This week, T.O. street adventure!
But first, about last week:
My grade 5 class once visited Queen’s Park for a tour. That must have been the last time I was there. I’d been on the grounds, of course. Many times. And I’d probably visited the lobby once or twice, during that little 50-year gap!
Surely it was about time to go back, and share an indoor/outdoor walk and visit to our provincial legislature. We arrived a tiny bit too late, but our affable guide, Eric, stepped up to the task and gave us over an hour of his time, showing us the building, the artwork, the architecture, the legislature, and sharing some history, and some amusing stories, too. What a nice guy. (And a future Barkley ultra-marathoner!)
I think we all enjoyed the tour and the conversation. And having the legislative chamber under renovation actually made it even more interesting. If you haven’t been to visit in a while (or, you know: in 50 years!), the summer tours are frequent and free. We really recommend the indoor/outdoor version. Eric’s insights into “The Pink Palace” (so-called because of the pink sandstone exterior) and the new West Wing (added after a disastrous fire in 1909) made it a really interesting Sunday morning. Thank you, Eric! We enjoyed your company, too!
“The Pink Palace” – Queen’s Park, under a blue sky.
Eric tells of visits by Queens, and Ontario’s several early parliament buildings. Skylar, Mary, Denise and Elizabeth see some of the statues on the grounds.
Carved stone frieze above arched doorway depicts Ontario’s art, culture and industry.
Apparently the three arches were considered a copy of a similar entryway, to an asylum in Buffalo. (I looked at photos and, other than the number, don’t see the similarity!) These are lovely though – surrounded by carvings and details.
Yes, the Queen. Victoria, that is. The park, and subsequently the building, were named in her honour.
Eric explains the original use of the two side covered driveway entrances: carriages could let passengers off, directly onto the high staircase landings.
The speaker of the house has always worn a version of this traditional garb. Including a ribbon rosette, originally used for (ahem) bribes.
Looking up, in the old wing. This skylight actually leads to a sky-lit attic, which lets light into the lobby below and allow a little ventilation, too.
A current project includes 3-D printing all of the ornamentation, inside and out, to allow for future restorations, as needed. Since the exterior is made of sandstone, restoration and repair are already constant concerns.
A copper dragon-embossed pillar decoration.
An ornately carved wooden newel post.
The parliamentary chamber and viewing gallery are currently undergoing a few summer renovations.
The current chamber repairs include work on the large light fixtures and the decorative ceiling around them.
Panorama in the legislature – Elizabeth, Skylar and our guide Eric.
Another panorama of Queen’s Park legislative chamber, with Eric, Elizabeth, Skylar, Denise and Mary.
Above my head, in the chamber, ceiling restorative work is in evidence. Revealing the original painted plaster is going to be a long-term project!
The clock in the parliamentary chamber prompts the use of “chamber time” when in the building. This clock is used as a reference for all.
A reflection of our group in the glass window of the usually-busy media room. See the lights on the control modules?
A favourite artefact of Eric’s is this painting of Laura Secord. It’s a bit dark, and there’s an interesting story behind it (literally “behind” it!). It’s an overpainting, as discovered in a 20th century xray examination. Read the next frame…
A bit about that Laura Secord painting. Zoom in to read.
A version of Robert Harris’ Fathers of Confederation painting includes John A. Macdonald, who is also portrayed in a statue on the front lawn.
Lovely lobby chandelier and carved animal wall decoration.
The West Wing contains an interesting blend of styles and materials, and also added two extra floors, giving the building its asymmetrical look.
Above the central area of the West Wing is another skylight. And lots of marble.
Contrast between the old and West Wings’ flooring. The newer marble mosaic floor looked like ancient Roman, to me.
In the lobby, the original ceremonial mace (wooden, painted and gilded) was eventually returned by the Americans. Who had stolen it! The flashier contemporary gold- and silver-plated mace, with Canadian diamonds, is also kept here when government is not in session. Like… now!
Click on any image for larger files, in carousel slide-show. (Easier to read “tour guide” chat there, too!)
Sunday, August 21, 2016:
I know. I’m sorry! I said we’d visit Glen Stewart Ravine this week, but we’re saving that for next week – with good reason. (We want Glen Stewart’s sister to join us for that walk! You’ll hear more about this little in-joke.)
For this week, let’s try a new Toronto initiative… and play in the street!
Yes, you read correctly! We’ll walk the route of this year’s Open Streets Toronto, and see what we discover at all the hubs of activity. A warning: we may get roped into all sorts of fun – chalk illustrations, mini-fitness classes, square dancing, skateboard demos, a printing press, photobooth and more. Let’s see whatever they have! We’ll walk from the Y, up to Dufferin and Bloor and then see how far east we get. I hope we’ll get right over to Yonge and Bloor and then walk south either to Wellesley or maybe even all the way down to Shuter? This is going to be a blast.
Coming right up:
Okay, let’s try that again. Next week: Glen Stewart Ravine! (Really.)
After that, let’s work our way through all those other walking, hiking and exploring plans! Can do! Slightly cooler weather is approaching, so let’s choose a good date for that long trip to the Spit. And let’s plan a brunch on the High Park patio. Nice late summer idea! Then, the St. Lawrence Market area and the Sunday morning antique market there. And of course there are still a few murals we must visit!
See you soon!
You’re just finding WestWalking for the first time?!
Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you in the morning!
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