose?

3. Gosling sightings

Remember I mentioned Lucy the nesting goose and my previous check-in? Her nest was close to the Spadina Quay Wetlands. She delivered five cute goslings.

It was a delightful walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands. As an urban dweller, I appreciate this green space and enjoy seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.

Spring Fun List – May Update

Back in March, I wrote a Spring Fun List of things to do while in COVID-19 lockdown. Most of my activities are outdoors or online and follow public health protocols so I’ve been checking off a few items in April.

I’ve recently completed two more items (#3 and #7). Here’s my update and contribution to Leslie’s Spring link-up.

  1. Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre: Yes, most days.
  1. Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art: Yes, most days.
  1. View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival: Yes, I saw gorgeous cherry blossoms and tulips in Toronto. I viewed the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa virtually due to the province-wide lockdown.
  1. Meet my family and friends outside: Pending. Starting May 22, outdoor gatherings for up to 5 people are allowed.
  1. Play 9-hole disc golf in a public park: Yes, here’s my intro to how to play disc golf.
  1. Paddle around Toronto Islands: Pending.
  1. Plant a small herb garden: Yes, it was warm enough to plant. A small bed, soil, assorted herbs, sunlight, water, and voilà, a herb garden that is manageable and useful for the next several months.
  1. Read 1 book per week and add to my Books in 2021: Yes, average 1.8 books per week.
  1. Take photos and share my explorations on my blog: Yes, every post so far.
  1. Try a new restaurant take-out: Yes, from Salad King.

So eight done, two to go. I hope to complete the remaining two items in June.

Linked with #LifeThisWeek.

How did your week go? What do you do for fun this weekend? I’d love to hear your comments.

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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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5 Themes For A Fun Week

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #12! 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 first week of Spring has been fantastic. Daytime high temperatures ranged from 12C to 20C (54F to 68F) with clear blue skies for most of the week. The mild and sunny days made all my outdoor activities enjoyable and me happy.

Here’s my 5 selected themes for a fun week:

1. Architecture

On sunny morning #1, I cycled to Queen Street West to visit several heritage-designated buildings. I’m sharing two of them with Thursday Doors photo challenge this week: Campbell House and Osgoode Hall. Click on my image gallery for more photos and history details.

Campbell House is the oldest remaining house from the original site of the Town of York, and is one of the few surviving examples of Georgian architecture left in Toronto. It was built in 1822 by Chief Justice William Campbell and his wife Hannah. It’s now a heritage house and museum owned by the City of Toronto government.

Exterior  of Campbell House.
Campbell House.

Osgoode Hall is named for William Osgoode, the first Chief Justice of Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario). The original building was constructed between 1829 and 1832. The iron fence around the property dates from 1867. The so-called “cow gates” were based on the design of cattle guards meant to keep out grazing animals.

Osgoode Hall was built over a period of 190 years, so as to accommodate the growing needs of its owners. A National Historic Site of Canada and a Heritage building of Ontario, it currently houses the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Law Society of Ontario.

Osgoode Hall.
Osgoode Hall.

Before COVID-19, I had done tours inside both Campbell House and Osgoode Hall. The impressive interior of Osgoode Hall includes the Rotunda with the original tile floor, heritage courtrooms from the late 1800’s, the Great Library with holdings of 100,000 volumes, Benchers’ Quarters, and Convocation Hall that boasts ten gorgeous stained glass windows covering 4,000 years of law. I highly recommend this tour when Osgoode Hall re-opens to the public.

2. Art

On sunny morning #2, I cycled and walked around to see outdoor public art: Two portraits at the Femme de Fleur exhibit by Apanaki Temitayo M, one Untitled display by Jun Kaneko, and Cracked Wheat by Shary Boyle.

I realized later that coincidentally, all four art items have a human body theme. The Cracked Wheat vase stands on two human legs. Click on the images to see their bigger version.

3. Beaches

On sunny morning #3, I cycled along the shoreline of Lake Ontario and checked out several beaches. It was a glorious day to be by the calm water. By lunch time, I sat down on Sunnyside beach and watched a group of mute swans. They swam, ducked their heads for food, spread their wings, etc. It was an amazing swan show!

Mute swans.

4. Disc Golf

On sunny morning #4, I cycled to the local 9-hole disc golf course and played my first disc golf game of 2021. It was a perfect day to play. Calm wind, pleasant temperature, and soft sunlight. I enjoyed playing while listening to birds, watching the squirrels, and looking at the lake.

5. Nature Trails

On sunny morning #5, I cycled to High Park, a big and beautiful park in the west end of Toronto. I explored nature trails, walked among tall trees, listened to birds, and watched the ducks in Grenadier Pond. Total bliss!

Nature trail in High Park.

Overall, it was a fun-filled week. I’m grateful that I’m able to do what makes me happy.

Linking with #LifeThisWeek, #WeeklySmile.

How did your week go? Which of the 5 themes would you choose? I’d love to hear your comments.

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How I Enjoy Spring

Green chairs by the lake.

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #11! 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. Let’s sit in the big green chairs and chat while enjoying the views by the lake.

A Good Week

It’s been a good week, cool, with a mix of sun and clouds, and great for going outside. Five fun activities that make me smile this week:

  1. I cycled on a recently added bike path on University Avenue which is one of the main arteries in downtown Toronto. My trip was fast and fabulous.
  2. I visited the Bloor-Yorkville IceFest21 event. This year’s theme is A Trip Around The World. Click here to see some of the amazing ice sculptures.
  3. On one of my walks, I discovered several beautiful outdoor art displays and murals. Art where I don’t expect it is delightful.
  4. I read a good suspense novel, The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor, a new-to-me author. I enjoyed her debut novel so much that I read her second and also good book, The Hiding Place.
  5. I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share #11 and participating in the following link-ups: Leslie’s Spring Fun List, #SundayStills, #Colour2021, Cee’s FOTD, and #LifeThisWeek.
Tulips in Spring.
Soft Spring green.

Spring Fun List

As I type this, Toronto is still in lockdown. My Spring fun list includes what I can do while following public health measures:

  1. Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre.
  2. Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art.
  3. View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival.
  4. Meet my family and friends outside.
  5. Play 9-hole disc golf in a public park.
  6. Paddle around Toronto Islands.
  7. Plant a small herb garden.
  8. Read 1 book per week and add to my Books in 2021.
  9. Take photos and share my explorations on my blog.
  10. Try a new restaurant take-out.

The Sakura (cherry blossom) trees in Toronto’s High Park are a gift from the citizens of Tokyo. The first Japanese Somei-Yoshino cherry tree was planted here in 1959.

The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the historic Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians immediately following the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. Over 1 million tulips will be available for local or virtual viewing May 14-24, 2021.

Spring Green

Spring and green go hand in hand. Let me show you my Spring Green pictures from my photo archive.

The Emerald Isle: March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day which reminds me of my trip to Ireland. The Ring of Kerry, in the south west of Ireland, is a scenic drive that follows the coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way for about 180 km (111 miles). The stunning and green landscape has everything from the mountains to the shoreline.

The Ring of Kerry in Ireland.
The Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

The 16 emerald-coloured lakes at Plitvice Lakes National Park, the oldest and largest national park in Croatia. It was designated as a national park in 1949, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia.
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia in March.

Spring Showers: These Lady’s Mantle fuzzy and cup-like green leaves hold onto water droplets like little gems.

Water drops on Lady's Mantle leaves.
Lady’s Mantle.

Spring Flowers: Daffodils, tulips, and many more flowers bloom in the spring. Their green leaves provide a fresh backdrop and a good colour combination with the flower colours.

Daffodils and tulips.
Daffodils and tulips.

Spring Growth: From bare to green leafy trees. Move the arrows to see.


How did your week go? What do you look forward to this season? I’d love to hear your comments.

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A Year Later

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #10! 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.

This Week

It’s been a very good week with spring-like and mostly sunny weather here. The daytime high temperature reached 17C (63F) on Thursday. I complete my meditation, body weight workouts, and yoga at home before going outside to cycle and walk most mornings.

A beautiful day by the pier.
A beautiful day by the pier.

When I walk in the parks and along the lake shore, I see and hear red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, starlings, woodpeckers, ducks, geese, gulls, long-tailed ducks and swans . Most trees, except evergreens, are still bare with small buds on the branches.

White birch trees.
White birch trees.

Nature continues to keep me smiling and feeling positive. I also blog, chat with my family and friends by phone, learn French and Spanish online, listen to music, sort my photos, read, and write. I just finished a very good thriller, The Suspect, by Michael Robotham.

A woodpecker.
A cute woodpecker.

A Year Later

One year after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, I reflect on some of what’s been happening:

SubjectMarch 13, 2020March 12, 2021
Lockdown in TorontoFirst lockdown lasted from March 13 until June 2020.Second lockdown that started on November 23, 2020 is still on.
Food and household suppliesShortage occurred (e.g. Flour, yeast, toilet paper).Stable supplies.
Arts and entertainmentAll venues were closed. Exhibits and shows moved online or outside.All venues are closed. Exhibits and shows are available online or outside.
City-led and City-permitted outdoor major eventsOutdoor major events were cancelled (e.g. Parades, running races, festivals).Outdoor major events are cancelled through July 1 (e.g. Parades, running races, festivals).
Personal and recreational servicesLibraries offered digital services and closed branches.

Hair salons, gyms, and swimming pools are closed.

Public parks are open. Going outside is allowed for essential reasons (e.g. exercise, health care, groceries).
Libraries offer excellent digital services and limited services inside library branches.

Hair salons, gyms, and swimming pools are closed.

Public parks are open. Going outside is allowed for essential reasons (e.g. exercise, health care, groceries).
Social distancingPublic Health advised people to practice hand washing and social distancing (2m or 6 ft. apart).

Masks were introduced later and mandated in indoor public spaces and on public transport.
The 3Ws (Wash hands, wear mask and watch distance) continue. Masks are required in indoor public spaces and on public transport.

Indoor gatherings are banned, except with members in the same household. Outside gatherings limit to 10 people.

International TravelCanadians abroad were advised to return to Canada.

Airline and tour operators started cancelling flights and tours.
Canada added travel restrictions (e.g. hotel quarantine, COVID-19 test).

Non-essential travel is discouraged.
VaccinesNo vaccine available.Canada has approved four vaccines and vaccine rollout is in progress.

There was a temporary relief in Summer 2020 when the first lockdown was lifted. I got a haircut, socialized outside, and enjoyed a fun-filled summer paddling around the Toronto Islands.

This 3-geese distancing sign reminds me to do my part while keeping a sense of humour, including in difficult situations like living in a lockdown and a pandemic.

Three-geese distancing.
Three-geese distancing.

A year later, the main improvements are stable food and household supplies and vaccines. Since December 2020, Ontario has started its three-phase vaccination plan. I’m in the last phase to get the vaccine at the end of summer 2021 depending on vaccine supply.

I choose optimism. Yellow is the colour of optimism. So I updated this post with some yellow flowers from my photo archive. All florals are shared with FOTD photo challenge and Life This Week.

Daffodils.
Daffodils.
Sunflowers.
Sunflowers.

How did your week go? What improvements have you noticed 1 year after the pandemic started? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Lakeside Birdwatching

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #7! 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.

1. Link-Up News

Last weekend, we had a new high: 42 participants at Weekend Coffee Share #6 (41 in InLinkz and 1 did a ping back to my blog but didn’t enter the InLinkz party). Thank you, everyone, for your participation.

We have new participants and some returned from a blogging break at each link-up. So, a gentle reminder of my guidelines to join the Weekend Coffee Share link-up:

  1. Link one post.
  2. Read the host’s post and two posts from other Coffee Share participants and leave a comment so they know you’ve dropped by.
  3. Spread the Weekend Coffee Share word and link back. The hashtag is #WeekendCoffeeShare.

The guidelines are also posted in the InLinkz dashboard.

2. This Past Week

I had a good week, enjoyed many activities, and chatted with my family and friends more than normal. Downtown Toronto got some snow overnight on Monday and part of Tuesday, a lot less than other areas in Ontario. During the week, my brisk and long walks boosted my mood and the birds by the lake kept me entertained.

3. Birdwatching

I got into birdwatching about two years ago. When my sister and I went to Ecuador, the biodiversity there, including species of birds were amazing and noticeable. We spent time watching colourful birds and had a memorable overnight stay in the Amazon rainforest.

After that trip, I pay more attention to birds. Lucky me, Toronto is the home of the Blue Jays and over 350 other incredible species of birds. Toronto Blue Jays are a Canadian professional baseball team based in Toronto. They won the World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

When I walk by Lake Ontario, I enjoy watching birds in the harbour. They make my walk more fun and interesting. In this post, I focus on birds by the lake even though I’ve seen many more bird species in land. Let me show you in photos.

Common Birds

Common birds that are at the lake year-round include gulls, ducks, geese, rock pigeons, and swans. The ring-billed gulls have a black band encircling the yellow bill that distinguish them from other gulls.

A ring-billed gull.
A ring-billed gull.

Canada geese have the signature white chinstrap on their black necks. There are many of them along the lake shore, both on land and in the water.

2 Canada geese.
2 Canada geese.
Winter Birds

In the winter, attractive bufflehead ducks, long-tailed ducks, and common mergansers arrive here and stay for a few months. The cormorants with aquamarine eyes show up in the Spring.

Bufflehead ducks: The male duck has a large white patch on the head, the female duck has a small white patch on the cheek.

2 Bufflehead ducks.
2 Bufflehead ducks.

Long-tailed ducks: The males have mostly white, rich brown, black and grey on the face and long, slender tail feathers. Females are smudgy brown and white without the long tail.

4 male and 1 female long-tailed ducks.
4 male and 1 female long-tailed ducks.

Common Mergansers: They are large ducks with long, slender bills. The males are striking with clean white bodies, dark green heads, and a slender, serrated red bill. The gray-bodied females have rich, cinnamon heads with a short crest.

3 female mergansers.
3 female mergansers.
Summer Birds

Last summer, I was thrilled to see many birds when I went paddling in the wetlands on Toronto Islands. My favourites were the great egrets and grey herons.

Great egret.
Great egret.
Grey heron.
Grey heron.

I refer to the Birds of Toronto guide to identify these birds.

What birds are common in your neighbourhood?

Linking with Sunday Stills, Life This Week, The Weekly Smile.

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Wrapping Up 2020

Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Today is the last Wellness Weekend link up in 2020. The optional prompt is Wrapping Up. I hope you join in on the fun right here.

We’ve all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020. Personally, it started in mid-March for me. Since March, I’ve lived through two waves of the pandemic and two lockdowns in Toronto: The first lockdown from March to June and the second lockdown from November 23 to January 4, 2021 at least.

To wrap up the year, I reflect on what I’ve accomplished and how I spent my days in 2020. Here’s the ten things that stand out for me.

Cycling on the Waterfront Trail.
Cycling on the Waterfront Trail.
  1. Self-care – On the Health front, I’ve done well in 2020. I practice the 3Ws (wash my hands, watch my distance, and wear my mask) to keep myself and others safe from COVID-19. I meditate daily, cycle, exercise, practice yoga, and walk most days. The physical activities and being outside close to nature keep me in good spirits.
Kayaking around Toronto Islands in summer 2020.
Kayaking around Toronto Islands in summer 2020.
  1. Trying new and healthy things – When the gym and swimming pool are closed, I find several body weight training videos on YouTube. I learn new exercises and do workouts at home. In the summer, I go canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddling. I focus my time and energy more on healthy or useful activities and less on news and social media.
Baking banana bread.
Baking banana bread.
  1. Enjoying home comforts – For the first time in many years, I stay home the entire year without traveling. I keep my home tidy and designate space for my workouts and my leisure activities. I embrace the quietude, stock up on essential items, bake new recipes, and make all meals at home.
Keeping a distance of 2m or the length of 3 geese from others.
Keeping a distance of 2m or the length of three geese from others.
  1. Socializing outside – In the summer when the first lockdown is lifted, I meet with my family and friends outdoors. We practice physical distancing, stay at least 2m (6 feet) apart, and bring our own drinks and snacks to our coffee dates.
Nice park for socializing outside.
Nice park for socializing outside.
  1. Using technology – The second lockdown requires Torontonians to limit contacts to the people we live with and the cold weather makes meeting outdoors less inviting so I rely on my phone, email, and FaceTime to stay connected with my family and friends. The important thing is we are all well.
Visiting the Our Game bronze sculpture.
Visiting the Our Game bronze sculpture.
  1. Continuing cultural fun – During the pandemic, I go almost 100% digital with my cultural activities. I learn French and Spanish on Duolingo, listen to concerts online as opposed to at indoor venues, visit outdoor public art installations as opposed to indoor art galleries, and watch virtual shows or movies at home as opposed to in the theatres.
Toronto's skyline from Toronto Islands.
Toronto’s skyline from Toronto Islands.
  1. Exploring – 2020 is the year when all my trip reservations are cancelled with full refunds. Since I’ve been to many countries, some several times, I feel fine to wait until it’s safe to travel again. The pause of travel this year is an opportunity for me to explore wonderful places in Toronto, and to prioritize my international travel in the future.
Switching from books to e-books in 2020.
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com
  1. Reading – I read a lot of books in 2020. My current count is 111 fiction novels and memoirs from more than 70 authors. This is my best annual reading record to date. A tough one for me to repeat. I switch from books to e-books in the summer. To my surprise, I love this change.
My first entry in the Thursday Doors photo challenge in 2020.
My first entry in the Thursday Doors photo challenge in 2020.
  1. Writing – I enjoy writing 55 blog posts and one guest post in 2020. I’m still having fun after four years of blogging. I’m thrilled when my blog readers find my story and photos interesting or inspiring. The best is when I make you smile.
Grateful for the great outdoors in 2020.
Grateful for the great outdoors in 2020.
  1. Gratitude – I feel grateful every day for many things, such as a new day, my good health, my family and friends, comfortable home, good food, amazing technology, excellent library system, well-maintained city parks, beautiful Lake Ontario, fantastic Waterfront Trail, and more.

I’d like to thank all of you who read my blog and share your thoughts. Your blogging friendships and comments are my awards. I wish everyone a healthy holiday season and a happy New Year 2021.

I’d love to hear your summary for 2020.

Linking here.

Copyright © 2021 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

Bits of Joy

Hello blog friends! I’m glad you’re here. I hope you have a few minutes for a chat over a cup of coffee or tea. We had a mixed bag of weather this past week: Sun, rain, snow, and sun again. As I type this, Toronto is under lockdown to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus so I limit my in-person contacts and continue to go outside only for exercise or groceries.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, there are still many small pleasures and fun moments to enjoy every day. Here’s my bits of joy and photos to share with you:

Going for a Beach Walk

Sunnyside Beach

Sunday was sunny and beautiful. It was perfect for my bike ride to Sunnyside Beach and a walk along the sandy beach. I enjoyed views of Lake Ontario, blue sky, fresh air, bird life, trees, with very few people around at the time of my visit. This may be the last “warm” day of Autumn 2020. Two days after I took this beach photo, we got snow!

Baking

Monday was a rainy day. Having three ripe bananas on my kitchen counter prompted me to bake. I haven’t baked for a few months because it was too hot to think of baking in the summer. I used Jean Paré’s Banana Bread recipe and the loaf turned out really good. It was a tasty homemade snack to go with a cuppa while staying dry and warm indoor.

Loving the First Snow

Tuesday was snow day. First snow accumulation on the first day of December 2020! Just a thin layer by the lake and more snow elsewhere in Ontario. The snow flurries and snow flakes looked so pretty when I sat inside sipping my hot coffee. I love to go for a walk after the first snowfall when everything still looks pristine.

Cycling to a Park

Wednesday was sunny again so I went cycling and enjoyed a beautiful wintry day. I was glad to have my sunglasses with me as the reflections from the snow were blinding. How many Canada geese do you see in the above photo? There were many more of them by the lake than those I captured here. When we get more snow in the parks, it will be fun to go snowshoeing.

Speaking of blinding, on Wednesday around noon, while cycling, I saw a flash of blinding light then a fireball in the clear blue sky. It appeared and disappeared in seconds. The local news reported it was a falling meteor travelling an estimated 100,000 kilometers an hour. The American Meteor Society also received reports on this daylight fireball event occurred over Central New York. That was unexpected and pretty cool to see.

Hill without snow.
The thin layer of snow was gone by Thursday.

Joining a Challenge

Dan at No Facilities blog has taken over hosting the Thursday Doors photography challenge. I decided to participate for the first time. My debut Thursday Doors entry in Beaux-Arts style is here. I look forward to sharing my selection of door images and meeting other bloggers who participate in the challenge.

Reading

I enjoyed reading a few e-books this week. One of them was Jill Weatherholt’s Second Chance Romance novel. It’s an easy read and a heartwarming story with happy endings. In addition to reading Jill’s book, I also read and agreed with the Second Chance Romance book review by Annika Perry, another blogger and writer that I follow. Both Jill and Annika have my admiration for their wonderful writing.

Selecting a Tree

I browsed and found a handsome evergreen tree for the holidays. No, I don’t plan to bring one home. I like the natural look of the first snow landed on the tree and its symmetrical shape. This is my digital tree all decorated and ready to go as my e-greeting card to my family and friends.

How did your week go? Any fun plans for the coming week? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

Copyright © 2021 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.