Parks with purpose

This week, Three MORE Parks.

But first, about last week :

I longed for a cool lake breeze! We headed south to see new parks, places as yet undiscovered. And an old favourite.

Ireland Park is a memorial to Irish famine victims who arrived in Toronto by ship. A huge stone monument casts a shadow over a tiny treed park, just east of the Billy Bishop Airport Terminal (the shore-side entry to the tunnel under the lake). In the small park are several cast sculptures of famine victims. Slightly smaller than human size. It didn’t matter what nationality they were representing. They served as a sharp reminder and contrast: our world of plenty, and the needs of others around the world. Or arriving in our city. A young woman was meditating on the grass and that seemed fitting.

A little further west is the Toronto Inukshuk Park, on another small plot of green. If you drive along the Lakeshore, you may have seen the towering stone Inukshuk. But until noticing it on the map one day, I’d had no idea it was there. It’s a welcoming symbol of presence, of course. And also a reminder that our land has a long and rich history. And that we share it with many.

Not far from there, we easily found the brand new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail. An old Ontario Place parking lot was used to create this pretty lakeside retreat. Paths, hills, trees, a beach fire pit, a beautiful soaring sun-shade, carved walls. And: nice new bathrooms! That’s something we often miss, on our long walks! (Most parks will have a tough time measuring up!) Anyway, this smallish, meandering path-park is shiny and green and blooming, at the moment. I hope it is a harbinger of great things to come, on the rest of the (former) Ontario Place lands. Are they also scheduled for re-development? In the distant future? Only time and budget will tell.

As we reached the end of the Davis Trail, we were able to enter Ontario Place (plenty of folks were around, on foot, on bikes). At the moment, it is not locked. For me, it was definitely worth a wander. I worked there one summer, long ago. And before and after that, shared many family outings, concerts, picnics, films and more, on those little islands, in the Forum, and in the wonderful Cinesphere. It still looks wonderful. I do hope they take care of it. We shall see.

If you were a fan of Ontario Place, you should visit. Have a look around. The familiar buildings are still there. See if you can imagine what they might do with it! I certainly hope they keep the amazing structures. They were – and still are – a beautiful part of recent Toronto history.

We walked partway along the exit bridge, over to the CNE grounds and were treated to an excellent rain-shower! (Yes, some of us then grabbed transit home!)

And while we were walking in Toronto, Helena was walking in Gravenhurst. She kindly shared these photos of lake and forest – beautiful!

Click on any image in either gallery for larger files, in carousel slide-show.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, July 02, 2017
:

Happy Canada Day weekend! Meet at the Y at 9:00, as always. This week, three more small parks! And an outdoor photo exhibition. We’ll take transit to the Corktown neighbourhood to see the photos (Making Peace), then visit Corktown Common (we’ve walked past it once before, but much too quickly!), followed by a brief walk to Sherbourne Common (a really interesting installation and landscape), and then a quick visit to Sugar Beach (if the weather is nice… maybe we can sit under an umbrella!). Looks like we’ll have another warm and sunny morning to explore. After the parks, an iced tea break will definitely be in order! I won’t call this brunch (saving that for a couple of weeks!), but we may want to grab a cold beverage and a snack for our streetcar trip back.

Coming right up:

A repeat of something we’ve enjoyed in the past: The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. It’s pretty close so we’ll walk there and enjoy at our leisure. More on that, in a few days.

Our Guild Park theatre plans should be discussed. The play this year is Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. Interested? great! Curious? Look it up and see if it appeals. This is a ticketed event, and seats are on the grass (we’ll bring blankets and whatever… ) The Sunday dates are at 7:30 in the evening – not ideal for some of us (including me, alas!). So, when it gets a bit closer, I will see whether people would consider a mid-week matinée. Let me know your thoughts, on Sunday. A bit of individual planning involved for that.

We’ll continue to walk every Sunday morning! If it’s hot out, we’ll try to keep it brief. Or we’ll have plenty of core-coolers!

See you soon!

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Of lanes and gardens

This week, Three Small Parks.

But first, about last week :

Someone, somewhere, online suggested that the whole city should check out the newly named Art Lives Here Lane. (Woo-hoo!) (Or so they implied.) That sounded great, so off we marched. But after planning that destination, I heard of another lane-in-progress (with pollinator murals going on the garage doors, the very day of our walk!). Hmmm, I thought: what could be more interesting? But I figured it might be too much. We were going to walk right past that one and save it for another day.

Luckily, I realized how darned close it was to our route, and we agreed to detour a bit and see the new work. Were we ever pleased to do so! We turned towards Garrison Creek Park (just north of Dupont, east of Ossington) and immediately saw that some of the garage murals were already complete and others were well in progress. (This was a 9:45 a.m. on a Sunday, don’t forget! Impressive!) We instantly ran into Toronto street artist extraordinaire, Nick Sweetman! What a treat – as I’ve long admired his work. We’ve seen Nick’s bees, and, fairly nearby, his terrific octopus… and here he was, early in the morning, coordinating these garage murals. At the time, we weren’t sure what his own result there would be. So we’ll definitely go back. (I’ve seen it now – can’t wait to share!) The lane will be called Butterflyway, and, according to Sweetman, was instigated by David Suzuki. Nice. (When we do return, you’ll see the very amusing D.S. mural in the group.) In the meantime, we spoke to some of the other artists and really enjoyed our side trip.

And, really, thank goodness for that. Because once we reached our original destination it was a little disappointing. Yes, there were a few murals, and there were also some small prints of artwork and little acrylic paintings, too – posted here and there in the Art Lives Here Lane. Quite charming. But it was not exactly what we’d expected. Both those lanes are worth future visits, to see how things continue to develop. Very interesting.

On our way out of Art Lives Here, we ran into Elizabeth’s niece, Carol, a horticulturist, and enthusiastic home gardener, too. She was pleased to show us her front garden, and veggie and perennial gardens in the back yard, too. That really was a special treat. Thanks, Carol, for being so hospitable! We really loved that fireworks Allium!!!! Wow!

What a terrific morning! Have a look at the murals and plants. It was all wonderful:

Click on any image for larger files, in carousel slide-show.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, June 25, 2017
:

Meet at the Y at 9:00. South of here, along the lake, we’ll visit three places. In no particular order: Inukshuk Park, Ireland Park and the brand new Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail. Yes, that’s right: the old Ontario Place parking lot is now a walking/biking park! It will continue to evolve, but I thought it would be great to see it while it’s still fresh. So we can compare thoughts on this, later, once the park concept in that whole Ontario Place zone… continues!

No matter what the weather, we’ll be along the lake, once we reach our destinations. Should be a great morning for it! Do join us!

Coming right up:

Still ahead: A picnic. Start thinking about where? And what to bring!
A play. (I will let you know when you should book tickets.)
Seeking early Toronto in old bank buildings! (And if they are now home to cafés, okay!)
A ferry trip to the Islands, once that is possible.
Tea at an historic inn. (Pinkies up, please.) (Montgomery’s Inn, here we come!)
A trip to Corktown and Sherbourne Commons, and Sugar Beach.
Summer patio brunch in High Park, just because.

We’ll continue to walk every Sunday morning! If it’s hot out, we’ll try to keep it brief. Or we’ll have plenty of core-coolers!

See you soon!

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A Green Mile (or three!)

This week, a special lane…

But first, about last week :

We enjoyed our return to The Green Line – our third visit (the second long visit… and the second one to culminate in a cool gelato snack!). This lovely series of almost-connected parks and parkettes angles north and west. The trees were shady and plenty of things were in bloom, including the scented rugosa roses. Lovely! The greenery was a huge boon on such a hot and humid day. (We did earn that little snack break! Yes, we did!) Thanks to the terrific group of walkers for joining in such a great Sunday morning exploration.

We encountered colourful little hanging notes, all through the parks, advising of this weekend’s BeeLine on the Green Line – a walk/community event promoting pollinators in parks. Sorry about that planning miss! 🙂 But… if you want to check that out, it’s this Sunday afternoon. We’ll head in a slightly different direction, but you could always dash over there after our lane walk!

Here’s a quick look at our walk:

Click on any image for larger files, in carousel slide-show.

Check out our previous visit to The Green Line, too. The repeats may give you a chuckle!

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, June 18, 2017
:

Meet at the Y at 9:00. We’ll walk north again, this time to the Christie and St. Clair West area, to see a lane full of amazing painted garages. And… that’s it! It’s Father’s Day, and a few of us will have afternoon plans, so I wanted to keep this walk pretty compact. You can walk up and back with us, or grab TTC at any spot you like, for the trip back. The forecast says warm and rainy, so check before you head out. Maybe an umbrella will be in order?

This particular lane (between Wychwood and Kenwood Avenues) has just been officially named Kenwood Lane. The naming ceremony is on Saturday (so… it might be much busier then). Hopefully, early Sunday morning, we can ramble up the lane and enjoy the murals at our leisure.

Coming right up:

A picnic.
A play.
Seeking early Toronto in old bank buildings! (And if they are now home to cafés, okay!)
A ferry trip to the Islands, once that is possible.
Tea at an historic inn. (Pinkies up, please.)
A trip to Corktown. For many reasons.
Summer patio brunch in High Park!

And plenty more. Please c’mon along. We walk every Sunday morning!

See you soon!

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Art-stroll

Up the Green Line…
But first, about last week: 

Anna had suggested we visit the West End Art Collective’s Art Tour – so we chose some of the studios, shops, offices and restaurants in The Junction that were hosting a number of local artists. We enjoyed seeing the work and meeting the painters (as it turned out, we did see mostly painters). Some of the displays were particularly wonderful, and the weather cooperated completely (probably because we were all carrying umbrellas!).

I didn’t take any photos of art works – just didn’t seem right – but have a look at the website, if you like, to see a few works by each painter. Definitely a great Sunday morning thing to do. We enjoyed seeing the works of, and some brief visits with, Marilyn Scott, Tosh Jeffrey, Bernadette Hunt, Christine Jermyn, Eleanor Lowden, Elizabeth Crammond, Claire Lyons, Cid Palacio, and Phyllis McKeown. Thanks to all of them for their hospitality. At the end of our looking about, we purchased some treats to take home (maybe slightly too sweet treats???) and then walked a bit further to enjoy another little snack at Malta Bake Shop – always good for a smile.

Our route there took us north along the RailPath and then west along Dundas. Various methods were used to return home! Thanks to everyone for sharing a really good morning!

 

This week, Sunday June 11, 2017

A simple walk, up the Green Line Park, from Ossington over to Earlscourt Park. If it’s a wonderful day, we may walk back the same way, and explore the future, eastern part of the park, which it is hoped will eventually range over to Spadina.

Coming right up:

Wonderful summer walks ahead! If you haven’t joined us in a while, we hope you’ll be back soon. If you’re travelling, we’ll see you when you return.

I’m keeping this report brief so I can send it out… now! Great future walking ideas always welcome!

See you soon!

 

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Doors Open, all over!

Our first ART TOUR!
Before that, last week:

Another wonderful day of Doors Open Toronto, on record. The weather cooperated and the three places we chose to visit were interesting and even eye-opening. The day was far longer than I had planned, so thanks to all who joined us for one, two, all three building visits, and then even a late patio gastropub lunch at The Irv! (Way beyond the call of duty, but we managed!) What a completely satisfying day! Check out the photos and see what you think. And… yes, we’ll go again next year. How could we not? (There are still at least 100 sites we haven’t seen yet!)

Click on any image for larger files, in carousel slide-show

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, June 04, 2017
:

Meet at the Y at 10:00! Don’t worry if you’re a few minutes late: we’ll wait. (If you’ll be later, text or call me that morning and we’ll figure out where/when to meet.)

We going on an Art Tour! Anna suggested this excellent plan, inspired by Toronto’s West End Art Collective. We’ll have a good walk, and see some beautiful art work, too. Sounds like the perfect Sunday morning. I’ve printed a map, chosen a few options, and we’ll create our own walk. Then maybe we can convene to discuss it all, over a Bloor West coffee and snack?

COMING RIGHT UP:

When walking last week, we talked about afternoon tea at Toronto’s various historic houses. Let’s go to one of those! And some outdoor theatre. And a picnic. It looks like we may not get to the Island this year, but we’ll talk about what might take the place (temporarily) of our visit to the Strawberry Tea.

Then, more outdoor art, more parks, more rivers. And maybe a donut fest! 😉

Other ideas?

 

Please feel free to bring a friend along to share our walks.
We’ll see you soon.

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Walk… or just talk!

Doors Open Toronto is back!
But first, about last week: 

A nice group strolled the short distance to St. Anne’s Church, expecting to meet more fellow walkers, and artist Mike Ormsby, for a larger walk-about to the area’s Indigenous historical landmarks. But Sunday’s rainstorms loomed and Mike wisely decided to keep the discussion indoors. I couldn’t stay for that, but I’m glad that a bunch of you did. I hear that he demonstrated canoe-building techniques, showed slides, and spoke of some area history. Hopefully he will be able to offer the walk another time. We’ll watch for it.

No event photos this time, but here’s a cheery spring picture of my trek back home:

Billions of maple keys in Fred Hamilton Park

This week, Sunday, May 28, 2017:

ANOTHER LATER START!

Doors Open Toronto has arrived. I hope you’ll visit the website and choose several things to do on Saturday. And maybe an extra event or walk or building to visit on Sunday, too. Here are the things I suggest we try . . . but we can revise this plan, or divide and conquer, as necessary! Three ideas here. You can come along for all of it, or just the start. (And we may change plans!)

1. We’ve visited from the outside, so I suggest we first walk to the new Daniels Architecture Building at One Spadina. This new U of T building, combining an historical edifice of some beauty with a splashy contemporary north-side entry pavilion, has been under construction and renovation for a couple of years. The outside looks wonderful. We’ve walked around it and tried to peer through the hoardings! Let’s go and be among the first to see what’s inside, and this first public opportunity to do so. It’s not quite finished, but… al the more intriguing! Admittance starts at 10:00, so WE WILL MEET AT 9:30, this week!

2. Next, we will aim to be at Native Child and Family Services by noon, or by 1:00 (if we’re having too much fun at the Daniels Building!). Hourly tours there will include discussion of the building, and share the sacred fire pit, the healing lodge and medicinal garden, and also seeing the creation of a new rooftop mural.

3. If everyone still feels keen and energetic, we’ll head further east. Bring TTC fare. And maybe your lawyer’s phone number! Yes, we’re going to jail. The old Don Jail, that is. Now an administrative building, part of Bridgepoint Health Services, the building has been completely renovated for its new function. There’s an outdoor sculpture garden that may also appeal. Then, we’ll walk along Riverside Park East to see one of the most beautiful views of the Toronto skyline. We can subway home from there. Or you may have other Doors Open plans. If so, great!

This will all take a bit of time, so you can expect brunch or a tasty coffee/snack, somewhere en route. It’s going to be a great day!

Coming right up:

Happy travels to all the wandering walkers – some friends have set off for other horizons. Temporarily! I hope you’re fitting in a walk or two, too. Share photos of your hikes, if you like. Do bring back some stories to share.

Next week? Anna has suggested a studio tour that sounds terrific. I’m just considering which studios will be really appealing (as well as make a good walk for us!). Stay tuned. This will be interesting!

More great stuff,  just ahead.

See you soon!

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Tulips don’t disappoint

This week, the history of our amazing Indigenous neighbourhood.

But first, about last week:

It was complicated by TTC detours, but Julie and Elizabeth met at Riverdale Park… and even ended up crossing paths with Skylar and family there, too! Clearly, that was the place to be. I’m so glad you all had a tulip day! Elizabeth shared some photos of the ravine walk and the lovely blooming forest tulips that she and Julie enjoyed. First, they visited the animals, and later found a patio to enjoy breakfast… until the rain came down! This sounds like it was my kind of Sunday morning! I’m pleased that it worked out – and sorry the rest of us missed it.

Feeling inspired by Elizabeth’s photos? Don’t worry – this walk definitely qualifies as one of our “annual destinations.” We’ll go again. Just look at the day, and the colours of those tulips! Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your stories, J and E. Larger group, next time! (And you can introduce us to that new brunch patio!)

Click on any photo for larger image in a carousel slideshow.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, May 21, 2017:

A later start, and a fascinating double project.
Meet at the Y at NOON.

From our usual meeting point, we will head over to local church, St. Anne’s. This special walk will be led by artist, canoe-builder and educator, Mike Ormsby. Mike will share some of the history of Indigenous peoples in this area, pre-dating European settlement, and on. The walk will run from 12:30 until about 4:00. I hope it will be an eye-opener.

Mike has also curated an exhibition of art works in various media, currently displayed at St. Anne’s. In Paddling Together, Indigenous artists have created pieces to reflect on themes of reconciliation. You may have a chance to see the art works after the walk, but if you choose to return another time, the exhibition dates and times are here.

Rain or shine, so bring an umbrella.

Coming right up:

Next weekend: Doors Open Toronto! I’ll try to suggest several great options, but have a look at the schedule and see if something particularly appeals to you. Maybe you can fit in several visits. (Yep, it’s been done! :-))

Soon: Riverdale Art Walk. Summer Theatre at The Guild Park. And hey, just a few more murals, trees, buildings, parks, flowers, rivers, lakeshore wanders and streetscapes!

See you soon!

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