Until August 2012, this blog was about training for the big Arthritis Society trek in Iceland, and then doing it. It was an intense commitment for an intense experience.

As of August 2012… I walk on! With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Inspired by the words of Antonio Machado and Marcel Proust, I seek to create my own best path, for my own best life.

I am grateful to everyone who reads my blog, and especially to those who comment on a post. Your interest — your generous sense of community — help motivate me to walk more, explore more, be more curious and aware, seek always to have “fresh eyes,” and share my thoughts and interests with others. Thank you.

Finally, a request, which is difficult to express well. Please do not offer me any awards, even though I am very honoured by the offer (and in the past did participate in the process several times). I respect the positive motives for these awards: to honour and support fellow bloggers. At the same time, I am uneasy: the practice can promote rivalry and cause us to “rank” each other by awards received. I prefer to think of us all as equals, and to show my own appreciation with comments on posts I particularly like. Please do the same for me; you will make me very happy!

Leave a comment


  1. Loved your choice of quote by Antonio Machado and passed it on to my adult kids. It’s perfect.

    • Thanks! I’m now noticing and collecting quotes around this kind of idea. “Woodenstick” in a comment above has shared a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson for us all to enjoy.

      • Dear Icelandpenny,

        I am writing a book about public space and I would like to include one of your photos of the street installation by NIPPaysage titled Labyrinth. Can you confirm that it would be ok to include your photo in the book?

        Many thanks.

      • We’ve communicated separately on this, and yes! thank you — with due credit to the creator of the street art work, of course

  2. Wish you the best. Take care and be well!

  3. Hi Penny I’ve just nominated you for The Silver Quill Blogger Award – you can see the ‘rules’ in my latest post! I so enjoy your blog, all the stories and histories and the photos you illustrate your posts with!

    • This is a big honour, especially from someone whose blog I admire so much. I’m not at all informed about the awards systems among WordPress bloggers, so I’ll definitely visit your site and read up. Thank you!

      • You’re welcome! It’s just a nice way to appreciate someone – and hopefully get others to read their blogs too!

  4. Congratulations! I’ve passed the So Sweet Blog award to you, because I love your blog.
    Paste this link back somewhere in your post
    and nominate some blogs you love, with links to the sites.
    copy the uRL from the award image in my side bar and put it in yours!

  5. You have a fantastic blog, I was able to look at a small part of it, I enjoy the photos and the writing.

    • Thank you so much, Gary, I appreciate your taking time to say so and I’m glad you enjoy what I put up there. I’m very grateful for the interest and generosity of other WordPress bloggers, people like you

  6. sharonhelleman

     /  17 January 2013

    Wow, Penny, this is a fabulous blog. I have now had a chance to “dive in” a bit. You have a good eye. It is a joy to see Toronto from your perspective.

  7. Hi Sharon, thank you so much for your interest and appreciation! I’ve just visited your Blogspot blog and left a comment on your Garrison Creek post — or tried to, but somehow I couldn’t make that system ‘read’ my ID so I don’t think the comment was posted. Anyway, I am now following your blog and we can happily cross-reference with each other. (For e.g., 21 Mar 2012 I did a post on my own Garrison Creek Discovery Walk)

  8. Hello po. I find your blog posts great so i nominated you for a blogger award. hope you’ll appreciate and accept it po 🙂 http://wp.me/p2hFTG-c2

    • Thank you for your interest in my blog, and I appreciate this offer very much! However, with a great deal of respect I am declining the honour. I have decided not to participate in awards, and I have just added the explanation to my “About” page. Thank you again for thinking of me, and I hope you will from time to time comment on a post you like. For me, a comment is an award.

      • i truly understand 🙂 thank you though for responding to me and telling me your reasons. i would still like and comment on some of your posts (: thank you!

  9. Do you bike at all? Toronto is bikeable…and I did live/bike/work in Toronto for over 25 yrs., last 14 yrs. cycling it..from Scarborough into downtown for work. Interesting how you examine downtown life closely.

    • I do have a bike, and used it a lot for modest get-around-town purposes (nothing lengthy like you!), but during the Iceland training I began walking not biking and now find I keep on walking. I’m all for whatever reduces the no. of cars on the roads, though, so a big fan of bikes, legs, public transit, etc. Congratulations on your cycling, it’s also great exercise & an interesting way to see the landscape

  10. “I walk on! With my feet, and in my mind as well.”

    I love this sentence, thank you very much for share it, Mam…

  11. choppy123

     /  1 May 2013

    I started walking just recently as well, I and some friends did a short 32 k walk for our local dog rescue centre and have just carried on :). A great way to keep reasonably fit and have fun at the same time 🙂

    • Well I’ve never walked 32 km in one day, so you’re waaay ahead of me! But I share your attitude, and I’m happy you like my posts

  12. I am wondering if the Tuesday Walking Society has considered opening up to new members? 😉

    Are you going to Doors Open in Toronto on May 25-26th? That is one of the traditions I have with my son and this might be the last one for a while as he’s moving to the States at the end of the summer!

  13. Hi there. Thanks for stopping by Diary of an Internet Nobody. I share your antipathy for awards, for the slightly more prosaic reason that they’re a pain in the backside.
    I also do a fair amount of walking, and love the countryside in Devon, where we’ve lived for a little over 15 years.
    Look forward to checking out your blog.
    Cheers, dc57.

  14. In a previous life I made YouTube videos. My very first effort (2008…. a bit primitive) was a walk video! I’d forgotten about it but because it is vaguely similar to you do (so well) I thought you might get a kick out of it. Feel free to NOT waste 8 minutes of your life.

  15. Linda

     /  20 July 2013

    I’m not surprised your have many followers. Did a quick scan and will spend more time later. Colourful blog!! See you tomorrow. Mosaic Linda

  16. Stacy L

     /  5 August 2013

    I thought you might appreciate this from Rebecca Solnit’s “Wanderlust: A History of Walking.” “Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.”

    • I am so grateful to you! This is a wonderful quote, and I’ll now look up the book as well. One thought — cities *were* made to be walked, perhaps not so much now. Architecturally, older areas are foot-scale, but suburbs are auto-scale and don’t reward walking in the same way as the dense and textured downtown areas..

      • Stacy L

         /  6 August 2013

        It’s very true. You can really get a sense of how old or new a place is based on its walkability. Portland in Oregon is one example I’m familiar with. The main, older parts of the city are quite walkable, but once you head out and away from the city center, the distance between buildings spread out and you start to notice how long it’s taking you to get from one place to the next.

  17. Lourdes Betancourt

     /  24 August 2013

    Penny you inspired pepole, as myou like to collet quotes this is one for you:
    You can never discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
    I do not know who is the creator

    • Thank you for this! I searched online, and consensus seems to be that this quote comes from the work of French author Andre Gide

  18. Hi Penny,
    Delighted to meet you yesterday here on Craven Road ! Thanks for stopping by to talk about my award-winning house and studio. If you want to read more about the History of Craven Road, see the article in SPACING Magazine, Winter 2012/13, page 58. The article is called ” Tiny House Society – The Small Homes on Craven Road” I believe this article is online at SPACING.CA and the editor is Shawn Micallef.
    Robert Hill, Architect, OAA, FRAIC

  19. Hi from Toulouse, France! Glad to have come across your awesome blog… I love Iceland, been there twice and I do hope to return asap… we’re walkers, too! 🙂 My very best and have a peaceful day! Cheers! 🙂 Mélanie

  20. Really wonderful quotes. I just came across your blog and am happy to have done so… lots to read and look at! ~SueBee

  21. Hi icelandpenny, I learned about your great blog through our common friend Kay M. in Toronto. As a newcomer to T.O. I really enjoy your posts! Also thought I’d send you the following link directly rather than through Kay – might be interesting to you: http://www.streetartutopia.com

  22. Hi! I was gonna joke about giving you some award, but then I was afraid that you would just delete without finishing 🙂 I love your blog – the pictures are amazing, at least all the recent posts I looked at. They’re making me want to go to Toronto for the day. Well, in the spring maybe! You take pictures of all the things I like, though. Bridges, waterways, city views, grungy reality – it’s all there, and I like it. Keep going, and I’ll keep reading!

  23. Bonjour Penny et merci pour ton comment laissé à mon “carrefour”… 🙂 I’ve been to Iceland twice and to Toronto 3 times to visit with “old” friends during my 5 years spent in Houston, TX… btw, I love Iceland and Canada… 🙂 My very best, une année optimiste, sereine, positive & bonne chance dans toutes tes activités! cheers, Mélanie – Toulouse, France
    * * *
    P.S. I did like your paragraph about “no awards”… same here: j’en ai refusé pleins ces derniers mois, car peu de gens lisent nos “about – à propos”… 🙂

  24. Starbucker

     /  21 January 2014

    Add your blog here http://bit.ly/KCtT5r !

  25. Just tuned in…and became your newest follower! Greetings from Madison, WI, USA…stop by and visit me at http://www.thatssojacob.wordpress.com 🙂

  26. Great blog name!! We are preparing for a long walk ourselves in September. We are doing the Camino Frances (800km). So reading through your posts might help us feel encouraged and not anxious about what lies ahead 🙂 off to explore your blog now!

    • I’m glad you like the name, but in fact it’s the second name — when I was training for the Iceland trek, I called it “The Sagas of Iceland Penny”; now that I continue walking & blogging, I changed the name. Good luck with your training and your long walk. Don’t be anxious about it; just do the training, bit by bit, enjoy the process, and trust it to yield the results. You make m sorry that I’ve removed my posts written while training — but really, all they showed is what I’ve just said. Trust yourselves, trust the process, remember that this project is every moment from until the end — it’s not just the walk itself.

  27. Hi! I just saw your comment on another blog I commented on, and realized I needed to follow you, too! I am a true “walking woman” – I’ve trekked across many parts of this earth and my next one is … Iceland in June! I will be back later today after work to read more of your blog, both the Iceland parts and the subsequent ones. Happy trails!

    • Have a wonderful time in Iceland this June! well… I think that’s guaranteed. It’s a magic place. Thanks for your interest in my blog.

  28. Hey, thank you for the follow back with lots of appreciation.. I am charged up with more creative energy..
    Much love 🙂

  29. Akhiz

     /  2 October 2014

    You have a wonderful blog, and now Iceland is definitely on my list of places that i must visit 🙂

    • Thanks for this, and for deciding to follow my blog. Iceland is a great place to visit, but I also believe that we can explore & celebrate wherever we are. That’s what I try to do in my blog, and reaction like yours is encouraging.

  30. I know you do not accept award nominations, but I did mention your blog in a recent post and hope you don’t mind! I noted that many of the blogs I love do not meet the Liebster requirement of having fewer than 200 readers, some are long-established and some are brand new, but if the question is who inspires me, amuses me, or makes me think, then these are the blogs I am enjoying at the moment! In your case, just feel the love and ignore the assignment!

    • No, I don’t want to get involved in the awards dynamics, but a personal compliment is something else entirely. I’m really grateful for this, thank you. I am honoured that you feel inspired by some of my posts. Happy new year…

  31. Hi Penny – what a lovely blog. It’s good to hear that you’ve kept on walking after your Iceland adventure. And that you walk where you are, rather than waiting to be somewhere ‘special’ – to somebody from Iceland, Toronto would be exotic and special.

    I see that you collect tidbits about walking – there’s a BBC radio programme called Something Understood that has featured walking a couple of times. I can’t find the programmes live, but the archive’s list the music and readings, here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/religion/somethingunderstood_20080511.shtml They had another programme, back in 2010, where they talked about Kierkegaard walking http://goo.gl/J87id4 and about a book called The Long Road Turns to Joy, by Thich Nhat Hanh. I wish the programme was available to send you, but only the bare bones still exist. They’re here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wkp9y

    And a similar inspiration – but taking the ‘sea road’ here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04vk035 (towards the end of the programme you’ll hear him talk about two women who walked up to Scotland to start a new life together on a remote island).

    And, of course, the shepherds of Landes in France on stilts – they used to walk up and down to Paris and one walked to Moscow http://goo.gl/cTX3f6

    All best wishes

    • This is wonderful, thank you for taking the time to pass on these sites & all this information. I plan to use it, with credit & link, in an upcomig post.

      • My pleasure. I wish the BBC programmes were still live. Something Understood is a lovely programme if you can catch it where you are. It reminds me somehow of things I heard on NPR when I lived in America. The same knowledgeable thoughtfulness and measured tones.

        It’s refreshing to read your blog because you pay attention to the marvellous detail of the world that surrounds you, rather than waiting until you’re far away from home to to take notice. I like visiting other countries and I’ve lived abroad a lot, but I always remember the old man in the Kazantzakis book who lives in a tiny village on a Greek island and has no possibility of leaving the country (or the island). So he offers hospitality to any traveller who visits the village, as long as that traveller will tell a story of his own home or his travels in return. The old man is happy because he says the world comes to him. He’s happy in his village and happy to explore the world without having to leave it.

  32. Mikku

     /  20 April 2015

    Hola Penny! So this is what you’ve been up to!! Cuba seems a long time ago!!

    I’m wading my way back through the blog entries and am looking forward to following your continuing steps.

  33. Great blog, so interesting.

  34. S.H.

     /  23 December 2015

    I’m inspired by your outlook on life. Your blog is very interesting and I’ll be following to make myself a part of your adventures.
    P.S. I read one of your comments on a blog (bhharned.wordpress.com – The Shameful Sheep) regarding having a “semi-feral” cat. I just wanted to congratulate you, and at the same time, thank you for making a difference… From one cat owner to another.

    • Thanks for the follow, & thanks for your understanding of my semi-feral cat. He’s now also 17 yrs old & showing a bit of feline dementia, but we still love him dearly & are glad to have him in our lives.

      • S.H.

         /  23 December 2015

        I love knowing he’s lived a blessed feline life so far, full of all the love and care he could possibly get, with much more time with his family yet to come 🙂

      • Cats make it into my newest (23 Dec) post!

  35. Anne-Marie

     /  13 January 2016

    Hello Penny ! I would like to have your authorization to use some of your photos in a documentary series. Please contact me and I’ll give you more information. Email : amdolbec06@hotmail.com

  36. Hello! You should join us at A Love Letter to the Great Lakes, a mural festival (the first) in Toronto on June 20-25!

  37. Hallo Penny — I wonder if you have visited the following places that are, in my opinion, hiding in plain sight: http://www.eddrass.com/#!hidden-gems/cx2y
    [Note that I work at the first one on the list — Gallery Arcturus — and you are invited for a tour.]
    However, considering the mandate of this blog, I particularly wonder if you have walked around Toronto’s First Post Office — and I mean “around”. There is an awesome courtyard behind the building, with images of old stamps embedded in the paving. Plus an awesome model of Old York inside…
    [I tried to find a Search function for all previous posts and no luck.]

    • Thanks for the list — I’ll make a point of paying some visits, and happily credit you for the inspiration.

  38. Sara Aurorae

     /  22 August 2016

    Thank you for the message and follow 🙂 I look forward to your posts

  39. How do you do ? I hope you are happy and very bliss
    I would like to invite you on our snapchat you have the full free to talk about as long as it’s about travel and no reciem words or opinions about religions or peoples
    it’s free to get online on our snapchat
    It’s full benefits for you zero expenses you will be really world wide after being online with us also you will be mentioned in our blog and on Facebook also on Instagram and YouTube channel this is all for free
    If you don’t want to do it now it’s ok we can schedule your date to book a date on the list

    How this will work ?

    First way is you will record video and we will lunch it on our snapchat
    Second way we will give you password you log in you will recored whatever you planned for

    What do you need from me ?

    We need from you if you accepted this to set a date and send to us summery about what you going to talk about or just as topics how many hours or days you need… sure you would invite your followers to watch you on snapchat we will provide you with full your video since these your videos anywhere we will post as i told you on different media apps you will be tagged mention refers to your blog or website

    Any question please don’t hesitate to ask me

    Thanks for your corporation

  40. Perpetua

     /  13 March 2018

    Pls don’t get this wrong. If you do not like awards how come there is badge of Featured on Fresly Pressed on this page?

    • Good question, perceptive question. That’s a Word Press award, as you know and one that simply lands on you — you are not asked whether or not you wish to participate. I received it when I was very new to blogging. Later on, I became aware of blogger-generated awards. After a while I decided that, although I respect the participants and support in principle anything that builds generosity and connection, I would personally rather not make distinctions among fellow bloggers. It’s just a personal preference, and not one I’m trying to impose on anybody else.

  41. Alex Schumacher

     /  5 June 2018

    Hi Penny thanks for the contact which brought me great joy. I couldn’t get your e-mail to function please send me a functional one and I will forward my message.

  42. I came across your blog and see that, my blog although not the same topic, but carry the name, I am My Path! I am keen to read on other topics also to enhance and expand my knowledge. As I believe we can learn from everyone that crosses our path. I too do not like the award issue and doing my blog to encourage and enlighten on, my journey of Mental Wellness. Look forward reading your articles. For now I send you many Blessings of Love, Light and Healing Energies your way 🙂

  43. It looks like I never commented on your about page…I like the Solnit quote (each quote is wonderful)…am reading her “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” now. Keep walking!

    • yes! creative getting lost… love it

      • Margot Dixon

         /  3 June 2021

        Hi Iceland Penny, I was led to your blog by a friend who had seen your comment about Glendon and the Whole Man on ‘As I Walk Toronto’. We had a long discussion about our thoughts on ‘The Whole Man’. As two early York grads who entered in 1963, well, we are wondering: who is IcelandPenny? There were not a lot of Pennys – could you be Penny Williams? I could find a link to ‘Mary’. Margot Dixon nee McConnan Hons History ’67

  44. I really like your blog, I will try to follow your walk…

  45. Thank you for supporting artists with your Eastside Culture Crawl walking tour. Your support really does mean so much to all of us! I will share your post widely to help newbies visualize their own Crawl experience. Great post. 🙂

    • answered privately and again for the record: feel free to pass on my blog link with that particular post showcased — now I’m looking forward to this year’s version!

  46. Dear Walking Woman! May we use your Eastside Atelier photo in our posts? Here’s an example. Hope this is okay! We will credit you, as well-deserved! https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=536661128464235&id=100063610565685


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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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