Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #23! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.
A Warm Week
Toronto broke a record on Saturday June 5 when the temperature rose to 31C (88F). According to Environment Canada, the highest temperature recorded for June 5 is 30C set in 1940. The scorching temperatures and heat warning continued on Sunday and lasted through Wednesday.
I went outside earlier in the morning when it was cooler to cycle and walk. In spring season, I like to visit the gardens at least once a week to catch the new flower blooms before they disappear or get destroyed by strong winds or rain.
Here are something pink for Terri’s Sunday Stills photo challenge: Poppies, azaleas and peonies. The attractive Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale) flowers have large, layered, crepe papery, pink petals with dark purple eyes and black splotches at their base. Have you seen them before?
On one of my cycling excursions I passed by the Canary District in Toronto’s West Don Lands. I took a cycling break and walked along Front Street East and Mill Street to see five interesting sculptures. Once I took time to examine each of them at different angles, I liked them more than at first glance.
Canary District was the site of 2015 Toronto Pan American Games Athletes’ Village. After the Games were over, the six buildings were converted to condo buildings, a YMCA Centre, and student housing for George Brown College students. Forty one plaques along Front Street promenade display the names of the participating nations at the Games.
Sunny days, gorgeous flowers and interesting sculptures. I enjoy my discoveries and feel grateful for this leisure time. Life is good.
How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share#21! 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 Distillery District is a favourite place to explore Victorian industrial architecture, heritage buildings, interesting art installations, delightful coffee shops, a distillery, a beer brewery, a sake brewery, delicious restaurants, unique art galleries, and specialty stores.
What began as the Gooderham and Worts Distillery in 1832 grew to become the largest distillery in the world. The Distillery District was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1988. Let me show you in pictures.
The Distillery District itself is popular with locals and visitors alike. Upon entering the district, you’ll be greeted by hues of dark green and burnt orange. You can wander the ten pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets to see more than forty heritage buildings, the largest collection of Victorian-era industrial architecture in North America.
A good meeting place is at the clock in the main square where one can see the Gooderham & Worts Limited sign and the streets that branch out from there.
The Stone Distillery and fermenting cellar built in 1860, rebuilt 1870, takes up a long block on Distillery Lane. It’s the building with white-grey stone colour. Its original use: Gristmill and granary, mashing and distillation areas, and steam engine room.
On Trinity Street, on display is the Millstone that was brought from England in 1832 and used for grinding grain. There’s history everywhere you look and I was interested in reading the Heritage Plaques indicating the original function of each building and its date of construction.
Green doors and windows are consistent throughout the Distillery District. However, their designs vary.
Spirit of York Distillery has taken up residence in what was once the Gooderham & Worts malting room. Spirit of York produce gin, vodka and whisky using locally sourced water from Springwater, considered some of the purest water in the world.
At the intersection of Trinity Street and Distillery Lane is the gigantic Still Dancing sculpture, a twisted and colourful depiction of the area’s past as a distillery, designed by artist Dennis Oppenheim.
Along Gristmill Lane, there are three notable Love, Peace and Red Heart art installations by Toronto-born artist Mathew Rosenblatt. The Love sign is filled with love locks.
Also on Gristmill Lane, Michael Christian’s I.T. sculpture looks over the neighbourhood with a red eye alien stare from its post.
Aside from public art installations, the Distillery District is home to more than twenty art galleries, two theatres, and many specialty shops.
Cafés and Eateries
The Distillery District is a wonderful place for wanderings with a stop for takeaway coffee and cake. Café Balzac’s is a local favourite. Inside this coffee shop, you’ll find exposed brick, vintage posters and chandeliers. The shelves are full of colourfully packaged coffee beans and tea, while the counter is lined with cookies, pastries and cakes.
The Distillery District offers something for every taste bud. Examples: Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie, El Catrin Destileria, Izumi Sake Brewery, Mill St. Brew Beer Hall, and Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill.
In normal times, the Distillery District is packed with people. I appreciate the lack of crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic and Toronto’s lockdown.
Although I’ve been to the Distillery District on many occasions, I’ve still only scratched the surface. You could easily spend an entire day here. My walk began and ended at Cherry and Mill Streets. It was a fantastic outing.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #20! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.
This past week the weather was glorious, lots of sunshine and blue skies with daytime high reached 27C (81F), felt like 30C (86F) yesterday. Since I’ve been cycling, walking, exploring and having fun with photography most days, I have a backlog of things to write up.
Today’s post is about my walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands and my Spring fun list update.
Spadina Quay Wetlands
Spadina Quay Wetlands is a gem located in Toronto’s waterfront area. It’s a thriving ecosystem full of plants, birds, butterflies, ducks, and fish. It’s complete with flowering heath plants, poplar trees, flagstone paths and a creek. Aside from nature, there is also art.
1. Birdhouse Sculpture
Artist Anne Roberts designed the Birdhouse sculpture on stilts that was installed in the wetland garden. This sculpture recalls the human activities of the Toronto lakeshore at the turn of the 20th century, with warehouses of the Toronto Electric Company, the corner bank, the Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion and clusters of ice cream parlours and boathouses attracting Toronto residents to the lure of the water.
When the water level in Toronto Harbour is high, water fills up the small creek where the Birdhouse sculpture is located and it’s not accessible to foot traffic. This spring, since the creek has been dry, I was able to visit the sculpture up close.
2. Bright Birdhouses
While walking around the wetland garden, I found these bright birdhouses. They made me smile.
It was a delightful walk at the Spadina Quay Wetlands. As an urban dweller, I appreciate this green space and enjoy seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.
Spring Fun List – May Update
Back in March, I wrote a Spring Fun List of things to do while in COVID-19 lockdown. Most of my activities are outdoors or online and follow public health protocols so I’ve been checking off a few items in April.
I’ve recently completed two more items (#3 and #7). Here’s my update and contribution to Leslie’s Spring link-up.
Cycle to explore parks, the lake shore, and the city centre: Yes, most days.
Take walks to enjoy nature in Spring and free outdoor public art: Yes, most days.
View Toronto’s Cherry Blossoms and the annual Canadian Tulip Festival: Yes, I saw gorgeous cherry blossoms and tulips in Toronto. I viewed the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa virtually due to the province-wide lockdown.
Meet my family and friends outside: Pending. Starting May 22, outdoor gatherings for up to 5 people are allowed.
Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #17! 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’s been a good week with my eclectic cycling and walking excursions. It’s also month end when I reflect on what’s been happening during the month. I’d like to share some of my photos on my blog and link to a few photography challenges.
1. Spring Flowers
This week is the peak bloom period of the Japanese Sakura or cherry blossoms in Toronto. The people of Tokyo gifted 2000 Sakura trees to the people of Toronto in 1959 and we’ve been enjoying the gorgeous cherry blossoms every spring since.
Magnolia trees are also blooming. It’s amazing to see the trees full of flowers.
I visited the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, the oldest school still standing in Toronto and the first free school in the city. It was built in 1848 when it was known as the Ward Street School for immigrants’ children to attend. It is now a historic site and museum.
The school was a one-storey, red-brick building in the simple Gothic Revival style. The narrow peaked windows were trimmed with stone. The doors and window frames were painted green. Yellow bricks were inserted at the corners of the structure, around the main doorway, and in a solid multi-brick row near the roof line.
Click on any image in the following gallery to enlarge it.
A trip downtown gave me the opportunity to revisit and photograph bronze sculptures that I like. Why photograph them again? Different time of day, different lighting, and different angles yield new results. Sometimes the art object is the same but its surroundings have changed.
Today’s picks: Immigrant Family honoring immigrant population in North America and The Anonymity of Prevention showing a worker working with a chisel and hammer with safety goggles.
One morning, on my way to Cherry Beach, I saw Toronto’s coolest new bridge over the Keating Channel. This area is under major developments and a few new bridges will be added in the next three years.
The Keating Channel is a 1 km long waterway in Toronto. It connects the Don River to inner Toronto Harbour on Lake Ontario. The channel is named after Edward Henry Keating, a city engineer who proposed the creation of the channel in 1893.
Toronto Harbour is where I take the ferry or kayak across the harbour to reach Toronto Islands for a good time and great views of Toronto skyline.
Lake Ontario shore line is 1,146 km or 712 miles long. I’m grateful for the many beaches that I can go to for fresh air and relaxation.
April started off with a province-wide lockdown until at least May 20. By April 29, vaccination has accelerated. Ontario anticipates all adults over 18 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by end of May. Here are my April highlights:
I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
I feel fit from regular cycling, walking, body weight workouts, meditation, and yoga.
I stay optimistic in spite of the long lockdown.
My sisters received their COVID-19 vaccines.
One niece got accepted into her first choice University with financial awards for her excellent grades.
Another niece and her boyfriend bought their first home and gave everyone in our family a virtual tour.
Hello blog friends! After a few cloudy weekdays with occasional showers, the sun returns 100% this weekend. The daytime high temperature reaches 9C (48F) which is good for this time of the year where I live. The clear blue sky and beautiful tree branches make me smile.
Today I share my monthly review for November and three outdoor sculptures in downtown Toronto. I did an art walk to visit about a dozen outdoor art installations. I include three of them in this post and hope you find them interesting.
The Mountains aluminum sculpture by Anish Kapoor is located at Front and Simcoe streets. It reminds me of strength, base, mountain ranges, height, the Canadian Rockies…In yoga the Mountain pose (Tadasana) is one of the foundational poses. To me, good health is the foundation or prerequisite to enjoy life.
Throughout November, I meditate daily, cycle and walk outdoors most mornings, and alternate body weight workouts and yoga at home. I use Lunden Sousa’s videos for my targeted workouts on different muscle groups. New instructor and new exercises require focus to learn the correct forms and create new mind-muscle connections. I get to make incremental changes and do a range of motions. It’s all good.
The regular fitness activities help me feel stable and strong like the mountains. Here’s my numbers for November:
30 meditation sessions
21 targeted workouts
19 cycling trips
13 full body workouts
12 yoga sessions
The Our Game sculpture by Edie Parker shows five excited young hockey players climbing over the boards ready for action. It’s located outside the Hockey Hall of Fame building at the northwest corner of Yonge and Front streets.
The exuberant looks and smiles of the young hockey players make me think of happy times with my family and friends, and hockey reminds me of Canada where my home is. With COVID-19 still around, it will be a while before I meet my family and friends face-to-face or attend a hockey game in person.
Starting on November 23, the Ontario government prohibits indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household, for 28 days. I’m grateful for technology to stay connected and share laughs with my family and friends while being apart.
The Dream Ballet sculpture by Harvey Valentine consists of three stainless steel statues polished to a mirrored finish. They’re installed next to Meridian Hall, a major performing art venue, at the southeast corner of Yonge and Front streets.
In November, I got to enjoy interesting public art installations, blogs, books, films, and language lessons:
30 French and Spanish sessions
12 outdoor public art sculptures
11 books (see list below)
5 blog posts
1 film: Still Alice (Academy Award and Golden Globe winner)
The e-books that I read in November range from 305 to 460 pages each. They are all very good with detailed plots and many twists and turns. The first three books are Baldacci’s detective Amos Decker series. Once I started reading book #1, I wanted to read the next two books in the series. Mission accomplished! The remaining books are well written by authors that I’ve read before and two new-to-me authors (Giffin and Miller).
Memory Man by David Baldacci.
The Fix by David Baldacci.
The Last Mile by David Baldacci.
Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of A Life Less Ordinary by Liesbet Collaert.
You Say It First by Katie Cotugno.
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin.
Paper Towns by John Green.
The Sight of You by Holly Miller.
Everything I Never Told You by Celest Ng.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell.
A shout out to my blogger friend, Liesbet Collaert at Roaming About blog who just launched her debut travel memoir Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of A Life Less Ordinary. I’ve connected with Liesbet for a few years via blogging. I’ve enjoyed reading her blog and the Advance Reader Copy of her travel memoir.
Plunge – One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary is a captivating and candid book where Liesbet shares her life events and travel adventures when she was in her 30s. Her overland and sailing adventures with her husband, Mark, and their two dogs, take her readers to many exotic locations such as Central America, the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, and more.
Life at sea is not always easy. Liesbet shares the challenges they faced, not only the logistics of nomadic living but also their relationship and well-being over the years while sharing a small space and being far away from their families. Liesbet’s choice to live a life less ordinary requires her to be flexible, resilient, and resourceful. I highly recommend this memoir.
I’m looking forward to December when the city centre is beautifully decorated. It’s a wonderful sensory experience to walk around and take it all in. My holiday plan is simple, especially this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope to share it with you in the next couple of blog posts before the year ends.
How did November go for you? Which of the three sculptures do you like? I’d love to hear your comments.
Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope all is well with you. Come on in to my blog space so we can share a coffee or tea and catch up since we last chatted about life with flower plants.
The weather continued to be nice here in the second week of June, with plenty of sunshine, clear blue skies, and even a touch of high heat and humidity. On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 9 and 10, it felt like 32C (100F). The rest of the week was pleasant with high temperatures ranged from 17C to 25C (63F to 77F).
Sisters’ Coffee Chat
If we were having coffee, I’d share that the first highlight of my week was meeting my sister. While we’ve been in touch by phone, text and virtual meetings, this was our first in-person meeting since March in “COVID-19 caution” style.
We sat outdoors under a tree by the lake front and had a nice chat while sipping hot coffee from our individual thermos and staying two meters apart the whole time. The day was perfect, sunny with a light breeze. It prompted us to talk about our summer plans. We’ll likely spend time exploring parks and conservation areas close to home.
The second highlight of my week was a photo hunt for fish-themed sculptures. To start my imaginary fishing expedition, I looked for a canoe, like the Red Canoe, designed by Douglas Coupland. This canoe is large enough for people to stand in and see over the Gardiner Expressway to Lake Ontario.
As I started canoeing, a colourful group of large fishing bobbers, also designed by Douglas Coupland, appeared. The lake water level was high and the water was so clear, I could see the reeds swaying under the canoe. We should see schools of fish soon.
I spotted the Salmon Run, designed by artist Susan Schelle. This 1991 sculpture fountain depicts schools of salmon in silhouette swimming upstream through a barrier of reeds and jumping over the steps of the fountain. The fountain is a combination of both black and green granite as well as bronze. When the fountain is on, it’s a powerful sight.
A bit further along, a school of forty-two bronze fish sculptures designed by local artist Stephen Radmacher ran west along Queens Quay from the foot of York Street. This public art installation on the sidewalk is well known and much loved by locals.
During the Toronto’s waterfront revitalization project, the fish were removed in May 2013 and sent back to Radmacher. He straightened and cleaned them. He also added new stainless steel rods to anchor the fish into the concrete base below the promenade.
The fish were photographed, measured from nose to tail, and labelled so that each one could be returned to its exact location along the new granite promenade in September 2015. If you look closely, the artist’s initials SR are on the fish front gills.
In case you wonder, here’s a list of Toronto’s Waterfront fish that are safe to eat. I saw a few big (real) fish in the harbour this week. They looked like northern pike and bass.
The third highlight of my week was to see a mother duck and her eight ducklings. I saw them twice on two different days. The first time, the ducklings stayed very close to their mama. I could tell they were not confident on their own yet. It was cute to see the last fuzzy duckling hurried to catch up with its mama and siblings. The second time, the ducklings were already able to swim very fast and confidently away from their mama.
All in all, I had a good week with lots of sunshine, a nice meeting with my sister, a fun imaginary fishing expedition, and first sightings of little ducklings this season. These simple pleasures made me smile.
How did your week go? I’d love to hear your comments.
Hello blog friends! How are you doing? I hope you’re well and in the mood to see something new. Remember last month I took you on a virtual walk to see several Wave-themed art works? This week on one of my walks, I looked for art works with a Circular theme or a ripple effect to make my walk more interesting.
I’m sharing five sculptures and murals in alpha order of the artist’s last name. Let’s see if you can spot the circles or circular motion in the photos below.
Toronto Twister from A Series of Whirlpool Field Manoeuvres
Designed by Alice Aycock, the Toronto Twister from A Series of Whirlpool Field Manoeuvres for Pier 27 (2017) is one of my favourite sculptures. It’s made of aluminum powder coated white structural steel. The white colour stands out against the blue backdrop of the lake on a sunny day.
The Twister is 25 feet tall at its highest point. Behind it is a series of whirlpool field manoeuvres that look like giant flowers. I love the sense of strength and movements in this installation.
Between the Eyes
Designed by Richard Deacon, the giant Between the Eyes sculpture (1990) is made of zinc sprayed steel, stainless steel, cement, and granite face base. I used to think of it as two whisks joined in the middle.
For a hard steel structure, the curves did give me a sense of plasticity. On this sunny day, I approached the sculpture from two different angles, looking south to the lake and looking east through the end circle.
Designed by David Gerry Partridge, the Metropolis nail mural (1977) is one of the most popular attractions in the lobby of Toronto City Hall. The mural consists of nine panels made of aluminum sheathing over plywood, with over 100,000 copper and galvanized nails. Yes, nails!
I love Partridge’s unique sculpture technique using nails to design the Metropolis mural. Partridge passed away at age 87 in 2006 so this mural is one of his legacy art works in Canada.
Designed by Judith Schwarz, the Nautilus Gateway (1992) is a steel and bronze sculpture. Schwarz, a Canadian visual artist, has created public commissions in both Vancouver and Toronto, Canada. I like both the sculpture and its shadow on the sidewalk.
Designed by the artist Wyland, the Heavenly Waters mural (1997) was #70 in Wyland’s Whaling Wall series of outdoor art. He started painting the series in the 80s and finished his 100th mural in June 2008 to share his love of marine life with 100 communities around the world.
I’m thrilled that Toronto has one of Wyland’s murals at an unusual location. It’s on the side of the Redpath Sugar Factory. On the left of the above photo is where big ships dock to load or unload sugar.
I love the circular movements of the whales and how the water colour gets darker in the depth of the ocean. The Heavenly Waters mural reminded me of the real whales I saw on Canada’s West Coast last September. Very happy memories!
I’m grateful for a sunny day, a nice walk, and interesting visual arts. The experience makes me smile and feel positive. Thank you for coming along with me. I hope you enjoy the circular-themed art works through my lens.
How did your week go? What makes your day interesting? I’d love to hear your comments.
Greetings! This week I took a cue from Mother Nature and decided to do a Wave-themed walk to photograph wave-themed artwork that has been installed in the last ten years in downtown Toronto. The city has been growing so there are always new things to discover. On this beautiful sunny day let me share some interesting artwork with you.
The Real Waves
Here we are at the start of Yonge Street where the 0 km Toronto sign is located on the sidewalk. Yonge Street used to be listed as the longest street in the world in the Guinness World Records until 1999. Can you see the small waves in Lake Ontario and the shadow of the curved railings?
Further west along the waterfront there are three WaveDecks named Simcoe WaveDeck, Rees WaveDeck, and Spadina WaveDeck. The WaveDecks are meant to give urban dwellers a feel for life at the lake.
Simcoe WaveDeck opened in June 2009. The design of this and the other WaveDecks was inspired by the shoreline of Ontario’s great lakes and the Canadian cottage experience.
Rees WaveDeck opened in July 2009. The wavy benches and wooden path are right by a small marina where canoes, kayaks, and sailboats launch in late spring through to fall.
Spadina WaveDeck opened in September 2008. It has received numerous design awards. On a spring day, it’s nice to sit on the curved bench facing the lake while mallards and ducks swim below our feet.
Wave Side Sculpture
From Spadina WaveDeck, we head north west to see the Wave Side sculpture designed by Toronto-based artists, Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins. This artwork was made of stainless steel and was installed in 2011. It references a wake of waves, the ribs of a ship, and the shape of the waves inspired by ship curves.
Now we head east to see the Shoreline Commemorative sculpture designed by Paul Raff, a Canadian architect and artist. This artwork was made of glass, bronze, limestone, and sandblasted brick and installed in 2014.
The text on the red brick wall states: “For 10,000 years this was the location of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. This brick wall stands where water and land met with a vista of horizon”.
Why Do These Waves Make Me Smile?
They are accessible and free to the public.
They enhance the public space appearance.
They soften the angles of concrete buildings.
They connect the land and the lake.
They are about water movements and water is essential for life.
I hope that despite the grim pandemic news you continue to stay healthy and find bits of joy in your day. I also hope you enjoy the virtual walk with me and find the artwork through my lens interesting. Be well!
I hope you love the music, art, film, and fashion of the 80s. The Awesome 80’s was the theme of the 15th annual Ice Sculpture Festival in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood on February 8 and 9 weekend. It’s a family-friendly event and admission is free.
Over 70,000 lbs. of crystal-clear ice were carved into magnificent sculptures inspired by the music, art, film and fashion of an awesome decade. All things 80’s are retro-cool again! I’m sharing some of the ice sculptures on display at the festival.
The Main Ice Exhibition included an 80’s sculpture, a Boombox, an Elton John silhouette, Converse sneaker, Madonna – Desperately Seeking Susan, Leg Warmers & Heels, Andy Warhol, a Roller Skate and Eddie Van Halen.
The Back to the Future sculpture was in the Photo Opportunity area for many photos and Instagram moments.
The Terry Fox Run Walk Wheel Ride sculpture was #1 winner of the ice carving competition.
Number 5 (not Wall-E) and Van Halen’s The Flying V Guitar sculptures were #2 and # 3 winners of the ice carving competition.
I loved the colourful Icefest Lounge where visitors could take a break while listening to the curated selection of songs from the 80s. It made a huge difference when professional DJs played live.
February is Heart month so volunteers from the Heart and Stroke Foundation were at Icefest. For a donation of $2, visitors could sample tasty maple syrup taffy or play vintage arcade games, including Pacman, at the Icefest Arcade Tent.
There were about thirty-five sculptures and I took photos of all of them. Just in case you don’t like the 80s, I share just a few in this post. I love the 80s!