Friday, June 18, 2010


A vigil on Tabor Hill 2008

Linda and I spent the evening of the summer solstice on the Tabor Hill Ossuary, one of the largest Native Canadian Ossuaries in Ontario and located in the middle of a small suburban development here in West Hill. The plaque commemorating the event is encased in our of the largest granite rocks in the area.

The Tabor Hill Ossuary consists of two burial pits which were first excavated by Dr. Walter Kenyon of the Royal Ontario Museum in 1956. Both pits had the classic structure of ancestral Huron ossuaries, containing the largely disarticulated and commingled remains of 475 individuals who had been previously interred, and then moved and placed in these pits at a later date.

Such burial events were undertaken at the time of village relocation and were known as the Feast of the Dead. The bones have since been reinterred in a special ceremony under the auspices of the City of Scarborough and with the direction of First Nations representatives.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Public Art

Not much to show, this week, even though the topic was our suggestion. Barry is still recovering from yesterday's chemotherapy. For an update on his condition, please click here.

However here are a few unusual examples of public art from our archives.

Check out our side bar for links to other FSO contributions this week!

Friday, June 4, 2010

FSO--Sorry No Shoot Out This Week

Due to further complications with Barry's condition we are not able to post this week.

For those interested in what Barry is going through, please CLICK HERE

Hopefully things will be back to (what passes for) normal next week.

Thanks for your understanding.

Friday, May 28, 2010

FSO Home Town Heroes

Heroes come in many guises. Some wear uniforms and drive large trucks. And put their lives at stake for the sake of others

Some come out on weekends and make the community a richer place through the donation of their time.

Some are the Chief of Police for the City of Toronto who come to help us celebrate our new Police Station.

Some staff hot dog stands on days of community festivales

Some take time out of busy and dangerous lives to help the community celebrate.

And to allow us a peek into their lives.

Others (like Trooper Larry Rudd, the latest Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan) pay the final sacrifice in distant lands and are saluted as they pass by our community for the final time with dignity and honour.

Others give their time on a regular basis with no reward to make our community a better place to live work and play.

They are all our heroes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FSO--At the Zoo

The Toronto Zoo has over 5,000 animals representing over 500 species.

There are over 10 km (six miles) of walking trails, and at one time or another, Linda and I have explored them all.

Over 287 hectares (710 acres) in size, it is one of the largest zoos in the world.

The Zoo is divided into six zoogeographic regions: Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Eurasia and the Canadian Domain. Animals are displayed indoors in tropical pavilions and outdoors in naturalistic environments, with viewing at many levels

The Zellers Discovery Zone features the Kids Zoo, a dynamic, interactive children's wildlife experience, Splash Island, an exciting two-acre water play area and the Waterside Theatre, home of exciting family entertainment

Among the most unique exhibits are the incredible 10-acre Tundra Trek featuring an amazing 5-acre Polar bear habitat complete with underwater viewing area, the Gorilla Rainforest home to our Western Lowland Gorilla troop and newest addition Nassir, the Great Barrier Reef.

The 2010 Special Exhibit features Sharks at Stingray Bay - A Touching Experience. This unique and interactive exhibit runs from May 22, 2010 to October 11, 2010

On a more personal note both our daughters worked their way through University by working at the Zoo, which is located not far from our home. My oldest daughter's Mother-In-Law still works there and it was during a visit to the zoo that Kathy told us she was expecting a new baby, Hailey (now 2).

Friday, May 14, 2010

FSO The Dark Side Of Town

It looks a pretty place. Six acres of natural woodland cut through with several walking trails. Take a stroll through on a Sunday afternoon and say "hello" to the families out for a walk with their children and their dogs.

Just don't step off the beaten pathway, or you'll find yourself in the darkest side of our town, where residents in low rise and subsidized apartments have, for decades, discarded garbage too inconvenient to put out for the collectors.

And where the piles have grown into an unsightly and dangerous mess.

Barry and his friend Karl brought this to the attention of our city counsellor and over a couple of weeks of hard work city crews removed the years of neglect. But, within a few weeks, it began to make a reappearance. Obviously something more fundamental needs to be done.


For those of you unaware of the downturn in Barry's health, and interested in an update, please click HERE

Friday, May 7, 2010

FSO Things You Love To Touch

How do you touch a Province? A geographic area 354,341.8 sq mi in size, with 250,000 lakes and over 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) of rivers? Even if you love it, how do you embrace it?

It can only be done symbolically. And it can only be done in the spring.

Because it is only in the spring that the trillium, the symbol of Ontario blooms, and then only briefly.

While it is a popular belief that it is illegal to pick the common Trillium grandiflorum (white trillium) in Ontario, in reality they are only protected in provincial parks and land owned by conservation authorities. However, the rare Trillium flexipes (drooping trillium) is protected by law in Ontario, because of its very small Canadian population.

Trillium is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants. At maturity, the base and core of the trillium ovary turns soft and spongy. Trillium seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants extract the seeds from the decaying ovary and take them to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes and put the seeds in their garbage, where they germinate in a rich growing medium.

Of course there are other wild flowers, and there are rocks and grasses and trees, but it is only by reaching out and touching the soft delicate petals of the trillium that you truly touch the soul of a Province

Thursday, April 29, 2010

FSO Sports

I know, I know. I chose the topic for this week and here I am with no pictures to offer (except this old one of Linda and I waiting for a Blue Jays game to start).

I've had some escalating health complications that have made life miserable this week, and Linda and I are getting out of town for the weekend to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary.

The resort we're booked into has a jacuzzi in the room and offers professional massages, which could help my ailing back.

So we are having to skip FSO this week.

See you next week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

FSO--In Honour Of Trees

Every year, along the North shore of Lake Ontario and across the entire Northern Hemisphere....

....the trees return to life, celebrating Earth Day through their very survival.

I thought I should have at least one gnarled tree photos for Mark at Butler and Bagman to add to his collection.

Glimpsed through the trees, on the other side of the great ravine that leads down to the Lake, is the home of one of Canada's greatest living artists 95 year old Doris McCarthy. In a couple of weeks, as the leaves come fully out on the trees, this view of her home will be hidden. Even to telephoto lenses.

Friday, April 16, 2010

FSO--Things That Make Me Chuckle

Her Name is Lindsay

When she's good, we call her Magoo.

Don't ask why.

But when she's bad.

We have other names for her.

But good or bad, she can always make me chuckle.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

FSO Country Roads

Country Roads
By definition

Don't exist
In cities.

They live where
Hearths are warm

And kitchens
Are welcoming.

Where everyone fits
Around the table

And the knickknacks
Have a sense of utility

As well as

Where you always feel

And the light is
left on for you.

While outside,
Country roads,
Are always waiting,
To take you home again.

Interior photos are of Ashlar House in Erin, about an hour's drive North West of Toronto.
The country road in the first and last photos is located just north of the Toronto Zoo, in the town of Pickering.
The woman at the kitchen sink is my daughter Kathy.
The woman whose arm can just be glimpsed on the right-had side of the kitchen table photo is my sister-in-law Lynda, who would move into Ashlar House tomorrow if she could.