Thursday, August 11, 2016

Summer in the City

August 2016 - Toronto ON

My BFF and I went for lunch and a stroll along Harbourfront on Tuesday.

This walk is 11,908 steps, 5.1 miles or 8.2  km.

 We started out from York St. Harbourfront is a 10-acre site downtown Toronto and nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario. There are restaurants, tour boats, dinner cruises, tall ships, sandy beach areas, a bandstand, you name it.

Funny enough this story was in the Toronto Star the next day.

One year ago Toronto completed the $128.9-million, three-year construction project intended to transform the 1.7-kilometre stretch of the lakeshore into a “showpiece waterfront boulevard,” and when it was unveiled the public was confronted with an entirely new kind of street designed to give equal consideration to motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, and public transit.

There is all kinds of water traffic.

We dropped into the Power Plant.  Opened to the public in 1987, The Power Plant is Canada's leading public art gallery devoted to the presentation of contemporary art, artists and ideas.

The Power Plant was initially established in 1976 as the Art Gallery at Harbourfront. The original Power Plant with its companion building The Ice House (today the Enwave Theatre), was constructed in 1926 to house the heating and refrigeration equipment for the massive Toronto Terminal Warehouse (now Queen's Quay Terminal).

In 1980, Harbourfront Corporation provided the Art Gallery at Harbourfront with the opportunity to renovate the 1920s powerhouse as its new home. The powerhouse was then converted to an art gallery and opened to the public on 1 May 1987. The Power Plant is recognizable by its smokestack and exterior façade which have been restored to maintain reference to its history.

Even for me, this was a rather odd art exhibit.

Outside I loved this image of the Toronto Financial District, a living billboard as each building has corporate sponsorship.

Here is a photo of it from the Scotiabank 2016 Contact photography series.

Aude Moreau was invited to create a site-specific image as a large-format billboard on The Power Plant’s south facade. Captured from Toronto Fire Station 315 at College Street and Bellevue Avenue just after sunset, commercial logos glowing in the remaining light of dusk compete for visibility.

Time to stop for lunch at Amsterdam's....

... always good food and always crummy service but the location is perfect on a hot day. We sat on their shaded patio along the lake.


Time to walk off our lunch.

Plane going in for a landing at Billy Bishop Island Airport.

Yolanda vanderGaast sculpted the life-and-a-quarter size bronze firefighter with flames lapping up its feet, while rescuing a swaddled baby. Six columns of black granite list our Fallen Firefighters. The granite is the upper stem of a cross with a Maltese Cross suspended above our Honour Roll. During any given sunrise, a shadow outlining the Maltese Cross moves across the fire station wall.

They are "valiant hearts" that made a "supreme sacrifice" while protecting lives, property and the environment in Toronto.

This delightful garden — a reflection in landscape of Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major for 
unaccompanied cello, BWV 1007 — was designed by internationally renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy, in collaboration with landscape architects from the City of Toronto's Parks and Recreation department. The following information is from the City of Toronto's website.

Tom Tollefson, architectural blacksmith, fabricated the Music Pavilion.


A Formal Flower Parterre 
This French dance was contemporary to Bach's time. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of this movement's design. Hand-crafted with ornamental steel, a circular pavilion is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.

Since we were walking east to west we started at the end of the garden, but no matter.

GigueGiant Grass Steps That Dance You Down To The Outside World The Gigue or "jog" is an English dance, whose jaunty, rollicking music is interpreted here as a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbor. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree; a place for informal performances. Shrubs and perennials act as large, enclosing arms, framing views out onto the harbour.

CouranteA Swirling Path Through A Wildflower Meadow 
Originally an Italian and French dance form, the ( Courante ) is an exuberant movement that is interpreted here as a huge, upward-spiraling swirl through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract birds and butterflies. At the top, a Maypole spins in the wind.
Anne Roberts, Feir Mill Design Inc., designed the Maypole.

PreludeAn Undulating River Scape with Curves and Bends
The first moment of the suite imparts the feeling of a flowing river through which the visitor can stroll. Granite boulders from the southern edge of the Canadian Shield are placed to represent a stream bed with low-growing plants softening its banks. The whole is overtopped by an alley of the native Hackberry trees, whose straight trunks and regular spacing suggest measures of music.

Little Norway Park is a 2.36 hector or 5.38 Acre park serving local residents.

It's name commemorates a  World War II training base. The base was used by the Norwegian Air Force and once existed on the site of the park. Facilities include:  A soccer pitch, baseball diamond, playground & wading pool as well as landscaped gardens and numerous art installations.

We are looking for Ireland Park which our GPS on our phones tells us should be down this quay but the isn't any way to access it as it is surrounded by fencing so we decide to head back and see if there is another way in.

Next to Little Norway Park is the Waterfront Public School & Harbourfront Community Centre which opened in 1998 and provide strong community focus for Harbourfront residents.

Finally 2 years later and several wrong turns we find our goal hidden behind the HUGE Canada Malting silos. I never realized how big it was until we stood beside it.

But to our main destination! Ireland Park.

SECRET (hush) if you don't want to walk all the way from downtown as we did, then catch the complimentary Porter shuttle that stops on Front St near York outside the Starbucks and then it is a short walk. 

The park, is in the memory of the arrival of immigrants fleeing the Irish Famine. Nearby, immigrant sheds were established to receive the 38,560 Irish that arrived in Toronto in 1847.  Five bronze statues stand (and in one case, lie) on a lawn nearby, signifying the mixed emotions and experience of the new immigrants, in a collective called “The Arrival”. In a similar park in Dublin, there are seven statues collectively called “Departure” — illustrating the loss of many ailing émigrés on the long voyage to Canada.

I was lucky enough to see Departure in Dublin even though it was just from the car.

Departure Dublin 2015 across from the Custom House.

Below and to the east of the trees stand the five bronze sculptures by Rowan Gillespie. The principle figure of a tall man is depicted with his arms raised in exaltation at the prospect of Toronto before him. 

Standing beside and to the rear of this figure is a pregnant woman, whose condition speaks to the prospect of new life and new hope in a new land.

 In contrast to the pregnant woman, another woman is depicted collapsed to the ground in the last moments of life. 

Further behind these figures stands a young boy, whose clumsily gathered hands suggest his apprehension about his future and whether to go back or to go foreword.

  Completing the group, closest to the grain silos, stands a male figure ‘Pius Mulvey’, inspired by Joseph O’Connor’s book ‘Star of the Sea’. I can attest that this is a great book!

Behind the figures looking at the skyline is a large block of black limestone from Ireland. The shape resembles a ship, but the limestone has been sliced into several pieces. In the small gaps, names of those who died making the voyage are engraved into the stone 
made of imported Kilkenny limestone.

In 1847 38,560 Irish men, women and children landed on the shores of Toronto. Some 1,186 died upon their arrival or shortly thereafter. At the outset of this project only 32 names were known. Thanks to the great work of Prof. Mark McGowan, his son Patrick and research assistants Michael Chard and Neil Sands, we are proud to have recovered a total to date of 675.

Time to head back to Union Station for our separate journeys home.

Some sights on our way before my cell phone battery dies. Not sure what the significance of this sign is.

I asked the owner if I could take a photo and she kindly moved out of the way.

K snapped this for me. This was outside a BOATEL a floating B and B to experience Toronto in a different way.


  1. The Irish famine sculptures are quite vivid and haunting. I like that use of the old power plant as exhibition space.

    It's been awhile since I've featured our city firefighter memorial and the national memorial. I know the day of commemoration is coming up in September.

  2. Departure is quite harrowing, isn't it, Jackie? But I always love looking at boats and Power Point is very interesting from the outside. Many thanks to you for sharing.

  3. More reasons to go back to Toronto!

  4. That's a long walk with a lot to see along it. I wouldn't dream of taking the shuttle, Toronto is best explored on foot. Thank you for linking in with "Through My Lens"

    Mersad Donko Photography

  5. I'd love to explore this part of Canada!

  6. Great set and too much walking for me, it looks like you covered most of that ten acres. You'd have lost me on a boat or the Brewhouse.

  7. Sorry if this is a double comment but my text disappeared as I was writing. Anyway, I am happy to see the city of Toronto has invested in preparing areas for the enjoyment of locals and visitors. Those slabs of stone from Ireland are unique and beautiful. To me, they are a great addition to the area.

  8. Little Norway Park is my favourite site along the harbourfront. I found it by accident several years ago. There's so many great sites down there.

    I haven't been to the Irish park, even though I know someone who attended the opening ceremony. Looks like it could get emotional being there -- those sculptures are strong stuff. I didn't know about the parallel sculptures in Dublin.

  9. Your posts on Toronto are fantastic! I can't begin to tell you how much I've enjoyed my recent 'tours with you'. Those sculptures are powerful and now I want to read that book!

  10. What a great walk, with so much to see! Love the look of that art exhibition too, looks very cool! I love walking around and seeing what I find so this sounds like the perfect walk for me! :)

  11. I was love the connection created by the two isntallations "Departure" and "arrival" both of them are so moving! #wkendtravelinspiration

  12. This looks like such a great place to spend a day walking around. So much to see and do! I love wandering and this looks like the perfect spot for it :D

  13. I looks amazing and I'm particular interested in the statues of the Irish immigrants. A great sculpture to incorporate two installations in separate continents. X

  14. Love that you included the exact amount of steps :) Lovely photos

  15. Fantastic post with wonderful photos. Brought back happy memories of my visit there...
    Thanks for joining us at the Travel Tuesday meme. I was a little late posting the meme up this week, life gets in the way of fun things... However, it's up now and I look forward to your new contribution.

  16. This post totally makes me want to go to Toronto. I love the Black '47 statues and the story. #wkendtravelinspiration

  17. The Harbor Front looks like and exquisite place to visit. There is so much to see. It'd quite wonderful the art pieces mingled with the older industrial architecture. I think I could spend a week there, easily.

    Lisa @ LTTL


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