Monday, May 28, 2012

grave post - Cutten

The two women on this most unusual monument in Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Toronto) represent Annie Rowena and her sister Gertrude Moncur who died within three months of each other.

It was carved in Laurentian pink granite in 1936 by German born sculptor Emanuel Hahn and features in a Graeme Gibson novel where the protagonist eats his lunch every day on a stone bench "before turning his amorous attentions to one or the other" (full disclosure: I have not actually read this book, I discovered this bit of trivia while researching. as a side note of interest, Graeme Gibson is the husband of Margaret Atwood)

Lionel Cutten, the husband of Annie Rowena, was born in 1871, the third of eight children of Walter Hoyt Cutten, a prominent barrister in Guelph Ontario. He was a year younger than second son Arthur (for whom his son on the far left of this bench was possibly named) who was a well known stock market speculator. He actually has a more interesting story, if less interesting gravesite where he is buried in Guelph, and I will have to visit that cemetery and tell of his life at a later date. (I am sure Delores is familiar with the name!)
But, back to Lionel. While still young and adventurous, he and Anthony Foster formed Cutten and Foster, importer of automobile parts, radios, and drapery manufacturers.
He married Annie Rowena Adams (born 1872) in 1902 and their one child Arthur was born in 1905. Arthur Forbes Cutten was the Chairman and CEO of Cutten Investments and died at home in 1992 at age 87. His second wife, Carolyn Beaver Wishart, died in October, 1998 at age 75. Neither one rests on or near this bench, but rather in the mausoleum.

The Arthur and Audrey Cutten Foundation is based in Toronto and some of the beneficiaries have been Sunnybrook and St Mike's Hospitals, as well as the CNIB, MS Society, War Amps Society, Kids Help Phone, among others.

In 1912, according to the Society section of The Toronto World, Mrs Lionel Cutton 135 Avenue Rd will receive the first Friday of every month during the season.

By the time Lionel Cutten died at his home of a heart attack he was living at 118 Forest Hill Rd.

See who else had died at Taphophile Tragics

Friday, May 25, 2012

shopping can be fun

We have a new grocery store in town and it seems to be a terribly exciting event judging by the crowds I had to wade through when I went to visit it this afternoon.
The original store is located about 25 miles away and I talked to a few people who had been driving that far just to shop at this Eastern European gastronomic delight. They claim to have 624 different kinds of cheese. It is mostly Polish and I wished I had an app for my non-existent iphone to translate some of the product names. If there was a picture, I could get a good clue, but some of the deli meats and cheeses and I had no idea. Being a bit adventurous, if it was part of the opening week specials and looked interesting, I considered bying it. I did think about getting some homemade soup that looked full of ... something other than broth, until I noticed the small print on the other side of all the Poilsh. Tripe. Seriously? I almost threw it back in the shelf! Yech. Shudder. But, I did try one of those plum donuts,  Pączki,  that seem to be a Polish specialty. They were very good. And I have an interesting selection of fruit juices that we don't see normally in the usual grocery stores.

I pretended that I was visiting a foreign city as I navigated my way through the aisles looking as lost as about half the other shoppers. The other half seemed to be Polish and I was not above asking questions of anyone who seemed to be familiar with the system and what was on offer.

But, my oh my, I hope the crowds die down just a little in the next few weeks. I suppose in time, we will get used to what to look for and where things are.

In the meantime, far be it from me to let a good pun go to waste.

How many other cities can claim to have their own

Starsky and Hutch

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

skyway, ships and scaffolds

If you live in the area and know nothing else about Burlington, you will at least have heard of the Burlington Skyway.
It is officially called the Burlington Bay James N Allen Skyway, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone who has ever used that name. My guess is you would be hard pressed to even find anyone who knows who James N Allen is (which is a sad commentary on our knowledge of local politics.) As a 90th birthday present, after the bridge was twinned with a second span, it was officially renamed in honour of the former chair of the Niagara Parks Commission and Minister of Highways. (and, yes, I had to look that up, thank you wikipedia...)
The steel truss bridge was built in 1958 and was a toll road until 1973. By 1988, a second span (without the arch) was added to bring the number of lanes to eight. The arched bridge on the lake side carries the Toronto bound traffic and the second span on the bay side is the Niagara bound lanes.

this is the bay side view with the lake side view above
ships, such as this one below, make their way down the St Lawrence River to Lake Ontario and under the Skyway (above) to the Port of Hamilton in Burlington Bay.

A year ago there was some scaffolding as repairs were begun. There is still some scaffolding, but nothing as serious as this!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

grave post - Chisholm

This mausoleum near the church of St Vincent de Paul in Niagara-on-the-Lake was erected by Hugh J. Chisholm, a millionaire of New York. The bodies of his father and mother, Alexander Chisholm and Mary Chisholm, first buried in the graveyard, were transferred to this solid structure.
This Roman Catholic church is located on the next street over from St Mark's Anglican Church (where the last two grave posts were taken). Until this church was built in 1834 all denominations used St Mark's graveyard.

Hugh J Chisholm was the fifth of Alexander and Mary Chisholm's ten children. Born in NOTL, he left school at age 13 after the death of his father in 1860. His career as a paper manufacturing magnate and railway president started with being a newsboy delivering papers on the Grand Trunk Railway. He met and became friends with another entrepreneur, Thomas Edison, who was also working on the same line selling candy and newspapers on the train between Port Huron and Detroit. (Port Huron is at the border of Michigan and Ontario). Hugh eventually became a distributor of newspapers, magazines and books and with one of his brothers moved on to create Chisholm Bros Publishing in Maine. Not completely satisfied with that career, he continued to expand into lithography and photographs and postcards, then into pulp and paper mills. Many, many pulp and paper mills. One of them, the Oxford Paper Mill, even began producing all the postcards for the US Post Office in 1901 and was the largest bookpaper mill in the world. It has been in continuous operation to this day, though under several different companies. He had moved to Maine where he became quite a dominant figure in the development of the state's pulp and paper industry and married Henrietta Mason of Portland in 1872 with whom he had one son, also named Hugh. His Chisholm Bros Publishing is still in operation under a Colin Chisholm III. Although he became a US citizen by the 1870s, I found at least two articles in the NYT where he mentions several times that he is a Canadian born American. He seems to have been rather well connected politically in both countries. His entrepreneurial and philanthropic interests extended to creating industrial villages and planned communities for his mill workers. He died in 1912 at his home at 813 Fifth Avenue NYC.
And in 1900 he had this mausoleum built for his parents. However, I could find no other information on any other members of his large family. He seems to have overshadowed them all.
You can read a bit more about Hugh J Chisholm here

find more graves and stories of rich and poor at Taphophile Tragics

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunday Stamps

I had a wealth of stamps to choose from for this week's theme of stamps received since the 10th of May.

First up is this lovely 2 stamp version of cherry trees in Washington (thanks again, Danielle!)
which arrived on the same day (May 11) as these stamps from Japan. oddly this postcard only took 9 days to arrive from Japan, whereas the one from the US took 17 days!

these birds showed up on May 10th on a postcard from Hong Kong
a white bellied sea eagle, common kingfisher, scarlet minivet, and a fork tailed sunbird
Germany added to the nature theme with these

Canada supplied this orange daylily (domestic stamp) both of which arrived on May 17th
and then on Friday May 18th, this colourful one from China arrived
see what other stamps made their way through the world wide postal service on Viridian's Postcard blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Royal Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanical Gardens is a 980 hectare nature sanctuary that straddles Burlington and Hamilton and is part of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. It was modelled after Kew Gardens in London to be both a botanical tourist site and a conservation area. There are all kinds of plants and birds and reptiles to be found within its several gardens - the Mediterranean Garden, Hendrie Park, Laking Garden, The Arboretum, Cootes Paradise, and my personal favourite, The Rock Garden.

There is some argument whether Burlington's RBG or Rochester's Highland Park has the world's largest collection of lilacs. (hint, it is RBG)

It has just about something for everyone from music, tea houses, walks, art, exhibits, trees and flowers.

Regrettably though, what it does not have is


which bloomed early this morning!
are you getting tired of me rambling on about this thing?

I had an email alert that the second rotten smelling 'corpse flower' had bloomed early this morning, so as soon as I finished work, I raced - no, I did not race on the highway - I roared through the beginning of rush hour traffic to experience it for myself. Just for the record, this is an extremely rare event. These flowers, nicknamed Morphy and Clive, are only the 150th and 151st in the world to ever bloom in cultivation (and the first in Canada)

The smell was not as bad as I feared, though there was one corner where I guess the air was not circulating as freely and it was rather ... rank. but seriously, a skunk smells much, much worse.
Apparently, within 20 minutes of opening, the spike, or (spadix, which is hollow), had started to fall over
and even as I was there (for about an hour) you could actually see the blood red petal wilting. The bloom lasts literally for only a few hours

the remains of the first flower that bloomed on May 5th is in the back.
I already posted previous pictures when I was in Niagara Falls to see it here and here 

it was all quite exciting. really.
although you might want to rub your face in some sweet smelling lilacs after your visit.

grave post - Heather

I find it interesting that some people decide to write an obituary on their headstone. 
It certainly makes it easier to look up further information. 
Well, sometimes. This week, for Taphophile Tragics, we are still in St Mark's Cemetery in NOTL.

The March 28th, 1946 edition of The Acton Free Press notes that many friends here regretted to learn of the death last week of Mrs George Heather at the KW [Kitchener-Waterloo] hospital. She was the organizer of the Duke of Devonshire IODE and in the years since had been a welcome visitor and speaker at the meetings of the Chapter on several occasions.

Mrs Heather had worked with several war charities in England and Canada in both the first and second world wars and she organized the Red Cross in Kitchener during the Boer War and became the first secretary.

According to the London Gazette which provided various rankings of officers from the War Office, it was reported that George Abraham Heather, Gent. was to be Second Lieutenant as of August 1895 and Lieutenant in 1897. He is listed as a Captain while on board The Victorian in March of 1902 when he set sail for Southampton. The ship stopped off at St Lucia, St Helena and Gibralter before reaching Southampton  where it was due to depart again by mid May with some of the 10,000 more military personnel. His name also shows up in a google search as being on the shipping list for 1901, but it was another very long list and I gave up searching for his name. There was another Heather, a Lieut, listed who may have been a brother as it seems to be not such an usual name. By March of 1909, George A Heather, of the Duke of Connaught's Own Sligo Royal Field Artillery was granted the honorary rank of Major.

He was born in Ireland, in what was the largest parish in the county.
But it is his wife's many activities and accomplishments that adorn this headstone.

During WWI she did hospital work in England and Scotland. At her wedding to Maj George Heather back in 1918 in Seven Oaks Kent, 200 wounded Canadian veterans formed an arch of crutches as the couple left the church.

In recognition of her work she was made a Fellow of the Royal Empire Society and was made a vice president of the League of Mercy by Princess Mary.
And at the Silver Jubilee of King George V, she and her husband were among the guests invited to go to St Paul's Cathedral and lunch at St James Palace.
~Acton Free Press
With all of her commitments, it makes sense that she would not be willing to emigrate to the UK and that her husband might follow her to Canada. How his career fared after the end of WWI is unknown but at age 50, and having endured The Great War and The Boer War, he may have been ready for retirement. Both seem to have been very career oriented and married late in life (which explains the absence of children!). But how they ended up choosing Niagara-on-the-Lake as their final resting place is a bit of a mystery that I could not uncover.

(as a guide for everyone, but mostly the Australians........)
the purple bubble shows roughly where Niagara-on-the-Lake is located. As you can see it is very close to the border with the US (Ontario and New York). Acton is located where it says 'Halton Hills'. And Fergus, where Williamina was born, is a bit to the right of where it says 'Woolwich'. Ireland is far, far away off the upper right corner.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

where I play tourist, part one

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine got in touch and floated the idea of us going on holiday together. When you don't work in a job that requires you to take vacation time you sometimes forget to actually make plans. It would be nice to have someone to have dinner with. To share the experience with and compare stories when we wandered off on our own. So, with a little back and forth and sharing of ideas, we had a booking. A Mediterranean cruise! It took about 2 days. We have never travelled together, so this could be quite the experience. My friend, X, is very good at the research; I am much more free spirited and will just wander and see what happens. Neither of us is particularly interested in seeing the tourist sights, preferring to soak up the local culture (as much as one can in a few hours), but it may be hard to avoid.

So on Friday, I decided I would practice playing tourist. And what better place to practice than Niagara Falls?

Anyway, I wanted to check in on the World's Tallest Flower. The first one bloomed late last Friday night and by Sunday morning the top had fallen over and it had closed up again.. It's younger brother, Clive, has been having quite the growth spurt and has been moved to the front. It is interesting to see the new growth and the decay.

When I was there last week, it was too foggy and dull to bother taking photos, but this time, it was sunny and warm and perfect. (perfect as it was still very early in the season and so not very busy.) I tried to pretend it was my first viewing... it all fell apart when I started giving directions to people. And when I laughed at the people who were amazed to see a rainbow.

But, for you, with a good blog post in mind, I took photos of the Falls. Many, many photos. I even went to the tackiest of spots, Clifton Hill, and took photos. I have never seen so many hotels and themed restaurants in such a small area. The 'fun spots' does not bear thinking about - every kind of thrill seems to scream out at you. It was loud and bright and I bet you are thinking it would have been neat to see at night when everything was all lit up. Yes, it might, but I was not going to hang about that long.
But I did gets lots of pictures of signs. And I found some cheap postcards for Postcrossing.
I did not go up the Skylon Tower or this SkyWheel ferris wheel, though really, it was a perfect clear day for views. Had I really been on holiday, I am sure I would have been tempted.

After wandering down this hill of thrills, I found a lovely quiet park, with a huge green space and perfect views
I had lunch at a restaurant with views...
as you can see, it really was not busy.

part two to follow.....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Queen E

The QEW, or QE, or Queen E is the main highway that bisects Burlington. It was a logical and easy choice for ABCWednesday through my town.  It has all these nicknames since it is the only highway in Ontario without a numbered designation. It runs from Toronto to Niagara for a total of 85 miles (137km) and puts us pretty close to the centre (it takes roughly 40 minutes to get to Niagara Falls or to downtown Toronto). There are also no compass directions on the signs, instead there are tabs underneath giving the next control city. From Toronto, Hamilton is used instead of Burlington, probably due to its size as a city at the time. The road takes a sharp turn from its east-west direction towards the south as it becomes Niagara-bound. It is an elevated highway, so although it bisects the city it does not interfere too much with traffic flow. And unlike in Toronto, it is not a psychological barrier between the city and the lake.
Built in the 1930s, The Queen Elizabeth Way was named for the Queen Mum, not the current Queen Elizabeth.
The highway roughly follows the shores of Lake Ontario and occupies what was once called Middle Road.
We can thank a man named, oh so serendipitously, McQuesten for the design. It was originally a dual carriageway, which at the time was innovative. Now, parts of it are 12-lane.

And for those of you who have travelled this road, here is a sample of one of McQuesten's ideas - a boulevard down the middle of the carriageway where travellers could stop and have a picnic.
wall hanging in the McQuesten home (Whitehern)

I've shown a variety of the signs over on SightLines but here are two that I like. 

                which sign do you prefer?

Monday, May 7, 2012

grave post #19

While I was in Niagara Falls last week looking at the giant flower, I stopped off at Niagara-on-the-Lake and after a short repast of tea and scone, I walked around and found this cemetery at St Mark's Anglican Church.
The church itself has an interesting history as the oldest Anglican Church in continuous use in Ontario since 1790.  The construction was ambitious and it took until 1809 before any services were held in the building. During the War of 1812 the church was used as a hospital by the British and Canadian forces.  The cemetery surrounding the church was a community burial ground from before the church was built and the oldest stone belongs to Elizabeth Kerr who died in 1794. I still need to find her grave.

I did find the grave of the first reverend, Robert Addison. He had applied for service abroad and when a request came to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts for a resident clergyman, he left England for Upper Canada. He brought with him 1500 books and a silver chalice that are still in possession of St Mark's. I have nothing more to add than what is on this stone... and all photos can be enlarged by clicking them.

David Cowan, born in 1742 in Lanarkshire Scotland, emigrated to the American Colonies in 1770 and became a gardener to George Washington at Mount Vernon. When the American Revolution broke out six years later, he wished to remain loyal to the Crown and was given a safe passage by Washington to Quebec.
He joined the Provincial Marine Dept, a branch of the British navy on the Great Lakes manned by the UEL* and colonists and during the War of Independence he captained several armed vessels. After the war ended, he continued to captain several more ships that plied the Great Lakes. Lt Governor John Graves and Lady Simcoe (who were also among the congregation at St Mark's) were known to take passage on his ship, the Ottawa, and later Lt Cowan would commandeer the Frances, named after Simcoe's son and then the Camden, named after the Earl of Camden. It was on this last ship that he died while on board in the harbour at Fort Erie on September 24th, 1808.

This memorial stone was placed near the entrance in the grave yard of the the St Mark's Anglican Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Where his original grave is located is unknown as the burial ground was partially destroyed during the War of 1812 in 1813 and many of the original stones, especially those of the military were lost.

* UEL United Empire Loyalist
* R.N  Royal Navy

find more lost graves at Taphophile Tragics

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Stamps - liberation

with a theme of Liberation in honour of Cinco de Mayo  (which seems to be creeping into parts of Canada, I notice...) I found only these two examples.

France joined all the countries of Latin America and Caribbean to celebrate the movement towards independence through public demonstrations.
The graphics of the stamp is based on the light beams, symbolizing the winds of freedom blowing in these countries. The bright colors remind of the countries' emblematic flags.

[from website]

saulės mūšiui translates as Battle of the Sun from Lithuanian. 

The Livonian Knights of the Sword, the first Catholic military order in the Baltics and the local (pagan) tribes got into a battle in 1236. Pope Gregory was not happy and issued a papal bull declaring a crusade against Lithuania. The Knights lost badly after a half-hearted battle in a swamp that was advantageous to the locals.  September 22 has been known as Baltic Unity Day for Lithuanians and Latvians since 2000.
(the google translations from lithuanian were atrocious, so this condensed version will have to suffice)

see more battles and celebrations of liberation at Viridian's Postcard blog

Saturday, May 5, 2012

a different corpse

There has been great anticipation all week. The world's largest flower was about to bloom! There are two Amorphophallus Titanum (aka Corpse Flower) or Titan Arum for short, in the Niagara Greenhouse that is now known as Niagara Floral Showhouse. Every day since Monday last week, the staff tried to give an estimate of when it possibly might open.

As in all things natural, it is not as predictable as one might wish. So, with a day off on Wednesday, I headed off down the peninsula to Niagara Falls to have a look because I thought I wouldn't have time to go back until next Monday and by then it might be too late. This thing only blooms for a couple of days once it has opened. It also grows by inches every day and was, as of Wednesday, up to 93.5" - that is 8'!!

Sadly, it was showing no signs of opening when I got there. They started charging an entrance fee in March but it was only $5 and for an extra $5 you got a seasons pass, so I thought that seemed a good deal, and I may just want to go back.....

Here is my photo of the flower (nicknamed Morphy by the staff) with it's friend in the back at a paltry 35"

with a closer view......

The plant is exceedingly rare and this one will be only the 22nd to ever bloom in a greenhouse. Apparently they can be dormant for years and years without blooming. And since they are indigenous to Sumatra are not widely seen by many people. The two bulb like structures, called corms, were donated to the Niagara Parks Commission by someone in New Hampshire and each weighed 150kg.

Then, by Friday, the smaller of the two plants had a sudden growth spurt and grew a staggering 6 inches after a 5 inch growth the day before

photo from NPC website
The greenhouse has extended its hours to 9:30 PM in honour of the blooming, to accommodate as many people as possible who wish to see it.

Then, just in time for the weekend, and around 10PM on Friday night it opened!

Photo from NPC website

The smell, which has been described as like rotting meat, is apparently at its worst during the first few hours. So most people - including the poor staff at the front desk - will miss that rare peculiarity.

Maybe I will be able to catch the second flowering.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

outdoor patios

If there is one thing Burlington does well, it is patios. We have side patios, back patios, rooftop patios, and sidewalk patios that may only consist of a couple of tables and chairs. We also have over 40 places to eat in the downtown core. And all of them are Outdoor Patios (as might be expected, but that redundant term is so often used that I am using it here to cover the overlooked O from last week)

In fact, in contrast to the next town over, Oakville, we are resplendent in Patios. I can only think of two small fast food take out places in our downtown core that do not have some sort of patio. Oakville, often considered the richer neighbour, has only about two coffee shops with a patio in their downtown. And one of them is not very nice.

I thought about showing you a variety, but really, it is a bit cool and overcast today and as usual I waited until the last minute to take photos and as a result most of them were empty, which doesn't make for overly attractive photos. So I will include the pretty one that has a P for my alphabet tour of Burlington for ABC Wednesday

Perhaps my favourite patio is at the Pepperwood, which stretches out for the whole block to include the patio areas of Benny's at the far end and the Gelato place, Siam Dish and The Second Cup at the other.

It almost, if you really stretch your imagination, feels European.

And on the other side of the road is the lake.
In case you haven't guessed, I really, really like being by the lake!

And I may be spending a lot of time on these patios over the next few months since the protective railings on our balconies are being replaced.

Today, the process began....