Visiting the Arid House

This weekend, on Sunday March 12, daylight saving time begins in my corner of the world. I am looking forward to more greenery and warmer temperatures outdoors. In the interim, I cycled to Allan Gardens Conservatory and visited the Arid House, one of five greenhouses in this indoor botanical garden.

Exploring the Arid House

The Arid House is located on the northwest side of the conservatory. It is home to a large display of unusual cacti and succulents including collections of agave, opuntia, haworthia and aloe.

The Arid House

Walking through the Arid House, I enjoyed examining the plants, their shapes, sizes, and colours. Their fun names made me smile. I was mindful of where I was standing to take pictures as many of the plants have thorns.

Golden Barrel Cacti and Haworthia (Zebra plants)
Mother of Thousands
Blue Chalk Sticks
Crown of Thorns
Assorted Cacti
Orange Kalanchoe

The Arid House was nice and warm. I felt rejuvenated and relaxed after being with the plants. I headed home feeling pretty good about my choice of outing for the day.

Welcoming Public Art

Last week I stopped over at Philadelphia International Airport while on my way to meet my sisters. I discovered the beautiful Over the River and Through the Wood mural created by Philadelphia artist Constance Culpepper. I found the mural soothing and cheerful.

Over the River and Through the Wood mural by Constance Culpepper
About the artist and her art

“My painting is a place where everyone is welcome. Explore, smell the peonies, drink a cup of tea, feel the grass between your toes, look up at the clouds in the sky, take a seat. Maybe here, you can discover something or someone anew.”

Constance Culpepper

Weekend Coffee Share

How green is your corner of the world? What do you think of the mural? This post is my contribution to Terri’s #SundayStills March colour challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk.

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #110 InLinkz below.

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Murals in Chinatown

A few weeks ago I cycled to Toronto’s Downtown Chinatown or West Chinatown, then walked along Dundas Street West to photograph murals that I’ve seen on another visit.

The history of Toronto’s Chinatown stems back to the late 1870s. Although the West Chinatown (Dundas Street West/ Spadina Avenue) is more well known, there are also East Chinatown (Broadview Avenue/ Gerrard Street East) and other Chinatowns in the Greater Toronto Area.

Here are five huge murals in Chinatown, located on the south side of Dundas Street West, between Beverley Street and Spadina Avenue.

1. Mural at Number 397

Located at 397 Dundas Street West, this mural features people and young children. I took photos of it in four sections. Unfortunately I was unable to find the artists’ names.

Mural at Number 397, section 1
Mural at Number 397, section 2
Mural at Number 397, section 3
Mural at Number 397, section 4
Mural at Number 397, sections 2 to 4

2. The Great Wall Mural

Located at 421 Dundas Street West, this mural was designed and painted by Blinc Studios artists Allan Blender, John Nobrega, Rick Sauve, Brian Broders, Jesse McCuaig and Ming Lau in 2013. It features the Great Wall of China and is the longest of the five murals. I’m sharing six sections although the mural has about a dozen of them.

The Great Wall mural, section 1
The Great Wall mural, section 2
The Great Wall mural, section 3
The Great Wall mural, section 4
The Great Wall mural, section 5
The Great Wall mural, section 6

3. The Forbidden City Mural

Located at 433 Dundas Street West, this mural was designed and painted by Blinc Studios artists Allan Blender, John Nobrega, Jesse McCuaig, and Elaine Teguibon. It features two fierce lions outside the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

The Forbidden City mural
The Forbidden City mural
The Forbidden City mural

4. Milky Way Mural

Located at 449 Dundas Street West, this mural was designed and painted by Blinc Studios artists Allan Bender, John Nobrega, Azadeh Pirazimian and Jieun June Kim in July 2017. It features the Chinese fairy tale of the Herd-Boy and the Weaver-Girl.

Milky Way mural
The Herd Boy
The Weaver Girl

5. Dragon Mural

Located at 493 Dundas Street West, the Dragon mural was designed and painted on a metal surface by Blinc Studios artists Allan Bender, John Nobrega, Jesse McCuaig, Azadeh Pirazimian, Chris Brown, Frannie Potts and Mohammad Jaberi in 2016.

Dragon mural
Dragon mural close-up

Weekend Coffee Share

It was a fun walk to see the murals in details. The list of artists shows that it was a team effort to paint them. The finished murals look beautiful, coherent and impressive. They’re my contribution to Terri’s #SundayStills Out of this World photo challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk.

Which mural do you like?

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #109 InLinkz below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Dreams & Fantasies #Icefest23 #WordlessWednesday #Photography

For Wordless Wednesday and Sunday Stills Out of this World – Let your photo(s) tell the story.

Elegant Carriage to travel the Ice Sculpture trail

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? I’d love for you to share the link to your Wordless Wednesday post in the Comments. I will visit your post and leave you a comment (provided the post contains no words, just pictures).

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Red Hearts and More

I’ve got five sources of inspiration for this post: 1) February is Heart Month in Canada, 2) Valentine’s Day is coming up, 3) Marsha’s Wednesday Quotes challenge, 4) Terri’s Sunday Stills February Red colour challenge, and 5) My Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). So, I had fun selecting my digital images and created the following galleries with some quotes.

Red Hearts

A walk in the Distillery District yielded four heart displays: A bubbly heart made of fabric by Designs by the Yard, a soft heart made with red and some blue thread (unknown artist), a big red heart and a Love sign by artist Mathew Rosenblatt. The first two displays were temporary and the last two were permanent. The Love sign is full of locks.

“The locks are a symbol of love and that is emotional and beautiful. When people walk by they see, symbolically by all these locks left here, all this love.”

“We are all artists. We can express in different ways but our life, at the end of day, is our biggest sculpture. Each day we take brush strokes with our actions.”

Mathew Rosenblatt

Another walk in Yorkville led me to discover paintings by artist Anthony Ricciardi. The information sheet at these paintings stated that the artist is colour blind and self-taught. He left the comfort and clout of the corporate finance world to pursue his true passion and lifelong dream: Art. His collections have been showcased worldwide in Toronto, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, London, and Brazil.

“Incredible things happen when you Follow Your Heart.”

Anthony Ricciardi

Red Flowers

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest times for florists. I have many red flower photos to enjoy. I look forward to Spring when red camellias, peonies and roses bloom in outdoor gardens and I can touch their lovely soft petals.

Red Cars

Some cars give the driver and the passenger heart-pumping or heart-stopping effects.

Red Corvette
Red Pontiac

If you could drive one of the cars, which one would you pick?

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week, and/or favourite public art around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #106 InLinkz below.

Have a wonderful weekend and however you choose to spend February 14th, happy Valentine’s Day!

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Garden of the Greek Gods

A sunny morning prompted me to cycle to Exhibition Place with a garden in mind. Entry to this garden is free to the public which means it can get busy on a nice day. Did I choose the right time to visit?

The Garden of the Greek Gods is a collection of 20 amazing limestone sculptures by renowned Canadian sculptor Elford Bradley “E.B.” Cox (1914-2003). They were originally sculpted in the 1960s and were previously displayed in less accessible locations. They are once again on display in a beautiful garden setting.

Even though visitors can enter the garden from any side, an official plaque about the garden located near Hercules, the tallest sculpture in the collection, seems like a logical place to start. Each sculpture has a plaque explaining the Greek mythology.

Exploring the Garden

In the first row on the south side of the garden, I meet:

  1. Hercules: The mighty hero of ancient Greece. The gods tested him with 12 labours. He is seen here after slaying the Nemean lion.
  2. Medusa: One of the three gorgons, with hair of snakes, whose glance changed all who looked at her into stone.
  3. Narcissus: A handsome young man who pined away for love of his own reflection, finally turning into the flower of the same name.

Next row along the garden path:

  1. The Sphinx: A strange creature with claws of a bird and the body and tail of a lion. This woman would devour passing travellers if they could not answer her riddle correctly.
  2. Centaur: One of a jolly race of creatures, half man, half horse who lived in the forest of ancient Greece, and were very hard to catch.
  3. The Minotaur: Half bull, half man, he guarded the maze for the King of Crete until vanquished by the Greek Prince Theseus.
  4. Aphrodite: Goddess of Love, also known as Venus. Born of the sea, she reached shore riding a scallop shell.
  5. Orpheus: He charmed the creatures of the forest with his wonderful playing of the lyre and his heavenly singing.
  6. The Three Graces: These beauties were judged by Paris, and the most beautiful of them received the golden apple.

Around the corner, six intriguing sculptures beckon:

  1. The Hydra: A monstrous dragon with nine heads originally – However if one head was cut off, two heads grew in its place.
  2. Cyclops: One of a race of giant one-eyed men who herded sheep for a living. They were finally done in by Hercules after a fierce struggle.
  3. The Typhon: Supposed to be a fearsome creature, half man, half snake. This last surviving speciman doesn’t seem so very fierce.
  4. The Triton: He ruled the seas and by blowing on his conch shell could either stir up the waves or calm a storm.
  5. Cerberus: This savage three-headed dog guarded the gates of Hades, to keep good people out and bad people in.
  6. Pan: The elusive god of the forest, half man, half goat, full of fun and games. He invented the reed pipes and filled the woods with their sounds.

Five smaller sculptures in the last row and a block with the sculptor’s name and date marks the end of the garden:

  1. Mermaid: A sea nymph having the body of a woman and tail of a fish. Here she holds a merbaby and a young dolphin.
  2. Boy on a Dolphin: Many stories come down from antiquity of children having dolphins for playmates, and of lost sailors being helped to shore by dolphins.
  3. Sea Horse: These creatures appeared on the surface of the Mediterranean as whitecaps. In large groups they could stir up quite a storm if the wind was right.
  4. The Phoenix: After living in the desert for 500 years this bird was consumed by fire. It rose anew from its own ashes and is the symbol of eternal life.
  5. The Harpies: These bird-women were the embodiment of conscience and tore at the hearts of evil-doers.

I was fortunate to have the garden all to myself. I headed home feeling great about my choice for the day. I got sunshine, fresh air, an enjoyable bike ride, and a delightful walk to see beautiful sculptures.

What colour are the sculptures?

Would you say they are gray? I’m sharing this walk with Jo’s Monday Walk and Terri’s Sunday Stills January white/ gray colour challenge.

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #102 InLinkz below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Wrapping Up 2022

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 50 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup #100 which includes the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC). Feel free to link your WCS or PPAC post to this post. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

This is my last post for 2022 before the holidays. I’d like to wrap up my 2022 with beautiful lights and gratitude. Below is my selection of blue light displays for PPAC and Sunday Stills photo challenge.

Beautiful Lights

I started my walk at Nathan Phillips Square to see the 56th annual Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto. The event is on from November 26 to January 7. It includes lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree and thousands of energy-efficient bulbs adorn the heart of downtown Toronto.

Along Bay Street, all the major banks have glittering trees and holiday decorations. Royal Bank of Canada displays their signature blue and silver tree for the holidays.

I ended my walk at Union Station. The Pixel Matrix, created by Michael Awad and David Rokeby, is a three-dimensional cube made up of 30,000 individually controllable LED lights on strings, with constantly changing lighting effects.

The Pixel Matrix, 2009

On another walk, I discovered an intense blue aluminum sculpture. I thought it would be fun to add it to this post.

Blue Chip, 2016 by Brendon McNaughton

Gratitude 2022

On January 2, 2022 I hoped to continue focusing on Health, Home and Leisure to live a healthy and enriched life. Reflecting on 2022, I feel truly grateful for an amazing year.

Here’s the gifts in 2022 for which I am grateful.

  1. My good health throughout the year. I enjoyed cycling on recreational trails, exploring from Hanlan’s Point to Ward’s Island, kayaking around Toronto Islands, playing disc golf, sailing in Toronto Harbour in the summer, and walking. I love being with nature and taking in the beauty around me.
  1. My family and friends near and far. I’m grateful for the opportunities to meet some of them in person in Calgary, Hamilton and Toronto after a long gap due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. My home and city with many cultural and recreational opportunities. I appreciate Toronto’s festivals, events, art, history, parks, gardens, beaches, ravines, rivers, Lake Ontario, trails, and more.
  1. Hobbies that are fun and enriching. I celebrated my 6 years of blogging in October. I appreciate all the visits, likes, and comments on my blog and contributors to my weekly Weekend Coffee Share linkup and Photographing Public Art Challenge, as well as my fellow blog hosts. I’m grateful for easy access to books and films from the Toronto Public Library.
  1. Travel: I’m grateful to be able to explore amazing natural wonders in Newfoundland and Labrador, on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and enjoy fun adventures, historic sites, delicious seafood and desserts in these three beautiful Canadian provinces.

My three ways to give back in 2022:

  1. Met with family and friends at local eateries and Indie cafés to support small businesses.
  1. Volunteered to run my first food drive for Daily Bread Food Bank, and helped out at one public art event and six running races.
  1. Traveled in Canada to support Canadian airlines, hospitality and tourism industry.

A friendly reminder that there is no WCS linkup on December 23rd and 30th. I’ll return with a fresh post on January 6, 2023.


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Colourful Laneway Murals #SundayStills

I’m delighted to be hosting the Sunday Stills photography challenge while host Terri Webster Schrandt continues her blogging break.

Thank you to everyone who joined me for the Sunday Stills photography challenge for the last two weeks. I appreciate your beautiful photography and interesting stories related to the photos. I’ve compiled the list of Afloat Bloggers’ Links at the end of this post for easy reference.

This week’s theme: Colourful Murals

Mural by Julii McMillo, 2020.
Mural by Julii McMillo, 2020.

Since 2012, the City of Toronto has organized nine programs under the StreetARToronto umbrella to encourage artists to showcase their talent. One example under this umbrella is the Laneways of Toronto project that transformed the Euclid- Palmerston laneway into a giant canvas of colourful garages and wall spaces.

The Euclid-Palmerston laneway showcases forty garages and wall spaces painted in 2018 and thirty five garages and wall spaces painted in 2019 by seventy five different mural and graffiti artists. I discovered a garage painted in 2020 during my recent visit to the laneway. It’s my header photo.

I’ve posted two batches of Euclid-Palmerston painted garages and wall spaces (links below):

Today, I’m sharing the third batch of twenty four garage images with my blog readers, Monday Murals and PPAC#12. I’ve noted the street number, artist’s name and year based on my look-up. Remember to click on any image in the gallery to see it in full view and use the arrow to move to the next image.

Which door(s) in the gallery do you like?

I’m looking forward to seeing all your entries for this week’s Sunday Stills photography challenge. Joining me are:

How to participate in the Sunday Stills photography challenge

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title the post a little differently than mine.
  • Enter the link party by clicking on the InLinkz button below and follow the prompt.
  • If you’re on WordPress, remember to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week (not just on a Sunday).
  • Use the hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Next week’s theme: Going Back…

Terri will be back to host Sunday Stills on September 12 with a new theme ‘Going Back’. Here are a few tips to get your creative thinking flowing:

“Going Back…” implies going back to something, whether a place you’ve visited before, going back “in time” as you viewed your photo archives or how about going back “to the future?” Use any preposition to add to going back that suits you…like going back …in, on, to, out, under, over, through, between, by, as far as, across, etc. 

Afloat Bloggers’ Links

Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their beautiful Afloat photos:

Have a great week!

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