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Pics & Prose

A Short Walk Along the Beltline

Nature Scenes from the Kay Gardner Beltline TrailJen­nifer, Mar­ina and I—the boy stayed home to study—decided to check out a part of the city we’d never been to before: the Kay Gard­ner Belt­line Trail. On the way we scooped up Cath­er­ine and drove to the north­ern edge of Mount Pleas­ant Cemetery where you can pick up the trail.

FUN FACT: the park is named after my boss’s mother who was instru­mental in get­ting the pro­ject done.

The trail is an old com­muter rail­way line which opened in 1892 with the pur­pose of pro­mot­ing new sub­urban neigh­bour­hoods. Unfor­tu­nately, the ser­vice wasn’t prof­it­able and after two years, the line was shuttered. In 1970, CN tried to sell the land but most home own­ers whose homes backed onto the railpath wanted to extend their prop­erty line. This sparked a pub­lic debate call­ing for a bike trail which is what part of what the path became in 1972. CN sold the remain­ing prop­erty in 1988 and a full con­ver­sion to a walking/cycling trail began in earn­est.

The Belt­line Trail meas­ures 9 kms and cuts through a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent neigh­bour­hoods. We walked no more than a couple of kilo­metres before turn­ing back, but the hike was inter­est­ing non­ethe­less. The trail was teem­ing with cyc­lists, run­ners and other dog walk­ers; a little busy for my taste but still, a nice diver­sion within the city. I’m think­ing it would be lovely to bike up to the start of the York Belt Trail—about 6 kms from home—which itself hooks up with the Kay Gard­ner Belt­line Trail, mak­ing the ven­ture a 15K one-way ride. Not sure I can con­vince JF to do so, but I think it would be fun.

Long Weekend, Quick Trip

Port Dalhousie harbourWe’ve been itch­ing to leave town so we can take in a hike, but then we figured the black flies might not be tol­er­able at this time of year. So we opted for a (breezy) water­side stroll and settled on the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. We’ve driven through a few times but wanted to take some time to walk around.

Niagara-on-the-Lake itself is typ­ic­ally over­run with tour­ists and with the weather we’ve had this week­end, well, we thought it best to avoid town alto­gether. Instead, we drove to Port Dal­housie, just north of St Cath­ar­ines. It’s a cute little town that gives off a retire­ment vibe and offers a path along what’s called the Water­front Trail. We prob­ably trekked a few clicks around the mar­ina, enjoy­ing the sun and fresh air. We came across a couple of old locks which were no longer in use but had been linked to the Wel­land Canal, a few kilo­metres away.

By this time the kids, of course, were moan­ing about how hungry they were. We left Port Dal­housie and drove toward Niagara-on-the-Lake, using a back road which afforded a lovely view fea­tur­ing farm­land, orch­ards and vine­yards. We even­tu­ally stopped at a road­side din­ner and after lunch, walked next door to Lotsa Hos­tas where Jen­nifer pur­chased a few plants.

Marina rises from taking a picutre

It’s been a spec­tac­u­lar week­end. Usu­ally, the Vic­toria Day weekend—or, as we Canucks like to call it, May Two-Four—is dreary and cold, with every­one miser­able because they just want a warm, beau­ti­ful week­end. Well, for the first time in a while, we got one. Stay­ing in town (except for our short jaunt this morn­ing) has made it feel more like a proper long week­end and it’s been relax­ing. The City itself has been bliss­fully quiet except for the water­front by the Lakeshore, but we’ve kept away. Aside from clean­ing up around the house,Marina and I biked to BMO Field on Sat­urday to enjoy a TFC match and Jen­nifer was able to spend much time work­ing in the garden.

It’ll be tough going back to work tomor­row.

Mine, All Mine

A plane flies overheadIt’s been a long three years but that cam­era, the heavy one I lug around (not nearly enough), has been paid for. Aside from get­ting the sensor pro­fes­sion­ally cleaned, I have big plans for the behemoth.

I did take the cam­era with me to Cal­gary for our cor­por­ate con­fer­ence. Part of the reason was to pho­to­graph our group of 100 or so par­ti­cipants, but the main rationale was to take advant­age of the set­ting to shoot mater­ial for our Cor­por­ate Sales team. Already, I’ve used a couple of the shots in dif­fer­ent applic­a­tions.

On a per­sonal note, there’s a little café on Christie I’ve been want­ing to shoot. All I need is an even­ing and a little bit of patience and I think I’ll come away with a nice, black and white shot. Other than that, there’s the prom­ise of upcom­ing hikes and, of course, our trip to Europe. I bet­ter not for­get to bring the char­ger.

Catching Up

Looking at a mess of power towersIt’s been quite the week. It star­ted with Jennifer’s birth­day which, tech­nic­ally I missed, although I did kiss her on my way to the air­port at 4:30 in the morn­ing. I’m sure that made her day.

I spent the next four days in Cal­gary, enjoy­ing the com­pany of my co-workers and our semi-annual cor­por­ate con­fer­ence. Of course, I picked up a little some­thing on the flight back and have been deal­ing with a slight cough and gen­eral mal­aise. But that didn’t stop us from brav­ing the cooler, wet weather at today’s Walk So Kids Can Talk 5K walk.

Kids Help Phone is one of the char­it­ies my employer sup­ports. They offers kids of any age pro­fes­sional coun­selling, 24/7, allow­ing them to speak with someone anonym­ously in an effort to help them cope with any issue from bul­ly­ing to trouble at home, dat­ing to LGBT mat­ters, from school to money, jobs and more. As we employ many teens and young adults, Kids Help Phone aligns well with our com­pany. We’ve also had a frank dis­cus­sion with both Mat­thew and Mar­ina, let­ting them know that should they ever need to speak with someone and would rather not dis­cuss it us, that this option was avail­able to them.

In the end Jen­nifer was able to raise $390 which, com­bined with our Toronto Office, amounts to a tidy sum of over $2000. The rest of our company—spread out across the country—also par­ti­cip­ated, but I’m wait­ing to hear how much we ended up rais­ing. All in all, it’s a nice feel­ing to know you’re help­ing those who need it.

Snap

Between two buildingsI’m sneak­ing in a shot I caught today on my way to the dent­ist. It was the fifth visit for the same tooth which breaks down as such: assess­ment, assess­ment by spe­cial­ist, root canal, tem­por­ary crown and today, the actual crown. You don’t even want to know how much all that cost.

Any­way, all this to share today’s photo which I call Warm Mono­tones.

Belated Well-Wishing

Marina pretends to enjoy a drink

I’m not doing so well wish­ing our young­est a Happy Birth­day; at least, not online. I only got around to post­ing some­thing on Face­book yes­ter­day and it took me to today to get some­thing up on the blog. Tsk, tsk.

Either way, here we are. A short post for pos­ter­ity.

It’s been a good year. Both Jen­nifer and I have noticed a shift in the Wee-One these past few weeks. It all star­ted just before she headed off to her babysit­ting course—a new­found con­fid­ence that wasn’t there before.

Today Jen­nifer men­tioned a talk that they had had, in which Mar­ina befriended a girl at school that her other friends weren’t as keen on. Any yet, Mar­ina saw fit to ignore the peer pres­sure and stick with her heart. And now, her other friends have taken to includ­ing this other girl into their group. Well done, I think.

And now, Mar­ina will head off to her friends, on her own; some­thing she’d never dream of doing, even a month ago.

It’s all such a change from a year ago when we were deal­ing with, you know, her anxi­ety. It’s still a sub­ject we talk about del­ic­ately and sel­domly, for fear of bring­ing it back. But for now, we’ll enjoy watch­ing Mar­ina grow into a strong, inde­pend­ent young woman.