Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Winter in the 'hood

  Snowed last night for the first time this year so I went out and took some pictures around the town in the afternoon with a balmy minus 8 degrees Celsius temperature and a fairly brisk wind. The first is near the beach on the shore of Lake Ontario at the south end of  Main street.

The boardwalk looking east along the shore with the wind turbine and the children's summer play area in the rear of the photo.

  This photo was taken in the same place as the first one but looking north along Main street. Very few people out for a walk partly because of the slippery sidewalks and the wind.

   The ice cream store is closed for the season but most of the other stores are still open. Best ice cream in the area and home made.

  The east side of Main street looking north.

 The docks are empty and the boats are stored for the winter. No ice in the bay yet but it will come in due course.

   One of the homes decked out for Christmas. No Christmas lights because of community rules.

   Looking from one of  the side roads towards Main street.

  Hy tea is one of my favorite local tea shops and is located on the east side of Main street. From a restaurant review:

You may enjoy the full experience of a proper British High Tea with scones, cheeses Devon cream and sweets choosing from selective gourmet blends of tea or strong Americano coffee. However, your experience at Hy-Tea does not end there. Hy-Tea is a traditional teahouse with a twist. You may dine on a scrumptious, savory lunch or dinner with a glass of wine. Be sure to try one of the many house specials and Hy-Tea has the best crab cakes in town! Hy-Tea is more then just tea; it is a fully functioning restaurant.
Your hosts, Hy Niles and her sons Kirk and Nick, pull out all the stops when it comes to making you feel at home. Ask them for off the menu suggestions if you wish something cooked especially for you.

 It's not that big but very cozy and the owners are friendly as well as accomodating to long periods of reading or scanning the web.

  One view of the interior facing away from the entrance. The owners are orginally from Jamaica.

   Another view facing the entrance. Lots of choice with respect to tea or coffee. I finished my walk today with a small meal.

   Vegetable samosa with apricot chutney and a cup of Cappuccino.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Trip down Memory Lane

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    I went to a Christmas party last Sunday evening given by my old Historical Society to which I belonged when I lived in the country. Saw some old friends and renewed some acquaintances from the past when I lived in a hamlet of about 500 souls which was ten miles from the nearest town. The party was in a nineteenth century Orange Lodge in Newton Robinson hamlet on Highway 27 that houses the society meetings and the local farmer`s wives association. The area was settled in the 1840’s by Protestant Irish fleeing the Irish Potato famine in the so-called “coffin ships” and they brought the admiration of "Good King Billy" a.k.a. William of Orange with them. I sometimes think that they are still fighting the Battle of the Boyne. The Catholic Irish settled the next county to the west and there are no Catholic churches on the east side of the county line to this day. In contrast to the cosmopolitan Toronto, everyone is related to everyone else and I was marginally accepted because I had a celtic surname.

First on the agenda - eating
  The first thing was the Christmas dinner and they had everything that you can imagine including the old staples of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, salads and cranberry sauce.

Dining in the basement of the Orange Lodge

   I was the junior member in this crowd but I think that they must have been fasting for days judging by the amount of food which they tucked away.

   There was also no shortage of dessert but it seemed to disappear as well.é
Upstairs of the Orange Lodge

Good King Billy's banner
  They have had an Orange parade every year in Toronto for 191 years and still celebrate the Battle of the Boyne. The longest running Orange parade in North America. When Ernest Hemmingway was a writer at the Toronto Star, he used to refer to Toronto as Belfast North. Each of the local lodges would have it's hallowed banner in the parade and the larger ones their own band.

Adelaide Hoodless
Adelaide Hoodless née Hunter (February 27, 1858 – February 26, 1910) was a Canadian educational reformer who founded the international women’s organization known as the Women's Institute
She was born on a farm in St George, Canada West (now Ontario), the youngest of 13 children. She married John Hoodless and moved to Hamilton, Ontario. When her infant son died in 1889 from drinking impure milk she devoted herself to the betterment of education for new mothers. She became president of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), and taught classes in domestic science (home economics).
With Lady Aberdeen, she helped found the National Council of Women of Canada, the Victorian Order of Nurses and the National Association of the YWCA. In 1898 she published a book Public School Domestic Science.
A February 19, 1897 speech to farmers' wives in Stoney Creek, Ontario inspired the formation of the first Women's Institute, intended for the education of rural women, and within a decade more than 500 had been organized across Canada. (Wikipedia)

World War I volunteer list
  I often wondered how many came back from the war.

Painting of the Lodge
  Still looks the same today but my camera has too low an ISO to photograph it in the dark so I didnt take a picture. They did pave the road last year so I didn't get stuck in the ruts.

The bran barrel
   In the nineteenth century, Christmas gifts were not wrapped so they buried them in bran and people would pull the presents out of the barrel so the Historical Society instituted gift giving using the concept of a bran barrel and it has been in practice for many years.

They call out a month of the year and folks whose birthday is in that month go to the barrel and pull out a present. I got a box of chocolates.

Head of State
   A picture of a very young Queen. Must be from the fifties. Lots of Royalists in this area.

Entertainment after supper

   No snow but a pleasant evening. My invitation is below.

Lowe`s Christmas Market

Lowe's Toronto Christmas Market in Toronto

  The above picture is a 360 view which can be panned and titled. Best seen in full screen. This is the second year for the Christmas market and the location can be seen in the map below.

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  This is the first year that I went Christmas shopping in the distillery district of Toronto. The area is called the distillery district because it is the former location of  the largest distillery in the British Commonwealth not to mention a major contributor to the American market during Prohibition. A video below will give you more information.

  I went during the day because it's warmer and my camera doesn't seem to have a higher enough ISO to capture night scenes the way that I would like. It didn't stop me from getting lots of good day photos.

Live Reindeer

Free wine

Maple syrup

Elves on the prowl

Best Schnizel

Coffee and Poutine

Fresh white ceddar cheese curds

Christmas Shopping

Night in Prague from Metron on Vimeo.

  Well it’s that time of year when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping and I spend my time trying to find a parking spot at the local malls after which I elbow my way through the throngs in the stores. I thought that I would show a video of Christmas Eve in Prague, the capital of the Česká republika to remind myself about alternative seasonal activities which do not revolve so much around consumerism such as we have in North America. No snow yet so it doesn`t feel like Christmas but I did manage to get the indoor decorations up as well as the outside ones. My outside reindeer with the electric lights aren`t doing so well which is not unexpected given that they were buried for two months in a snow drift last year. Christmas cards have been sent out and my oldest daughter who is living in Vancouver while studying at UBC arrived yesterday.  Not like living in the country where I would go out and cut down a Christmas tree. We used to go to the wood lot with a farmer who brought his horses and wagon; pick out a forty foot tree, cut it down and then in half; attach the twenty foot length to the wagon and drag it back to the house; use a chainsaw to reduce the height until it fit in the ten foot ceiling of the 1892 home and chop the rest for firewood for the kitchen wood stove.
Infographics: Happy Holiday
Courtesy of: CreditDonkey

And Here's some of my shopping.

Coffee / Hot chocolate maker (for kids)

Single servings for the apparatus above

Book and Chocolates (for son)

Soaps for youngest daughter

Cheese knife set for middle daughter