Urban Exploring

Image of an old house in an industrial area of Toronto
An old house hidden in the industrial areas between around Kipling and Bloor

Get outside, find new things and get some great exercise. These are just a few benefits of urban exploring, not to mention some great photo opportunities. It’s not a big deal, and it doesn’t cost anything. Just put on your best walking shoes and get out there!

I started doing this more seriously on the first day of January this year. It wasn’t one of those short-lived new year resolutions, but something I’d been building up to. Curiosity about my surroundings started it. You know when you’re a passenger in a car and see things that you didn’t notice when you were driving? Even when you’re driving along a regular route? One example is when I was a passenger, going along Bloor, just west of Kipling. I noticed a double garage at right angles to the road and what looked like an old brick house behind it. I’ve driven past there a million times and not noticed it. After walking back to take a look at it another time, I could tell it was originally an old farmhouse, did a little bit of research and found that it’s the John Ward farmhouse, dating from 1875.

Composite image of industrial area of Toronto
Composite image of industrial Toronto

Back to January 1st, though. I based the walk on one of the Toronto routes from Trevor Heywood’s great web site https://metroscapes.ca He’s done a lot of exploring and details the routes and features along the way. We walked the North and Jackson Creeks route. Well, we did veer off on a few occasions when we got distracted, but that was fine.

Basically we wandered through industrial areas from Kipling and Bloor meandering east and down to the lakeshore where we had the complete contrast of waterfront regeneration and conservation. After walking along through Humber Bay Park we looped back up for the return journey.

To add to the range of things we saw, the weather went from dull and cloudy to brilliantly sunny. In terms of photographic material, I couldn’t have asked for more. Turbulent clouds to sunny skies helped bring out the many colours and textures of old derelict houses, shiny new tower blocks, winter foliage and fantastic ice patterns.

Try a bit of you own urban exploring. So much to see, so much to do!

Basking in the Brilliant Colours of Autumn

It’s hard to think, as we’re in the depths of winter, that it’s only a few months since we were basking in the brilliant colours of autumn!

Image of coastal view  on the Bruce Peninsula
Across the bay

Even though I’m really enjoying brisk refreshing walks and getting out in below zero temperatures, I’ve been looking at some pictures from before the snow. I still have quite a few to process but thought I’d post some for a bit of light entertainment.

Image of golden sunset at Singing Sands
Late afternoon as the sun begins to go down, one Autumn evening. Taken at Singing Sands on the Bruce Peninsula
Image of a beautiful autumn sky
Sun and moon

These were all taken on the Bruce Peninsula, mainly around Tobermory. It’s a lovely area to explore, full of rocks, beaches, forest, trails and waterfalls. The late afternoon light in some of the pictures brings out luscious golden hues, warm and inviting.

Image of water and islands near Tobermory
Water view

Black Cat Artspace Salon of Inclusiveness

Composite image of people and life in Toronto
The bustle of city life in Toronto
The Black Cat Artspace has its 6th Annual Salon of Inclusiveness Holiday Show and
Sale coming up. I have one piece in the show. It’s called Movement and it’s the one you
see above.

Opening Reception details are below and here :

December 5th, 2019 – 7pm – 10:30pm
December 6th, 2019 – 7pm – 10:30pm

Exhibition runs from December 5th 2019 –December 31st 2019

Gallery hours: Thursday – Sunday: 2-7pm
Monday-Wednesday: Closed

Black Cat Artspace, 2186 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON  Canada

Drop in for a visit. You’ll see a load of varied artwork and all at affordable prices!

Discovering Morland Place

The Bell Tower in the barn at Morland Place in Ontario
The Bell Tower

So now I’ve discovered Morland Place! I can’t remember how many times I’ve caught sight of this curious-looking wood building with a bell-tower, set back from the road. Driving along Grey County Road 18 near Owen Sound, I finally managed to investigate it when I decided to make a stop at Inglis Falls, which is almost next door.

The overgrown greenhouse at Morland Place in Ontario
The greenhouse, plants and statues bursting from the inside

I reached Morland Place through an unobtrusive driveway off the main road. I came up to a fascinating collection of buildings and gardens that looked like something from a film set. The original stone house was built around 1920 as the home of the McCallum family. It was eventually bought by the More family in 1945 and they remain the owners now. Over time, numerous buildings have been added including the elaborate , gothic-looking extension to the house, built in 1870’s Georgian Regency style, complete with another bell-tower, or two.

The original stone house at Morland Place in Ontario
The original stone house
The Georgian Regency-style extension to the house at Morland Place in Ontario
The Regency-style house extension added in the 1980’s, complete with plants creeping up the pillars and posts
Some of the statues in the gardens at Morland Place in Ontario
Some of the many statues that adorn the gardens

Although the house was closed to visitors when I went, the elaborate and extensive gardens were open and were great to wander around in. All sorts of hedges, plants, gardens and tons of pots and statues everywhere. There is also a maze, though I didn’t get to that. I did wander around the ornate barn-like buildings and along the cornfields at the back, though. It was a beautiful autumn day with brilliant sunshine, and bright colours that highlighted the quirky nature of this place.

A large ornate barn by the corn fields at Morland Place in Ontario
Back to the barns by the cornfields

I’ll be going back for another visit, to do a bit more exploring. It’s well worth the trip!

Toronto Life

Composite image of Toronto life
Toronto Life. So much going on.

I’ve noticed how I focus on various themes and locations and how I’ve subconsciously avoided doing much work about Toronto life. I wonder if it’s because it’s too obvious, as I live here, and the fact that I see so many pictures of it. I think though, that you can say that about any place. Realistically, it’s probably because I’ve been trying to work out my own particular angle and interpretation.

As Toronto is a big city you can find examples of all sorts things. Industry, housing, arts, cultures, pretty much anything. As usual, I tend to the more industrial and derelict areas but I like all the vibrance and diversity of so many aspects of it. I’m also a bit preoccupied by the amount of green space and conservation around the city, which I love and am fascinated by. You’ve got to love old, solid, historic buildings being used as the basis of new ventures, and wetlands and nature being nurtured amidst an expanding metropolis. I’ve noticed many of my Toronto life photos focus on the conservation and nature areas that many people might not think of as the landmarks of the city. But they’re there and they’re remarkable. I keep seeing butterfly gardens, often running alongside new condo developments!

Anyway, apart from that focus, I’m also working on some new composites based on Toronto, that bring in many of its different features. The one at the top of this post is the first. I could explain my thinking but I’ll leave it to others to untangle. Look closely and see what you can find.

More of this type of image to come.