Category Archives: Toronto

A Weekend of Awesome . . .

There is a song that says Spring is coming; a slushing, a splishing and splashing, drip-dropping, occasional gurgling and gushing, that sings of Spring breaking free of Winter’s grip, long before the greening begins.

This last weekend reminded me yet again of why I love this city!

On Saturday, a five mile, ice-cleat clad, walk through the ravines in thaw; part ice, part slush, part a crystalline softness for which I have no name, sparkling in the glorious, strong sunshine that reaffirms how far south Toronto actually is. How could we follow that but with hot chocolate and brownie roulade at Xoco Cava?!

On Sunday, the shore, bustling with Beachers revelling in a day that already speaks not just of Spring, but of Summer to come. People thronging the Balmy Beach Club patio; and, on the board-walk and beach, runners in shorts, a paddle-boarder, cyclists, roller-bladers, families and their canine companions, all embracing the warmth, the light, with exuberance and energy. We could have just walked and walked, soaking it all up.

Truly a weekend of awesome!

Our new favourite place to skate

Shh! Don’t tell anyone. We almost have our own private rink with a view . . . (The down side is that it’s a bit unpredictable when and if the Zamboni will have come, so the ice is sometimes great and sometimes not!). This is part of the new port lands development, more or less next to Corus at Sherbourne Common.

  Skating at Sherbourne Common Skating at Sherbourne Common - a rink to ourselves (and yes, there are two Ginas . . .)

And yes, there are two of me, a trick I wish I could replicate in other areas of my life.

Wonderful Winter!

A few photos from a wondrous winter hike (5 –6 miles) through the ravines and Don Valley  last weekend; cold but invigorating, with delightful ‘grazing’ to be had at the Brickworks (organic hot-dogs and hot cider, gourmet hot chocolate, fish tacos and the most amazing savoury spiced  Indian cake made from fermented chickpeas) before the short walk up the hill to the car.

Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 Top of the Trail - Winter Ravine Walk January 2012   Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 Winter Ravine Walk January 2012   Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 - from the Boardwalk at the Don Valley Brickworks

Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 Winter Ravine Walk January 2012  Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 - bridge near Mount Pleasant Cemetary  Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 Winter Ravine Walk January 2012 - Boardwalk at the Don Valley Brickworks

(More photos in our Winter in Toronto Album)

So far, this has been a winter of freeze and thaw, not my favourite conditions. But last weekend was stunning; fine snow-dust glittering in glorious sunshine, and blue-black shadows.

Then there’s the sound of winter; a muffled quietness that soothes my soul, punctuated by a scrunchy squeak . . .

What a ride!

(Written the weekend after Labour Day but held back for video and images – and then we didn’t have time to sort these whilst concentrating on Paul’s parents’ visit – much more important!)

The last three weekends have overwhelmed us with their rich texture of experiences!

An encounter with Charlie, the Black Crowned Night Heron at Toronto Harbour (a great urban legend) on my way to Japanese Taiko drumming at the Toronto’s Music Garden; the incredible physicality of the drumming blew me away.

Then, on Friday with dear friends Steve and Paul,a last minute decision to take in  Buskerfest; beat-box, contortions, giant ants, music – another great Toronto street party.

Swimming at seven pm on Saturday evening after shopping and chores –  Lake Ontario is always bracing, but so beautiful to swim off a glorious beach as the sun sinks.

Then, on Sunday, brunch at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (home of the Toronto International Filmtection – Festival) before heading for Toronto Islands to try out our new hi-tech Frisbees (driver, mid-range and putter each) on the 18 hole course. Next time I will wear long sleeves and trousers for probeing very much beginners, much of our time was spent scrabbling in the bushes searching for our stray shots (hoping not to encounter poison ivy!). On the plus side, by the end of the course, we had gained two Frisbees.

Last Friday we headed north out of the city for our home from home in the Blue Mountains (a chalet owned by my ski instructor, Richard, for whom we have been doing some web consulting, creating a new website for his company, Eagle Adventures).  On Saturday evening were behind the scenes at Georgian Downs racetrack, watching a friend, Sabina,  take blood samples from a selection of the horses before climbing into the starter car for a unique view of harness (buggy) racing.

Wreck of the Mary Ward in Georgian BaySunday’s adventure was a trip on a Zodiac four kilometres out into Georgian Bay to the wreck of the Mary Ward – sadly a storm was brewing and we couldn’t snorkel as planned, but it was certainly a great taster for a future expedition. With the simple but effective tool of a glass bottomed washing-up bowl, we were still able to get a great view of the wreck.

On Monday (Labour Day) we had a lazy paddle down the Nottawasaga  river, trying out what will shortly be our own Kayaks.

This weekend the focus has been a BBQ, trying out the versatility of our Big Green Egg (everything from the cornbread, to pizza and steak) for Paul’s 50th birthday.  How amazing to be able to sit outside in shorts, with not even a cardigan, until nearly 2am (OK, we do have a patio heater)! We felt blessed in so many ways, but particularly by the beginnings of a shared sense of ‘history’ with our closest friends, something that is a potential casualty of uprooting midlife.

I can’t remember another time in my life quite like this, filled to the brim with such a range of unique experiences, some exhilarating, some poignant, many of which just seem to find us! It truly is an amazing ride . . .