Toronto Music Garden in Spring

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 25 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #75. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

This week I welcomed summer arrival in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21. As if on cue, Toronto had a heat event on June 21 and 22 with maximum temperatures reached 33C (91F), and felt like 39C (102F) with humidity. It was sunny and warm the rest of the week.

To pay tribute to a beautiful spring that I had, I’m taking you on an easy stroll in the Toronto Music Garden in spring. Aside from the gorgeous tall trees, let’s see colourful flowers, listen to birdsong, and smell the gentle floral scent.

The Toronto Music Garden springs from the imagination of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, the garden is made up of six “movements” whose forms and feelings correspond to that suggested in the music: Prélude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue.

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

1. Prélude

This section imparts the feeling of a flowing river. Granite boulders that came from the Canadian Shield represent a stream bed. Low-growing plants soften its banks. Circular designs on the ground and at the edge of the boulders represent the water movements. The trees with straight trunks are native Hackberry trees. This is the only section in the garden that is not a dance form.

2. Allemande

This section imparts the feeling of a forest grove of wandering trails. The allemande is an ancient German dance. The trails swirl inward and move higher and higher up the hillside. A circle of dawn redwood trees and a small birch forest provide shades to the various contemplative sitting areas that look over the harbour.

3. Courante

This section imparts the feeling of a swirling path through a wildflower meadow. The courante is an exuberant Italian and French dance form. The trails swirl upward in a spiral form, through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. At the top of the swirling path is the maypole, with Celtic-patterned spirals and iron wheel, designed by Anne Roberts.

4. Sarabande

This section is envisioned as a poet’s corner with a centerpiece. The sarabande is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. The trails go in an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Japanese maple trees are also grown here. The centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

5. Menuett

This section imparts the feeling of a formal parterre garden of flowers. The menuett is a French dance movement. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of a circular pavilion. The pavilion is hand-crafted with ornamental steel by Tom Tollefson. It is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

6. Gigue

Gigue section imparts the feeling of a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The gigue, or “jog”, is an English dance. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree.

In spring, the Toronto Music Garden is a wonderful place to stroll, check out what’s blooming, watch birds, listen to birdsong, and reconnect with nature. Benches are available throughout the garden to sit and enjoy the scenery.

How has your week been?

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Toronto Music Garden in Winter

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #55! 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 5/52

One of Toronto’s gems is the Toronto Music Garden. I wrote about it here. I love that the garden is open year-round with no entry fee. Its location right by the waterfront and next to Spadina Quay Wetlands also means there are always more plants and urban wildlife to see than what’s already in the garden.

Toronto Music Garden entrance in winter
Toronto Music Garden entrance in winter

This winter I had the pleasure to visit the garden on several occasions, with and without snow. The lack of leaves shows off the beautiful shape of the trees and their branches.

Beautiful tree and its branches.
A beautiful tree and its branches

While walking in the Toronto Music Garden, I discovered four charming birdhouses, watched and listened to many birds. The birds were vocal and quick to hide.

I also watched Danielle Hyde, a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist, @CoCreation_Art, spray painted a colourful park mural on a storage building at the east end of the garden. The mural reflects the garden surroundings: People, plants, flowers, birds, butterflies, ducks, and water.

North side
North wall
East side
East wall – The door lock is between the two red and purple flowers
South side
South wall – The doors are easier to see at this angle
West side
West wall

I look forward to visiting the Toronto Music Garden again in Spring when many beautiful flowers bloom.

How has your week been?

Shared with #ThursdayDoors, #PPAC34, #SundayStills.

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Fit N Fun Walk: Toronto Music Garden

One of my favourite go-to spots in the city is the Toronto Music Garden. I try to come here often and share it with any of my family members or friends who may be interested in coming with me.

The Toronto Music Garden springs from the imagination of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello, the garden is made up of six “movements” whose forms and feelings correspond to that suggested in the music: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett, and Gigue.

It’s a fun experience to listen to Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello while walking through the well-maintained garden and imagine the six movements.

1. Prelude section imparts the feeling of a flowing river. Granite boulders that came from the Canadian Shield represent a stream bed. Low-growing plants soften its banks. Circular designs on the ground and at the edge of the boulders represent the water movements. The trees with straight trunks are native Hackberry trees. This is the only section in the garden that is not a dance form.

Prelude in Toronto Music Garden
Prelude: An undulating riverscape

2. Allemande section imparts the feeling of a forest grove of wandering trails. The allemande is an ancient German dance. The trails swirl inward and move higher and higher up the hillside. A circle of dawn redwood trees and a small birch forest provide shades to the various contemplative sitting areas that look over the harbour.

Allemande in Toronto Music Garden
Allemande: A forest grove of wandering trails

3. Courante section imparts the feeling of a swirling path through a wildflower meadow. The courante is an exuberant Italian and French dance form. The trails swirl upward in a spiral form, through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract bees, birds, and butterflies. At the top of the swirling path is the maypole, with Celtic-patterned spirals and iron wheel, designed by Anne Roberts.

Courante in Toronto Music Garden
Courante: A swirling path through a wildflower meadow with a maypole at the top

4. Sarabande section is envisioned as a poet’s corner with a centerpiece. The sarabande is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. The trails go in an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Japanese maple trees are also grown here. The centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

Sarabande in Toronto Music Garden
Sarabande: A poet’s corner and its centerpiece

5. Menuett section imparts the feeling of a formal parterre garden of flowers. The menuett is a French dance movement. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of a circular pavilion. The pavilion is hand-crafted with ornamental steel by Tom Tollefson. It is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

Menuett in Toronto Music Garden
Menuett: A formal parterre garden of flowers

6. Gigue section imparts the feeling of a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbour. The gigue, or “jog”, is an English dance. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree. In the summer, informal performances are held here.

Gigue in Toronto Music Garden
Gigue: Giant grass steps that dance you down to the outside world

The Toronto Music Garden is a magical place to visit in all four seasons. This past spring, look what I found at the garden:

Bird nest at Toronto Music Garden
Mama bird in her nest at Toronto Music Garden

I love that the Toronto Music Garden is open year-round, wheelchair accessible, and there is no admission fee. Free guided tours and concerts are available from June to September. I hope you enjoy the garden through my lens.

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

A Walk with Joanne

I wrote in May that I had my first blogger date with Ann, a fellow Canadian blogger from the West Coast. Following that fun date, I reached out to Joanne, another fellow Canadian blogger in Toronto. We agreed to meet on a Friday in July for a walk along the waterfront. A heat wave derailed our initial plan and made us postpone our date to the following week. Our second attempt was a go!

Even though we’ve just recently followed each other’s blog, we recognized each other in person right away. The weather was sunny and warm so after our introduction hug and smiles, we started heading west, making brief stops along the way to explore some of Toronto’s gems:

Toronto Book Garden
Toronto Book Garden features Toronto Book Award winners. The names of authors and winning book titles are engraved in paving stones.
Rees Wavedeck by HTO Park offers a glimpse of Toronto Harbour and Islands.
Toronto Music Garden where we saw a bird sipping water from the rock fountain.
Ireland Park
Ireland Park, the memorial to the Irish Famine migrants’ arrival in Toronto from 1846-1849. Behind the trees is the Kilkenny limestone sculptural wall containing the names of those who perished during the Famine. The five statues from back to front include The Orphan Boy, Woman on Ground, Pregnant Woman, Pius Mulvey, and The Jubilant Man.
Little Norway Park
Little Norway Park was built on the same site where a training camp for Norway’s Air Force was located during World War II. The park was officially opened by His Majesty King Olav V of Norway on Nov. 20, 1987. The Memorial Stone is a gift from Norway to Canada. The stone was shaped by nature through glacier action. The bronze plaque and text were completed in Norway before shipment to Toronto.
View from Coronation Park
View from Coronation Park

By the time we reached Coronation Park, it was getting warmer and close to lunch time so we turned around. A quick consultation with Joanne prompted me to suggest Gonoe Sushi for lunch. Aside from its location being on our route, I had a good meal there before and both of us haven’t had sushi recently.

Gonoe Sushi interior was nice and cool with the air conditioning humming. We got a table right away. Our food orders arrived shortly after. I had a sushi and maki roll combo while Joanne went for a dynamite sushi combo. Her verdict: “This was a good choice!“.

Sushi and maki rolls

After lunch, we walked to Union Station before saying goodbye. Altogether we completed five kilometers under sunny skies, chatted about our blogging experiences, blogger’s meet-ups, family, fitness tips, future plans, outdoor activities, travel stories, and solved our hunger with a nice sushi lunch…All within three hours 🙂

The two explorers
Feature photo by Joanne Sisco

If you haven’t followed Joanne, I recommend that you visit her two blogs: https://mylifelivedfull.wordpress.com/ and https://followingaboldplan.wordpress.com/

My special thank you to Joanne for a fun walk and chat along the waterfront. I enjoyed sharing the trail with you. Talk to you soon!

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