Monthly Archives: August 2013

In the Nursery

On our way home from lunch at Featherstone Winery on Sunday, Mum and I stopped in on Niagara Nurseries on Highway 8 on the outskirts of St. Catharines.

I have many fond memories from Niagara Nurseries. As a child, I remember going there with my grandfather after saving up a 100 pennies and dimes to buy myself a small gourd for Halloween. However, I was a couple pennies short- but got my gourd anyway. More recently, I find myself purchasing salad greens or ornamental cabbages for the front step at my home in Toronto. I like to support the Alexanders, the family who has owned and operated Niagara Nurseries for three generations. They are wonderful people!

On this trip to NN, I looked at a morning glory to replace the one my landlord ripped up, but decided against it as any flower I plant by the front railings seems to fall to a sad fate. Instead, I wandered the yard and took photos while Mum wandered the rows of plants to pick out trim for her new yoga deck in the backyard.

Rows of green potted plants on wooden slat tables.Old Stokes thernometer by the light blue door of a green house.Farmers basket on a wooden bench by ivy climbing up a lattice


Lunch at Featherstone

Mum coaxed me down from Toronto with a reservation at Featherstone Winery on Sunday. It was a beautiful day: warm, sunny, with a near constant breeze to enjoy. We sat on the porch, enjoying the weather and the calming sound of the wind chimes by our table. After a simple lunch of bread and cheese, we went for a walk in the vineyards in search of the famous sheep that trim the vines. Much to our delight, we found four grazing in the grass. You see sheep so rarely in Niagara that it always gives one a thrill to see one. With our curiosities satisfied, we walked back to the car.

Four sheep grazing in the grass by trees on a sunny day. Vineyards backing onto a pond where ducks sit on a plank in the muddy water. Barels lined up against rows of vines and trees

Desolation & Colour

Brown brick buidling with a white sign that reads "Ice Cream Factory Outlet" in sans serif bold letters, all caps.

As many urban dwellers, I tend to stick to one part of town. Between Bloorcourt, the Annex, and jaunts down to OCAD, I rarely find myself in other parts of the city these days. However, for the past 7 days I have been house-sitting out by Main Street Station, which is another world compared to the West-end. It is a sprawl of poorly maintained mid-20th century brick buildings, desolate shops which either appear to have no business or some business, obstreperous signage, big box stores on one side of the street, shadowing the independent retailers on the other, and there is a complete lack of cafe or patio culture. It may come with cheaper rent, but I don’t think I could survive here for long. I miss BakerBots and the Commonwhere’s my croissant?!

Street ruit market with a green canopy.Street fruit market with a basket of flowers hanging from a lamp post next to a blue bike. A man in jeans and a red jacket is seen walking away in the distance.

A Walk Down Queen St. East

I had a at Wunderland Cafe in the Beach the other day to discuss an opportunity working on video captioning for Inclusive Design Media. I had passed by Wunderland many times last summer when I frequented the Beaches but never went in, put off by the the painted brown wood and wizard-esque facade. However, once inside I found myself in a very cozy cafe with friendly staff and a delightful menu. I ended up splurging on a coffee and a mint-spirulina raw brownie (the owner’s favourite apparently). It was very tasty.

After the meeting, I took the streetcar a couple stops before getting out to check out a strip of Queen St. E. with various home decor and fashion boutiques. Unfortunately, most were closed at the day of my visit, but I had a great time snapping pictures as I walked along the street. Here are some of my shots from that stop:

Street view of old buildings, a wood sign reading Tavern, a string of lights and wires, and a yellow B&B Fish  & chips sign.Street reflected on glass of a window looking into a restaurant. There is a traditional wooden chair with a table set with white napkin, plate, and round stemless glassware by the window. Toys from Asia on shelving and hanging abstract glass decor is seen through the window from the street.

The Sun Setting Over Charleston Lake

We went to Charleston Lake Provincial Park for our second annual interior camping trip. Last year we stayed at Buckhorn which was beautiful, but had two campsites on location which reduced the privacy and quiet we could enjoy at times – the two main reasons why interior camping is appealing to us!

This year, we canoed into a different site: Hidden Cove. It is the one interior campsite in Charleston Lake Provincial Park where campers are entirely on their own – no neighbours! It was perfect for us! Hidden Cove is right on the lake, sheltered by rocks and trees, with a path that leads up into the forest and onto a hiking trail.

What struck me most about our camping trip were the sunsets. Every night, from any corner of our campsite, we could enjoy an amazing display of colour over the lake! One night there was even a rainbow (although it didn’t photograph well, thus its absence below). Here are 3 of my favourites sunsets from our trip:

Sunset with silhouetted trees by a lake. The sky is pink and blue with the colours reflected in the calm lake water

Down by the water at Hidden Cove.

Blue and cream clouds over a calm lake. A horizen of land, branches of a tree, and two round rocks are silhouetted against the water.

From the canoe launch and picnic table at Hidden Cove.

Pink, blue and white clouds over Charleston Lake.

View from Hidden Cove campsite.

Charleston Lake interior campsites have an outhouse, a picnic table, fire pit, and two wooden platforms to set up your tent on up off the ground (and do yoga on!), which makes interior camping easy and pleasant. I would be curious to know if readers have stayed at other interior sites with such amenities. I have yet to see this at other parks that offer backcountry camping.