Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

This has been a wet spring along the waterfront.  Lake Ontario has been at its highest level in years.   Earlier, I had posted some photos that I took of Woodbine, Kew and Balmy beaches and the high water levels there (blog post, “water logged”).  The other day I visited the beaches and walkways at the other end of the city’s waterfront, from H2O beach to Ontario Place.

below: Flooding at H2O Beach

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas, lifesaving ring and ladder are no longer at the shore but quite a ways out in the lake

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas, dark skies in the distance as a storm approaches

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas

below: All that water makes for some colourful reflections!

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas, many colourful reflections in the flood waters

below: Looking west towards the old Canada Malting Company silos as the dark clouds signal an approaching storm.

Canada Malting Company old concrete silos on Toronto Waterfront, la large boat docked near the foreground, dark skies over Lake Ontario as a storm approaches

below: The Empire Sandy docked along with the tugboat, M.S. Kane

the Empire Sandy, a three mast sailing ship, docked along side a small tugboat, the M. S. Kane. on a grey wet day

below: Toronto’s fire rescue boat, the William Lyon Mackenzie, docked beside Fire Station 334.   It was built in 1964 and is named for Toronto’s first mayor.

The WIlliam Lyon McKenzie, a bright red fire boat is docked at Toronto waterfront, city skyline behind the boat with tall condos, also dark storm clouds

below: Queens Quay at Spadina, looking west

looking west on Queens Quay at Spadina, streetcar tracks, street, trafiic, pedestrian on sidewalk, TTC street car approaching, Starbucks on the corner, low rise buildings in the background

below: A streetcar starts to head north on Spadina

a new TTC streetcar starts to head north on Spadina, just south of the Gardiner and large condos

below: Playing basketball in the rain.

four boys playing basketball on a green and brown court, in the rain,

below: An old blue canoe at Little Norway park.  A training camp for the Norway’s Air Force was located here (SW corner of  Queens Quay and Bathurst) during WW2.  The large rock that you can see in the photo is a 3000 pound boulder brought from Norway in 1976 to be part of a permanent monument to the people who trained and served here.   In 1986 the space became Little Norway Park.

an old blue canoe is used as a planter in a park

below: Looking back towards downtown and the CN Tower from the western end of Queens Quay West.

looking east along Queens Quay West from the very western end of the ctreet towards the CN Tower and downtown. Lowrise residential units on either side of the street, bike lane, small trees, wet, raining

reflections of sailboats and their masts in Lake Ontario, boats are parked at a yacht club

a lone red Muskoka chair sits on an angle in a small grassy patch between a fence and a path, looks out over a yacht club

below: Lots of big puddles at Coronation Park

flooded pathway, large puddles, along shoreline at Coronation Park, boats in the background

flooded driveway and entrance to underground parking,

below: Yellow flowerpot islands

two large light green flower pots sit on concrete pedestals, in the water, orange cones in the water, shoreline is flooded, some sailboats docked in the background

below: Someone has tied a string of small Canadian flags to the railing at Coronation Park.  Happy Canada Day weekend!

sailboats moored out in Lake Ontario, in the foreground is a metal railing with a string of Canadian flags tied to it

four white sailboats moored in the water, Lake Ontario, with their main sails wrapped up and put away, calm water but grey skies

a large bird sits on a yellow sign out in the waters of Lake Ontario, an orange (or red) light sits on a concrete pedestal beside it

below: Toronto skyline from Trillium Park, from the green trees of Coronation Park on the left and past the CN Tower to Billy Bishop airport on the far left.

In the background is the Toronto skyline from Trillium Park, from the green trees of Coronation Park on the left and past the CN Tower and tall city center buildings, to the National Yacht Club and then Billy Bishop airport on the far left. In the foreground is an orange lifesaving ring and the rocks of the shoreline of the park

below: Large granite rock in Trillium Park

large chunk of granite in a park, black patches with streaks of pink and grey

below: Ontario Place, where TSN was playing to no one.

a large screen plays a TSN show, outdoors, Ontario Place, white chairs but no one is there

below: Flooding by the marina at Ontario Place.  In the foreground is what appears to be an electrical box.

flooding at Ontario Place

flooding at Ontario Place, empty building surrounded by water, boats, cinesphere dome

flooding at Ontario place, orange sandbags and a fence that is partially submerged in the water

scaffolding holds lights for a show at Ontario Place, in the distance is the CN Tower.

below: The Canada geese have these Muskoka chairs to themselves.

By Lake Ontario, a group of white Muskoka chairs in long grass with a lot of Canada Geese standing around them, metal barricades behind chairs and trees behind that

below: From the northwest corner of Ontario Place, looking west over Lake Ontario towards Etobicoke and Mississauga

shoreline of Ontario Place, looking west over Lake Ontario to Etobicoke and Mississauga

on the northwest corner of Ontario Place, gate across path because of flooding, a swan in the water, the wind turbine on the CNE grounds in the distance

elevated buildings of Ontario Place over the water

below: There was also flooding on Lakeshore Blvd.

traffic on Lakeshore Blvd plows through the water and creates great splashes of water, road is partially flooded

a white truck with three men in the cab on Lakeshore Blvd plows through the water and creates great splashes of water, road is partially flooded

below: Puddles in an almost empty parking lot, CNE grounds.

CNE parking lot, empty except for one white car, large puddles with reflections, and the city in the background, CN TOwer, tall buildings,

abstract in blues, made by close up of reflections and ripples in the water

 

paved path through a park, grass on both sides, on the pavement is a large white arrow, hand drawn with white spray paint

I went east this afternoon, out to the boondocks. Whenever I think of the word ‘boondock’, I hear it sung to music. Billy Joe Royal sang the song ‘Down in the Boondocks” in 1965 (You can find it on youtube).   Boondock is one of the few words that English has borrowed from Tagalog where bundok = mountain.  Yo-yo is another.   I don’t mean to be derogatory but when you’re battling Toronto traffic, Bellamy and Lawrence seems like a long, long way.

I drove but as I subsequently walked along Lawrence Ave., I wondered about buses and public transit and all the talk about a subway to Scarborough.   The Sheppard East LRT will service Scarborough to the north of here but has it even been started yet?    For now there is the Lawrence West station on the Scarborough RT but there is also talk of replacing the Scarborough RT line – that plan is still on the Metrolinx website but does anyone know what’s really happening?

looking across the street to a bus shelter that is in front of a strip mall with cars parked in front of the stores

two large utility poles side by side beside a sidewalk and a bus shelter. Two people waiting for a bus

Perhaps you’ve been asking yourself, why Bellamy and Lawrence?  Recently I had heard about Taber Hill Park and a rock that sits on top of a hill.

a large rock wits on a stone and concrete platform on the top of a grassy hill, Taber Hill memorial

The plaque reads: “TABER HILL site of an ancient Indian ossuary of the Iroquois Nation, burials were made about 1250 A.D. This ossuary was uncovered when farm lands were developed into residential properties in 1956. This common grave contains the remains of approximately 472 persons. Dedicated as a historical site by the Township of Scarborough October 21, 1961.

below: You can even see the CN Tower from the top of the hill.

view from the top of a hill, street, houses, trees, and the CN Tower in the far distance

After Taber Hill I walked to Bendale Park which is just a bit west of Bellamy.

One of the first things that I saw in Bendale Park was a mural by elicser. It is on the walls of the bridge where Lawrence Avenue passes over the West Highland Creek. The mural is beside the path under the bridge. A better angle for a photo of the whole mural would have been from the other side of the creek but I couldn’t find any access – and I wasn’t about to take off my shoes and go wading!  Instead, here are four pictures of parts of the mural.

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., a man in a white t-shirt sitting beside a tree

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., an older man in a red shirt with a white beard and moustache, beside him is a girl reading (in the mural)

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., a young couple, she has a pink flower in her hair

part of an elicser mural beside West Highland Creek, under Lawrence Ave., a couple, she has long braids

Bendale Park merges with Thomson Memorial Park.  Immediately north of these parks is St. Andrews Bendale Presbyterian church (that I have mentioned in a previous blog post – see link).  This is one of the first areas of Scarborough to be settled; the original St. Andrews Church was built in 1818.

below: Lilac bush in bloom. Lilacs are not native to Canada and they don’t grow in the wild. If you see a lilac bush in places like this, or along the road, chances are someone once had a home here and they planted the lilac.

lilac bush

below: Another pink flower found in abundance in the ravines at this time of year is this one, Dame’s Rocket, or Hesperis matronalis.    There is also a white variety

pink wild flowers

small word path through long grass and between large leafy trees

below: Passing through here is the Gatineau Corridor which is a bike trail ….

bike trail direction signs, Gatineau Corridor, right turn to McCowan Ave and left turn to Brimley Rd

well, actually it is a hydro corridor which runs diagonally through the city from Leaside in the west to  Meadowvale and beyond in the east.  In the late 1920’s the Great Gatineau Power Station was built in Leaside as a transformer station to enable the city to use electricity generated in Quebec and delivered via this corridor to provide power to the city.  There is still a hydro substation at Millwood and Overlea (in Leaside)

This corridor is being turned into a park called the Meadoway.   Sections of the park and bike trail are finished including this part between Brimley and McCowan.  When it’s finished, this linear park will be 16 km long and will connect the Lower Don Trail to trails in Rouge Park at the city’s eastern boundary.

three very tall hydro poles with many electrical wires, in a park, man walking on path near them

below: Reflections in the West Highland Creek

reflections of green leaves and blue sky in water

below: I saw quite a few red wing blackbirds, especially around the bulrushes and reeds in the wetter places in the park.

a red wing blackbird sits on a branch

below: The last time I walked I saw a McLaren (next blog post), today it was these flashy bright gold things!

a red van parked beside a silver coloured car with bright gold coloured wheel rims

below: More car stuff, but this time it’s my car as I was driving home.

view out the passenger window of a car, of a large flatbed truck loaded with lumber, in the side mirror of the car is the reflection of a TTC bus

signoutside St. Rose de Lima Roman Catholic Church advertising Vietnamese Mass on Sunday afternoons

… but I’ll be back. There is a lot more to this part of the city that I want to explore, including this mosque just east of Midland Avenue.

a mosque

***

 

On the back of the rock on Taber Hill is another plaque which reads:

IROQUOIS PRAYER
O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, Hear me.
I am a man before you, one of your many children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunsets. Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may know the things that you have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength O Creator, not to be superior to my brothers but to be able to fight my creators enemies myself. Make me ever ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eye so that when life fades as the setting sunset my spirit may come to you without shame.
credit: White Cloud, Approved by Iroquois Council 2-2-60.

 

I’m not sure what the allure of the cherry (aka sakura) blossoms is.  Has it become a symbol of spring and who doesn’t like the long awaited end of winter?  Is there something special about the cherry flower?  Or is it more ‘exotic’ than the magnolia that flowers about the same time, or a bit earlier?  Why not celebrate the lilac trees?  Or other trees that blossom in the spring?

below: A couple of cherry blossoms along with some buds and partially opened flowers.

sakura cherry blossoms on a cherry tree along with some pinkish coloured buds, white petals and yellow centers.

Although there are a number of places around the city to see sakura trees (14 I think), High Park seems to be the most popular place.  True, they have the oldest trees and the most trees planted in one area.   It has become the site of an annual pilgrimage by thousands of people to see the blossoms.   Even though the ‘sakura watch’ website said that ‘peak’ blossom hadn’t yet arrived, I decided to check out High Park yesterday.

below: Lots of signs to direct pedestrian traffic to the cherry trees.  The roads were closed to most cars.

pink sign on the grass by the entrance to High Park that says Please keep of the bloomin' trees.

large trees in the park, people walking on the path on the other side of the trees, green grass, shadows, some blossoms on a couple of the trees

below: There were a couple of school groups there for the morning. Although there weren’t too many blossoms to see, it was a beautiful spring morning and many of the kids were making the most of it.

three girls have a crab walk race down a small hill

a black person walks a dog on a leash up a hill on a paved path through HIgh Park, other people are behind. Some pink and white flowers are starting to grow on the trees

below: An Instagram moment I suspect.

an Asian woman with a bright pink handbag holds a branch of a cherry tree in front of her face while another woman takes her picture with a phone.

people enjoying a day in the park, some taking pictures of cherry blossoms

below: An engagement photo shoot

an engagement photo shoot at high park, man on his knee presenting a woman in a bluish green dress a box that presumably has a ring in it. Another man is holding a stand with a large light on it.

Yesterday there were many more buds and partially opened flowers than there were blossoms.  By the weekend, there will probably be a profusion of white petals… as well as a swarming of people.  I had to search for flowers to take pictures of but at least it was a relatively quiet and peaceful morning.

sakura cherry blossoms

As winter passes into spring
A walk around Edwards Gardens in early spring

below: A red cardinal in a tree

a red male cardinal perched on a branch with no leaves, early spring

below: Red berries that have wintered on their thorny branches.

close up picture of small red berries on a thorny stem

below: The remains of coneflowers on their sturdy stems.

two dead conehead flowers, just brown prickly cone shaped part at the top, on tall dead brown stems,

below: Pussy willows just emerging

pussy willows on a branch, just opening up

below: On a small twig, both an old leaf and new buds.

one dead leaf on a small branch that has need buds, spring time

below: A squirrel enjoying the seeds that someone has left for it. w

a brown and grey squirrel sits on a stone ledge eating seeds

below: Dead and dried, seed pods that opened long ago.

dead seed pods on dead stems, flowering shrub type of plant

below: New fuzzy magnolia buds

new buds on a tree, fuzzy greenish brown

below: A sparrow with its back to the camera

a little sparrow perched on a small branch of a shrub

below: These strange looking growths are the beginnings of skunk cabbage plants.

three skunk cabbage plants beginning to grow in the marshy areas at the edge of the snow, where the snow has just melted , a purplish bulb shaped plant

many dead plants with prickly cone shaped heads and stems, macro shot, those in front in focus, many out of focus in the background

below: The pale yellow of the willow trees as their leaves begin to bud.

a yellowish coloured statue stands in front of a large willow tree that has just begun to bud, also some tall dark green pine trees in the background

Moccasin Trail is a street in Don Mills that provides access to the East Don Trail. Starting a walk there looked like a good idea when I checked the map.

yellow metal barrier prevents cars from entering a road that is covered with snow, trees on both sides of the road

I decided that it was worth a try. Going downhill is harder than going uphill on snow and ice so I figured that if I got stuck all I had to do was turn around and go back to my car. In the summer you can drive down to the parking lot.

snow covered road with small trees growing on either side of it, winter, no leaves on the trees

With a little slipping, a little sliding, and a lot of care, I made it. At the bottom of the hill is Moccasin Trail Park.

a picnic bench ina park in winter with snow on the ground

below: The path goes under the DVP to join the East Don Trail (where there was not as much ice!). Except for the constant rumble of traffic in the background, it was very quiet down here today. I only saw two other people (and one dog).

park in winter with a path that leads to a bridge under a road

below: Wild grasses grow in the ditch alongside the Don Valley Parkway along with sumach trees and other shrubs.

wild grasses, brown in winter, grow alongside the Don Valley Parkway

below: A Red-tailed Hawk circles overhead. There were two of them flying above me today. They were magnificent to watch as they circled in the sky – and as I wished that they would come closer, or perhaps even find something to catch. No luck today.

a red tailed hawk flies overhead, blue sky with some light clouds

below: Ducks in the water and traffic on the Don Valley Parkway

two ducks swimming in the Don River, with cars passing by on the Don Valley Parkway

water flows over a low concrete dam on the Don River, winter time, but no snow or ice, no leaves on the trees,

below: Someone has tied this bright and cheerful bird house to the trunk of a tree.

a bright red bird house in a tree, no leaves,

below: One of the biggest reasons why I chose to walk this path today – the rainbow bridge. It’s easily visible from the northbound Don Valley Parkway. Although I don’t drive the DVP on a regular basis, every time I am reminded that I haven’t walked there yet. It was originally painted in the 1970’s by B.C. Johnson, a teenager from Norway. Every time the city painted over it, the rainbow was repainted.

East Don Trail winds towards the bridge that is painted with a rainbow, some traces of the Don Valley Parkway like a green exit sign for Lawrence Avenue, and a couple of tall light stands.

below: In 2013 the arch was repainted with the help of Mural Routes. The interior was also painted in the same rainbow colours.

arched bridge under a railway, over a walking path, that has been painted with a rainbow

These are some of the scenes that are painted inside.

scenes from the mural painted inside the rainbow arch bridge - on red background, with orange and purple trees, a man walks his dog and a woman pushes a stroller

scenes from the mural painted inside the rainbow arch bridge - blue and purple children build a white snowman with white trees in the background

scenes from the mural painted inside the rainbow arch bridge - a cyclist on a bike rides along a yellow and orange path past yellow and orange trees

I didn’t explore much beyond the rainbow bridge. That adventure is for another day!

The Last Day of February

below:  These boots are made for walking… walking through the snow and slush on a sunny day.

reflection in a shiny stainless steel panel of a person in pink boots walking on a snowy and slushy sidewalk

February has come to a close but it’s still winter and there’s still lots of snow on the ground.  There was a bit of a respite from the cold the other day but rumour has it we’re headed back to some very cold temperatures in the near future.  Of course, slightly warmer temperatures mean slush and puddles on the streets and sidewalks of Toronto.

below: The CN Tower is reflected in an oily puddle.

the CN tower is reflected in a large puddle with a bit of an oil slick, on a sidewalk downtown Toronto

below: The cows don’t seem to mind the snow!

two sculptures of cows lying down, snow covered lawn,

below: And the dogs at Berczy Park are all sporting scarves!

a light scarf is tied around the neck of a sculpture of a dog

below: Slow thaw.  Melting and dripping down the window.

looking through a drity window that has melting ice on it and something red behind it is out of focus

below: Rust and snow

close up of rusty bicycle gears and chain, bike is parked in the snow

below: Outside smoke break shadows.   Brrrrr

a man in a suit and tie is standing outside, his back to a bright turquoise wall, he is looking at his phone and has a cigarette in the other hand, shadows,

below: Sun and reflections, southwest corner of King St and University Ave

buildings on the southwest corner of University Ave and King Street, traffic lights, entrance to St. Andrew subway station

below: Flip yourself around….  and now looking north up University Ave past the northeast corner of University and King Street West.

looking at the northeast corner of King Street and University Ave., entrance to St. Andrew subway station, a man is coming up the stairs and out of the station, Canada Life building and other tall buildings in the background

below: Wet tree branches glistening in the sun

trees with no leaves in front of a building that is reflecting another building

below: More tree branches, but soft and feathery this time

winter, snow on tree, dead leaves on tree, wispy leaves, in front of a rust coloured building

below: These two little birds now watch over the dogs in Berczy Park.

two yellow birds, not real, little sculptures, perched on the bar of a street lamp

below: A section of a picture on display at Union Station.  It is part of an exhibit called “A Thousand Paths Home” and is the work of Torontonian Yung Yemi aka Adeyemi Adegbesan aka SoTeeOh.  A write up of his work appeared in Afropunk.

part of a picture on display, art work, Union station,

below: There were also some real people at Union Station, or at least parts of people.

looking along a wall at Union station, there are photos on the wall, part of an exhibit, between the pictures there are recesses in the wall with benches and people sitting on the benches, only their legs show in the photo

below: Looking north up Lower Simcoe Street towards the railway bridge

Lower Simcoe Street, looking north from Bremner Blvd, GO train on the trains on the bridge above the street

below: Salt and dirt and slush and snow, yes, the city in winter.

part of a very dirty blue car, parked in the dirty brown slush at the side of a street, snow, winter time,

below: It’s nice to still find lovebots!

large lovebot sticker on the back of a sign. Three lovebots in different shopes, with the words uploading love

yellow sign on sidewalk that says Caution Falling Ice Overhead

Falling snow and ice from above, and slush under foot. That was February.

a white star on the dark sidewalk, with dirty slush on top of it in blotches

back to the snow

Posted: January 29, 2019 in nature, people
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hi!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here…. mostly because I have been away again.  In fact, I just got back to Toronto less than 48 hours ago.  The problem with coming home late in January is that you come home to winter.  Winter in Toronto can mean almost anything with temperatures varying from mild to frozen solid.   It’s not too cold right now but a lot of snow fell yesterday!  The temperature is forecasted to fall tonight.  It’s also forecasted to be above freezing by the weekend.

four people standing at an intersection, winter, lots of snow, waiting for the light to turn green, Yonge Street. People wearing winter clothes and boots, hats, parkas.

a small alley in winter, garbage bins covered with snow, mounds of snow,

I may (or may not!) get my car shoveled out!

cars parked on the side of a residential street in the city, covered with snow, after a snowstorm, day time, houses across the street.