Little Norway Park Benches

I met up with a friend in Little Norway Park for a walk and chat. Little Norway Park was built on the same site where a training camp for Norway’s Air Force was located during World War II.

The park was officially opened by His Majesty King Olav V of Norway on November 20, 1987. It features a ball diamond, a wading pool, a children’s playground and many walking paths through gardens.

While we were at the park, I was delighted to discover five benches painted by Lead artist Jim Bravo, Athena Patterson and Jannai Goddard in July 2014. I’ve been organizing my digital images of public art into themes. These bench photos go under my On the Bench theme.

On the Bench

Yellow bench with Sun designs
White bench with Moon phases
Midnight blue bench with Constellations (and a squirrel in the upper right corner)
Black bench with white letters
Red bench with Greek alphabet and symbols

Little Norway Park has many black and grey squirrels that run away when they see humans. This grey squirrel, however, approached me and perched on a tree branch for me to take a few photos.

A cute squirrel

My friend and I had a good catch-up and many laughs. I enjoyed sunshine, friendship, colourful art and squirrels. I headed home with a smile and photos.

Questions

  1. Are black and grey squirrels common in your corner of the world?
  2. If you were ‘on the bench‘ (as in a judge), which bench would you give the highest rating?

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #105 InLinkz below.

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Happy New Year 2023

I would like to wish everyone a healthy, joyful, and fulfilling new year. I hope you had a lovely holiday season. Mine was enjoyable and relaxing. Nature has given us here a gentle start to 2023 with light rain and mild temperatures, high 4C or 39F, on New Year’s Day.

To ring in 2023, I watched the 15-minute fireworks display launching at midnight across Toronto’s waterfront. I celebrated New Year’s Day with a healthy breakfast, a gentle yoga session, a good lunch, a bike ride, a delicious family dinner, chocolate, and an intriguing book. It was a wonderful day!

Forecast and Outlook

My activity forecast for 2023 follows nature’s four seasons: Quiet reflection and preparation in winter (January-March), emergence and new beginnings in spring (April-June), abundance and growth in summer (July-September), and gentle wrap-up in autumn (October-December).

I have an optimistic outlook for 2023. While we don’t know what this new year will bring us, I know there are at least three things that I can and love to do:

  1. Maintain my health and fitness in various ways.
  2. Show support to family, friends and community.
  3. Explore and enjoy life via my hobbies and travel adventures.

On the Blog

During my break, I did some blog housekeeping behind the scene and on my Home page:

  1. Changed my blog header image from a beach to an island.
  2. Updated the pages on the menu at the top of my blog.
  3. Updated the widgets on my blog sidebar.

I hope to continue documenting my explorations and discoveries with pictures on my blog. I have a few outings in the queue to write up. For this week, I am sharing a recently painted mural that I discovered on one of my walks. I like its nature theme and cheerful colours.

The Bathurst Quay Mural featuring artwork by Shawn Howe depicting birch trees growing against a purple, pink and orange sky with a stream surrounded by rocks in the foreground and a large moon or sun in the sky.

Bathurst Quay Mural, 2022, by Shawn Howe
North side
West side

Weekend Coffee Share

I continue hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Welcome to WCS linkup #101! This weekly linkup allows bloggers to come together to share what’s been happening, simple joys from their week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world.

Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own WCS or PPAC post each week and then sharing your link in the InLinkz dashboard or comments below, anytime between 8:00 am Friday morning and midnight Sunday night (Canada Eastern Time). I look forward to hearing from you.

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Amazing Walks and Art in November

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 48 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #98 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 chat.

This weekend is a good time for me to reflect on November and my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. The first half of November was filled with wonderful bike rides, hikes and walks thanks to well above average and record-setting warm temperatures (daytime high 25C or 77F on November 5). The second half of November brought wet snow on November 15, cooler temperatures and the start of festive events.

Here’s my monthly recap for November.

1. Health

I hiked in High Park and along Grenadier Pond a few times. High Park has all sorts of trails to explore. Flat and easy trails as well as long hills, steep staircases, winding trails through woods with more challenging terrain. On each hike, I used all my senses to connect with nature and immersed in the beauty around me.

2. Family

My family and I picked a beautiful sunny 18C (64F) day to stroll along the water’s edge from Kew Beach to Woodbine Beach and Ashbridge’s Bay. A few days later, we had our first dusting of snow that signaled the transition from Autumn to Winter. I took a few ‘fresh snow’ pictures before it all melted.

3. Friends

A friend and I enjoyed wonderful walks at Evergreen Brick Works. Evergreen Brick Works was a clay and shale quarry for one hundred years. The 16.5-hectare (40-acre) area is now a thriving green space, with ponds and many varieties of nature trails to explore and wander. We love seeing turtles, fish, grey herons, ducks and beaver dams in the wetlands.

Evergreen Brick Works connects to Moore Park Ravine so we walked in the stunning ravine as well. Tall trees tower above and envelope us while leaves crunched beneath our feet. We feel fortunate to have such beautiful green space right in the heart of the city.

4. Photographing Public Art Challenge

Here’s a sampling of public art at Evergreen Brick Works.

My favourite is Legacy (the mud beneath our feet) sculpture by Dave Hind. It’s 10′ x 10′ made by reclaimed steel, aluminum and wood. A.P. Coleman’s legacy as the geologist who put the North Slope of the Brick Works quarry on the map is represented in a sculpture depicting a pair of his boots.

Legacy (the mud beneath our feet) sculpture by Dave Hind, 2010

5. Blogging

Photography – I posted square images with a brief caption on four Wednesdays in November. It’s my way to support Becky at The Life of B blog while participating in her Walking Squares and other photo challenges. These posts have the #photography tag in their titles.

Weekend Coffee Share – On November 11th, I started hosting both Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) and Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) under the weekly WCS linkup. I’ve included the links for November’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

December schedule – Please note the following:

  • December 9: Linkup #99
  • December 16: Linkup #100
  • December 23: No linkup
  • December 30: No linkup

I’ll repeat this announcement on December 9th and 16th since some bloggers don’t participate every week. I’ll be taking a break in the last two weeks of 2022. After the holidays, I’ll resume the Weekend Coffee Share linkup on January 6th, 2023.

I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in November. Happy December!

Linked to Ju-Lyn’s #TheChangingSeasons.

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Toronto Music Garden in Autumn

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 47 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #97 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.

I had written about the Toronto Music Garden in Spring (here), Summer (here) and Winter (here). To complete my series, I visited the garden in Autumn (early November). A week after my visit, we had our first dusting of snow.

Toronto Music Garden

The Toronto Music Garden springs from the imagination of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, the garden is made up of six “movements” whose forms and feelings correspond to that suggested in the music: Prélude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue.

Prélude

This section imparts the feeling of a flowing river. Granite boulders that came from the Canadian Shield represent a stream bed. Low-growing plants soften its banks. Circular designs on the ground and at the edge of the boulders represent the water movements. The trees with straight trunks are native Hackberry trees. This is the only section in the garden that is not a dance form.

Prélude in autumn

Allemande

This section imparts the feeling of a forest grove of wandering trails. The allemande is an ancient German dance. The trails swirl inward and move higher and higher up the hillside. A circle of dawn redwood trees and a small birch forest provide shades to the various contemplative sitting areas that look over the harbour.

Allemande in autumn

Courante

This section imparts the feeling of a swirling path through a wildflower meadow. The courante is an exuberant Italian and French dance form. The trails swirl upward in a spiral form, through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. At the top of the swirling path is the maypole, with Celtic-patterned spirals and iron wheel, designed by Anne Roberts.

Courante in autumn

Sarabande

This section is envisioned as a poet’s corner with a centerpiece. The sarabande is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. The trails go in an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Japanese maple trees are also grown here. The centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

Sarabande in autumn

Menuet

This section imparts the feeling of a formal parterre garden of flowers. The menuett is a French dance movement. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of a circular pavilion. The pavilion is hand-crafted with ornamental steel by Tom Tollefson. It is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

Menuet in autumn

Gigue

Gigue section imparts the feeling of a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The gigue, or “jog”, is an English dance. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree.

Gigue in autumn

Photographing Public Art Challenge

To my delight, as I reached the east end of the Toronto Music Garden, I saw a new mural on an utility box by artist Varvara Nedilska.

Art by Varvara Nedilska, 2022
Art by Varvara Nedilska, 2022

In early November, Toronto Music Garden still had plenty of colours such as pink and white anemones, pink and purple asters, snow berries, holly berries, and more. I love walking through the garden and take in the beauty around me.

December Schedule

Please note the following Weekend Coffee Share linkup schedule:

  • December 2: Linkup #98
  • December 9: Linkup #99
  • December 16: Linkup #100
  • December 23: No linkup
  • December 30: No linkup

I’ll repeat this announcement between now and December 16th since some bloggers don’t participate every week. I’ll be taking a break in the last two weeks of 2022. After the holidays, I’ll resume the Weekend Coffee Share linkup on Friday, January 6, 2023.

How was your week?

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk.

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Bay of Fundy: 5 Natural Wonders

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 44 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #94. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

When I was planning for my trip to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in September, I wanted to see several natural wonders and UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the Bay of Fundy. I had visited main attractions in Halifax and surrounding areas such as Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove, and Cape Breton in Nova Scotia before. So for this trip I focused on new-to-me places.

I’m happy to say that I saw everything that I wanted to see and more. I wrote my adventures on the Bay of Fundy in three posts. This post is the first of three:

  1. Natural wonders
  2. Historic places
  3. Fun attractions

The Bay of Fundy is renowned for its extremely high tidal range (the highest in the world), geological discoveries (dinosaur fossils) and marine life (whales). Here’s five amazing Natural Wonders to explore.

1. Joggins Fossil Cliffs

Joggins Fossil Cliffs on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is Canada’s 15th UNESCO World Heritage Site. Joggins is world famous because of its fossil record of life on land in the Coal Age. More than 300 million years ago, Joggins was home to giant insects, towering trees and the first known reptiles.

I enjoyed 1) A visit to the Joggins Fossil Centre to see an extensive fossil specimen collection, exhibits, and displays and learn about the “Coal Age,” when lush forests covered the Joggins region 2) A guided tour with knowledgeable interpretive staff to explore the coastal cliffs (up to 15 kilometres of magnificently exposed layers of rock) and look for fossils on the beach at low tide.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs and beach at low tide
Joggins Fossil Cliffs
Rock layers at Joggins Fossil Cliffs
Plant fossils at Joggins Fossil Centre

2. The World’s Highest Tide and Hopewell Rocks

The Hopewell Rocks also called the Flowerpot Rocks are rock formations caused by tidal erosion at the Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park in New Brunswick. This is where the power of the Bay of Fundy tides is most impressive. Not only does the tide rise 14 meters (46 feet) vertically, it also recedes almost two football fields horizontally.

I enjoyed 1) A visit to the Hopewell Rocks Interpretive Centre for an overview on geology, tides and wildlife 2) A walk with an interpretive guide to see the powerful tides and the 40-70 feet tall flowerpot rocks.

There are two highs and two lows each day, with about 6 hours and 13 minutes between each high and low tide. The bay water is brownish-red as organic sediment and red mud are stirred up from the sea bed by tides and currents.

Diamond Rock
Hopewell Rocks

During my visit, the tides covered Daniels Flats, named for one of this area’s early settlers, an immense mud flat that is 4 km (2.5 mi.) wide and stretches almost as far as Grindstone Island in the distance.

Daniels Flats

The tides also covered Lover’s Arch situated relatively high on the beach. The tide needs to rise 28 feet straight up before it touches the base of the archway. The Fundy tides can then continue to rise another 18 feet (5.5 meters) before starting to recede.

Lover’s Arch

3. Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Fundy National Park

Fundy National Park is in the heart of the UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve. Often draped in a blanket of summer fog, the lush lands of the Biosphere Reserve stretch farther than the eye can see. The park maintains 110 km of hiking trails, both inland and coastal, as well as guided nature walks and interpretive programs. I’d love to spend more time here.

Map of UNESCO-designated Fundy Biosphere Reserve
Red chairs at Fundy National Park

All biological communities, including people, lead lives under the inescapable influences unique to the Bay of Fundy. For example, fishing boats can only leave or dock at the wharf when the height of tide permits. The right time could be morning, noon, or night.

Boats by Alma wharf at low tide

4. Reversing Falls Rapids

Reversing Falls Rapids is a unique phenomenon created by the collision of the Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River. It was incredible to watch the tides of the Bay of Fundy actually force the water at the mouth of the Saint John River to reverse its flow.

The nearby Stonehammer Geopark, the only UNESCO-listed global geopark in North America, has information panels on the tides and the geology of the cliffs.

Reversing Falls Rapids
Stonehammer Geopark

5. Marine Life

A whale watching tour is a fantastic way to experience marine life in the Bay of Fundy. My tour with Quoddy Link Marine in St. Andrews was excellent. We passed by East Quoddy Lighthouse built in 1829, the oldest lighthouse in New Brunswick, and saw harbour seals, humpback whales, porpoises, sea birds, and more.

East Quoddy (or Head Harbour) Lighthouse

I look forward to combining Photographing Public Art Challenge with Weekend Coffee Share linkup and sharing historic sites on the Bay of Fundy next Friday.

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Loving Life in October 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 43 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #93. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

It’s the last weekend in October and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. Here’s my monthly update for October.

Health

Fall colours have been stunning this October. I enjoy views of yellow, orange and red leaves and feeling the crisp, cool air when I go cycling and walking. There’s no shortage of interesting places waiting to be explored.

One of the parks that I was thrilled to revisit this month is Tommy Thompson Park. I wrote about it here. I cycled on the Waterfront Trail, passed the brand new Cherry Street South bridge to Cherry Beach and all the way to and through Tommy Thompson Park. It was pure bliss to be surrounded by the sights, sounds, and feels of nature on the trail and at the park on a gorgeous, sunny day.

Home

After an active summer with monthly out-of-town trips, October is the month for me to relax at home with family, reconnect with friends and complete home maintenance tasks.

I enjoyed small gatherings with family and close friends to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and Thanksgiving. It so happens that the special occasions spread out in October so there is a celebration every week. It was wonderful to catch up on what’s been happening with everyone.

In addition, there was a coffee date with my sister, a 8 km family walk on Toronto Islands, another 8 km urban walk with a friend, and a coffee date with another friend. We visited the Manulife Elevate Global Photography Exhibition in a beautiful garden and the World Press Photo Exhibition 2022 at Brookfield Place.

For the family walk on Toronto Islands, we walked from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island, visiting the beaches and trails in between. It was a gorgeous morning with blue sky, soft white clouds, calm wind, and the water mirrored the scenery.

Leisure

I balanced outdoor physical and social activities with indoor quiet and creative activities. I baked, listened to podcasts and music, read books, sorted my pictures, wrote blog posts, and researched potential travel destinations.

Photographing Public Art – In August 2012, a group of twenty three emerging youth artists and volunteers created an amazing 80 foot long mural from beautiful tiles and grout, under the artistic guidance of artist Cristina Delago.

Here is the Shore Stories mosaic mural located by the Toronto’s Ferry Terminal exit. Enjoy the following images and if you have 6 minutes and 20 seconds, watch this YouTube video on how the mural was created.

Toronto Harbour and ferry mosaics
Shore Stories mosaic mural

Writing – I’ve included the links for October’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

Overall

I’m grateful to have special occasions to look forward to and enjoy with family and friends throughout a beautiful October. I hope to share the first post on my adventures on the Bay of Fundy next week.

Happy November!

Shared with #2022WOTYlinkparty, #PPAC, #TheChangingSeasons.

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