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Visited my daughter in Montreal this weekend. Saturday was a lovely day (21-22 Celsius) and we walked around the botanical gardens. It’s such a beautiful place! So, too, is this city.

 

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Toronto Christmas Market

047Friday was the opening of the month-long Christmas Market in the historic Distillery District. It was a mild evening and while there were many people out it wasn’t too crowded. Oh, and what a beautiful tree in the main square!

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The Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) holiday is celebrated October 31st-November 2nd; however, festivities are being held at Harbourfront this weekend.

Ballet Folklorico Puro Mexico

Ballet Folklorico Puro Mexico

Ofrenda for Amalia Hernández Navarro

Ofrenda for Amalia Hernández Navarro

Autumn walk in High Park

The unseasonably warm and ideal walking weather prompted me to get out and enjoy nature and it’s autumn splendor once again. On Thursday I ventured westward over to High Park.

This is the park of my childhood. I grew up a couple blocks away and even though I had a large backyard I still spent considerable time in the park. It was where I caught tadpoles, went toboganning and socialized.

The last time I lived in Toronto I also lived in this area. As an adult I appreciated High Park for its natural and landscaped areas, serenity, restaurant and farmer’s market. The park has a zoo, sports facilities, an off-leash dog park, playgrounds, picnics areas, trails and ponds. In days gone by you could skate on Grenadier Pond in the winter and rent paddle boats in the summer. Ecological rehabilitation takes priority now. This park is a treasure!

Toronto is having an atypically warm first week of November with temperatures around 20C. Add sunshine into the mix and what better than to spend the afternoon over on the islands. Many others had the same idea. A few people were swimming, paddling, kayaking, boarding and sailing. In Toronto, in November!

What a lovely place to spend an off season afternoon! I had forgotten about this past weekend’s time change and was surprised by how early and quickly it became dark. While there were many cyclists on the ferry when I set out for Ward’s the passengers on the 5:45pm return trip were mostly on foot.

Autumn on the Waterfront

One of several sculptures commemorating the 38,000 Irish famine victims who arrived on Toronto's shores in 1847

One of several sculptures at Ireland Park commemorating the 38,000 Irish famine victims who arrived on Toronto’s shores in 1847.

It felt like a day for wandering along the waterfront. I appreciated my encounters with art, nature, coffee and other things on this day after Halloween, this Day of the Dead.

Part of Meryl McMaster's In-Between Worlds series

Part of Meryl McMaster’s In-Between Worlds series

Squirrel

Squirrel

Cutie-pie dog

Cutie-pie dog

 

 

On Sunday afternoon Todmorden Mills was the site of a precarious convergence of history, nature and thrifting.

The Northern Hemisphere’s cooler temperatures and vivid fall foliage induces people to get outside and, optionally, take photos. I really needed a nature fix. The Don Valley is the closest nature oasis to me. I had scored at the thrift shop on Saturday and also wanted an outfit of the day venue. My humble little Nikon Coolpix is such a sad camera but I put it to the task at Todmorden Mills.

Todmorden Mills currently functions as a museum, art centre and wildflower preserve. The site has experienced several adaptations. In 1795 two brothers were granted land to build the mill. A brewery was built in 1820. The mill was converted to a riding stable in the 1920s. It served as a German prisoner of war camp in the early 1940s. The site was modified and lost direct river access with the construction of the Don Valley Parkway. Jean Gertrude “True” Davidson, former mayor of East York, proposed it as a centennial project and it became a historical site in 1967.

I checked out the Watercolour Society’s art show in the Papermill Theatre and Gallery space. As often happens when I visit a smaller gallery I think back to how I assumed creating would be an essential part of my life and wonder why it isn’t. Flux. A poster reminded me that this space houses a community theatre group. Years ago I had been a member of a community theatre club in York Region and a few members were also involved with this club, The East Side Players.

I was meandering the grounds in several new to me pieces. I had purchased three items at the thrift store the day before. My eye was drawn to a rust and gray tones Sandwich print blouse. It’s somewhat too big but the fabric is lightweight and semi-sheer so I can deal with it. I also spotted a black and white houndstooth scarf. I was also quite pleased to take a black Tignanello clutch with removable strap home with me. In general, I find this brand to is quite good in terms of quality and design.

Also new are my black leggings. I picked these up a couple weeks ago at Winners (TJX Max). This is actually the first time I’ve worn leggings as pants. Yes, I’m late to the party. And, yes, I’m aware that there are very impassioned arguments for and against. I’ve worn them for yoga and fitness and with dress length tunics and skirts before but never with just a blouse. This is a long length blouse and I’m short so it’s more tunic length; nonetheless, I’d be comfortable wearing these leggings as pants with a shorter top. They also work with my old riding boots. Change is a constant; flux is the norm!

In hindsight, I should have removed my jacket while taking at least some of photos.

I’m linking up with Patti’s Visible Monday party over at Not Dead Yet Style.

The striped tee

A striped tee. An extraordinarily versatile garment that goes with everything. A ubiquitous wardrobe basic.

The original marinière was worn by French sailors so they’d be easier to spot in the waves. It had 21 stripes – one for each of Napoleon’s victories. It inspired Coco Chanel and she introduced it to the fashion world in 1917. It’s gender neutral and has longevity!

Here are a few of the ways I wear my black and cream variation.

Do you wear stripes?

Postscript – I’m taking this post to the party at Not Dead Yet Style.

A sense of self

Being This, 2012

Being This, 2012

I was at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) on Wednesday evening. Liz Magor’s exhibition, Surrender, engaged me and is still on my mind. Her works explore our dependence on domestic objects and fabrications to create a sense of self.

Being This, detail

Being This, detail

Everything I own fits into a van and I’m still downsizing. I’ve tossed most things and started over a few times and, as a result, I’m not particularly attached to objects nor do I accumulate much stuff. Yet, I’m not a strict minimalist either. Or perhaps I’m a minimalist in training, still refining and building.

I wanted my own greenhouse and studio and, by extension, house. Up until a few years ago I still assumed I would at least have my own home. As my expectations, aspirations and general worldview have shifted I’ve developed an interest in fashion and personal style. In this sense, Magor’s work resonates with me. A relationship with things – a personal style – is part of a sense of self.

2009?

Part of Liz Magor’s Surrender exhibit

On Sunday I briefly poked around the St Lawrence Antiques and Collectibles Market to see what others were looking for or had discarded in their creations of self.

004crHere’s a fun quiz from Sylvia over at 40plusStyle if you want to check your style. I get casual eclectic, which, while not always expressed, does correspond with my sense of self.

I’m linking up with Patti and the Visibles at Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday.

I’m wearing a blue-gray shirt (J Crew, old, thrifted), black tank top (The Loft), gray slightly asymmetrical skirt (Fresh Produce, old), and black/cream pony hair slip-ons (Campers, old).