William Street And Along The Railway Tracks

Several days ago I went for a walk to Evans to purchase a lottery ticket. I decided I would take the route along William Street, which is one of my favorites. At Ontario Street I stopped to take a few photos of the garage. Which is just an old garage that for some reason I find photogenic. It used to have a vine that covered it entirely, but they kept hacking away at it, and pulled it off. But it refused to die and kept coming back. Eventually they gave up, and let it grow. Little by little it is creeping all over the garage again, as you can see in the photo below.

Just an old garage

When I reached the old Trott Transit yard (where I happily worked for many years) I stopped again. This time to take a photo of some old couches that had been put out to the curb. I also took a photo of the front entrance to the building, but I can’t seem to capture its essence and charm. Or not yet. I then crossed over to the railway tracks and walked along them. Its more difficult today then it used to be to walk the tracks, as the authorities are more vigilante, and willing to to ticket you a fine when they catch you. (As I learned one day a few years back.) I just can’t seem to give them up entirely though. They are so special to me, and important to my quality of life.

Some old couches that had been put out to the curb.

I then crossed over to the railway tracks and walked along them.
Near the tracks.

When I reached the place where they load the cars, I roamed about and took more photos. I have often walked there, then continued on further North, usually ending up in Meadowvale. That day I turned back and crossed Queen Street at the Beer Store, then made my way over to the North Plaza, where Evans is located. Next to it is the Portuguese Cultural Centre, which used to be a Dominion Grocery Store when I was growing up. The Cultural Centre is where a mural of Amalia Rodrigues was recently painted on the outside wall. A friend of mine has informed me that the club has also purchased one of her stage outfits, and has it on display somewhere. My friend and I hope to eventually go and pay it homage.

When I reached the place where they load the cars, I roamed about and took more photos.

I finally reached Evans.

I finally reached Evans, and went inside to purchase my lottery ticket. Andy and Kirk were both there behind the counter. I greeted them and they offered me their usual pleasant greetings in return. When I left there, I crossed over Brittania Road, and strolled along Arch Road. When I reached the townhouses on Ellen Street, I stopped and took a photo of them. It occurred to me that somewhere I had an old photo I took of the factory that once used to sit in the exact spot where the townhouses do now. So when I got home I searched for it. Eventually I found it. I am not certain when I took it, or with what camera, but I would have been in my teens or possibly early twenties. I was interested to discover that the townhouses paved laneway is where the factories grassy laneway used to be. Anyways, I have included both the old and the new below.

Odd Fellows Hall Revisited

This afternoon, after eating my rice, I went outside for a walk. The weather was pleasant. (More like April, then February.) As I walked along, the sock in my right shoe started causing me discomfort. So I sat on a rock, removed the shoe, and pulled my sock up.

When I reached Parkview apartments, I stopped to take a photo of it. Parkview is called Parkview,  because it’s nearly, (though not quite) across the street from the Park. People living in the front of the building have the park view. Those in the back view something else. The building is one of two actually,  that are both very plain looking. Its enough that you are living in a nice part of town, I guess.

Parkview Apartments

I then walked up behind the Mexican restaurant and took some photos of the Odd Fellows Hall. Last summer their were workers constantly going in and out, doing renovations. But now it looks forgotten again. I looked both ways, then crossed Queen Street. On the other side I encountered a yellow sign, which I read. It asked that stores be allowed to re-open.

Odd Fellows Hall

The Odd Fellows Hall.

I encountered a yellow sign.

When I was a boy, about twelve years old, I wanted to buy a Beatles record from a store in town called Huron TV and Appliances. It cost 10 dollars. Of course, I didn’t have 10 dollars. The man who worked at the store (I can still remember what he looked like) told me I could purchase it on layaway. Which would require me to go back many times with whatever coins I could scrape together. Each time I gave him money, he pulled out a receipt book and wrote down the amount. That way I knew how close I was getting to being able to take the record home. Eventually, I did.

Anyways, strangely enough Huron TV and Appliances still exists. I honestly don’t know how much business they do, because they are in a basement now, and I never bothered to go see for myself. I doubt they still sell record albums.

At the corner of Queen Street and Thomas Street I took a few photos of a coffee shop that recently closed for good. A man walking by jokingly asked if I was intending to purchase the building. So I jokingly told him only if he went halves with me. As we talked, he told me that his wife sells cannabis oil, and that people use it to help with their anxiety. Which sounded like a good ideal to.me.

I cut through the alley that has the sign with the big eye. Which reminds me of a fortune tellers sign, but is actually a sign for a store that sells eyeglasses.. I stopped to take a photo of the back of an old building, then walked over to Centre Plaza. Along the way, I took a photo of the Montreal House. Which is a very old building in Streetsville.

A coffee shop that recently closed for good.

The big eye.

Back of an old building,

The Montreal House.

I choose to go around the backside of the Plaza to avoid people. Also, I like looking at the back of the stores. It’s like stripping away the façade. I took a photo then went home.

I like looking at the back of the stores.

The Old Abandoned Farmhouse and The Two Oaks

Sometimes it happens that photos I have originally rejected don’t look so bad later. When I started moving towards engaging my blog again, I looked through all the photos I had taken over the last few months and found some that I felt impressed enough with, that I decided to add them here. The first ones are of an old abandoned farmhouse near Heritage Road and Steeles Avenue. I know I already posted a couple yesterday, but here are a few more.

One of the places where my work takes me is the parking lot of a Bus Terminal near Streetsville. Their are two very large oak trees that grow nearby, that I have written about before. One day last November, I took some photos of them as the sun was setting.

Death Upon Death

It occurred to me after writing my last blog that I had neglected to include a few videos. One of them I inserted with the cemetery photos. These two below deserve their own posting. I took them on  Christmas Day, when their was snow on the ground.

Streetsville Christmas 2020

Despite what I said about becoming lazy over the winter months, I did keep up my annual tradition of walking about town on Christmas morning. The day before we were dumped on with snow, which was special. The streets were almost entirely empty, except for the snowplows and one or two other vehicles. After I had walked as far as the park, I turned and headed towards the cemetery, which is beautiful to visit when blanketed with snow. I also love the sense of utter bleakness. Like death upon death.

Cemetery Christmas 2020

Amalia Rodrigues

Ten years ago I experienced a major shift in my outlook. It was October I remember, and I was walking home from work. For months I had been in turmoil, but I had finally come to a decision. I made it. I have no regrets regarding what I left behind that day. I only wish it had changed me in the ways that really matter. I have felt adrift lately, which is maybe the best way to describe the reason behind why I have not blogged. I knew I would be back though, and have continued to take photos here and there. The ones immediately below this very lame introduction were taken at the cemetery last fall. Which distresses me a tiny bit. It is already February, and Springtime seems just around the corner. Presently I am embarking on a new journey I hope.

A tree fallen across the hidden path.

Around the same time I took those photos I also decided to complete the second part of my Journey Through A Vanishing Countryside. So I set out one beautiful day and spent hours walking about the countryside just north of Streetsville. Unfortunately, two things happened that prevented me from posting any photos or blogging about my pilgrimage. Firstly, I made a wrong turn. My sister had dropped me off with the car in Huttonville. From there I walked west along Embleton Road. When I reached Heritage Road, I should have turned right, walked North and taken photos of the Laidlaw Orchards. Somehow I believed they were south of Embleton Road, and so I turned left and ended up missing them altogether. By the time I realized my mistake I was too far and too tired to turn back.

When I got home and looked over my photos I discovered that few of them had turned out as I had hoped. Occasionally that happens, and could have to do with the lens of the camera on my phone being dirty, or some other reason. I was now doubly disappointed with my efforts. (Yet, as I was writing this I took another peek at those photos, and now realize that maybe I was being too fussy. I will have to look them over again.) For now I am only posting the ones below which are of an old abandoned farmhouse on Heritage Road, just north of Steeles Avenue.

An old abandoned house on Heritage Road.

Over the winter months I became lazy and ceased exploring and blogging. I disliked myself for it, but did little to change the way I felt. I knew I did not want to abandon this blog, and still believed it had a tiny amount of importance. So I was slowly returning to it in my heart. In preparation I took photos of a mural that was painted on the side of the Portuguese Cultural Club of Amalia Rodrigues. It was commissioned by a gentleman to commemorate what would have been the great Fado singers 100th birthday. I was quite proud of the undertaking and how beautiful the mural looked.

Mural of Amalia Rodrigues.

The Prayer Of Longing

Hello. I should maybe explain my long absence. A few things conspired to keep me away. In order of appearance, firstly, their was a prolonged preoccupation with an existential question. It is a question that has been pondered over by many great minds. (Which should suggest to you that I got nowhere using mine.) Essentially, I wondered what ego is, its origins and nature, and why we try to protect it. After a little while though, I got distracted by music, and organizing my digital music library. Then lastly, I went on a one week holiday to Ottawa and Lake Superior, which was quite enjoyable. In fact it exceeded my expectations.

This blog will be a little different then others. Normally, I focus on my life here in Streetsville, and of course, Streetsville. Unfortunately, I have little to offer right now in that direction. So instead I am going to share a few highlights from the last few weeks, from wherever I was. I will try and keep it as short as possible, and only digress when I talk about digressing.

Below is a photo I took from the Old Power Dam looking out at the River and the Stream. It was the last time I was there, and I was accompanied only by Maribel, who rarely follows me. On the brick portion of the old Sea Cadets building someone had spray painted what at first I thought was the word BOERK. But as I stared at it, I then realized that it must be spelling BROKE.

BOERK or BROKE. You are free to decide.

One day, before I left on holidays, I was downtown Toronto, where sometimes I find myself because of work. I took photos at an intersection, and I was so pleased with them, I have decide to show you a couple. Their are unlimited opportunities for exploring and picture taking downtown. Around the same time my sister asked me to go for a ride in the country. Autumn was just beginning to make itself felt. We stopped at an old stone church, that I have visited before. Then we made our way home.

We stopped at an old stone church.

I left for holidays on Sept. 19 with my friend Edward and his wife Laura. I picked them up at their farm, and we drove East towards Kingston. We stopped to take the 1000 Island boat cruise near where the St.Lawerence River begins. The day was warm, and the boat trip was wonderful. My heart filled ip with a lot of good feeling. I would strongly recommend the tour, which is also very reasonably priced. From there we made a stop in Kingston, before making our way to Ottawa.

Taken during the 1000 Island boat cruise.

We spent two days in Ottawa. My friends are tremendous walkers and they actually stretched me a little, as I am quite out of shape. (But I am also fairly proud, and wouldn’t let them out do me.) We saw a good deal, and at one point we even crossed over the Alexandra Bridge and found ourselves in Quebec. Then returned to Ottawa via the Portage Bridge. At night we stood by Parliament Hill and listened to the bells chime from the Peace Tower. Everywhere their were people sitting on the grass, enjoying the fine weather. We also saw (and occasionally spoke to) homeless people. Some asked for money, but some seemed to just appreciate our conversation. Apparently, the virus has caused many homeless people in Ottawa to choose living on the streets rather then in the shelters.

The Rideau Canal in Ottawa, looking from Wellington Street.

We then drove West along the Trans Canada Highway, which is also 17 Highway. We stopped for the night at the home of a couple who are acquaintances of my friends. A cat was in the garage, who I spent time with. In the morning we discovered that the couples daughter had accidentally backed into the van we were renting. Fortunately, their was no damage. Only a scuff mark. We continued West, passing North Bay, before stopping in Sudbury to see the Giant Nickle. When we arrived in Massey we stopped at the home of my friends daughter Ruby and her husband Earl, who live on the Spanish River. That night I slept in a camping trailer, that sits on their property. I became chilled at one point and so grabbed a heavy blanket from the cupboard, and then I was snug.

In the morning my friends went fishing with their son-in-law. As I do not like fishing I opted instead to be dropped off on the beach. From there I walked for miles, exploring and listening to music on my cellphone. I aldo stopped at a cafe in Massey. The owner was not too friendly at first, but I seemed to win her over with my politeness. I sat down and drank a coffee while listening to the conversations of the locals. From there I crossed over the main road, and visited what is called The Chutes. Which looks sort of like a waterfall, but I guess are really just rapids.

Alexi is the dog that belongs to my friends daughter and son-in-law. He came with us on the boat ride along the Spanish River.

I walked for miles.

The Chutes, near Massey, Ontario.

On the return to Ruby’s and Earls home, I stopped to look at their cattle, which are in a field on another property. I should maybe not have got so close to them, especially as their was a very large bull, but I was curious to see if they would be curious of me. They really were. I spent some time with them, and offered an unspoken prayer on their behalf, which I will call the Prayer of Longing. Which isn’t prayer at all, is not directed to god but to the air, and is rarely answered. Still, its nice to have the longing.

I spent some time with them, and offered an unspoken prayer on their behalf.

Ruby and Earl asked if they could come with us to visit Lake Superior. We all agreed, and we became a happy little group for the next few days. We checked in to a hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, and had dinner with my friends Neil and Kyna that evening. The next day we started out early. and drove North on 17. The fall colors were spectacular. The most spectacular I had ever seen! My friends agreed. At Pancake Bay we stopped and admired the vast beauty of Lake Superior and its shoreline.

At Pancake Bay on the shore of Lake Superior.

When we reached the Montreal River we stopped to look over what was an internment camp for conscientious objectors during World War II. Edwards father had stayed there. All that remains as evidence of its existence, are a few walls of one of the original cabins. The rest of the property is now used as a trailer park. Further along the highway is a road that leads to the Montreal River Hydro Electric Dam. We parked our van, crawled through the bush, then walked back along the river towards the dam. It was quite impressive looking. Here I was able to get some nice photos of the river and the wilderness.

Looking out at the Montreal River, with the Hydro Electric Dam on my back.

That night we visited my friends Neil and Kyna at their home, sat outside on the lawn and played Horseshoes. Which I had never played before in my life. Neither had Laura it appeared, as she tended to throw them straight up, and nearly hit herself on the head a few times. With the help of a few beers, the pleasant weather, and my friends of course, I found myself cheerful. The next day we checked out of the hotel, and once again headed North on 17. We didn’t go far though, before we turned off, and drove towards Robertson Cliffs. We climbed the steep trails, until we reached the top, where we were awarded with what was, without a doubt, one of the most breathtaking sights I had ever seen. In every direction we were looking down on the trees, painted in bright reds and oranges, and far off Lake Superior. I was nearly overwhelmed by all the beauty.

My friends daughter Ruby, and her husband Earl, look out from Robertson Cliffs.

I was nearly overwhelmed by all the beauty.

We finally returned to our van, after hiking for nearly four hours. We stopped for lunch in the Soo, then continued East, retracing our route. I dropped off Edward and Laura, at Laura’s sisters home, then took Ruby and Earl to theirs. I slept again in the camping trailer, and went for a walk in the morning. In Earls barn was a small kitten that I fell in love with and did not wish to leave behind. I was heartbroken over that kitten for at least two days, maybe longer. Finally, our holiday was over, and I returned my friends home, and the van to the rental agency. The next day I was at work again.

Sonewhat renewed by the time I spent at Lake Superior, I began to pay visits to Lake Ontario. Particularly in the early morning. There were other people there too, photographers and nature lovers. We watch the sun rise, and the waves slapping at the shoreline.

Back in Streetsville, I have paid a few visits to the Cemetery. Partly to check on how the plants I put in, have been doing. Everything seems fine. Leaves, have begun to fall from the trees, and the air is cooler. For some reason I feel disheveled in my heart.

Renewed by the time spent at Lake Superior, I have begun to pay visits to Lake Ontario.
Leaves, have begun to fall from the trees, and the air is cooler.

Odd Fellows Hall

(This is my 100th blog.)

Four days ago, rather then ride to the cemetery on my bicycle, I decided to walk instead. I wasn’t really sure of the route I would take, and so gave myself up to the winds. Neither did I expect to take many photos. But in fact I ended up taking quite a few. Starting with the old bench that sits out front of what was once the post office, but is now a dollar store. Years ago when I was part of a photography group, I used to take loads of pictures of benches. Not sure why, except that I find something visually pleasing about them.

The old bench

Afterwards, I just strolled along Queen Street observing everything I could. I must be regarded as an eccentric by now. I mean, people must see me looking up at the sky, stopping to pluck insects from the sidewalk, or taking photos of benches, and wonder if I am normal. That being the case, I want to assure everyone reading this blog that I am not.

When I finally reached the old Odd Fellows Hall, I noticed the door open. It has been under renovation for some time now, and like other people I have wondered what it will become. As it happens I met the owner of the building walking in, and asked him about it. But he didn’t say. He did mention that the renovations had become a huge undertaking, and that their was much work to be done before it could become anything at all. I am really hoping that it will be something really culturally significant. It’s such a sweet building.


I just strolled along Queen Street.

The Odd Fellows Hall.

The Streetsville Business Associations offices.

I walked further and took photos of the Streetsville Busines Asdociatiom. It is the building I sometimes refer to as the old Lawn Bowling Center. Which it was. But before that it was the library. Then before that it was something else, and before that something else again. It’s versatile you see. I then crossed the street, cut through St.Andrews cemetery  and found myself at the Park. I stopped to take a photo of the swings, which were no longer padlocked. Then I crossed the bridge and made my way to one of my favored spots.

The swings were no longer padlocked.

I crossed the bridge.

There I discovered  a large bag of garbage,  which a night critter had ripped open and made a mess of.  I was angry (at the people who left it behind, not the critter) but managed to clean it all up. A young woman who happened to come by, thanked me. I told her I was glad for her sake. She gave me a big smile, then I felt less angry.

When I reached the River,  I removed my sandals,  and sat down on one of the large rocks there. It’s a very nice spot to relax, and the waters make pleasant sounds.

There I discovered  a large bag of garbage,  which a night critter had ripped open and made a mess of.

Shoes left behind in the park.

The waters make pleasant sounds.

I climbed a short hill and was at the cemetery.

I then took a short cut across the dried up creek, climbed a short hill and was at the  cemetery. After I had watered all the flowers,  I headed home. I stopped though at the empty lot where Main Street begins,  and admired the flowers and the tall grass. It’s so much like a snall meadow.

So much like a pretty meadow.

A house that sits empty on Wyndham.

The Windmill on Church Street.

Journey Through A Vanishing Countryside (First Part)

Four days ago I set out on a journey, that I had been planning for a little while. Since last year, in fact. I wanted to explore the countryside directly north of Streetsville. Following along the River as much as possible, photographing and exploring, and chronicling what was disappearing, and what still remained.

I am very familiar with all of that country. Firstly, as a child when I went for Sunday drives with my family, then later on, when I learned to love and appreciate its scenery and small villages, on my own. Unfortunately,  I have watched over the years, as the  developers have scooped up land, built houses,  and altered its landscape. Increasingly, I have felt the need to memorialize what was left of the past, before their was no more of the past to memorialize.

I had my sister drive me to Queen Street, near Huttonville, which is the most northern point of what I was hoping to write about. My goal was to walk back towards Streetsville. I never believed I would make it all the way, without having to call my sister to pick me up. And I made sure she understood that!

Nearby,  where I was dropped off, is an old nursery, now run down and unused. A perfect place to begin. This nursery had been owned by Portuguese,  and is where my father would sometimes go to purchase garden stuff. I strolled around the dilapidated property,   and looked inside the offices, which had been broken into. It’s pretty clear to me that this large, beautiful piece of land will be developed.  The hawk that circled above me, and occasionally cried out, seemed to know it, too.

A shed has had the roof stripped off of it.
I strolled around the dilapidated property. It is clear to me that this large, beautiful piece of land will be developed.

I left there and crossed the road  where another building,  like the nursery, was no longer being used. It was also onced owned by Portuguese,  and had been a market and a winery. Next to it is a small creek, that I discovered three bright orange goldfish swimming in. An Indian gentleman and his wife happened to come  walking along at that exact moment, and saw the goldfish as well. In his broken English the man suggested to me that I should catch them and put them in a tank. I told him, “Better to be free, just like us”, and raised my arm in the air like Braveheart. He smiled  and nodded his head in agreement. “Yes”, he said, “free.”

It had been a market and a winery.
The old Portuguese Market.

Next, I turned south on Creditview Road, and walked up the laneway of an old farm,  intending to ask the owner if I could take photos of the house and barn. The farmer, named Richard, was very obliging and spoke to me at length about the properties history, and the generations of his family who have lived there. While he took a phone call,  I freely walked about taking pictures. I did not know he had cattle,  and felt it would be tactless to mention that I didn’t eat meat. Across the street from his farm are  newer houses. If and when he chooses to sell his farm,  their can be little doubt that it will be turned into housing  as well. Way far off in the back of his proerty,  everything looked as pretty as the English countryside.

I walked up the laneway of an old farm.
Across the street from his farm are all new houses.

Not far away from the farm, and on the same side of the road, I came upon an old apple orchard. I slowly strolled along the rows of trees, making my way towards the house, I could see it tucked far back, almost hidden. My plan was to get permission to take pictures. Then I changed my mind,  and slowly strolled back towards the road again. In this way I spent several minutes enjoying the property, without having to bother anyone.

I came upon an old apple orchard.

Neighboring the orchard was a pretty white house,  which was old,  but nicely renovated. I could see as well that it was empty. (The first of several houses I would come across with no one living in them.) In the backyard their were many Coneflowers growing,  as well as sunflowers, which I took pictures of.

In the backyard their were many Coneflowers growing.

Just before I reached the sharp bend in the road,  I explored one other old house. This one was abandoned and ready to be knocked to the ground. In fact, they had already put a fence across the front, which had a sign with the name of the demolition company on it A section of the fence was fallen down, so I snucked into the backyard, and looked things over. For years I had thought of buying this property,  and its tiny house; but now it was all in ruins. I was about to go inside it, when I realized that the floors were not safe,  and so contented myself with what I could see of it, through the broken windows.

It was ready for knocking down.

I was about to go inside it, when I realized that the floors were not safe.

I crossed a white bridge,  and came upon some open places . On the right side of the road,  their was a swamp, and in the swamp were some water lilies. I did not see many frogs,   but I heard them. I crossed over the road and ventured into a field. My hope was to find a short cut to Churchill Road, where I intended to continue my walk. Instead I came up against the river,  and some soggy wetlands. In my younger years I would have got myself stuck in the mud,  and dirty from head to toe, rather then turn back. As I said though,  that was in my younger years. I discovered lots of Purple Loosestrife growing there, and stopped to admire their colorful flowers. I do not believe that they are the monster weed, that we were warned they would become. Though that is only my observation.

In the swamp were some water lilies.

I crossed over the road and ventured into a field.
I discovered lots of purple loose strife growing there, and stopped to admire their colorful flowers.

Once I was back on the road, I continued until I reached Steeles Avenue. I was now slightly past the half way point to Streetsville. Their is a very pretty, old brick house there that my father used to admire. I have never been able to get up close to it, but as it appeared no longer lived in, I poked around and took photos. The front facade is lovely. Its very unlikely they would destroy such a nice looking house but one never knows. Once I was done there, I walked east for a little, until I reached Churchill Road.

Its very unlikely they would destroy such a nice looking house.

But before I turned right, I allowed myself to be sidetracked, as I wanted to get a few pictures of the huge Polish Church that was nearby. Out front of it is a fairly large statue of John Paul II. His arm is upraised as if blessing or waving to people, and he is carrying a staff with a crucifix attached.

I allowed myself to be sidetracked.

St. Eugene De Mazenod
Out front of it is a fairly large statue of John Paul II.

I finally reached Churchill Village. My family used to come here often in the summer months, to picnic and swim in the River. So, of course, my memories of it are mostly pleasant ones. When I got older, I discovered its cemetery, and have explored it a little. It is much smaller then the one in Streetsville, but possesses more of a country feel. When you first enter it, their is a plaque on your left which commemorates a Mormon community that once existed in those parts. Apparently, Joseph Smith himself had once visited here , and encouraged them to move to Utah. Which they eventually did.

I finally reached Churchill Village.

Amaziah Church is the man whom Churchill took its name from. He is not only buried in the cemetery, but was the very first person they did bury there. I used to visit sometimes just to admire his headstone, which was not a stone at all. It was made of wood, and was cracked down the middle, and had lettering that was nearly illegible. At some point in the last year though, they had replaced it. I didn’t mind all that much, because the new one is more durable, and they re-created the words and the design of the lettering exactly as it had been on the original. Besides, I like to believe that the wooden one will be put on display somewhere, like in a museum.

Their is a plaque which commemorates a Mormon community that once existed in those parts.
Amaziah Church is the man whom Churchill took its name from.

Churchill cemetery possesses a country feel.

In the village itself, there is little to see, except a smattering of homes and buildings.

In the village itself their is little to see. A smattering of homes and buildings, the park that we picnicked in when I was young, and little else. Yet, it does possess one very iconic and defining feature. An old green, iron bridge. So narrow that only one car can cross over it at a time. When I was young this bridge fired my imagination for some reason. It just seemed so extraordinary, like out of a picture book. Now, I realize how plain it really is. Yet, it is a strong reminder of another time. I decided that I would end my journey here. So I called my sister and asked her to pick me up.

The old green, iron bridge.

While I waited for my sister, I decided I would go for a swim in the River, for old times sake. That, and because it was hot out. So I emptied my pockets of everything, and dunked myself in the cool water. It was deep, just as I remembered it, and the current was strong. On the opposite side I noticed something painted blue, and some other colours, but couldn’t tell what it was. Curious, I swam to it, and discovered a statue of Lord Ganesh, lying face down in the mud. I dragged him to shore, cleaned him up a little, and admired how fine it looked. I was tempted to take it home with me, but in the end I left him on the grass for someone else to rescue.

(To be continued.)

I discovered a statue of Lord Ganesh, lying face down in the mud.

The Old Speyside Gas Station

I had been wanting to visit Rattlesnake Point for a few weeks, so last Thursday I did. On my way there I stopped to take photos of the old Speyside Gas Station. Just like I did last year.  I suppose it’s reached a sort of plateau in terms of a run down, abandoned building, because it looked entirely unchanged.

Afterwards, I drove up and through the escarpment, and eventually found my way to Rattlesnake Point. The young lady working there asked if I had made an appointment, which is part of the new reality since the pandemic. I said no, and could I make one now. She said yes, their were still  some openings. So, I made an appointment, and drove to the parking area.

The old Speyside Gas Station.

I parked in the lower area, where I almost never do, hoping it would be less crowded then the upper area. It was, but not by a whole lot. I didn’t mind all the people being there though, as the trails are so vast that the opportunity to be alone with nature is not difficult to do. Speaking of nature, on my way to find a trail, I stumbled upon a couple, both naked and enjoying themselves. I did not wish to intrude, so I turned back, and chose a different way.

I love Rattlesnake Point. I have so many memories of my walks there. I have explored it back and forth, and uncovered lonely, quiet spots, and streams and rocks, and trees and peace. I try and make it out at least twice a year, mostly on my own.

Along the way, I met a young man and woman who told me that their were some Turkey Vultures further along in the direction I was walking. So I kept my eyes opened for them. Eventually, I discovered four perched in a tree, about fifty feet out from the cliffs.

Rattlesnake Point.

Nine Stones

Yesterday morning I rode my bicycle to the cemetery. We had received a fair amount of rain the day before, and so I didn’t go to water the flowers, but just to check on things, and to get out of the house. The skies were grey, and it occurred to me that it might rain again. Only this time on top of me. When I reached the entrance to the cemetery I stopped to look over the gardens. They are so pretty. I will always be thankful to the City for creating this lovely resting place, and for doing it right. Imprinted in the concrete are angels, which represent infant burials. Many of which are together in one place.

When I reached the entrance to the cemetery I stopped to look over the gardens.

When I reached the top of the hill, I noticed that their was a freshly dug grave awaiting a dead person. But no one was there. Not the mourners, or the grave keepers or the funeral director, or the clergyman. No one. Just an open hole in the earth, and a canopy. I looked it over, which prompted an inner conversation on death. Nearby was a stone with the name BLAKE. It has a carving of Jesus on it, which is exquisite. I was so moved by its artistry, and the look of sadness on Jesus’ face, that it made me think that maybe death is sad.

Nearby was a stone with the name BLAKE on it. It has a carving of Jesus on it, which is exquisite.

After I had checked on my mum and dads gravesite, I strolled about trying to observe something new. I felt that if I was to succeed though, I would probably need to cross over the creek, and walk about the south section. So I removed my sandals, leaned my bike against the fence, and got down to the business of observing. I came upon the infant burials, that I mentioned earlier, and counted the number of stones. Their were nine, but apparently their are many more who are buried there, without stones. In the middle their is a small statue of an angel, looking respectfully sullen.

A small statue of an angel, looking respectfully sullen.

After I had sat down on a bench for a short time, it began to rain. A hard rain. So I rode my bike as fast as I could, and found a narrow shelter in the entrance way to St. Josephs Catholic Church. I paced back and forth, and wondered how I would get home in time to be ready for work. Finally, I got tired of pacing and walked out into the rain and took pictures of a statue of Jesus, that sits in a sort of grotto. By the time I returned to my bicycle I was soaked through, and so decided it was hopeless, and that I would just ride home in the rain. Which was quite invigorating, I must say.

I found a narrow shelter.

Clearly Home To A Lot Of Ghosts

I think I miscalculated. I have spent a fair amount of time at the cemetery lately, and have been trying to be cheerful towards the other people I see walking there. Only now some of them want to chat, but the conversations are oddly off balance. It has begun to erode my peacefulness. So I have decided to look mournful, as if I just lost somebody close to me, and hopefully discourage talking.

I don’t mind though placing a flower at a gravesite for someone living in another country. Like I did at Michael Clearys grave. I didn’t know him personally, but I know someone who was his friend, but lives in Ireland now.

I placed a flower at Michael Clearys grave for a friend living in Ireland.

Yesterday morning I got on my bike and headed towards the cemetery again. On my way there I encountered a beautiful Rose of Sharon, blooming like crazy. Its doing far better then the ones at my mum and dads gravesite, which now makes me wonder if they need more sunlight. Or maybe I was just too aggressive with my pruning last November. When I reached the cemetery I watered all of the flowers and plants in my care, and took a few random photos. Then I left, as I wanted to get home and go for a walk with the cats.

A beautiful Rose of Sharon, that was blooming like crazy.

The grave in the top photo is the resting place of two infants. The Geraniums were not being tended to, so now I tend them, and water them every day. The bottom photo is of an angel statue that I really like, and have taken photos of before. I don’t really believe in angels, but would it not be the ultimate if they did exist? I mean provided they didn’t have a sword in their hand.

Unfortunately, (for the cats that is,) I got a little sidetracked. Firstly, by the old Timothy Street House on Mill Street. It looked to me as if it was no longer being lived in. So I went up close and looked in the windows. I was correct. It was empty. So, I took photos of stuff I never had before. Like the front door, and the backside that is covered in yellow clapboard. I was so pleased. I even took an up close photo of the old camping trailer that sits in the bush.

The backside  is covered in yellow clapboard.

The old and unused front entrance was surprisingly quite dilapidated. Especially, for a house that had recently been lived in.
The ancient keyhole suggests that the door is old.
The old camping trailer that sits in the bush. I was hoping it was open, so that I could live out my gypsy fantasies again. But alas, it was locked.

When I left there, I got no further then Church and Mill Streets before I stopped again to take more photos. This time of an old house that is genuinely abandoned. One that nearly burnt down a few years ago, and is clearly home to a lot of ghosts. I had wanted to take a picture of the pear tree that sits in its backyard, but the battery on my phone died. Too bad, because someone had stripped the tree of all its pears, and I wanted to show it. In any case, I’m glad the pears were picked.

The old abandoned house at the corner Of Church and Main Streets.
It nearly burnt down a few years ago, and is clearly home to a lot of ghosts.

When I finally reached home, I went upstairs and marshaled three of the cats outdoors. They followed me as far as Branch 134 of the Royal Canadian Legion, but then separated themselves. The boys disappeared into the bushes, while Maribel stuck with me all the way to the old Power Dam. There we both sat down and relaxed.

Maribel the Cat looks out from her perch towards the River.
Looking out from the old Power Dam towards one of the River streams.

Natural Born Saints

Two mornings ago I rode my bicycle to the coffee shop for the express purpose of buying a coffee. Afterwards, I carried it with me to the gardens at the old Lawn Bowling Center, sat down, and enjoyed the peacefulness of the moment. All around me were bees, busily doing bee stuff. I think to know contentedness or fulfillment, once must divest the mind from anything that agitates it beyond what is healthy. Then you must focus on only a few things. Just like a bee. In my case, my focus is on my duties when I am at work, and my duties on my leisure days. In between it all, you try to do a little for others, while avoiding the stress of sainthood. Unless, you are a natural born saint, then knock yourself out.

Me enjoying a coffee, at my new favorite spot.

The Remarkable Bee.

The Sunflowers At The Top Of The Hill

Yesterday morning I rode my bicycle in to town. Along the way I stopped to take some photos of storefronts, including, the fireworks store and the Comic Book store. (Which is owned by a gentleman named Todd, and is in the basement beneath the Pharmacist.) When I reached the coffee shop, I went inside and purchased a coffee, which I carried with me to the old Lawn Bowling Center. There I sat down and and drank it, while being very careful not to spill any on the ants. When I was done there, I walked across the street and took a photo of the Streetsville United Church, which I sent to a few friends.

The Comic Book Store owned by |Todd. You go down the steps to the basement.

The Streetsville United Church.

I then rode my bike south on Queen Street, crossed, and took a short cut through the old Highschool. At the top of the hill that overlooks the Park, their was a group of sunflowers, that were too pretty not to admire. So I did. Every year they pop up in the exact same spot, along with some Tiger Lillies. I made my way to the park, and rode along the trail next to the river, and came out at Main Street. I crossed over the Bridge, and then turned right into the cemetery. Near my mother and fathers grave site, I noticed that someone had just been buried. Atop the mound of dirt were dozens of flower arrangements, which I took a photo of, just because of how interesting it looked.

Near my mother and fathers grave site, I noticed that someone had just been buried.

When I left the cemetery, I decided I needed something new to explore, and so I made my way along the Culham Trail and rode all the way to Brittania Road. I then crossed over to the other side, and took the backstreets until I reached Ray Underhill Public School. I attended there for just one year, back in 1968, and yet, I seem to posses innumerable memories of it. I took photos of the front entrance, as well as the blue doors that I used to enter in and out of in the mornings and at recess, then rode through the playground and the field, and came out behind the Beer Store.

Queen Annes Lace grows along the bicycle path leading from Ray Underhill Public School.

When I got to the gas station, I stopped to take a photo of the big ICE Box. The attendant came out and asked me why I was doing that. I told him no reason really, that I just like taking weird photos. Which, I think, satisfied him, though he seemed to back away from me slowly. Though maybe it was just my imagination.

McCarthy Mill

Three days ago the weather people said that it would thunderstorm all day. My mistake was believing it. Instead of exploring like I should have, I stayed indoors, drank wine and watched movies. But their was no thunderstorm. (At least not until very late in the evening.) The next morning, feeling disgusted with myself for giving in so easily the day before, I rode out on my bicycle determined to make up for it. Of course, I would first need to stop at the cemetery to water the flowers at my mother and fathers gravesite. While there, I noticed that a flower on one of the Rose of Sharon had finally bloomed. Which I took a photo of.

A flower on one of the Rose of Sharon.

From there I rode back to the old Stefflers house, which is no longer lived in, and has no door handle on the front. I took more photos, and actually felt happier with these ones, then the ones I took last time. Then I walked around to the backyard intending to follow the forest to the creek. The grass was thick, and wet from the rain though, and their was a huge and determined colony of mosquitoes, that could easily have drained me of all my blood. On top of all that their was what looked like poison Ivy here and there. So dejected I walked back to my bicycle. I will probably never return again, as I have already trespassed twice, and even I have my limits.

The old Stefflers home. Front and rear.

A car seat in the backyard of the Stefflers house.

I continued south on Creditview, and once again turned right at Eglinton. I then sped down the hill, and turned right onto Old Barbertown Road. At the new pedestrian bridge I locked up my bicycle and tried out the trail that winds north along side of the river. I have no memory of it, but its unlikely that I have never explored it before. Unfortunately, it was overgrown with grass. Very wet grass. So I had to retreat again. As consolation for all my disappointment, I rode over to the old McCarthy Mill, and looked around. It seems to me that the massive London Plane is gone. I will need to look deeper in the woods though, to know for sure. Afterwards, I went home.

McCarthy Mill.

The Barbertown Bridge

Yesterday morning I had such an enjoyable time exploring on my bicycle, and taking photos. My goal was to reach the Barber Mansion, (which I had failed to visit a few days ago) and along the way to check in on a few other places. Firstly though, I stopped at the cemetery to water the flowers at my mother and fathers gravesite. When I was finished there I rode eastward towards Carolyn, and checked in with the abandoned house with the apple trees. Their were no signs of developers yet, but obviously it’s just a matter of time before they show up. In the meantime I will continue to visit, and show my appreciation for its history and spirit.

Firstly though, I stopped at the cemetery.

The abandoned house and garage at 1661 Carolyn Road. Their are several apple trees on this property, a small meadow, and the walnut tree you see in the photo above.

I continued east until I reached Creditview Road, then their was no more east, so I turned right. For some time I have been pondering whether the old Stefflers Residence was still lived in or not. They were a large family, and very Catholic. I went to school with some of the children, who all had beautiful freckles. I walked up to the house, intending to knock on the door, but noticed that their was no door handle. So I went inside and found the house indeed abandoned. It is one of the last of the old Creditview houses, and will no doubt be swallowed up. I took lots of photos, including the backyard with its huge tree. I imagined the family sitting out there in the evenings, and enjoying the summer side of life. What surprised me the most was that at the far end of the property was a small forest, that I assume stretches to the creek. It looked very inviting, but as I was hemmed in for time, and because of all the mosquitoes, decided it would have to wait for for another day to explore. Tomorrow, in fact.

The old Stefflers home.
The backyard.
At the far end of the property was a small forest.

I left there and continued south along Creditview Road, then turned right at Eglinton Avenue. The pathway was recently paved, so I peddaled hard down the hill, like a twelve year old. When I got to old Barbertown Road, I turned right again, as I wanted to see if the Pedestrian bridge which they were renovating last year was reopened. I was excited to find that not only was it reopened, but that they had done a wonderful job! Their were even places to sit and look out at the River, and you could walk beneath the old Barbertown Bridge, as well. Which I did. Hanging from it were ropes that kids use to jump out into the river with. It warmed my heart to know that simple pleasures still existed.

The Barbertown Bridge with its new pedestrian walk.

I was now nearing the Barbertown Mansion, but decided that I needed a little rest. So I found some shade from a tree, and ate the apples my sister bought for me. Close-by was a church that I attended many years ago. I reminisced about a petite woman from my Young Adults group, that I had a crush on. She was somewhat plain, but apparently I was even more so, because ultimately she rejected my advances. Which proved good for another six months of romantic set back.

At the corner of Barbertown Road and Mississauga Road I then stopped to look over the Barber Mansion. As I mentioned, a whole section of it had been knocked down, but the most important part of it was still standing. I took some photos, and felt relief that they intend to incorporate it into whatever it is that they are building. Not a perfect solution for a heritage house, but workable. I then turned towards home, but when I got there, I found that my sister had accidentally locked me out of my apartment. So I laid outside on the grass with Charo and waited for her to return.

The old Barber Mansion.

I laid outside on the grass with Charo.

The River And The Gorge

Yesterday morning I debated whether to walk or take my bicycle. I decided to walk. My goal was to get as far as the Barbertown Mansion, because I noticed they had torn down a section of it, and I was curious to see what was happening up close. Instead, when I reached the Kinsmen Hall, which is in a very old and cherished building here in Streetsville, I got sidetracked.

The Kinsmen Hall, which was once the old Streetsville Highschool, and later a Police Station.

Eventually though, I was finished there, and so continued south along Queen Street. When I reached the edge of town, I felt drawn towards the Mill. So I made my way along the railway tracks, which these days exposes you to scrutiny by everyone. I understand their are risks, but walking along the tracks, is like comfort food to me. Its beer and spaghetti.

If you continue walking eastward pass the Mill, you eventually come to a bridge, which provides you with wonderful views of the River and the Gorge. It is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Streetsville. Yet is not really that well known. Though each generation of young people have some who discover it, just like I did.

The old Mill, where my father worked for 26 years.

You eventually come to a bridge.

When I was done exploring the Mill, and beyond it, I turned back, concerned that I would not make it home in time to get ready for work. So I retraced my steps towards Queen Street, then slowly walked back towards downtown, taking photos of whatever interested me. (Obviously, the Barbertown Mansion would have to wait for another day.)

A cute little cottage along Queen Street.
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church.
Another cute little home at the corner of Princess and Queen.
The gardens at the old Lawn Bowling Center.

A lovely mannequin in the Bridal Store window.

I had told myself earlier that I wouldn’t stop for a coffee, but when I reached the coffee shop, I went in and purchased one anyways. (Mostly because I needed change for laundry.) After I left, and was walking along the sidewalk, it began to rain heavy. So heavy in fact, that I was forced to take shelter in an alley way. It was rather pleasant actually to be stranded without an umbrella.

Once the rain slowed down a bit, I continued homeward. At the Irish Pub, I stopped to take a few photos. It just recently re-opened its patio, which was a welcome sign to many, myself included, that things might return to normal after the outbreak. I crossed the street and took a photo of the back entrance to the Love Shop. For absolutely no reason I could think of.

I was forced to take shelter in an alley way.

Cuchalainns Irish Pub.

The ancient Entrance Sign to Central Plaza. Most of the other ones are either busted, or have been removed.

I crossed the street and took one last photo of the back entrance to the Love Shop.

Seven Geese

Yesterday morning I decided that rather then take the bicycle, that I would walk to the cemetery. I am so glad that I did, because I ended up exploring along the river and had a wonderful time alone. On my way out the door I encountered the Hydro guys who reminded me that the electrical power was to be shut off for a few hours. That didn’t trouble me much. Though I did call an older woman in my building to remind her as well, and to ask if she would be alright without air conditioning. She said she would be. Speaking of air conditioning, I found an a/c unit beside a dumpster.

I took a short cut and ended up on Wyndham Street, where I then cut through the empty lot at the bottom of Main Street. There I discovered that a wide path, more like a swath, had been made, that led across the creek and all the way back into the bush. Now, this bush is what I regard as an untouchable piece of landscape. Meaning that no developer would ever be allowed to build there. Now I’m a bit concerned. I walked along, and followed their swath until I eventually reached the bridge, where I looked over the graffiti. I then walked to the cemetery.

So I walked along, and followed their swath.

I looked over the graffiti beneath the Bridge.

At the cemetery I met Mister Pacheco and his two sons watering the flowers. We chatted for a few minutes and they teased me about drinking too much beer. I teased them back, and so goes our normal conversation. Afterwards, I walked down the steep hill to the ravine, but found it thick with grass and weeds. So I retreated, and took the path that leads to the park instead.

Someone wrote this on the bridge, along the footpath.

When I reached the River I carefully walked along the bank, back towards the Bridge. Their are many large slabs of shalestone that are slanted downward because of all the erosion that has taken place over the years. They are perfect for laying down on. You can just relax and forget about many things. So I found one, and stretched out. In the trees above me, their were Cardinals that flitted about the branches. Their tails were magnificent. After a while I got up and crossed over the creek.

The dried up creek.

I didn’t really wish to go home, so I sat on a large rock and dipped my feet in the River. On the opposite side their was a woman, who was also barefoot, and enjoying the sun and the water. I should have maybe waved to her, but I didn’t. After a while seven geese came paddling against the current. They struggled a little, but eventually they succeeded and floated away.

Seven geese swimming.

From there I walked to the park where I sat down in the lap of three trees. The roots are exposed and look remarkable. The sun shimmered through the branches and I wondered at the futility of life. But I was feeling too cheerful to worry about it just then.

I laid down in the lap of three trees.

When I left the park, I climbed up the hill that leads to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, then made my way along Queen Street. When I reached the Thrift Store I went inside. I was so pleased! I found lots of great stuff to put in my apartment! Including a statue of Buddha, and a wonderful picture, which you see below. I also purchased some shirts.

That evening I went back to the Park, where my sister was having a Birthday party for herself. I was so glad that she had chosen the shade from the three Willows that I had sat under earlier in the day. The ones with those remarkable roots!

I Luxuriated In A Moment Of Contentment

The weather has been quite hot lately. Including today. This morning I took my bike out and rode it to the coffee shop, where I purchased a coffee. I took the coffee with me to the Streetsville United Church, and sat down under a tree to drink it. The old Lawn Bowling Center is across the street, but it has no shade.

Afterwards, I rode to the cemetery and watered both the flowers at my mother and fathers grave, and Monica Gencels, which is nearby. (Her mother can’t always make it out to water her daughters flowers, so I promised her I would.) I filled the watering cans seven times.

I filled the watering cans seven times.

When I was done I decided to lay down beneath a large Maple and relax. I tried emptying my mind of all anxious and bothersome thoughts and nearly succeeded. For a few moments all I experienced was the warmth of the sun, the breeze, the sound of rustling leaves and an occasional bird chirp. I said a sort of prayer, and luxuriated in a moment of contentment. Then I went home.


I have been experiencing pain in my knees, and so lately I have been walking less, and riding my bicycle instead. This morning I carried it from my apartment down to the street and rode to the bank to deposit some money. Afterwards, I rode to the coffee shop, where I bought a coffee, which I carried to the old Lawn Bowling Centre. I then sat down in the gardens. I like them. The Lupines that I photographed in full bloom last week, were now just stems bearing seed pods, that look like peas. (Which is no surprise as both lupines and peas belong to the legume family.) In any case their were daisies flowering nearby, and so I took a picture of them.

Daisies growing in the gardens at the old Lawn Bowling Centre.

Their was no need for me to go to the cemetery to water the flowers, as it had already rained, and a  thunderstorm was expected later on. This left me free to roam. So I crossed the street and leaned my bike against a tree. I then walked around the Streetsville United Church, and looked over the windows, and old bricks.

Streetsville United Church

Behind the Church is a Memory Garden, that has a lovely statue of an angel, which I have already talked about before. Doesn’t she look a bit sleepy?

Doesn’t she look a bit sleepy?

From there I rode my bike South, and crossed the tracks, passing by the Signalmans House. When I reached the old Auto Repair shop,  I stopped to give it another look about. All this time I thought they wear planning to tear it down to make way for new houses. But to my surprise, I discovered that they are actually building an addition on to it. So now I’m baffled.

The old LA Auto Repair Shop, with its huge overhang.
To my surprise I discovered that they are actually building an addition on to it.

From there I weaved through some of the newer neighborhoods, cut through a park and came out in what is generally called Hillside. Which is a collection of older houses. (By older I mean they were built about 60 or 70 years ago.) I then took a shortcut which leads to a pedestrian bridge, and Mullets Creek. I stopped to watch the ducks,  and found myself reminiscing about the ducks I used to see swimming there, when I was in my early twenties. I remember them because I was working at a factory called Dominion Windows at the time, which was nearby. Of course, it was demolished, and now its just a parking lot.  (Which is far less interesting.)

The parking lot where once stood Dominion Windows.

I crossed over Thomas Street,  and rode along Joymar. When I got to my old Highschool, I parked my bike again, and removed my helmut. Rarely is no one there, or no cars. I felt my opportunity for taking photos had finally come!

Streetsville Secondary. My old Highschool.

My highschool years were not happy ones. I wanted to be accepted by my peers, and so I became the class clown. I was really quite eccentric. Behind the school was where the football field was, and the track. In nice weather I would often sit, leaning against a big blue door (which is still blue) and watch the runners. One day a beautiful girl named Trisha sat down next to me and we chatted. She made me so nervous,  because secretly, I was in love with her. Unfortunately, the whole thing ended in my humiliation,  which took a little getting over. But that’s a story  for another time.

In nice weather I would often sit leaning against a big blue door.

I got back on my bike and made my way through the meighborhoods behind the Highschool. Next, I turned left back on to Joymar,  right at Siberry, and then found myself crossing over Mullets Creek again. When I got to Rutledge Road, I stopped to take photos of the pretty vetch, that had flowered since the last time I was there. Then I headed home.

When I got to Rundle, I stopped to take photos of the pretty vetch that had flowered since the last time I was there.

All My Thoughts Seemed To Drain From My Head

Most of my life I have been an early riser. There was a time when I would regularly get up at 5 am, and begin my day. Often with a walk. Now, its not uncommon for me to lay about until 8 am, or even later. At some point in time, little by little, (almost imperceptibly) I grew lazy.

Twice in the last two days I have had dreams with my father in them. The second one was as I laid in bed yesterday morning, drifting in and out of sleep. When I awoke their was a heavy melancholy all round me, and in me. So I got up, and stumbled about the apartment for a bit. Finally, I ventured outside, collected the cats, and went for a walk. At the Old Power Dam I cheered up, and was fine the rest of the day.

Three nights ago on my way home from work, even though I was tired and had a restless feeling, I forced myself to explore. Not a lot, just a little. Next door to my company is a small marsh, and some Poplar and Sumac. Then next to them is a trucking company that unloads the tankers. I like this small marsh. I also like the old rusted fence around it. I took a few pictures, and admired how the pink and white clover made it look like the countryside.

I like this small marsh.

When I reached the North Plaza, I took a photo of a sign advertising $15 dollar haircuts, which struck me as pretty darn cheap. For some time, at the corner of Brittania and Queen, the old Macs Milk store has been under renovation. Their were signs that said it would be a coffee shop. But when I walked by, those signs were now gone, and the building was for lease again. I cannot guess what it will become now, though I hope it sells old records, and beer. A few doors down from it, I stopped again, this time to take a photo of a sign advertising the psychic. I actually saw her for the first time recently, sitting out front of the house where she works from. I smiled at her and nodded, and when she smiled back, all my thoughts seemed to drain from my head, and I was cast into a spiritual vortex. Not really, but it would have been fascinating if I had been.

Pretty darn cheap.
The building was for lease again.

I crossed over Queen Street and made my way along William Street, which has a few of the oldest houses in Streetsville. One of them is owned by our local Councilman, whose name is George. Its a real architectural beauty, that I never get bored of taking pictures of. Georges son came out and asked me what I was up to. I answered that I was taking pictures of his house. Which I realized afterwards may have sounded a bit cavalier. A little further on I took a photo of an old garage, that sits near the corner of Ontario and William. It is not an especially attractive garage, but I like its plainness. Once upon a time it was entirely covered in Ivy, that they chopped down, and which then withered and died. But I never understood why they cut it down. It looked magnificent, in my opinion.

George the Councilman’s house.

It is not an especially attractive garage, but I like its plainness.

The Old Lumberyard

Across the street from where I work is a group of buildings that were once a lumberyard and a sort of hardware store. It was there as a young boy, that I first discovered the smell of wood. Eventually, the lumberyard closed, and other businesses took over the location. (Today, its some type of construction company.) Their are few buildings as iconic to Streetsville as those dilapidated old sheds. Sometimes I have wondered though, how they managed to avoid being torn down. Two nights ago, when I was leaving work to walk home, I noticed that their were virtually no cars or trucks parked out front of them, so I crossed over and took pictures.

The front entrance of what was the Hardware store, still bears the original name name above it. It is now the office of a construction company.
Their are few buildings as iconic to Streetsville as those dilapidated old sheds.
Looking North. In the old days when you left Streetsville, the lumberyard was the last thing you identified with it.

Afterwards, I headed south towards the town. Parked on the railway tracks, set back away from the road a bit, were two train cars. So I went and looked them over. The sun was just setting and the sky was painted with beautiful colors. A slight feeling of melancholy came over me, but I didn’t pay it much attention.

Messengers Of Love

One year ago today I posted for the first time on this blog. Back then I only had a murky idea as to what it would be about, and in what style I wanted it to be in. Since then, it has evolved in ways I never anticipated, while also retaining its simplicity. I was inspired to start it through watching a documentary called The World Before Your Feet, which is about a young man named Matt Green, who walks the streets of New York City, and writes about his experiences. I decided I wanted to do in a small town, what he has done in a big city. Since then I have emailed him on two occasions, and he has sent me back brief, but encouraging responses. (Thank you Matt!) Well, I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my silly little anniversary, then with another post. So…

Yesterday morning I carried my bicycle downstairs, put my helmet on, and rode to the place where I work to hand in some forms. It was my day off, and I was looking forward to exploring the town afterwards. On my way there I discovered that Queen Street was blocked on the North end, because of a train. I watched and waited for it to cross, which took about ten minutes. In the meantime I filmed a short video, partly because I love trains, and partly because I love the sound that the warning bells make.

I love the sound that the warning bells make.

When I was done at work, I rode back in the direction I had come, and turned right at Brittania Road. I then cut through Dolphin Public School (which is such an obscure name for a school, in my opinion), but found it under construction. This forced me to ride down a steep hill. Now, riding down a steep hill on a bike when you are 12 years old, can be an exhilarating experience. When you are 57 years old it can be tense. But by applying all my brakes, and with faith in the law of averages, I made it.

I came out at Rutledge Road, where I stopped to take photos of some Peonies out front of a house where my brother used to live. Their is a kind woman who lives there now, that I sometimes stop and chat with. (Though not in a long time.) In the ditch their were also some Buttercups growing, which are messengers of love. I took a photo of them as well, because of how pretty they looked.

Buttercups. Messengers of love.

When I reached Ontario Street I stopped again, but this time to take a photo of the railway tracks; which I have done quite possibly a hundred times. Certainly many, many times. I then turned right on to William Street, and rode in the direction of the Central Plaza. Nearby were two elderly Chinese who were playing badminton. I smiled and gave them a thumbs up. Behind the plaza I stopped to look around a little, and take photos. I discovered a raggedy looking shrub growing up out of the concrete, next to a loading area. It was a profound thing.

I took a photo of the railway tracks, which I have done quite possibly a hundred times.

Behind Central Plaza.
Behind Central Plaza

I discovered a raggedy looking shrub growing up out of the concrete next to a loading area.

From there I rode over to Tannery, then turned right on Broadway Street. I wanted to fill up my bike tires with air, so I stopped at the Bicycle Shop. But it was closed. So I continued on and parked my bike at the coffee shop, where I locked it up. I bought a coffee, and carried it across the street where I sat down on some steps and drank it, while watching people walk their dogs. I then rode down Mill Street, where I met an old friend named Gus. He suggested that I should come to church. I told him that I probably will. He said that my mother used to pray the rosary for me, which I didn’t know. After I left him, I then rode over to the cemetery, where I watered the flowers at my mother and fathers gravesite.

I then rode over to the cemetery.

The Barefoot Lunatic

Yesterday morning I decided to walk to the cemetery. On my way there I stopped to take some photos of the old Ontario Christian Bookstore, which closed last year. The signage is still up, but will soon be removed I suspect. Next door to it is an Italian Restaurant, which when I was growing up was a Chinese restaurant called Chungkings. Their was a very bald, older Chinese gentleman who worked there, that we used to see walking back and forth to the Beer Store. He was as common a sight as the garbage man. Anyways, their are some daisies growing out front now, which are quite pretty.

The old Christian Bookstore, which closed down last year. I kind of like the way the trees are reflected in the window.
Daisies growing out front of the Italian Restaurant.

Further along another store is preparing to open. Its a Dollarama which is a big, corporate Dollar Store. (Which sounds almost like two incongruous things.) Most every store in Streetsville, was something else when I was growing up. In the case of the Dollarama, the building was once home to the Post Office. The thing I remember most about it, is how the people who worked there, never seemed to smile. That and how they used to toss packages from 10 feet away into a big cart. Which for a small kid, seemed like an ideal job. Out front their is an ancient wooden bench that I swear the Patriarchs must have sat on once. (It will be interesting to see whether it survives the new owners.) I walked around to the old loading docks as well, and took a few photos for posterity.

Once Streetsvilles Post Office, now home to a Dollarama.
Out front their is an old wooden bench that I swear the Patriarchs must have sat on once.
The old Post Offices loading docks. Where soon they will be mostly unloading.

When I reached Robinsons Pharmacy, I stopped to look over its sign. Yesterday, I mentioned that Streetsville Travel is one of the few businesses in town that existed when I was young. (And even from before I was young.) Robinsons Pharmacy is another. It is where many of the older residents go to have their prescriptions filled, in almost stubborn opposition to the newer drugstore at the Central Plaza. Once their was a beautiful, old fashion yellow sign that hung, where the red, white and blue one does now. But it was wrecked by vandals. Close by is an old building which used to be an antique store, that I use to love going in, but is now an optometrists, which I don’t care to go in. Next to it is an awful looking building with a massage therapist and acupuncturist office. In its basement is Wilson Martial Arts, that you access down a flight of stairs. Then lastly I photographed the old Robinson-Bray House which is to Streetsville history, what London Bridge is to Londons.

Once their was a beautiful, old fashion yellow sign that hung, where the red, white and blue one does now. But it was wrecked by vandals.
Close by is an old building which used to be an antique store, that I use to love going in; but is now an optometrists, which I don’t care to go in.
Beneath the Massage Therapist offices, is Wilson Martial Arts.
Robinson-Bray House.

Thus ended Phase One of my walk to the Cemetery. Crossing Queen I went inside the coffee shop, and purchased a coffee, which I then carried with me to the old Lawn Bowling Center. (Now the Streetsville Business Association.) There I sat down and enjoyed the gardens they’ve built, and watched the occasional ant. Growing in one of the planters were some pretty pink Lupines. When I was done sitting, I crossed Queen Street again, and took a photo of some Clematis growing up the wall of the Presbyterian Church.

The old Lawn Bowling Center, which is now the Streetsville Business Association.
Growing in one of the planters were some pretty pink Lupines.
Clematis growing up the wall of the Presbyterian Church.

From there I walked down to the park, past the swings, which have all been padlocked together to prevent people from using, and contaminating with the virus. When I reached the River, I debated whether to cross the foot bridge, or to take the gravel path. I chose the path, which brought me out to Main Street. Along the way I encountered what I believe are called Bouncing Bets. A long stem wildflower, that I think of as a harbinger of summer. I crossed over the Main Street Bridge, and then turned right into the cemetery, where I removed my sandals and went barefoot. I believe going barefoot to be one of lifes least expensive pleasures, and one of the things that keeps me most connected to my childhood. But it is also the cause of people staring at me. I have decided though that I would rather go barefoot and be thought a lunatic, then to be shod and considered sane.

At the park the swings have all been padlocked to prevent people from using, and contaminating with virus.

Bouncing Bets

After I was done checking on the flowers at my mother and Fathers gravesite, I started to walk home. I took the path nearest to the River, that brings you to a small bridge, that kids like to write stuff on. Like BE GAY. DO CRIMES, which seems preposterous to me, but I suppose may possess some deep meaning. I made my way along Main Street, stopping only to admire the Peonies out front of the house with the Clock. Then I was done. I know because I always have a done feeling, when I’m done.

Seems preposterous to me, but I suppose it may possess some deep meaning.
Beautiful pink Peonies out front of the house with the Clock.

Blue Heart

Yesterday morning I went for a walk. I left the cats indoors because workmen were expected to come by to remove the old concrete sidewalk. I made my way along Church Street then stopped at Main, to take photos of the the old Cenotaph. In the time I have lived in Streetsville, I have seen it renovated at least twice. The second time was far better then the first time. Now it sits prettily at one end of the Town Square, with a clock at the other end.

Now it sits prettily at one end of the Town Square.

With a clock at the other end.

Afterwards, I crossed over to Queen Street. When I reached El Mariachi, I stopped again to take more photos. Though I have never eaten in the restaurant, I like its bright orange exterior. The curved lamps are a leftover from some ancient time. Next door to it is Streetsville Travel, that has continued to exist after nearly every other business from 50 years ago has ceased to. Not only has it proven to be an entrepreneurial stalwart, but the building itself, though small, is quite old.

El Mariachi

Next door to it is Streetsville Travel.

I had heard that the Salvation Army Thrift Store had opened again. So I went there. But it was closed. A gentleman who was standing nearby told me that it would open at 10 am though. So I crossed over to the coffee shop, and bought a coffee, which I then brought back with me to the Thrift Store. I then sat outside on a step, and waited. Then I got up and took a photo of the alleyway. Then sat down again. Finally the store opened. I found a statue of Jesus, holding his robe up at the corner, which seemed peculiar looking, but not peculiar enough to buy. Instead I bought an old LIFE magazine and a pair of shorts.

The alleyway next to The Salvation Army Thrift Store.

When I was finally satisfied with my visit to the Thrift Store, I then walked along Mill Street in the direction of the cemetery. (I needed to check on the flowers at my mother and fathers gravesite). Along the way I discovered a pipe sticking out of the ground next to an old building. It said FUEL OIL on its cap, and was padlocked. I pondered what it was used for. Either it was to load oil into a tank for heating, or for the mechanics garage that was there when I was growing up.

Once I was done at the cemetery, I walked back again, though I decided to take a stroll through the park first, before heading home. The stream was nearly completely dry, and so was easy to get across. I stopped to take photos of some old Locust Trees that are among the very last of the ones in the park, that I grew up with. Their are six of them in a circle. A seventh one was cut down years ago, which I suppose was not very lucky.

Once I was done at the cemetery, I walked back again.

Some old Locust Trees that are among the very last of the ones I grew up with. Their are six in a circle.

From the park I headed back along Church Street towards home. When I reached the old Russell Langmaid Public School I took a photo of a blue heart that someone had spray painted on top of a wall. It reminded me that even when a heart is blue, it is still a pretty thing.

A Blue Heart.

May You Smell Flowers At Your Death

Yesterday morning I walked to the cemetery. Along the way I stopped to look over some of the Wild Roses that have begun to appear everywhere. When I reached Maiden Lane, I noticed that a vine had grown up right inside of a telephone posts wire channel, and was now popping out from the top of it. Such remarkable tenacity!

A vine has grown up right inside the wire channel.

When I reached the empty lot that I spoke about a few days ago, I took a photo of the developers signs. Then I crossed over Main Street and admired all the Locust Trees growing along the bank of the river. They are in full bloom, and you can smell the blossoms from a distance. The scent they give off tends to stir up strong memories in me. Mostly of the summers of my childhood. Its fascinating how our minds bank these smells and keep them connected to certain memories. It would be wonderful to be dying and to smell a flower, or freshly cut grass, and to remember something pleasant.

The signs for development at the empty lot on Main Street. I will sorely miss my walks there.
The Locust Trees along the River are in full bloom.

I walked then to the cemetery and checked on my Mother and Fathers gravesite. I am fairly pleased with everything, though it appears as if the annuals I planted are not rooting yet. But the Ivy is exceeding my expectations. Its growing and creeping along quite nicely. My hope is to keep it pruned, but to allow it to cover the gravestone. Or at least around the base of the gravestone.

The ceramic angel I bought two winters ago at the thrift store, sits nicely installed at the cemetery.


This morning I decided that rather then walk to the cemetery, I would ride my bike. Firstly though I rode to the coffee shop, where I bought a coffee, which I drank while sitting outside on a curb. Afterwards, I rode around the south part of town aimlessly, before turning in the direction of the park. When I arrived at the cemetery I met a Portuguese gentleman and his two sons, who I know well, but had not seen all Winter or Spring. All three of them had beards, which I complimented them on. I showed them the flowers I had planted at my mother and fathers gravesite, and then we walked to the grave of his wife (and their mother.) As we stood there the father made the sign of the cross, which I copied out of respect. Then I left them.

Downtown Streetsville.

I rode around the south part of town aimlessly.

The Cemetery.

When I reached home I took my bicycle upstairs to my apartment, and then went back outside with Joseph. He followed me until we encountered a dog, then he ran back. So I turned back as well. In the backyard of the apartment building we both sat down. I watched the wind blowing the tops of the trees, and Joseph watched me.

Joseph watched me.