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.
…..the cherry blossoms in High Park have bloomed but won’t last much longer
The blooming of the cherry blossoms in High Park is a big deal. Every year hundreds of thousands flock to the west end of Toronto to take in the cherry blossoms. In 1959 the Japanese ambassador to Canada, Toru-Hagiwara, presented 2000 Japanese Somei-Yoshino Sakura trees to the citizens of Toronto on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo. The trees were planted in appreciation of Toronto accepting re-located Japanese-Canadians following the Second World War.
Sakura is the Japanese name for flowering cherry trees and their flowers – often referred to as cherry blossoms. The Japanese traditional custom of hanami or “flower viewing” dates back to 710-794 when the Chinese Tang Dynasty influenced Japan with their custom of enjoying flowers. Today when the Sakura trees bloom, Japanese people and people from all walks of life and cultures continue the tradition of hanami, gathering in great numbers along the pathways on the eastern shore of Grenadier Pond in High Park.
Thanks to the High Park Nature Centre for the information about the history of the Cherry Blossoms in High Park. If you get out in the next couple of days you can still catch some of the blossoms before they fall to the ground.
Yesterday my granddaughter and I walked over to the park at Dundurn Castle in Hamilton. She no longer calls it the dinosaur park but now uses its actual name ‘Dundurn Castle’.
On the grounds there sits a beautiful small white building with large columns at the entrance. I never gave much thought to what the building was originally used for but when I found out what it might have been potentially used for I was quite shocked. It is referred to as the Cockpit Theatre but according to Wikipedia there is no proof that it was ever used for cockfighting. It is also referred to as a folly, which I had to look up.
a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.
a theatrical revue, typically with glamorous female performers:
“the Ziegfeld Follies”
According the Tourism Hamilton, “The Cockpit Theatre is the small Neo-classical building overlooking Burlington Bay on the edge of the escarpment estate. It was built by Sir Allan MacNab as a place to entertain business and political friends in an era two hundred years before action films and reality television. No archaeological evidence has actually shown that the building was ever used for the activity its name suggests.”
Another source gives this description of its original purpose: One of Dundurn Castle’s favored buildings it is actually a folly as its true purpose will forever remain unknown. Most locals refer to it as housing MacNab’s cockfighting ring as he was an avid participant in this long since banned sport. Local lore has underground tunnels leading from it to the main mansion.
Other uses being designated to it include:
A laundry house
A chapel for his wife
It is confusing to me that all accounts try to deny the use of this beautiful building as a cockfighting pit yet its official name is The Cockpit Theatre and as I peaked inside there were placards describing ‘cockfighting’. In fairness to Dundurn Castle I wasn’t able to read the information through the window so maybe they were debunking the myth. Anyway it makes for an interesting story.