Sunday, 13 July 2014

Garden Community

The Toronto Parks Commission manages the islands that make up Toronto Island, including operating the ferries.  Most of the the islands are very park like with the exception of the communities on Algonquin and Ward Islands. These are more like gardens - varying degrees of care, but all lush and green.  The climate is obviously just slightly milder compared to the mainland as several plants can be found here that would not survive even a few kilometres away from the lake.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Boathouse

There are several bed and breakfast lodgings on Toronto Island, and I've stayed at two of them.  The Boathouse on Ward's Island was absolutely perfect. It's a small suite with a kitchenette and washing machine.  Brand spanking new with first class finishes.

Like most of the homes on the Island, it has its own charm and beautiful garden.

Dog Tie Tree

I am pretty good at tree identification - especially when the leaves are on.  There was a new one for me though at the Island Cafe - A Dog Tie Tree.  I would have thought it a fruit tree, but for the sign.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Island Cafe

A good restaurant is largely about the vibe.  The Island Cafe is a case study in that regard.  It personifies the island community  - very friendly and eclectic.  Great fun always.  I went all crazy and had cafe latte every morning.  Normally too much for my mild metabolism, but it would take much more than a shot of caffeine to rattle me when on the Islands.

Oh, and then there is the Ontario Raspberry Tart!  How did I ever find the strength to leave?

Waiting to Board the Ferry

I spent several days on Toronto Island last week.  One afternoon waiting to get on the Ward Island Ferry I took a few minutes to do a little sketch.  Its amazing what you can do with a fat pen and time constraint.  I decided the story was the rhythm of the kayaks pulled up on the beach and didn't fuss with any detail.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


This week with my sketching pals, I suggested we draw some buildings front on orthographically, like architectural elevations.  This is not how we actually see buildings, but is a valid representation nonetheless.  It's not so obvious with smaller, flat faced  buildings, but with taller buildings and stepped facades or intricate rooflines, you have to sort of rectify perspective out of the drawing.  In that way it's instructive because by flattening the image, you become aware of the way you are perceiving perspective.

These are two buildings on Sparks Street here in Ottawa, both very narrow by todays standards, but imbued with a craftsmanship and sense of legacy that we seem to have lost in our era of construction.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Maplelawn Garden

Large perennial gardens are a rare thing in recent years given the level of care and associated cost of maintaining them in top shape.  There are a couple in Ottawa and Maplelawn in Westboro is always worth a visit.

The irises are still going strong in many locations, but I think they've been cooked off in the open sun of the Maplelawn Garden.  Even the poppies, usually tolerant of heat are starting to fall apart.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Bob Ross

The Bob Ross is the "committee boat" at Britannia Yacht Club.  This means that it anchors across from race buoy at both the start and finish lines of a race so that the race officials can see along the line for false starts or to time the various classes as they finish.

She, or is it he?, is moored in a quiet corner of the harbour waiting for the first race of the year.

Lunch in the "Market"

Last week an old pal David, visited from London England for a few days.  He is Canadian but has now spent more of his life in England than Canada.  He is also an artist so we had a good time chatting and sketching together.  Lunch, of course, is always a prime opportunity and the natural place to take him was the By Ward Market district to find a restaurant with a patio.  Something I rarely do.

When travelling, I want to sketch everything. But here in my own city, it's more challenging to see those opportunities, or perhaps feel an urgency to catch it while I can.  So, it was great to having a sketching pal show around town because it helped me see Ottawa through the eyes of a visitor.