Wednesday, October 30, 2013

street signs - James North

Although the sign says 'Jamesville', I have never heard anyone call it that. It is always just James Street North.  It could be just me, of course.  There are several business that use it in their name. According to the Hamilton Public Library website "The Jamesville Neighbourhood is like an umbrella that covers the Central and North End Neighbourhoods, two neighbourhoods that have had a long history of working together."

James St used to be called Lake Rd because it was the road that lead north to Lake Ontario. It is now divided into north and south at King Street (hwy 8) and has been named for the son of one of the founding fathers of Hamilton. The street had been in a decline for many years but is enjoying a resurgence and rejuvenation lately. It is not really a gentrification, though there is a fear that may soon happen. It is here that every second Friday night of the month  you can experience the James North Art Crawl where galleries and studios are open late and buskers and musicians and crafters are out on the street. Even the Cathedral is open for the public to visit and partake of complimentary refreshments. 
I love areas that are in transition. The old roots of the Portuguese and Italian neighbourhood is still in evidence with the bars and small stores, but mixed in is now a new arts district. Running for about eight blocks between Wilson to Murray are many artisan, retro, recycle, and upcycle shops. There are coffee shops and restaurants - old and new - for all tastes. Independent artists studios, galleries, as well as small museums, the new CBC Hamilton studios and the tourism office have all opened up recently. At the far southern end is the Jackson Square mall that many blame for the decline of the downtown core. It is only in this mall that you will find any chain stores.

tenth in a series on street signs for signs, signs

Sunday, October 27, 2013

timey wimey

I get so excited whenever I see a "Hooray! Your postcard has been received" in my inbox. First, I have to read the message from the recipient then, before I know what I'm doing, I'm logged on and requesting an address to send another card. Sometimes, I regret being so impulsive. Especially if it's a Friday when I know the mail won't go out until 5pm on Monday. That adds 3 or 4 days to the travel time.

This morning I had a message from a Postcrosser exclaiming shock that her card had reached me in 3 days. She was from Germany. She was sorry, she hadn't even gotten around to uploading the photo of the card. It's true, a card travelling between Canada and Belarus or Ukraine, can easily take anywhere from 25 to 59 days to be received. But after checking the stats on my account, I can confirm that it is not unusual for a card from Germany to arrive in 5 days or less. Talk about efficiency!

I have been rather lax in uploading my received cards and I now have several dozen that need to be shown. So this afternoon, I got out my little tabletop tripod and set it up to take pictures of them all and am at the moment taking a break from posting them on the Postcrossing site. When done, I'll finally be able to sort and file them into their appropriate boxes.

I'm also staying inside to watch the Doctor Who marathon that has become a Sunday afternoon tradition. (I know, I've already seen each one at least twice - okay, three times - but there's always something you may have missed)  Tonight we have Doctor Who: Doctors Revisited 'The Fifth Doctor'.  This is actually the first doctor I remember watching (Peter Davison, if anyone needs reminding). I have been struggling with some of these old episodes. They seem to plod along slowly and aren't nearly as engaging as the recent ones with the ninth, tenth and eleventh doctors. But it has been interesting to see how each of the doctors differed over the incarnations and the years.

There are many other things I could be doing, but for now this is the most enjoyable.

and this is the card that Sandra sent - my first subway map card!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Maid of the Mist

Since 1885 the Maid of the Mist has been taking tourists under Niagara Falls. But today was the last day of its operations on the Canadian side.
Though small this steamer is powerful enough to push her way against the mighty current right into the heart of the madly seething waters at the very base of the Falls. From her decl a view of the Falls is obtained at a distance of but a few yards, a sight never to be forgotten.
It has not been an amicable parting of the ways between the steamboat company and the Niagara Parks Commission. It has been owned by the same family since 1972 and they have made a deal with the New York side to continue with tours while a new company will take over from Canada.

above is a Curt Teich card sent in 1957 from Niagara Falls NY to Toronto ON
and a Geocolor card printed in Spain
and though not a postcard, a shot of the Maid of the Mist VI taken this summer

Sunday, October 20, 2013

guilder stamps

The Netherlands made a deal when the euro was introduced that they could continue to use the guilder stamps for 10 years, and that is now coming to an end.

As of November 1st, 2013, the old guilder stamps from The Netherlands will no longer be valid and it seems I've been getting a few more interesting stamps lately as a result of this as people get rid of their old stamps. For Sunday Stamps, I'm showing the above set sent from Paul "from below sea level" in Groningen as it has a handwritten note of the values in guilders and euros!

1999 - The International Year of Elderly People
These stamps show that elderly people can still look very good and can still be very active. To avoid a stately portrait I photographed the persons in profile, while they ‘walk’ out of the stamp, and look at you. The grey stripes change in colourful background patterns once the portraits appear.
[artist's description, from a website I can not find again....]

These next two are from 1991 for Child Care. I couldn't find a description for them which is a shame as I'd like to know the backstory behind these designs. The little girl with the robot doesn't look terribly happy, but maybe she is just pensive. Maybe they are exchanging toys and she is going to be stuck with the Barbie doll. I'd have been a little sad, too.  In the second one, the boy seems to be blindfolded and the girl is excitedly whispering something to him. I'm wondering about that disembodied arm....

Saturday, October 19, 2013


October always makes me think of the colour orange.
Even though neither of these postcards are particularly autumnal, they are orange, so I'm sharing them this week for Postcard Friendship Friday.

from the west coast, we have California Poppies, 
sent Feb 10, 1915

The mission has moved over to San Francisco. I am living with one of the sisters. she has taken a flat. I will still go to the school in Oakland as the one here is a different branch. I have another heavy cold, so excuse short note. It has rained steadily for six weeks.
lovingly, M
and from the other end of the country, Florida oranges.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

grave post - Beckett

This gravestone I originally photographed because of the newer blocks all being slightly off centre.

But then I got closer and read the inscription.
The first Edward (Ebenezer) died in 1862. 
A second Edward (Henry) died in May 25, 1867,
followed in very close succession by William, six days later, Richard (who must have been a twin to Edward) five days after that, and finally Minnie, one week and one day later in June.
There was a threat of cholera in 1866, and it is possible that this family were greatly afflicted.

I thought this post was going to be a simple reflection on the deaths of so many children of one family in such a short time, but it seems that in spite of this great loss, the Beckett legacy did not end here.
I wondered why the monument had been restored.

Edward and Mary Ann would have another son in 1869 who would be named Samuel Gustavus. He would grow up to be an architect and with his partner, a Mr William Chadwick, would design many of the houses in Lawrence Park as well as banks, clubs, churches and factories. He would also serve in WWI, rising to the rank of Colonel. In 1915 he formed the 75th (Mississauga) Battalion.
H.M King George V Shakes Hands with Lt-Col Samuel G Beckett

Unfortunately, he was killed in a gas attack in March, 1917 in a "Trench Raid near Carency".

There was also an elder daughter who survived the epidemic of '67 and would, in 1877, marry a Thomas Allen who owned The East End Brewery. Interestingly, Edward Beckett was a well known temperance man. Edward was also an iron foundry owner. This library archives photo of the Globe Foundry at Queen and Bay Streets shows the family (and others)

Inscribed on vso of card: Taken about 1881
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Beckett are in the doorway just right of centre; their son Samuel and Anna Coad Butland are in top left window and two of the children in top right window are Emma and Robert Defries.

The land was soon afterwards expropriated and the building demolished to make way for Old City Hall (which was the new city hall at the time), though I believe that Mr Beckett had already passed on by then leaving Mary Ann and 18 year old Samuel to deal with that fallout.

Taphophile Tragics

Monday, October 14, 2013


a baby and a birthday cake. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

This card isn't in the best of condition, but I rather liked the spoon 
(anyone else out there ever collect souvenir spoons on their travels?)

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all my Canadian friends
Everyone else, have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

little helpers

The last couple of weeks have been utterly glorious. And the nights have been just as special. Save for one rogue weekend, the skies have been clear and starry and warm enough for a t-shirt still.

I had added another route to my deliveries and the car was filled with bundles of newspapers. I was running a little late and knew I needed to speed up my game a little, but I was slowed down by having to check the route list so often to see where my next stop was. As I was backing out of a driveway, carefully, to avoid hitting any of the many recycling bins, I suddenly noticed a raccoon in my side mirror. She was climbing inside my car through the open rear window. This was a little worrying. A quick turn around to see the back seat and I discover there are three little ones curled up on the bundles of newspapers. Then Mama is waving her arms and motioning me to back up, turn the steering wheel and "go". I'm wondering how I'm going to get to the papers. I pull over one from the passenger seat and toss it at the next porch. When I look in the rear view mirror the three little ones are sitting up watching me.  As I drive off, I see that they have organized themselves and one somehow manages to pick up a paper even while sitting on it and hand it to his sibling who folds it and hands it off to the next sibling who wraps it in an elastic band and hands it to me. We continue on this way for a while, getting into a steady rhythm. Soon we're all singing along to Taylor Swift on the radio. I reach behind to grab the next paper, but they are gone. Mama is grinning as she picks up a tabloid and opens it up and lets it fly out the window. One by one she does this, with her head out the window in the manner of a dog watching the papers float down the street. I'm laughing, even if it is slightly disastrous. I slam on the brakes.
And jerk awake.

best dream I've ever had.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

street signs - Islington

I can't imagine what possessed the good people of Kleinburg into thinking that this script was a good choice for their street signs.
Kleinburg is an unincorporated village within the City of Vaughan. The village is in a narrow section of hilly landscape between two branches of the Humber River with a population of about 950, The City of Vaughan, with all the surrounding communities, has a population of over 4,500.

This sign is on the main street in the Kleinburg-Nashville Heritage Conservation District.

Islington Avenue is named for the village it passed at Dundas Street in the west end of Toronto. The name was chosen in 1858 by the wife of innkeeper Thomas Montgomery, Elizabeth Smith, in honour of her birthplace in England. It runs roughly north-south from Lake Shore Blvd W to the uppermost border of Toronto at Steeles Ave and continues in a NW direction where it ends in Kleinburg at Hwy 27.

Ninth in a series of street signs for signs,signs

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

grave post - Group of Seven

The McMichael Cemetery is the final resting place for six members of the Group of Seven, their spouses and the founders Robert and Signe McMichael. The consecrated cemetery was established in 1968 at the suggestion of A.Y. Jackson and A.J. Casson. The artists' granite gravestones evoking the landscape were carved by Canadian sculptor E.B. Cox.
[grey sign above]

Robert and Signe McMichael, founders of the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg Ontario
The story of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection begins in 1952, when Robert and Signe McMichael decided to purchase ten acres of land in the village of Kleinburg, Ontario. To the McMichaels, Kleinburg evoked images of the Canadian wilderness and a country retreat inspiring them to build a pioneer-style home they named Tapawingo(believed to mean "place of joy").
In 1965, the McMichaels offered to donate their collection– as well as their home and land – to the Province of Ontario. Some eight months later, in July of 1966, the “McMichael Conservation Collection of Art” officially opened.
Part of the gift agreement for the gallery was that the McMichaels would be buried on the grounds. They settled on a small grassy knoll with views of the river valleys, the woods and the distant roofs of the gallery. Later, the McMichaels arranged to have the Department of Highways bring carefully selected slabs of granite, blasted during road building in the artists’ beloved north country, to the site. They were carved by Canadian sculptor, E.B. Cox and used as grave markers. (from

Unfortunately, although the stones are beautiful examples of Canadian Shield rock (and these artists painted a lot of rocks, trees and lakes in their time), the names are now almost illegible. You can see some examples of their paintings here

  • Arthur Lismer (1885‐1969) died in Montreal, Quebec on March 23, 1969 and was brought to Kleinburg for burial on April 25, 1969. His wife Esther (1879‐1976) was buried with him.

A.J. Casson 
Alfred Joseph Casson (1888-1992) died on February 19, 1992 in Toronto and was buried on February 20, 1992. His wife, Margaret (1900‐1992) is buried with him
Lawren Harris
Lawren Stewart Harris (1885‐1970) died in Vancouver, British Columbia on January 29, 1970 and was cremated. His ashes, along with those of his wife, Bess (1889‐1969), were interred at the McMichael on March 20, 1970.

F.H. Varley              

  • Frederick Horsman Varley (1881‐1969) died on September 8, 1969, was cremated on September 13 and interred the following week.

A.Y. Jackson 

  • Alexander Young Jackson (1882‐1974) died on April 5, 1974 and was buried in a graveside service on April 8, 1974.

you may have notice that I cannot count properly and seem to have missed the stone for Frank Johnson 
  • Frank Johnston(1888‐1949) died July 9, 1949 and was originally buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto. He was disinterred and reinterred at the McMichael on March 13, 1975. His wife, Florence, is buried with him.
you may also notice that there are only six of the seven buried here.
One who is missing, is Tom Thomson who died in 1917 at age 39 under mysterious circumstances on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. His body has never been found.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

street signs - Henderson

In 1954, a 322-bed hospital on Concession Street on Hamilton Mountain was named after Nora Henderson. But more recently the name was changed, amid considerable controversy, to the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre in recognition of major donations by Charles and Margaret Juravinski.

Nora Frances Henderson Circle surrounds the Juravinski Hospital.

It was a bitter battle between the city and the Hamilton Mountain Heritage Society as can be seen in this report:

What was fought so hard for by one little woman on city council was wiped away with the flick of a pen by bureaucrats that grovelled at the feet of the well-heeled to secure funds needed to expand the aging facility.

The Hamilton Health Sciences board of directors relieved the Nora Frances Henderson Hospital of its name, enticed by the allure of gambling money flaunted by a wealthy donor.
After the HHS board refused to reconsider the matter, the heritage group asked the city to install commemorative street signs around the hospital in recognition of the first women elected to Hamilton City Council. Council thought it was "the least they could do". No one from the HHS attended the unveiling of the new street signs.

A strong supporter of health care and the rights of women and children, Nora Frances Henderson served 16 consecutive terms as an alderman and controller. She died in 1949, five years before the Henderson Hospital was built. 

You can read more about this feisty woman here                  Eighth in a series on street signs for signs,signs