Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out--Faces and Smiles

Smile. Have you ever noticed how easily puppies make human friends? Yet all they do is wag their tails and fall over. ~Walter Anderson

A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you're at home. ~Author Unknown

A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles. ~Washington Irving

A laugh is a smile that bursts. ~Mary H. Waldrip

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing-- Mother Teresa

Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available. ~Jim Beggs

I have a tickle in my brain. And it keeps making the corners of my mouth point toward the heavens. ~Jeb Dickerson

Thursday, November 19, 2009


When we were growing up, Toronto had two zoos. One in High Park in the West of the City and one in Riverdale Park for those in the East. They were traditional zoos of their time. Animals were captured in the wild and caged with little thought of the need for exercise or of their social needs.

But in the 1970's Toronto opened a new Zoo.

A zoo committed to meeting the needs of the animals first.

Where animals had the room to move.

And socialize. And play.

Where visitors could learn about the animals they were visiting. Learn about the need to preserve the species in the wild.

Where contact with wild animals could provide what internet photos and books could never do--allow people to experience the animals directly. As something real and tangible. And in need of saving.

The grounds of the Toronto zoo are vast and themed by continent. It is almost impossible to see, and experience the entire zoo in one visit.

So if you are visiting the area plan for more than one visit. Or choose your continent wisely.

The zoo has a personal meaning for us. Not only did we take our children there when they were younger, but both our daughters worked for the zoo for a time when they were in school. Heather took children for rides on camels and Kathy was a grounds keeper. And Kathy's mother-in-Law, Ruth, also works at the zoo.

The Toronto Zoo is situated on the Eastern periphery of the City far from the downtown core, in the vast forests of the Rouge Valley. So if you are visiting it will mean quite a drive to get there, although public transportation is improving.

For us, the zoo is almost on our doorstep.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Friday My Town Shootout--Places Of Worship

We worship this week along the Northern shores of Lake Ontario, and pray for peace.

Joining people who have worshiped along these shores far beyond the dawn of History.

Indeed the First Peoples of Ontario have a legend of the sacredness of this land that can be found here in the Legend of the Peacemaker.

It is only the methods of worship that have changed with time. Let's follow their trail--

As they drum and dance their a prayer for peace.

And worship through the forest

By the river which feeds the lake

Down to the creek, which feeds the river,
to find the first church
of the European settlers in Scarborough.

It is Presbyterian,
appropriately named St. Andrews.

Because the Scots and Irish were the first to arrive
with the potato famine. They arrived
with David and Mary Thomson. They followed
the First People's Trail, here long before them.

And are now
buried in this cemetery,
forever next to St. Andrew's Church.

Scarborough Ontario exists
on very sacred ground. As you journey
across Lake Ontario from the south,
Scarborough is easily located.
Found at the top of Cathedral Bluffs,
the name given this rocky outcrop.
Spire pointing up.

Scarborough is here.

courtesy of photobucket

And all the acreage at the top of this rocky outcrop
is owned by the Holy Catholic Church.
There is a seminary, some schools, a small cemetery, a shrine or two
and Scarborough Missions.
Scarborough Foreign Missions reaches out to the entire world.
Perhaps you've heard of them.
This is the seminary.

And further north is Tabor Hill,
which the tall spire also points to.
Tabor Hill is the burial ground for the
First People of the legend.

"to take each moment, and live each moment in peace eternally, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
Vince Gill

Nature Walk
a painting by David B. Williams and may be purchased here

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


A city's skyline is the face it presents to the world, a key factor in its identity.

We live in the Scarborough area of Toronto and this is a picture of our Southern Skyline. Here there is an abundance of lake access for everyone, with no buildings close to the shoreline. The view is looking west along the bluffs. This is Barry's favourite place to take our dog Lindsay for a run

Traveling east, this is the skyline of the 401, Highway of Heroes. Five hours driving east on this highway will land you in Montreal.

The highest point in Scarborough is the top of Garbage Hill, a huge mound where the city's refuse was dumped for decades. Now covered with earth, trees and grasses, it resembles a natural feature of the landscape. Here is the view from there looking west toward North York. If you click to enlarge the picture you can see the teeny tiny high rise buildings of the Toronto suburb of North York off in the distance.

Here the sun sets from another high point in Scarborough, Tabor Hill. Tabor Hill is an Iroquois First Peoples' sacred burial site. You can see down to the lake and up north to the Ganaraska Highlands from there.

As a contrast, consider the skyline of Hull Quebec, taken from Parliament Hill, Ottawa Ontario. A cross the river you can see the Musuem of Civilization and in the background the Gatineau Hills.

Further to the west of us is the downtown core of the city, seen from Ontario Place at midday, showing the famous Toronto Skyline.

And this of course, is the same Toronto Skyline from Centre Island, just at sunset.