Hello friends! This is my post to share some of my ice sculpture photos from Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville IceFest21 event with the theme A Trip Around The World. As I type this, Toronto is still in lockdown. The IceFest21 is a nice change of scenery without traveling out of town.
From Canada to the USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Japan, and Australia. Bon voyage!
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:
Link one post.
Read the host’s post and two posts from other Coffee Share participants and leave a comment so they know you’ve dropped by.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #6! 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 is a long weekend of celebrations here: Lunar New Year’s Day, the year of the Ox, on February 12, Valentine’s Day on February 14, and Family Day on February 15. I have a sweet treat and rosy or red images to share.
Have you ever had a beavertail? I ate my first delicious beavertail in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, a long time ago. No, not the tail of a beaver. I’m talking about Canadian pastries, called Beavertails or Queues de Castor in French. They are fried dough pastries, individually hand stretched to resemble beaver’s tails, topped with either sweet or savoury ingredients.
One of the BeaverTails stores is located in Pier 6 building, the oldest building in Toronto’s Harbourfront area. I think its red exterior and doors are suitable entry to the Thursday Doors and Sunday Stills photography challenges this week.
The glass panes of the front door are half covered with BeaverTails menu, notices of store opening hours, and covid-19 protocols. The plaque on the right of Pier 6 building explains its architecture and history since 1907.
I like how an ordinary storage shed, on the left side of Pier 6 building, is transformed into something eye-catching with a coat of red paint and a few Canadian symbols: Moose antlers, beavers, a heart, oars, rolling pins, apples, evergreen trees, and leaves.
The back of Pier 6 building is mostly glass doors and windows. They are open in nice weather and are glass for a good reason.
The reason is this view of the Toronto Harbour and the boats that dock along the pier. In a few weeks, boat crews will start cleaning up and getting their boats ready for boat tour customers.
The boats will be in pristine conditions, especially their doors and windows, so passengers can have a good view of Toronto from the water. Rentals of bigger boats are also available for special events.
If you haven’t had a BeaverTails pastry, I recommend to try it at least once. I have no affiliation with the company. Currently, there are eleven BeaverTails choices. They’re big and inexpensive treats, perfect for sharing with your Valentine.
Plus for about US$5, you can claim that you’ve had a Canadian BeaverTails pastry, like this fun factabout President Obama’s visit, and tick off this item on your bucket list.
2. Red Roses
Terri’s Sunday Stills Rosy Red prompt also reminded me of my visit to a rose plantation in Ecuador before the pandemic. Although roses are not native to Ecuador, the country has a perfect environment for rose cultivation and is one of the world’s major producers. Here’s a small sample of about 500 rose varieties in Ecuador:
Ecuadorian roses have long stems with perfect petals. They come in so many colours and names that it would be hard to choose which to buy. Take a look at this exquisite arrangement of real red roses or a single rosy red rose. Both say Happy Valentine’s Day loud and clear.
My guest post 21 Quick Ideas To Find Calm went live on Min’s Write of the Middle blog in Australia on Monday February 8. Give yourself the gift of health by finding calm and taking care of yourself everyday. I hope you find at least one of my 21 quick ideas useful. Have a great weekend!
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #5! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself with a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station, and let’s chat.
1. The Best Indoor Food Markets
One of my recent bicycle rides was to St. Lawrence Market, which was constructed in 1803, and was named the best food market in the world by National Geographic in 2012.
The St. Lawrence Market Complex consists of the South Market (Main market), the North Market (Saturday Farmers’ market), and St. Lawrence Hall (Offices and rental venue).
St. Lawrence Market reminds me of the Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall, the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest, Hungary, built in 1897.
Both markets have similar interior layouts. St. Lawrence South Market has two levels: The main and lower levels of St. Lawrence South Market contain over 120 specialty vendors, known for the variety and freshness of their fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, grains, baked goods and dairy products, as well as for the uniqueness of the non-food items for sale.
The Great Market Hall has three levels: Most of the stalls on the ground floor offer produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices, and spirits. The second mezzanine floor has eateries and tourist souvenirs. The basement contains fishmongers, vegetables stalls, and a few specialized butcher shops.
Both St. Lawrence Market and the Great Market Hall are amazing indoor markets to explore, browse or buy and savour fresh food.
Now that we’ve got our fresh pastries from the market, let me tell you about my upcoming guest post and my blog party wondering.
I’ve known Min in the blog world for some time now as we both link up with some of the same blog parties. I’d like to thank Min for the opportunity to share my ideas on her blog. It’s cool that my blogging voice gets to travel to Australia before I visit the country IRL. See how blog parties open doors to new adventures?
3. What Attracts You to A Blog Party?
Coffee Share party #4 was well-attended with 35 bloggers. Thank you for your participation! Now that we’ve had four blog parties in January, I wonder what attracts bloggers to a blog link-up. Is it simply a nice place to hang out with other bloggers or is there more that attracts you to it? Such as:
The blogs at the link-up.
The dates and time when the link-up is open.
The new visitors and comments that you receive.
The reciprocity among participants: You visit a blog, leave a comment, and the blogger visits your blog.
By word of mouth from a blogger you follow.
The host’s responsiveness to reply to comments on his/ her blog and leave comments on your blog.
Perhaps the best blog parties are those that keep bringing you back.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #3! I’m glad you are here. Please come on in and help yourself to a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station. I’m eager to share my news and photos with you.
1. Awesome Coffee Share Party #2
At closing time this past Sunday, Coffee Share party #2 had 30 participants, a new high! Several blogger friends accepted my direct invitations and joined the link up for the first time. Thank you, everyone, for coming.
I’m liking the diversity of the blogs that we have so far. I hope you enjoy the party. Please continue to link back or ping back, and leave a comment on my blog and the blogs you visit so we know you’ve dropped by.
2. Winter Cycling
The weather here was good this past week, cloudy with some sunny breaks and scattered flurries with no significant snow accumulation. I was happy to cycle outside to exercise most days. I choose quiet places to keep a safe distance from everyone else.
One example of a quiet public space is the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. The buildings in this huge area sit empty since all events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At normal times, they’d be filled with conference or exhibition organizers and attendees.
The main entrance to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds is the Princes’ Gates.
3. The Princes’ Gates
This entrance was built in 1927 to commemorate 60 years of Canadian Confederation. The stone and concrete gates were designed by the Toronto firm of Chapman and Oxley and are a fine example of monumental architecture in the Beaux-Arts mode.
A Roman arch forms the centre gate and is flanked on each side by a colonnade of nine Ionic columns. The nine columns represent the participating provinces of Confederation (Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949). At each extremity of the Gates are curved pylons with fountains at their bases.
Sculptor Charles D. McKechnie created the statues. The Winged Victory atop the central arch is flanked by figures representing the CNE’s commitment to progress through industry, education, and the arts. In the lowered hand of the Winged Victory is a single maple leaf, a symbol of Canadian independence and autonomy.
The gates were opened officially on August 30, 1927 by Edward, Prince of Wales, and Prince George. They have been known ever since as the “Princes’ Gates“.
In front of the Princes’ Gates is the Piazza Princes’ Gates designed by firms from Milano and Toronto. The landscape elements of this piazza celebrate the Princes’ Gates and the Canada-Italy connection. Ten long bands of Canadian granite interpret the original symbolism of the Gates’ columns into the surface of the piazza – each is engraved with the motto of a Canadian province.
Seating blocks at the end of the granite bands are marked with the name of the corresponding province or a territory. The blocks are crafted of twinned pieces of granite – representing Milano and Toronto – joined together by light. Piazza Princes’ Gates was officially opened on July 19, 2006.
I enjoyed cycling in the sunshine on a gorgeous winter day. The rest of my week went well. Your turn:
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #2! Please come on in and help yourself with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station. I can hardly wait to share my news and photos with you.
1. Awesome Coffee Share Party #1
By closing time on Sunday, 25 bloggers from 5 continents have participated. Countries include Canada, Australia, Iceland, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States. Isn’t that amazing?
About 50% of the participants joined the Weekend Coffee Share link up for the first time. This is a great opportunity for all participants to make new blogging connections. Thank you, everyone, for coming.
I added the InLinkz link to make it easier for participants to see all the links in one place. At any time that the InLinkz link doesn’t work, plan B is to use the Comments section.
I read all participants’ blogs and appreciate what you’re sharing in words and photos. Either via InLinkz or Comments, I read what you have to say.
Overall, Weekend Coffee Share party #1 exceeded my expectations. I hope you also had a positive experience. If so, please spread the word. My InLinkz link can accommodate up to 50 participants.
2. A Promised Land
My library let me skip the line to borrow A Promised Land, Barack Obama’s latest book and presidential memoirs. The e-book version shows 1177 pages on my iPad. Normal loans allow 21 days before the book is due. The Skip the Line loans are for 7 days only. I set a target to read close to 200 pages each day for six days, and used the 7th day to review selected chapters.
The timing of this book loan is perfect. Given the recent US presidential election and the upcoming inauguration, the book content is more relevant to me now than any other time. It’s interesting to read history and watch live US presidential events that are going to be part of history.
At 1177 pages, there are thousands of words, and yes, there are 81 photos at the end.
3. Thursday Doors
Speaking of photos, I went through the digital images on my phone to delete those I don’t want to keep and to free up the memory space for new photos. From this exercise, I chose four photos for the Thursday Doors photo challenge. Here’s my entry this week.
This Kwagu’t ceremonial house is part of the hereditary cultural property of Chief David Knox of Tsaxis (Fort Rupert). Go up the few steps in front of the house, and if you zoom in, you see the door handle in the centre.
Two black doors framed with painted cedar planks mark the entrance to Roy Henry Vickers Gallery in Tofino. If you haven’t heard of this Canadian artist, I encourage you to visit his web site for his biography and amazing art. I do not earn any commission for mentioning the artist’s name or his web site.
The rest of my week went well. Your turn:
How did your week go?
Are you looking forward to joining the Weekend Coffee Share blog party?
Hello and welcome to the new location for Weekend Coffee Share! I’m glad you are here. Please help yourself with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at my “coffee station”.
Alli at Eclectic Alli used to host the party until last weekend. I’m your host with the followingguidelines for this weekly Coffee Share blog feature:
Everyone is welcome to join in the Weekend Coffee Share in any and every week.
Topics are open – e.g. What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?
Use the Inlinkz link provided to join the party or leave the link to your Weekend Coffee Share post in a comment below my Coffee Share post.
You can link to your post any time between 8 a.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Sunday (both Toronto time).
I will be flexible in the way I title my Weekend Coffee Share posts.
I’d ask that participants be social. Read my post and two posts from other Coffee Share participants and leave a comment so we know you’ve dropped by.
I’m trying to build a fun, positive, social, and supportive blogging community here. So, as the owner of the blog and the host of the link-up, posts that I deem to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include ads, “drop and run” links, promotions, and any that are offensive in nature, overly political or religious.
Two in One excursion
This past week, the weather was typical for winter here with the average temperatures slightly above freezing point. I went cycling a few times on the Waterfront Trail which is reserved for cyclists, joggers, and pedestrians and is cleared of ice and snow.
I made a stop at a building complex that would be a fabulous place for us to virtually celebrate our first Weekend Coffee Share in 2021. It has a grand entrance, red carpet, and total floor area 9,300 square meters (100,000 square feet).
I call this excursion a Two in One because the building has two names (Ontario Government and Liberty Grand) and my trip serves me two purposes (Health and Leisure). By visiting the building complex, I get my exercise from cycling outdoors and have fun examining the building architecture and taking photos.
Name #1 Above the arch – The Ontario Government Building, in Beaux-Arts style, is a heritage building, designed by the architectural firm of Chapman and Oxley in 1926. It was built to display Government of Ontario exhibits during the Canadian National Exhibition.
Name #2 Below the arch – Since 2001, the Liberty Entertainment Group has a long term lease to use the building for private events. The Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex has several areas for banquets and balls, including three grand ballrooms, and one contemporary open-concept room.
There you have it. A Two in One highlight from my first week of 2021. The rest of my week went very well.
Weekend Coffee Share is now underway from Natalie the Explorer blog. I hope that together we make this a fun social event for every weekend in 2021. I’d love to hear your comments.
Dan at No Facilities blog is hosting the Thursday Doors photography challenge. The challenge is open to everyone to participate in. Since December is a month of holidays, I’m sharing my favourite doors from 2020 with red, green, gold and a few more bright colours. Here’s my entry this week.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was built in 1808 to protect ships coming into Toronto harbour from washing ashore during storms. It’s the oldest landmark in Toronto, the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and the second oldest surviving lighthouse in Canada.
It is said that the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is haunted. Its first lighthouse keeper J.P. Radan Muller, was murdered by two soldiers from Fort York. The ghost of of J.P. Radan Muller returns every summer, and on hot summer nights, his howls can be heard from one end of the island to the other.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, I had a wonderful summer paddling around the Toronto islands where the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is located. The red door accentuates the quintessential beauty of the lighthouse.
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
The bold red AGO sign and a modern set of doors welcome people to the Art Gallery of Ontario, one of the largest art museums in North America. Enter the AGO to see, experience, and understand the world in new ways.
Union Station in Toronto
Union Station is Canada’s busiest passenger transportation hub and a designated national historic site. In December, a Christmas tree is brightly lit at the station entrance with snowflake-designed banners in the background. The tall columns are some of the 22 limestone columns, each column weighs 75 tons and is 40 feet high.
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.
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.”
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 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
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
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
The glittering 108-foot tall tree in the Eaton Centre is Canada’s largest Christmas tree. It covers three levels of Toronto’s downtown shopping centre. My photo is from 2019 for the same tree this year.
On December 9, 2020 Health Canada authorized the first Pfizer vaccine in Canada for the prevention of COVID-19. Ontario started administering its first COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare professionals on December 14, 2020 at two hospitals in Toronto and Ottawa. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Dan at No Facilities blog is hosting the Thursday Doors photography challenge. The challenge is open to everyone to participate in. Here’s my entry this week.
Colborne Lodge, located in the west end of Toronto, sits on top of the highest point of the Humber Bay shoreline, overlooking Lake Ontario. The building is a rare North American example of a Regency cottage with a wide veranda opening to the garden and the park.
The front door is on the west side of the building. The parlour’s three French windows connect it to the verandah, providing comfortable views of the lake in both summer and winter. At the heart of the structure is a tall three-part chimney that provided heat for the house.
John Howard emigrated from England with his wife Jemima in 1832. He worked first as an architect, then as a city surveyor and engineer. He built Colborne Lodge in 1837 and named the residence after Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. The house was originally one storey, but Howard later expanded it by adding an upper level.
Howard also built another building, next to Colborne Lodge, for additional work space and storage. Colborne Lodge is now a museum run by the City of Toronto.