Category Archives: diversity

The next chapter: moving rural (2)

Community in Carrying Place

We have stepped into the pages of a novel filled with richly drawn characters – more than a hint of Stephen Leacock, but giving life too to my reading of Mary Lawson (writing about a more northerly Ontario rural community), Robertson Davies’ Salterton Trilogy, Monique Proulx’s Laurentian forest folk. I think perhaps it is easier to live in an unconstrainedly authentic way outside a city. Whether this is because of the people this life attracts, the grounding effect of an ever-present awareness of the natural world, less pressure from the tyranny of ‘nomal’ or something I do not yet understand I am not sure.

I love that there are farming families who have been here for generations, with a deep knowledge of and love for the land. There are those who left but felt the tug of their roots and returned, those who came thirty or twenty years ago, those who drive five hours each way every summer weekend from Pennsylvania or western Ontario, and newcomers like us – a healthy mix that includes at least a little multicultural leavening. It is good to know that about 60% of us are permanent residents.

The community is drawn from all walks of life; as well as the farming families we have so far met a lawyer, a civil servant fresh from a posting as Consul General, the published author of a fantasy novel, a forensic psychologist, a tech entrepreneur, a lawyer, a physiotherapist, a wonderful character with many stories to tell who described starting adult life as a ‘huckster’[1], the Chinese owner of a local fishing lodge and his wife who runs an LED import business, a couple with a tech background who have a smallholding with a straw-bale home, and more.

One eighty-year-old neighbor settled here with her ex-naval husband after travelling the seas on a schooner he built. She is on intimate terms with the raccoons, as well as the ubiquitous chipmunks and squirrels, and has this summer permitted the construction of the Groundhog Hilton in her rockery, though she plans a forced resettlement of the young engineer next Spring.

Carrying Place 2016 (19 of 33) One of our resident chipmunks

The pot of honey and card that arrived on our doorstep between our pre-closing inspection and our return from the lawyer with the ‘keys to the kingdom’ were no one-off. There is a genuine kindness and warmth that seems to characterize our new ‘hood; people take care of each other. There will always be someone willing to share their knowledge or who can help with the things that need doing. And there is something pretty awesome about setting out for an evening paddle and ending up getting to know new neighbours over a beer on their island party deck!

[1] Dictionary definition of huckster: retailer of small articles, especially a peddler of fruits and vegetables; hawker.

Saucer-eyes

In choosing Canada as our home, we were aware that one of the possible downsides is that paid holiday (vacation) time is significantly less than in the UK. However, we felt that this was balanced out by an apparent Canadian capacity to make the most of leisure time. The weekend just past certainly saw us embrace this spirit, nourishing mind, body and soul!

Friday evening: etchings by Rembrandt and Freud – the Rembrandt so incredibly fine and detailed, the Freud bolder but no less masterly, both capturing so much more than a visual likeness of their subjects; then fabulous photos, model ships and (as AGO members) VIP entry to the King Tut exhibition, recapturing an earlier fascination in the breathtaking beauty of so many of the items on display.

On to fire and ice – the Angel of the Apocalypse belching flame into the darkness as we skated, the trees glinting red and gold with Chinese lanterns to welcome the new year of the Tiger, as pillow-fight snow-flakes drifted down;  a huge screen, held in the embrace of City Hall’s twin towers, provided a constantly changing vertical stage filled with oriental images and peopled by fan dancers, stick fighters and more. (On Sunday we caught a different acrobatic  spectacle by Compagnie Les Passagers with a more elemental theme.)

Winter City Winter City - Compagnie Les Passagers Winter City - Compagnie Les Passagers

Appealing to our senses, the foodie explorations encouraged by the fixed price Winterlicious menus are a delight – we enjoyed two great meals over the weekend.  A late Saturday lunch at Pure Spirits took us to the Distillery District, followed up with the post-prandial pleasures of checking out our favourite galleries there, as well as lusting after high-style lights at Artemide.  And we can’t seem to resist the wonderful Quebecois cheeses, St Lawrence Market offering up this week’s temptation!

On Sunday, we went Tumbling Into Lightamazing music, dance and visual imagery! Deeply moving, its intention to reflect the constant spiralling of light into darkness into light (individual, cultural, cosmic), I was awed by the twin awareness of the hugeness of the human capacity to encompass pain and the hugeness of the human capacity to manifest beauty.

On our way home from an early supper (Moroccan at 93 Harbord), Winter City claimed our attention again with an eerie performance by Glacialis, an Ice Orchestra. Who would have believed that ice tubes would resonate so wonderously in response to a hot flame!

So often here I am conscious of that I can still be that saucer-eyed child, utterly present, utterly entranced and engaged . . .

Celebrating Diversity – Toronto Pride

DSCN5525 Joyous, celebratory, poignant, political, personal, playful and downright bizarre; Toronto Pride is certainly an experience! An event attended by huge numbers of people of all ages (including families) from across the city and beyond, it is truly an embracing of diversity.

I think I must have led a very sheltered life . . .! The atmosphere was amazing, the parade full of spectacle and fun, yet with some serious underlying messages at all sorts of levels.

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