Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

row of stores and cafes on Danforth, covered with street art, the Only Cafe,

My walk the other day started with a coffee and a croissant from Broadview Espresso, just north of the Danforth. It was a bit chilly and damp to be eating & drinking outside but that’s the way of the world at the moment, at least in Toronto. At least walking helps keep you warm! Anyhow, just outside the coffee shop was a sidewalk unicorn painted by whatsvictorupto. There was one on each of the 4 corners of the intersection of Broadview and Pretoria. Here are two of them.

painting of a unicorn on the sidewalk, a blue unicorn surrounded by 4 blue hearts, all on a pink background, the work of whatsvictorupto

painting of a unicorn on the sidewalk, a brown unicorn head and neck with white mane and horn on a green background

whether you’re walking

upper part of a mural on the Danforth of a man walking on a map of the area, around two windows of the building on which it is painted.

Part of a mural by Monica on the Moon

or on a bike

on the side of a Chinese restaurant, a mural of a woman on a bike. She's holding the handle bars but her legs are straight out behind her. She's wearing a red dress and has long black hair. There are three signs on the restaurant, First, Indian Hakka Chinese Food, second, 7 dim sum, and third, we deliver

there’s always something to see along the Danforth or behind in its alleys.

a utility pole on the street decorated for Greektown, in blue and white vertical stripes and an oval with the words Greektown on the Danforth along with a Roman column

There are windows to look in

two shelves with head mannequins, wearing different wigs, covid masks, hats, and halloween masks

below: A great assortment of Covid masks

fabric covid masks for sale in the window of a store

below: Multilingual covid signs on the window of the Greek grocery – where shelves with oregano, tomato paste, pasta, coffee beans, grape juice, eggplant, and candy are all display.

the window of a Greek grocery store, with food, also signs re covid rules in Greek. for sale, oregano, Nescafe coffee, tomato paste,

There is more street art and graffiti to find, sometimes at your feet

below: Grounded Together, A painting by Caitlin Taguibao on the sidewalk

a painting on the sidewalk, a circle with words grounded together, pictures of women with plants and flowers, a dog chasing a bird.

and sometimes closer to eye level.

below: Skull and sticker

large dark blue stencil of a skull in profile on a blue newspaper box. There is also a sticker that says end white supremacy

Posters with social/political messages can also be found.

below: End White supremacy above, and now a poster re stats in Toronto “Black people in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by the police”. Source: from the Human Rights Commission, 2018.

a poster on a metal utility pole with a graphi to illustrate how black people are more likely to be shot and or killed by the Toronto police

In this case, wake up and see the climate crisis. A faded bee on pink juxtaposed with the black, red, and white butterfly painted on the street box.

2 posters on a utility pole plus a painted street box behind. One poster says climate crisis wake up disobey. The other poster has a pink bee

below: I get the no peeing part. I suspect that those aren’t eggs and this is a warning? or a threat?

wood fence, exterior light, and a sign, picture of man peeing with a red line through it, below that is picture of a pair of scissors and two eggs.

And then there is artwork of a different kind – on the front of St. Irene Chrisovalantoy Greek Orthodox Church built in 1974

2 pictures, exterior, front of Greek Church, white walls, with a Greek flag flying between the two of them

2 pictures, exterior, front of Greek Church, white walls,

stained glass over the front entrance, from the inside

stained glass window over the front entrance of Greek Church

Even on a grey day there are colours to be found, not just in the artwork and stained glass windows, but in the nature around us.

below: Some sunshine in bloom

a sunflower in bloom

below: autumn vines with a street art background

autumn coloured vine leaves cover a wall that has street art painted on it

below: This tree dominates with its abundance of red leaves. You may have also spotted the murals in the background.

Felstead Park, a tree with a lot of red leaves on it, as well as on the ground below it, dominates the picture

below: These are the murals in the second Butterfly Laneway project (2018). Check this link (metamorphosis in the lane) to see all the murals.

trees in autumn colours, with butterfly murals on the garages beyond the park

below: One of the murals is carefully put aside while work is done on the back of this house.

a house, seen from the back, being renovated, backyard is also being fixed up, fence between house and park has been removed, but garage door with mural on it has been preserved

below: More renovations. Apparently, people staying home because of covid = a boom in home renovations. Both Home Depot and Lowes reported increases in revenue for the second quarter of 2020, both were more than expected.

2 houses side by side, one with pale blue siding on upper floor, the other with yellow siding, both with porches in the front, the one n the right is being renovated and has a bin out the front

old car and old garage in front of a large new modern house

below: The unusual roofline and trim on these two houses caught my eye. I also love the fact that they are attached yet have a distinct character of their own. Brick vs stone, little peaked roof over the door vs. green and white metal awning, rectangular window vs bay window. Like identical twins trying to be their own person.

two adjacent houses with barn like rooflines, one in brick and the other in stone,

Danforth subway line, Donlands station. Ten years ago, it was decided that Donlands station needed a second exit and that it would be on the corner of Strathmore and Donlands, One building, 17 and 19 Dewhurst would have to be torn down to make way for the new exit. 19 Dewhurst was sold to the city in 2018 and just last year the property at 17 Dewhurst was expropriated.

through a chainlink gate, front yard is square concrete patio stones, yellow front door

front yward is overgrown, white railing on porch, dark porch and front door

Across the street at 14 Dewhurst, the old Temple Baptist Church (1925) is being redeveloped as condos, the Sunday School Lofts.

large old brick church, Temple Baptist church, is being redeveloped as residences, plus an addition added to one side of it

The home remodeling business may be doing well but the restaurants are hurting. As of the end of October, indoor dining in Toronto was prohibited.

below: Abyssinia restaurant. One of the many different ethnic restaurants along the Danforth. Although it is still referred to as Greektown, and the Greek influence is still strong, you can eat a wide range of foods from different cultures. As you move east along the Danforth, there is a strong African (especially Ethiopian) presence.

a man pushes a stroller along the sidewalk past a store and the Abyssinia restaurant on the Danforth

below: Did you know that gourmet cinnamon rolls was a thing? Did I run across the street to buy one? (Almost!!).

a woman walks past Cinnaholic, a store selling gourmet cinnamon rolls

below: The northwest corner of Danforth and Donlands. You can choose between halal chicken and pizza, or dim sum.

northwest corner of Danforth and Donlands, two storey brick

Other little graffiti stickers, posters, and paste-ups:

below: Another flying bicycle

stencil on paper on a utility pole, in orange and black, a girl riding a bike, with wings on her back

below: Mad Dog Wrecking Crew

2 graffiti stickers on a Canada Post box, the top ones says gewn snail, the bottom one is an abstract drawing in black and white

below: A very sad man

paper pasteup on a metal pole, sad man

below: Checkerboard sneaker and a big tooth-ed skull by mr. Toon.

two stickers. the bottom one is a skull by mr. toon and the top one is a no laces, slip on sneaker in black and white checks

below: The paper is torn but it is: “She clasped my face in her bones and kissed silence into my mouth” a quote by Amiri Bakara (I saw one exactly the same in Kensington last summer).

paper pasteup on a metal pole, top is a skull looking down, bottom is a man looking up, with words

below: With a car parked in its mouth

dripping paint in blue and red on a wall with a hole in it, two eyes drawn above the rectangular hole. A car is parked on the other side of hte wall and shows through the hole

below: Does the blue haired woman know whats lurking behind her?

two wig mannequin heads in a store window. the one in front has pale turquoise hair, the one in the back has black hair.

Happy November – let’s keep walking and see what we can see along the way…. and in case you need help…!

display of eye glasses in the window of a store

Back in the early spring of 2019, I wrote about accessing the East Don path from Moccasin Trail.

below: Last week, the view from the east side of the tunnel under the DVP leading to Moccasin Trail Park.

semi circular arch and tunnel under the DVP from the East Don trail, autumn with fall colours on the trees, paved path, grass beside,

Now, in a different year and a different season, I have explored more of that trail starting at the north end, near Lawrence Avenue and the Don Valley Parkway (DVP). Originally, Lawrence Avenue curved south down the east side of the ravine before it crossed the Don River. The remains of part of that road provide access to the East Don path at Charles Sauriol Conservation Area. Sauriol (1904-1995) was a Canadian naturalist who played a leading role in conserving many natural areas in the province including the Don Valley.

Here, the Alexander Milne family first settled in 1832. Over time, a woolen mill and a sawmill were built, other families moved in, and the village of Milneford Mills was born; it thrived until the early 1900’s. The old woolen mill remained derelict until it was demolished in 1946. Between Hurricane Hazel floods in 1954, and the expropriation of land to make way for the DVP construction, most traces of the village have disappeared.

below: All that remains is one house. It’s been behind chainlink and “under renovation” for MANY years. When I went searching for any kind of story about this house, I discovered a blog post from 2011 about Charles Sauriol Park and the house was fenced in then. Apparently it was covered in graffiti back in 2008/9. I’m not sure that Mr. Sauriol would be impressed.

old white house, built 1878, now in park, with metal fence around it because of renovations, autumn, with trees in golds and oranges

autumn colours in the leaves on the trees, oranges and golds, and some red sumach

below: The Rainbow Bridge from the north side.

the rainbow bridge on the east don trail, a semi circle arch tunnel painted like a rainbow

below: The trail passes underneath the Canadian Pacific (CP) tracks.

a man walks his dog along the path through the Don River ravine, autumn trees, and the path goes under the tall CN railway bridge with its metal girders

below: Footings for the CP bridge

concrete footings on a metal railway bridge over the Don River

below: As the trail crosses land owned by CP Rail, it is covered by a metal frame canopy. It’s difficult to see in this photo but there is a series of small laser-cut metal artworks between the grey railings. The whole structure is “A Walk in the Woods” and it is the creation of both Robert Sprachman and Arnaud Boutle.

a metal canopy over a path and under a metal railway bridge

gnarly old dead tree that looks like screaming face

a woman walks along a path at the bottom of a hill. the hill is covered with leaves that have fallen off the tall trees

2 people walk on the sandy river bank on the side of the Don River, autumn with leaves in different shades of red and gold

below: Farther down the trail is another railway bridge. This is the same line that goes north to Oriole GO station and beyond. The scaffolding under the bridge is for the construction of another canopy similar to one under the CP bridge (above) as well as an art installation.

workmen on a railway bridge

below: Part of art installation “High Water Mark” by Robert Sprachman that is almost complete. There are 15 rocks each with a year on them. The height of the rock on a metal pole represents the height of the flood water on the Don River that year (but is not an exact height). There are four rocks in this picture and from left to right are 1926, 1934, 1942, and obscured (the last is behind the wood. Ooops).

Artwork called High Water Mark, rocks at levels that match the flood levels of different years, on metal poles by a bridge beside the Don River

below: Oak leaves

leaves on a small oak tree have turned a rusty red colour around the edges

below: Backs of houses overlooking the park

a white house up on a hill behind autumn trees that are starting to lose their leaves

below: A chickadee holding onto a dead flower as it eats the seeds.

chicakdee holding onto dead flower as it eats the seeds

chicakdee holding onto dead flower as it eats the seeds

below: Fish. Yes there are fish in the Don River, about 21 species apparently. This one, salmon?, although large is unfortunately also dead. Over the past 30 years the Don River has received a lot of TLC which has helped to reduce the level of industrial pollution as well as the amount of litter and trash found along the banks.

a large dead fish has washed up onto the sandy shore of the Don River

below: We were told “It’s not the best time” when we asked if we could continue on the trail. South of here the trail is a construction zone. Eventually (soon? I may have visited a little too soon?) the path will join with those farther south so that there will be a continuous trail from Lawrence to the lake. In the meantime, this is Wynford. You can exit here, or retrace your steps back to Lawrence. Next time!

two people with their backs to the camera stand on a path and watch a digger in front of them, there is a bridge over the creek ahead and workmen have parked their truck on the bridge, autumn colours in the trees around them.

path through the woods, autumn

three dried berries on a shrub with one red leaf, autumn

Another path through the woods. This time there was a hint of yellow in the leaves because it was late September and even in 2020, some things are the same as ever.

a dirt path through the woods, some yellow hues in the trees

The path led me uphill to the newly renovated Guild Inn. It’s been five years since I have wandered around their gardens and surrounding park. In that time, the building has been renovated and expanded. I didn’t take very many pictures the other day because I knew that I had a lot from my previous visit. I was going to link to the blog post from that time but I discovered that I never actually got around to posting anything! So, I have found the old photos and have included some of them here.

below: For instance, this is the front of the inn in July 2015 with its windows covered.

chainlink fence in front of an empty white building with windows that have been covered, old Guild Inn before renovations

below: And the back, five years ago.

photo from 2015 of Guild Inn surrounded by construction metal fence before it was renovated

below: Five years later – the back of the Guild Inn with the path leading to the gardens.

the old white house back of Guild Inn, with small stone columns in the garden along with trees and flowers

below: A statue of Saint Francis Assisi with a wolf, carved by Thomas Bowie (b.1905)

a small statue of St. Francis of Assisi with a wolf, in stone, in front of a flower garden

below: A stone wall with statues and carvings provides a backdrop for a garden full of black-eyed susans. Because of the efforts of a few people to salvage some of Toronto’s architectural and creative history, the gardens of the Guild Inn have become the final resting place of a number of pieces of older buildings that have been demolished to make way for modern skyscrapers.

a large number of black eyed susan flowers in a garden, with sculptures and statues on a wall in the background

below: Stone wall with features from the Bank of Nova Scotia building (1903)

small concrete wall that incorporates a number of small sculptures from old buildings

below: The bird nest is long gone. … but it would have been a nice quiet spot to raise a family.

the upper torso and head of a man, sculpture in stone, in a niche in a wall. a bird has built a nest on his shoulder

large stone columns in a park, old architectural details from a building that was demolished, columns saved and moved here to Guild Inn

carved in stone, a head of an old man with curly hair and curly beard, with stone corinthian columns rising above him

below: From the Royal Conservatory of Music. There are two bas-relief bronzes of men associated with the Royal Conservatory. On the right is Sir Ernest MacMillan (1893-1973), an organist, composer, and conductor who was knighted in 1935 by King George V. On the left is Dr. Healey Willan (1880-1968) another organist and composer who was associated with the Toronto Conservatory for 30 years (1920-1950).

a brick wall with details from Royal Conservatory of Music building, music hall carving, and two bas-relief bronzes of men, Sir Ernest McMilland Dr. Healey Willan

below: Looking through one stone arch to another, the square arch from the Imperial Bank of Canada Building (1928) and underneath sits Musidora. Many artists have lent their interpretations of this woman (in sculpture and paint), the subject of a poem titled “Summer” by Scottish poet James Thomson written in 1727. The beautiful Musidora strips naked to cool down by bathing in the stream, not knowing that she is being watched by Damon. Damon is torn between watching and turning away but chooses the latter.

a statue under an arch as seen from an arch farther away, greenery, garden

sculpture of a naked woman in a garden

short white marble column in a garden

In 1887, a Bank of Montreal building was built at the northwest corner of King and Bay; a site now occupied by First Canadian Place. The building featured a series of sculptures representing the Canadian provinces that were created by a number of artists. When the building was demolished in 1968, these panels were brought to the Guild Inn. Not all of them are on view today possibly because some were not in good shape (held together with metal straps). Maybe they are being fixed up?

below: This is the Alberta panel in 2015; the artist was Jacobine Jones (1897-1976)

relief sculpture representing province of alberta in Guild inn garden, man holding a sheep, with rodeo cowboy beloww

below: It has since been cleaned up.

detail of relief sculpture representing province of alberta in Guild inn garden, two bare feet, a cowboy riding a bucking broncho

below: One of two stone angel panels from the North American Life Assurance Company Building (1932).

bas relief sculpture on stone of a winged woman holding a globe, earth

below: The brick and stone entranceway from the Granite Club (1926)

an arch entranceway of red brick and stone over a path through a garden with lots of trees and grass around it

below: This cabin was named for William Osterhout, a United Empire Loyalist who in 1805 was given the first Crown land grant from King George III as reward for his service with the Butler’s Rangers. Although Osterhoust briefly owned the property, he never settled in Scarborough Township. The structure was more likely built around 1850 to 1860…. that may be a contentious “fact” as some believe that it is at least 50 years older than that.

osterhout cabin, log cabin, from pioneer days, on the grounds of the Guild Inn

The gardens have several different types of trees all in their autumn plummage.

below: Orange berries on a mountain ash tree…

orange mountain ash tree berries on a tree

below: … and many little crabapples on a crabapple tree.

a large bunch of crab apples on a tree, many many berries on the tree

below: At the south, the property ends at the Scarborough bluffs and there are many warning signs along the paths that run near the edge.

path through the woods with small fence on left. signs on left saying do not climb fence or cross over because of unstable ground, top of Scarborough bluffs, warning signs,

below: Looking out over Lake Ontario

trees at the edge of a path overlooking Lake Ontario, from high up near top of Scarborough bluffs

green leaves turning red in the autumn, on the tree, with sun light shining through them

a carving in stone, square panel with a 4 petal flower with 4 leaves, symmetrical

And then, when driving north on Morningside on my home, I encountered this…. The peacocks have arrived.

a van is unloading on the street, two large peacock sculptures, about 6 feet high in off-white, standing on the pavement

For more of the history of the Guild Inn, see their website.

four cars waiting at a level railway crossing on Morningside Ave, red lights flashing and barriers down but no train yet

The other day I was near Yonge and Sheppard when I found myself with some extra time so I decided to drive around the nearby neighbourhood where I once lived.  A little trip down memory lane along with something new.

below: On Florence Ave looking northeast across Yonge Street.

at the intersection of Yonge and Franklin in North York, older houses on Yonge street that are now businesses, with large new condo buildings behind

I discovered that the little house where my family lived when I was grades 4 and 5 is still there and is one of only a few that haven’t been replaced or enlarged (no photos!).  Continuing on my tour, I passed the local school, Cameron Avenue P.S., before I thought that I would take a look at Gwendolen Park.  I have vague memories of it but it was just far enough away from home that we didn’t go there often.

Gwendolen Park sign with tennis courts in the background
park with exercise equipment and large trees

Southeast from Gwendolen Park there is a path through the ravine that is well worn. It passes among some of the tallest trees I have seen in the city – maples, oaks, and others.  It is darker than most ravine walks.  It is also quieter.  I didn’t encounter any one else while I was in the woods.

dirt path in the woods, with many large trees with exposed root systems

3 tall trees that have fallen beside a ravine path

below: A tiny little bird house with a brown plastic beetle.

a very small bird house with a bronw plastic insect glued onto the side, hanging from a large tree

a lean to built in a ravine off many fallen branches

below: At the bottom of the hill is Don Valley Golf Course.  The bridge in this photo is the 401 jst west of Yonge Street.  I was trying to figure out the best route to the bridge but I happened by this spot at the same time as the course marshal.  He kicked me out.

Don Valley golf course from the north end, looking towards the 401 bridge over the valley

Getting to the bridge was not an important goal but when someone tells me I can`t do something I feel that I have to try to find a way to do it.  Google maps shows this space as green but there is no differentiation between golf course and park.  I tried bushwhacking my way around the edge but I couldn`t find an easy enough way to make it worth my time.  So I retraced my steps…. but not before finding a souvenir of the day.

hand holding a taylor made 3 golf ball

large old dead tree trunk in forest

large gnarled tree roots exposed on a path

Don Valley Golf Course from up the hill near Gwendolen Park.  September has only started and already there are some colours appearing on the trees.

big willow tree and other trees, some just starting to turn to autumn colours, on Don Valley golf course from the hill on the north side of the course

below: Cliff by the park

cliff and trees at Gwendolen Park

below: Part of the path passes behind the tennis courts.

looking through the netting around a tennis court

below: Luckily there is a hole in the fence otherwise it`s a steep drop to the left!

hole in the chain link fence along the path behind the tennis courts at Gwendolen Park

below: The path continues to the northwest but a few drops of rain persuaded me to return to the park where my car was waiting.  Earl Bales Park is the next green space along the path although I am not sure if there is access.   Another day’s adventure.

large old trees with green leaves

below: This cat loves Mondays.

street art on the back of a blue metal sign, a yellow cat head and the words I Mondays, with a red heart between I and Monday, therefore I love Mondays

below: Perhaps I’ll follow the sign to the North Pole for my next walk?  Oh oh – I think that it says 4800 (kms? miles?) so maybe not…..

at an intersection, Radine and Franklin, someone has nailed a sign saying north pole onto the utility pole

A long weekend in May (Two Four Weekend) + the first sunny warm day in a while + two months of “shelter in place” = people out enjoying Tommy Thompson Park’s trails and waterfront.

a couple sit on a rock by Lake Ontario

below: Flow Like a River

bikes parked against a fence with signs on it, with graffiti words that say flow like a river, in the background a mound of dirt with two young men standing on top of it.

below: Keep ur distance

a girl in a red bike helmet walks on top of a yellow concrete barrier

cyclists on a bike path, seen through tree trunks and long grass

below: Three people, three positions – up tall and straight, flailing legs middle, and collapsing feet at the end.    Also notable are the mounds of tangled rebar that dot the shoreline.

three young people trying to do headstones on the pebbles at the shore beside Lake Ontario, Tommy Thompson Park, with old rusty rebar in piles on the shore two, washed up old trees and roots,

father and child standing on rocks at the shore of Lake Ontario

below: She’s sitting on some very rounded rocks that have been shaped by the waves and water.  Are they chunks of man-made concrete and not the more solid  rocks formed by nature?

a woman looking at her phone, sitting on rocks by Lake Ontario, her bike is on the ground behind her

The park has come a long way since construction of the Leslie Street Spit started in 1959.  In the beginning, it was to be an area for “port related activities”.   In the early 1970s, it was decided that Toronto didn’t need an expanded port.  Since 1973, the focus has been on developing the area as a park but keeping as much “wilderness” as possible.  If you are interested in the history of Tommy Thompson Park, they have an excellent website with aerial pictures that show how the park has grown.

tall smokestack in the distance, a park in the foreground, with a bike path and cyclists running through the park, early spring

below: Nature slowly takes over, and the piles of rubble and construction waste that were used to help build the foundations of the park become grown over and buried.

grassy, rocky part of Tommy Thompson Park in spring with shrubs and trees just starting to bud

below: Late afternoon fishermen on their way in.

people walking on a trail in Tommy Thompson Park, early spring, trees just starting to form leaves

below: If you look closely, you might see that one of the bikes has a bell in the shape of a skull with red eyes.

4 bikes parked on the shore, among leafless shrubs, beside Lake Ontario

piles of rock, concrete bits, rebar, construction waste, forming parts of Tommy Thompson park

below: There were lots of noisy redwing blackbirds as well as many other kinds of birds – orioles, grosbeaks, goldfinches, robins, warblers, swallows, and sparrows.  During spring migration, up to 300 different species can be seen here.

a male redwing blackbird in a tree, making noise

long droopy buds on a tree, dark red on top and golden yellow on the lower parts, out of focus trees in the background

In the foregeound, trees and stumps in the water at the edge of the harbour, looking across the water to the Toronto skyline

two sailboats exit the marina harbour and pass by the Toronto skyline (seen from the east)

below: Construction on the east side of the park.  This is the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant Landform Project scheduled to be finished in 2025.  Three shore connected breakwaters and a headland/beach system are being constructed.

filling in part of Lake Ontario, walls of rocks with dirt between them

Staying on the side of caution, I haven’t been on the TTC for almost two weeks.  Instead, I have been using this time to venture into areas where it’s easier to drive to including some parts of the city where I rarely (if ever) go.   This is the story of yesterday’s adventure.

below: Two old rusty acorn-style street signs.

street signs, 2 old acorn signs, for Maclennan Ave and Rosedale Heights Drive, rusty

concrete wall between hillside and sidewalk, houses and trees above, street below

a man jogging past concrete wall and elementary school, at bottom of ramp to pedestrian bridge, street lamp above the ramp

below: On the concrete embankment below the elementary school is a very faded mural.

on an old faded mural of white flowers, someone has written in blue, love is love, and also a purple heart has been drawn

below: I doubt this car was a new model the year this mural was painted…. maybe? LOL

old faded mural of a small white car

sidewalk splits, half goes to ramp up to a pedestrian bridge over the railway tracks and half follows the road that curves and goes under the bridge beside the tracks, blue railing

below: Two together, locked beside each other.  Below are the CPR tracks, the same ones that run through the middle of the city from West Toronto, past the Junction and through to the railway yards at McCowan Road in Scarborough.

2 combination locks locked on a chainlink fence on a railway bridge

below: A small sliver of land between the tracks and the street, just big enough for a narrow house.

view from pedestrian railway bridge, Summerhill Ave., with houses, tracks, street, and trees, early spring

very narrow brick house has been gutted and has no windows

houses and yards as seen from a railway bridge

below: Magnolia buds in a front yard.

magnolia buds on a tree in a front yard

below: A very old pine tree in Chorley Park

large old pine tree in chorley park

below: Chorley Park was once the site of the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor.

large houses in the background, park with large mature trees in the foreground, Chorley Park in Rosedale

below:  It was built in 1915 and was modelled on various chateaux of the Loire Valley in France.  In 1937 it was closed down for financial reasons – during the Great Depression of the 1930s,  the annual costs of heating and electricity were the subject of political debate.   The federal government bought it, using it first as a military hospital and then as RCMP headquarters.  In 1960 the city of Toronto purchased the property, tore down the building, and developed the site as a park.

old black and white picture of a mansion, Chorley Park, stone, long curving driveway, three storeys, many chimneys,

below: From Chorley Park there is a path that winds down the hill to part of the Beltline Trail and the Brick Works park beyond that.

winding path down the hill from Chorley Park to the Beltline trail and Brick works park

below: Part of the path down the hill is being rebuilt.

orange plastic fencing around site where a new path and trail are being made down the side of a hill with lots of trees, early spring, no leaves

Mud Creek as it enters the brick works park and widens to a pond

below: Mud Creek.  It was about here that the word ‘dun’ popped into my head; that was definitely the word of the day…  dull greyish brown colour.   Mud creek, dun views.

old rock wall along the banks of Mud Creek, trees, path,

below: Maybe dun but that doesn’t mean uninteresting.  It won’t be long until there are leaves and then lots gets hidden and houses like this get more of their privacy back!  I’ll gladly stare while I can 🙂  I wonder if anyone uses those stairs?

the back of a house under construction, at the top of a hill on a ravine, trees and dead leaves on the ground, early spring,

below:  Governors Bridge passes over the trail that I share with very few people and about as many dogs as people.

Governors Bridge, where Governors Road passes over the Beltline trail, early spring, no leaves on trees, one person jogging on the trail, path,

below: The street art on the concrete pillars of the bridge look fairly fresh.

part of a bridge, concrete supports with street art on them, a culvert where the creek comes back to the surface, creek, ravine, no leaves on the trees,

Quick diversion to the top of the bridge!

below:  The bridge itself is very plain and the best part of being on it is the view. You can see (barely!) the red brick chimney of Todmorden Mills just below the two taller buildings on the left. That places those buildings at Broadview and Pottery/Mortimer which means that this view is more to the west than to the south.

below: Straight down to the path below. I shot this one blind and was pleasantly surprised to see a bright hat add a bit of life.

2 people walking on path through trees, taken from a bridge high above them

And back down again (you can pretend that I jumped off the bridge)

below: Just a bit farther north the trail passes under the railway tracks.   You might recognize this as a railway bridge as all the Toronto railway bridges over ravines were built in a similar style (and probably all about the same time).

path under a railway bridge, very high, a man walking his dog on the path, lined with trees with no leaves because its early spring

below: The last bridge on the Beltline before it reaches Mt Pleasant cemetery is this one, Cat’s Eye bridge.

below: Unfortunately, that’s where you have to leave the trail for the time being as the path is being refurbished all the way to Moore Ave.

construction, re-doing of path along the Mud Creek

below: The Moore Avenue entrance is blocked for construction – Mud Creek Restoration Project Reach 6,  completion date, summer 2020.

Beltline trail at Moore Ave., blocked by fence because of construction, no entry signs,

And so we leave the path there and make our way back through the neighbourhood to find my car.

three older houses on a street, the one in the middle has been gutted to the other walls, side only, open roof, new beams beinginstalled for a third storey

older houses, three, the one n the middle is white with blue trim and two large trees growing right in front of it

below: Someone wrote this on the pavement on the Cat’s Eye bridge.  I hope they’re wrong!

written in white chalk on greyasphalt are the words no future

Scarborough Bluffs Park on sunny but windy Sunday afternoon in March.

Scarborough bluffs, cliff by Lake Ontario

The red twig dogwood is looking redder and the trees are barely starting to bud.

a couple walking together on a path at park, with tall grasses and leafless bushes beside

signs in a park, Scarborough bluffs, that say danger unstable soils and naturalized area do not disturb

2 teenagers climbing a cliff face at Scarborough bluffs

a few people standing on a path in a park with cliffs behind them

Scarborough bluffs, cliff by Lake Ontario

The water and air are still cold enough that icicles form on the overhanging branches that get hit by waves.

a woman with black hair and weraing a blue winter coat is taking picture of icicles with her phone, waves crashing against the rocks along the shore below the tree with the icicles

icicles on a branch that overhangs Lake Ontario

a woman with black hair and wearing a blue winter coat is taking picture of icicles with her phone

men in the water with wet suits on as they try to surf in Lake Ontario

a woman in a white parka is watching men surf in rough waters and high waves of Lake Ontario

two women in winter clothes sitting on a blanket on rocks by the lake, one is pointing at something

shoreline of Lake Ontario, rocks and trees, early spring, no leaves,

Getting used to this “social distancing” thing but not the “stay at home” part.   A walk in the park seemed like a good way to mix the two – get a little exercise without running into too many people.

below: Keeping his distance

a man sitting on a bench in a park

It’s close to March 21st and the beginning of spring.   Actually this blog post started to take form after I parked my car and wandered aimlessly a few yards.  I was standing on a path in a ravine wondering which way to go… but why was I here?  I heard a bird, and then I heard another.

below: A robin snacking on sumach

a robin perched on top of a cluster of sumach buds and is leaning over to eat one

below: A female downy woodpecker

female downy woodpecker on a small tree

below: A little chickadee

chickadee sitting in a red dogwood, early spring, bright red branches, no leaves

below: It’s not a bird nor is it a sign of spring,  but it sat still enough to let me get my camera focused through the branches.

black squirrel sitting among tree branches, holding something in its mouth

below: The red dogwood branches have started to become more vibrant.

bridge over creek, sumach and dogwood bshes, winter to early spring, no leaves

below: Pussy willows have opened up their fuzzy white buds.  A definite indicator of spring.

a few thin branches of pussy willow

below: There weren’t many tree buds but this tree (and others of its type) were an exception.

small clusters of pink buds at the end of branches and twigs on a tree

below: There was a train too!  A different kind of sign of life.

park and trees in the foreground, early spring, with train on bridge in background

young birch tree

a purple graffiti heart painted on the concrete support at the bottom of a large metal trestle

Spring, and a walk in the park.  Sometimes it’s just the little things….  including someone to share your space.

a couple walks together over a small pedestrian concrete bridge

below: Reflections in the Wilket Creek

reflections of lifesaving equipment beside the Wilket Creek

This weekend saw the temperatures rise high enough draw people outside.  A lot of the snow melted and there was hope in the air – hope that winter won’t last too much longer.  This being Canada, winter can last as long as it wants!…  And that’s often into April.  In the meantime, it was great to enjoy the weekend.

a family of three, mom, dad, and toddler, walking on snowy path at Wilket Creek, with toddler in middle

below: A quiet sunny spot to sit

a young woman in a red jacket sits on a bench at Wilket Creek Park and reads a book in the sunshine.

mostly frozen creek with snow on the banks and rocks in the shallow water

below: Taking selfies on the rocks at Edwards Gardens.

two women standing on the rocks in the creek at Wilket Creek park, taking selfies

below: Watching the ducks on the partially frozen Wilket Creek.

ducks on partially frozen river, small bridge in the distance, a mother and daughter waiting to feed the ducks

puddle on the path and reflections of part of the people close to it.

forest of trees in winter

young trees on riverbank, snow, and frozen water in the background

a couple sits on a bench, from behind, in winter clothes, snow on the ground in the park

Yikes!  Preparations are already underway in the Distillery District for their annual Christmas market.

men on a blue lift crane at the distillery district, old brick building

At least their sign that counts down the number of days until Christmas is not hung yet.  I am not ready to think about Christmas yet!

 

leaning against the side of a building, on its side on the ground, the sign at the distillery district that says how many days left until Christmas

I was hoping for some sun as I walked the other day but October seems to have ended with clouds and rain.  November is here and it is notorious for being grey and depressing.   The clouds on these hoardings seemed appropriate.  They are around a construction site on Lower Sherbourne street, at the southeast corner of Lower Sherbourne and Front.

a woman walks past hoardings on Sherbourne street that are shiny and have pictures of clouds on them

below: This is the hole behind the hoardings.

construction site at Sherbourne and Front

That intersection, (LS & F), has construction sites at both the southeast and northwest corners.  At a third corner, the northeast, there is a development notice sign.

an Esso gas station at the northeast corner of Front and Sherbourne, also a Tim Hortons and a convenience store

Yet another developer wants to build yet another 37 storey building here.  At least one person has voiced their displeasure.

blue and white city of Toronto development notice on the northeast corner of Front and Sherbourne, now an Esso gas station, but developers want to put a 37 storey building there

And other signs of discontent nearby….

in blue marker, graffiti that says Doug Ford kills

time and space condo hoardings where someone has written the word no in front of space, so you have time and no space condos

below: Looking west on King Street East at Jarvis.

King street east,, looking west from Jarvis Street towards steeple of St. James Cathedral and the trees in front of it in autumn colours

below: St. James Park gets new walkways

chainlink fence around parts of St. James park as new walkways are constructed

below: In the Sculpture Garden across the street from St. James Cathedral is a collection of wood poles with small speakers attached to the top of them.  This is an art installation by Lou Sheppard called Dawn Chorus/Evensong 2019.  It is part of the Toronto Biennial of Art that is on now (until late in December).  It “interrupts the denaturalized landscape with music created through the transposition of spectrograms of birdsong…”

in a garden, on flat space, grass, wood poles with small speakers attached to the top of them

below: ‘Haunted City’.  One of a few Halloween decorations along Queen West.

a skeleton wrapped in black hood and cape in a window, with reflections of stores and street on Queen West

below: While walking up Spadina this bike caught my attention because

bike decorated with many used tea bags parked beside a tree on Spadina

below: … it’s decorated with many, many used tea bags. On closer inspection, there seem to be quite a few different brands. My guess is that this is one of a kind…. or at least I hope so!

close up of bike decorated with many used tea bags

a black and red motorbike is parked by a mural in Chinatown of a person carrying babies in baskets.

below: I’m not sure just what these added words mean.  Is now real?  Can we be sure?

orange fence around a tree, tree protection area, someone has written on the sign: Now is the only thing real

below: A few remaining campaign signs from the federal election back in October.  The Liberals won every Toronto seat.

side of a building in Chinatown, stores and restaurant, bike parked there, also three large Adam Vaughan election signs.

looking across Spadina to a store in Chinatown

two women standing on a sidewalk, talking to each other,

skeleton graffiti on a metal street box

below: Discarded and left in a pile in an alley, JFK and Bobby Kennedy rugs.  Not one but four? or five?

small blue carpets in a pile on the ground, about 4 of them, with pictures of John F Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, a brown eagle, and some words

below: Uber5000 birdies riding in tandem, along with an old banana seat bike affixed to the wall.

an UBer5000 mural of two yellow birdies on a tandem bike. An old bike is affixed to the wall beside the mural

below: A grumpy sign?  Or just a sign with fangs?

at the entrance to an alley, a red and white do not enter sign has been altered, a face has been drawn it in black sharpie

part of a tuquoise painted house beside an alley with fall foilage, a truck and man in the distance

below: Van Gogh can still be found on Huron Street

a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh on an exterior wall, street art mural

below: This is part of the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) building at College & Huron Streets.  There might be a certain charm in the concrete buildings of this era… when it comes time to renovate them or tear them down, will there be an effort made to save them?

tree with a few remaining yellow leaves in front of a concrete building with long vertical recessed windows

below: Nearby, this “artwork” on the exterior of 215 Huron Street, is from the same time period.

a black metal bench, outside, sits in front of a wall with an artwork on it made from different colours of concrete and pebbles

below: Reflections in a window on the University of Toronto campus.

reflections in a set of windows

below: U of T playing fields on Hoskin Ave with the black/darker brick Trinity College behind.

University of Toronto playing fields, from the south, with Trinity College behind and then city buildings behind that

A few more “campus in autumn” photos

large tree in autumn colours on University of Toronto campus

orange plastic fence, orange and black cone, and autumn trees in a corner of U of T campus

yellow and orange leaves in front of a grey stone building

below: There were still lots of leaves on the trees at Queens Park too.

autumn trees in Queens Park

below: Some of the oak trees had multicoloured leaves.

oak leaves in greens, yellows, reds, and oranges

autumn trees in Queens Park including some pinkish coloured leaves

below: End.  Yes, this is the end.

large black letters make the word end on a red brick wall