Flowers and gravestones

High Park for pre-Christmas brunch!

But first, about last week:

We enjoyed every bit of our visit to the Allan Gardens greenhouses for this year’s Christmas flower show. If you couldn’t join us… you can still go. We highly recommend it. We even ran into other friends, there! (Veronika, it was lovely to see you and the grandkids!)

Due to my miscalculation of cross-streets and quadruple-park-intersections, we didn’t make it to the Necropolis, but did enjoy (I guess!) a long walk west on Rosedale Valley Road, and then a trek back eastward to get to St. James Cemetery. We’d hoped to gain access to the lower part of St. James from Rosedale Valley, but the gates were all locked. That was quite a detour. Sorry about that!

Once we arrived at Toronto’s oldest church cemetery, we saw old and new carved memorial stones, niches, and crypts. We noticed a few well-known last names, but didn’t spy any of the big-name residents. We weren’t looking too closely – mostly interested in the carvings and the ages of the stones. On the other hand, we paid our respects at a very decorated U of T memorial to those who had donated their bodies to scientific research. This was a special destination for us. We shall visit again sometime, in warmer weather. Maybe we’ll bring flowers. And we can check the map and seek out the resting places of some of Toronto’s and Canada’s founding politicians, too.

We wrapped up our morning with a little impromptu brunch. I figured we’d go for coffee, but we were all chilled and our search for a café turned into a cozy meal at Parliament Street florist/bistro, MerryBerry, a cute spot that is about to close! Too bad, as we really enjoyed our visit. Anyway, what a nice morning. It was good to meet a couple of new walkers, too – also neighbours. I hope you can join us this week, too!

My phone-camera was sensitive to the cold temperature that day and kept shutting off, so… here are a few photos from the greenhouses. Still one of our favourite destinations. And a couple of street shots:

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, December 17, 2017
:

Meet at the Y at 9:00, as usual. We will leave promptly, so please be in touch if you are delayed. Or if you will join us at our destination.

As we do several times a year, we’ll walk west to High Park and enjoy an early brunch at the Grenadier Café. This has been a winter tradition for a few years now, and something we all look forward to. If you haven’t joined us in a while, we would enjoy your company! If you want to drive or transit over, just for the brunch part, do that! No worries! This is just a nice way of getting together before we all get busy with families and holidays and winter rituals! (like… hibernation, for instance! that’s a winter ritual, after all! ;-))

If you haven’t been to the Grenadier before, have a peek at the menu online. It’s reasonable. If you are meeting us there, rather than coming along for the brisk walk over, we should arrive at around 10:00, if lucky, and we’ll find a table large enough for our group in the back dining room. Let’s be in touch, if you will meet us there, to figure out the size of the group. Do call me, any time after 9:15 a.m. I look forward to some seasonal celebrating with as many as can join us!

Bundle up for that walk over!!!

COMING RIGHT UP:

Sure, winter is almost here, but our walks won’t stop. We’ll take neighbourhood or downtown walks on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve Sundays, because… why not?!

In January, we’ll take a later trip west for a tasty afternoon tea in an historical inn. (Really! or perhaps I should say, “At last!” We’ve planned that for a couple of years.)

Soon: we’ll visit this year’s offerings of several interesting public art installations: Ice Breakers (on Queen’s Quay), Winter Stations (on The Beach), and a new one: Light Fest! Stay tuned for details. Cool stuff along the water. Pun intended, I suppose. Plenty of great winter walking, just ahead!

See you soon!

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Our week off!

Christmas flowers, history, memories…

But first, about last week:

No photos this time! Last Sunday, I was at a family pre-Christmas event outside St. Catharines and enjoyed a long and festive driving and dining day. No real walking, other than to and from the rental van! But it was a fun festivity with family, good weather, nice food, and completely calm highway driving. I was very glad of that excellent road behaviour, and so were the passengers (several of whom napped in the van!).

Here in town, Julie and Sally headed out for a walk and then revised their plans to suit the weather. Sounds like that was fun, too. I hope your Sunday was terrific, wherever you roamed. Or maybe you just relaxed at home. Also good!

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, December 10, 2017
:

Meet at the Y at 9:00, as usual. We have a double-barrelled plan. First, a streetcar trip to this year’s winter floral display at Allan Gardens greenhouses. If you will meet us there, remember that doors open at 10:00. We wouldn’t want you standing around in the c-c-c-cold! This year’s exhibit looks beautiful. Let’s go see! I’m eager to admire the floral peacock, and smell the cedar and pine scented air. Nice!

Then, we’ll walk a bit further east and north to visit the Toronto Necropolis and St. James Cemetery. These two are the oldest formal cemeteries in Toronto. Yes, there are older burial grounds. Researching and finding those could be a very interesting spring project. Let’s plan that, too.

In the meantime, on this chilly day ahead, connecting these two spots could include a bit of adventure: we may decide to try the park-to-park-to park route, along the Rosedale Valley Road ravine (if so, there’ll be a hill to navigate…), or maybe we’ll prefer walking up Parliament (always interesting). We might see a bit of snow on the headstones of Toronto’s history-makers, in both spots. Or maybe it will be mild. Tough to predict the weather on these pre-solstice mornings. We shall soon see! I hope you’ll join us for this interesting combination walk. Bundle up. (Better to remove layers than to shiver and regret! :-))

If you can’t join us for this great morning walk, there is still plenty to see and do on Sunday. City Hall’s art fair is open on the square, all day, until 23 December. Brookfield Place’s great snowflakes are there to enjoy for at least another two weeks (don’t forget to touch the large one, for colour-change!). There’s a community concert at St. Anne’s Church on Sunday afternoon – it sounds great. Somehow, there is just too little time to “do it all.” But we shall try to “do some!”

May your December be cozy and bright! And may it include many beautiful walks.

COMING RIGHT UP:

Next week, our annual around-Christmas-time brunch at High Park’s Grenadier Café! EVEN if YOU RARELY JOIN US… this is the one! Please check next week’s post and try to be there. We’d love to see you! And, after all, there will be French toast! 😉

Walks won’t stop – we’ll take neighbourhood walks on both the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve Sundays, because… why not?!

In January, we’ll take a later trip west for a tasty afternoon tea in an historical inn. (Yes, really! or perhaps I should say, “At last!” We’ve been planning that for a couple of years.)

And, soon: we’ll see this year’s installations of Ice Breakers, Winter Stations, and a new one: Light Fest! Stay tuned. Cool stuff along the water. Plenty of great winter walking, just ahead!

See you soon!

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India Bazaar

This week, you’re on your own. I’ll suggest some destinations!

But first, about last week:

Ah, Little India! It’s a neighbourhood full of food and fabrics and jewels and colour and spice. It’s also slowly disappearing. Indian food shops close and hipster cafés open. ‘Tis the way of our city, it seems. And some of that is interesting. Time does march on, and people do move. But somehow, I feel we need to see all there is now, before it vanishes. So three of us set out to look and enjoy and taste. We enjoyed saris and uthapam with tamarind and cooking gadgetry (though I still haven’t found my almond slicer!). But we also saw lane murals, art galleries, and a huge and wonderful quotation from Malala Yousafzai. It was a wonderful morning. Thanks so much for being a part of it!

Have a peek – and then, sometime, do go visit! We shall definitely go again! Maybe we’ll find a perfect summer day for that.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, December 03, 2017:

Sorry, but I can’t join you this Sunday. I will suggest some destinations, and also suggest that you just go see these things and enjoy! Don’t worry about meeting up at the Y (it seems that people are less likely to do this stuff when the wrangler is away from the corral!). So just go! Walk! Enjoy! Look around! Maybe even send me a photo or two, to include in the next post. Here are a couple of thoughts:

You could check out City Hall’s great Christmas Fair – opening this weekend. It starts at NOON on Nathan Phillips Square. Music, art, crafts, food, the lovely tree, skaters to watch. Sounds like fun! (Not sure the tree will be lit in the daytime – one friend tells me that they seem to be saving money on hydro. I do not object to that! :-)).

OR! You could check out Allan Gardens’ annual Christmas flower show. Yes, we always go! But I can go another time, so don’t worry about that! Go and enjoy. There will be warm cider, cookies, carolling and more! The preview Elizabeth shared with me showed a glorious floral peacock. Check it out! The greenhouses open at 10, but the “event” begins at NOON. See – what a relaxed day you can have? Sleep in. Lovely!

We will see who-goes-where… and then decide where to go the following week. Sound like a plan? I hope you walk, and I hope you have a great Sunday morning. I’ll be driving to a family event near Niagara and celebrating an early Christmas with a rowdy crew (NOT!). Should be fun. So, more on pre-Christmas walking plans… later.

Coming right up:

Whatever you don’t see this week, we shall go visit next week! So, maybe City Hall, Eaton Centre’s reindeer, and the Brookfield Place snowflakes.

Or maybe Allan Gardens. Or maybe you’ll have other suggestions?

The following week: brunch in the park! Stay tuned.

See you soon! Bundle up. It’s almost winter. Eek! ❄️❄️❄️

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Christmas Windows

This week, EAST!

But first, about last week:

We took a short, brisk walk to Hudson’s Bay’s 2017 Christmas windows, and were not disappointed. Definitely worth a look, if you’re downtown. The colours and sparkle would be lovely in the dark! (And photos might be easier, without daytime reflections.) We made the most of the morning: a hot beverage and some great conversation, a rather quick look at the windows, and then we all dashed off to various other activities. Thanks for making the morning bright and festive. (Chilly!!! But still bright and festive!) I suggested a peek at the Eaton Centre’s indoor 100-foot-high tree (which Anna and I had really enjoyed, a few days earlier). And also the gorgeous, giant lit-up reindeer ornaments. I hope you went for a look. I do like those reindeer!

I’d mentioned that we might also see the City Hall Christmas tree on that walk, but of course… they’re just lighting it tonight! We may take another downtown walk while that tree is still up, so will see it then. If any of you were there for this evening’s tree-lighting and concert, we’d love to hear about that! Chilly but excellent, I’ll bet.

Here are a few pix, but these windows are better seen in person!

I haven’t completely resolved the website photo-space issue, but will gradually reduce the size of most of the past photos so more room is freed up. In the meantime, because linking to anything takes no room at all… thought you might enjoy a little trailer from The Bay windows, so here’s a short video of one of them, on YouTube:

Next time, must remember to hold phone/camera in landscape orientation, when I plan to share a video! This was a little last-minute solution to the photo issue – you’ll hear us chatting in the background. We loved them all, but the streetcars in this window were a delight.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, November 26, 2017:

Meet at the West End Y at 10:00.

Transit fare needed.

It’s going to be a cool, grey Sunday. A trip to Little India will brighten things up! Are you game? We can confirm this, once we meet. If you like the plan, we’ll have a sight-seeing streetcar trip east, then see bright colours in some new murals, and windows full of gorgeous silk saris and jewellery, plus: interesting cookware, and plenty of things to cook, too!

If you like, let’s have a light brunch at Udupi Palace, after our walkabout in the neighbourhood. They open at 12. We can have a cup of chai, share a few idli and some dosas, samosas, uthapam. Delicious! If you’re not familiar with dosas, have a look at the menu and see what you think. And no pressure! If you want to join us for the walk and then hop back on transit, no problem.

Coming right up:

NEXT WEEK, I’m attending a family event out of town. So I’ll suggest that you transit over to Allan Gardens for the opening of the Christmas flower show, and then walk back. The greenhouses look gorgeous this year! How do I know? Just a helpful little photo teaser shared by Elizabeth! More details, in a few days. If you decide to walk elsewhere instead, we shall go the following week. Can’t wait to see the flowers.

Later: A pre-Christmas walk to High Park for brunch in the forest! (Don’t worry – we’ll eat indoors!) As planned for a while: St. James Cemetery and the Toronto Necropolis. Let’s find a Sunday Christmas market. And enjoy a winter afternoon tea. The snowflake installation at Brookfield Place is up again. (That would be a reason to pass the City Hall tree.) And maybe you’ll suggest somewhere great to walk, too? Excellent. We are ready to walk!

See you soon! Please bundle up. It’s almost winter! ❄️❄️❄️

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Reggae Lane!

This week, a short walk!

But first, about last week:

Great to take a really long walk, once in a while! And we did. The walk up Oakwood to Eglinton was a good thing on a cool Sunday morning. The Oakwood Station, underway at the top of the street, is still very much in initial stages, but it seemed like an interesting opportunity to consider Toronto’s transit changes and challenges. And it’ll be interesting to see it, when completed! We walked a bit south to see Reggae Lane’s two large music murals, too. Good fun. The walk up and back included a few rather lovely examples of painted Bell wiring boxes, and even more murals. And some lovely aging tile-mosaic work, on a little retaining wall.

Suffice to say this: we had a rather nice walk. And also a shared treat, at Mabel’s! (no photos because: cinnamon buns!!!! Way too distracting!) A tasty way to wrap up our wandering morning.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, November 19, 2017:

Meet at the West End Y, at our usual 9:00.

Let’s go see the Hudson Bay Christmas windows. This is kind of a tradition now, and makes for a relaxed walk. I must be back at the Y before noon. So I may hop on transit at 11:00 and head home. But you might want to explore further. That would be great! So, please come along for a cool morning exploration and we’ll see a few lovely things… including the City Hall Christmas tree.

Anna and I went to the big unveiling of the Eaton Centre 100-foot-tall tree, this week. We sang along with Choir! Choir! Choir! and enjoyed all the mayhem that accompanies such an enormous event.

The beautiful lighted reindeer ornaments in the mall are also particularly worth seeing, I think (especially with a smaller crowd!!!). We might want to drop in and see those, too.

We will carefully miss the traffic of the Santa Claus Parade! 🙂 If you want to watch that, or walk along with it, you’ll be able to do so, shortly after our walk: it starts at Bloor and Christie at 12:30, and winds its way downtown, all the way to the St. Lawrence Market, probably arriving there around 3:00. (And… you might even see Santa!)

Coming right up:

Something to warm us up! A spicy brunch in India Bazaar. A lovely traditional afternoon tea. And a lot more!

See you soon!

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Parkdale & the lake!

(Sorry! We didn’t manage the cemetery in the rain!)

This week: Reggae Lane!

But first, about last week:

Four of us met at the Y, and we mostly agreed that a cemetery on a ravine wouldn’t be best enjoyed on a rainy day!

So we walked south through Parkdale to see fall colours, enjoy a few murals (even some new ones… to us), say hello to a couple of favourite bridges and the lake, and then up Roncesvalles to enjoy a hearty brunch. We had umbrellas up for most of the walk. For a rainy day? It turned out rather well! Thanks, all! I had a great morning!

Sorry, no brunch pix! 🙂 (But there was French toast.)

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, November 12, 2017:

Meet at the Y at our usual time: 9:00.

Rain is still in the forecast, so the usual comments apply (layers, umbrellas, good footwear… and we might need a coffee or tea stop!). We’re walking alllllll the way up Oakwood to see the new construction. Yep, believe it or not, a new subway stop is underway, directly north of our own ‘hood. Should be interesting… in a year or two. But the way the place is being built is fascinating. Come see what I mean. Very cool: horizontal cranes!

Then, while we’re in that area, we’ll visit Reggae Lane, full of murals and fun. All in an interesting, evolving neighbourhood. This is a fairly long walk. It can be one-way, if you like! 🙂 We can walk back, if you like, but if rain and the distance have tired us out, we’ll take transit home. But not from that new crosstown subway outpost… yet! 🙂

Coming right up:

We will keep trying to get to St James Cemetery! Also: Little India for a vegetarian dosa brunch. Montgomery’s Inn for afternoon tea. And lots of fall colour! And then, festive winter lights and ornaments and Christmas decor, a plenty, to visit. We have plans! Join us.

See you soon!

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Bells and brunch

This week, a rainy cemetery wander.

But first, about last week:

We finally arrived at the University of Toronto’s Soldiers’ Tower carillon in time to hear the bells being played. What a lovely Sunday morning sound. This may have been a rehearsal of pieces to be played at the Remembrance Day performance (on Friday). But it was lovely to hear, at any time.

We enjoyed a good walk, some good conversation, and some fun dumplings and other dim sum to share, at Rol San. A pretty great morning!

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, November 05, 2017:

Meet at the Y at our usual time: 9:00.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO SET YOUR CLOCK BACK, the night before! We get a much-deserved extra hour of sleep!

We will take the streetcar east, over to Cabbagetown, and head into the Toronto Necropolis and St. James’ Cemetery. Lots of interesting Torontonians buried or memorialized there. This will be an interesting place to visit again, on what may be a grey day. Now… IF IT IS RAINING… I say we go anyway! But let’s discuss it when we meet. Bring an umbrella, dress in layers, the usual practical recommendations! We can enjoy a cup of something warm before heading home.

If the weather doesn’t lend itself to such explorations, let’s talk on Sunday! There’s always mall-walking!!!!! (or not!)

Coming right up:

Little India for a vegetarian dosa brunch. Montgomery’s Inn for afternoon tea. And lots of fall colour! Join us.

See you soon!

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