Tag Archives: snow

Winter Ravine Walk January 2012

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 . . .

Ode to Winter

I love winter!

It seems to amuse people no end that I go in to work on a day like today exclaiming at what a beautiful day it is; -18, with wind-chill taking it to more like –25, but gloriously bright and sunny. What’s the problem, as long as you dress for it? There is something extraordinarily comforting and, in a strange way, sensual about downy coats and soft-furred hats.

Toronto Winter 2011 (29 of 35) Ice blue Toronto Winter 2011 (34 of 35) Swan and harbour ice Toronto Winter 2011 (30 of 35) Toronto harbour

I love the brightness of snow-light – Paul looked out of the window as he shut the blinds the other night and commented that, with the street and Christmas lights reflecting off the snow, it was almost as bright as a dark English day. In sunshine, it is dazzling.

I love the sharpness of the air against my face, a dry cold that invigorates and makes me feel very alive. When the temperature rises to near freezing I am reminded of the damp, English cold that I so disliked and wish for the mercury to fall again!

I love snow, in all its forms; diamond dust-devils that dance, dipping and diving and swirling; the powdered ice that skin-scours my face as the fast train speeds through the station; the feathers, floating freely, unhurriedly wafting; mesmeric mosquito motes that float on seemingly still air; crystalline glitter, dusting the days with magic.

Whether it swirls or hangs on the air, there is a meditative quality about falling snow that combines with the other-worldliness of the light and the deadening of sound to create something mystical – if you stop long enough to notice it.

Snow has its own special sounds, too; I knew it could crunch, perhaps even that it might creak as it slid from a roof, but I didn’t know that sometimes it squeaks scrunchily underfoot. And then there’s the inimitable sound of  skates shearing ice . . .

As we enter February, I am anticipating with some sense of loss the closure of the outdoor rinks at the end of the month. My evening walk from the station has already shifted from darkness to light. There is a part of me that wants to hold onto winter (better keep that to myself!), whilst another part of me awaits the new excitement of spring planting, the langourous beach-days of high summer, the richly painted landscapes of fall . . .

Beaches Winter 2011 (20 of 21) Glen Stewart Ravine - 5 minutes walk from where we live Toronto Winter 2011 (19 of 35) Toronto from the west Toronto Winter 2011 (1 of 35) Looking out from our house at snow-forts in the park

And then it will be winter again.

(For more photos of Toronto in winter, see our Winter gallery – the best way to view these is to click into an image and then find the arrow at the right-hand side that allows you to proceed through the collection. Currently we are having problems re-setting the thumbnails!)

Mess and milestones

Those two words seem to sum up the last 10 days pretty well!

As soon as we had tidied up after moving in, we managed to get the electricians in to sort out the badly placed switches and sockets, add some pot lights, wire us for sound etc. So my beautiful, clean, tidy new home is now full of holes! As with most North American houses, the structure is wood frame and drywall (plasterboard), so changing things involves cutting pieces out of the walls and fishing for wires, with the occasional need to pass through a beam. And, of course, every surface is now covered with a fine layer of dust, which will only get worse as we fill and sand . . .

New pan rack with lights! New pan rack with lights!

Mess Mess Mess

But it will be worth it, especially the freshly painted family/media room ready to embrace my piano when it finishes its journey with an ascent to the first floor! And our new central vacuum cleaner, which Paul fitted apparently effortlessly last weekend, vanquishes the dust with ease.

In the meantime, the milestones.

The first snowfall came wet and howling overnight  on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning Paul set out for Tyco at Markham, where a Christmas pot-luck lunch was scheduled, through a thick layer of sludgy snow. A neighbour kindly cleared the sidewalk (pavement) in front of our house but, later, I christened our snow shovel and attacked the side (one downside of a corner property!).  This is definitely worth doing whilst the snow is fresh. We have only had flurries since Wednesday, but Toronto remains dusted with icing sugar in temperatures between around –5 and –8, with hard candy crusts where snow has gathered. Wednesday was gray, gloomy and damp, but the last couple of days have been mostly sunny and invigorating. Yes, it is cold, especially when the wind catches you, but as long as you have appropriate layers, hat and gloves, everything feels so clear and bright.

Yesterday we received notification that our container was arriving in Montreal, followed today by a copy of the manifest. We then had to take this, together with our shipping list, passports, Permanent Residency cards and declaration to the imposing official building at 1 Front Street to gain customs clearance. This was achieved so swiftly that it was almost a (welcome) anticlimax. The container should by now have been released for loading onto a train to Toronto and, hopefully sometime next week, there will be another round of chaos as the 169 boxes containing our worldly goods are delivered to our home.