Wednesday, 31 July 2013


I recently enjoyed a bus trip to Cambridge.... no, not the one in England, the one in Ontario.
"Twilight" - Andreas Gehr

The pretty city of Cambridge is made up of a number of separate communities, Galt, Preston, Hespeler and Blair. It's located on the Grand River and there some lovely old buildings and churches in it's city centre.

After a leisurely wander through the extensive Southworks Outlet Mall (no worries, I managed to stop myself from buying anything I didn't need in spite of the temptation to spend megabucks) and a lunch of a homemade peanut butter sandwich, we walked across the road to the Sculpture Gardens on the banks of the Grand River.

"Twilight" was commissioned from Swiss born artist Andreas Gehr by the Toronto Harbourfront Art Gallery in 1984. In 1985 it was part of a sculpture exhibition in Cambridge and was moved here in 2000.

The small holes have been taken over by birds nests.... maybe that was the original idea.... who knows?                                  
"Silver Key" - Dave Hind
 "Silver Key" is the product of Hamilton artist, musician and metalworker Dave Hind. A giant maple key

He uses reclaims materials in his work, and focuses on the interaction of industrial and natural processes that recur in the materials and images that he explores.

This sculpture was installed in the Sculpture Gardens in 2010.

And  it wasn't only sculptures to be admired, there was the garden part too. Colourful blooms everywhere including this lovely day lily.

Neil Aitchison as RCMP Constable Archibald Finkster

Then it was time for an afternoon at the brand new Dunfield Theatre. We saw a show called "Sorry ... I'm Canadian".

Do Canadians really say "Sorry" a lot?  The show said we do!

RCMP Constable Finkster was the Master of Ceremonies, telling lots of off-colour jokes with a Canadian theme.... but nothing too offensive of course!
And the wonderful Ballagh family of 2 brothers and 2 sisters (and at the end of the show joined by their mum) entertained us with amazing fiddle music and stepdancing.... very Canadian!

All the Provinces and Territories of Canada coast to coast to coast were represented in song, in both official languages. Now you can't get much more Canadian that that!
Dinner was at the beautifully restored Cambridge Mill.... a wonderful location affording a great view looking across the Grand River. And the dinner was definitely yummy. Pan seared trout and potatoes and veggies and chocolate torte to follow. Mmmmmm.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

Hell's Angels Biker Gang

One in the front, two in the back! Speed demons tearing up the sidewalk.... so watch out!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Camera Never Lies.....

.... or does it?
Last year my lovely family gave me a new Canon point-and-shoot camera for my birthday. A bit more complicated than my previous ancient Nikon. There's a printed user guide with the camera to describe basic functions... turning it on and off, using the flash etc, but anything more complicated was on the accompanying disk.
I wish they wouldn't do that!

So I decided it was time to investigate what this little camera is capable of.... and I had a lot of fun pressing buttons and finding out.

Top picture is a bright orange gerbera daisy that flourishes in a flowerpot on my back deck.
I discovered that I can change the colour to whatever I fancy by some simple actions.... blue, yellow, pink.... all the same flower!

So the camera does lie, after all! Or is it magic???

Monday, 15 July 2013

Foster Fridays

As you drive north on a quiet country road not far from here, hidden among the farms and barns and the fields full of wheat and corn, you come across a unique sight.
What? The Taj Mahal? I thought we were in Ontario!
Yes, we're still in Ontario... and yes, it looks like a smaller version of the Taj Mahal.

It's the Thomas Foster Memorial.

Thomas Foster (1842-1945) served as the Mayor of Toronto from 1925 to 1927. After a trip to India in his late seventies and visiting the Taj Mahal, he was inspired to build a memorial in his boyhood community of Leaskdale. The building was erected in 1935-36 and cost $250,000.... a ton of money in the 1930s.
It contains 3 crypts for Foster, his wife and his daughter Ruby, who died at the age of 10.

During his time as Mayor of Toronto, Foster held a competition to find the woman who could produce the most children in a 10 year time span. He wrote:

As I approve of large families as such and desire to extend some benefit to the mothers of such families, I direct my trustees to set aside a fund which, with interest, will provide the sum of $2,500 at the end of each of 4 – 10 year periods, the first commencing at my death, the second three years after my death, the third six years after my death and the fourth nine years after my death, the will reads:

The money is to be distributed among mothers living in Toronto for at least one year prior to the start of each period, who have given birth “in lawful wedlock to the children during the 10-year period in question.” The mother giving birth to the largest number of children is to receive $1,250. Second prize is $800 and third prize is $450 in each of the four periods.

Included in the many bequests in Thomas Foster's will were funds

  • to feed Toronto birds in winter
  • for needy newsboys in Toronto
  • to plant trees to beautify roads leading to Toronto
  • for charwomen who cleaned buildings in downtown Toronto
  • to provide a 45 foot flagpole for the Central Technical School
  • for the Salvation Army to repair and maintain their musical instruments
  • to apprehend poachers around Toronto
  • for an annual inner-city school picnic
  • for cancer research
  • for the Leaskdale Sunday School
  • to maintain the Memorial.
The Foster Memorial is open to the public during July and August, and every Friday evening there's a pay-what-you-can concert featuring local musicians and singers.... concerts known as Foster Fridays.
Mike Burns and Bruce McNeil.

Sometime's it's R&B, or maybe jazz, or barbershop, or fiddle music ... even opera, and in a couple of weeks there will be a guitarist and a belly dancer on the program. 
All donations go towards fixing the leaky 77 year old roof. I think Thomas Foster would be pleased.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

39 Varieties

On my way to OlderSon's house, I pass this building. Usually traffic is too busy for me to stop, and I sail by. But this time I decided to pull over and have a closer look.
I love the subtle faded colours and the peeling paint and the general dilapidated appearance. This is still a working farm, but no longer in use as a Farmer's Market. 39 varieties? I wish it was still open.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Strawberry Season

The end of June to the first couple of weeks of July means strawberries. And the area where I live has lots of strawberries to offer. Pick your own or ready picked.
For the past 20 years or more, the town has held a Strawberry Festival that happens on the Canada Day July 1 weekend. Jam competitions, strawberry pie competitions, a Strawberry Parade, concerts, fireworks, and Main Street is closed for whole day, lined with booths and entertainment. This year was no exception.... probably 20,000 people showed up to enjoy the day!

Meanwhile, I got my strawberry jam inspiration back after a couple of seasons of no jam making. First a couple of flats of fruit from one of our local farms.
 Then clean them, take the leaves off and squish them with a potato masher in my special jam bucket. The fruit was really juicy this year, probably because we've had lots of rain.
And then a couple of hours spent washing jars, warming the jars in the oven, stirring sugar and strawberries on a hot stove until just the right consistency, and here's the end result.

Enough to make the sweet taste of strawberries last all winter. YoungerSon and family have already finished off one jar, and are asking for another one!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Canada Day 2013

On July 1, Canada's 146th birthday was celebrated in style all over this great land.... and for me the celebration consisted of the whole family getting together at OlderSon's country estate that he laughingly calls "The Compound" (a modest bungalow on 2 acres just outside town) for games, conversation, fireworks and a BBQ. The two boys loved driving the Gator and then riding in the trailer behind the garden tractor when cutting the grass in "the back forty", but the twins preferred to keep their feet firmly on the ground, howling loudly when offered a ride. They'll be braver next year. I took some pics but my camera has disappeared. The search is on.

Update: Camera is found! It was in the last place I looked!!!! So now I can post a picture.

Multitasking.... cutting the grass and keeping two energetic little boys (ooops I meant BIG boys) entertained and safe at the same time.