Tattered Cats & Glorious Weeds

12 March 2015 – With a big splash in between: Cats – SPLASH – weeds. Like that.

Except it begins with a musical fence.

lane s. of RR tracks leading to Craven Rd.

The Tuesday  Walking Society is out in full force once again, that’s two bodies & four (count ’em) healthy knees. Hurray! Welcome back, Phyllis.

So we are celebrating, both good health & above-zero weather with sun. The vague plan is to walk south on Coxwell all the way from the Danforth subway station to the lake, & see what happens next. We are soon diverted. Just south of the RR tracks, we suddenly remember that if we deke up those tiny steps, & follow that tiny lane at train-track edge, we’ll come to Tiny Town.

The musical fence is on the lane along the train tracks; Tiny Town is around the corner, under its official name of Craven Rd. It consists of tiny homes (under 46 sq metres) on one side and the city’s longest wooden fence on the other. See?

Craven Rd., looking south from immediately south of the RR tracks

Start of the 20th c., people on Ashdale Av. to the west began taking advantage of their extra-deep lots by allowing very small homes to be built at the eastern end. Land squabbles soon followed, are you surprised? In 1910 the City severed the land, built a wooden fence along the now-truncated Ashdale properties and beyond that a narrow road — Craven Rd. — for those back-yard houses that finally had a street of their very own.

We start down the street, eyeing the fence. We are indifferent to its much-quoted status as “the city’s longest wooden fence” (alas, no numbers are ever attached to the claim). Our interest is artistic.

Will it still be the city’s longest wooden fence outdoor art gallery?

We first discovered the art in November 2013 and I blogged about it then — some works signed, some anonymous, and nothing to explain how the tradition arose. Now we are hoping that the tradition continues.

It does!

Craven Rd fence art, north of Queen

More trees follow …

Craven Rd fence art

… and then a painting I admired hugely in 2013: Very Tattered Cat. Tattered even then, but indomitable. Even more tattered now, even more (in my besotted eyes) wonderful.

on the Craven Rd fence

Another cat nearby, one we don’t remember from 2013, not as tattered but equally full of attitude.

on Craven Rd fence

So that’s good, we’ve had our Craven Rd. fix, and from Queen St. East we walk on south to the lake. We hear sirens a few times en route, don’t think much of it — big city, sirens, there you go. Then, in Ashbridge’s Bay, we see they have all congregated right here in the parking lot: fire, police, ambulance, the works.

Meanwhile, nothing but wintery peace along Lake Ontario. Semi-exposed boardwalk, snow fences & snow, ice, open water beyond the ice, and one woman striding by on her cross-country skis, oblivious to the excitement.

XC skiing along Lake Ontario, nr Ashbridge's Bay

Phyllis & I are not oblivious, our eyes are huge & our ears flapping for information. By now the event causing the excitement — the big SPLASH — is over and the hero, the passerby who called 911 & first tried to help, is being interviewed by local news teams.

Somebody had been silly enough to walk his dog out onto the now-rotting ice on the lake. They both fell through. A passing policeman tells us they will be fine, but we care only about the dog. Shame on that stupid man, endangering his dog like that.

I query Phyllis about her knee; she replies it is behaving itself. We walk east along Queen, eventually stop in a pretty shop called Bobette & Belle that promises “artisanal pastries,” and — after suitable taste tests — agree their wares are very good indeed. There’s even a free recipe on the wall.

Bobette & Belle, 1121 Queen St. East

Phyllis eventually puts her knee aboard a passing streetcar. I hoof on, pausing briefly for a cherub on a door whose surroundings do not suggest a likely home for cherubim.

Wicked Club, coming to Queen S. E.

Nor is it. The grand-opening notice advertises a “sophisticated hedonistic” private club. It’s their description & you must take it on faith — not being a member, I can’t access any part of the website that might irrefutably support the claim.

Don’t care. I’m off to see a Golden Girl. A sophisticated, hedonistic golden girl, I dare add.

Like Tattered Cat on Craven Rd., she too has adorned her wall (this one just N/W of Sherbourne & Queen) for quite a while, and I’m as fond of her as I am of the cat.

laneway wall behind 332 Queen E.

Let’s pretend she is pointing to weeds. In another month or two, she undoubtedly will be; at the moment, this calls for an electronic leap of the imagination.

Glorious Weeds

Thanks to my dear friend DJ for the link, whose recommendations are always worth following. She is not just DJ, she’s Dr. DJ, as in Doctor-of-Ethnobotany DJ, so she knows her plants and she knows her weeds.

She also knows art, and when the two collide, she spreads the news.

Chapeau to San Francisco artist Mona Caron!


Leave a comment


  1. sylvie greeniaus

     /  12 March 2015

    Quatre quart, that is a pound cake recipe!

    • Absolutely right, I should have pointed that out in the first place. I find the utter simplicity of this recipe very appealing.

  2. I love the photos! What a nice walk. I have finally decided I was totally stupid for letting myself get soooo out of shape and heavy, so I am starting to build up an exercise regime. Starting out slow with yoga stretching. Still not really good to go with walking as I hurt my back and I am still working on that – but I will get there. I promise myself!! 🙂

    • Thank you, and hurray for you, building up your exercise regime. (Hurray for taking it slowly as well. Good idea.) When you feel you can & want to walk, start small — to the corner & back, maybe? Expand it by bits, be curious, celebrate what you see — you want it to be a joy, not a penance…

      • Yep… very slow! When I was younger I lived in California and spent literally hours walking the beach, from Long Beach all the way down to Manhattan Beach. I miss that… but I am looking forward to working my way up to trail walking in the hills around here. I picked up a bicycle at Goodwill that was just my size – am looking forward to working my up to riding the few miles to the library and walking along Clear Creek! 😉 Goals are great, aren’t they?

      • Goals are indeed great, they motivate us, and keep pleasure among our priorities…

  3. Hi: Just want to say how much I enjoy your blog. I can’t believe all the great public art that’s in TO…I’m such a fan of walking, I’ll have to try a few of your routes when I’m there!
    Cheers, L

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

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