3 February — First, a terrific short video on YouTube about the benefits of walking. (How could I not pass it on?) Apparently it’s sweeping the world so maybe you’ve seen it already. It’s embarrassing for me to find out about it at this late date, because the amazing doctor who created it works in a hospital about 5 minutes from my home… But better late than never, so here you go.
And now for Saturday’s walk. I covered just over 11 km in -6C weather, and encountered some great contrasts. Not just monochrome/colour as the title suggests (though lots of that), but nature/city as well.
I last walked there in April 2012, as one of my training walks for Iceland. (See 25 April 2012 post, if you’re curious.)
No spring flowers this time! The landscape is pared to its winter-time essentials of rock, wood, old leaves, water and ice.
And I think it’s beautiful. I love the serenity of simple lines and reduced palette. This stream, for example…
What you’re not seeing here is the animal and human colour: dogs, kids and relevant adults, bursting in all directions. I walk for a while in the dog off-leash area, and stand laughing at two dogs who have seized the same stick. They’re not quite sure what to do next, but one is almost visibly relieved to have his owner call him to heel. Phew! I can yield the stick without disgacing myself, he seems to be thinking.
Speaking of animals, everywhere is off-leash for squirrels. I stop on a path, admiring the contrasts of shrubs and grasses, only to find I’m under seige from three squirrels. All three do the Walt-Disney-Cute-Squirrel routine — paws up! tails curled! — hoping for a handout, the moochers.
I laugh and wave a camera instead. Two scamper away behind me, the third runs down the path; all three chatter their disappointment. So that squirrel backside below belows to a very cross little guy indeed.
Walking north along the shore of Grenadier Pond, I stop again and again to enjoy the winterscape. So do other walkers. Cameras are clicking!
Thank you, Nature; now for City. Next part of the walk is east on Bloor West (you follow that?) to Dundas St. West, where it crossses Bloor and loops northward. I am hoofing along Bloor and thinking this stretch of endless nondescript low-rise really isn’t very interesting — sorry, M. Proust, my “new eyes” seem to be failing me — when, oh yes, we’re back in business.
The colour business. The street-art business.
I hope those cars are owned by the man who posted the “No Parking” sign and painted the Agent of Enforcement on his garage door. Otherwise, he will be in an even worse temper than those squirrels back in High Park.
A no-parking crocodile is just the start. I am still on Bloor, still in a pretty low-rise, low-rent kind of area… just the kind that has modest corner stores with brash plastic signs advertising Coke (or something) along with the store’s own name. Like this one, at the corner of Dorval Rd. Except here the plastic sign is quite overwhelmed by all the other visuals on the side-street wall.
I am mesmerized. I walk along Dorval. Look at this doorway… to an apartment on the second floor, do you suppose? Still life with mailbox.
Then there’s the cat’s head (I think) inside the mouth of a pink creature. Plus a downpipe.
I walk on, thinking nothing can top all that, but the fun continues. I turn north on Dundas West for a bit (sorry, but that’s what happens when an east-west street decides to run north for a while), and find myself reading the menu for a Trinidadian restaurant.
Is your mouth watering? Visit Trini’s. (I don’t go in, my mouth is set for a latte, though not just yet.)
Reverse gears, back south across Bloor and eastward on Dundas West which down here is behaving itself and running east-west. This puts me east of another favourite street to explore, Roncesvalles (check my 15 October 2012 post, for my love affair with Roncy), and just when I’m thinking I might turn back to Roncy after all… I see this building filling a wedge between Dundas and Howard Park Rd.
What is going on here? I have no idea. I walk all around the building — and this is only one section — but I find no sign announcing who owns or runs the building or what it is used for. It has a modest parking lot on the far side, but no information to say who it is for. I learn only that this extraordinary building-wrapping mural is called “The Winds Are Changing,” and that it was created in 2012 by Andrew Schoultz.
Here’s a closer look at the Big Cat (Big Dinosaur?) on the left…
… and at the bluebird darting across the saddle of the Horse Creature on the right.
The next two photos are out of order, but I have a reason.
The last street mural I saw was at the corner of Wright and Roncesvalles — yes I ended up on Roncy for a while, before reclaiming my car and driving home.
Before that came the curious contrast of this fence and the real-estate office behind it. The fence has not been graffiti’d — it’s in continuation with some related artwork out of frame. All this is meant to go together, or, at least, each interested party is happy to co-exist with the other.
I leave you with the question.
I have no idea what this means! But that’s fine.