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Posts Tagged ‘Guelph’

Standing  in the rain this morning, I looked around and contemplated the peacefulness of the moment while I continued to pluck tiny weeds out of pots. I was doing a solo volunteer shift at the  arboretum. The rain and solitude reinforced my awareness of the pleasure of engaging in this simple act. Actually, every Thursday when I walk down the road to the RJ Hilton Centre I am conscious of how much place can influence life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sunday I went on two more Jane’s Walks. The first was led by Susan Ratcliffe and, based on research conducted by Evelyn Bird, we explored the barns and coach houses in town. The second walk was led by Jim Profit, S.J., where we meandered amongst the beautiful grounds at Ignatius Jesuit Centre.

On Susan’s walk I learned that there are more 100 barns in Guelph! The Farmer’s Market had been a horse barn and an unused tunnel connects it to City Hall. At one of the residences, I heard of the Swiss herbalist who used to make an annual trip to Cuba to treat Fidel Castro. Some of the barns also contained living quarters for the coachmen who guided the horses and buggies. Guelph was also a thriving centre for the manufacture of coaches. As the horse and buggy are no longer the contemporary means of transportation barns have been re-adapted and have new lives. We saw examples of this in the form of an apartment, a house and a business establishment. Barns are also known as rural cathedrals.

On Jim’s walk we heard about Centre’s past – the first settlers, the Mickles, and the former Jesuit novitiate. And its present – the community shared agriculture program (CSA), community garden plots, Loyola House retreats, hermitages, land regeneration and reforestation. It’s called a place of peace and you do feel calm and tranquil as you walk through these wonderful grounds. We made a short stop at the Stations of the Cosmos, a spiral path with stations, which seeks to integrate the science of evolution with spirituality, a project I’d like to comeback and visit another day. We continued on to a peaceful cedar grove, crossed over Marden Creek, walked along a lovely trail and, after crossing Highway 6, we followed the creek, stopped to hear about the land which has been set aside for conservation, walked through the ruins of a former mill, which nature is reclaiming, visited one of the hermitages and strolled past the house where the Jesuit’s live. It’s not what you’d typically associate with a Jane’s Walk, although, nature does have a way of making you feel like part of the earth’s community.

I very much enjoyed both walks. Thank you Susan and Jim.

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Saturday afternoon I headed over to St. Patrick’s Ward to take in a guided walk, led by Barb Mann. It’s one of the many Jane Jacob’s walks that are taking place this weekend in Guelph and in 67 other cities across North America and internationally.

The Ward is Guelph’s oldest community. I’ve been wanting to explore this area and being on a Jane’s Walk made it all the more interesting. Not only did I learn a lot from the guide but a few other longtime residents shared their knowledge and stories as well.

I learned about the Alice Street chatel houses that were used to house the city’s first Black residents, railway workers who could not own property. As well, I heard about the city’s history with organized crime and was introduced to the  “Legends of the Morgeti”, a series of books by local author, Jerry Prager.

We passed by a former industrial use parcel of land, which was sold to Jerry —— (I’ve forgotten the surname) for $1. I believe it was said that he had a church. The land sits vacant, a perfect spot for a mixed-used development. Several re-adapted buildings were pointed out and as we passed by a closed factory our guide mentioned what a wonderful work/live space it could be. I agree on all points. We also passed by the Two Rivers Community Garden and Guelph’s first Habitat For Humanity house. All in all, a very enjoyable and informative walk. Thanks Barb, what a great neighbourhood to call home.

Photos are from both the Jane’s Walk and my own walk getting to the meeting spot.

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It was a beautiful April 1st and what better to do on a gorgeous day than go for a walk. Today I headed up the Speed River Trail, part of the Royal Recreation Trail, and followed it northeast to where it reaches Victoria Road. I was tempted to go all the way to Guelph Lake but decided to put it off for a day when I remember to bring a water bottle, and start earlier.  The main trail is fairly wide and popular with cyclists. Both it and the more naturalized route along the river is popular with walkers.

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It was a beautiful sunny day today and I made my way over to the University of Guelph’s Arboretum. I needed a little revitalization and spending the afternoon outside amid nature is a great spirit lifter. It would have been nice to have my old snowshoes but boots were fine for the well-trodden paths. The grounds are serene and beautiful and there are signs of winter transitioning into spring.

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I’m still exploring Guelph and today I ventured south for a walk in the woods. The Hanlon Creek Trail is part of the Royal Recreation Trail, a footpath which runs, more or less, throughout the city. I liked the trail, or rather the portion of it that I strolled along – very peaceful and just enough people passing by to make it feel neighbourly rather than isolated. A couple of signs mention the connection to the Monteverde Rainforest in Costa Rica. For instance, a bird calls this wooded area home for four months of the year and lives in Central America the rest of the year. Lucky bird!

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I started to stroll along the Speed River Trail the other day – it was raining and the ground was icy so I didn’t get very far.  Nonetheless, I was enchanted by the windmill, the enabling garden and the Japanese-like garden in Riverside Park. Finding beauty and colour, even on a wet and grey day feels good!

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