Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Champion graders still plowing London streets

London finally has some snow. And when snow comes, the snowplows can't be far behind. (Actually they can be far behind; There have been times that two, or even three days, have past before a plow opened our suburban street. Oh heck, I confess. There have been times that the city has left it to the sun and time to clear our street.)

I mention the make of grader because this plow was made in Goderich, just a little more than an hour north of London. Sadly, it must be reported that the plant, after more than a century of operation, has been closed and the work moved to the States. To read the whole story check out Rockin' On: the Blog.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mice Lights, Nice Lights

It finally snowed. Not a lot but enough to call out the snowplows and blanket the ground with maybe 100cm of light snow. It's a little late but it now looks like Christmas.

The Christmas lights decorating London homes are brighter when there is snow reflecting the light.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Final Christmas Door

Our last Christmas door takes minimal seasonal decoration to the limit. One wreath is it. Yet, how I would love to have the home that goes with that wreath.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another elegant, heritage London home

This is another in the continuing series featuring the entrances to elegant homes in London, Ontario — homes given annual, simple seasonal decoration.

I love this home. It reminds me of a Georgian mansion which I took care of while attending Ryerson back in the '70s. The home in Toronto was on Bloor St. near Avenue Road. Today an Intercontinental Hotel sits on the spot.

It is nice to see this home being well maintained.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Finally, Boxing Day and a Dusting of Snow

The temperature climbed above freezing Boxing Day in London, Ontario. It certainly was not a bitingly cold day, although the newspaper used that overworked term the other day to refer to the outside temperature.

But there was a dusting of snow and so it's beginning to look a bit like Christmas, but a day late.

Oh well, it was good weather for lining up in front of stores in the early morning hours for the Boxing Day sales. Some stores opened at 6 a.m. to cash in on the demand for sale items.

By the time the doors opened, the line-ups in front of some stores were hundreds of shoppers long.

Friday, December 25, 2009

London Club in downtown London, Ontario

The private London Club in downtown London, Ontario, was founded in 1880. 

Members are promised first class food, service, comfort and an atmosphere filled with timeless charm. Over the years, it has attracted a strong membership composed of local business leaders.

The club is located in the heart of the city, just blocks away from the Grand Theatre and the John Labatt Centre.

A green, wet and icy Christmas in London, Ontario

Those who had to travel one the roads Friday morning, Christmas morning, faced ice-slick, treacherous pavement. Most of the major roadways were salted and not a problem, but some of the suburban streets in the hills of Byron in southwest London were dangerous.

London Daily Photo, from London, Ontario, Canada, and not that other London across the pond, wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Olympic Flames Comes to London, Ontario

Thousands lined the route taken by the Olympic flame as it arrived at this southwestern Ontario city. Many more filled Victoria Park to cheer the flame's arrival, wave flags and loudly celebrate the event.

The Olympic torch will make a visit to a London children’s hospital with Santa Claus Friday, take the rest of Christmas and Boxing Day off, and then resume its 45,000-kilometre journey to Vancouver early Sunday.

For the whole story, check The London Free Press on the Web.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Red Double Doors and Large Gold Bows

As I wrote yesterday, great entrances don't need to be gussied up to the hilt to look good. This home, in the same neighbourhood as yesterday's post, doesn't have as spectacular an entry but it is quite beautiful nevertheless. The double front doors, painted a funky red, add to the look of this heritage home. We're certain that this is a heritage home as it has the circular, blue heritage plaque to the right of the doors.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's just a door

It's just a door - but what a door. This is an entrance.

Located in one of the finest areas of London, Ontario, for historic, well-kept older homes, this residence on St. George St. just north of Oxford Street is a fine example of a mansion for the well-to-do.

Each Christmas the homes in the neighbourhood are decorated simply but well. It is amazing how much better a simple wreath looks on homes like this than on mine. In the coming days I'll post another entrance or two.


More Christmas lawn decorations

There is a new neighbourhood in the southwest end of London,Ontario, and I took a drive through there to find today's pictures. As you can see, just days before Christmas and London, Ontario, Canada - the cold north - is essentially snowless.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Lighting in Warbler Woods

Christmas lights are actually best when the ground is covered with snow. The white snow reflects the light, making for the traditional winter wonderland. But, the truth is that it is not uncommon for London, Ontario, to have a green Christmas. We usually get some snow before Christmas, maybe even a lot, but it is not unusual to have it all melt away by the 25th. There's a good reason why the small ski hill in London makes snow every night when possible.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Newest downtown lighting

London, like so many places, cannot makes up its mind when it comes to streetlighting. When I moved to London the downtown had these big, rectangular affairs with four illuminated globes at the top. Then the city decided to go with an antique looking light, one that encouraged thoughts of gas lamps in that other London in the 1880s.

Now, those lamps are being phased out and these modern looking globes installed. The main light illuminates the street and every so often there is an extra globe extended out and over the sidewalk. I like these latest streetlights. I hope they stay in favour for a while.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Inflatable Christmas Decorations

When I was a kid it was a few painted wooden reindeer on the lawn, if you were really upscale. Then strings of electric lights started appearing on homes and shrubs.

First the lights were multi-coloured. Then there were years when all blue lights were cool, and years when every light had to be white.

Then there were the icicle lights that  were hung from the eves all around the home. Then global warming hit and LED lights made their appearance.

This year the growing trend in my neighbourhood is inflatable lawn decorations. In coming days I'll try and find some beautifully and carefully lit homes and post them, letting the world know what other approaches to holiday decorating is common in London, Ontario.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holy literature, Batman!

Holy literature Batman, the University of Western Ontario is now Bat 'U'. They've acquired most of the Eddy Smet comic book collection!

Eddy Smet, a former math professor, who retired in 2006 after a 30-year career is making a gift of a significant portion of his 10,000-plus comic book and original graphic novel collection to the Western Archives.

But the best part of the Smet collection, if you're Canadian, is the inclusion of the first 14 issues of Captain Canuck, "arguably Canada's most popular and important superhero comic," according to the UWO.

The donation will form part of the Dr. Eddy Smet and Alexander Norman Comic Book Collections.

Soho Artist Peter Karas

Peter Karas, and his wife Corinne Garlick, opened their home-studio in Soho, the area south of Horton Avenue, to the public a few weekends ago. Today's photo was taken at that open house and shows one of Peter Karas's pieces. (The colours in my picture are not accurate. If you want accurate, maybe you should contact Karas and buy the piece; If it hasn't been sold already.) 

The Soho neighbourhood is presently on the rebound. It's heritage properties are finally being recognized for the valuable architectural treasures that they are, and it is residents like Karas and his wife, two people any neighbourhood would treasure, who are supplying the energy powering the save Soho movement.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Soho artist

I'll be posting more on this but for now this is today's picture out of London, Ontario, Canada. It was taken in the London, Ontario, neighbourhood of Soho at an artists' open house.

Other blogs have me busy but I don't want to let the international "daily photo" organizations down.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Really, what is the point? Vandals spray paint everything from walls to bridges to mailboxes. 

When you stop to consider how often you see the same graffiti, some of these vandals have made ruining the look of the city a full-time job. 

Yet, the presence of the parked car seems to say this secluded spot is not dangerous; It's just vandalized.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Road Hocky is Back

Road hockey is back. Two dozen kids and their dads filled the court in a London, Ontario, suburb. With two nets set up at opposite ends of the paved circle the game was on.

It was a fast and furious affair with one player retiring with a bloody nose but what called the game was pizza.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thoughts of sailing

Winter will soon be here. Ice and snow will be everywhere. Time to publish any pictures that got passed over.

This one shows a home in an older part of London decorated with a sailing motif. The neighbourhood is one of the least expensive in which to live and yet some of the homes are among the nicest. Cheap to buy, but if you apply loving care they clean up nicely.

London is miles from any lake, unless you count Fanshawe Lake which is actually a reservoir behind Fanshawe Dam. Yet, this homeowner has decorated the mailbox and the front of the home with a maritime theme. The hand-painted mailbox sure beats my chintzy store-bought brass box.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Smart Cars draw attention. Quite a number of businesses in London, Ontario, are using the little cars and not just to get around town, but also to advertise their companies at the same time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sharon Temple - a London day trip

By no stretch of the imagination can one say that the Sharon Temple is in London; It isn't. But London has the advantage of being very centrally located in Southwestern Ontario. The Sharon Temple is just a little more than two hours east of London and can easily be visited as a day trip from London.

One of the pleasures of living in London is being able to slip away easily and yet be back in our own bed that night.

In the Upper Canada of the 1820s, with simple tools but consummate skill and artistry, a small community known as the Children of Peace crafted a dramatic architectural testament to its vision of a society.

The Temple of the Children of Peace in the village of Sharon – with its Ark of the Covenant, inspirational Banners, Pipe and Barrel Organs and Jacob’s Ladder – was completed in 1832. It lives on as the centerpiece of the Sharon Temple National Historic Site, which encompasses nine historic buildings in a park setting.

The architectural elements of the Temple combine to express a singular religious vision of the most striking beauty. Its three tiers, four-fold symmetry, lanterns and pinnacles all take their inspiration from the Bible. Its three stories represent the Trinity.

The Children of Peace integrated a unique social vision with distinctive artistic and architectural works and an unparalleled musical tradition: they commissioned the first organ built in Ontario.

Unfortunately, the Sharon Temple was closed the day I was there. But I'm heading back. I want to see another of leader David Willson’s architectural curiosities – the round outhouse.

Pavement rainbow

All it takes is one litre of gasoline to contaminate 1 million gallons of water, enough water to half-fill an olympic sized swimming pool. That is why just a few ml. spilt on this London, Ontario, rain-dampened roadway creates such a rainbow of colour.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Local colour

Sometimes you don't have to travel far for a picture with local colour. From 1894 until 1999 Wallaceburg, Ontario about an hour's drive from London, Ontario, had a glass plant. In fact, Wallaceburg was known as the Glass Town of Canada.

The first plant was run by the Sydenham Glass Company and the last operator was the Libbey Glass Company. The plant closed after being bought foreign competitors.

Very sad. People with decades of service thrust out of their jobs. A small town losing a major employer. Why? All to save a few cents. I still use glasses made in Wallaceburg and they cast beautiful shadows on my table. When these glasses are gone, sadly they will be irreplaceable.

For more information about Glass Town check Virtual Museum Canada.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Moss - it may outlast even the cockroach

Moss. My wife hates the stuff. She has spent hours removing it from between our paving stones. At one point, paving stones were the most popular way to pave driveways and patios in London, Ontario. The love affair is waning but some of us have stayed true. I think the moss looks great and I love the way it returns when pulled. When the world as we know it comes to an end, my guess is moss like this will outlast even the cockroaches.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Forgotten art

This large, red, twisting sculpture sits in a small pocket park between the a federal building and the Bell building in downtown London, Ontario. The picture was shot on a weekend and all the surrounding buildings were closed. With no one to approach for details, the sculpture itself does not seem to have a plaque, the Internet was searched but nothing. 

A city map was searched and the little park did not seemed to be marked, the pathway through the park seemed to be forgotten and the art work itself does not appear to be considered part of London's heritage. (I guess it is just art. It is not as if it was a home with a fancy Victorian porch. Now you're talking heritage.)

It appears this is just a large, red piece of forgotten art. Possibly this explains why the area around the art looks poorly maintained and the art itself is beginning to look a little shabby.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Geek Dinner

One comment inspired a post on my other blog: Rockin' On: the Blog.

Last night was the monthly Geek Dinner. It is a misnamed event, at least according to my Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

geek: 1. an uninteresting, ineffectual, socially inept person; a nerd. 2. a person thoroughly devoted to one usu. technical interest, study, etc., often to the expense of social interaction.

The people attending this London, Ontario, event do not suffer from limited interests. Nor are they socially inept. The two pictured above are both bloggers and they run sites with a heavy slant towards knitting.

The one woman also knows her way around cameras, apertures and f/stops, as well as knitting needles and all that pearl one, knit two stuff. I checked her site and some of her pictures are so good that it makes me embarrassed to post this image taken with a camera clearly being pushed past its quality limits.

The truth is that the computer world attracts some of the most creative people around. It is a world of true discovery and many of the people at the dinner are the people pushing the edges of this new worldpushing the edges and expanding the territory.

When I was young, I discovered that some of the most creative people were physics majors and not art students. I think today it is possible the torch has been passed by the physics types to those with a strong interest in computer stuffhardware and software. It was a short, clean hand-off.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Images from a mall soon to close...

The Jones New York women's fashions factory outlet is closing. Come January it will be gone. Like so many of the stores in the mall at the intersection of Wellington and Exeter Roads, it soon will be empty.

My wife and I stopped by there the other day. Retired, we seek out bargains and the Jones store was filled with them. Marked down women's wear, marked down again.

My wife tried on this and that and bought more this and that than I would like. I felt we couldn't afford it; We're retired. She felt we couldn't miss these bargains; We're retired. Ah, the same shade of grey but it looks different to each of us.

While my wife shopped, I took pictures. Surrounded by beautiful fabrics and clean light, I took out my little camera and set to work.

The staff watched, obviously curious. I got down on my knees for one pictures and stretched out over a round rack of dresses for another. I held my little camera up, down and rotated it diagonally.

Unable to keep their silence, they asked me politely what I was doing. I told them and I showed them the pictures on the camera-back monitor.

"Oh." They understood.

Now art was in the air. It filled the store and the staff was infected. "Have you looked outside?" A couple of the sales clerks were really getting into this and they had discovered their own art moment. "Those clouds won't last," they told me.

I slipped out the door into the parking lot. They were right.

This was originally posted to Rockin' On: the Blog, but I thought I should share these images with the followers of the "Daily Photo" international group of blogs.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Birch Tree at Dusk

This picture, or at least the look, was inspired by the work of London artist Clark McDougall who died of a brain tumour at the age of 59 back in December of 1980.

McDougall did a number of paintings in which objects in the scene were outlined in black paint. A painting from this period in McDougall's career hung on the wall at The London Free Press when I worked there.

This is a birch tree just off Wharncliffe Road on the way to Lambeth. It was dusk and the tree had a wonderful warm glow which looked all the warmer juxtaposed against the cool, blue sky.

To learn how this image was created see my post on Rockinon: Photography.

Court House at Dusk

Many people don't like the look of the courthouse in London, Ontario. Intimidating, foreboding, an almost windowless fortress. Sounds as if the architect got it right.

Do we really want a cheery courthouse?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Modern Buildings - Old Street

The bright, yellow tree is one of the many steel painted trees enlivening downtown London and the brightly tinted reflective glass is the former Canada Trust branch at the corner of Dundas and Talbot Streets.

Being kitty-corner to the JLC one would think this would be an excellent location for a restaurant. A lot of other people over the past few years have agreed and voted their agreement with their wallets. A number of restaurants have come and gone since the branch closed and the voting on the benefits offered by the location does not seem to be closed.

The large, white building on the far left is the Bell building. It was originally the hub for Bell operations in Southwestern Ontario, and in a sense it still is. But today the building is no longer home to original large number of Bell employees. On the bright side, whether the building is populated by Bell employees or not, London still has a great building and we all know how London has treasured its downtown structures through the years.

I wonder what originally occupied the site of the present Bell building and of the former Canada Trust branch?

Doggone-it! I'm not going!

"Like to go for a walk?"


And there does not appear to be a lot of room for negotiations.

This lady taking her dog for a walk was sighted the other evening in London, Ontario, in one of the larger parks.

I think her dog was "parked."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Late November in Canada

Yes, that's right; This is a picture taken just the other day in London, Ontario. Posties walk a lot and they can get warm no matter what the weather. With a late fall rain forcing our mail-person to wear a bright, yellow slicker, the kind that traps heat, it was a day calling for shorts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009


It was the Ghost Ship (left): a remarkable piece of art - a shipwreck made from dinosaur bones, or so it looked to me. I loved it. It carried such power.

So it came as no surprise when I noticed the name of the artist on the multi unit outdoor sculpture at the Provincial Court House in London: Walter Redinger. But Xabis, a work completed decades prior to Ghost Ship is not bones but flesh, or at least, for me, it was.

Xabis, done 1974, is a direct descendent of Redinger's Caucasian Totems series. But since being completed and installed, it has been restored, refurbished and redone. I believe Xabis is a work done in fiberglass and as such it does require periodic maintenance.

But like so often happens in London, when repaired it was a new sculpture with a new outlook. The colour of the work originally recalled the soft, deep folds of the flesh of heavy nudes. It used to take me back to my art school days in Detroit, Michigan.

Now, the work is more of a stone grey and the forms seems less organically right for the piece. The look is now one of a form imposed rather than a shape occurring naturally as the material is tugged downward by gravity.

Walter Redinger began his art training in London at the Beal Technical School and then he continued his art education at was then known as the Ontario College of Art. From there he moved to the Miensinger School of Art in Detroit.

I believe he is still and an active sculptor with a studio south west of London. A well respected artist, he represented Canada a the 1972 Venice Biennale. Redinger exhibits internationally in the United States, Italy and France to name a few. His works can be found in many museums and private collections.

It would be interesting to get in touch with Redinger and ask him about the shift in colour of Xabis.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fountain Times Three

Marcel Duchamp would be envious: three fountains.

One for papa bear, one for baby bear and one for? Can't be mama bear.

There seems to be a problem with my story.

Whatever, the Covent Garden Market in downtown London, Ontario, has a men's room well equipped with a urinal to suit every height.

I made a colour print but somehow this photo just looked so much better black and white. I think black and white can be distancing and this picture benefits from being given a little extra distance.

For more on ready-made art see: Move over Marcel