Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Busy City and an Escape North. . .

The Liverpud and I just got back from a two week holiday in Canada and it was so fantastic to catch up with family and friends and reassure myself that in this ever-changing city, some of my old haunts are still there - my favourite restaurant (Golden Thai on Church Street), my favourite bookstore (Type Books on Queen St. West), my favourite yarn shop (The Purple Purl on Queen St. East).  Even the Eaton Centre seems like an old friend.

It always feels a bit strange to return to Toronto - the city is growing so quickly that my visual pointers seem to all be disappearing behind yet another huge glass condo building.  I came up from the underground path onto Adelaide Street at one point and was completely disconcerted by not being able to tell which direction was east and which was west as I couldn't see the CN Tower.  Also rather disturbingly, I found myself forgetting certain street names and I lived in Toronto for more than 30 years! At one point I seriously considered getting a map but thankfully didn't need to; habit and the homing instinct started to kick in.

We did go up the CN Tower as the Liverpud loves the view and it definitely does show how congested  the cityscape has become.

This is pretty much the sight and sounds of Toronto in the summer - construction everywhere, not to mention all the road closures and detours.

In order to see the CN Tower in its full glory, you now have to find a spot where the condos don't grow, such as the Bathurst Street bridge over the railway tracks.

But the best view of the skyline is still from the ferry returning from the Toronto Islands - still such a refuge from all the noise and dust of the city, even though my favourite Skyline ride at Centerville is gone.

I was pleased to see that they've renamed the ferry terminal in Jack Layton's memory and I love this statue of him just outside it.

And there's something a little surreal about Sugar Beach, perched next to a sugar refining factory and more condos.

We also went back to the aquarium (another peaceful oasis) where I snapped this fish's grimace as it was swimming above us in the glass tunnel.

As a welcome contrast to the city, we flew up for a few days to visit my brother in Sault Saint Marie. He drove us up to Lake Superior Provincial Park for a breath of fresh air, waterfalls and peaceful views of the lake. 

Then we took the famous Agawa Canyon train ride that takes you about 100 miles north through Canadian Shield country and the landscape that inspired the Group of Seven painters.  Though the trip is at its most stunning when the fall colours are out, there were still some spectacular views from the train windows.

Here is A. Y. Jackson's painting of Agawa Canyon where the train stops for an hour and a half.  You can do some short hikes along the river to view some waterfalls.

And as it looks today from the top of the Lookout tower. 

The trip gave me a new appreciation for the landscape captured by the Group of Seven and I went to see the collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario when we were back in Toronto.  I also bought two prints in the gift shop as I have some ideas about decorating our guest bedroom with a subtle Canadiana theme.  Yes, I did get a little homesick, even with all the mosquito bites!


Anne Featonby said...

Ha ha may miss Canada..but not those darned mosquitoes eh?

You had a busy time here and packed in so much!

I have always wanted to do the Agawa Canyon trip....some day :)

Your afghan is going to be such fun...and so personal....I think it is going to be outstandingM

Blithe Spirit said...

It would really be stunning to do the Agawa Canyon in the fall!

I laid out all the squares on my bed last night (80 of them!) and arranged them to my liking. Now it's on to the seaming. The blanket still looks really small to me, so I may crochet around each square. The trim is taking me forever - using one raveler's tip as to 4 cable crosses per square, I have to do 144 repeats - I'm at about 90 and rather fed up with it. But I'll keep at it, because I really want to get this done and I do think I'll like the finished project. September 1st is my deadline - wish me luck!