Stones & Street Art

16 March 2016 – I have a mid-afternoon appointment out St. Clair Av. West near Caledonia, & this sets our Tuesday walk direction. North from Yonge & Eglinton, we decide; pick up the Kay Gardiner Belt Line Park somewhere to the west, and keep exploring our way west until we reach Caledonia and can work our way south to St. Clair via Prospect Cemetery.

As it happens, we pretty well start the walk with a cemetery.

stones on a Roselawn Av. cemetery tomstone

Cemeteries, plural. Phyllis guides us to Roselawn Av., which we follow west past a number of Jewish cemeteries, each belonging to a particular congregation or association. I like the tradition of placing pebbles on a tombstone very much — the simplicity and collective beauty of the stones greatly appeal to me.

same tombstone, full length

Phyllis comments on some other cultures with the same tradition; I add the Inuit, remembering a visit to Jessie Oonark’s hilltop gravesite in Baker Lake (now Qamani’tuaq) in Nunavut, where each of us added another pebble as a token of respect.

We walk through a number of the cemeteries. All exude the same air of peace, perhaps due to (or so I personally feel) the lack of fussy adornment.

one of the cemeteries on Roselawn Av

Somewhere around Bathurst, we join the Kay Gardner Belt Line Park, a linear park tracing the route of the one-time railway line serving the city’s earliest suburbs. This photo does justice to the drizzly weather, but not to the Park! It is much more appealing than I make it look …

one access to Kay Gardner Belt Line Park

Big laugh as we cross over the Allen Road. See all the traffic? See those signs on the overpass in the distance? See the one on the right, white letters on a black background?

traffic on the Allen Road

It says, as every traffic-stalled motorist has time to find out: “If you can read this, you should have taken the TTC.” (That’s our public transit system, as you have undoubtedly guessed.)

Some noggin-scratching after that. My increasingly tattered map (Exploring Toronto’s Parks & Trails) shows where we have to swerve a little to stay with the Belt Line, but we can’t quite find the magic connection. Never mind, we console ourselves; we can for sure pick it up again at Dufferin St., where the trail uses an overpass.

And sure enough, we are slightly off-course, and also sure enough, it is easy to set ourselves right at Dufferin. The overpass is close by; its edges brilliantly painted.

Belt Line overpass at Dufferin St.

Up the steps we go, across the overpass we go, and on west.

And soon screech to a halt at Fairmont, where all this trail-side street art smacks us in the eye. Look at that great mad stuff all along the wall, culminating (right) in a huge green Jeff Blackburn tiger …

from Belt Line nr. Fairmont

and around the corner, an Elvis-ish dude with Hawaii in his eyes.

same Fairmont location

Farther west in this tangle of artists and murals, three great ANSER faces dominate a wall.

ANSER plus other art

They completely overshadow, until you come up close, a very amateur but totally charming little canary above the doorway on the left below. Definitely not an UBER canary, no name-brand cachet here, but I think he is wonderful just the same.

no-name canary, same wall

It gets fishy after that …

same Fairmont location

a theme continued with Mr.Happy Croc around the corner.

same location

OK, and also a POSER bunny, not fishy at all. Just goofy as usual, and happy to turn up anywhere.

We walk a whole bunch more, including through Prospect Cemetery as planned — such a contrast to the Jewish cemeteries, with its abundance of wreaths, ornaments & flower baskets.

By the time we hit St. Clair and turn east again, we feel quite virtuous. Finding just the right place for a noon-time snack adds another few kilometres to the walk, allowing for a very respectable total of just over 15 km.

Hurray for us!


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  1. a fine walk…15km is great! ☺️

  2. Lovely shots of some interesting murals.

  3. bobgeor

     /  17 March 2016

    I was on a ROMwalk of the Necropolis when I first found out about that custom. Tour leader pointed out the stones on Jack Layton’s bust and told us about it.

  4. I too love unfussy cemetaries and disused railways. Great photos of the street art too.

    • Hi Sarah, nice to hear from you! Have you stopped blogging or am I somehow not just getting the posts? Either way, I hope you are well & happy.

      • I am not currently blogging, but hopefully will be able to start again in a few months time. I continue to love reading your blog though.

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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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