A sad story in a lovely little park

At the foot of Polson Street, a small, grassy park offers benches, shade trees and a boardwalk along the edge of the lake. The view of downtown Toronto and the harbour is cinematic. A plaque tells of the brave little girl for whom the park has been named.

polson-pier-parkPhotos: Bill Andersen, July 31, 2015.

Jennifer Kateryna Koval’s’kyj was born in Toronto in 1989 and resided here until 1995 when a custody decision awarded the care of Jennifer to her father who lived in Bowmanville. On April 2, 1996, Jennifer’s father, a diagnosed schizophrenic, attacked his mother with a knife. Jennifer tried unsuccessfully to protect her grandmother from the attack. Both 6 year old Jennifer and her grandmother succumbed to their injuries. Jennifer is buried in Toronto.

Source: — This 1998 city council document.

Set theory explains two worlds

This Venn diagram will help me remember distinctions often carelessly overlooked.


Brian explains that he and Ralph (see post below) are both Car Guys and Race Guys but that “Most car guys don’t have a clue about racing”.

Racing Guys like listening to this kind of sound, Brian adds:

The engines are methanol powered, 410 cubic inch, small block V8’s used exclusively in World of Outlaws Sprint Cars. Best heard loud. — BPH

Nice stuff

Art directors are always on the lookout for novel, appealing ways to render words and the interest doesn’t end upon retirement, apparently. I would love to have found a place to use the work of Sabeenu Karnik.

Look at the way her pieces exploit “local colour”, reflecting off the paper strips onto the white background. Enchanting. Of course, works like these must be photographed with some skill, too.

The craft is called quilling. Karnik’s examples are particularly beautiful. This video shows how hobbyists quill.

Do you want to know?


I think most Canadians would like to know what really happened during the 160 years (!) when aboriginal children were taken from their parents and sent to residential schools. Thanks to this well written, illustrated summary, it’s pretty easy to find out now.

Even if you don’t intend to read the whole thing, the stories are engaging enough to hold your interest and deepen your understanding. Get a free copy and read it on your Kindle or Kobo or iPad or Android device.

It’s quite an eye-opener!

Speaking of Colombo

uncommonplaces-350pxI count John Robert Colombo and his wife Ruth Colombo as friends, which surely colours my readings of their books. JRC has worked very hard, all his life, doing service to Canadian literature before many people thought it worth the trouble.

For his enormous output in the way of ghost stories, joke collections, mystery books, poems, criticism, research, essays and articles, he has been appointed to the Order of Canada. He has compiled large collections of Canadian quotations, earning his place as Canada’s Master Gatherer.

In this latest publication, John quotes himself. The man knows a LOT of words and he loves to play with them, sometimes to my amusement, sometimes to my bewilderment. His “aphoristic expressions” encapsulate opinions, observations, musings and feelings about everything from Abilities to Zombies, organized alphabetically, of course.

At the end of the book, he includes brief, personal comments on People I Have Known. Not all are flattering. I recognize many of the names instantly, others vaguely and many not at all. Whether I know the person or not, the descriptions are interesting and often surprising.

Here’s one that made me smile:

Frederik Pohl
He made a mistake once, on January 16, 1961, as I now recall, his former wife Judith Merril once told me.

I wondered at this one, “What was the topic and who was the other one?”

Paul Duval
One of the two people who angered me so much on the phone that I hung up on him.

Leonard Cohen may be the most famous name in the long list, but there are many more you would recognize; mostly writers and artists.

Uncommomplaces: Aphorisms of John Robert Colombo is newly published as a paperback but is also available as a Kindle ebook.

The Walkers dropped in from Victoria

walkers-andersens-budapestPhoto by Kaitlin

Crawf and Ulli (right) took us for dinner at the Budapest Restaurant (thank you both) and it wasn’t until after they left the next day that I realized how perfect their meal choice had been. Gypsy steaks. You see, the Walkers have been constant travellers for the past few years, following their growing family across Canada, from Nova Scotia, to Ontario, to Alberta, to British Columbia and even to Korea.

I’ve known Crawf since high school days. He and Ulli are fun to be with and endlessly interesting conversationalists. We love their company, even when they are just flying by.

The gypsy steaks, BTW, were pronounced delicious, covered in onions and mushrooms. Danica and I were happy, too, with our wiener schnitzel choices.