A Medley of Colours

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #19! 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 week of sunshine, blue skies and pleasant temperatures meant more time outdoors and less time indoors. Let me show you in pictures a few nice things that I’ve seen. My photos start with neutral gray then get more colourful.

1. ActiveTO

The City of Toronto has launched the ActiveTO weekend road closures for 2021. Starting May 1, on weekends, a few routes will be closed to vehicles and open to cyclists and pedestrians. The objective is to make more space for people to get outside and exercise while practicing safe physical distancing.

The ActiveTO weekend road closures mean additional cycling and walking routes for me, yay! Before May, I cycle on weekdays and stay home on weekends. Now I go cycling on weekends as well while the weather is good.

2. Architecture

I visited two historic buildings on the same street and the street name is Toronto!

Toronto Street Post Office, also known as Toronto’s Seventh Post Office, was built in 1851-1853 in the Greek Revival style. It served as a post office until 1873 and as a government office building until 1937. It was then used by the Bank of Canada until 1959 and by investment businesses to date.

In 1958, the building was designated a National Historic Site of Canada. In 2006, it was designated a Heritage building by the City of Toronto. The building was sold to Morgan Meighen & Associates, an independent Canadian investment manager, in 2006 for CA$14 million.

Toronto’s Post Office 1853-1873.

Consumers’ Gas Company Building: The Italianate/neo-Renaissance style Consumers’ Gas Building was first built in 1852, as the Consumers Gas company’s head office at 19 Toronto Street. The company remained in this location for 125 years.

Consumers' Gas Company Building.
Consumers’ Gas Company Building, 1852.

3. Gardens

May is a beautiful time to be in Toronto’s public gardens where many spring flowers bloom. See my sample below (and the painted flowers on Simcoe Murals).

4. Simcoe Murals

The lead artist, Tannis Nielsen, who is of Metis/Anishinaabe and Danish ancestry, began the murals at Lower Simcoe Street underpass in 2017 and welcomed young artists from Toronto’s Indigenous community and other members of the local community to help paint the final artwork. Simcoe Murals were officially unveiled in September 2019.

The Elder/Honour Wall, on the west side of the underpass, consists of 28 portraits of Indigenous Peoples named by the local community while honouring the Indigenous Elders and leaders of the local Toronto community. Colourful flowers and plants adorn this wall.

Click on any image in the gallery to see it bigger.

The Water Wall mural, on the east side of the underpass, is inspired by the work of Josephine Mandamin, an Anishabaabewe grandmother who has walked almost 18,000 kilometres around each of the Great Lakes in order to bring attention to the physical plight of the planet’s greatest resource, water.

Gray, black, white, blue and green dominate this wall. Click on any image in the gallery to see it bigger.

Water Wall, Simcoe Murals.

5. Lake Beach

I’ve been going to various lake beaches since March. The water is still too cold for swimming so the beaches are nice and quiet, except for natural sounds from the waves, the wind, and birds. Here I find soothing neutral colours from pebbles, water, and gray feathers on gulls.

A lake beach.
A lake beach.
A gull.
A ring-billed gull.

Lakes, trees, and rocks are common elements in Ontario landscape. The rocks vary from small pebbles to big boulders. Many of them have beautiful patterns in shades of gray, rose, orange, or amethyst. Amethyst is the official gemstone of Ontario with many amethyst clusters found around the area of Thunder Bay.

Looking for nice rocks is just as fun as looking for shells, then let the rock stacking begin.

Lake and rock tower.
Someone built this rock tower.

I’m grateful for a beautiful week.

Linked to #LifeThisWeek, #ThursdayDoors, #SundayStills.

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

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5 Fun Finds

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #18! 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.

This past week has been fun and productive. A new month just began so I mapped out new cycling and walking itineraries, started a new body weight training program, and updated my reading list. Here are five fun finds from my cycling and walking excursions.

1. Purple Flowers

Jude at Travel Words blog asked “Have you any purples in your neighbourhood?” – Yes, I have many. Tulips and hyacinths are some of the common flowers in spring here and their blooms are beautiful. Here are my picks.

Purple tulips.
Purple tulips with daffodils, grape hyacinths and ivy.
Purple hyacinths.
Purple hyacinths.

2. Heritage Churches

Continuing my visits to historic and surviving buildings in Toronto, I found two churches designed by the same architect Henry Bowyer Lane: Little Trinity Church on King Street East and the Church of the Holy Trinity at Trinity Square.

Little Trinity Church: The Tudor Gothic church was built in 1843 making it the oldest surviving church building in Toronto. The structure is red brick with accents of tan brick and stone. The 18 m (60 ft) square bell tower has contrasting octagonal buttresses at each of its four corners.

Click on any image in the following gallery to enlarge it.

The Church of the Holy Trinity: The modest Gothic Revival structure was built in 1847. Like many Gothic churches, the Church of the Holy Trinity uses limestone for its foundation and window tracery, as well as sandstone, brick, and wood.

Church of the Holy Trinity.

3. Henry Scadding House

While I walked around the Church of the Holy Trinity, I found the old Rectory and Henry Scadding House built in 1862 adjacent to the church. Henry Scadding was the church’s first rector and Toronto’s first historian. He lived here until his death in 1901.

Linked to Dan’s Thursday Doors.

4. Weather Beacon

Terri’s Sunday Stills Weather theme inspired me to share Toronto’s weather beacon at the top of the Canada Life building and its code.

The Canada Life building is a historic office building opened in 1931 in Toronto. The fifteen-floor Beaux Arts building stands at 97.8 m (321 feet) including its 12.5-metre-tall weather beacon.

Fun facts about the Toronto’s weather beacon:

  • It’s Canada’s oldest weather beacon.
  • It’s been keeping Torontonians abreast of weather conditions since 1951.

Employees at Canada Life’s front desk update the weather forecast four times a day in conjunction with Environment Canada’s weather station at Toronto Pearson International Airport. If you’re looking up at the tower, here’s how to read the code.

The beacon light on top indicates sky conditions:

  • Solid green = clear
  • Solid red = cloudy
  • Flashing red = rain
  • Flashing white = snow

The beacon tower lights explain the temperature story:

  • Lights shooting up = temperature is warming
  • Lights shooting down = temperature is cooling
  • Lights steady = steady temperature

The time of day is also important:

  • Daytime = signals the balance for the day
  • Night time = forecasts for the following day

Sunny or cloudy or rainy or snowy, as long as it’s not extreme, I dress for the weather and head outside to explore. For my cycling and walking, the cool temperatures in Spring feel great.

Move the slider arrows to compare the following images.

Sunny and cloudy views.
Forsythias with and without snow within hours.

5. Goose Diet

We had sun, clouds, wind, and rain this past week. I wondered how Lucy the nesting goose was doing on windy or rainy nights. I found her nesting and looking healthy. She got a new “wall” as the Empire Sandy tall ship has docked next to her nest. A flyer from Ontario Waterfowl Society, attached near the nest, gives interesting tidbit about her diet.

Lucy on May 3

I’ve got more fun finds to share next week. Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to those of you celebrating!

Linked to #LifeThisWeek.

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

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The Upside of April

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.

Cherry blossoms.

Magnolia trees are also blooming. It’s amazing to see the trees full of flowers.

Linked to Jude’s Pink colour challenge, Becky’s Bright Square and Cee’s Flower of The Day photo challenges.

2. Architecture

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.

Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 1848.
Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 1848.

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.

Linked to Dan’s Thursday Doors photo challenge.

3. Sculpture

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.

Immigrant Family by Tom Otterness, 2007.
Immigrant Family, by Tom Otterness.
The Anonymity of Prevention, by Derek Lo and Lana Winkler, 2000.
The Anonymity of Prevention, by Derek Lo and Lana Winkler.

Linked to Sandy’s Friendly Friday: Hands & Feet photo challenge.

4. The Waterfront

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.

Cherry Street North Bridge.
Cherry Street North Bridge.

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.

Linked to Terri’s Sunday Stills: Water photo challenge.

5. April Highlights

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:

Health

  • 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.

Home

  • 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.

Leisure

In April I have…

Here’s the list of books I read this month with asterisk indicates new-to-me authors:

  1. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury. *
  2. Cathedral – Raymond Carver. *
  3. Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen.
  4. Someone Like You – Sarah Dessen.
  5. That Summer – Sarah Dessen.
  6. The Lost Man – Jane Harper. *
  7. The Other People – C.J. Tudor.

April was amazing. I’m grateful for all the good things that happened. I look forward to enjoying new explorations in May.

Linked to Denyse’s #LifeThisWeek.

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Fabulous Walk and Interview

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #14! 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.

What’s New

It’s been a fab few days here…

  • Beautiful spring weather has been ideal for my cycling, walking, playing disc golf, visiting local beaches, gardens, parks, and the city centre. I choose to go outside on weekday and Sunday mornings and to places that are quiet so I can keep a safe distance from people.
  • I mapped out new cycling and walking routes that offer me plenty of things to see and photograph. I usually cycle to the destination, lock the bike, go for a walk, then pick up the bike, and cycle home. Fitness and fun combo wins! See my walk in Yorkville and my photos below.
  • I had a fun interview with Marsha Ingrao at Always Write blog about hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share blog link-up. Click here to read the full interview. (Virtual) coffee and beignets from the historic Café du Monde in New Orleans were on the table. Marsha retrieved comments from my blog for the interview so you may see your name and comments in her post.

My Walk in Yorkville

Yorkville is a historic and upscale neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. Established as a separate village in 1830, Yorkville was annexed into Toronto in 1883. In the last three decades, many smaller buildings in Yorkville were demolished and office, hotels, and high-priced condominiums built.

Yorkville is now home to some of Toronto’s most expensive condominiums. It has art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, spas, and luxury hotels catered to the wealthy clients. Fortunately, it still retains its attractiveness with pedestrian traffic, narrow streets, quaint row houses, and charming curb appeal.

Let me show you a few of my favourite Yorkville murals and architecture in pictures.

Yorkville Murals

Yorkville Murals in August 2020 was a cultural event that celebrates contemporary muralism and public art. It was a huge success despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s scheduled to return in August 2021.

Yorkville Mural by Ola Volo.
Yorkville Mural by Canadian artist Ola Volo.
OK mural by Ben Johnston
OK mural by Toronto-based artist Ben Johnston.
Yorkville mural by Jason Botkin
Yorkville Mural by Jason Botkin.
Canada Geese mural by local artist Bacon.
Canada Geese mural by local artist Bacon. The building is the famed Sassafraz restaurant.

Yorkville Architecture

Church of the Redeemer founded in 1871.
Church of the Redeemer, an Anglican church, founded in 1871.
The Church of Redeemer main doors in Gothic Revival style.
The Church of Redeemer main doors in Gothic Revival style.
Yorkville Park walkway looking south.
Yorkville Park walkway looking south.

Click on any image in the image gallery to see it bigger.

Linking to #BrightSquare, #Lens-Artists 142, #LifeThisWeek, #ThursdayDoors, #WeeklySmile, #WW.

How did your week go? Go on, brighten my day. I’d love to hear your comments.

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Bits of Joy in March

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #13! 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.

My coffee share today includes two recent walks and a monthly review:

  1. Early spring flowers – Shared with Becky’s #BrightSquare, Cee’s FOTD.
  2. St. Andrew’s church – Shared with Dan’s #ThursdayDoors, Patti’s #Lens-Artists 141.
  3. March at a glance – Shared with Denyse’s #LifeThisWeek.

1. Early Spring Flowers

Tuesday March 30, 2021 was sunny with daytime high 17C (63F) and ideal for my walk in the Toronto Music Garden. A variety of bright and cheerful early spring flowers made me smile. Here’s my selection.

Croci

2. St. Andrew’s Church

A second walk was to St. Andrew’s Church, a large and historic Presbyterian church in downtown Toronto. St. Andrew’s was founded in 1830 as the first Church of Scotland congregation in the Town of York. It was first located at the southwest corner of Church and Adelaide Streets but this building was abandoned when it became too small for the expanding congregation.

William George Storm was chosen to be the architect for a larger building. The present building at King and Simcoe Streets was opened for worship in 1876 and is built in the Romanesque Revival style. The geometry of the church’s facade is amazing.

St. Andrew's Church.
St. Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew’s today is a living church. The church interior includes rich and handsomely carved wood, the Gallery Organ and choir loft, and beautiful stained glass windows.

St. Andrew’s manse, located south of the church, is in the Second Empire style with a Mansard roof. Again, the geometry of this building makes it attractive.

St. Andrew’s Manse

3. March At A Glance

We had a mild March with plenty of sunny days and warmer than normal temperatures. Daylight saving started on March 14. Spring arrived on March 20 with clear blue skies and sunshine. The nice weather was ideal for my outdoor explorations.

Health

In March, I cycled, walked, did body weight workouts, practiced meditation and yoga regularly. I started playing disc golf as the weather warmed up.

March was also the month when Ontario entered Wave 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic while the vaccination rollout made small progress. Toronto has been in lockdown since November 2020. I continue the 3Ws to stay safe and healthy: Wash my hands, wear my mask, and watch my distance.

Home

In March, I celebrated virtually with two family members and one longtime friend on their birthdays. I baked a blueberry banana loaf, first of 2021.

To support local businesses, I ordered Pad Thai and curry dishes from Salad King, a new-to-me eatery. The delivery was quick. The food arrived hot and tasty. I got a break from cooking. Win-win-win!

Leisure

Architecture – I visited Campbell House and Osgoode Hall, before St. Andrew’s Church, to satisfy my interest in architecture and history.

Art – I saw amazing ice sculptures at the IceFest 21 A Trip Around The World event, colourful portraits at Femme de Fleur exhibit and attractive art items outside the Gardiner Museum.

Blogs – I hosted four Weekend Coffee Share blog link-ups and participated in several other fun link-ups in March. Great turnout each weekend kept me actively reading blogs and writing comments.

Books – I enjoyed reading 9 books from 5 authors. I’d definitely read more of their books:

  1. Ridgerunner – Gil Adamson. *
  2. Just Listen – Sarah Dessen.
  3. The Moon & More – Sarah Dessen.
  4. This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen.
  5. What Happened To Goodbye – Sarah Dessen.
  6. An Ocean of Minutes – Thea Lim. *
  7. The Suspect – Michael Robotham. *
  8. The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor. *
  9. The Hiding Place – C.J. Tudor.

Asterisk indicates new-to-me author. I keep track of what I’ve read on my Books in 2021 page. Year-To-Date Reading Totals: 25 books, 10 new authors, and 10 categories.

Languages – I continued taking French and Spanish lessons on Duolingo. They’re fun exercises.

I’m grateful for the bits of joy in March. I look forward to exploring more local places in April.

Happy Easter to those of you celebrating. Enjoy the weekend and keep safe. I’d love to hear your comments.

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My Favourite Doors from 2020

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

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse built in 1808.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse built in 1808.

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)

Art Gallery of Ontario entrance.
Art Gallery of Ontario entrance.

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

Christmas tree outside Union Station entrance.
Christmas tree outside Union Station entrance.

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.

I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking with MCoW.

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Doors at Colborne Lodge

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.

Colborne Lodge built by John Howard in 1837.
Colborne Lodge built by John Howard in 1837.

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.

Colborne Lodge entrance.
West side of Colborne Lodge with the front door on the right.

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.

Additional building next to Colborne Lodge.

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.

How many doors do you see?

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Doors at Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion

Dan, over at No Facilities blog, is hosting the Thursday Doors photography challenge. The challenge is open to everyone to participate in. So, I’m joining Dan for the first time and hope to meet lots of other bloggers who have similar interests in doors, architecture, art, history, photography, and of course blogging. Here’s my entry for this week.

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion has been a Toronto’s lakefront landmark since it opened in 1922. The pavilion was designed in Beaux-Arts style by the firm Chapman, Oxley & Bishop. It features a highly visible front façade accented by an impressive archway with a decorative panel, as well as by Classical columns and pilasters.

Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion front entrance and archway in Beaux-Arts style.
Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion front entrance in Beaux-Arts style.
Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion Classical columns and pilasters.
Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion Classical columns and pilasters.
Sunnyside Beach
Sunnyside Beach

Inspired by a bathing pavilion at Lynn Beach in Massachusetts, Sunnyside had enough room for 7,700 bathers at one time. Following a brisk swim in the lake, visitors could retire to the terrace garden for refreshments.

Lakeside façade of Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion.
Lakeside façade of Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion. This view features two central towers and a smaller tower at each end.
Lakeside façade of Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion.
Lakeside façade of Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion. This view features two central towers with terraces on each side.

A heated outdoor pool, known as the “Sunnyside Tank” was opened in 1925. With a capacity for 2,000 swimmers, it was reputed to be one of the largest outdoor pools in the world. In 1980, when the pavilion was refurbished, the pool was dedicated in honour of swimming coach Gus Ryder.

What do you think of the Sunnyside Pavilion Beaux-Arts style? I’d love to hear your comments.

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