Saturday & Snow & Back to the 70s

8 February 2015 – The snow was anticipated, it was absolutely certain this would be another walk in the snow. Didn’t expect to revisit the 70s, though.

It’s not yet snowing as we walk back home from our Saturday morning visit to Merchants of Green Coffee. Despite the grey day, we four are buzzed and not just from the caffeine bouncing through our systems. We’e been exploring the building’s heritage industrial architecture, and learning more about MGC’s  partnership with a Honduran women’s co-op in Cafe Solar, the world’s first coffee produced by 100% renewable energy.

But my head snaps back from Honduras to Toronto when I see the latest stage in that Regent Park demolition. (My Little Boxes post shows an earlier stage.)

Regent Park demolition

With the east-end wall removed, it’s now like some wild ship’s prow, braving the elements.

Which is what I do later myself, heading home from a visit to friend and artist Betty White‘s current show at the TeodoraART Gallery in mid-town Toronto.

By now the snow is about to start. I cut through the Village of Yorkville Park, one I’ve shown you before and like a lot, partly for its respect for history.

Speaking of demolitions — as we were — this park is tucked on the exact footprint of the six Victorian rowhouse homes demolished to make way for a subway line. Each segment of the park illustrates one type of Canadian landscape, and occupies the exact footprint of one of those homes.

I walk past the great granite outcrop, brought in sections from the Canadian Shield to the north, currently topped by a romping toddler and her dad. Next to it, the water curtain that, at the moment, is an ice sculpture instead.

ice in Village of Yorkville Park

It’s such a tiny park, slivered between glossy, upmarket retail on Bloor St. to the south and boutiques on Cumberland to the north. I step through the Prairie Grassland, heading for the Pine Grove …

Village of Yorkville Park

… very aware, for a moment, of all that retail intruding on this little enclave of Nature.

Yet, somehow, magically, that awareness always fades. In summer visitors read their books and eat their lunch among the trees; now, in winter, we trace our footpaths among those trees instead. Like this …

among Yorkville Park trees

And this …

paths among the trees, to the N/E

But eventually I am back out on Bloor Street, then farther east and a bit south and tucking myself down Maitland Lane, mostly because I’ve never been there before.

And that’s where my 2015 self gets twirled back to the 1970s. All because of the faded TWP logo, still readable (to a knowing eye), on the back of this Alexander St. theatre.

back of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, with TWP logo

Now it is Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, a home for queer theatre in the city. I remember it as — and the BBT website generously also remembers its years as — Toronto Workshop Productions. George Luscombe’s baby, a pioneering “alternative” theatre, home to Chicago ’70 (trial of the Chicago 7) and Ten Lost Years (the adaptation of Barry Broadfoot’s oral history of the Depression in Canada) and more, a whole lot more.

Oh my. I stand there, remembering my younger self & those years & voices & faces & events, and snowflakes keep tumbling down, getting thicker.

So I rejoin 2015, and head for home.

Eventually, it takes me through Allen Gardens. I stand by the off-leash dog play area in the fading light, and look at how lamps glow both outside the 1909 glass conservatory and inside as well. It’s magic, I think.


I have to confess it wasn’t quite this magic. Most of those explosions are flash + snowflake, not softly glowing lamp.

No. You know what? I take that back. It didn’t look quite that dramatic, but it felt that good.


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  1. The last two days were in the 70’s here, which melted off the snow toot sweet! Beautiful photos….

    • In the 70s! will that last or is it just one crazy moment?

      • Living in Colorado is always interesting – 70 one day, a foot of snow the next . . . last year we were really warm, then got 3 feet of snow the next day 🙂 Right now (724 am) it is 39, high 60’s today, expecting snow again by Wednesday! :-\

  2. bobgeor

     /  8 February 2015

    Snow: it’s impractical but darn pretty.

  3. wonderful, especially that last shot Penny

  4. Wow, we love your blog. You capture the city so beautifully. Have you read On Looking, Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, Horowitz?


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

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