Rusty Submarine

22 August 2017 – “We all live in a yellow submarine,” carolled The Beatles back in 1969, but nowadays, here in Hinge Park, the palette runs more to rust than to sunshine.

And it is equally magical.

I love walking around False Creek, as you will have noticed by now, and I always wander through Hinge Park as I go. Repurposed land made beautiful for the community to enjoy, how could you not love it, rejoice in it?

The “submarine,” of course, isn’t one, but the whimsical structure is part of the park’s magic. Why just throw serviceable planks across the watercourse, when you can offer up some come-play-with-me sculpture instead?

Two periscopes, count ’em, and lots of portholes — places for humans to look out, and for the sunshine to peek in, throwing spotlights among the shadows.

I’m entering from the south, I’ll climb those steps at the north end up to a knoll where yet another channel of water starts tumbling down the hill.

That channel is narrow, contained, and sparkling clear. The water in the waterway beneath me is also clear, but right around here, it is carpeted in vivid pond weed, emerald contrast to the tawny bullrushes along the shore.

Peer the other way, see more of the Olympic Village condo towers in the background.

Soon I’m on the north-end stone steps, regaining footing having been nearly run down by these kiddies who charge on through, whooping with delight, their feet & their voices echoing the length of the chamber.

And then, whoop-wh0op, they reverse gears & come charging back. I’m in the grass by now, out of harm’s way, delighted with their delight, watching them dance hippety-hop from one sun-spotlight to the next.

See the little girl, still halfway through the tube? Hippety-hop.

On I wander, heading east, thoughts of a latte in Olympic Village Park beginning to form in my mind …

But I am distracted enroute by one of the City’s glorious flowing chaise-longues along the edge of False Creek. They fit the body beautifully, they stand up to the weather wonderfully, and I want one. For my body. Right now.

I hasten my steps, realize I’m on a collision course with a Nice Young Man & his Well-Behaved Dog. He has the leg-length & youthful speed to beat me to the chair. But — aha — I have the Old Lady card to play! And, shameless creature that I am, I play it. Nice Young Man steps back, courteously. I thank him, courteously. And sink into the chair, snuggle my bottom into position, wiggle my toes.

Me & the sunshine & a breeze & my wiggling toes, plus the passing cavalcade: assorted ferries (here one of the Aquabus line), dragon boat teams, kayaks, small pleasure boats …

Eventually thoughts of latte overpower all this beauty, and I move on.

I collect my latte, yes I do. I seat myself on the café’s shady patio, and discover the newest, not-yet-official Olympic Sport.

Climb the Giant Sparrow.

No sparrows — or young boys, for that matter — were harmed in the development of this sport.


After the Tease. (And off-topic)

31 August 2016 – I promise: my very next post will follow through on The Tease (previous post). But meanwhile, there was a Tuesday, wasn’t there? So the Tuesday Walking Society was out & about, wasn’t it?

Phyllis & I cover a little more than 11 km., weaving our way through mid-town, with urban din — road repair, water main work, ambulances & fire trucks, leaf blowers, excavations — pounding our ears. I catch a headline in a local paper, claiming the city is so noisy that songbirds can no loner easily locate each other by sound. I sympathize.

But there are escapist moments. In the gardens & grounds of the Spadina Museum, for example.


Wouldn’t you think you were in Tuscany, perhaps, not downtown Toronto?

Some noise here too, but enjoyable noise — day camp kiddies being led in competing teams on a puzzle/treasure hunt through the gardens. The staff & volunteers guide them to the chosen area …

day camp, Spadina House

and remind them to write down each animal they see, but not to tell the other, competing teams.

Sssshhh! Keep it secret!

one of the animal discoveries

Needless to say, delighted kiddies shout their discoveries at full force, dance little gigs of joy.

Off we go, PHyllis & I, down the Baldwin Steps next to Casa Loma …

Casa Loma, from top of Baldwin Steps

and near the foot of the steps are rewarded with this very colourful truck, covered with street art.

Well, half-covered. Only this side is painted.

truck below Casa Loma

But it does include, I swear, a salute to the Sydney Opera House.

the Sydney Opera House??

Right? Am I not right?

Into the Yorkville neighbourhood next, where, amid the classy art galleries, we meet a couple of horses.

Right there on Hazelton Avenue.

On this side, ladies & gentlemen, in front of Miriam Shiell Fine Arts, a Mountie cuddling his horse …

Hazelton Av., in front of Miriam Shiell

and across the way, in front of Heffel Fine Arts, artist Emily Carr leaning against her horse (courtesy of sculptor Joe Fafard).

Emily Carr sculpture, artist Joe Fafard, Hazelton Av.

Heat & humidity as we go, what else this summer in Toronto, but we walk the shady side of Tranby Av., with its calm & cool-looking doorways.

doorway on Tranby Av.

More shady tranquility in Town Hall Square, a park slivered into Yorkville Av. just west of Yonge Street.

Town Hall Square

And yet more tranquility — after the earlier cacophony, we are so grateful — in the Toronto Reference Library on Yonge.

It is an extraordinarily beautiful building, the work of Toronto architect Raymond Moriyama, later revitalized by his subsequent firm, Moriyama & Teshima.

Toronto Reference Library

We’re here to tour the Art of Cartography exhibit, in the library’s TD Gallery.

Phyllis & I both play with the high-tech, interactive map jigsaw puzzle on the way in, but after that we focus on the old stuff. I am particularly amused by a 1600s map of Iceland …


which, even then, knew all about Hekla.

And what she does.

detail, Islandia map, shwoing Hekla

Namely, erupt.


Blocks of granite, explained

In my early-August post about High Park (The Poetry Walk. Almost), I admired one of the park’s sculptures …

a sculpture in High Park

and bemoaned its lack of artist credit. Maureen Scott Harris has been kind enough to send me a comment of explanation. It makes poignant reading:

I’m sorry you missed our poetry walk, but thanks for the glimpses of the other things going on that day. Regarding the anonymous granite sculpture you wondered about, it dates from a sculpture competition in 1967. The chunks of granite were delivered but the sculptor who was to carve them had a nervous breakdown and the piece was never made. Here’s a link to information about the competition and the sculptures:

Thank you, Maureen.



The Magic of Water

10 August 2016 – Not a particularly profound thought, but a profound visceral reaction: in the dry, hot season, we respond to water. (And feel, or should feel, great gratitude to have it available to us.)

The Tuesday Walking Society is in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, a peaceful & largely shady route to the Discovery Walk trail south through Moore Park Ravine and on down to Evergreen Brick Works. We pass fountains in the cemetery but, even more soothing, this limpid watercourse weaving through some memorial gardens.

watercourse in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

We pass poignant inscriptions, as well.

memorial inscription, Mt Pleasant Cemetery

Across Moore Avenue, and we start the descent into the ravine. Sun dogs dance in the camera lens, & dapple the path.

Moorre Park Ravine trail, at Moore Ave.

Everywhere, thistle fluff exploding on the seed heads, waiting for a breeze to whirl them away.

thistle heads, exploding into fluff

And the suction cling of burdock pods, proving why they were the inspiration for Velcro.

burdock pods clutching our finger tips

By now path-side greenery is almost obscuring bike racks at the upper entrance to the Brick Works.

side entrance to EBW, from the ravine trail

We leave the trail, enter the parkland that surrounds the Brick Works itself … and again stand entranced by the magic of water.

ex-quarries, now the Weston Family Quarry Garden

Once quarries for the raw materials for the bricks produced here from 1889 to 1984, the mammoth cavities are now repurposed & naturalized as the Weston Family Quarry Garden. We don’t sit in the Muskoka chairs, too hot.

We walk on, up & around the perimeter of the site, back down to cool off inside … and then linger a moment for one last glance at the water before we head home.

Snow, & the Promise of Lots More

1 March 2016 – The first flurries drift down, just before I leave home.

They shroud the windshield of a parked van …

van on Dundas E., near the Don River

tuck in behind the fox’s ear, in Joel Weeks Park …

one of 3 sculptures in Joel Weeks Park

and veil a would-be solar panel in the latest Regent Park construction zone.

Dundas E., Regent Park area

March, it seems, will come in like a lion.

We must wait to see if it departs like a lamb!


    "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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