Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Toronto Light Festival

Like I did back in December, after my boarding home visit on Sunday, I dropped by the Distillery District to shoot some photos. But, instead of the Christmas Market, the Toronto Light Festival was on. Organizers brought together a number of artists who made light installations which were situated both inside and out around the site.

Like the my previous visit, I brought my tripod along. It makes it much easier to get low light shots. Also, like last time, it was cold. Perhaps even colder this time. Throughout the five hours I was there I had to make a number of forays indoors to keep from getting frostbite on my hands. Of course I'm exaggerating, but it was darn cold.

Since it was a Sunday evening, and it was cold, it wasn't as busy as it could have been. The Christmas Market was far busier. Still there were a fair number of people there. I don't mind the crowds. It makes my photos more interesting even though I often have to wait longer to get the ideal shot.

Anyway, the festival goes from sundown to either 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. depending on the day. It started on January 27th and will run until March 12th.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Eagle Has Landed

I was listening to CBC Radio 1 last week. They were interviewing a fellow who had seen a bald eagle at High Park not long ago. My friend, Justin, read something in the Metro paper online saying the same thing. He suggested we grab our friend Gabe to go look for it Saturday.

They picked me up near my place at 12:30 in the afternoon and we drove down. Incredibly it was Justin's first time there ever.

We parked at the café and headed down to the pond. Though people had been skating on it as recently as week or two ago, it had been quite warm the past few days. Ice still covered the water, but it was thin. Signs warned people not to go out on it.

We first headed southward along the eastern bank. At the bottom we made a U-turn and returned the same way. Along the way we saw chickadees, sparrows, mallard ducks and a downy woodpecker, but no eagles. After an hour and a half we gave up and retreated to the Grenadier Café to grab a bite.

After we ate Gabe suggested we head over to the "zoo". I have to say, it's more like a petting zoo with llamas, sheep and bison. Even the infamous capybaras were in hiding because of the chilly temperatures. Expecting to see nothing of interest, Justin left his camera in the car.

It was only as we were about to leave that we saw a group of people standing at the top of the hill by the zoo staring skyward. Up in a tall pine tree was the bald eagle we were so eagerly searching for. Gabe and I started taking pictures right away while Justin ran back to his car to grab his camera.

The bird was in no hurry to leave so we were all able to shoot to our hearts content. Such luck. If we hadn't decided to have something to eat and also go to the zoo, we would have missed the very thing we made the trek down to see.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

There Goes the Neighbourhood

Times are a'changin' in my old neighbourhood. One after another, the old neighbours are moving out. Usually it starts with the passing of either the husband, wife or both and the remaining family members decide to sell.

In recent times it's been the Abbey's house at number 8. First Mr. Abbey passed away then a few years later, Mrs. Abbey. Their kids sold the place and the new owner knocked off the upper half floor and converted it to a full second storey.

The Smythe's in 14 just moved out too. The new owner demolished the existing bungalow is building a 2-storey home there. It's still under construction.

A few years ago the Smith's children sold their place. Their parents had passed away over a decade earlier I believe. The eldest son had been living there on his own. The new owners renovated inside, but kept the original structure. After living there for only a few years it's on the market again.

And now, our long-time neighbours to the east, the Reeves, at 12, are moving out. Mr. Reeve passed away around five years ago or so if I remember correctly. Mrs. Reeve had been living there on her own since. But, this fall, she moved a bit east to live near her son and his family.

They just put their home up for sale this week for $1.1 million. My mother said a lot of people have come by to see it. Demand is super-high for single detached homes in Toronto right now. I'm sure they'll get above asking. My mom is hoping whoever buys it won't tear it down and build a monster home like so many of the others.

Since I left home so many of my childhood neighbours have left - the Grunwalds at 18, the Jacobs at 17, the Reutens at 21, the Owens at 20, the Bowies at 19, I forget the names of the people at 15, Mr. Smith at 2, the Johns at 5.

My mom is friendly with whoever else moves in. But there are less and less people around my parents' age.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hanging up the Skates

I guess it had to happen sometime. Still, as far as I'm concerned, it's a sad day. My mum has hung up her ice skates for good.

After skating for many, many years shefell last season and broke her wrist. She was in a cast for around a month and a half. And after she got it off it took quite awhile before the swelling went down and flexibility returned. Not wanting to take any more chances she decided that was it.

She's still active. Both my parents go swimming three or four times a week. And they go for walks around the neighbourhood too. But it's too bad there's one less activity in her life that she used to enjoy doing.