fraight train

I took this picture on the outskirts of Hamilton, in the background you can just see a part of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King, a Hamilton landmark.

chilly orchard

This is the same orchard as Monday's shot except the snow is undisturbed and also the angle is different - as seen by the shadows. Also the colour balance was messed up so I tuned the image into monochrome. With snow it is difficult to get the colour and light right, at least for me it is.

cold st catherines

I had to go to a place called Fonthill near St Catherines - there were some good pictures on the way but most were to cold to get out of the veachle to take.

toronto in winter

The last of my Toronto in winter series for now, although there will be more to come because winter still has a long way to go!

cool bike

I took this on a snowy night just off Toronto's Yonge Street where people were doing Christmas shopping - some of them on their bikes!

hot dogs cold people

Downtown Toronto on a cold winter evening.

nathan phillips square

People ice skating at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square. The square is located outside city Hall and named after Nathan Phillips's who was Mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962.

bridges

Still exploring Hamilton - I took these benieth Highway 403 this morning.

hamilton apartments

Continuing to explore Hamilton I came across these buildings that are characteristic of many backstreet scenes around town.

coca-cola quiz

I took this picture shopping in Zellers today. Can you spot which of these are Coca-Cola products? Do you know why you should not buy them? Do an internet search on "killer coke" for more information.

snow plough

This is not a great shot but under the circumstances - driving on the highway - it is not too bad. I was passing a snow plough and snapped this shot whizzing by without looking at what I was taking. The whole point about this shot though, is that winter really has arrived.

working lunch

I took this picture today while waiting for my friend Leeno to meet me for a working lunch at the Gown and Gavel. Leeno writes and also edits some really good books and over lunch we firmed up a plan to undertake a writing project together.

recent trail

Taken on a recent trail ride - maybe this weekend I will head back down there in the snow.

emergency services

I took this picture of one of the garage doors at the back of the Salvation Army building on Vine Street, Hamilton. There is an array of these doors along making the place look like a fire station, but instead of fire trucks there are vans ready to take out clothing and other supplies to the needy.

It is fitting that a place dealing with poverty looks like a fire station because poverty really is an emergency. Around the world 30,000 children die each day as a result of poverty. And poverty is not just an issue of far away places, in the Hamilton streets around this building almost 20,000 people live in poverty and this includes one quarter of the children in Hamilton! According to the Hamilton Social Planning and Research Council, from 1990 to 2000 the wealthiest 40% of the population experienced an increase in their average incomes, while the poorest 60% of Hamiltonians experienced an overall decrease in theirs. Well at least the doors at the Sally Ann tell the story - there is an emergency going on here.

hamilton ally

Hamilton is full of back alleys and other places that make great photo oppertunities - I like the lines and perspective these shots give.

looking for thomas

I was looking for Thomas the Tankengine when I came across this locomotive in a Hamilton siding.

gilmore hall

This entrance to McMaster University, Gilmore Hall is easy to find - it is next to the hotdog stand.

apples

Behind Dundurn Castle in Hamilton is a small orchard where at the moment hundreds of apples litter the ground. When I saw these I was tempted to take some home because with naturally occurring antioxidants and other medicinal elements apples really are good for you! And becides - they are tasty too!

Some trivia: The word 'apple' originates from the Old English word 'aeppel' which used to be used to refer to any round object. The apple itself, however, originates in central Asia. Apples are said to have been introduced to Canada in Nova Scotia by the early French settlers sometime in the early 1600s.

better times

Both this car and the lock up garages have seen better times and they look particularly wanting on a wet and cold Hamilton afternoon. Yet I found that the pastel green paint on the garages looked nice even though peeling. Sometimes it is not what you see that counts, but the way you see it.

summer house

It does not seem that this building at Dundurn Castle is used because it is locked up and empty. I imagine it sometime in the past being a summerhouse. At the back of the house is a deck that looks out over the bay, a nice place for Earl Gray tea and cucumber sandwiches on a summer afternoon.

leaning tree trail

Another picture from last week's trail ride. This path that I call 'leaning bush trail' is deep in Bronte Creek.

indian ringneck

An Indian Ringneck - as of today a new member of the family.

bill and ben

I went to I Dundurn Castle to look for Bill and Ben, but there was no sign of them, other than these flowerpots. I asked Little Weed if she has seen them, but she told me to ask Dan the Potato Man, I asked him but he would not say. Oh well - if you are at Dundurn and see Bill and Ben - be sure to let me know.

websters falls

sunset trail



I know I have taken several photos like this recently - but really this type of scene is what makes this time of year so nice. I took this earler today riding the Bronte Creek trails.

ominous


Walking in downtown Toronto today I noticed that all of the restaurants had cleared away their patio furniture - an ominous sign.

the mission

This morning on the way to a Toronto meeting I saw this senior and I assume these are his grandchildren on the way to school. I am not sure who he is, but given his age he must have lived and navigated several wars and many economic and social upheavals, so he is the right man for this mission. I expect the grandchildren realize how lucky they are and will tell stories of these rides well into their old age - at least I hope so.

beaten path


One of the trails around Webster's Falls in Hamilton.

universal soldier



Exploring more of Hamilton Cemetery I discovered an entire regiment of military graves. Buffy Sainte-Marie on CBC yesterday told of how in the early sixties she sat in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto and wrote the song 'Universal Soldier' (nothing to do with the movie of the same name). Listening to the lyrics made me think more deeply about the institutionally scripted remembrance we undertake when we see graves like these; the things this remembrance makes us forget and the questions it stops us asking. Why don't we have a remembrance day for the heroes who refused to be drafted and would not take up arms? Why don't we honour those who were sent to jail or killed for their commitment to peace and non-violence?

Universal Soldier

He's 5 foot 2 and he's 6 feet 4
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17.
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain
A Buddhist, and a Baptist and Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill
And he knows he always will kill
You'll for me my friend and me for you

And He's fighting for Canada.
He's fighting for France.
He's fighting for the USA.
And he's fighting for the Russians.
And he's fighting for Japan
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And He's fighting for democracy,
He's fighting for the reds
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one, who must decide,
who's to live and who's to die.
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon of the war.
And without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier
And he really is the blame
His orders comes from
far away no more.

They come from him.
And you and me.
And brothers can't you see.
This is not the way we put an end to war

webster's falls


Needing a little rest and recreation, and also remembering that the McMaster Flickr group set a waterfall assignment, I decided to visit Webster's Falls. Anticipating such a day I had already plotted the location on my TomTom maps in my iPAQ, so I just connected the iPAQ to my GPS via Blue Tooth and the iPAQ gave me directions right to the falls. I then took digital photos, went home and posted them from my laptop via a wireless connection to the Internet. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without technology!

soldier's tower (UofT)


These are a few of the student and faculty names on the wall of remembrance at The Soldiers Tower, University of Toronto.

lost regiment

I came across these soldiers in Hamilton Cemetery but so far I have not been able to discover their story. The dates on the stones indicate that they died in WWI, some in the last weeks of the war.

hidden hamilton


Exploring Hamilton today I came across this place - can anyone guess where it is?

autumn trail


I ride the same trail year round in Bronte Creek and I have now taken pictures of this particular spot in Spring, in Summer, and now in Fall.

up and down


A Toronto subway sign against the backdrop of tall glass towers at Yonge and Bloor.

garbage


An odd shot for sure - garbage outside a Hamilton apartment building.

giggles


It is hard not to laugh a lot when you are nine-years-old! In this respect I think we should all act like nine-year-olds.

aspiring photographer


This is a picture of an aspiring photographer. At a party, give your camera to a child, tell them NOT to drop it, and let them loose and you will get the best pictures ever because guests feel comfortable being themselves when a child takes the picture! Also hand around a notebook for people to write down their e-mail addresses to receive copies of the pictures - lots of fun!

shermeen


Jason is designing four banners that will be displayed on York Boulevard in downtown Hamilton. The banners will convey messages of love, hope, peace and joy with each banner having a person's face that signifies one of these notions. Likely my nephew Andrew will be on the poster that signifies joy and Jason asked me to take a picture of Shermeen that would fit with the idea of a hope that sustains - here is one of the pictures from the photoshoot.Jason thanks for having me help - Shermeen thanks for being a sport!

jason


I had lunch with my friend Jason today and heard his new song - awsome! Can't wait for the album to come out - more information coming soon or check out his website at: www.jasonsilver.com

hat needed now


With a wind-chill well below zero by the time I had walked up Yonge Street to Bloor my ears were freezing - even I have to admit that summer has now truly ended.

the green knight


When I was taking this picture near Owen Sound some people in a truck stopped and told me that it led to a replica castle. The gates then reminded me of England and a place where Sir Gawain was said to have traveled long ago seeking the Green Knight. A fourteenth century contemporary of Chaucer told of the Green Knight who rode into Camelot on new-years day insulting the Court and challenging any to strike him a single blow on condition that a year hence he would be allowed to return that blow. Sir Gawain quickened by anger rose to the challenge and struck off the Green Knight's head with a single swipe. Everyone thought the matter settled but the Green Knight rose, picked up his head, and told Sir Gawain to seek him out at the Green Chapel in one year for the blow to be returned. Next Yuletide Sir Gawain sought the Green Knight and perhaps it was gates like these he opened and wondered:
Can this be the Green Chapel? Here might the devil say his mattins at midnight! Now I wis there is wizardry here. 'Tis an ugly oratory, all overgrown with grass, and 'twould well beseem that fellow in green to say his devotions on devil's wise. Now feel I in five wits, 'tis the foul fiend himself who hath set me this tryst, to destroy me here! This is a chapel of mischance: ill-luck betide it, 'tis the cursedest kirk that ever I came in!
Needless to say after taking the picture I did not venture through the gates - but when I got home I did re-read my copy of the tale. For those who have not read the story I recommend it, especially the translation by J. R. R. Tolkien and E. V. Gordon. The story is not entirely as it sounds, of two men full of bravado, but rather it is a story of deeper meanings and warnings for those driven by pride and thoughts of being better or more noble than their peers.