Summer, Tra-la

4 July 2015 – No gentle morphing from one season to another, around here. Mother Nature flips the switch, and pouf! there you are in a whole new environment.

And so with summer. Warmth is only part of it. There’s an energy, a dance, a dynamic, that says … here we are! Finally.

The city puts on her summer face. We blink at what is added, and also at what is finsished, done, dismantled & trundled away.

More bright Muskoka chairs inviting us to loll in our parks, some red but green ones too. Or perhaps all the green ones  — like these in Berczy Park — are specific additions in honour of the upcoming Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.

new chairs in Berczy Park

Berczy Park, by the way, is up for a stunning transformation. Check it out here.

Other additions to our summer face, also green but definitely not plastic.

Veggies crops in the Moss Park Community Kitchen Garden, for example …

Moss Park Community Kitchen Garden, Sherbourne n. of Queen

and vines smothering path archways in St. James Park.

N/E entrance to St. James Park

Next, as Phyllis & I make our Tuesday way down to Union Station, the joy of what is finally gone, as well as what is now revealed.

Gone the barricades & hoardings & screens that covered the station and filled the street for so long we had forgotten what it was to walk with calm breath and a long view.


Now the restored façade of the station itself, a broad new pedestrian plaza in front and, pride of place, the painstakingly restored Victorian clock.

unveiled Union Station Plaza, with its restored clock

Right, still a bit of burnishing going on, that’s fine, we can live with that. And, right, not a clock to rank with some of the medieval glories to be seen in European city squares. But it is ours, it speaks of our history, and it restores dimension to our sense of place.

And, says Phyllis, who walked all around …

Union Station Plaza clock

the four faces show almost exactly the same time!

A few days later I’m on Yonge Street near-ish to Shuter, shaking my head free of the buzz of a a summer foray into the retail levels of the Eaton Centre. (Yikes.)

My vision clears, and look!

painted traffic signal box, Yonge nr Shuter

The first urban pigeons I’ve ever seen that I like.

Another sign of summer, one of this year’s crop of painted traffic signal boxes. Thank you StreetARToronto, thanks for your Out of the Box program; thank you artists. Thank you especially this one, whose signature I read as T4K Bui, but that can’t be right because I can’t find him/her in the artist lists. Thank you anyway.

Some of the artists camouflage the boxes’ contours; others, like this one, make them a feature.

detail of the box

One last image. Very summer 2015, not possible until this year.

May was the official opening of the glorious Islamic gardens between the new (fall 2014) Aga Khan Museum & Ismaili Centre. My earlier visits were all in winter, the gardens shrouded in snow. I could only imagine the summer impact of the 5 reflecting pools in their context of soft gravel, with calm rows of conifers and serviceberry trees.

Earlier today, I went up to Don Mills, to see for myself.

one of 5 reflecting pools, Aga Khan Museum gardens

Consider that your tease, a glimpse of my next post.

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  1. Interesting again – I feel that I know Toronto so well especially as I have visited but of course what I saw was limited – remember going to Eaton shopping centre. So you too are fed up with pigeons – they seem to take the place of smaller birds. The weather here has also only just become summer.
    The station looks grand as does the architecture and pool of Aga Khan Museum.

  2. Yes the pool looks like a mirror…


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

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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