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A brief Corley Avenue update

First, signs of activity at the Corley Half House now extend to the arrival of a porta-potty. The concrete that was poured through the basement window to stabilize the now-removed portion has been dug out and carted off.

It will be interesting to see if the missing half is restored to match the remaining half. More likely, I think, is a different design and, pehaps, an additional storey. Time will tell.

The other house I have been following from the beginning is the pied á terre that Rob is building for himself, with the help of his son Josh.

The windows are in, in time to make for comfortable finishing inside during the winter months.

Man of Letters

This is one of the photos I took of friend and author John Robert Colombo when he visited the other day with his wife Ruth and poet-painter Suparna Ghosh. The photos will be for the back cover of a 5 volume set, Notebooks of John Robert Colombo, soon to be published.

I took the shot in colour, of course, but I like the black and white look. It’s been fiddled with in Photoshop, for a depth-of-field effect. The location is our back yard.

Good deeds discovered

From the left: Diana, Joanne and Michael

On the way out for a walk today, Danica and I spotted this 3 member crew of volunteers, preparing to clean up nearby Williamson Park ravine.

Since I usually go out for the Spring Clean Up, I asked if a new event had been scheduled for Autumn. No, they were acting as part of The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and our little creek rated their attention.

Thank you!

Today’s subject is a meaty one

Lining up a rumour I heard a month ago with a new LEASED sign in the Bazaar shop window, I guessed that this might be the new, second location for Sanagan’s Meat Locker.

Sure enough! Right between the Lazy Daisy Café and The Swag Sisters Toy Store, our Bazaar is going to be home to a celebrated butcher shop whose main store is in Kensington Market.

Yes, this Kensington Market …

Isn’t it great to see shops returning to neighbourhoods? When we first moved to Beach Hill 30 years ago, this was a neat little butcher shop on Upper Gerrard, at the corner of Bellhaven.

The shop was already out of business when we first saw it. Its spotless counters sat empty for years and eventually it became the Atisha Buddhist Centre that it is today.

The Upper Gerrard retail strip was full of little shops offering goods and services within walking distance. A couple of hardware stores, drug store, beauty parlour, barbershop, a coffee shops, a grocery store … all the basics. One by one, they faded away as big box stores took over.

Now the walk-to-shop possibility is returning. Sanagan’s in the Bazaar will be a terrific asset.

Beach Hill’s Karen Franzen, ceramic artist

When Karen offered a visit to her nearby studio, I was delighted even before I stepped inside. Look at the ravine view she has! It’s like the countryside, but those stairs lead to Upper Gerrard and streetcars.


 Inside, the studio was everything I’d hoped, jammed with shelves of pottery, tiles and sculptures, glazed and decorated in Karen’s light, seemingly carefree style. It takes years of practice to make work like this, and a cultivated spirit, too.

The “current direction” stacks in the slides are an inventive use of cat food tins, sprayed with fresh paint, stacked as striped columns and topped with whimsical ceramic lids. Anything you want can be kept in the tins. I thought of a young girl’s keepsakes, for example.

You can contact Karen Franzen here, if you’d like to do a studio visit, too. Her Annual Holiday Show is December 8th, 9th and 10th. Ceramics, of course, plus friends offering jewellery, handbags. knits and soft sculptures.

The Moss Park Market that Karen is plugging has a worthy mission … to bring healthy, fresh food to people without charging fancy farmer’s market prices.