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Chilly Leslie Spit

When the sun peeked through, it warmed a bit, but the wind was nippy on the Spit today. Nothing to break it, with the trees still bare. It’s still great to get out this early in the year.

Good day for reptiles. Danica spotted the garter snake. I didn’t even see the turtle until I noticed it in the photo I was taking of a swan in the reeds.

Did you spot the other swan picture? It’s ‘way off in the distance, swimming below the trees full of cormorant nests.

Above is my big action shot … waves breaking into the shore. Impressed, aren’t you?

This is what the Leslie Spit is made of … clean fill from demolition waste. The manmade spit is still being extended and allowed to grow in naturally. It’s a bird sanctuary, marsh habitat, home to many animals, and an all-around good idea.

A pleasantly simple solution

George Barnewall told me about a problem created by our recent heavy rainfalls.

Danica and I rode our bikes down to have a look, today.

Water now covers what is usually a huge expanse of dry sand. A sandbar forms a bridge between the new pond and Lake Ontario.

Nice, eh? No engineering studies, committee meetings or massive pumps. Somebody remembered what you can do with a beach pail and shovel. City workers simply dug a little channel from pond to lake.

Palimpsest spotting

The words ROLPH CLARK STONE are legible on these Carlaw Avenue bricks.

Originally, the word palimpsest referred to manuscripts on recycled parchment, where traces of scraped-off writings show through newer text. It has come to mean any trace left behind after an original surface has been erased or removed.

Pedantic, I know … but once you have the word, you see palimpsests that you never noticed before.

Retro rendering

Danica spotted the mural above atop the the Shmooz Café on Pape Avenue, today.

It’s a fun piece to study. It’s signed with initials that look like FG followed by the date 2010.

Was FG a bit old to be up so high, painting murals in 2010, or was a younger artist painting an homage to 1950s and 60s style? Look at that curly table. How retro is that?

Another thing … what’s that passenger in the back seat?

Magic on Carlaw Avenue

I knew I was in the right place when I looked through the lobby glass and saw a striking piece of sculpture that could only be the work of one man … Gord Smith.

Gord Smith’s “constudio” is crammed with delights … a lifetime of art.

A 3-hour visit this afternoon passed like 30 minutes. There will have to be more visits, more conversations, because we hardly scratched the surface of all there is to discuss.

Gord is one of Canada’s major professional sculptors, now approaching 80 years of age and showing no signs of slowing down creatively. He works on a large scale, often in welded metal (laser-cut these days) but also in the medium of glued wooden dowels … as far as I know, a medium that is uniquely his. Certainly his way of handling them is unique.

The aesthetic and philosophical principles expressed by Smith’s works are deeply felt, relating to universal laws of nature. I will return to the subject, you can be sure … a bit at a time.

Carlaw Avenue has become a fascinating creative zone, filled with wonders and imaginative people. A few floors above the sidewalk, in the middle of a former garment factory, Gord Smith continues his remarkable career. He also makes a good cup of coffee and has excellent doughnuts.