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Monday, April 21, 2014

A little bit of Sacred Ordinariness on Easter Sunday

I had a very enjoyable time this evening whipping up this digital scrapbook page from several photos that Emma took yesterday at our Easter celebration at our friends house. I love three year olds -- they have so much joie de vivre. My Godaughter Rose was particularly delightful yesterday and as you can see she thoroughly enjoyed her chocolate cake with chocolate frosting!

If you are interested you can see what digital scrapbooking products I used here in my Designer Digitals Gallery

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Toronto: More Photos from Day Two

First item of the agenda on Saturday was to head out to the CN Tower, also near our hotel and down by the waterfront of Lake Ontario. It wasn't a sunny clear day so we knew we weren't going to able to see Rochester or Niagara Falls, but thought it would be fun to be up that high anyway, plus when are we going to be back there again to do it? This 1,815.4 ft high tower was built as a radio tower, but also as a tourist sight. It is the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere and a signature icon of Toronto's skyline. For more on this incredible structure read the Wikipedia article.

On a cloudy day in late March we definitely didn't have to fight the crowds that this  place was set up to handle. In fact we almost had the place to ourselves. Despite the clouds we still had an incredible view. I made myself stand on the glass floor and look down -- it was amazing how difficult it was to make my body do that -- even though my brain knew that it was safe.

The CN Tower is right across from the Railway Museum and original train turntable. This area by the lake used to be filled with railway yards, but is being reclaimed by tall buildings that look residential -- and I imagine have fabulous views of the Lake. We didn't have time to tour the brewery by the museum or visit the train museum as Jim and to get back for an early afternoon panel presentation. He was attending a conference after all!

After Jim's panel we took the Metro to an area called Kensington Market. It was pretty quiet there too -- not the hustle bustle outdoor market combined with funky shops the guide book described, but we did enjoy the walk past the Art Gallery of Toronto (I wanted to see the Henry Moore sculpture that's outside the building) and through China town. I imagine things are much busier on a warmer Spring or Summer day! I did get a few fun photos though.

Next we rested our somewhat weary legs back at the hotel in the Library Bar, before heading out to dinner at a nearby restaurant called Richmond Station. My friend had given me a gift certificate to this restaurant for my birthday and we were looking forward to a good meal together -- just the two of us. It didn't disappoint! We were sitting right near what they called the "Chef's Table" which was actually a long table right under a window with a view of the kitchen and the chefs at work. The food was terrific and beautifully presented. The desserts were works of art and clever too. I actually loved the carrot sorbet and the cream cheese powder that my creme brûlée was topped with!

It was great to get away for a couple of days -- and maybe sometime we'll get back to Toronto and the Niagara wine growing area!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Toronto: Some of my Favorite Photos Day One

I've never been to Toronto and a couple of weeks ago I tagged along with Jim when he went to Toronto to attend the ISA conference.  We decided to drive the 550 or so miles there because neither of us had been farther than western Massachusetts on this route and thought it would be fun to drive through upstate New York. It was cheaper than two flights as well of course! We made it in nine hours as there was little traffic on a Thursday in late March.

We only had two days to explore and Jim was moderating and commenting on two different panels for part of that time. We did get out and experience a bit of the city though. I spent my first morning at the Bata Shoe Museum. Since we had limited time I wanted to see something that was unique and I'd never been to a shoe museum before. It turned out to be a great place to while away a couple hours by myself and I was surprised by how interesting the history of shoes and of shoe fashion could be. It was raining so I didn't take any photos, but the building itself is very modern and cool. Built to suit its use as a shoe museum and filled with neat shoe related artistic touches -- even the door handles into the galleries. My favorite shoes were a pair of very high platforms boats worn by Sir Elton John.

That afternoon when Jim was finished working for the day we walked over to the St. Lawrence Market not too far from our hotel. All of the food there looked delicious and I enjoyed taking photos. I especially loved the cheese, meat and the flowers. I wish there was a market like this close to where we live in Rhode Island. It reminded me of the York, PA market -- only without the Mennonites and eight-shaped glazed doughnuts and with Asian food and spices.

Next we walked a bit further to the Distillery Historic District. This area was once a distillery in the 19th century. All of the buildings have been restored and now house boutiques, restaurants, theaters and art galleries and other spaces for artists. We enjoyed browsing in the stores and bought a couple of gifts for Emma and a funky (but not too funky) pair of John Fluevog shoes for Jim. You can see how neat the restored factory spaces are here in these photos of the Fluevog store.  I also got some neat shots in this area. Really loved the blue in the outdoor dining space at a restaurant in this district.

We ended our first day back at our hotel -- the Fairmont Royal York , which was itself a really terrific historic building, dating from the 1920s. We headed to the Library Bar for drinks and finally a light dinner. We tried some local Niagara region white wine which turned out to be absolutely delicious. We even asked the waitress to hold up the bottle so we could take a photograph. Now to find some of this here in the States! I had no idea that the area along Lake Ontario just over the border from Buffalo was known for it's grape growing and wine making.

That's it for Day One. More later -- maybe.