Tag Archives: neighbourhoods

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.

Hot town, summer in the city . . .

Beaches Jazz vignettes;

three guys wield corn-cobs in impromptu funky dance routine, ‘come buy’ . . .
salseros so tuned to each other that they almost dance as one . . .magic harp, now vividly blue, now pink – the coloured light cuts through the falling night . . . a watery halo behind darkly silhouetted trees as the moon clambers through the clouds . . . young couple dance close – in what the singer aptly describes as a ‘jazz love-in’ – but one hand rocks the stroller, connecting with their wide-eyed infant.

Continue reading Hot town, summer in the city . . .

The Danforth in Art

‘What is this place?’ This was the question posed by Art of the Danforth during the last week of April.

Organized by an independent group of locally based individuals, this new community art walk between Greenwood and Woodbine is rooted in a belief in the power of art to cut across divisions and draw people together.

East Danforth’s population includes an above average percentage of artists and Art of the Danforth certainly showcased some amazing talent. But it also provided a potent reminder that creativity and art belong to all of us.

(Excerpt from an article I have just written for Local Magazine)

We have both been very involved in Art of the Danforth as volunteers since November – it’s been fabulous to be part of something like this that really is conducive to neighbourhood regeneration through the arts. And we’ve met so many amazing people!

Here are my photos from the event that I uploaded to Flickr  – you can see more on the Art of the Danforth Group Flickr page or read about specific artists and installations on the Art of the Danforth website.

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Art of the Danforth

With the art walk looming at the end of the month, we seem to have fingers in lots of lovely pies! Looking at the Art of the Danforth site, I’m increasingly excited at being involved in what I think is going to be a wonderful coming together of creativity and community.

Yellow on the DanforthWe have both contributed a set of photos for the photo mosaic. This was a great excuse to change the lens through which we were viewing our surroundings, focusing most on colour (we were asked for sets of predominantly red, blue, green and yellow shots).  We spent an absorbing sunny morning drifting down the Danforth, welcoming the warmth after an earlier chilly sunset session the night before.  Paul hasn’t got around to this yet, but I have uploaded some of my shots to Flickr. Tonight we are going to help sort and trim the mounds of photos submitted in preparation for assembling the mosaic.

On Sunday I’m going to take notes from the history group to go alongside some wonderful old photos – what a great way to become rooted in our new surroundings! We are so lucky to be part of this.

UPDATE (April 27):

The speeches from the formal launch of the first Art of the Danforth on Saturday April 24, 2010 – all the indications are that the event really is creating a sense of energy and enthusiasm along the strip! (I’ll post a proper report after the event).

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Part 1

Part 2

My first published article in Canada!

Shining a light on East Danforth is included in the March/April edition of surface & symbol, the newsletter of Scarborough Arts Council (see page 4).

As I have previously mentioned in the blog, we have been volunteering for Art of the Danforth, a community arts walk scheduled for the end of April.  When I was approached to write this article, given the nature of the publication, I was asked to try to go a bit further than the ‘what, when and where’. This gave me a wonderful excuse to talk to some of the many interesting people involved in the project!