South Etobicoke in Toronto where I live is divided into three areas along the waterfront. The area on the east side is Mimico, New Toronto is in the middle and Long Branch is on the west side. Last week I took a drive over to Long Branch to check out the waterfront.
Long Branch was originally owned by Col. Samuel Smith in the early 1800s. He had a large family and he tried his hand at farming after he left military service. He apparently wasn’t a very good farmer and five of his seven children never married and continued to live in their parents’ home after they died.
In 1861, James and Margaret Eastwood purchased the old house and 500 acres of lakefront property from the Smith Estate. They cleared the timber and farmed the land. In 1883, they sold 64 acres on the eastern edge of their property to a consortium which developed it into an exclusive summer resort area. The land was subdivided into 250 villa lots where the well-off could build summer cottages.(copied from the Etobicoke Historical Society). http://www.etobicokehistorical.com/long-branch.html
Many of these magnificent ‘cottages’ still stand today. It always amuses me to think that people who lived in Toronto travelled 10 to 20 kilometres in the summer to travel to their summer homes.
Most of the buildings on the south campus of Humber College are from the late 18th century when the grounds were the Psychiatric Hospital. Originally built as a branch of the Toronto Asylum for the Insane, the hospital officially opened its doors in 1890 as the Mimico Asylum — the first such institution in Canada to be built on the cottage system. After the hospital closed in 1979 the buildings stood empty and in 1988 it was declared a heritage site.
When Humber signed a 99-year lease for the land and buildings in 1991, it began a complete restoration of the cottage buildings. Today the buildings have been restored to their original beauty and serve as classrooms and studios for the students. In between some of the old building a few new modern structures have been built. It’s a nice contrast between new and old.
While the weather is still somewhat pleasant and my husband is feeling relatively well, we’ve been taking walks together around the neighbourhood and over to the parks. Today we got as far Col. Sam Smith Park and headed up towards Humber College.
I love the grounds and the old buildings of the south campus. These building used to be part of the old psychiatric hospital that closed down in the the late 70s. The buildings were all restored to their former glory but instead of hospital wards they became classrooms and offices for Humber College. Some of you might even recognize one of the buildings that was used in the Police Academy movies before the restoration took place.
Now that the leaves have all fallen I found it interesting to shoot some of these old buildings through the branches for a slightly different perspective.
You know a winery is good when the local restaurants all have their wine on the menu. We were introduced to Marynissen years ago when we first started visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake. On our last trip we learned that Marynissen was the first winery in Ontario to plant the cabernet sauvignon grape and now 48 years later they are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their cabernet sauvignon wine.
While there we sampled this special wine and I have to say it was spectacular. The tasting room is very unpretentious but the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. We walked away with a case of wine. Hopefully we can hang on to some of it for the holidays.
This beautiful naturalized park in Toronto (south Etobicoke) is a gem in the neighbourhood. I remember years ago in the 1980s when dump trucks were lined up to unload their bins of landfill into Lake Ontario to expand the park. As a result an artificial harbour (now home to the Lakeshore Yacht Club) was created. It is skirted by grasslands punctuated by trees and set within the rocky shoreline. The lake-fill area also contains a wetlands habitat with wildlife-viewing platforms, while elsewhere among the tree-lined paths and lawns are playgrounds, pavilions, and a sport field.
This is one of the parks the Trish and I go to pick up litter. When you walk along the pathways you’d think the park is pretty clean but when you walk along the rocks you can see where people have partied and where the waves have deposited waste (mostly plastic) from the belly of the lake.
Here are some shots from the surface of the rocks and then what we’ve found between them.
…..I had no idea that they were two different churches
The main difference is that the cathedral is Roman Catholic and the Abbey is part of the Church of England. Also the cathedral is much newer. It was built in 1903 and is the largest Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. One of the things that struck us as odd about the interior of the cathedral is how dark the ceiling in the main part of the church is. According to the guide at the entrance, the ceiling is almost black because the main lighting source when it was first built consisted of candles and the soot from the them has darkened the interior. I thought that was odd, considering how wealthy the Catholic Church is but according to history churches built in the early 1900s had to be debt free before they could be consecrated. The interior of the cathedral was never completed but it was consecrated none the less in 1910.
The cathedral is built in the Byzantine style.
The Abbey on the other hand is much older. It was first constructed in 1245 and was originally Catholic. Henry VIII changed that when the Catholic Church wouldn’t grant him a divorce and he formed the Church of England. In 1560 Queen Elizabeth I re-established Westminster as a “Royal Peculiar” – a church of the Church of England responsible directly to the Sovereign, rather than to a diocesan bishop.
We didn’t get in line to see the inside of the Abbey but my cousin in Germany has convinced me that when we go back we need to take the tour. It sounds fascinating and worth the money. It is certainly rich in history.
In the next post I will continue with day 6 and describe our walk along the Thames River.
Down the hill from Highgate Cemetery we were directed to look for a pub that came highly recommended. Unfortunately when we got there the pub was being completely renovated and wasn’t open for business. We didn’t have to walk far before we found another place with a lovely patio. It was a little chilly to be sitting outside so we opted to go inside The Vine. Only one other table was occupied but the bartender greeted us and directed us to a table for four and handed us menus.
Normally an empty pub doesn’t bode well for good service or food but in this case it was completely the opposite. Our waiter was delightful and the food was delicious.
After a pint of larger or cider and a few sharing plates we headed off towards Camden Market.
With hundreds of stalls selling clothing, crafts, and food, Camden Market is one of Europe’s largest markets. It is divided into different markets. We started in the Camden Lock Market which is on the street level and next to the locks. There were lots of food vendors here and a variety of stalls selling anything from books, music and flowers to vintage clothes.
At first glance I thought the market was actually quite small but then we walked through a hole in the brick wall and we experienced a whole new world. There are literally hundreds of vendors in the Stables Market.
The Stables Market is located in historic former stables and the Grade II horse hospital which served the horses pulling Pickford’s distribution vans and barges along the canal. Many of the stalls and shops are set in large arches in railway viaducts.
It is very easy to get lost in this place. If you like this kind of market give yourself a couple of hours to really see this place and check out all the vendors.
One of my colleagues from bread making suggested that while we were in London we might want to check out the Highgate Cemetery where numerous famous authors, actors and politicians were laid to rest. It sounded interesting and it was an opportunity to take our first double decker bus ride.
We sat at the front of the bus for the best views of the neighbourhoods as we ascended the uphill climb to Waterlow Park.
It was a short walk through the park along paved pathways and over small footbridges to get to Highgate Cemetery.
Highgate Cemetery is divided into two separate areas: the East Cemetery is open daily to the public for a small entrance fee and one is able to roam through the grounds freely; the West Cemetery is only open to guided tours (unfortunately no tours were available on the day we went).
The eastern part of Highgate is a fascinating place to visit. The tombstones and gravesites along the paved pathways are very well cared for while deeper into the woods many stones are overgrown with ivy and falling over. In some ways the latter sites are the more interesting ones to look at. Many of the inscriptions have been worn away with time but some are still legible and give some insight into the lives of the families buried there.
One of the most famous ‘residents’ of Highgate is Karl Marx and most visitors who go there specifically look for his tombstone. He was originally buried in his wife’s grave on a small side path, but in 1956 a new monument featuring a gigantic bust by the socialist sculptor Laurence Bradshaw was installed in a more prominent location. Funds were raised by the Marx Memorial Fund, set up by the Communist Party in 1955.
It would take me too long to list all the famous people who are buried at Highgate. Many soldiers who died in both world wars are also buried here and the cemetery continues to serve the residents of north London to this day. George Michael, the English singer and songwriter who died in 2016 is buried in the west cemetery at Highgate.
Here are a few more gravesites that you may or may not recognize.
At the intersection of Dundas and Islington in the west end of Toronto sits the heritage site of Montgomery’s Inn. The inn was built in 1830 by Thomas and Margaret Montgomery, both immigrants from Ireland. It served as a meeting place for the community and a place for travellers to rest and enjoy a drink and a meal. The original property covered 400 acres of land and was used primarily for farming.
Today the building has been restored and serves as a historical museum and hosts various groups and exhibitions. Momentarily the building is undergoing more restoration but remains open to the public. For more information about the history go here.