Buskers & Beaches

31 August 2015 – A different version of “B&B”, but easily & happily attained this Saturday. First I walk south on Yonge, weaving my way through Buskerfest, then I keep going to the lake where I hang a left, to carry on through Sugar Beach & Sherbourne Common.

Buskers of course, in Buskerfest, but all kinds of other jollity as well, including this musical troupe complete with lead singer.

band in Buskerfest 2015

Who gives new & livelier meaning to the phrase, “blue-rinse ladies”!

There’s an exuberant rack of masks on sale, appearing to be ones you pull over your whole head. Suddenly a saleswoman pops into frame.

masks, & masked lady, Buskerfest 2015

Masked, of course. And texting like crazy. (Also “of course,” in 2015 culture.)

All the usual add-on attractions line the street: food stalls, temporary tattoos, henna designs, folk-ish arts & crafts (I attach the “ish” since they look mass-produced), an artist doing quick charcoal portraits, a bongo-drummer — and Balloon Man.

twisty balloons at Buskerfest 2015

Complete with Eager, Impatient Kid Customer.

Coppélia Girl turns slowly on her pedestal …

in Buskerfest 2015

and Silver Lady breathes for a moment between performances …

in Dundas Square, Buskerfest 2015

and eventually I wander out the south end of the crowd.

On to the lake, left on the Martin Goodman Trail, newly prominent on this widened & generally spiffed-up stretch of Queen’s Quay East. Some new & seriously spiffed condos also on display, including one with a colourful fingerboard that offers more than distances from Here to multiple Theres.

Still, while I’m on the subject of Here to There, the distance from my boot-tips to these cities is as follows: Melbourne, 16,255 km; Vancouver, 3,36 km; La Habana, 2,295 km.

signboard, condos Queen's Quay E & Yonge

All fun factoids, thank you very much, but the short quotes are a lot more interesting. In fact, top to bottom, they offer a meditation on liberty, with an astringent twist at the end:

  • “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism”  – Wole Soyinka
  • “Big brother is watching you” – George Orwell
  • “There is no such thing as part freedom” – Nelson Mandela
  • “Most people want security in this world, not liberty” – Yitzhac Rabin

A bike-riding family pulls up while I’m still reading the sign. Father & young son come close, with the child first pointing to the various bight colours. His father directs his attention to some of the slogans, & also calls them out to his wife, back with the bikes.

On I go, past the sugar refinery, and into Sugar Beach.

entrance to Sugar Beach

My brain, still a-buzz with the rowdy joys of Buskerfest, calms right down. I sink into one of those big Muskoka chairs for a few moments & peacefully contemplate Toronto Island, right there across the harbour.

Lakeside now, heading east, my next oasis is Sherbourne Common, the park-cum-water-treatment-facility at the foot of Sherbourne Street. I trust it to do its serious job efficiently, namely treat storm & city water before it enters Lake Ontario. I can see for myself that it does its city-park job really well — so many people enjoy it.

Not least because the designers made sculptural art out of the functional equipment. The channel that finally guides water into the lake, for example …

channel, south part Sherbourne Common

Love those curves. Also love, this particular day, the temporary chalk-art addition on one flank!

Another little burst of the art on view as I look north instead of south, toward the structure beside the splash pad (ice rink in winter) & beyond that to the city.

Sherbourne Common, south part

I’m heading home by now, starting north through the Common, back across Queen’s Quay into the north portion of the park.

I take a backward glance at its three great towers, which aerate the treated water by spilling it down shimmering mesh curtains, to then pool and finally tumble into the great curved channel for those last metres on down to the lake.

aerating towers, north part, Sherbourne Common

And then — with a greengrocer stop to indulge a sudden whim for an avocado — and then, I walk on home.

Where I make an avocado salad!

Abundance in the Great North-West

26 August 2015 – All right, not as far north-&-west as the routes of that historic fur-trading company, rival to the Hudson’s Bay Company, but still pretty exploratory for downtowners like Phyllis & me. This week the Tuesday Walking Society took itself to North York, to walk through the parks bordering Black Creek (a tributary of the Humber) from Sheppard Av. on up to Steeles. And back.

Like the fur traders, we find abundance — not beaver pelts, just the wild exuberance of late summer.

Great clusters of cones high in a towering conifer, for example.

maturing cones, high in the fir tree

We wonder why they are concentrated at the very top: simple physical response to greater sunlight? or perhaps an evolutionary adaptation, since (presumably) winds at the top would be stronger & could carry them farther? We don’t know. If you do, please tell us. We admire them anyway.

Everywhere, shaggy late summer. Brimming over.

wildflowers in boggy land

Great clusters of Saskatoon berries …

Saskatoon berries

and burdock heads, inspiration (so the story goes) for Velcro …

burdock heads

and some other bristle-y plant, quite sculptural in its lines, especially after the tiny blossoms drop away.

elegant bristle-y (!) plant

We spot the first scarlet leaves of fall. Oh no!!!

Staghorn sumach

And then reassure ourselves that these leaves don’t count: the Staghorn sumach “turns” long before any other shrub or tree. See the conical red horn, toward the top-right corner of the photo? Its fruit, I learned in Muskoka one winter, is food of last resort for white-tail deer. The nutrition comes at the price of a very nasty taste. (Well, so one is told. I have not chomped any, to find out.)

Great stands of bullrushes, at one point in our walk …

bullrushes

and a series of bird houses.

I can tell you this one is occupied, lots of straw visible in the doorway, but I can’t say by which species of bird — nobody flew home while we were watching.

birdhouse along Black Creek

Our turning point is Black Creek Pioneer Village.

We don’t go into the Village itself — an open-air museum  of 1800s buildings & artefacts, which we each visited when much younger — we instead settle in the adjacent café for a bit of lunch before trekking back down-river to the car.

With one last look at the creek itself before we leave.

Black Creek, which dances in & out of sight along the trail

Then we climb up out of the ravine to the parking lot, and drive south & east (and more south & east) back downtown, to home.

 

 

 

 

“The Red-Green Show”

23 August 2015 – Very agreeable Saturday midtown walk, great weather, parks & music-in-parks, and unexpected moments that bring to mind — you’ll see why — the name of a now-defunct Canadian TV show. A name I am brazenly borrowing for this post.

The theme is established as I head north on Philosophers Walk, toward Bloor St. West.

student with cello, in Philosophers Walk

Not that I know it at the time.

At the time, my eye is snagged by the cello-case-on-legs heading south. It’s not that unusual a sight, especially here, within steps of the Royal Conservatory of Music, but I enjoy the graceful functionality of the arrangement every time I see it.

What I don’t notice at the time is the dance of red & green. All that shady greenery, spiked with a directional sign in vivid red.

More red later. This time, I notice it.

Elmo in a laneway

Well, wouldn’t you?

I stop & smile foolishly at Elmo, perched in an Asquith Av. laneway, and think briefly about carting him off to some thrift shop so he can live to be loved again. Then I realize I should skip the middleman & just leave him be. Someone will surely claim him and yes, he will be loved again.

From red to green, as I start south on Church.

apple in apple tree, Church St. s. of Bloor

An apple tree in front of a restaurant, laden with tiny green apples — plus one more apple, placed just so, on display. I do not think, even briefly, about carting off this particular apple, but why on earth don’t I pluck a few from the tree itself?

Silly girl.

Zigzag, zigzag, and now I’m on Sherbourne, south of Wellesley. I decide I want another hit of green, and I know exactly where to find it.

In Wellesley-Magill Park, is where: a highly stylized park tucked behind Sherbourne, dominated by trees, pea-gravel and handsome boulders. No flowerbeds here, so not big on the usual kind of park greenery.

But, ah, the park has Edward Pien’s stunning Forest Walk fence along one boundary, with its luminous shafts of coloured glass.

Forest Walk in Wellesley-Magill Park, Ed Pien, 2010

There’s one more bit of green that I so wish I could share with you!

Back out on Sherbourne St, I watch an escaped emerald balloon soar free to the sky. It looks terrific, but my camera is in my pocket. You will have to imagine the sight for yourself.

(Which you have just done, haven’t you? Now we have both seen it.)

 

Between Mist & Drizzle

20 August 2015 – Tuesday was like that, all mist & drizzle, with the threat of lightening thrown in. The Tuesday Walking Society headed for the lakefront anyway. It was still hot, hence the lake; it threatened rain, hence the Beaches boardwalk area, with Queen St. & its many cafés close by should we need to run for shelter.

First stop, the Beach Community Garden in Ashbridge’s Bay Park. The weather only hazy so far, nothing actually falling on our heads. Phyllis, a community gardener farther north in the city, swaps community-garden lore with a couple of Beach volunteers; I watch a counsellor lead some day-campers to crane their necks at these great, big, ever-so-tall sunflowers.

Wow!

sunflowers in Beach Community Garden

The kiddies are wowed. Even more so when a Monarch butterfly flutters past, right on cue, just as they are being told about butterfly-friendly garden plants.

On we go, into the parkland & trails that thrust into the lake, where we can see just how heavy the mist has become.

Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club marina

We’re looking back across Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club marina toward the Port Lands and east downtown. There ought to be a dramatic city-tower skyline out there… somewhere … Instead, just a few ghostly hints are on view, above the foreground boat & to the left of the bright green trees.

Later, lakeside, we can see how the mist is thickening. This is a minute indent, barely a cove, barely a spit across, yet the far-side rocks are smudged to near-invisibility.

lakeside cove in Ashbridge's Bay Parky

Looping back out of this park, we continue east on its lakefront neighbour, Woodbine Beach. (Each beach blurs into the next, along here — sufficient proof to me why the community should continue to be known as Beaches and not by the newer & presumably tonier name, Beach. But oh, don’t let me start.)

There must be going on 200 volleyball nets strung here each season, pole to pole to pole (to pole to pole to pole…). It’s home to adult recreational beach leagues under the Ontario Volleyball Association, and often has every net in action. Today, not so much, just some adult die-hards, and what look like a few teen groups as well.

Woodbine Beach volleyball

We’re probably somewhere around Kew Beach when we spy this concrete path out across the sand, curving right along water’s edge. But … why?

Then we see the familiar blue symbol and know why, and love it: this path makes the beach wheelchair- (or baby stroller-) accessible. Isn’t that the best?

wheelchair access to the waterfront

And if it looks awfully blank out there, a sure sign of ever-thicker mist, well, not exactly. Even on the clearest days, you can’t see across Lake Ontario, not from here.

But.

But, you should be able to see ducks & Canada geese & a whole flotilla of paddle-boarders who are practically at water’s edge, just beyond the lifeguard station. Instead, they are barely there. They shimmer, they glimmer. Now you see them, now you don’t.

ducks & geese & paddle-boarders in the mist

Once we run out of boardwalk, at the eastern edge of Balmy Beach, we head north to Queen Street and start back west. It proves a well-timed (no, a dumb-lucky) retreat to city streets, since mist thickens to drizzle thickens to, well, not exactly pelting rain, let’s just say extremely insistent drizzle.

We duck into a café. We know how to out-wait the weather: scones & coffee, you bet.

Phyllis keep her umbrella handy as we continue; I snug the big duck bill of my cap lower on my forehead.

A bit farther west on Queen, a burst of defiant nature. Definitely not a planned community garden — let’s call it a vacant-lot garden, an unplanned gift to the community. The metal bars in front add bonus colour.

Queen E. vacant lot

At Carlaw, Phyllis hops aboard a streetcar to head home. I keep walking, find myself loitering at Broadview & Queen, mesmerized by another bit of unplanned cityscape. Normally, you don’t register these tangles of stretcar wires — or if you do notice them, you quickly avert your gaze, because that’s all they are: a tangle.

But here, shining against the dark netting that shrouds a building under restoration, the arcs of wire take on pattern & form & beauty. They become an art installation, dancing with the traffic lights & the ebb-flow traffic below.

Queen E at Broadview

 

Not that anybody planned it that way.

I angle north-west through Joel Weeks Park, to take in some art that has very much been planned. Three sculptures here, all by First Nations artists Mary Ann Barkhouse and Michael Belmore.

This one is my favourite — especially today, when we’ve been watching black squirrels all along our walk, in a nut-gathering frenzy.

Joel Weeks Park sculpture

We humans may still be panting with heat, but squirrels know better. Time to start stocking up; fall is coming.

 

 

“Functional Art” (they call it)

16 August 2015 – Yes, that’s what they call it, and yes, it is functional — you can certainly rest your bottom in these chairs — but surely they deserve a happier description than that?

John St. Pedestrian Initiative

I am not chair-hunting, you understand.

My target is dark blue bias tape, the sort of sewing notion that used to be widely available but now is most typically found in the wonderfully chaotic little shops clustered in our Queen/Spadina rag-trade area. So — even though it is 30C, the temperature at which I’ve told you I just flop on the back deck with the cat — even so, I head for all that heat-belching downtown pavement.

Where I am rewarded. I find my bias tape!

Plus this whole line-up of bright & well-patonized chairs on John St., south from Queen to Adelaide.

John St. looking north to Queen West

The scene triggers memory. Yup, this is year 2 of the John Street Pedestrian Initiative, sponsored by the area BIA (Business Improvement Association) and designed to “enhance the pedestrian experience.” The be-muraled Muskoka chairs are part of the enhancement, and thus year 2 of their own art project: the BIA selects 3 graduating students from OCAD, an art & design university, to paint the chairs based on a given theme.

This year, Robert John Paterson, Boen Jiang and Sophie Paas-Lang were given the theme of John Street itself.

Which they have interpreted like this …

John St. chair

and this …

John St. chair

and, more figuratively, like this …

John St chair

and this …

John St. chair

and this …

John St chair

and this

John St. chair

and more, but all the other chairs are occupied, so no photo. I don’t quite have the nerve to tell people they don’t interest me but their chair does, so please move.

Before I wander on, I read the poster at the end of that long line of chairs (shown above). It explains how the initiative provides a place to relax and enjoy ourselves, “during the warm months of spring and summer.”

“Warm” hardly describes it, I think, dabbing at my sweaty neck.

And then, a few streets away, I see another poster.

parking lot south of Queen, west of Spadina

You have to laugh. There it always is, that other season, just around the next corner.

 

Joy in the Summer Sun

8 August 2015 – Cloudy as I set out on today’s walk, but sunny by the time I hit Danforth & head east. I realize I have unwittingly landed myself in “Taste of The Danforth” — an annual fiesta that stretches many blocks, the street closed to traffic for the occasion.

I am at first annoyed. Street festivals, I tell myself grumpily as I navigate the hordes, have degenerated into nothing better than pop-up, outdoor shopping malls. Brand-name food, drink & mountains of stuff, all being hawked in every direction. Ka-ching.

Where is the charm, the humanity, the connection, the joy?

And then I see it.

Making bubbles, & magic, at "Taste of the Danforth"

He is totally happy, that little one, safe in daddy’s arms, making magic with his own chubby fist every time he squeezes the pump-bottle.

You forgive a lot of hokum, for a moment like that.

Many blocks and a couple of hours later, I’m farther east, farther south, following an alley that I hope will show me something interesting.

A great burst of street art, perhaps?

No such luck. Only some stupid scribbles.

Just when I’m getting sulky again, I see this … smack at a grubby intersection.

alley sunflowers in Leslieville

The gift of some guerrilla gardener, presumably — see the twine holding the stalk in place?

More joy.

P.S.

I know, I promised you a post about the 100th-anniversary celebrations on Dorval Island. Since then, I’ve come down from the euphoria of the weekend, and remembered that few things are more boring than somebody else’s reunion. So I shall simply tell you that it was wonderful, and save the details for family.

Art & Faces & the Art of Faces — in Montreal

4 August 2015 — Starting in Toronto’s Union Station.

Where a father cuddles his son as he doodles some music on the “Play Me I’m Yours” piano in the station concourse.

playing a public piano in Union Station, Toronto

It’s a great way to pass the time, while waiting for the train to Montreal — or anywhere else — this holiday Saturday morning. Another way to pass the time: peruse the wall display of works by photographer Edward Burtynsky, one image visible behind the piano.

Clickety-clack, soon enough I’m in Montreal. Main reason: the Centennial celebrations of the incorporation of Dorval Island, my long-ago summertime home. Bonus reason: soak up some art!

Faces seem to dominate.

There is the dragon face …

detail, dragon in Hobbit House display, Windsor Park, Dorval

of the great winged creature guarding the Hobbit House in Windsor Park, Dorval.

Hobbit House, Windsor Park

And that’s just for starters.

I spend Sunday morning downtown, primarily at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal and its cultured environs.

There’s an anguished Scandinavian face in a film currently on view (sorry, didn’t get the title) …

from film playing in the MBAM

 

and an Early Classic (200-600 AD) stone mask from the Mexican Central Highlands, guarding the entrance to one of the permanent collections …

Mexican Central Highlands stone mask

and, just around the corner in a different pavilion, Karel Appel’s 1962 Portrait of Sir Herbert Read.

Portrait of Sir Herbert Read, Karl Appel

A bit more wandering, a very refreshing light lunch in the café, and then outside to the Sculpture Garden.

Where I see more faces.

A very small dog face, for example …

Labyrinth, MBAM Sculpture Garden

attached to the dog patiently awaiting the next treat from his owner.

She is doling out the goodies very strategically indeed, timing them to ensure that he follows her footsteps as she navigates Labyrinth, the Nip Paysage installation currently guiding visitors across the Sculpture Garden walkway.

See the little girl, to the left and ahead of the dog? She, too, is weaving her way through the maze.

Then there’s Claudia.

Joe Fafard's cow sculpture, Claudia

No, no, not one of the children. The cow!

Joe Fafard’s lovely bronze cow, wearing three kiddies on her back and the patient look on her face that we associate with cows. (Fafard is Saskatchewan-born. He knows his cows.)

I leave Claudia resting in the grass on the west side of the Sculpture Garden, and cross to the east side, where I contemplate Paulina, taped to a post. I learn some quite intriguing details about Paulina — but nothing at all about her face. Sorry.

appeal on a fence post

Good luck, Jack.

Time to say good-bye to the Musée and to Rue Sherbrooke as well. I angle down to de Maisonneuve, heading for a Metro (subway) station and my return trip to the suburb of Dorval.

I catch one last face over by McGill University.

Um, make that 15 faces. Or more.

The Illuminated Crowd, Raymond Mason

It’s The Illuminated Crowd, says the plaque, a 1985 sculpture by English artist Raymond Mason.

I don’t linger. I have my own date with a crowd, a very special crowd — everybody else attending the Dorval Island celebrations — and that’s what brought me to town. So I’m off to the island.

Next post, I’ll take you there with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Over 30

30 July 2015 – “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” I remember this 1963 rallying cry and, in a summer of repeated Extreme Heat Alerts, I have reinvented it.

“Don’t trust any temperature over 30!”

Yessir, once we hit 30C, I park my boots and follow the example of my resident lifestyle expert:

Racket in the shade

 

Find Shade. And a water supply. Now close your eyes.

So simple.

Feet-first, to a Different River

26 July 2015 – It’s Saturday, and it’s hot, and I think I’ll be telling you that — despite the way my feet keep leading me to water in summertime (see last post) — this time there will be no water. My heart has overruled my feet.

Drawn by an invitation from my friend Poonam Sharma, I’m headed for a wall-mural event in St. James Town. SJT is a complex of densely packed apartment towers that is typically home to newcomers to Canada.

It has lots of concrete and, to be fair, some trees & shrubs — but, water? No.

Then I see the fish.

fish detail, SJT wall mural

Who, of course, swim in a river.

one wall, SJT folk-fusion mural

Even if it is a concrete river, newly painted to wrap the three sides of the wall around an external stairwell.

Not only fish, in this river.

Also happy birds …

a wall, SJT mural

and a red & white mandana, a traditional Indian symbol of welcome.

wall of the SJT folk-fusion mural

 

Three walls, one river, its waves curling around circles of folk art, drawn from different cultures around the world. “This is my FolkLORE project, it is a folk-fusion mural,” says Poonam. She thought up the project, won a funding grant, and involved other St. James Town women in its execution — after first learning, and then teaching them, how to prepare and paint outdoors artwork.

“The women are different ages, they come from different cultures, but we all live in this neighbourhood together. I drew the river outline, with its circles. Then we shared folk-art images and discussed them, made our choices, and each woman painted one circle.” (For more, visit the Facebook page.)

The women are making art, but they are also making connections, building community, having fun.

Oh, that Poonam. I met her a year ago, when she was one of the residents working on the St. James Town banner project. She had been a artist in India; now here with husband and child, she is throwing herself into art and community again. I am not even slightly surprised to learn, from her WordPress blog RangRiva, that this spring she ran an arts workshop for visiting students from Sanikiluaq, in the Canadian High Arctic.

So here we are for the official ribbon-cutting to unveil her latest project, this folk-fusion mural. I jostle in with others, to grab a shot of Poonam (crouching, on the left) with some of the other artists and their children. Another little boy is weaving among the audience, politely offering Canadian flags. I accept.

Poonam (L) with other artists & children

I circle around, enjoying the response to the art as much as the art itself. What I see today mirrors reaction during the painting process, says Poonam. “People would stop and admire our work, ask us questions. The women liked explaining what we were doing. Everybody was so happy with the mural.”

Yogita Sanap is one of the artists. “I had never done anything like this, but now I love it, I love to make art,” she says. She tells me more about the mandana, which she created: “We paint it on walls and floors for festivals, to welcome people.”

Yogita Sanap with her mandana

Her husband looks on, smiling at all the activity. “Who knew?” he says, happily. “Who would have guessed, so much hidden talent in our community?”

wall detail, SJT FolkLORE mural

A happy day, all ’round.

 

 

Feet-First

23 July 2015 – Summertime, and my feet just want to head for the water. I am not inclined to argue. Neither is Phyllis, so this week the Tuesday Walking Society followed its four feet down Bay Street to the ferry terminal, and hopped aboard the Ongiara. Destination: Toronto Island (really, a whole complex of islands).

 

aboard the Ongiara, heading for Hanlan's Point

His is not the only bike helmet on deck. This particular run is to Hanlan’s Point, which is the most western of the three island docks. It is also the most remote from either visitor or residential infrastructure and consequently a big favourite with cyclists who plan to explore all the islands, bays and trails.

I’m delighted to see this statue of Ned Hanlan right at the dock.

statue of Edward Hanlan, at Hanlan's Point ferry dock

The eponymous Hanlan (oh, I do love a chance to use that word…), born in 1855,  took up rowing as a small child when living right here and went on, in 1880, to win the world single sculls championship in England. He held the title until 1884, during his career had a run of 300 successive racing victories, and — this is a complete non-sequitur — went on to become a city alderman.

The statue is quite new, taking over pride of place from the plaque telling us that Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run right here as well. His only minor-league home run, they add: he was promoted to the majors, lickety-split. (The Babe’s plaque is still there, just remounted in a less prominent position.)

The boat has now disgorged its passengers: a couple of maintenance vehicles (only official vehicles allowed on the island), numerous cyclists, one young fisherman busy assembling his rod as cyclists start streaming on ahead, and us.

We putter along the edge of Block House Bay, leaving the hopeful fisherman behind.

Block House Bay, near Hanlan's Point

By nipping over to the lake side, we see the west end of the city itself across the water. We pick out the Humber River pedestrian bridge — an arc of white at water’s edge, about midway along — and use it to orient ourselves on the waterfront, connecting the view from here with what we see when we’re walking on that shoreline instead.

looking to Humber Bay, city-side, from Hanlan's Point

We follow the curve of land, pass by the fingerboard to the Clothing Optional beach, but follow the one to Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. It sits among trees and shrubs, nowhere near the water. Why would anybody put a lighthouse here? you ask.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Because when it was built, in 1808-09, it was only eight metres from the lake’s edge. The shoreline has shifted a lot since then, but the lighthouse endures —  the oldest still standing on the Great Lakes, and the second-oldest in all Canada.

It may no longer be on the water, but there’s plenty of water to be had, and beaches to go with it. Mantiou Beach, for example, nearing Centre Island …

Manitou Beach, Centre Island

Centre Island is the focus for visitor entertainment, everything from spacious gardens & fountains, to bike & quadracycle rentals, to fast food, to a petting zoo … to the absolutely delightful Franklin’s Children’s Garden. It is named for the Canadian classic Franklin the Turtle books & TV series, it has seven different activity areas for kids — all wildly busy today with day-campers — and little sculptures reminiscent of characters from the books.

Such as this beaver, by the Turtle Pond.

beaver sculpture, Franklin Children's Garden

We admire the butterfly chair, and climb the Snail Trail behind it to weave our way up a wonderfully shaggy mound, all its vegetation chosen for its appeal to butterflies.

Franklin Children's Garden

This visit, we don’t wander all over Algonquin Island, my long-ago home — I’d done that when I came out for the concert in the church earlier in spring — we head for the other residential island, Ward’s Island. Another city view across the harbour, this time to the east.

the city, from Ward's Island

We pick out Sugar Beach, and the tree-lined walk to Sherbourne Common, and then head into Ward’s narrow little streets.

Of course there is a tree house …

tree house on Ward's Island

and a wheelie-bin container with a green roof …

green roof for a wheelie-bin container, Ward's Island

and a home with a green roof. A deliberate green roof, too, not one inadvertently born of too much moss on shingles!

Ward's Island home with green roof

Finally, it is time to head back to our own homes.

We make our way to the Ward’s Island dock, and take the next ferry back to the city.

ferry approaching Ward's Island dock

Then we walk up through the city-core bustle, and feel a distinct little jolt of culture shock. It really is a different world, over there …

  • WALKING… & SEEING

    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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