Buskers & Beaches

31 August 2015 – A different version of “B&B”, but easily & happily attained this Saturday. First I walk south on Yonge, weaving my way through Buskerfest, then I keep going to the lake where I hang a left, to carry on through Sugar Beach & Sherbourne Common.

Buskers of course, in Buskerfest, but all kinds of other jollity as well, including this musical troupe complete with lead singer.

band in Buskerfest 2015

Who gives new & livelier meaning to the phrase, “blue-rinse ladies”!

There’s an exuberant rack of masks on sale, appearing to be ones you pull over your whole head. Suddenly a saleswoman pops into frame.

masks, & masked lady, Buskerfest 2015

Masked, of course. And texting like crazy. (Also “of course,” in 2015 culture.)

All the usual add-on attractions line the street: food stalls, temporary tattoos, henna designs, folk-ish arts & crafts (I attach the “ish” since they look mass-produced), an artist doing quick charcoal portraits, a bongo-drummer — and Balloon Man.

twisty balloons at Buskerfest 2015

Complete with Eager, Impatient Kid Customer.

Coppélia Girl turns slowly on her pedestal …

in Buskerfest 2015

and Silver Lady breathes for a moment between performances …

in Dundas Square, Buskerfest 2015

and eventually I wander out the south end of the crowd.

On to the lake, left on the Martin Goodman Trail, newly prominent on this widened & generally spiffed-up stretch of Queen’s Quay East. Some new & seriously spiffed condos also on display, including one with a colourful fingerboard that offers more than distances from Here to multiple Theres.

Still, while I’m on the subject of Here to There, the distance from my boot-tips to these cities is as follows: Melbourne, 16,255 km; Vancouver, 3,366 km; La Habana, 2,295 km.

signboard, condos Queen's Quay E & Yonge

All fun factoids, thank you very much, but the short quotes are a lot more interesting. In fact, top to bottom, they offer a meditation on liberty, with an astringent twist at the end:

  • “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism”  – Wole Soyinka
  • “Big brother is watching you” – George Orwell
  • “There is no such thing as part freedom” – Nelson Mandela
  • “Most people want security in this world, not liberty” – Yitzhac Rabin

A bike-riding family pulls up while I’m still reading the sign. Father & young son come close, with the child first pointing to the various bight colours. His father directs his attention to some of the slogans, & also calls them out to his wife, back with the bikes.

On I go, past the sugar refinery, and into Sugar Beach.

entrance to Sugar Beach

My brain, still a-buzz with the rowdy joys of Buskerfest, calms right down. I sink into one of those big Muskoka chairs for a few moments & peacefully contemplate Toronto Island, right there across the harbour.

Lakeside now, heading east, my next oasis is Sherbourne Common, the park-cum-water-treatment-facility at the foot of Sherbourne Street. I trust it to do its serious job efficiently, namely treat storm & city water before it enters Lake Ontario. I can see for myself that it does its city-park job really well — so many people enjoy it.

Not least because the designers made sculptural art out of the functional equipment. The channel that finally guides water into the lake, for example …

channel, south part Sherbourne Common

Love those curves. Also love, this particular day, the temporary chalk-art addition on one flank!

Another little burst of the art on view as I look north instead of south, toward the structure beside the splash pad (ice rink in winter) & beyond that to the city.

Sherbourne Common, south part

I’m heading home by now, starting north through the Common, back across Queen’s Quay into the north portion of the park.

I take a backward glance at its three great towers, which aerate the treated water by spilling it down shimmering mesh curtains, to then pool and finally tumble into the great curved channel for those last metres on down to the lake.

aerating towers, north part, Sherbourne Common

And then — with a greengrocer stop to indulge a sudden whim for an avocado — and then, I walk on home.

Where I make an avocado salad!

Leave a comment


  1. good to see that Melbourne made it on to the sign post….. and not bloody Sydney!

  2. All that must have made for a lively morning!


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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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