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!

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Celebrating 6 Years of Blogging

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 41 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #91. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

October 10, 2022 marked the 6th anniversary of my first post on the Natalie the Explorer blog. The milestone inspires me to share some of my thoughts on blogging, hosting and participating in blog linkups and photo challenges.

Blogging

I started the blog on Blogger in October 2016. I moved from Blogger to WordPress in May 2019. The move to WordPress is good for me as most of the bloggers I connect with are on WordPress, and it’s convenient to read blogs and leave comments when you’re on the same platform.

What I enjoy about blogging:

  1. Having a hobby, a creative outlet and a digital record of my adventures.
  2. Sharing the beauty and wonders of our planet Earth by text and pictures.
  3. Connecting with and learning from other bloggers and blog readers around the world. I’ve had the pleasure to meet several bloggers in real life.

Thank you to everyone who visits Natalie the Explorer. I appreciate all the visits, likes, comments and shares over the years. I value each and every one of my blogging friends and everyone who took the time to leave a comment. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement through the years.

Hosting

I experimented with hosting the monthly Wellness Wednesday linkup in 2018-2019 and the monthly Wellness Weekend linkup in 2020. I’ve been hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup since January 2021. I hope to reach the 100th linkup soon. 100 sounds like a nice milestone.

What encourages me to host:

  1. Receiving comments from linkup participants who take time to read my blog and leave a comment.
  2. Seeing a good number of bloggers join weekly and connect with other bloggers via comments.
  3. Seeing linkup participants do link backs and pingback to promote the linkup. Here’s WordPress how to create a pingback.

A linkup becomes stale when bloggers join in without leaving comments for the host and other participants. It’s like having a party with no conversation and no social connection.

Some blog hosts use InLinkz. Some hosts have participants leave their links in the Comments and the host does the roundup of participants. I’ve been using InLinkz for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup, however, I’m thinking about using the Comments and roundup in the new year. I’ll let you know when I decide to change how I host my linkup.

Thank you to everyone who actively participates in my weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup. I appreciate all the comments, contributions, link-backs and pingbacks.

Participating

I enjoy participating in selected blog link parties and photo challenges to support my fellow blog hosts and have fun. The following gallery (and my header photo) is my contribution to Terri’s Sunday Stills October colour challenge and Denyse’s Words & Pics linkup.

I hope to share a pleasant walk with you next week.

What keeps you blogging? What encourages you to participate in a blog linkup or blog challenge?

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Loving Life in September 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 39 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #89. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

It’s the last day of September and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. Here’s my monthly update for a social and adventurous September.

Health

I maintained my wellness routine and enjoyed a lot of cycling and walking throughout September. There is always something beautiful and colourful to see along the way.

Home

Family – My sister and I had a nice evening out together. We enjoyed good conversation, tasty dinner at a new-to-us pub and a walk along the waterfront. The Redpath Waterfront Festival was on that weekend so we saw the For A Better Planet floating installation by Bonterra and Theodore TOO Tugboat, the 65-foot working replica of the original TV character.

Community – I was up early on two Sunday mornings to volunteer for the annual Terry Fox Run and the 40th Longboat Roadrunners Toronto Island Run. The Terry Fox Run raises funds for cancer research. Longboat Roadrunners partner with SchoolBOX North, an organization whose mission is to make education possible for kids in Indigenous communities across Canada. It felt good to contribute to these events.

Friends – A friend and I went for a two-hour walk on a beautiful morning, followed by a break at Dark Horse Café where we got delicious coffee, quick service and nice outdoor seating. This is the last stop of my Tour of Indie Cafés for 2022 which I started in April.

Four friends and I rented a sailboat to go sailing in Toronto Harbour. We lucked out with the weather and enjoyed a glorious, sunny afternoon. It was a fabulous farewell to summer 2022. In the image gallery below, our boat is the closest to the dock on the right.

Leisure

Blogging – I’ve included the links for September’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

Traveling – My adventure of the month was to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I started and ended my tour in Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.

An adventure from beginning to end, around and across the Bay of Fundy

After I arrived in Halifax, I met with Dar (An Exacting Life blog) for dinner. I greatly enjoyed our first meet-up and conversation. In hindsight I’m glad that we met before hurricane Fiona hit Eastern Canada.

I had a wonderful trip, visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nova Scotia and exploring the Bay of Fundy and surrounding cities and towns in New Brunswick. Now I have loads to write about, but it will have to join the queue.

I was in Saint John, New Brunswick when hurricane Fiona hit east of Nova Scotia on Saturday September 24. By the time I returned to Halifax on Sunday September 25 afternoon, the sun came out and downtown Halifax was lively.

While I was safe and didn’t experience any hardship, many people in Atlantic Canada experienced devastation caused by the hurricane. I found ways to help. Here’s how to donate to Fiona relief for Atlantic Canada.

Gratitude

When I think about my 100 days of summer this year, I’m grateful for a summer of health and happiness. I’ve explored and enjoyed Toronto’s beautiful beaches, islands, parks and Lake Ontario. I’ve supported local businesses and volunteered for community events when I could.

At the beginning of 2022, I hoped to resume travel to see family, friends and explore new-to-me places. I’m grateful to have an amazing adventure to Newfoundland and Labrador in June, joyful time with family in Hamilton in July and in Calgary in August, and a wonderful tour in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in September.

Happy October!

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Loving Life in August 2022

Trumpet vine flowers

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 34 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #84. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

The last weekend in August is a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus on Health, Home and Leisure. I was in two cities, Calgary and Toronto, this month. Here’s my monthly update for August.

Health

I continue my wellness routine throughout a hot August. To manage the heat waves in Toronto and Calgary, I drink a lot of water, wear sun protection, and go out earlier in the morning when it’s less hot. While I was in Calgary, I took daily walks on a trail near where I stayed.

In Toronto, most mornings I cycle along the shore of Lake Ontario, stop by a park and enjoy nature. I also go to the beautiful Toronto Islands to kayak and explore the many waterways. I love being enveloped by nature and seeing aquatic plants, waterbirds and turtles from my kayak.

Click on any image in the gallery to see its bigger version and caption.

Home

Family – Home in August is with my family in Calgary and Toronto. Calgary is in the western Canadian province of Alberta, about four hours by plane from Toronto. My flights to and from Calgary were both on time. I traveled with a carry-on so there was no waiting for baggage. It was my first time back in Calgary since the COVID-19 pandemic started and it was joyful to be with my family there.

Friends – After my trip to Calgary, I had some catching up to do in Toronto. My friends and I continued our Tour of Indie Cafés of 2022 and met up at Fahrenheit Coffee. Fahrenheit Coffee is within walking distance to St. James Park so we took our cappuccinos there and enjoyed our coffee chat in the lovely gardens. We hope to meet again in September and will end the tour once the weather gets too cool to sit outside.

Community – In August I volunteered for two events:

  • The SuperPower race: Funds raised through the SuperPower race go directly to the Holland Bloorview hospital to help kids with disabilities.
  • The Terry Fox Run: Funds raised through the annual Terry Fox Run support cancer research. Even though the Terry Fox Run is in September, there is work to do before race day. I’m happy to be sharing Terry’s message of hope, courage and determination and giving back to my community.

Leisure

Photography – I discovered many amazing artworks on my walks. Here’s a sampling of some of the colourful murals that I’ve seen. They depict Toronto’s urban wildlife with remarkable details and realism.

Which mural is your favourite?

Another source of joy is summer blooms in public gardens. August blooms include different varieties of bougainvillea, coneflowers, daylilies, dahlias, daisies, hibiscus, hydrangeas, marigolds, moss roses, sunflowers and more. The flowers in my header photo are Trumpet vine flowers. I’m sharing a sampling of some of the gorgeous daylilies below.

Which daylily would you choose for your garden?

Reading – In August, I read four books. Here’s my list by author’s last name:

Writing – Before today’s post, I wrote three posts about my experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador. I’ve included the links for August’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

Overall

Similar to July, August has been a beautiful and joyful summer month. I’m grateful for time with family and friends in Calgary and Toronto and all the good things that happened in August. Happy September!

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Loving Life in July 2022

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 30 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #80. Come on in for a coffee or tea and let’s chat.

It’s the last weekend in July and a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus. The month started with Canada’s 155th birthday on July 1st and finished with me having lived in two cities (Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario). Here’s my monthly update for July.

Health

July has been a mainly sunny and very warm month. I maintain my wellness routine and pay extra attention to hydration and sun protection when outdoors. The lakefront, tree shades and iced drinks help. When I stayed in Hamilton, I was within walking distance to the Dundurn Stairs (326 steel steps) which lead to nature trails and waterfalls. So I included the stairs to my walks.

Home

Family – I went to Hamilton and stayed for ten days to assist with a family project. Hamilton is 58 kilometers (36 miles) southwest of Toronto. It was joyful to finish the project with my family despite an unexpected full-day Internet service outage and a heat wave.

Friends – It was also joyful to catch up with friends in Hamilton. I haven’t seen them in person since the pandemic began. We met outdoors and took walks several times for iced coffee and conversation. When I returned to Toronto, I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés for 2022 and met up with my friends at Dineen café.

Dineen café is located in the historic Dineen Building, once home to W. and F. Dineen Co., who originally made fur clothing. The building is one of the oldest structures in Toronto, and is listed as a Toronto Heritage Property. This café is on busy Yonge Street and is usually full. We were pleased to get quick service, good coffee and comfortable seats at their outdoor patio.

Leisure

Outings – The rest of July was relaxing summer living with visits to farmers’ markets, music festivals, beaches and parks along the shore of Lake Ontario. I took a self-guided tour on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship HMCS Glace Bay 701, a Royal Canadian Navy coastal patrol vessel, when she docked in Toronto.

Photography – At this time of year, it is easy for me to spend hours in public gardens to photograph an array of colourful flowers, including different varieties of bee balms, coneflowers, daylilies, roses and more. Bees and butterflies hover to nectar or flit and flutter everywhere. Plenty of berries to pick, too.

Aside from summer’s beautiful bounty, it was delightful to discover new public art. Here’s a sampling in July:

Indigenous Hoop Dance Gathering Place

Reading – Before this weekend, in July, I read many blogs (more than 110 Weekend Coffee Share blogs alone) and four books. Here’s my book list by author’s last name:

Writing – I’ve been documenting my experiences in Newfoundland and Labrador for me. It’s the icing on the cake when my blog readers enjoy my travel posts and pictures. I’ve included the links for July’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up.

I used to be able to leave comments on all blogs. Recently, I’m unable to leave comments on Blogger blogs that set Sign in with Google as the only option. Some blogs let me comment with Name/ URL or Anonymous. I haven’t been able to resolve this issue with Google yet.

Overall

July has been beautiful and joyful. I’m grateful for time with family and friends in Hamilton and Toronto, and all the good things that happened in July.

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Why My June Was Wonderful

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 26 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #76. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

July 1, 2022 is Canada’s 155th birthday and the start of a long weekend in Canada. It’s a good time for me to reflect on my 2022 focus and last month. Here’s my monthly update for June.

Travel

June 2022 was an extraordinary month as I traveled to Newfoundland and Labrador (abbreviated as NL). NL is the easternmost province of Canada, in the country’s Atlantic region. It was my first time visiting the province and my first air travel since the pandemic started.

Despite recent negative news about Toronto’s Pearson International airport delays and flight cancellations, I experienced excellent service at the airport and with Air Canada. Security lines were quick and my flights were on time.

Left: Red box marks Toronto. Right: Blue line marks my itinerary in NL.

I flew from Toronto to Deer Lake in NL (Flight distance = 1785 kilometers or 1110 miles). On my way home, I flew from St. John’s to Toronto (Flight distance = 2109 kilometers or 1311 miles). Newfoundland Daylight Time is 1 hour 30 minutes ahead of Toronto.

I had an AMAZING trip and experienced many wonders in NL in two weeks. Highlights include iceberg viewing, hiking in two magnificent national parks (Gros Morne and Terra Nova), whale watching, bird watching (bald eagles, puffins and other seabirds), enjoying delicious food and warm hospitality, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites, National Historic Sites, several coastal fishing villages, lighthouses, and St. John’s, North America’s oldest city.

This was one of the trips that was cancelled in 2020 when the pandemic started. I’m glad to complete it in June. As a result of my adventures in NL, I have a backlog of things to write and pictures to share.

Health

Last month, I continued my wellness routine to stay healthy. It’s a pleasure to go cycling and walking along the waterfront. I look forward to paddling around Toronto Islands.

Home

Family – This summer I’m assisting my family with two projects that involve out-of-town stays. The first project is in July in Hamilton, Ontario. I look forward to helping out.

Friends – I continued my Tour of Indie Cafés of 2022 and enjoyed meeting with my friends at two Dark Horse coffee shops (Queen Street East and Canary District locations) in downtown Toronto.

I preferred Dark Horse Café in the Canary District. This café is below a George Brown College residence so they have plenty of loyal customers (students). Its location is close to Corktown Common, with interesting public art and a beautiful green space for a stroll before or after coffee.

Community – I supported my international community by volunteering at two events:

Toronto Corporate Run: Before the race started, we had a heavy downpour. It cleared up in time for the race and turned into a pleasant evening with a lovely sunset. I got a photo of two police officers on horseback as they patrolled the area. The event successfully raised funds to support the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation to help Ukraine in their struggle.

Toronto Biennial of Art: The weather was beautiful on the day of the one-of-a-kind “A Tribute to Toronto” smoke sculpture by American pyrotechnic artist Judy Chicago. A five-tiered scaffold on a barge was put in place at Sugar Beach with the help of the red Radium Yellowknife tugboat. The artist and her team directed from shore.

The show started with a row of flares igniting along the bottom tier of the scaffold. Then the environmentally friendly and non-toxic smoke started billowing from the stage in sequence of purple, blue, green, yellow, and white. It ended with volleys of fireworks and applause from hundreds of attendees.

Leisure

Reading – I read eight books. Here’s the list by author’s last name:

  1. Birds of California by Katie Cotugno
  2. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
  3. The Day The World Came To Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
  4. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  5. The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
  6. Wait For It by Jenn McKinlay
  7. Around the World (Dora the Explorer) by Suzanne D. Nimm
  8. Dora’s World Adventure by Suzanne D. Nimm

Writing – I wrote four blog posts with lots of pictures in each:

  1. 5 Easy Walks To Cool Off
  2. Corktown Common and Don River (and gorgeous peonies)
  3. 5 Colourful Murals To See
  4. Toronto Music Garden in Spring

Overall

June has been adventurous, extraordinary and fun. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador and all the good things that happened in June.

Happy July!

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Happy New Year 2022

Hello and Happy New Year! I’m glad you’re here. I hope you had a joyful holiday season and a great start to 2022.

Today’s post is my own reflective post without hosting a link-up. I’ll resume hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share on Friday January 7th at 8 a.m. Toronto time.

Holly berries

Goodbye 2021

December 2021 was a festive and social month. The weather was mild most of the month so I enjoyed getting outside and exploring parks along the shore of Lake Ontario. I took evening walks to see delightful holiday displays and dazzling lights in the city centre.

I contacted my geographically-dispersed family and friends to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. It was wonderful to receive their updates and photos. I maintained my fitness routine at home. I met up with my neighbour for our friendly walks.

Toronto had a green Christmas Day: No snow, just light rain, high 7C (43F). Both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were cloudy, high 6C (43F). I watched fireworks at midnight across Toronto’s waterfront to ring in 2022.

I completed my usual year-end administrative tasks: Cleaned up my blog, did a back-up, updated the About Me, Blog Links, Wellness pages at the top of my blog, and my Copyright notice and statement. I closed my files for 2021 and created a Books in 2022 page.

In the last three weeks of December, I ran my first contactless Community Food Drive to collect non-perishable food items and deliver them to a fire hall. It went very well. I’m wrapping it up this week and will share the results in my next post. The success of the food drive ended 2021 and started 2022 on a high note.

Gratitude 2021

In January 2021, I wrote that I’d continue to focus my energy on three main areas, Health, Home and Leisure, to live a healthy and enriched life.

True to my words, I spent a lot of time outdoors cycling and walking to explore and enjoy Toronto’s parks and public art. I took good care of my health in various ways. I stayed connected with my family and friends.

My creative expressions were via my blog writing, photography, and trying a dozen new recipes. I volunteered for two impromptu projects: Walking with a senior and running a food drive.

Reflecting on 2021, I’m grateful for:

My good health throughout the year

My family and friends who are my rock

Fantastic trips to Hanlan’s Point, Niagara Falls, and Ward’s Island with my family

My comfortable home and its central location

Beautiful nature that I’ve seen while canoeing, kayaking, paddling or playing disc golf

Amazing arts in Toronto such as these laneway murals

Stunning events like Fleurs de Villes Rosé or Fleurs de Villes Niagara Falls

Excellent library services and the eighty books that I read

Fun blog conversations and link-ups

Quick service at my dentist’s office, hair salon, pharmacy and grocery stores

Friendly walks and new friendship with my senior neighbour since September

Food donations for my first community food drive in December

Hello 2022

This year, I continue to focus my energy on the same three areas to live a healthy and enriched life: Health, Home, and Leisure. 2022 has just begun and I know I’ll make my 2022 a fulfilling year the best I can. No word of the year or New Year’s resolutions from me.

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy 2022! I look forward to hosting the Weekend Coffee Share blog link-up on January 7th and seeing you then.

Copyright © 2022 natalietheexplorer.home.blog – All rights reserved.

The First Snowfall

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #48! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

Week 48/ 52 of 2021

This week we transitioned from November to December. As if on cue, Toronto had its first snowfall on Sunday November 28 throughout the day. Downtown Toronto got about 10 cm (4 inches) of snow.

Every year, I look forward to getting outside after the first snowfall to see the beautiful fresh snow. This year is no exception. On Monday morning, the sun came out. It was perfect for my walk in a winter wonderland.

Here are some of Nature’s gifts that caught my eye.

Winter wonderland
Monday: Stunning snow-covered trees.
Fresh snow on pine cones and tree branches.
Fresh snow on pine cones and tree branches.
Fall leaves with snow.
Autumn leaves with snow on top.

From Tuesday to Thursday, the daytime high temperatures continued to rise from 4C to 10C (39F to 50F) so snow turned to puddles and the ground absorbed all the water. I enjoyed cycling and walking on the Waterfront Trail which is maintained year-round, including snow clearing in winter.

Cloud reflections
Tuesday: The soft sunlight and cloud reflections on calm water stopped me in my cycling track to take in the beauty. The marinas are usually empty of boats from October to April.
Looking west towards Humber Bay.
Wednesday: Lovely blue sky and clouds when I looked west towards Humber Bay. The sight and vocals of attractive long-tailed ducks along the lakeshore made me smile. The seasonal rhythm continues.
Winter berries.
Red winter berries brighten the landscape and lure in colourful birds. I’ve seen red-breasted nuthatches and more. It’s time to review my guidebook to Birds of Toronto.

November Reflections

As I reflect on November, I continue to be grateful for:

  • Good health that enables me to stay active and enjoy life
  • Love and support from my family, friends and neighbours
  • A cozy home in an urban area that suits my lifestyle
  • Freedom and flexibility to choose how I spend my time
  • Enriching experiences with art, books, food, languages, music and photography

I had a beautiful November. I look forward to seeing bright window displays, decorated Christmas trees, and dazzling holiday lights in December.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Linked up with #FOTD, #LifeThisWeek, #TheChangingSeasons.

How has your week been? How was your November?

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16K Walk to Hanlan’s Point

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #44! 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.

The first week of November was cool with a mix of sun, clouds and brilliant Fall colours. Before jumping into November, I wanted to reflect on October and what a wonderful month it was. I had a beautiful Thanksgiving with my family, I stayed healthy, I enjoyed time with my niece, friends and neighbour, and I had plenty of fun from my leisure pursuits.

I chose to write about one event that combined three elements that I value: family, fitness and fun. After a wonderful visit to Ward’s Island in September, I planned another trip with my family to Hanlan’s Point on Thanksgiving long weekend in October.

Hanlan’s Point is on the west side of the Toronto Islands. Unlike Ward’s Island, there is no residential home in Hanlan’s Point. We come here mainly for nature and a few historic points of interest. For a brief history of Toronto Islands, click here.

The ferry service from the mainland to Hanlan’s Point was temporarily suspended so we boarded the ferry to Centre Island then walked towards Hanlan’s Point. The weather was sunny with daytime high temperature 22C (72F), ideal for being outdoors.

View towards Hanlan's Point.
A beautiful morning and adventures await. Looking towards Hanlan’s Point.
Island Public/ Natural Science School.
First, we visited Island Public/ Natural Science School which dates back to 1888. The current school was built in 1999 with an environmental focus.
Notice - Coyotes.
We stayed vigilant after seeing this Notice of Coyotes.
Island Water Treatment Plant.
Next, we passed the Island Water Treatment Plant.
Island Water Treatment Plant information board.
We learned about its history and important function.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.
We visited Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. Constructed in 1808-09, it’s the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
Trout Pond.
We walked the circumference of the Trout Pond and admired the reflections in the water.
Grey heron and snowy egret.
We saw a grey heron and a snowy egret in the wetlands.
The main trail to Hanlan's Point.
We walked on the paved main trail…
Trail into the woods.
then headed into the woods.
View of the CN Tower.
We caught a glimpse of the CN Tower.
Ned Hanlan's statue.
We reached Hanlan’s Point ferry dock where Edward Hanlan’s monument is located. The statue was sculpted by Emanuel Hahn.
"Ned" Hanlan's sculling achievements.
We learned about “Ned” Hanlan’s sculling achievements, including his world championship win in 1880.
Ned Hanlan Tugboat.
Nearby is Ned Hanlan Tugboat, built in 1932, retired in 1967, and named after world champion rower Ned Hanlan.
Gibraltar Point Beach.
We skipped the clothing-optional Hanlan’s Point Beach and walked to Gibraltar Point Beach for beautiful nature: Sky, sunlight, water, sand and shells.

Back on the trail, we looked up to see bright red wild berries and looked down to find a variety of fungi in the grass.

We stopped by Franklin’s Children Garden which is inspired by Franklin the Turtle from the celebrated book series written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Brenda Clark. It’s an interactive garden for families.

We explored the seven sections of this garden: Franklin’s Pollination station, Hide-and-Seek Garden, Snail Trail, Little Sprouts Garden, Turtle Pond, Pine Grove, and TD Storybook Place Amphitheatre.

We continued to Far Enough Farm on Centre Island to meet the animals there. The farm was quiet since the animals have left for their winter home north of Toronto. We hope to be back and pet them next spring.

The direct distance from Centre Island to Hanlan’s Point is merely 3.25 km (2 miles). In typical Natalie the Explorer fashion, we had a lot of fun exploring and enjoying the beauty all around us.

How much fun? We walked 16 kilometers (10 miles) and came home smiling! This outing was one of the highlights of my October.

Linked to #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC21, #TheChangingSeasons, #ThursdayDoors.

How was your week? What were the highlights in October for you?

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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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