Black & White, in Colour

15 December 2014 – I’m crossing the Don River on the Dundas St. bridge and my mind is ahead of my feet, hoping the kangaroo will still be there. (It’s not like you can count on kangaroos in Toronto, especially in winter.)

But I do stop a moment, stare south-east across the water. Suddenly a decades-old voice floats in my ear, & I laugh again at the way a friend once described her husband’s home town in hard-rock mining country. “It’s the kind of place,” she said, “where you take a colour photo, and it still turns out black & white.”

Dundas St. bridge over Don River

See why her quip comes to mind?

That’s OK, colour is not my top priority today, even though — as you all know by now — I’m on permanent alert for whatever colour I can find to brighten the grey season.

But, today, I want that kangaroo!

Back story: every Saturday, my partner & I reward ourselves with a mid-morning half-carafe (dark) at Merchants of Green Coffee, a former jam factory on the east bank of the Don, now turned coffee importer/roaster/wholesaler/retailer & events location. This week we were chattering as usual as we approached the door, and then stopped flat.

Which is what you do, for a kangaroo. Whether real, or made of ice.

“There was a party here last night,” said the young woman preparing our half-carafe (Sumatra this time).  “They must have carved him to welcome the guests. Don’t think he’ll last long, everything’s melting today.” She was right, and since I didn’t have a camera with me at the time, I decided to add a Kangaroo Hunt detour to my planned Saturday walk.

So here I am, and yes I’m in luck. And yes, he is melting fast. All the more reason to love him while we have him.

ice kangaroo, Merchants Green Coffee

The advantage of my Kangaroo Hunt is that my camera & I are now right across the street from Joel Weeks Park, so I can finally pay attention to the latest wildlife additions to the park. They, too, are sculptures, but unlike the ‘roo they’ll be with us for a while.

fox sculpture, Joel Weeks Park

Fox in the foreground; beaver across the park to the left, each on his own handsome rock. When I come closer to the fox, I can see there is imagery carved into the rock as well.

detail, fox sculpture Joel Weeks Park

Same with the beaver …

beaver, Joel Weeks Park

… who rests so sturdily on his hind paws and broad tail.

beaver, Joel Weeks Park

Later, online, I learn these pieces are the work of Aboriginal artists Mary Ann Barkhouse and Michael Belmore, and draw on traditional Ojibway design as they pay tribute to the ecosystem of the Don River — which is where this park, like MGC, is located. (I also learn there is a third sculpture, squirrels holding up a giant acorn, which I somehow totally missed! My apologies, & I promise you the Squirrel Update sometime soon.)

All of that is lovely, but still pretty relentlessly black-&-white-in-colour. Will there be any colour hits this walk at all?

Not on near-by residential streets, as I weave north toward Danforth Avenue. I am, for example, charmed by this tiny front-steps snowman, patted into shape on Friday and fast losing shape today …



… but it’s not a whole feast of colour, is it? Unless you count the snowshovel handle.

So I am reconciled to a black-&-white walk. And I have to acknowledge that, if I’m willing to meet it half-way, the muted tones have their own beauty.

But! Wait! ‘Way along the Danforth, after I’ve done some boring chores … yes, one burst of colour.

mailboxes on the Danforth near Pape

In the grey season, you take your colour where you find it.



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  1. Really great tour and those are amazing animal sculptures on top of carved granite! Clever saying by your friend but the starkness of winter coloured scenes have a special beauty as your photos show.

  2. love the critters and a red door…feels very Canadian 😀

    • Oh I’m glad you like that red & white door! I agree very Canadian. I also liked the strict geometry of the layout. Maybe ‘geometry’ isn’t the word, but it feels like it ought to be …

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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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