Little Treasures Everywhere

….you don’t have to look far to find things to put a smile on your face

Throughout the neighbourhood people are putting out painted stones with bright colours and special messages. Up the street the local yarn store has had customers knit or crochet flowers and has ‘planted’ them on the lamp post outside the store. On the rocky beach over at the park people are creating art with the bricks and stones from the beach.5-ABA64-EE-0-A65-42-AB-A470-3941241-CCB03-1-201-a
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Lens Artist Photo Challenge – Summer

….thanks to Amy for hosting this week’s Lens Artist Photo Challenge

Summer is different this year. So far I’ve spent all of it in the city. I miss the Island and hope to get up there soon.

Even lawn bowling looks different this year.80-DB252-E-02-B0-46-E6-B680-9-FB56-FE069-E4

Swimming off the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto
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Growing vegetables in our backyard gardenF6-BFC0-ED-1394-4-D51-8307-78-BC2-C2-ADBB2

Farmers’ Markets have opened again
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Enjoying a meal on the deck in the backyard.
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Lens Artists Photo Challenge – A Quiet Moment

…thanks to Patti  for hosting this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge

Quiet moments are much easier to find these days but as things start to open up I’ve noticed that parts of the park are becoming hives of noisy activity with groups of families and friends who are gathering for the first time in months. That said there are still lots of quiet moments to share with you.

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Deserted Beach
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Quiet Highways
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Breakfast on the Deck
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Overlooking the neighbouring city from the top of the ski hill (man-made)
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Neighbouring streets
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In the Park
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Chilling by the Lake
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Dusk over Lake Ontario from the Park in New Toronto
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The Beauty and Fun of Trash Collecting

…how can collecting trash be fun or beautiful?

On on our 30 Day Clean-up Challenge people have often commented that they couldn’t do what we were doing. I think one of the reasons why we were so successful and persistent on completing this project was because we could see that it was making a difference. The parks were definitely cleaner and ‘some’ people were making an effort to help keep it that way.

We also had fun while we were doing this. Sometimes it was like looking for buried treasure between the rocks and often we’d be amazed at the things we found. The lost wallet was returned to its owner and Trish also found a cell phone and was able to locate the owner.

After each haul we’d take a minute or two for photo ops. Trish loved posing in unusual stances, sometimes doing cartwheels and hand stands. I on the other hand was a little more conservative with my poses.
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The beauty of trash collecting in the parks comes from discovering the nooks and crannies of the park that I would never have ventured to before. I had never walked onto the rocks before and there were areas around the pond that I discovered for the first time. We also met a lot of wonderful people and we really came to appreciate the beauty of our environment.

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The Ugly Side of Cleaning the Parks: Part 3

…now that I’ve completed my 30 days I can share the highs and lows of trash collecting

In yesterday’s post I shared with you some of the fun and more interesting things that we’ve collected on our 30 Clean-up Challenge. Back in early May, my neighbour Trish gave herself a 30 Day Challenge to clean our neighbourhood parks. I joined her on Day 3 and we pretty much went out every day for about 1 1/2 to two hours with our empty plastic grocery bags (for awhile we weren’t allowed to used our reusable bags in the grocery stores because of COVID 19) and on average we filled about eight of those bags during each trip. After a couple of weeks had to put out a call for more bags because we ran out. Several of our friends and neighbours happily gave us their extra ones.

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You might wonder where all this trash was coming from. Here’s the ugly truth. Most of the garbage in the parks and on the beaches and between the rocks was deliberately left behind. It wasn’t washed ashore by the waves. It was there because people were too lazy or inconsiderate, or both to walk 20 steps to a garbage bin. The garbage consisted of coffee cups, pop cans, beer cans and bottles, fast food wrappers and pizza boxes and empty cigarette boxes. Don’t even get me started on the cigarette butts that are littered around park benches and tossed to the curb from people’s cars.

Most people are picking up after their dogs but then some of them toss the full poop bag to the side of the pathways instead of using the park bins. Some of the other things that we’ve found are used condoms, a few syringes (luckily no needles), plastic baggies, fireworks canisters and golf and tennis balls.

A lot of the coffee cups and fast food containers come from the food chains in the neighbourhood. The biggest offenders are Tim Horton’s, McDonalds, Popeyes, Burger King and StarBucks. We’re trying to figure out a way to work with them to reduce the amount of waste from their products and ways to encourage their customers to be more responsible.89-BE0799-E0-BE-4-F48-98-D1-98-E79-B45-D9-ED
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In the next instalment of our 30 Day Clean-up Challenge I will talk about the hazards of picking up trash.

The 30 Day Challenge – Part 2

….our most interesting finds

Over the last 30 days we’ve certainly come across a whole host of unusual finds in the parks, on the beaches and between the rocks.

Lake Ontario is part of the Great Lakes in North America and provides fresh drinking water to over 9 million people in Ontario, Canada and New York State, U.S.. It is the 14th largest fresh water lake in the world and because it is so deep it never freezes completely.

There are days when the waves are so large you would think you were on an ocean. I bring this up because much of the garbage that we collected from the beaches was washed ashore during those days when the swells were huge.

Some of things that we found on the beaches and between the rocks were golf balls, styrofoam and plastic, old tires, chair parts, umbrellas, headless doll and a wallet with $20.00.88-B99001-EB72-439-E-B403-2-AD0-ADAA545-C
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When we started on this challenge May 2 we were wearing winter coats, hats and mitts and now five weeks later we’re in our shorts, tee-shirts and sandals. We always say that here in Toronto we go from winter right into summer.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Anything Man-made

…thanks to Cee for hosting the Fun Foto Challenge

For more than 20 days we’ve been collecting garbage from the our parks. All of this trash is man-made.4-E5-DB23-E-24-DC-4-D1-A-900-A-0770447-AF49-A
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Clean-up in Aisle 9

actually the clean-up has been in our local parks

Two weeks ago my neighbour, Trish, decided to give herself a 30 day challenge and go out daily (weather permitting) and pick up trash in our parks. When I found out what she was doing I decided to join her on her Day 3. For the last 10 days we’ve been out together, grocery bags in hand, and have been picking up litter from our beautiful parks.

We are very lucky where we live because we are surrounded by parks and parkettes.  So far we’ve tackled six different areas. Some of the parks are so large we’ve had to go back a couple of times and one park is so big that we have enough work for the remainder of the challenge.

Much of the litter is trash that has fallen from people’s pockets and from the garbage cans on collection day and then picked up by the wind. Most of what we find is hidden under shrubs and trees and between the rocks on the shoreline. Unfortunately a lot is the result of people being too lazy to walk a hundred feet to one of the multiple garbage containers set out all over the parks.

We’re finding a lot of plastic bags, take-out containers, coffee cups, pop and beer cans and lots of cigarette butts and disposable lighters. Close to building sites styrofoam is our number one find. Our most unusual finds have been chairs, a bicycle lock and a broken umbrella.

The nice part of doing this is that we’re meeting a lot of the people in our neighbourhood. They are all very appreciative. Some of them have been inspired to do the same thing and take a bag with them on their daily walks.  On my first day one of them called us over and left us each a bag of homemade cookies on the edge of their porch. While doing this of course we’re doing our best to stay 2 metres apart. In the first photo Trish is with her daughter and they live in the same house.

Here are some of the photos taken on Days 1 to 10 for me. Trish just finished day 12. Looks like we may take a break today. It’s pouring rain.CCCA1-BD9-C245-479-E-8-DA6-96-ADDEE6061-C
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