The Erland Lee Home (Museum)

The doors of the Erland Lee Museum on the Niagara Escarpment in Stoney Creek were closed, but I thought I would mention still this historical home.   From the outside it appeared lovely and quaint, but on the inside of these doors, history happened.

Back in 1897, a meeting at Squires Hall had taken place with about 100 women from the Saltfleet Township district headed by Mrs. Adelaide Hoodless (Mr. Lee's wife). An organization was formed to improve women's skills in the "arts of homemaking and child care". This meeting would begin as the world's first organized Women's Institute.

In follow up to that meeting, it was here in the home of Mr. Erland Lee (founder of the Farmers Institute) along with his wife, Adelaide a draft would be written to become the constitution of the new society.

Soon meetings halls across the country brought women together to learn "diverse skills and to promote civic reform after World war 1". This would help women to "break the grinding isolation of rural life".

Today, the Women's Institute has become a world-wide organization.  

If you are ever in the area, you might want to stop by and take a look around inside.

More historical info on Erland Lee Museum click here

Toronto Islands (Wards Island)

I had all summer to make it to the islands, but in true Mishy tradition, I missed the boat, figuratively speaking ... (I was too busy!) Although I must admit I am a bit of a non-conformist so naturally I chose to visit in the wintertime, but yet on a beautiful snowy and sunny day nevertheless.
If you've never had the opportunity to do so, you must make a visit to the Toronto island before the crowds come in the summer.  
(keep in mind though that there is no ferry to Centre Island).  The Islands are a hook-shaped chain of more than a dozen small and large islands.

The ferry boards daily at varying times at the foot of Bay Street in Toronto.  As the boat left, I imagined this same voyage in the 19th century when the service first began to operate in 1833.  Back then the vessels were powered by two horses that walked on treadmills connected to a pair of sidepaddles by a set of gears!!

The Toronto Islands came to be over thousands of years as they formed by eroded sand and gravel from nearby Scarborough bluffs, which carried the sediment by the currents of the lake and and deposited it around the mouth of the Don River.  Over time, the winds began to shape the built up sand ridge into a peninsula about 8 km long.  In 1852, it began separating when the waves caused by a fierce storm broke the sandy arm.  Another gale struck in 1858 which left a 150m gap.  Believe it or not, within two years the gap had widened to almosts 1km creating a natural entrance into Toronto harbor.  I suppose this place was meant to be...
I just love history! :) There is so much to do here, moreso in the warmer months like your typical beaching activities (which I don't prefer), carnival rides at Centre Island, wildlife areas and exploring (which I do prefer).  

As you take in all the charming homes, you will see a different type of lifestyle here.  There are no garages because there are no cars, friendly folk who love to chat and love the peace and quiet, except for the sounds of birds overhead.   The residential communities on the island are known as both Algonquin and Wards Island, separated by a bridge known as the Algonquin bridge.

At the bridgepoint is a public marina as well as two restaurants on the Wards Island, but are closed now.

Off into the distance you can see the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and is well worth a walk or bike ride, but after the massive snow pile up lately, there was no direct way to get there.  Some history (of course) on the lighthouse.  It was built in 1809 and is the oldest lighthouse on the great lakes so naturally it comes complete with its own ghost :) and he has a name, which is of J.P. Radmuller.  He was the first keeper of the house was reportedly murdered by drunken soldiers and now haunts the tower seeking revenge! 

At this point, I wondered what would happen to these people if there was ever an emergency, but my worry was put to rest as I spotted an EMS station, equipped with its own Fire engine, Ambulance and medics (run by the City of Toronto, of course)

Well all it all in it was an awesome day, both weather wise and to go exploring.  You know even though you are just minutes from the downtown core, here this place sure felt like a different place in time. 

Lower Humber River Loop

The Lower Humber River Loop located near the Old Mill in the Kingsway area lies along a scenic trail with rushing waterways.  Collectively, the loop consists of the Etienne, Magwood and Home Smith Parks.

While winter is in full swing, you can still get out to the enjoy the trails.  If you 're not much into the winter footing sports (like me) such as skating and skiing, you can keep your feet planted on the snow by building a snowman or hike through some pretty beautiful landscaping here.

When it's safe to do so runners love this 16 kilometre stretch along the humber river.  It has a total ascent of about 70 metres and a total maximum elevation of 148 metres (ouch!)  I love to walk at a nice brisk pace but running is not my thing.

This beautiful Humber River is part of a watershed that collects from about 750 creeks and tributaries north of the city.  One of the major ones is a branch that runs for 100km from the Niagara Escarpment to the northwest.  The other one starts in the Oak Ridges Moraine near Aurora to the northeast.  They then join north of Toronto and come southeasterly into the Lake of Ontario.

It isn't so unusual from spring to fall to see a beaver or two busy along the river.  I've seen raccoons hanging around too.  Over 25 fish species live in this part of the river, but the salmon of yesterdays autumn are long gone.  You won't see many fishermen in the winter, but occasionally a line with go out for a brown or rainbow trout downstream of Eglinton.  Other times of the year you'll find pike, bass and perch swimming in the shallow waters.  Personally, never want to see a line going for salmon, especially in the fall.

Magwood and Home Smith Park are located on the west bank on the opposite site of Etienne Brule Park. Robert Smith was born in Stratford in 1877, and is a son of a Manitoba Supreme Court judge.  Not that has any bearing of anything other than the fact that he inherited enough money to buy over 1200 hectares of land which he developed in the Humber Valley.  This would be why the Park was named after him. 

Now back to the exploring.  Happy trails, even if they are snow trodden!

Sherman Falls -Hamilton

I thought I'd catch a few photos of the Sherman Falls before the sun completely swallowed up the day...Sherman Falls is so accessible, you just pull over Old Dundas Road to park and you're there! The challenge is sometimes half the fun though.

Sherman isn't one of my favorites although it is a year round flow and has a nice cascading two-tiered effect that flows over the escarpment in Ancaster.  The rock itself is so smooth that most in the area, which gives it that pretty, graceful look perfect for wedding photos or other photo shoots.  Recently Sherman was lit up by Chris Ecklund et al, to shine brightly in pink...not my choice.  Personally I prefer violet or blue huesThe 'light shows' and have been to only one are getting better all the time.  

Click here for any updates on future illuminations! 

Humber Bay Park (Waterfront Trail)

With much more time on my hands now to explore photography and the world around me I am looking forward to doing more of what I love to do and that is to take photographs.

One of my favorite parks in western Toronto is the Humber Bay Park.  

The Park was created by MTRCA with 5.1 million cubic metres of lakefill and the peninsulas officially opened in June 1984 divided into east and west by Mimico Creek, which runs through its grounds to empty into Lake Ontario.
The ducks had something to say...

The Humber Bay Park winds along an asphalt path, crossing a two-way paved road that has a 30kph speed limit and is fairly quiet but requires some caution.  The trail runs back to Lakeshore Blvd from here, but you might want to spend a few minutes on the pedestrian path that goes south to the Metro Police marine unit.

Trail users can also take the road that makes its way from Lakeshore Blvd throught the park to a turn-around point at the water; this road runs past the gates of the Mimico Crusing Club and the Etobicoke Yacht Club, down to a scenic lookout along the shore.

If you prefer to stay on the Waterfront Trail, the next section covers approximately 1.2 km on Lakeshore Blvd.  It passes Humber Bay Park east , but you can detour into the park, if you wish, to a broad asphalt path that takes you to the middle of the park where you will find three ponds.

The three ponds are the scene of many activities including model boating. 

From here, the walkway is made of screened limestone and winds throughout the grounds, leading to various scenic look-out points along the river.
Um..I think this is a snow woman :)



Note: even though the lighting on these photographs are different, all pictures were taken at various times of the day...