Bike & Hike

7 February 2016 – The bike comes early in my hike, neatly hooked high against the staircase in an alley near Sherbourne & Bloor St. East. Does it await spring? Or just the owner’s next outing, perhaps later today?

bike up staircase nr Bloor E & Sherbourne

Either way, a vivid punch of red against all that black.

I cross busy Bloor East & drop down a staircase to the pedestrian bridge over Rosedale Valley Rd. Why did I cross at street level? I could have cut behind the Sherbourne subway station on the south side & used the little tunnel instead.

But I didn’t, so all the tunnel offers me this time around is a view of its non-stop street art — some planned, some definitely unofficial.

I particularly like the Blue Jay atop the entrance.

murals in tunnel under Bloor E at Sherbourne

Then I walk across the bridge, and take in a very different setting from its north, up-market Rosedale side. North & south sides of Rosedale Valley may belong to the same election ridings but, I promise you, they live in different demographic worlds entirely.

No graffiti this end, but something very human nonetheless. The plaque tells us that author Morley Callaghan lived nearby from 1951 until his death in 1990, and was a frequent user of the bridge — at first with wife and dog, then with dog Nikki as his faithful companion to the end.

Rosedale Valley pedestrian bridge from n. side

I square my shoulders, brace myself to find my way through Deepest, Darkest Rosedale. My target is Milkman’s Lane, which will lead me down into the ravine and to Evergreen Brick Works. Feeling slightly sheepish, I sneak a look at my map.

Yes! Up here, dog-leg to there, follow that curve, and sharp right into Milkman’s Lane.

It’s a steep drop down the gravel lane into the ravine. I cantilever my weight slightly backwards, and admire the father who is coaching his little boy in the mysteries of riding his bike down the lane without losing control. The child (securely helmeted) is triumphant: he’s controlling speed beautifully and deliberately wobbles his voice in sympathy with the gravel beneath his wheels as he calls out to his father — “I’m doing it!”

Into the Evergreen Brick Works complex, once literally a brick works, now repurposed for community & the environment. I thread my way past the open-air skating rink in Koerner Gardens, with a pause to admire the jaunty sunflower-cum-windmill on the edge of the adjacent Kilns.

EBW art, this on edge of The Kilns

Into The Kilns — once really kilns, now left with enough old machinery for atmosphere, but sufficiently cleared to provide room for exhibits and assorted festivals. It’s Winter Village at the moment, with fire pits and food and other stalls, the structure open to its Koerner Gardens side.

fire pits, stalls, people in The Kilns enjoying Winter Village

Skaters come & go, especially helmeted small children, shepherded by parents.

Fun for big kids too, such as this great big bunch of wooden rectangles.

I arrive too late for the stacking thereof, but just in time to see Boyfriend photograph triumphant Girlfriend with the resulting tower. She heads off to find  them some coffee; he pushes his bike helmet to one side & steps in to fiddle with the tower.

big-boy playtime in Winter Village

Then he gives the tower a mighty BOOT!!! All those rectangles come clattering to the ground. Girlfriend, by now back with coffee, gives a yip & dances around on one leg. Seems her other ankle got in the way of flying pieces of wood.

I grab a savoury scone (“Warm it for you?” “Yes, please!”) and make my way to the pedestrian path along the  edge of Bayview Ave. My goal is the Lower Don Trail along the Don River, which I can join at the Pottery Rd. access point.

And I do. I am immediately rewarded, as I head north on the Trail, by salmon leaping in the waves. Great dancing salmon, leaping in curling waves and bubbling froth.

All this on the Trail itself, you understand.

trail art just n. of Pottery Rd access

Every now & then, there’s a word to trigger your own exuberance in life. Squint at the above photo, you’ll see “Cycle.”

The art does just fine on its own, mind you …

detail, Trail art

but I start word-hunting as well. “Power” for example …

detail, Trail art

and “Joy” …

detail, Trail art

and “Life.”

detail, Trail art

I wonder a moment about”Power.” It seems a bit aggressive, don’t you think, for this sort of list? Then I decide it means positive power, the power of energy and commitment and contribution, and I’m happy again.

Finally I turn south again, south across Pottery Rd., on south & south, with eventually a glance back at the Bloor St. Viaduct, its freshly painted arches gleaming in the late-afternoon sun.

Bloor St. Viaduct

And still south & south, to the not-gleaming — in fact, very scruffy — staircase from this Trail up to the pedestrian bridge across the Don Valley Parkway that links the East & West sections of  Riverdale Park.

stairs from Lower Don Trail to Riverdale Park pedestrian bridge

Ooof. It’s a lot of steps. And ooof some more steps, up the ravine edge of Riverdale Park West.

I check my pedometer when I reach home, prepared to be Very Annoyed. On Tuesday, Phyllis & I walked for 3 hours, only to have my eccentric pedometer tell us we had covered 0.39 km.

Today, I am offered a reading of 11.67 km.

 

Gita in the Underpass

1 February 2016 – I didn’t expect to find chapter 3, verse 35 of the Bhagavad Gita in a Dupont St. underpass. Who would? Nor would I have known I had found it, but for the fact that I did my Saturday walk with my friend Gauri, just back from a month visiting family & friends in India.

We don’t start the walk on Dupont, we’re up on St. Clair West near Dufferin. I have food slightly on the mind. Before we set off, Gauri shows me some photos from her trip, including a close-up of a succulent dish traditionally prepared for Marathi weddings, but — because she loves it so — prepared in her honour during her visit.

Perhaps that’s why I interpret the central image in this street-corner montage as a jar of jam.

Lauder Av at St. Clair West

It seems singularly drab, compared to the Marathi feast. Still, the two heads are lively enough …

We walk, we talk, we laugh, we stop for coffee a bit farther west & finally head south, angling across Davenport to Lansdowne. More laughter as we go, being with Gauri involves lots of laughter, but we fall silent at the intersection.

Davenport at Lansdowne

We contemplate the “ghost bike,”  a white bike marking the spot where a cyclist has died. This young man died in November 2012; the bicycle has been here for years, but these are new floral tributes.

Down Lansdowne, more public art, yet another mood. These graphics swoop along the underpass that guides us all beneath railway tracks. It’s another StART (Street Art Toronto) project, perhaps a commentary on the construction above?

Lansdowne n of Dupont

We defy death — death, I tell you — to scamper across Lansdowne in order to see that graphic as a whole. “I’m just back from India,” boasts Gauri. “This is nothing!” I scuttle along in her wake.

Barely through the underpass, and we see another image, this one small enough that we consider recrossing the street to see it up close. Then we assess the increased traffic, plus the jump involved in getting ourselves down to street level — and chicken out.

So here is Green Lady. From afar. In the gloom. (Sorry.)

Lansdowne n of Dupont

Now we’re at Dupont, and I drag Gauri westward. There’s a small gallery along here I like to check out — and another much-decorated underpass along the way.

I know this underpass, I’ve seen these images before, but … wait a minute … is this something new?

Right here next to an EGR face … is that an Anser tease? Just a few elements of his distinctive flowing face-graphic, woven into somebody else’s design?

Dupont w of Lansdowne, n side

Not sure, but what do you think? Here, for comparison, is a full-blown, for-sure Anser (photographed a year ago in the Distillery District).

Anser face, Distillery District

I’m still squinting at the maybe-Anser on Dupont. Gauri has moved on, very slightly. I join her. She reads a dramatic triangular panel, and says: “Gita!”

Pardon?

Bhagavad Gita,” she says.

Dupont underpass w. of Lansdowne

It’s a translation of a verse, she explains, and then quotes the Sanskrit. (“My grade 10 Sanskrit!”)

I demand a transliteration, which she supplies right there on the spot — and later supplements with the bhagavad-gita.org link for this verse online, complete with quotation, transliteration, anvaya and translation, all four.

Gauri’s transliteration is very good indeed. Let’s hear it for grade 10 Sanskrit classes (and her excellent memory).

The online translation is rather more fulsome than the Dupont St. version.

Performing one’s natural prescribed duty tinged with faults is far better than performing another’s prescribed duty perfectly; even death in performing one’s natural prescribed duty is better; for performing prescribed duties of others is fraught with danger.

An advantage of the online version: it completes the final thought, blanked out by someone’s aluminum paint on the Dupont St. version.

After this, the gallery show is an anticlimax.

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Wimp

28 January 2016 – No two ways about it, this week the Tuesday Walking Society wimped out.

Falling temperatures, said the weather forecast, with rising wind and likelihood of rain. We consulted by phone early in the morning, and gave each other permission to cancel.

Later in the day, embarrassed by the lack of rain, I felt I had to get out there and do something. Even a very small something.

So I walked a westward loop that took me past our City Hall.

skaters at City Hall, Queen E & Bay

A reminder that, no matter how dull the day, somewhere there is colour, energy, and laughter.

 

The Charm of a Sunny Day

24 January 2016 – Nippy, but brilliantly sunny, that was Saturday. The kind of day to reward an inquisitive eye, and pop even our muted winter palette into high relief.

I’d had a preview the day before, as I prowled some neighbourhood streets & alleys.

in a Cabbagtown front yard

See? All that colour & texture, doing its Happy Dance under our winter sun.

So I set out lake-ward on Saturday, full of optimism. The first amusement is just one block from home.

cat prints in replacement sidewalk pavers

Not exactly a dance of colour, I’ll agree, but certainly a dance of cat paws. Prancing across those sidewalk pavers, complete with their very feline message: “I’ll go where I please. Even if it’s gooey.”

I have no particular reason to head for Lake Ontario, just the belief, confirmed by experience, that there’s almost always lots to see and enjoy.

I cut through Sherbourne Common, the recreational park cum water-treatment facility immediately north of the waterfront.

Kiddie play equipment, so busy with children all summer, sits still and silent in the winter chill. This spinning disc, for example, a blur of motion in July …

in Sherbourne Common

is now transformed into pure, sculptural art.

Big contrast with the southern (lakeside) portion of the Common. It is home to the Paul Quarrington Ice Rink & Splash Pad. No prize for guessing which activity is currently in season!

Paul Quarrington Ice Rink & Splash Pad, in southern portion, Sherbourne Common

Right.

I follow the lake edge west to Sugar Beach, named for the Redpath Sugar Refinery on its western boundary. Sugar Beach is one of a string of high-concept, very urban parks developed in the central portion of the city’s lakefront over the last decade or so.

At first I laughed at the mid-winter sight of its oversize Muskoka chairs and bright, rigid beach umbrellas. Fine in summer, I thought, but couldn’t they have come up with a décor that worked in all four seasons?

I take that back.

I have not only seen visitors lolling in those chairs mid-winter, as of this Saturday I have done it myself. In the sun; out of the wind; looking out over Toronto Harbour and Toronto Island; listening to gulls & geese & ducks & the occasional airplane on its final approach to the island airport.

I pass a lean, young cyclist as I enter Sugar Beach. We nod, he strips off his helmet as we agree it is a major-fine day to be out & about, and we each sink into a chair, mine somewhat farther down the beach than his.

cyclist doing his stretching routine on Sugar Beach

You’d be excused for thinking I’d stumbled on a sun-worship cult, but no — while I am content just to sit back and breathe gently, he is soon on his feet again, working through his stretching routine.

When I finally walk on, I’m amused to see more footprints — different species & ephemeral not permanent, but they still make me remember those busy little cat prints I saw earlier.

footprints in Sugar Beach sand & snow

The shifting sun brings out stronger shadows. I cock my head at the foot of Yonge St., admiring the way the railing plays against the sidewalk.

Ground zero - foot of Yonge St. at Lake Ontario

Also admiring, as always, the litany of names of all the major communities along Yonge St. and their distance from the lake. Its purpose: to demonstrate that Yonge is the world’s longest street. (Assuming you allow it to change name as it goes, that is.)

From Toronto at 0 km, to Rainy River at 1896 km. With North York – Richmond Hill – Aurora – Newmarket – Barrie – Orillia – Gravenhurst – Bracebridge – Huntsville – North Bay – Iroquois Falls – Cochrane – Kapuskasing – Hearst – and Thunder Bay in between.

My ambition is more modest. I just walk on west for a bit, past Bay St. and the ferry terminal, into Harbour Square and HarbourFront Park.

Soon I’ll pass the outdoor skating rink, positively heaving with people & the hiss of skate blades. First I pass some ducks, most of them swimming about but a few tucked up on their very own patch of ice. Complete with their own trademark hiss!

ducks in Toronto Harbour

Farther west & farther west, and then finally I head north into the downtown core, beginning my loop eastward toward home.

The sinking sun still flashes fire. It highlights a group of buildings and throws their reflection against this office tower at Simcoe & Wellington.

S/E corner, Simcoe & Wellington

I have a knee-jerk objection to these glass towers, typically thinking only of all the energy they must consume winter & summer, to maintain comfortable temperatures.

But, sometimes, I just enjoy the view.

Year Five!

I’ve just realized: this is my anniversary month for blogging. My first full month was January 2012, when I began training for my Iceland trek and needed a way to engage with my donors. Back from Iceland later that year — and I just kept going.

All 2012, and 2013, and 2014, and now 2015 as well. Walking, and sharing my walks. Encouraged by your response to keep walking, and keep sharing.

Thank you for joining me. May we all continue in good health, doing what we love to do and sharing it with each other.

 

Garage Math: 1 + 4

20 January 2016 – Let’s start with the 1.

It’s a single garage wall, tucked toward the back of some open space by the south/west corner of Spadina & Dupont, but you notice it anyway.

near S/W corner, Spadina & Dupont

That’s just a bonus.

It’s the 4 — the four sides of a sway-backed garage toward the front of the space — that really inspire you to go walk-about.

Down the east side, which commands attention despite some scrawls & whatever that is, leaning against it …

west side, garage Spadina & Dupont

then around the back, seriously loopy …

back of Spadina/Dupont garage

around & up the west side …

west side, Spadina/Dupont garage

for a major reward, spread across the building’s doors and north (street) face.

Dupont-facing garage doors, nr Spadina

Veterans of this blog may remember that cat face, I’ve shown it before.

This time, let’s enjoy the whole building. Plus its backdrop.

4 + 1.

 

 

 

 

Beach & Boots & a Q&A

14 January 2016 – We’ll start with the Q&A. Well, with the Q.

As follows:

Why did the traffic light turn red?

I’ll get to the A later. Promise!

Meanwhile, join me at the very eastern end of the Beaches neighbourhood, right where Queen Street begins/ends, a boundary marked with Art Deco flourish by the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant — still functioning in that role, but with historical designation for its architecture.

I’m not gawking at the water treatment plant. I’m down on the beach gawking at ice on rocks, glinting against the grey Lake Ontario waters under a chilly grey sky.

ice on Beaches rocks, Lake Ontario

Even the nasty abutments pushed into the lake to baffle wave action become sculptural, given a sheathing of ice.

Beaches, Lake Ontario

 

As always, quite a few people are larking about with happy, bounding dogs — the pooches busy fetching sticks, lugging fluorescent tennis balls to and fro in their mouths, & pushing indelicate snouts into delicate places on total strangers, in equally total certainty they will be praised & stroked, not scolded.

Lifeguard stations dot the lakefront year-round, all currently bearing their seasonal notice.

on Kew/Balmy Beach

After a while I take myself back up to Queen St. East, planning to walk on west toward home until … well, until I either reach home or hop a streetcar en route.

Not surprising that I almost immediately see another dog. This community loves it dogs.

outside a Queen E grocery store

I contemplate Doggie-Two-Boots a moment. Has the little devil shucked two boots, or — for some arcane reason — does he only have two? (About an hour’s-worth of walking time farther west, I see him again — all four paws neatly encased in boots.)

Somewhere near Coxwell, I catch a surprising sight down a short alley-cum-parking-lot. I start down the alley to investigate. “Yes?” calls a voice behind me. The man attached to the voice is wearing a restaurateur apron & has just rushed out of the adjoining building. “Can I help you?”

Which, we all know, means: explain yourself.

“Just want a photo,” I reply, smiling as endearingly as I know how & waving my camera in his direction. His smile matches mine as he waves me on down the alley.

This is what the fuss was all about.

off Queen nr Coxwell

Well, it’s very odd, isn’t it? I realize I’m thinking of it as a barn, a corrugated metal barn, but of course it isn’t that & I don’t know why it strikes me that way.

A bit later on, another just-off-Queen sighting, this time at Curzon.

N/W Queen E & Curzon

It could have been projected, that tree silhouette; a perfect art installation against the wall. (Come to that, it is projected. By the sun.)

Somewhere in there I peer hopefully up Craven Rd., home to “Tiny Town” and the city’s longest municipally maintained wooden fence. Also the city’s longest wooden-fence public art gallery.

Except… it isn’t, not any more. Finally all that wonderful art work has tattered itself to the point of (or so it seems) being removed. Just a long, very naked fence. I’m glad I have images, first shared on this blog in November 2013 and several times since then.

Between McGee and DeGrassi streets, some public art that is increasingly battered looking, but still in place: the animal vignettes running the length of the railway underpass.

Queen E railway underpass at McGee

This guy is one of my individual favourites in the series. Each side bears a whole wall’s-worth of images, currently enhanced with a few icicles in the framing arches.

RR underpass south wall

I angle toward home through Joel Weeks Park, north of Queen & just east of the Don River. I could have chosen many other routes — but I cannot resist the squirrels.

south end, Joel Weeks Park

I’m as amused as ever. Acorn worship!

detail, squirrels & acorn in Joel Weeks Park

The A to the Q

Did you get all impatient on me & scroll down? Or did you wait?

Before totally wowing you with the A, let me give credit where credit is due: I read this on the sidewalk “street talker” for The Sidekick, a Queen East coffee & comic books emporium.

Remember the question? It asks: “Why did the traffic light turn red?”

Answer.

You would too, if you had to change in the middle of the street.

Was it worth the wait? I hope so.

 

 

Mood Misty, Mood Indigo

10 January 2016 – A Saturday walk to and from Yorkville, with gallery-hopping in between. The gallery-hopping is great fun, a group activity with volunteer colleagues from the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).

The to-and-from is also fun, albeit a solo engagement with real-life tonalities and a much more limited colour palette.

Going up: the muted shades, not just of winter, but also of mist. No “bright blue sky” today! Instead …

lane nr Sherbourne & Dundas

This alley is near home, & one of my favourites. I love the rippling warmth of the old brick on that corner building; I love the care & pride of the residents. Never a scrap of litter; minimal but thoughtful landscaping (the conifer, the rocks, the red barrel that, in summer, bursts with geraniums). Always, too, the signs of active lives — a shining motorcycle just out of frame, and someone’s canoe, tidily racked half-way up a building while it awaits summer.

Later I cut through Wellesley-Magill Park. More near-monochrome, but look at all the texture.

Wellesley-Magill Park, looking west

Veined shrub leaves, in their winter-ochre; crunchy gravel up & down the scale of grey; dark shiny rocks; Ed Pien’s Forest Walk fence with its ribbons of colour toward the rear; pale, strong-lined condos beyond that.

And on, and on some more to Yorkville, to my friends and our visits and chatter — both in the galleries and over tea, coffee & treats later on.

It’s not late when I start back home, about 5 p.m., but we are still caught in short winter days, and the light is already yielding to dusk.

By the time I reach Bloor & Yonge, dusk owns the sky.

One Bloor East condo tower, from the west

I put away my camera, and hike on home.

Ice & a Bright Blue Sky

6 January 2016 – Weather was on our minds, as Phyllis & I planned our Tuesday outing, so, when we finally set out, what more appropriate wall-comment than this?

a prescient street-scrawl, near Jarvis

It is – 11C: that’s not terrifically cold in, say, Moscow (or Winnipeg) terms, but pretty nippy for Toronto, especially after the very mild temperatures we’ve had until now. We decide to stick to downtown streets & take in Cloud Gardens Conservatory as we go. Nothing better than a hit of steamy tropics in the midst of a cold snap.

The bonus of cold weather is a bright blue sky. “An Alberta sky,” I always think, imprinted as I am by my years in Calgary. It lifts the spirits and makes colours pop.

Example: the old (1892) Confederation Life Building on Richmond St. East between Victoria & Yonge.

1892 Confederation Life Building, Richmond & Victoria

Romanesque Revival style, you bet, complete with the gloriously-named “wishbone surrounds” over those tall windows.

Nearby, just across Yonge St., our tropical hit: Cloud Gardens Conservatory. There is the open park section as well, but we head into the Conservatory, closed for a chunk of 2015 while they upgraded their light-management systems for all those plants.

inside Cloud Gardens Conservatory

Our glasses completely mist over as we enter. Once they clear, we mooch about. The new, filtering window curtains are fully retracted, this early in the day, so plants get full advantage of morning light.

glass wall, Cloud Gardens Conservatory

We’re heading west, wobbling between Richmond & Queen as fancy dictates. Fancy happens to dictate Queen, just where it passes City Hall at Bay St. The summer-time pond is now the winter skating rink.

skating rink, City Hall

Look again at that child in the lower-right, just off the final “O” in “Toronto.” He is about to go ker-SPLAT!! on the ice.  Happily, he is both unhurt & undaunted. (Later, we notice that the kiosk, along with the usual skates, also rents kiddie helmets and green push frames.)

Back to Richmond & still heading west, with new buildings, both office & condos, popping up all around. Example, this Picasso on Richmond condominium tower. I smirk at the name, but like the lines — all those hits of red on the white, popping at us from that bright blue sky.

"Picasso on Richmond" nr Peter St.

Old buildings are still around, some probably slated for demolition but others being integrated with the new. And some still sporting faded old advertising. Perhaps deliberately preserved as an architectural feature?

 

old Tip Top Tailors advertising, Richmond West

Tip Top Tailors. Still in business, though not right here.

One of the city’s newest examples of old/new “fusion architecture” is just down the street, at Richmond & Peter. Imagine two old 4-5 storey brick buildings that now serve as underpinnings for a 27-storey glass superstructure that straddles them both, creating a single entity, the Queen Richmond Centre West.

I ask you to imagine it since, lacking my own private helicopter, I cannot properly show it to you. (Though you can click right here and check it out on the architects’ website.)

I can show you the atrium, though — once external space between the old buildings, now soaring glass internal space, 75 feet high. We stand inside, swivel our heads, and start to laugh.

“Does everybody walk in and say ‘Wow!’?” we ask the Nice Young Man At The Desk. He laughs too, delighted that we are delighted. “Yes, they do.”

atrium, Queen Richmond Centre West

Great criss-cross pillars support the superstruture (and, temporarily, some Christmas ornaments as well). Old external brick walls, left & right, become internal atrium walls. Your mind & senses hop back & forth. It is very neat.

There’s a sleek little coffee bar in the atrium and we hesitate, almost peel off our coats & settle in — but we resist the temptation. Let’s head down Spadina to the lake, we decide; reward ourselves somewhere down there.

So we do. Passing our first ice display as we go: a perfectly preserved, but frozen stiff, ornamental cabbage outside the 401 Richmond West complex of art galleries & design studios.

frozen ornamental cabbage outside 401 Richmond West

More ice at the lake front. Not yet in solid sheets, more like translucent jigsaw puzzle pieces, neatly fitted next to each other but still floating free.

buoy & ice in the lake, at HTO Beach

We’re in HTO Beach, whose yellow-striped umbrellas & oversize beach chairs look more than slightly out-of-season at the moment. But what am I saying? Two of chairs are occupied. The occupants may be bundled up to the point of near invisibility, but there they are, by golly, enjoying their Day At The Beach.

Across the slip, more ice & another great tapestry of colour beneath the bright blue sky.

canoes cradled for winter, near Rees Wave Deck

I love ’em in the summer, and even more in winter. And yes, they are as out-of-season as the beach chairs –but aren’t they glorious?

And a reminder that summer will come again.

 

 

 

Signs & Portents

3 January 2016 – We seek portents early in the new year — tea leaves, tarot cards, chicken entrails.

Or in the city streetscape, on a short neighbourhood stroll.

This tiny shopping bag, for example, so neatly displayed on a neighbour’s wrought-iron fence.

A new year’s resolution, aimed at the male gender?

on a fence near Parliament St.

Or, perhaps, an admonition of overly-fastidious women?

Later, a cryptic command …

Richmond St. nr Parliament

which I obey, since it might reveal wise guidance for the coming year.

other side!

Then again, it might just reveal a Big Joke.

But perhaps that is the guidance. Laugh a lot.

Speaking of guidance, how about Lovebot‘s message? This example stands sentinel over a modest apartment building doorway …

near Parlaiment

but has the same meaning as its fellow images all over town. Each one, the work of founder Matthew Del Degan & fellow volunteers, has the same purpose: to inspire love & kindness, by reminding us that there is love in our cities & kindness around every corner.

Now that we’re speaking of love & kindness around every corner, how about this side-alley wall-woof?

alley off Parliament n. of Adelaide

A young man strides down the alley, heads for the door, then pauses, eyeing me & my camera with polite — but querying — neutrality. “Love the dog,” I say, nodding at the image. “Did you do that? Is he your dog?”

Young Man flashes a grin. “Yeh.” Slants his eyes at the wall & back at me, his face still warm with thoughts of his dog. It’s not the most accomplished art-work you’ll ever see, but it shines with love.

“Go ahead. Take a picture.”

So I do.

 

 

2016 …

31 December 2015 – I went for a short walk this morning, looking for a cheerful, celebratory “Happy New Year” image to share with you.

Instead, in a recessed doorway on Bloor West near Brock, I found this.

doorway panda, Bloor W nr Brock

Mr. Happy Panda is not the message.

The message lies beyond his out-stretched paw & aerosol bomb, on the side wall.

detail, panda doorway Bloor W & Brock

Safe Haven. Sadly, the message could not be more timely.

  • May we who live in a safe haven recognize our great good fortune, and never take it for granted.
  • May those who so desperately seek a safe haven find one, and then have both the opportunity & the resilience to build a new life.

My thanks to the artist …

artist tag, panda doorway, Bloor W nr Brock

for this image, and for what it makes me think about, at this time of year.

 

 

  • 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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