Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

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

As August marches relentlessly along the daylight hours shrink.  One advantage of the shorter days is that sunrise isn’t at a time that starts with the number 5.   I’m not a morning person but I like to take morning pictures.

below: Pinkish sky as the sun rises.

sunrise over Lake Ontario, pinkish sky, water with some reflections, loght cloud cover,

below: There was an enormous flock of birds flying low over the water together.  Can you see the swimmer?

a verylarge flock of birds flies low over the water, over Lake Ontario, early morning. To the right, the birds are beginning to fly a little higher, clouds, morning sun trying to break through.

below: Ready for the day

two muskoka chairs, a red muskoka chair and a pink muskoka chair on the beach near the shore of Lake Ontario, Kew beach, sunrise with a few clouds in the sky

below: Reading on the beach…  just after 7 a.m.

a person in a black hoodie is sitting on a blue Muskoka chair, reading a book on the beach

below: A group of women on their paddle boards (not quite so early.  I had breakfast part way through my walk that morning).

a group of five women each on their own paddleboard, very calm water of Lake Ontario just off the shore, two re standing, two are sitting on the boards, and one is kneeling,

a lone small tree with no leaves on the shore, sand, large rocks to prevent erosion, beyond the tree is Lake Ontario with some sailboats on it

below: Mother and son.

a mother in wide brimmed hat and her son in a red hat sit by the shore, sand, water, sky,

below: At 11:15 the life guards row to their stations.

two men sit on rocks on the shore of Lake Ontario watching 3 life guard rowboats passing by

a couple on the beach playing with a volleyball

below: Kew Williams house, now on the grounds of Kew Gardens.  Kew Williams (1873-1956 ) built the house in 1902 on the grounds of what was then The Canadian Kew Gardens, a campground resort opened in 1879 by his parents, Joseph & Jane (nee Henry) Williams.   Joseph Williams sold the house and 20 acre property to the City of Toronto in 1907.   A year later the property became Kew Gardens.

Kew Williams house in Toronto, with small turret, and porch, gardens in front with lots of flowers

The gardens are very well maintained.  They are in full bloom at the moment and looking gorgeous.  I will leave you with a few pictures of flowers, colourful ones to brighten your day.

below: A stalk of lobelia cardinalis grows among the black eyed susans.

black eye susan flowers with their bright yellow petals and black centers. Growing amongst them is a stalk of bright red lobelius cardinalis.

below: A monarch butterfly finds a bright red flower.

a bright red flower with a monarch butterfly on it

below: A pink zinnia

a pink zinnia

below: Gaillardia pulchella, also known as firewheel or Indian blanket

bright red and yellow flowers

below: Three white daisies growing with smaller orange flowers

three white daisies among small orange flowers and lots of leaves

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