Toronto Outdoor Art Fair

This week, a Jarvis Street walk
But first, about last week:

A long, long Toronto tradition, the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition changed its name (“Exhibition” became “Fair”), but the astounding number of very good artists and makers was still there. We enjoyed the visit and the look-about. We split up on arrival, so we could each linger over things that interested us. Then we met up afterwards to talk a bit about what we’d seen. Mind you, the very hot morning, walking around on concrete, meant that we lost one walker on the way over (she knew her limits), and one right after looking around for a while (we were mostly overheated, and had additional plans). And so it goes, with summer walks. Sometimes, enough is enough! But we did enjoy it.

Elizabeth and I decided to have lunch after our Fair visit, so we walked west and enjoyed a cool, spot, out of the sunshine, and caught up on life. Then, I wanted to see the performance of Calibrate (Karen Kaeja’s choreographed pas de deux with very long scarf), on the steps of City Hall’s amphitheatre, so I walked back to Nathan Phillips Square. I enjoyed every second of the performance, an excellent addition to an art-viewing day. I was pleased at the location, too: in the slightly shaded beer garden area. I had a cool red iced tea!

What an excellent morning.

About this walk’s photos: I didn’t feel keen about taking photos of artists’ booths, so my solution was a couple of “sea of tents” shot, and lots of the dance performance. Some of my favourite artists were exhibiting at the show, so I had long and short visits at a number of booths. It’s tough to convey the pleasure of that in a small online photo, but you can scroll through the show’s website. Artists are all listed, with mini-slide shows of their works.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, July 15, 2018
:

A MUCH LATER START, this week:

Meet at the West End Y at NOON!

We will take transit to Allan Gardens to see a wonderful, huge, high mural in progress near there, and visit the greenhouses. Then, a short jaunt to meet a ROM WALK, concentrating on the history of Jarvis Street. That part of the walk is about 90 minutes. Wear comfy shoes, and be prepared for weather, rain or shine! I think it’s going to be an amazing early afternoon. If you wish to speed things up, you can take transit home, too. (It looks like the ROM Walk will end back at Allan Gardens.)

If you prefer to meet us at the ROM walk, arrive at BLOOR and CHURCH Streets, and look for the Purple ROM umbrella. That specific part of our walk begins at 2:00 p.m. No cost, no registration.

COMING RIGHT UP:

Next week, another walk of historical interest, and with a slightly later start: Women of the Ward, based on stories and histories of women living and working in St. John’s Ward, the area where City Hall now stands. We’ve considered that area before, so this should be fascinating.

The following week, I won’t plan a walk (July 29th), as I’ll be away for the day. But I hope you will walk anyway. More on that, when it gets closer.

We’ll celebrate the fifth anniversary of the West End YMCA Walking Club (WestWalking, to you!) on the following week’s walk. Hmmmm, where shall we go? Stay tuned!

Feel free to bring a friend along to share our walks around Toronto.

We’ll see you soon for another great Sunday morning.

Are you just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you Sunday!

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Our very mixed Canada Day!

This week, art and more dance!
But first, about last week:

You know, it’s Little Italy in name only, these days. Those who’ve lived in this part of Toronto for many years have seen really interesting changes in stores, restaurants, and residents of the neighbourhood. And that’s great! But try explaining the moniker “Little Italy” to someone new, while showing them the three remaining Italian restaurants (and one bakery too, of course!).

Our original thought was to look around and consider where all the neighbourhood businesses, old and new, seemed to have their origins, and then wrap up at a place whose roots pre-dated them all. A _real_ Canada Day, if you will. We got a bit side-tracked (hello, Queen’s Park!), but still managed to see a lot. And we did end our walk with a delightful cool down at NishDish, with some traditional Indigenous drinks and lovely cornbread. How’s that for Canadian? Thumbs way up!

Have a look:

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, July 08, 2018
:

A LATER START, this week:

Let’s meet at 10:00 for a walk to City Hall. The Toronto Outdoor Art Fair is there this weekend and we can stroll and look. At 2:00, as part of the fair, the onsite beer garden will host a dance performance, “Calibrate” by choreographer Karen Kaeja. It sounds interesting, so I plan to stay for that. (If you do too, great!)

If you are in art-shopping mode, excellent! But looking is also encouraged. You can enjoy at your own pace – just let me know if you will meet us there, or if you plan to leave before we meet up again! More on this, on Sunday. See you at 10:00 at the Y. Or call me anytime after 10, if you want to find out where to meet us, there.

Important: we’ll be walking on hot concrete. The heat may wear you out! Make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat, and bring water! I suggest thick-soled shoes. (Thinner soles will have your feet baking, in no time!) And take advantage of cooling options (shade, more shade… and maybe cold beverages!). Alas, we’re not supposed to dip our feet into the reflecting pond!

COMING RIGHT UP:

Good summer stuff. For the next two weeks ahead, we’ll also start walks a bit later, to participate in some interesting scheduled events. Info and specific times, soon. I think you’ll like these plans! Both have historical interest. And one includes our favourite greenhouses.

The following week, I won’t plan a walk (July 29th), as I’ll be away for the day. But I hope you will walk anyway. More on that, when it gets closer. We will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the West End YMCA Walking Club (WestWalking, to you!) on the following week’s walk. Hmmmm, where shall we go? Stay tuned!

Feel free to bring a friend along to share our walks around Toronto.

We’ll see you soon for another great Sunday morning.

Are you just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you Sunday!

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Dancing in the rain

This week, a short walk in the heat
But first, about last week:

Early in spring, the call went out for people (any people!) to participate in a community line-dance. Now, I’m over-simplifying here, but I did consider doing it. Until I saw the frequent evening rehearsals that would be required to learn the 30-minute routine (to be performed at City Hall, during Luminato). Tough for me with an early morning work schedule. Or so I told myself. Let’s call that excuse #1. Then, I thought, well, I might not like the music. (excuse #2!) Then, I further mumbled to myself, well, I might not even like the choreographed dance. (egad, another excuse??) Mumble, grumble: excuses made to self not to do something new and fun. Ah well. I’m busy, so I let myself off the hook.

A few months later, Veronika expressed a desire to see the result of all those rehearsals and, again, I thought… well, it might be “okay.” Her sister was a participant, and I thought that seeing someone we knew would make this an “alright” activity. And probably a very good thing to do.

Well, what an understatement! Le Grand Continental was one of the most wonderful rainy mornings I’ve ever shared!

  • Music: fabulous (we loved being on low bleachers, right in front of huge booming speakers!)
  • Choreography: delightful (thought-provoking, releasing, sometimes mysterious or silly)
  • Dancers: every one exuding enthusiasm. Joy, embodied!

Gene Kelly be damned, this group dance project – 200 dancers on the soaking wet square – was THRILLING!

Never was so much fun had, by so many completely rain-drenched dancers and their very appreciative audience! We clapped, cheered, whistled, and, of course, tapped our feet through the entire thing.

If this event returns to Toronto, with choreographer Sylvain Emard, you will have a tough time talking me out of it!

What a rainy, joyful morning! Thanks to all who joined me – including Veronika’s sister, Carmen, who originally rehearsed with the performers. We were so glad you inspired us to attend this Sunday morning performance. We loved every minute! And it was terrific fun to see a couple of West End Y members in the assembled cast, too. Great work, everyone!

Take a peek:

There are loads of videos online. None of them (not even my own! ;-)) represent, with any accuracy at all, how thoroughly enjoyable this event was!

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, July 01, 2018
:

Meet at the Y at our usual time, 9:00 a.m.

Let’s celebrate and explore the concept of Canada Day by looking at our own diverse neighbourhood. I suggest we choose a street (maybe Bloor? maybe Queen?). Let’s wander and look at the number of businesses, restaurants, names, signs, and more, showing the effect of years, decades, and even centuries of immigration on this country, and this area of our city. Is there an interesting pattern? Does our part of Toronto recognize the early inhabitants of this land, or is that still just something we “announce” at the beginning of public events? That’s a start. But what else will we see? How many languages and countries are represented here? Which ones are missing? I think it will be good to look.

We’ll aim to return before noon. I keep saying that, I know, and we don’t always manage it. That’s okay. We must be having fun! But kidding aside, my goal this week, in light of the predicted heat wave, is to miss the hottest part of the day. Please bring water, wear a hat. You know: it’s a scorcher out there!

COMING RIGHT UP:

Sunny summer walks! Porch dances? A Jarvis Street walk with the ROM? Women of the Ward historical walk? This is going to be interesting!

Feel free to bring a friend (or family!) along to share any of our walks around Toronto.

We’ll see you soon for another great Sunday morning.

 

Are you just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you Sunday!

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An excellent Island day!

This week, dancing!
But first, about last week:

Ha-ha! I know, you’re totally curious about that “dancing” title! It’s a first!
Be patient, we’ll get to that.

So, as some of you happily recall, we’ve been to the Ward’s Island/St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church’s delightful Strawberry Social before. And we’ve loved it, each time. It’s almost not even worth telling you much about it, again, because there are only so many glowing adjectives. But I would be remiss if I didn’t say at least this much: if you didn’t join us, you really should have joined us! (So, I know we’ll see you next time!)

It was perfect weather. Our ferry trip to Hanlan’s Point was pretty, and our walk eastward along the islands from Hanlan’s was delightful. A great day with mild, sunny skies, quiet company, all of us in very good humour. We skipped the “Clothing Optional” beach (sorry) and enjoyed the shade of trees and the scent of blooming things and eventually wound our way over to lovely tea, sandwiches, punch, bubbly, and amazing strawberry shortcake. And some light, live jazz. And a few people in excellent hats!

We really enjoyed the company of a couple of new walking friends – thank you so much for joining us, Clarke and Chuck – and it was terrific to have Tony meet us at the event. Thanks to all of you for a lovely morning. (And thanks for a wonderful lunch!)

Because we attended this event ( enjoy 2016 pix, there) several times ( and 2014 pix, there) now, I will just include a few photos. Hmmmm, I should have taken some hat photos! And pictures of the cake! But still – here’s a little bit of our day:

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, June 24, 2018
:

LATER START! Let’s meet at the Y at 9:30.

To Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall we’ll go, for a dance performance! Le Grand Continental is part of the Luminato festival, and includes hundreds of local dancers, of all descriptions, in a half-hour choreographed contemporary line-dance, to a fun music score. Not only will this be fun to watch, but we even have a connection: Veronika’s sister is one of the well-rehearsed participants. It’ll be nice to cheer for someone special in the mix. Join us – I think this will be great fun.

Afterwards, we’ll devise a plan for cool refreshment. Let’s see what appetites suggest and what the weather dictates. The performance starts at 11:00, so our walk there will be leisurely. We’ll be done before noon so we may consider a light lunch. No pressure. To be determined. Chinatown? Food truck snacks on the City Hall green roof? Let’s see.

COMING RIGHT UP:

Canada Day – where shall we walk and what to see? A historical site? Or an early trail?
Theatre – join us for a mid-week matinée of Pygmalion at Guild Festival Theatre? Leave a note in the comments, for more details. Wednesday, July 25 is the planned date.
More dance – if you like? – during the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair. Interesting combo!

Lots of great walks ahead. Murals, parks, art exhibitions, and more.

Feel free to bring a friend along to share our walks around Toronto. We really enjoy that!

See you soon for another great Sunday morning. Or maybe you are away, and can’t join us? Where are YOU walking, this summer?

Are you just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you Sunday!

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Canoes and more

This week, annual Island strawberry tea retreat!

But first, about last week:

Well, first of all, about that post title! It was meant to be: Ten Interesting Things! Alas, I was distracted! So read on. Canoes are sure to appear at some point!

It was tough to limit our planned look-about walk to just ten interesting things! Having that imposed quantity actually made us look around at many, many more things. I suggested we find ten nifty things and share them, but, somehow, everything was interesting and every block had amazing flowers or a street festivity or a terrific building to enjoy. So we enjoyed them all. A bit of a hodgepodge walk, on a beautiful Sunday morning. That was fun!

Couldn’t join us? We missed you… but you can still join us, after the fact, in photos. Oops. Thirty-three photos! (I know, that’s not ten!!!) Hopefully, you’ll be able to visit some of these spots yourself:

Click on any photo to scroll through a slideshow, captions and all. It’s practically a neighbourhood tour!

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, June 17, 2018

It’s time again for the delightful ISLAND STRAWBERRY SOCIAL!

If you haven’t attended before, there are a few details to know:
We’ll take TTC to the ferry docks.
You can purchase your ferry ticket online.
We’ll go early for a long, excellent walk before lunch/tea/treat/music in the sun.

OUR PLAN:

Meet at 9:00 at the West End YMCA
TTC to ferry docks (bottom of Bay Street, south of Front)
Ferry to Hanlan’s Point (departs at 10:15 sharp)

We’ll walk east, all the way along Hanlan’s and Centre islands, to arrive at the church for the festivities at noon.

If you’re interested in the Blessing of the Boats and Bicycles (starts at 11:00), you’d need to DASH across the islands to get there in time! Or go directly to Ward’s Island and meet us there for the lunch and fun. Let me know if that’s your plan? We’ll see you there!

If you plan to meet us at the docks, please research departure times. We’ll aim to depart from there, promptly, to give plenty of walking time. So, if we miss you… you can catch up! It can be done (right, Nilla? ).

Or meet us at St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church, on Ward’s Island.

Bring the usual summer-smart stuff:

☀ sunscreen
🐛 bug spray
👒 hat (summer-tea-ready, if you like!)
😎shades
🚰 water
🌂 maybe a brolly

PLUS:

💰 TTC fare
💰 Ferry fare (return trip = $7.87, or $5.16/for 65+)
(Or order ferry ticket online and print/bring on phone.)
💰 LUNCH MONEY! Strawberry Tea (tea sandwiches, cake, beverages) costs $15. per person. Add a glass of bubbly for $8, but certainly not required – there’ll be plenty of punch, tea, coffee (included).

There’ll also be music, trees, sunshine, and even a silent auction.

BUT… if there is a rainy downpour, the event will be cancelled. Keep your eyes on the forecast. (And in case you’re worried about pre-ordering your ferry ticket… those are good until December, so I say: don’t worry.)

Plan B, in case of rain, will be a neighbourhood walk, where we can plot our next island visit instead! Sunday will be a wonderful day, no matter what the weather!

Yes, it’s Father’s Day! I hope you’ll have a chance to do something to celebrate, or in fond memory. Or bring Dad with you! (I tried to talk my dad into it… but he’s not keen! Sorry!)

I plan to return to TO on the Ward’s Island ferry at 2:15. You can certainly stay longer if you like! 🙂 (I usually do… but… it’s Father’s Day!)

COMING SOON:

Suggest a destination. Have we forgotten an interesting spot? Plenty more of our city to see. New murals, new buildings, everything in bloom. Maybe an art show. The lake. The parks. Ah, summer!

Next week, something completely different, at Nathan Phillips Square. Veronika suggested this excellent event, and I can’t wait to share it. Stay tuned for details. That date will include a later morning departure. Full info in a few days. Maybe dim sum, afterwards? That would be fun.

Recent requests include:

Back to Scarborough Bluffs, to actually see the Cathedral Bluffs!
     Definitely!

Also: Little India/India Bazaar, to see, shop, and taste.
     Lots to see and do there! Let’s go back!

Think about other Toronto landmarks you’d like to visit.
     Let’s plan together!

See you soon!

 

 

 

 

Sad, but lovely

This week, something about the number 10…
But first, about last week:

Our goal was a hidden bird-feeding sanctuary – almost a sacred secret – in the middle of High Park’s forests. Not on any map, Ben’s Place was once a welcoming, twittering, tweeting spot, full of suspended bird houses and handmade bird feeders, surrounded by Christmas ornaments, banners, flags, a picnic bench for repose (and listening), and peace. A deep green forest peace.

Now, we find that a recent storm has broken two of the tall, beautiful main trees in this lovely forest hideaway, knocking down most of the bird feeders and wreaking general havoc. But still…

… there is something to be said about the lovely quiet to be found in Ben’s Place. Ben Holloway, himself, the founder/creator/visionary of this special spot, passed away in 2014. I had thought it was much earlier. Since that time, friends and admirers had taken up Ben’s work of feeding the birds he so admired. And then the trees came down.

The spot is in disarray at the moment, but we still felt the mystery and the love. And we heard birds in the forest, though their bird feeders were not tended or filled. Of course they can take care of themselves, but there was something lovely about Ben and his affection for the birds. Maybe someone will continue his work. At the moment, it’s hard to tell.

So, we enjoyed our walk around the park, which also included an over-the-fence look at the already lush and productive allotment gardens, a stroll through the happy barking and bouncing dogs-off-leash area, and a breezy coffee break on the front patio of the Grenadier Café. We had a beautiful morning.

I’ll share some photos here, but also:

a video of Ben, sharing his love for the forest and the birds

a brief online article about Ben, including a terrific photo of him, in that spirited space

a link to an earlier post about Ben’s Place: Dawn Chorus walk
(scroll halfway down that page for Dawn Chorus Walk description and photos)

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, June 10, 2018
:

Meet at the Y at our usual time, 9:00 a.m.

It’s already June the 10th! Let’s find ten wonders. Will they be murals? Architectural delights? Amazing gardens? Or all of the above. Let’s start! Everyone can suggest a destination, or a turn on our route… as long as it’s not too far away. I already have the first one in mind. On the way there, who knows what we’ll see?

The weather forecast looks good. And for the rest of summer, I may suggest, again, the following:

🌱 🕷 – tick-proof! (If we’re in forest or grass: socks, long pants, tuck latter into former! I know. So cute!)

🌱 🐜 – skeeter-proof! (Bite-magnet? Bug spray or citronella is not a bad idea. And wear light colours.)

🌱 ☀ – sun-proof (SPF, hat, umbrella – whatever it takes!)

🌱 💲 – a little snack budget (Let’s have something cool on the way home. Bring WATER, too!)

🌱 ⛱ – hmmmm, did someone mention an umbrella? Some days, not a bad idea!

We’ll try to do this, ☔ rain or 🏖 shine. Yes, we will walk!

This week we aim to be back by noon. I keep saying that, and we don’t always manage. We must be having fun!

COMING RIGHT UP:

Something REALLY fun, next week. We’ll travel across the water for the Blessing of the Bikes and Boats… and enjoy a morning walk along the islands to the Ward’s Island Strawberry Tea. We’ve enjoyed wonderful (and delicious) afternoons there and hope this year will be idyllic. More details on this plan in a few days. It will be a long day (we’ll leave at 9:00 a.m. and be back at around 3:00 p.m.). You’ll need a budget for travel and fun (TTC, ferry trip, and the Strawberry Tea – which is actually a lovely outdoor lunch). Specifics in my next post. We hope Tony will join us for the tea!

The week after that, something very nifty, as part of Luminato! There will be sunshine, music, dance!!! Stay tuned. Thanks to Veronika for this suggestion – we can’t wait to share this one.

Feel free to bring a friend (or family!) along to share any of our walks around Toronto.

We’ll see you soon for another great Sunday morning.

 

Are you just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you Sunday!

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Another Door Opens (and lots of trees!)

This week, a possible rainy-day walk
But first, about last week:

Doors Open Toronto is now a favourite spring destination for explorers and city fans. We like to try and see something new each year, and this time was no exception. First, we visited George Brown House (a wedding and “escape room” location, also home to the first Globe publisher and one of the fathers of Confederation).

Only the first floor’s larger rooms are on display and, while they offer some interesting details (and great contrast in pattern!), I say that Spadina House offers so much more insight into life in early Toronto. That’s just a recommendation… but certainly not to suggest you shouldn’t see both! Anyway, I had always wanted to peek inside the GB House (I attended George Brown College, after all). So we had a look. I think everyone enjoyed seeing it, but there were no real surprises. The contrast of materials, some of the small architectural details, a great mantel collection of clocks and such, plus the great inlaid wood and stone mosaic floors, definitely make this house worth a visit.

Then, downtown we dashed, to see The Canada Life tower. Of course, the weather beacon, symbol of downtown T.O. for decades, can only be seen from below, and outside. But inside, up in the 17th floor’s pretty observation room, we had excellent views of the city. Good fun to finally see inside that building and enjoy a look around town from what is now kind of… middle height! Amazing what can still be seen from that height, though. Kind of delightful. And we all liked their stork symbols.

After that, a couple of us headed far west to Colonel Samuel Smith Park to meet up with two more of our favourite walkers… and a great Tree ID walk and talk, with LEAF’s arborist, Brenna Anstett. Terrific outdoor fun. This was the spring version of this tree treat. Part two, in the fall. Stay tuned.

THIS WEEK,
Sunday, June 03, 2018
:

Meet at the Y at our usual time, 9:00 a.m.

We’re going birding!

That’s right. Who knows how many birds we’ll see, but let’s give it a try. A few of us ventured into the secret sanctuary that is Ben’s Place, in High Park, a few years ago, for a wonderful walk called the Dawn Chorus. Now, I won’t suggest we set out at 4:00 a.m., but that’s what we did on that early morning, a while back. It was rather amazing. This time, we’ll see the forest, the allotment gardens, and the late Ben’s planned paradise for birds, full of delightful bird feeders (and hopefully some delightful birds, too). This is truly a hidden treasure in the forest. Do you dare to help me find it again? It’s not easy! Come on along! It’s going to be fabulous.

A few important suggestions:

🌱 🕷 – tick-proof!!! (Socks, long pants, maybe tuck latter into former! I know, right? So cute!!)

🌱 🐜 – skeeter-proof! (If you’re a bite-magnet, as I am, bug spray is not a bad idea.)

🌱 ☀ – sun-proof (I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest: SPF, hat, umbrella – whatever it takes!)

🌱 💲 – a little snack budget (Let’s have something cool on the way home. Bring WATER, too!)

🌱 ⛱ – hmmmm, did someone mention an umbrella?

We’ll try to do this, ☔ rain or 🏖 shine, unless there’s a downpour. In the case of serious rain, we’ll just do a nifty neighbourhood walk. But yes, we will walk!

I think you’ll be delighted by this little journey, so please join us. We’ll aim to be back before noon.

COMING RIGHT UP:

Something fun, next week. Stay tuned.

And something REALLY fun, the week after. Please save Sunday, June 17 for the Blessing of the Bikes and Boats… and the amazing, lovely, and delicious Ward’s Island Strawberry Tea. We’ve enjoyed wonderful afternoons there and hope this year will be just as idyllic. More details on this in a week or so. It will involve a long day (usually 9:00 a.m. to about 3:00 p.m.) and a budget for travel and fun (TTC, ferry trip, and the Strawberry Tea). Details, soon. Hope for perfect weather. We’ll make a plan B, in case it rains!

I know that date is also Father’s Day. I suppose the organizers know that, too. Just one of life’s little challenges (how to fit one hundred great weekend ideas per year into 52 weekends!). So… celebrate with any Dads you know and love, the night before? Or Sunday evening? Or… bring Dad along for the walk and the event! What a good solution!

Feel free to bring a friend (or family!) along to share our walks around Toronto.

We’ll see you soon for another great Sunday morning.

 

Are you just finding WestWalking for the first time?!

Welcome. You really should walk with us!
See you Sunday!

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