My Best Trip to Niagara Falls

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #40! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

My sister and I took a day trip to Niagara Falls at the end of September for two purposes:

  1. To revisit Niagara Falls.
  2. To walk the Fleurs de Villes floral trail.

The weather was ideal on the day of our visit: Sunny, high 21C (70F), and calm wind. Without traffic, we covered the 126 km (78 miles) driving distance from Toronto to Niagara Falls, Ontario in about 1.5 hours.

Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the smaller Bridal Veil Falls. The largest of the three is Horseshoe Falls. It’s named Horseshoe (since 1721) because it looks like a horseshoe. It’s also known as Canadian Falls since it’s situated in Canada. The other two falls are in the United States.

The main road along Niagara Falls is Niagara Parkway. During this visit, we were lucky to see several variations of the rainbows over Niagara Falls: one rainbow, double rainbows and full rainbow arch. They were incredible and stunning!

Niagara Falls in Photos

Here are some photos of Niagara Falls. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Niagara Falls parking lot.
Arrived at 10 AM at an empty parking lot with a ‘loosey goosey’ traffic jam.
Horseshoe Falls in the morning with rising mist.
First glimpse of Horseshoe Falls at 52 meters (170 feet) in height and about 670 meters (2200 feet) wide. The combination of massive volume of water and flow speed produce the mist high in the air.
The Niagara River.
The Niagara River flows at approximately 56.3 kilometers/ hour (35 miles/ hour).
Horseshoe Falls morning spray.
Horseshoe Falls morning spray.
Spectacular Horseshoe Falls.
Horseshoe Falls, a natural wonder of the world.
Skylon Tower and Illumination Tower in Niagara Falls.
A gorgeous morning guaranteed spectacular views of Niagara Falls from the Skylon Tower. The round tower on the left is the Illumination Tower.
Skylon Tower 'Yellow Bug' elevators.
Two exterior glass-enclosed ‘Yellow Bug’ elevators moved along the Skylon Tower: One near the round base at the top and the other near the bottom.
Direct view of American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
Direct view of American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
Rainbow Bridge, Observation Tower, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the Maid of the Mist boat.
Rainbow Bridge, Observation Tower, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the Maid of the Mist boat.
Niagara Falls zipline.
The Zipline cables in the photo go past the American Falls and toward Horseshoe Falls.
View of American Falls from Queen Victoria Park.
View of American Falls from Queen Victoria Park.
Niagara Parkway.
Niagara Parkway with Queen Victoria Park on the left and the Skywheel (ferris wheel) above the trees.
Niagara Parks Police Station.
Flower beds in front of Niagara Parks Police Station.
Walking uphill on Murray Street
Walking uphill on Murray Street.
Horseshoe Falls whopping volume of water siphoned at an average of 750,000 gallons each second.
Horseshoe Falls whopping volume of water siphoned at an average of 750,000 gallons each second.
A small rainbow appeared to the left while the Maid of the Mist boat approached Horseshoe Falls.
A small rainbow appeared to the left while the Maid of the Mist boat approached Horseshoe Falls.
The Maid of the Mist passed by the rainbow as it exited Horseshoe Falls.
The Maid of the Mist passed by the rainbow as it exited Horseshoe Falls. Note that everyone wore blue rain ponchos. You’ll get wet anyway but it’s a thrill of a lifetime to be close to Horseshoe Falls, hear its thunderous roar and feel its spray.
Two rainbows appeared at Horseshoe Falls.
Double rainbows appeared at Horseshoe Falls.
Rainbow arc extended from Horseshoe Falls to Rainbow Bridge.
Rainbow arch extended from Horseshoe Falls to Rainbow Bridge.
Rainbow arc across Niagara Falls to the Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge on the left is one of the three international bridges that connect the cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and Niagara Falls, New York, United States. The other two international bridges are Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Whirlpool Rapids Bridge.
Horseshoe Falls with two rainbows.
Horseshoe Falls with double rainbows and an incredible volume of water flow. 20% of all the fresh water in the world lies in the five Great Lakes and most flows over Niagara Falls.
Lucky gull by Horseshoe Falls.
Lucky gull to see this view of Horseshoe Falls.
Walkway and railings at Niagara Falls.
Walkway and railings at Niagara Falls.
Lunch.
Lunch: Vermicelli with spring roll, grilled meat, peanuts and vegetables.
Rainbow at Niagara Falls.
Rainbow at Niagara Falls around 6 PM.

Ways to Experience Niagara Falls

I’d recommend first time visitors to experience the falls by:

  • Walking along Niagara Parkway at day time and staying late to see the falls illuminated every evening beginning at dusk (free).
  • Boat operated by Hornblower Cruise or Maid of the Mist.
  • Getting behind Horseshoe Falls. See Journey Behind the Falls.
  • Dining at the Skylon Tower. Its Revolving Dining Room restaurant silently rotates 360 degrees every hour, giving diners a constantly changing vantage point.
  • Helicopter or zipline if you’re adventurous.

If time permits, I’d recommend a longer stay to explore Niagara historic sites, parks, gardens, wineries, the Whirlpool Rapids, and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

I feel fortunate to have had many visits to Niagara Falls, one of the Earth’s natural wonders. This trip was by far the best: Perfect weather, no crowd, spectacular Niagara Falls with rainbows, girl time with my sister, good food, and beautiful Fleurs de Villes Niagara Falls floral trail.

To be continued…

What do you think of Niagara Falls?

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What Made September Special

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #39! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a mainly sunny week with daytime high temperatures around 19C (66F). I had a fun week that included a day trip to Niagara Falls. Today is the first day of October, a new month, so I took a look back at September and appreciated the month just passed.

Here’s my summary of what made September special.

Health

Sunnyside Park.
The weather was pleasant and nature was beautiful throughout September. It’s been a joy to go cycling, play disc golf, and take walks most days. These outdoor activities complement my exercises at home (meditation, language lessons, strength training and yoga).

Family Outing

View of Toronto skyline from Centre Island ferry dock.
My family and I enjoyed a visit to Ward’s Island on a gorgeous morning. This is the view of Toronto skyline from the island with swans in the foreground.

Friendships

Asters.
I chatted with a dear friend who lives in the USA on her milestone birthday last weekend. We both appreciated her birthday more since she recently recovered from a serious health issue. Asters are September birth flowers.
Christie Pits Park labyrinth and playground.
I had a fun coffee catch-up and a labyrinth walk with two local friends at beautiful Christie Pits Park on a sunny morning.
A yellow hibiscus.

Sisters’ Time

Leisure

Photography: I enjoy taking photographs when I go outside. I’ve shared many images of nature, buildings, flowers, murals and sculptures on my blog. Here are two additional artworks that I like:

Monument to Multiculturalism.
The Monument to Multiculturalism sculpture was designed by Francesco Perilli and the base by architect Nino Rico. The monument was unveiled on July 1, 1985 at Union Station entrance.
Humanity art installation is made up of 35 words that reflect what humanity means to Masai Ujiri. Ujiri is the president of Toronto’s basketball team Raptors.

Reading: I finished seven books in September and updated my Books in 2021 page. I love opening a new book and see where the story takes me.

Travel: My sister and I took a day trip to Niagara Falls and had a fantastic time. We enjoyed sunny weather, stunning waterfalls and beautiful flowers. Good food and good conversation again. More details in a future post.

Writing: I wrote five blog posts and enjoyed hosting and blogging every weekend in September:

Gratitude

Humanity art installation.
East view of Humanity art installation. The artwork uses light to create a ripple effect with its words, symbolizing the need to spread more humanity.

Looking back, what made September special was the heartwarming social time that I had, either in groups with my family and friends, or one on one with my sister and my neighbour. On weekends, I enjoyed virtual coffee shares with my blogging community.

I’m grateful for all the good things that happened in September.

How was September for you?

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Visiting Ward’s Island

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #38! 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 transition week from summer to autumn, with a mix of sunny days and rainy days. First day of autumn was September 22. I think the plants need the rain since the last two weeks of August was boiling hot and dry and we haven’t had enough rain since.

One place that I wanted to visit this summer is Ward’s Island. The stars aligned and I made the trip with my family on a gorgeous morning. Even though there is regular ferry service from the mainland to Ward’s Island, we took the ferry to Centre Island then walked to Ward’s Island, about 3.2 km (2 miles).

Gorgeous view from Centre Island bridge.
Gorgeous view from Centre Island bridge.

Ward’s Island is on the east side of the islands. This is the residential part of the island where the Toronto Island community is located. For a brief history of Toronto Islands, click here.

We visited two historic sites: The Royal Canadian Yacht Club since 1854 and St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church (or the Island Church) since 1884.

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club across the water.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club history.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club history.
St. Andrew by-the-lake church entrance.
St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church entrance.
Side view of St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church.
Side view of St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church.
Paved path to the boardwalk.
We walked along the paved path to the boardwalk.
Boardwalk to Ward's Island.
Then along the boardwalk to Ward’s Island with beautiful park and lake views.
Lake view from the boardwalk.
The water was calm, clear and some areas sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight.
Ward's Island fire station.
We stopped by the current Fire Station to see the Fire and Water clock designed by artist Gordon Peteran in 1995.
Ward's island old fire station.
The older Fire Station is further east on the same street.
A cottage.
A cottage on Ward’s Island.
Green house.
I’d love to see the interior of this green house.
White house.
and this white house.
The Island Café.
The Island Café is the perfect spot for coffee, home baked treat, brunch, lunch, or sunset dinner.
Kale garden.
The Island Café is also operating a Kale Garden, a joint initiative with the City of Toronto. People are welcome to participate in maintaining the garden and get free kale.
The Riviera Ward's Island Kitchen.
The Riviera Ward’s Island Kitchen is a casual dining restaurant and bar.
Centre Island beach.
After a walk along Centre Island beach, we walked back to the ferry dock to catch the ferry home.
Toronto skyline.
The ferry ride offers fantastic panoramic views of Toronto skyline.

Clear blue skies, pleasant temperatures, beautiful nature, and happy family time. Life is good.

How was your week? What fun plans do you have for the weekend?

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Tasty Meal and St. James Park

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #31! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate or a cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a week of sunny days with fluffy clouds and fun activities. In this post, I’d like to share a new-to-me recipe and my walk in St. James Park.

Asparagus and Sausage Penne

This tray bake by chef Adam Liaw is a winner. I substituted asparagus for broccolini and penne for spaghetti. I skipped the optional anchovies and the red chili. It was an easy-to-make, quick and tasty meal. Sharing for #WhatsOnYourPlate challenge, hosted by Donna at Retirement Reflections and Deb at The Widow Badass.

Asparagus and sausage penne

A Walk in St. James Park

St. James Park is located at the intersection of King and Jarvis Streets in downtown Toronto. From spring 2018 to spring 2021, the park has undergone improvements and is a beautiful space to stroll and relax. The park layout has four entry plazas, one central plaza, plenty of benches and a formal garden. On the west side of the park is St. James Cathedral.

St. James Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of St. James is an Anglican cathedral. It is the location of the oldest congregation in Toronto, with the parish being established in 1797. The cathedral, with construction beginning in 1850 and opening for services in 1853, was one of the largest buildings in the city at that time. It was designed by Frederick William Cumberland and is a prime example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Click on any image in the gallery to see it in full view. Sharing for #ThursdayDoors.

Arbour: The clematis covered wrought-iron arbour at the northeast entry plaza was added to St. James Park in the early 1980’s.

Lighting feature: The new lighting feature at the northeast entry plaza is a sculptural abstract interpretation of the St. James Cathedral in silhouette. It looks better at night when the lights are on.

Sculpture: The Robert Gourlay bust welcomes visitors coming into the park from the northwest entry plaza. Robert Fleming Gourlay (1778 – 1863) was a Scottish-Canadian writer, political reform activist, and agriculturalist. The bronze bust was created by Toronto sculptor, Adrienne Alison.

Robert Gourlay sculpture by Adrienne Alison.

Playground: Families with young children enjoy the new market-themed playground that features elements such as the asparagus climber, giant-sized produce, a tower made of stacked farmer’s baskets, a merry go-round, a flexible seating platform under a tree perfect for story time and a small water-play area.

St. James Park playground.

Pavilion: A new open-air park pavilion located on the east side of the enlarged central plaza. The pavilion, made of heavy timber columns and a trellis canopy with recessed lighting, is in part, inspired by the Gothic arches of the cathedral’s architecture. It’s suitable for a variety of community events.

St. James Park Michael Comstock Pavilion.

The pavilion was officially named Michael Comstock Pavilion this summer. After a long lockdown, live music at an outdoor concert in St. James Park brought me tremendous joy. Below is the north view of the pavilion and the garden.

Garden: Walking trails traverse the grass and tree dotted area. The St. James garden in Victorian garden style was renovated in 2003 by landscape designer Wendy Shearer. It has several rose beds, shrubs, ornamental stone statues, and a fountain.

Seat Wall: The seat wall in the southwest plaza near the cathedral features a bronze silhouette of the architectural skyline of the area through several historic periods by Canadian artist Scott Eunson.

Bronze silhouette by Scott Eunson.

Linked with #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC8.

Have a seat and tell me something good about your week.

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5 Things To See at Berczy Park

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #27! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate, or a cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a typical warm week of summer with showers mid-week. Toronto’s cycling network has new routes, some are permanent and some are temporary pilots. I’m excited about new cycling possibilities and nice places to see, such as Berczy Park.

Berczy Park.

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

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

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

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

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

Flatiron Mural.
Flatiron Mural, 1980 by Derek Besant.

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

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

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

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

Jacob’s Ladder, 2018 by artist Luis Jacob.

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

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

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

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

Happy weekend, everyone!

Linked with #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC4, #ThursdayDoors, #TreeSquares.

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Big House Canoe and Corktown Common

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #25! 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 weather has been mainly sunny this past week. I spent plenty of time outdoors cycling along the Waterfront trail and walking in parks. I’d like to share two unique places: Wigwam Chi-Chemung and Corktown Common.

Wigwam Chi-Chemung or Big House Canoe

Wigwam Chi-Chemung, which roughly translates to “Big House Canoe” in Ojibway, is a houseboat purchased by Elder Duke Redbird in 2019 and became a ‘canvas’ painted and outfitted with a series of Indigenous themes and murals. It’s a floating art installation located at the Ontario Place South Marina until October.

Wigwam Chi-Chemung
An elder in a canoe offering a peace pipe to a loon, messenger to the Creator.

June is National Indigenous History month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. I encourage my blog readers to watch this 3-minute video where Elder Duke Redbird and Phil Cote talk about their artwork on the boat from an Indigenous lens.

Corktown Common

Corktown Common is a park located in Toronto’s West Don Lands. Here are three reasons and a few photos why this park is special.

1. Multi-purpose use of land

Corktown Common is a former industrial landscape transformed into a natural urban oasis and community meeting place. This sophisticated 7.3 hectare (18 acre) park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and opened in 2013. The park sits atop flood protection hill (landform) which protects over 200 hectares (over 500 acres) of Toronto’s eastern downtown from Don River flooding.

Corktown Common trail.

2. Natural habitats and organically-managed park

Corktown Common is a showcase for Southern Ontario native plant species. Native plants have been planted in unique groupings to create a variety of habitats, including woodland, marsh and prairie, for a growing population of birds, amphibians and insects.

Native plants and marsh at Corktown Common.

Corktown Common is Toronto’s first organically managed park. This means that emphasis is placed on supporting ecosystem health and soil biology. Nearly all of the potable, splash pad, irrigation, and storm water is collected on site and reused in the marsh and irrigation system. The irrigation cistern holds approximately 568,000 liters (150,000 gallons) of water; enough to irrigate the park for a week.

Water collection in Corktown Common.
Corktown Common boardwalk.

3. Comprehensive park features

Aside from the marsh, beautiful marsh trails, and urban prairies, Corktown Common park features include a pavilion terrace, sprawling lawns, benches, playground areas, a splash pad, and a variety of inviting features like a fireplace, permanent barbeque, large communal picnic tables and washrooms. Solar panels on the pavilion offset the park’s energy needs and the pavilion’s power needs.

Pavilion and playground
Pavilion and Playground
Benches by redbud trees
Benches by redbud trees

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto’s residents are encouraged to get outside to exercise. My go-to places are Lake Ontario and parks like Corktown Common. A bicycle ride along the lakeshore or a walk in a green space always makes me feel good. I’m grateful to have easy access to the great outdoors.

Linked to #LifeThisWeek, PPAC#2, #SundayStills.

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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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Seeing the Lights

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

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

Toronto Inukshuk Park

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

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

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

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

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

Coronation Park

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

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

Night Lighting at the CN Tower

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

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

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

Christmas Trees at the TD Centre

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

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

Hudson’s Bay Queen Street Store

Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker
Masked nutcracker social distancing

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

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

Christmas Tree in the Eaton Centre

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

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

Finally

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

I’d love to hear your comments.

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Along Humber Bay Shores

Hello blog friends! I’m glad you are here. I hope you have a few minutes for a quick chat over a cup of coffee or tea. The weather was up and down in Toronto this past week. The first half of the week was cool and windy. The second half of the week was better with sunshine and warmer temperatures.

On one of the sunny mornings, with daytime high around 16C (60F), I went for a long bike ride and stopped at Humber Bay shores for a nature walk. Humber Bay is about 10 km (6.2 miles) west of Toronto’s city centre. A string of beautiful parks with many inviting trails and nice views of Lake Ontario await in this area. Let me show you in pictures.

The Trails

Trail at Humber Bay Park East

A network of sixteen flat and well-maintained biking and hiking trails weave through Humber Bay Park East and Humber Bay Park West. Autumn foliage provides pleasant colours and intermittent shades on a sunny day.

Stream at Humber Bay Park East

I saw and heard many small birds among the trees but they were too quick for me to take a good photo. I also passed a few small water streams when I explored the trails. They all feed into Lake Ontario.

The Views

Looking west from Humber Bay Park East
Looking west from Humber Bay Park East

For unobstructed views of Lake Ontario, I walked the outer trails at the south end of Humber Bay Parks. Rock boulders and benches along the shorelines offer excellent spots for bird watchers hoping to find interesting shorebirds and waterfowl, or for park visitors to sit down and enjoy the panoramic views.

View of the Toronto skyline at Humber Bay Park East
View of the Toronto skyline at Humber Bay Park East
The Toronto skyline and peninsula at Humber Bay Park West
The Toronto skyline and peninsula at Humber Bay Park West

Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat

Located along the Humber Bay Shores, the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat (HBBH) is an ecological restoration project that provides critical habitat for a variety of native butterfly species. It opened in 2002 and is about four acres in size.

Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat

I took a self-guided tour following informative interpretive signs located throughout the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat. The HBBH is comprised of many different plant communities, including wildflower meadow, short grass prairie, woodland, and wetland. It also has a Home Garden that incorporates butterfly-friendly plants and physical features that turn a garden into a haven for butterflies.

Sunflowers

Metal sunflowers

Upon leaving Humber Bay Parks, I saw these big and beautiful sunflowers. They are made of metal and should last all four seasons! I love the details on the flowers, the curved stems, and the veins on the leaves.

Gratitude

It was delightful to be outside cycling, walking in the sunshine, and enjoying seasonal scenery along the shores of Humber Bay. I’m thankful for these parks and all the sunny and warm days that we’ve had this autumn, especially in November when it’s typically overcast and unpredictable here.

The local weather forecast calls for rain or a mix of rain and snow on Sunday, followed by a mix of sun and clouds and normal temperatures on Monday. I’m enjoying the comforts of home on Sunday and will head outside again on Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving on November 26 to my family, friends, and blog readers who live in the USA! Stay safe and well, everyone.

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

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Exploring Tommy Thompson Park

Hello blog friends! I’m glad you are here. I hope you have time for a chat over a cup of coffee or tea. This past week, the weather started off on the cool side on Monday and Tuesday, then from Wednesday to the weekend, the high temperatures reached 20C (68F) with sunny skies.

The nice weather brought a big smile to my face. I decided to cycle to Tommy Thompson Park where I know there is a lot of open space and nature trails for cycling and walking. I had visited this park a few times during the summer.

About Tommy Thompson Park

Aerial view of Tommy Thompson Park
Source: Tommy Thompson Park web site

Park Location: Tommy Thompson Park is located at 1 Leslie Street, near Unwin Avenue, on a man-made peninsula, known as the Leslie Street Spit, which extends five kilometres (3.1 miles) into Lake Ontario.

Park Name: The name “Leslie Street Spit” was coined by local residents and remains the unofficial popular name. In 1985, the Spit was officially named Tommy Thompson Park to honour Toronto’s former Parks Commissioner.

Park Special Features:

  • The land on which the park lies is completely man-made using the sand/ silt dredged from Toronto Outer and Inner Harbours and the Keating Channel.
  • Tommy Thompson Park features a trail system that spans 18 kilometres (11.1 miles) with three types of trails that were designed for various user groups: Multi-use trail (7.4 km), Nature trails (3.3 km), and Pedestrian trails (7.3 km).
  • Tommy Thompson Park is considered one of the best places for bird watching in the city with more than 300 recorded species and a good spot for fishing.
  • Tommy Thompson Park has a Nature Centre and Bird Research Station. Unfortunately they are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic so guided interpretive tours and educational programs are unavailable at this time.

Exploring Tommy Thompson Park

Multi-use trail in Tommy Thompson Park
The multi-use and main trail in Tommy Thompson Park

From the park entrance, I followed the main trail that runs through the centre of the park. This flat paved, multi-use trail accommodates leisure cyclists, joggers, pedestrians, rollerbladers, and strollers.

The main trail has intermittent speed bumps and is approximately 5 km (3.1 miles) long from the park entrance to the Lighthouse. Wildflower meadows and cottonwood forests appear on both sides of the trail. I noticed a unique Please Brake For Snakes sign, a reminder that this park is Toronto’s urban wilderness.

In previous visits to the park, I walked the nature trails to see wildlife such as birds, butterflies, toads, etc. The Nature trails are narrow trails, only half a metre wide, are not graded and may be uneven. They’re intended for walking or hiking and target user groups such as nature watchers and photographers.

Pedestrian Bridge at Tommy Thompson Park
Pedestrian Bridge at Tommy Thompson Park

About half way through the park, the main trail crosses the small Pedestrian Bridge. The views on both sides of the bridge are amazing.

View of the Toronto skyline from Pedestrian Bridge
View of the Toronto skyline from Pedestrian Bridge
Unobstructed view of Lake Ontario and some rock stackings
Unobstructed view of Lake Ontario and some rock stackings

Continue on to the end of the main trail, there are rock boulders to sit on and gaze out to beautiful Lake Ontario. The water along the cobble beaches is clear with several rock formations that may have been built by previous visitors. It’s a nice spot for a break or a picnic.

One of many Nature trails in Tommy Thompson Park
One of many Nature trails in Tommy Thompson Park

From the main trail, I followed one of the Nature trails to reach one of the coastal marshes that provide critical habitat for wildlife. There are a wide variety of turtles and fish species found in and around Tommy Thompson Park, including Northern pike, largemouth bass, yellow perch, and lake trout.

Heading home....Love a curvy trail
Heading home…Love a curvy trail

It was delightful to be outside cycling and walking in the sunshine. Exploring Tommy Thompson Park was an excellent way to spend a morning. As I headed home, I was grateful once again for the wonderful places we have around here to enjoy.

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

Linking here.

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