central park florals by diana

Film from NYC developed :D

The best ones were from Central Park. I also have had to find a different photo developing place this time because the trusty service at Shoppers Drug Mart has closed down :’( This new place charges 5 times the price of Shoppers, but the images did turn out much more vibrant. I guess I’ll have to use film more sparingly from now on, it’s really becoming more and more expensive. 

Anyway, here are the Central Park florals :D

I also loved the weathered wood railings all over the park. 

Not sure why I haven’t learned this over the past few years I’ve been using the Diana Mini, but finally realized that it is best for capturing more intimate moments rather than landscapes in the distance.

Landscapes just turn out super fuzzy most of the time and so lack focus. I do like this one with the boats though.

And this one with the light leaks around lady Liberty. And some street scenes.

 

Wishing you a great weekend with new adventures, big or small :)

the travelling pineapple purse

I started the pineapple purse on the trip to New York. Here’s me participating in International Knit in Public Day in Brooklyn! (We had checked out of the place we were staying at and had a free morning before our flight in late afternoon, hence lugging around all our bags)

Made the straps when we got home. I think I made them too long, it was a bit hard to gauge… it works ok for now, but if they continue to stretch as I use it I will have to replace them.

Here it is in action, at the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hamilton, Ontario!

Much fruitiness at the Punch Bowl :D Here’s another look at this beautiful display of rock strata.

I wish we had the time to figure out the trail to the base of the cliff. The view up on the face of the escarpment must have been magnificent. But we were heading out to visit family and there was a thunderstorm was coming, so we didn’t want to get stuck on a trail in the woods in the rain.

According to the Waterfalls of Hamilton brochure that I picked up in the nearby Punch Bowl Market (more on that in a minute!), Devil’s Punchbowl Falls was created at the end of the last ice age 450 million years ago, carved by huge amount of meltwater rivers that plunged over the escarpment. The Punchbowl is the only area where one can view such a large vertical display of Ordovician and Silurian stratified rocks. My phone camera didn’t capture it super well but you can see a brilliant teal band of rocks in the middle of the cliff. We will have to go back one day and see it better.

And the Punch Bowl Market is a treat in itself! We had a lunch of very fresh, very delicious pies (chicken, strawberry rhubarb, beef) under lush hanging plants in the patio outside :) They also sell a lot of homemade preserves and sauces, and the decor is delightfully retro :D

If you ever find yourself in the area, be sure to visit, along with the many many beautiful waterfalls in Hamilton area. I’ve only visited one other waterfalls in the area, so maybe a summer road trip is in order :) 

Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

 

new york, new york

You might have noticed that I was MIA on the blog for a bit… sometimes I’m MIA for no good reason, but this time, I was actually in NYC! :D 20% of the trip was for work, but we sure did cram in as much sightseeing as possible in the remaining 80% of our time there, since we’ve never been!

Mostly just mesmerized and mildly intimidated by the street scenes. Also, fire escapes are such beautiful structures! Especially the shadows they cast on the building during certain times of day. 

At the corner of Little Italy and Chinatown :O

Made a beeline to Purl Soho as soon as we had free time *heart eyes x 1000* It is such a nice shop! I got too overwhelmed by all the yarn choices and couldn’t decide on what to get. But I did get the gorgeous anniversary edition of Pom Pom Quarterly, which I’ve been eyeing forever but hadn’t been able to bring myself to get it because of the hefty shipping fees! Can’t wait to start working on some of the patterns :D

My second favourite part of NYC is definitely Central Park. A close second. Or even equally favourite. Such a magical place. And we only covered maybe a 10th of it!

Isn’t this like the scene in Spirited Away? :D Almost expecting to come out to a world full of strange things on the other side…

Instead we found Alice and her toadstools :D

This brings people together :)

Saw that the Museum of Natural History has a jelly dome, made a beeline there as well! It was well worth the waiting in line. Wish I took a picture of the outside of the dome, it looked like an inflated grey cozy igloo. And inside they played beautiful footage of all kinds of jellyfish on the dome! It was like they were swimming all round you, with relaxing music, quite magical! I think it’s a great alternative to exhibiting live jellyfish in a tank, and makes a brilliant art installation, and I think the wonder on all the visitors’ faces is just as moving as the jellyfish footage itself. 

And of course we visited The Met! It is breathtakingly grand.

I’m most mesmerized by the lighting of this room, originally from Venice, I believe.

We had one last morning to spend in New York before heading home, and we made it to Brooklyn! :D

It was so nice to be able to step into the Hudson River.

Souvenirs from our trip include 3 perfectly rounded stones from the river (along with Cocokrispies squares — because we don’t have Cocokrispies in Canada anymore), now sitting with my glass bird :)

I also took some pictures with Diana, hoping that they will turn out! Will have to show them to you when I get the film developed — stay tuned!

There were so many places we wanted to visited but just didn’t have the time! Must return one day. Have you been to NYC, or do you live there? What’s your favourite place?

Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

 

 

 

full heart

 

Last weekend was a very full one! We went to a farewell party for iconic Honest Ed’s, organized by Toronto for Everyone

If you’ve ever visited Toronto, you might have been to Honest Ed’s. That was where I like to take out-of-town friends to impress them anyway. It is an enormous department/bargain store that literally invites you to get lost in it. Literally because there is a sign on the building that says:

COME IN AND GET LOST

Lost partly because there was SO much stuff! And so much really different stuff, all kind of organized in a maze-like formation. If you were there for the first time and looking for something specific, you’d probably get kind of frustrated, but then quickly distracted by the cheesy slogans hand lettered in cheerful colours everywhere. 

But if you were like me, who lived right across the street from Ed’s for a while and then continued to shop or meet people in the neighbourhood, you’d know exactly where to get the 99 cents loaf of bread and tinned fish for lunch, or bandannas for a sewing experiment (and this!), or those 2 dollar waffle shirts for days that turned cold suddenly, or large quantity of t-shirts for summer camp, or socks, or just to get another picture of that giant plush moose head on top of a grandfather clock with its eyes popping out, or to kill time, or escape from reality for a couple of hours in the evening. 

Honest Ed’s was named after it’s owner Ed Mirvish and opened in 1948. As noted on Toronto for Everyone:

Beyond his bargain prices and punny ways, Ed was known for his ability to bring people together and build community in wacky ways: roller derbies, 72-hour dance marathons, free turkey giveaways, to name a few. Perhaps most important of all, Honest Ed’s was a model for inclusivity. Everyone, no matter how you looked, what you did, or how much you made — was welcome at Ed’s. Whether you made a purchase or simply enjoyed walking around and browsing everything from kitchenwares, clothing, toys, fabrics, to knick-knacks (SO MANY knick-knacks!), Ed’s had a way of instilling wonder and making you feel at home.”

And from the Jane’s Walk that we participated in (more on that later), we also learned that he offered very affordable rental spaces — and they remained affordable despite the rapid increases in rental costs everywhere else in the city — to artists and artisans in the surrounding Mirvish Village.

There was no place like this place. 

And so a group of good people brought more good people together and organized one last very vibrant marketplace in honour of Honest Ed’s. 

The juxtaposition of vintage glassware and underpants very much captured the spirit of what this place was.

The artist who hand lettered all the signs for the store over the past years was there painting custom signs for visitors. 

In 2014 when the news first came out that Honest Ed’s will be closing, there was a sale for all the hand lettered signs used in the stores. So my friend and I went there and lined up for over 5 hours and each got ourselves a few signs. One sits in front of my desk at home, it says “holiday coated marshmallow biscuits * 99 cents”. Very special because it’s got stars on it and they don’t make pennies anymore! 

In a different part of the building there was a community hub, where one could sprawl out and read all the Sunday flyers…

… and very smiley policemen do yoga with the kids.

Mike and I were most looking forward to the retro ice cream social. (and you can see there is a setup for music or spoken word performance in the back)

And intuitive painting! :D

People were invited to paint on merchandise tables. The theme of our table was Honest Ed’s.

This was our work! The black dashes were meant to be foot steps but it’s all getting a bit lost there… that was the point I guess :) And Mike painted the streetcar. 

This was under our work by someone else very talented.

Then we participated in the Jane’s Walk in Mirvish Village, where a number of previous tenants spoke about the changes they experienced after the city block was bought out. At the end people who went on the walk also shared their stories of Honest Ed’s and Ed Mirvish. There were definitely expressions of sadness about seeing such important part of the city go, but there was no anger, or bitterness, just the acknowledgement that everything good will inevitably come to an end, and there is hope that what is coming will carry on the legacy of embracing diversity and inclusiveness, and the space will continue to bring people together.

In fact, you can see the vision for the new Mirvish Village here.

After saying goodbye to Honest Ed’s, the next day we went to the Warming Toronto knitting day. Here’s the hat I finished :D

It’s a two-colour fisherman’s rib hat that was knitted flat and seamed together. I learned the 2-colour rib pattern from this Craftster post. The decreases are not very neat at all, I’ll learn how to do proper decreases with this kind of pattern next time.

It was a very relaxing afternoon of knitting and hanging out with people who knit :D If you live in the city, the project is still collecting hats and scarves till March 26! The organizer can arrange for pickups along the subway lines. Check out the Facebook event page for details.

Have a lovely week, everyone! :D

                                                                                                                                                      

 

lately

It’s been a very busy fall so far, haven’t had a lot of time to update here. But here are some fun local adventures from the start of the fall :)

We visited a new cat cafe in the city one weekend, aptly named Meow Cat Cafe. All the cats live with the owner of the cafe. photo-2016-09-24-12-29-09-pm

When we got there a very fluffy cat made sure that we were reading the rules.

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They’ve got very cute cup sleeves :D

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It was a warm, sunny afternoon. The cats were quite relaxed. Look at that paw~

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*heart eyes x1000*

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The shop owners are very friendly, looks like they have a few locals visiting regularly with the cats, which makes for a very homey environment. Though I started sneezing quite a lot while I was there and had to leave (reluctantly).

One might ask why I like visiting cat cafes if I were allergic. The answers being: 1) I’m allergic to some cats but not others. I’ve visited other cat cafes but haven’t had allergic reactions that was severe enough that made me need to leave, so having allergies doesn’t stop me from being with cats; 2) I love cats, but I don’t have the time or space or experience to make me feel comfortable about committing to caring for a cat.

But sometimes I do wonder about visiting cat cafes. I wonder whether I was intruding on the cats’ space, disturbing them when they just want to relax or sleep. And I don’t know how to play with cats, because I’ve never had pets (aside from my office beta fish, who died an unexplained death and made me vow to never have beta fish pets again, but I digress), but sometimes feel weird about sitting and just looking at the cats when other people are enthusiastically trying to get the cats to play.

My favourite cat cafe was one we visited in Montreal. The cats were just wandering about as people chatted. People would pet them if they happened to walk by under the table, or if they were sitting still somewhere. It was like sitting at a cafe that happened to have a few cats in it, rather than visitors chasing the cats to coax the cats to play. Much more relaxed.

Anyway, maybe one day we’ll meet a cat that wants to live with us.

We decided not to go to Nuit Blanche (annual overnight art event in Toronto) this year because the past couple of years have been disappointing. There were just so many people and many of the installations took hours of lineup to see. But we visited a couple of exhibits at Toronto City Hall, which stayed up for a week or so after the event. This one was called Death of the Sun by Director X.

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The sculpture changed as it goes into different phases. Here it looks like a giant lantern (or pearl onion, I kept thinking).

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And eventually it turned dark.

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Which reminds me that nothing is forever. Not our impressive buildings, not our earthly achievements, not even our sun.

Across the square there was a video projected onto the water fountain, called Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi. My favourite part was when the owl emerged.

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Because it reminds me of the magical Hedwig.

Hoping to have more time to spend here now that my busiest week is over. Wishing you an awesome start to the week!

 

hello from eganville

Eganville, Ontario is a community about an hour and a half drive west of Ottawa. It was also recently featured in an episode of CBC show, Still Standing (of which we’re huge fans! :D) We were going to Ottawa to visit family and to see the Bonnechere Caves nearby, and then we saw the Still Standing episode so we decided that we would stop in the town to explore.

But first, the Bonnechere Caves! The family that maintains the Caves offers daily guided tours in the summer months into October, and our tour guide was very friendly, knowledgeable, and quite animated :) He explained that the network of underground caves and tunnels were carved out by the Bonnechere river. The walls of the cave were imprinted by the movement of the water.

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See the stalactites near the ceiling of the cave?

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Just across the road from the Bonnechere Cave site there was a nice view of the Bonnechere River, we stopped for pictures :D

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We then headed to Engine House Coffee for lunch, because we saw it on Still Standing :D It is a lovely place indeed, roasts its beans onsite, stocks an excellent selection of organic teas, and has a sunny patio with coffee plants.

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Since it was still early in the day, and if we drove back to Ottawa to wander around town we’d have to pay for parking, we thought we’d continue exploring Eganville. We picked up a brochure at the Caves with information about the geo-heritage/fossil hunting trail at the Bonnechere Museum, so we decided to visit.

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The friendly museum staff told us that the museum building used to be the community’s post office. It now houses a very well organized display of artifacts from Eganville and area.

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Admission to the museum includes the geology and fossil trail. Since Eganville is known as “the Ordovician Fossil Capital of Canada”, the museum staff let us know that fossils are relatively easy to find on the trail (and we’re allowed to take one with us per person). She gave us a map and some directions, and we set out on some unplanned wilderness exploring :D

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There were signs along the trail directing us to the “fossil pit”.

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And we found the fossil pit! I think this was a honeycomb coral.

We followed the trail to a cliff area where we could see caves from across the river.

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There was also a trench that we could walk down into and look at the layers of sedimentary rocks.

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All in all, we find Eganville to be a lovely place for a day trip when one is visiting in the Ottawa area. We quite enjoyed it as city dwellers; it was away from busy urban centres, with a lovely cafe for a leisurely lunch or tea, and it’s got some relaxed (read: gravel paths, boardwalk and sturdy staircases) wilderness exploring :)

Hope everyone’s having a good weekend!

 

adventure at the inn

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Last time I mentioned that I had to pick up what I made at a workshop that’s pretty far from where I live. So I was looking for something else in the neighbourhood at the same time. The Montgomery’s Inn museum was just one subway station away from the workshop, so I thought I’d stop by. AND it happened to be a Wednesday, there’s farmer’s market going on every Wednesday until October, and the entrance to the museum is free during market hours! Lucky me :D

The museum docent was busy leading another group when I went in, so another friendly staff gave me a self-guided tour pamphlet and suggested that I walked around on my own. I’ve always had trouble with maps and directions… so I found myself pretty much just wandering around in a huge house with no one else in it, which gave me the chance to take as many pictures as I wanted, and to take as much time as I needed, waiting for the right lighting and so on.

The one taken above is of the dining parlour, viewed behind the door from the kitchen. I’m quite happy with it because it actually looks like an old photograph with a filter from the Camera+ app on my phone.

The Montgomery’s Inn was built about 1830 for Thomas and Margaret Montgomery, and it served many travelers, newly arrived immigrants and labourers until about 1855. The couple’s descendants sold most of the inn’s content after they passed away, so the museum is restored with collected furnishing to the period of 1840s-50s. I suppose some of the only things in the house that were original to the house would be the bricks around the fireplaces…

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… and this sign for the inn and apparently the grandfather clock :)

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Tea set, and sewing box by the window in the sitting room :D

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Rise and shine in the children’s room.

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One of the things that’s very different from other historic house museums I’ve visited is that the inn has guest rooms! It looks quite cozy.

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If you haven’t noticed already, I particularly like how light comes through the windows in historic houses. Because the houses usually don’t have artificial light in them, and sunlight looks particularly warm on old wooden floors, handmade curtains and linens, weathered furniture.

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There were these lovely handwritten labels on the bottles in the pantry.

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And on the staff room’s door :)

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Watering hole. Not so different from a bar today, minus the cage I guess.

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If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, it’s quite an interesting place to visit! Like I mentioned before, there’s a farmers market on Wednesday afternoons until October, and it’s got live music, BBQ and food truck, plus of course local produce, baked goods and sweets, and free entry to the museum. Then on Sunday the museum’s tea room serves afternoon tea, which I hope to catch one day. And there are lots of other arts and cultural events too.

Sometimes, I wonder why I don’t work in a museum. Hmm.

Hope everyone’s having a wonderful week! :D

 

summer wanderings — doors open

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It was Doors Open Toronto at the end of May. We try to visit one or two building every year. This year we decided to take the long trek to Fool’s Paradise, the former home of Canadian artist Doris McCarthy, who lived to be 100, and donated her home to be an artist-in-residence centre after her passing.

Her home was the first one built on this stretch of the road. She designed and drafted the blueprint for the house.

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As soon as we entered the front door we were greeted by this rug, made by McCarthy.

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Paper owl guarding her desk and all her tools still. “Like she never left,” said the tour guide.

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The Chapter Room”, which she built to write her memoir. It is the coziest room I’ve ever found myself in.

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Perhaps a sunny reading nook.

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Her beautiful chandelier and her beautiful arctic landscape.

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The tour guide told us that McCarthy built all the cupboards in the kitchen by making cardboard mock-ups.

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Neighbourhood children used to skate on this pond in the winter.

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And at the edge of the backyard is the cliff of Scarborough Bluffs.

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There were visitors picnicking…

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And painting :)

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After our own picnic we explored a nearby park. The dandelions were like glowing orbs lining the path.

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Looking down from the cliff. The water was so blue.

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Next time we’ll visit the bluffs from below the cliffs so we can see the layers of sediments!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

 

diana in seoul and hong kong

Finally got all the 3 rolls of film from our Asia trip developed! They were taken with a Diana Mini in lomography style (a sort of extremely low-tech photography style, the Diana is basically a plastic toy camera with no electrical mechanism in it. Even the viewfinder isn’t accurate. One would never really know how the pictures will turn out — a fun kind of surprise). Here are some of my favourite shots :D

These are from the palace in Seoul, it was a rainy day when we visited, but cherry blossoms!

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I was just so amazed by how these stones have been on the ground for thousands of years.

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Pictures from the traditional Korean village turned out great! It was a really sunny day.

These are kimchi urns :D

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This one’s my favourite from all the rolls <3

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So in love with the architecture.

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And here’s a side street in Seoul we walked down to look for a market. Mopeds everywhere and no sidewalk :S quite an adventure.

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Hong Kong is similar, with more high-rise!

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Some sights from the streets. The sign says something about express bus stop, vegetable, fresh fish, chicken, eggs, whole sale market (reading from left to right, sentence reads vertically).

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Yarnbombed on Stone Slabs Street, a street with fairly steep decline paved with stone slabs and with vendor stalls on either sides of the street. I imagine the railings are necessary especially when it rains!

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Sai Kung Pier, in an old fishing village to the east of the city, vendors selling seafood from their boats.

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The village where I spent my childhood. The alleyway is still the same :)

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Leaving the village, pedestrian path and bike lane leading to an underpass.

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To the west of the city, we visited Tai-O, also a fishing village on Lantau Island, famous for its stilt houses, also known as “Venice of the East”.

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It was an overcast day, but this picture of the red bridge turned out so great :D

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And I love the light leaks in the beginning of the roll.

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We’ve been back for a while now, getting the pictures back lets me relive the trip a bit and for a moment I wish I were still there. But going on that trip also reminds me that I could approach my surroundings with the same curiosity and enthusiasm wherever I am. There’s much to explore and so much I haven’t seen just a few bus/subway rides away. So, the explorations continue, and more pictures to come! :D

Wishing you much joy in your adventures this week!

 

hello summer!

Well, it’s not officially summer yet, but I think most Canadians see the Victoria Day long weekend as the first long weekend of summer, and we’ve actually got extra extra nice and warm weather this weekend after a rather cold spring, this weekend is such a gift! :D

We didn’t want to let such nice weekend slip away, so Mike suggested taking one of the Discovery Walks in Toronto. We picked the Humber River, marshes and Old Mill walk because it looked like there are a few different things to see even if we did only half of it (the entire trail involves about 2 hours of walking and it goes in a loop, but I’m not able to walk that long due to chronic foot pain >_< so we just did half the loop) and it’s close to public transit.

Parts of the trail was originally a trading trail used by First Nations peoples travelling between Lake Ontario and the Upper Great Lakes.

In case you’re interested in taking this trail, we took the Queensway bus from Keele Station and got off at Queensway and Kingsway South. We then walked north along Riverside Drive towards Old Mill, then hopped on the subway home from Old Mill station.

We first came across the Humber Marshes. We couldn’t quite get down the riverbank but we could look down from a hill. There were people practicing dragon boating! :D

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Then we pretty much just walked through a residential area. It was a nice walk through a neighbourhood with really nice houses, but I didn’t take any pictures…

At the north end of the trail we arrived at Etienne Brule Park. There was the Old Mill Bridge and people fishing…

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… and geese coming back to the north.

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It was a nice walk along the river.

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Then we stopped in the historic Old Mill Inn to look around…

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It’s called Old Mill because it is built near the site where the first sawmill in Toronto was built in the late 1700s. The property was built about 100 years ago, looks like an old tavern, but it was first opened as a tea garden :)

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Speaking of tea, Victoria Day weekend is the perfect time to play tea party with my dear childhood friend :D I’ve been wanting to go to the afternoon tea at Dufflet Beach for a long time, because it’s one of the more affordable places in Toronto and I’ve never had tea service like this before. Check out our spread!

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And the fancy table setting! I didn’t expect a table cloth! We each had copious amount of tea. I especially love this sweet tea timer.

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Close up of the sweet treats… and I was so glad that the scones were served with clotted cream :D

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It was a nice experience but my friend suggested that next time we could make our own afternoon tea :D Looking forward to more fun summer adventures!

Hope everyone has a great start to the week!

 

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