As our city enters its third week of stay-at-home restrictions, how lovely to enjoy the spring air, free from the confines of my apartment in downtown Toronto. With no other way to get exercise or see daylight, I chose to take a quick stroll away from the main thoroughfares this Sunday afternoon. Although I’m surrounded by concrete and glass high-rise office buildings and condos, there are a few secret pockets of turn-of-last-century townhouses with their beautiful little garden patches as well as a parkette or two.I first dropped by my neighbours across the street – the spectacular office building that’s headquarters to the Manufacturers’ Life Insurance Co. Carefully reaching through the wrought iron fence, I snapped a few pictures of their flower beds, most of which are still slumbering…but there were a couple of early risers!Around the corner, there’s a delightful little parkette that never disappoints at springtime. Usually full of red tulips and bright yellow daffodils, this year there’s a blanket of tiny blue flowers…not bluebells but something just as pretty…wow!Behind the parkette, there’s a modest little cul-de-sac lined with row houses from the 1900’s, all beautifully maintained and reno’d. The houses on the north side of the street back onto the Rosedale ravine and at the end they’ve created a lovely area with wooden railway ties as benches and the wild gardens are filled with birds singing. I frequently go there just to sit and relax and…breathe!Looking down onto Rosedale Valley Road from my perch above…..
Walking back along the little street, I enjoyed several of the perfectly-kept flower beds and pots….Time to head home as the skies grew a little overcast but not before I snapped a few shots of the planters along my home-stretch of Bloor St East, featuring my favourite little flowers, pansies. Aren’t they lovely?So get outside and enjoy the sun, the fresh air, the flowers and birds…forget about Covid for half-an-hour and be grateful for all these beautiful things we’re given for free. But please keep your mask on when passing by your neighbours.
Today is the one sunny day forecast for this week so I took a stroll thru my neighbourhood parkettes and gardens, snapping away at all the pretty flowers that have finally poked their heads above ground.Across the street from my building is the old Manufacturers Life Bldg, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens that I frequently photograph. Thanks to the heavy rains yesterday, most of the tulips looked a bit beaten down but I found a few nice beds still in tact – belowThen down the little side street you’ll find a charming parkette (pictured below) that’s usually populated (sadly) with homeless folk but today I had the place to myself…and the flowers.This poor little tulip looked so lonely – his mates obviously failed to sprout!Lots more flowers to enjoy in this tiny nature strip alongside Church Street north of Bloor, including these stunning Magnolia blossoms in the back garden of one of the neighbouring row houses.Lots more lovely flowers to capture along the side streets near Yonge & Bloor…I strolled down Hazelton Avenue in the heart of chi-chi Yorkville and found some lovely surprises in the cottage gardens….…then back home via Yorkville Ave, dropping in to say hi to the firemen of Station 312.Hope you enjoyed my little virtual tour of the lovely flowers and gardens near my home…now go get out there in the sunshine yourself!
Last night I was thrilled to attend the opening of my dear friend DONNA LYPCHUK‘s show that’s part of this year’s CONTACT Photography Festival taking place at galleries and venues across Toronto throughout the month of May.Hosted in the unique setting of Mrs.Huizengas Antique Emporium @28 Roncesvalles Ave, the 60+ framed and unframed photographic prints feature stunning landscapes, floral portraits and sassy street scenes. The show also includes one of Donna’s most famous shots of a hurricane-like tempest over Toronto back in August of 2015 – this photo went viral over the internet, was published by news outlets across the country and became Instagram’s “Photo of the Day”. It is also the title photo for Donna’s show promotional materials (see bottom of blog).A long-time resident and arts scene contributor of the Queen Street West Bo-ho community, Donna was a weekly columnist (“the necrofile”) for the now-defunct eye Weekly newspaper as well as a published author, playwright and multi-media artist…… and my dear friend since the early 80’s when we both worked at Yuk Yuk’s. Her own sense of humour and whimsy can be seen in a number of her photos, as well as her “darker side”. I particularly liked her charming “Swan” series, esp. the full-colour framed print featured below….Donna greeted all her friends who dropped in to admire her work and support the show, and I watched as several prints were sold, too – congrats, Donna! For those wishing to purchase her work, Donna (below, centre) has priced her photo prints very affordably – you can pick up a great picture for as little as $16 or as much as $160.Donna’s florals attracted a lot of attention – here are two of my faves….I really liked this one (above) as the trees look like naked bodies dancing thru the flowers!!
I highly recommend checking out these beautiful photos that will hang in Mrs. Huizengas throughout the month of May…and have fun checking out all the kitsch and vintage treasures in this huge antique emporium. For store hours call T: 416-533-2112. Thank you for supporting Canadian artists….especially Donna Lypchuk