Thursday, April 30, 2009

Man, this is a beautiful place!

It's just a simple suburban street but it's simply lovely. Walking to the stores in the Byron core is a pleasant stroll through an almost parklike neighbourhood.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trillium in Bloom

The large, white trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario. Although some claim the trillium is rare, it isn't. Acres of the flowers will soon brighten many a forest floor across the province. Another myth is that it is against the law to pick trilliums. No Ontario law specifically protects the provincial emblem. That said, it is illegal to pick any wild plant in a provincial park, and that includes trilliums. Look but don't touch. If you must take something, take a picture. And speaking of pictures, this trillium is in Warbler Woods off Commissioners Road in southwest London.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In The Pink

There are days I worry my aging camera batteries will fail before I am done shooting. I was already on my backup battery when I saw the little pet rabbit, wrapped in a pink blanket, being carried in Springbank Park; I knew I had to have this shot. It made me smile and I hope it makes you smile, too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Worth Rising With the Sun

Photo tip: patience and planning make for better photography.
I've admired this twisted tree many times, but with my little point and shoot camera there was no way to do it justice - everything would be too sharp. It needed a little fog to make it pop. Sunday morning, rising early, glancing out our front door sidelights, I saw fog, thick fog. I immediately thought of this tree. I grabbed my Canon SD10 and headed for Springbank Park. In the fog, I couldn't find the tree but a couple of helpful joggers pointed me in the right direction. The result made it all worthwhile. Cheers, Rockin' On.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thames Down But Not Out

Half a dozen kayak enthusiasts were sighted Saturday paddling on the Thames River despite the very low water level resulting from the failure of a gate at Springbank Dam. All the kayakers headed downriver through the open dam and disappeared heading in the direction of Kilworth. There may be adequate water for kayaks but larger canoes are another matter. Without the dam to raise the water level, the London Canoe Club will be unable to use the river again this summer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thames River Run

It's possible to jog from Byron in the southwest of London, Ontario, past the University of Western Ontario in the northern reaches of the city without ever being too far from the Thames River. This section of the trail, just upriver from Springbank Dam, is particularly scenic.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Givin' the Bloomin' Boot to Winter

I have no explanation. I will try and talk with the folk who live in the home, maybe there is an interesting story behind this. Maybe it is just a cool thing to do. Leave it with me.

Heritage Victorian Apartments

These heritage apartments, converted into condominiums, are at the intersection of Queens Ave. and Wellington St. in downtown London. They are rumoured to have been built originally as residences for employees of London Life. This story has the ring of truth as the headquarters of London Life Insurance is right across the street. Only a small part of the complex is shown. It extends both north and east from the intersection. There are lessons to be learned from the study of these beautiful, dare I say welcoming, Victorian apartments.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Still the Forest City

James Reaney, a columnist for The London Free Press, called the dozens of colourful metal trees gracing downtown London "beautiful." These works of public art were created by Ingersoll artist Bill Hodgson and planted in numerous locations throughout the core.
To see more pictures of these unique pieces check out Flickr and Wikimedia. For another but less postive take on these trees see From My Bottom Step. The paper also did a short video looking at the tree installation.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Merry Move London

A few year ago these carousel horses galloped off into the sunset. I believe the company that owned and operated them in Springbank Park went bankrupt. The city sat quietly by while the carousel was dismantled and removed for auction to the highest bidder. A lot of people were upset. They should not have worried. The City of London was the highest bidder and brought the horses home. The whole thing was a bit (forgive me) of a merry-go-round.

With hits to this site beginning to increase, in the coming days I will be adding the occasional photo tip. Cheers, Rockinon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not the Stairway to Heaven

Carving a curved path from above Storybook Gardens to Commissioners Road, in all the years I have visited the area, I have only noticed two people making the climb to the top.

Sunday is another warm, spring day in London with the high expected to reach 12 degrees under a partially cloudy sky.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Culture Minister Supports Demolition

Who would allow a beautiful, historic home overlooking the Thames River in west London to sit empty, unmaintained, decaying? Answer: the Province of Ontario. But, they do have a plan, Queen's Park applied for a demolition permit.

The City of London, concerned about the impending loss of yet another historic property, contacted Culture Minister Aileen Carroll.
The minister was quick to point out the province doesn't have to comply with rules that otherwise protect heritage buildings from demolition. Ever the politician, Carroll closed her letter by thanking the city for the city's "continued commitment to preserving Ontario's heritage."

This is brilliant stuff. When Carroll leaves her government job she can get work with the Canadian Airfarce or bring back Monty Python's Flying Circus with a Canadian twist.

For the whole story read Jonathan Sher's piece in The London Free Press.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Good Morning London

In hours the cool morning air will warm, the long shadow shrink, and the blacktop driveway fill with playing kids. Good morning, London.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Knock Knock, Who's There?

Hearing a noise at the kitchen door the other night, I looked out to see a city-born-and-bred raccoon. Obviously comfortable when confronted by a person, the raccoon stayed at the door while I took his picture. Not even the flash startled my furry visiter. When no food was offered, he turned and slowly sauntered off.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

East London's Fading Glory

No, this is not art but it is an accurate picture from East London. Note the decorative coloured slate used on the second floor of these three stores. This was clearly a structure built with not just with quality materials but with great pride. How does a building like this fall into such a state of disrepair? There's a story here begging to be told.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wortley Village Crocuses

Just 24 hours after yesterday's picture was taken, these crocuses were sighted blooming in a Wortley Village lawn in London. Tomorrow, Good Friday, is forecast to be another warm, sunny spring day. Yes!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Iris Shoots for Spring

An early April London snowfall cools young Iris shoots days after they burst from the ground.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Groundhog was Right!

Winter is revisiting southwestern Ontario. Believers in Wiarton Willy, our springtime seer, are rejoicing but those forced to suffer the cold, strong winds and icy sidewalks are not as happy. Sunshine returns Wednesay with an expected high or 4 degrees.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Memories – London Furniture Co.

For decades it was the Duthler Textiles store on Dundas Street in downtown London. Then the small Duthler chain closed and the store was reborn as the Honest Lawyer restaurant with Downtown Kathy Brown's immediately above.

The metal cladding that had hidden the original facade for decades was stripped away during the renovations. This unveiled the words London Furniture Co. and restored the building's strong link to London's past.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ghost Ships and Sea Monsters

National Geographic photographer Emory Kristof has photographed the Titanic, led an expedition to recover the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald, documented the diverse sea life thriving around hot deep-sea vents in the Mid-Atlantic . . .

Starting as an intern with the prestigious magazine back in 1963, he is still planning new adventures 46 years later. Sunday afternoon the world renowned deep sea photographer/videographer gave a lecture on his career at the Wolf Performance Hall in the London Central Library. The lecture was sponsored by the Optimist Clubs of London, Ontario.

Event photo by: Archie Korbiel

Kristof spent so much time taking pictures of this Halibut and a starfish that he named the fish Herbie. Having grown attached to the large fish, Kristof happily watched as Herbie avoided capture swimming off into the ocean.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Water Colour Day

The end of the work week and it rained all day. Saturday promises more of the same with a dash of snow thrown into the mix. Oh well . . .

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Forks of the Thames

The historic Forks of the Thames viewed from Museum London. Lieutenant-governor John Graves Simcoe ordered the construction of a road from Burlington Bay to the forks in 1792. The road, Dundas, is still in use today and still carries the name Dundas. It can be seen on the left.

Months later Simcoe visited the forks in his search for the perfect spot to build the capital of Upper Canada. In a journal from that day, this is written: "We struck the Thames at one end of a low flat island enveloped with shrubs and trees; the rapidity and strength of the current were such as to have forced a channel through the mainland, being a peninsula, and to have formed the island. We walked over to a rich meadow, and at its extremity came to the forks of the river".

I owned a home at the forks and I can tell you that some of that rich land remains. The topsoil in my backyard was three-feet deep and you would not believe the corn I grew. It was amazing - large, sweet, beautiful. If raccoons could speak, they'd back me up. They loved that corn.