Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chocolate at the RBG

Driving past the botanical gardens the other week, I saw these enticing signs

and knew I would need to renew my membership immediately...

all you ever wanted to know about chocolate lies ahead - from identifying the trees and pods, to the ancient Aztec times, to the slave trade, to the European salons, to the growth of chocolate during the war, to its modern health benefits and uses...

to chocolate making demonstrations

 and taste testing
to fanciful decor
It's on until April. Come and enjoy
another choice of ABC Wednesday in Burlington

Monday, January 30, 2012

grave post #5

We had a bit of a blizzard yesterday afternoon and everything looked so lovely with all that freshly falling snow, so I made a detour into the cemetery to get some wintry scenes of gravestones for this post.  
the gold lettering stood out in this stone and the snow on the trees looked much whiter against the darkening sky than this picture shows
It was challenging to get anything that looked like a good shot since I wasn't about to actually get out of my car... I drove around following tire tracks that were barely visible looking for something photogenic. I stopped a few times... and had trouble getting going again as it was hillier than I realized. And with near white out conditions, I was completely disoriented so I just kept following these tire tracks - which in all likelihood could have been my own - until I finally saw the large building of the crematorium and could get my bearings back out onto the street.

There are three names on the black stone in the foreground. When I zoomed in after I uploaded the photos I saw what had been inscribed and in case I can't find this again I will share them here, now.

no surname and I guess it could be on the other side of the stone


the first name on the left is 
Margeurite Ruth 
July 10, 1914 - Dec 10, 2005
fun and loving 
a rose

below Margeurite, her husband
James John Elwin
Jan 20 1912 -  Sept 12, 1994
quiet and wise

and off to the right, their daughter
Patricia Grace
May 20, 1950 - Sept 25, 1953
so sweet so good 
so young

the lettering for Patricia and the IN LOVING MEMORY is done in a faded yellow while the parents names 
are done in white. it seems odd that Margeurite's name is on top as she was was the one who lived 
the longest.

If you would like to know about other grave experiences check out Taphophile Tragics

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sunday Stamps

Check other versions of the Year of the Dragon immortalized on stamps by visiting Viridian's Stamps

click on stamp for a bigger view

Friday, January 27, 2012

dream home update

It has been months since we saw the two new builds of the demolished homes, and since the fencing came down on home #1, I thought it was about time for an update.

The are working on the finishing touches, like a new mailbox in the portico, which you can just barely see being put in

remember, the house that originally sat on this lot looked like this

and house #2, which was really a tiny cottage that had all its hopes and dreams of reno dashed as it lay dormant for about 3 years 
and was probably beyond repair has morphed into this...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Some of you may have noticed that I haven't been doing a whole lot of writing on this blog lately. I need to get out and have more activities (other than collecting postcards and stamps and, now, visiting cemeteries) I did try going out to a different cafe at least once a week with the intention of writing about that experience... but sometimes, nothing interesting happened as I sat and drank my black coffee and read my book (currently Patrick deWitt's Sisters Brothers and Adam Gopnik's Everything but the Table). So I have decided to give myself a theme for the weekly ABC Wednesday challenge and incorporate it into both my photoblog that has better pictures and less words and this one, that is usually more words with a few pictures.

Last week I showed (on Sightlines, go have a look) my favourite art deco house. This week we are on to letter B, which could be for Burlington. I will wander around town taking pictures and telling a story as we progress through the alphabet of things that are specific to where I live.

So, we have BAC and BPAC. First, the Burlington Art Centre. It has been around since 1978 (which is 20 years before I moved here) and has several classes, guilds, exhibits and a wonderful gift shop. There is also a coffee shop, a greenhouse and courtyard. Just to give you an idea, I photographed the fire exit map.
It is a maze of rooms and displays and, sometimes, if you are lucky, you might run into the artist who has show. Gino Lorcini has a stunning exhibit of metal sculptures. I overheard him say that this would be the last exhibit of his work (he is almost 90 afterall!)
A short walk of two blocks or so and we have the brand new Burlington Performing Arts Centre. It has only been open since last fall. I have already tried to get to see two performances but they sold out quickly. One of the nice things about BPAC is that it is a small, intimate theatre with unobstructed views and good sound no matter where you sit. (at the open house I moved around to several seats from orchestra to balcony to the side box seats - all perfect). Every seat in each performance is the same price.

and on Saturday I get to see one!

Monday, January 23, 2012

grave post #4

Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery is the oldest and largest of the catholic cemeteries in the area.
And now I know that this area is called a columbarium
the mausoleum is in the background through the arches of the outdoor columbarium*
It has been around since 1870 and sits adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens, overlooking Lake Ontario. 
I have driven past here countless times and have tentatively wandered along the winding paths and through this indoor/outdoor columbarium. The mausoleum and other buildings on the site are stunningly beautiful. 
It is interesting that I feel completely at ease in a municipal cemetery or church graveyard, but this one feels... a little overwhelming. Once I get over my feeling of trepidation of being where I think I do not belong, I will photograph more of its grace and beauty.

*the difference between a columbarium and a mausoleum is the former holds the urns with the ashes and the latter the caskets with the body*

For more grave sites, visit Julie at Taphophile Tragics

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Stamps

Standard issues are the theme for this week's stamps. 
We seem to have moved on from the Queen to the flag as a standard issue and I already showed examples of the the flag fluttering over various parts of the country

So, here is the Queen. I like this one where she is smiling and looks happy. It is also almost in the usual profile pose.

Like these examples from 1958.
Stamps weren't quite so informal then. And they all seemed to be the same style but with different colours to signify the different denominations.
You will notice that she is showing her right side

whereas these examples of George V are showing his left side.

 and they are in shades of red and green, perfect for the Christmas card they sent.

and for those still enamoured - the future king
not showing either profile. I thought the profile changed with each monarch and there was some question as to which side William would show depending on whether Charles took the crown. But maybe that is an issue for the money and not the stamps, as I noticed in my research that George VI was mostly shown looking straight ahead, not in profile. Shame I don't have any of those stamps.

Monday, January 16, 2012

grave post #3

Samuel and Amelia Armstrong must have come from very strong stock. Both of these now residents of Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto lived to a good age of 68 and 72 respectively.

But as you walk around to the other side of this headstone, 
you see the evidence of some of the pain this family endured.
Only one child, their firstborn, lived past one year of age and it would be almost ten years 
after the death of their third child before another was born. 
Neither of the next two children lived beyond six months, 
including their only son who had the shortest life.
Amelia would have been 43 years of age when her last child was born.
It is interesting (but not unexpected) to note that all died in the winter months.

For other grave lives head over to Julie's Taphophile Tragics

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sunday Stamps

Cozido Completo means 'full cooked' and seems to be a Brazilian stew that is an intensive process and involves many, many ingredients...
here is one recipe I foundEvery one I looked up was different, but it gives you an idea.

Quindim  is a popular Brazilian baked dessert, made chiefly from sugar, egg yolks and ground coconut. It is a custard often made in a ring mould and usually presented as an upturned cup with a glistening surface and intensely yellow colour. (wikipedia)

If you are not so hungry, but merely a little peckish, you could go with this cheese plate and glass of wine....
Stillleben mit Käse und Kirschen by Georg Flegel (1566-1638)
I really like this one of the braided bread in the shape of a heart from Slovenia, 
not least for their cool play on words 
(though in English) of  I FEEL SLOVENIA
If you are still hungry for more, see what other foods have been immortalized on stamps at Viridian's stamp blog

Thursday, January 12, 2012

book love

this is charming.

made in stop motion video, the creators spent all night inside TYPE Books for four nights
animating dancing books.

Monday, January 9, 2012

grave post #2

The St Andrew's Society of Toronto was officially formed in 1836 just two years after the City of Toronto was established and is the only one of the Scottish societies from that era to be still active today. 
Their original mandate was to help recently arrived Scots to get on their feet in their new home, though now their support is through grants and support of various charities.

This cairn was built in 1890 after a large burial plot was bought in Mt Pleasant Cemetery.
and a bonus - the resident deer takes a stroll behind the cairn 
If anyone else has a fascination with such grave subjects, head over to Taphophile Tragics

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Stamps

Again we had a free-for-all, whatever-you-wish theme for this week.

So, since the sun has come out and made feel a wee bit giddy, 
I chose cartoon characters to be my theme.

Specifically these creatures.

I had never heard of Moomins until I started Postcrossing. A surprising number of people request cards with these white hippo looking creatures. These trolls have been around for about 65 years since Tove Jansson first created them in book and comic strip form. Apparently they are a carefree and adventurous family who live in Moominvalley in the forests of Finland.

I tried watching a few videos but am afraid they just didn't bring out the inner child in me. Maybe I am a little more subversive having been a Rocky and Bullwinkle fan.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


There was news this week of another independent bookstore closing. This particular one is the oldest indie bookseller (45 years) in the city. They are not necessarily closing because of poor sales or lack of customers, but mostly because of the dramatic increase in rent. This could be seen as a good thing, in that the city is thriving and neighbourhoods are becoming prosperous, but it is also a bad thing because only big name chain stores can afford these higher rents, so the local shops close up and the flavour of the neighbourhood becomes a little less interesting.

But books and bookstores are thriving.

If there were a theme to our family Christmas presents, it would have to be books. Every one of us received at least one book, some more than one. No kindles or kobos or e-readers for my family, we are all about the old fashioned, physical turning of the pages. We exchanged books not only for reading, but also for writing and for drawing. I will have to start journaling again in my pretty notebook, something that went by the wayside once I started blogging.

I was frantically trying to finish one book I had bought as a present, until I realized I was enjoying it so much that I wanted my own copy. Books are always fun to give to people. It is, in a way, my default gift, but not always because I can't think of anything else. In a strange way, it feels more personal to buy someone a book, more like sharing a bit of yourself. Sometimes, it is a book that I have read and loved and want others to experience. Sometimes, it is one that I have come across and think that a certain person might enjoy. I don't think I have ever been disappointed in getting a book as a gift. I have been introduced to authors I'd not heard of, and to ones I thought I wouldn't like. I once received a book that I waited three years to read - it took that long before I was desperate enough interested in it. Still, I kept it on my shelf, always thinking that one day I might pick it up even though a voice in the back of my mind said "but you don't like Stephen King". I discovered, maybe I did, after all.

This year I got an anthology of short stories. It is perfect for leaving in the car for emergency reading. I like to have something in hand when sitting in a restaurant on my own and a novel is too long and sometimes too engrossing; it can be hard to find the right spot for a break. But a short story is perfect for holding one's attention for just long enough. And this book is a collection of new writers, so every story is a true surprise. The other book I got was the darling of the literary world in 2011, The Sisters Brothers. Up for numerous awards and given gallons of praise by every reviewer, but somehow, something about it just didn't appeal. So I never bothered with it and had no intentions of reading it. But since I now have it in my possession, I decided to look through it before rearranging my shelves to make it fit. Haven't been able to put it down for the past two days. It is different. Definitely a unique style. And a darkly funny, offbeat western about a reluctant outlaw and his murderous brother. 

I have discovered a new side to myself.

Monday, January 2, 2012

grave post #1

I'm not sure what brought me into this cemetery on this winter day (obviously last winter since this winter we have had no snow). I drive past it often enough and even at one point used to have it on my delivery route. But I had never actually wandered through it. Located on Spring Garden Road, in an out of the way street across from the Royal Botanical Gardens, the park like setting overlooks the lake. The Woodland Cemetery became Hamilton's second municipal burying ground in 1923 when the York Street Cemetery, that sits across the bay, looked to be becoming full to capacity. There is another, a Catholic Cemetery, just down the road aways. I always wondered about these cemeteries that were so close together.

It was very different than I expected. Maybe it was the newer, more modern looking headstones, although I only walked through a small part of it.  Of course, at the time I did not know any of the history. Now, I have found a new meme, hosted by Julie, down in Sydney, for people who are interested in cemeteries and headstones and I have been looking up some of the history.  As a result, I have also learned a new word - such people are called taphophiles.

So, while I have no idea about the family whose name appears on this headstone (I think the name may be Serbian, but I am not certain), I was most taken with the beauty of it. I love the sleekness and almost austerity of the glossy black stone. And the geometry of the two rectangles held together by the circle possibly has a symbolism I am not aware. 

And there is that view over the water to the harbour.

If anyone else has a fascination with such grave subjects head over to Taphophile Tragics