Sunday, 28 June 2009

Making Eye Contact

C: Hi, they told me that you're my new cousin. My name's Callum, What's yours?

I: Mummy said it's Isaac

C: What?


C: Did you say EYES? I know that word.... (thinks... Well, he did say eyes, didn't he?) so he pokes Isaac in the eye... just to be helpful and show him where his eyes are, of course.... new cousins don't always know these things....

oh well.... nice to meet ya, cuz....

Friday, 26 June 2009


St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at the corner of Toronto's King and Simcoe Streets opened for worship in 1876.

The other three corners of the intersection held Government House, Upper Canada College, and a popular tavern.

The four corners were known as Legislation, Education, Damnation and Salvation.

St. Andrew's is surrounded by modern buildings now. To the far right is Metro Hall, and the curved silver roof visible just right of the church is Roy Thomson Hall, home to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Government House and Upper Canada College no longer exist at this location, but there are still plenty of taverns. This is the heart of Toronto's downtown theatre district.

On the utility pole just to the right of the church, you'll see a poster advertising "The Sound of Music" currently on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
That's where I was headed when I took this shot.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Bow Ties for a Special Boy

When The Bride knew that Baby Isaac was on the way (although we didn't know he was Baby Isaac back then), she asked me to make a special baby crib quilt. So she looked through my quilt books, chose a quilt pattern, and we went shopping. Fabricland here we come!

The baby's room is painted a lovely celery green and white, with dark brown baby furniture and accents, so this combination of fabrics was just right.

After lots of careful measuring and cutting, the quilt assembly began. The basic quilt block is called Bow Tie and consists of 4 squares, 2 of them with corners in contrasting colour, see the picture below.

These Bow Tie blocks can be sewn together to form lots of different geometric patterns, but after many rearrangements on hands and knees on the floor, and sketches going back and forth via the internet, we chose this layout.
This took 48 blocks, each containing 6 pieces of fabric.... that's 288 separate pieces, not counting the strips around the edge.

After the blocks are sewn together and pressed, the next task is to layer the pieced top with soft batting and the backing material, pin it securely, baste the layers together, and then sew through all the layers of fabric, emphasising the block pattern.

I love the cute little animals on the backing fabric.

And the finished product.... Ta Daaaa!

I've since embroidered Isaac's name and date of birth on the backing fabric.
He loves it!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Big Cover-up

The Hudson's Bay building (c.1895) at the corner of Yonge and Queen is undergoing a facelift.
But what you see here isn't the actual building.

It took me a while to realise that the whole building facade is a giant suspended image of what the building will look like when the renovations are finished, and that the actual work is going on behind the curtain.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Toronto's Queen Street West was a hive of activity outside the MuchMusic building all week. Enormous structures being built, complete with lights, huge speakers, miles and miles of cables, and gawking tourists, what's goin' on?

It's the MMVAs, or, to explain further, the annual MuchMusic Video Awards. In other words, a giant street rock'n'roll party will take place here on Queen Street and be televised live on Sunday night.

The Jonas Brothers will be hosting the party ( I can hear the screams already), and appearances by Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Nickelback, Shiloh, Billy Talent, Alexisonfire.... who I am convinced are all household names in your homes, right?
NO? I'm shocked.

It's gonna be a wild time along Queen Street on Sunday!
But I won't be there.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Osgoode Hall

I was in Toronto this week, doing some sightseeing... yep, I had a Let's Be a Tourist Day.

Osgoode Hall stands at the northeast corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue in Toronto. It's home to the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Superior Court of Justice and is the headquarters of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The Law Society acquired six acres of land here in 1828, and the original two and a half storey building was started in 1829 and finished in 1832, with expansion in the 1840s, 1850s and 1880s.

Almost 200 years ago, this area was farmland and fields created from bushland and forest.

The property is surrounded by an intricate cast iron fence built in 1868, supposedly to keep the neighbourhood cows out. No cows anywhere near now, as this is as definitely considered downtown.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

A Walk on the Wild Side

While YoungerSon and The Bride were getting used to having a brand new baby in their house, Tessa came to stay with me for a week. We took the opportunity to go for some long doggy walks in York Regional Forest. Anything to tire her out.

York Regional Forest comprises over 5000 acres of trees on 20 tracts, all just a short drive from home and open to the public. The Natural Heritage and Forestry Services hosts events for all ages in the forest classroom.

No special events on that day, just time to walk along the trails and enjoy the outdoors. At least, I walked.... Tessa covered at least ten times more ground than I did, mostly at doodle warp speed. Does she ever get tired? She only has a small backyard at home, so this must have seemed like heaven to her.

We walked for almost two hours and only met 3 other walkers with their dogs.
Tessa's coming to stay for a couple of days next weekend too, so perhaps we'll explore the forest a little further, if the weather's good.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Poster Boy

Baby Isaac loves having his photograph taken......

....especially when he's featured on the cover of a magazine!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Doors Open Ontario 2009 - Part 2

Continuing from Part 1, a few steps across Main Street from WhiStle Radio is the newly refurbished Arts and Culture Centre.

19 On The Park
The building that is now the brand new Arts, Culture and Entertainment Centre was built in 1896, and has previously housed a market, a movie theatre, an auto garage and a billiard hall, and most recently the town Municipal Offices. From April 2008, the site was under construction, opening with two weeks of Gala entertainment in May 2009.
Looking across the Town Square towards the Clock Tower and Main Street, a musician was entertaining the audience in the Town Square below.

Bruce's Mill

Located on the Oak Ridges Moraine, this flour mill opened in 1858 and operated until the 1960s. Listed as a heritage structure and awaiting a major restoration, Bruce’s Mill continues to house milling equipment from the early 1900s.
Unfortunately, the mill was closed to the public due to a family of raccoons nesting inside! But there was a fascinating display of found artifacts from a nearby archaeological dig of a pioneer pottery site.

Cedar Beach Pavilion
On the beach at Musselmans Lake, just north of Toronto, this 1929 dance hall was a popular destination during the big band era of the 1930s and 1940s, and for country and western music in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s one of the last of the holiday resorts established in the region during the early 20th century still operating. I've been to dances here and it has a wonderful hardwood sprung floor.

Too many interesting Doors Open sites to visit them all in one day... perhaps I'll see the rest next year.

See post below for other Doors Open Ontario sites.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Doors Open Ontario 2009 - Part 1

Across the Province of Ontario, there are numerous significant heritage buildings and sites that the public rarely gets to see.
Doors Open Ontario opens these places to the public once a year, often for the first time. Today it was our town's turn.

Altona Mennonite Meeting House
Built by pioneers who emigrated from Pennsylvania, this 1852 brick meeting house with plastered walls has never been renovated. It still contains its original unpainted pine pews and floor. The backs of some of these pews are made from a single board of wood, and the pews themselves are constructed with mortise and tenon joints.

The cemetery is the burial place of the town founder, Abraham Stouffer, and his wife and family.

Fire and Emergency Services Station
A fire brigade was formed in the Village in 1898, followed in 1900 by the construction of the first fire hall. The present Fire Hall was built in 1965, and there's a new one currently under construction to be completed in January 2010.

WhiStle Radio (CIWS 102.7 FM)

Founded in 2008, our town radio station, WhiStle Radio, is located in a 1930s store (originally a menswear and shoe shop) attached to the front of an 1860s Main Street house. The station uses 21st-century computer technology to generate, broadcast and webcast radio from hand-built studios. Volunteer-operated, community-based radio in action!

I even got interviewed live on the air about which Doors Open sites I had been to!

More about Doors Open Ontario in my next post.

Monday, 1 June 2009


Meet Bluebottle. He's my new 2009 Mazda 3 Sport GT. My very first brand new car ever!

He's got a 2.3l engine, with 5 speed manual transmission. He's Electric Blue. And he's got tons of those newfangled thingummyjiggers that my previous cars didn't have, like electric windows, sunroof, air conditioning, cruise control, CD player, automatic lights and wipers.... I could go on and on....

He's been with me now for about 6 weeks. He's a peppy little chap, and I love him dearly. I try to park far away from other cars to keep him pristine and dent-free BUT... disaster has struck!

I don't know when or where it happened. Some idiot b*****d drove into the back of poor Bluebottle in a parking lot somewhere and then drove away without leaving any note or apology or I.D.
I noticed the dent yesterday.
What a coward.