Monday, September 27, 2010

More Photos from the Strength Behind the Uniform Walk/Run

There was a request for more photos from the weekend charity walk/run. For more info click the Strength Behind the Uniform Walk/Run link.

This was the second year for this charity event. The walk/run attracted more participants this year than last. Maybe this event will become an annual opportunity for the community to show support for our troops.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Strength Behind the Uniform Walk/Run

Sunday morning hundreds of Londoners turned out to participate in the Strength Behind the Uniform charity walk/run honouring the Canadian military and giving support to their families. The 5km/8km walk/run was hosted by the London Military Family Resource Centre (LMFRC) with the aim of raising community awareness of the number of military families living in London and to gather funds to support local LMFRC programs and services.

Yellow ribbons marked the route through Springbank Park but one could just as easily have followed the yellow T-shirts worn by many of the participants. The yellow ribbon is the support-our-troops symbol adorning the backs of many Canadians cars

This is the second year the LMFRC has held Strength Behind the Uniform and this year's event proved to be even bigger and better than the first.

A ceremonial start was provided by the London Police Pipe and Drum band. Earlier, one member of the band was spotted warming up, marching and playing his bagpipe in a distant parking lot at the large park.

Shannon Kisslinger, Chair of the LMFRC board of directors, told The Londoner, a weekly tab carried by The London Free Press, "This event is important to promote awareness of the military families in the London region. There is a particular focus this year on the families who are combating stress while their loved ones are deployed. Even joyful times, from weddings and baptisms to graduations and birthdays, can be stressful both for the soldier who is unable to be there and the family who feel their loved one's absence even more acutely on those special occasions."

Kisslinger continued, "Aside from deployments, family separation is common for some military families as Canadian Forces personnel are required to be away for overseas and domestic operations and for training. The military lifestyle is certainly unique and we work to enhance the quality of life for all military families living in our catchment area, across Southwestern Ontario."

While participants had the choice of  either a 5 km or 8 km route, there was an third option taken by some, especially those with young children on the course. Do a little walking or running and then take the kids to the reptile tent or allow the kids have their faces painted or involve them in some of the family games.

For more photos, please click here. This was done for you, Matt.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A walk in the woods

I had heard that there was a walk scheduled for the Sifton Bog Saturday morning. I went but found no one. Maybe I was a little late; I don't know. (Now, I believe I was early --- a day early. I think there is a walk at the Oxford West bog tomorrow, Sunday, Oct. 25th.)

Oh well, I still got a picture when these wild flowers, purple asters, caught my eye.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Holy Roller

The Holy Roller is a Second World War Sherman tank sitting in the northern end of Victoria Park in central London, Ontario. It sits as an everlasting memorial to the soldiers of the 1st Hussars who, together with other Canadian and allied servicemen, liberated The Netherlands. A plaque notes that many lost their lives liberating France, Belgium and Holland following the allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

For a trivia quiz on the tank, click here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's all how you look at it.

There's a decades old office building in downtown London that I have heard criticized at times. I admit, it has a very dated look but I still like it.

It reminds me of the late '50s and '60s. And it is in very good condition for its age. Oh heck, I confess --- I really like this building.

When I tried to take a picture of this turquoise coloured structure, it just didn't work. The magic was gone. So, whispering, "Work with me baby," under my breath, I set to work.

I think today's picture captures the cool look. And notice this is an office building with windows that open. Amazing! Maybe even avant garde.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jumbo the elephant

High on a cliff, a sculpture of Jumbo graces the western entrance to St. Thomas.
It is just past the anniversary of the untimely death of Jumbo the elephant. The star of the Barnum and Bailey Circus was struck and killed by a Grand Trunk locomotive on September 15, 1885, in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Today the giant elephant is memorialized by more than a brand of popcorn. A massive monument to the famous beast was erected more than a dozen years ago at the western entrance to the Southwestern Ontario city just a few kilometres to the south of London.

The sculpture was designed and constructed in Sussex, New Brunswick, by the late artist Winston Bronnum.

For more information on Jumbo, read the recent piece by James Reaney of The London Free Press.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rafting up

One of the nicest things about London Ontario is it location. It is less than an hour from London to either Lake Erie or to Lake Huron. Both lakes are fine spots for boating, deep and incredibly huge. I once kept a sailboat docked in Bayfield on Lake Huron. On a hot summer afternoon a fine thing was to rafting up to one or more other sailboats to enjoy a cool pop and a dive off the stern of the boats.

It is almost fall and diving off the stern is not as inviting as it was a few weeks ago. But, these boats were spotted rafting up off Port Stanley on Lake Erie this weekend. It is still a fun, social thing to do.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fiona likes duckies, rubber duckies

In Canada there is a type of shoe called a rubber duckie. It is made in rubber, often black or dark, navy blue, with thick soles and long laces. Fiona loves grandma's rubber duckies. They aren't as much fun as Fiona's yellow, floating duckies but these duckies have laces. A nice touch.

Watching how Fiona gets into everything within her reach --- who'd have thought that so much was within the reach of a small baby --- I'm glad all our electrical outlets are child proofed and our lower cabinets cleared of anything potentially dangerous.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Colourful homes exceptional

When I have traveled outside Canada, I have visited many towns and villages where colourful homes are the rule and not the exception. This home in London North is an exception and it is exceptional.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

They're still making them like they use to.

This lovely older London home in Old North is truly lovely but it is not truly older. I am certain that it was built since I moved to London in the early '70s. It is a great looking home and fits in beautifully with its truly old neighbours but it is not old.

I titled this post "They're still making them like they use to." But it is not really true. My bet is that this home is built better than its older neighbours. It is certainly better insulated, it would not have lead in the plumbing, the kitchen, I am sure, is infinitely better than those found in homes build a century ago.

Off to the side, I'm sure you have noticed, is the attached garage. I personally like it better than the ones tucked behind homes on small rear laneways.

Yes, they are still building them but better.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Springbank Carousel

I've shot this carousel in Springbank Park before but on an overcast day the colours really pop; It is just too appealing a shot not to take and to feature. For more info on this merry-go-round, so popular with London children, check out my previous posts: Merry Move London and Merry-go-round in Winter.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More TVTA Hiking

Near the UWO the trail is a paved multi-use path.
The hikers encounter dense vegetation
Saturday, the Thames Valley Trail Association held an organized hike along the North Branch of the Thames River in London, Ontario. In some places the path cut through thick brush but at one point it passed behind some wonderful North London homes. The route also touched the edge of the University of Western Ontario campus before returning to Gibbons Park.

Membership in the local organization is only $25 for an individual, $20 if you're 60 or more, and $35 for a family. The members not only organize hikes, they develop and maintain trails, publish a newsletter and run a website. They also have a modest blog presence.

The hikes are weekly events held in different locations in the London area.

I think they may have a new member. Me!
A quickly moving runner, right, passes a slower moving hiker on the narrow trail.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thames Valley Trail Association

I hesitate to call them seniors as most were not over 65 and, for that matter, the term seniors may be politically incorrect today. And gosh, I do hate to be politically incorrect. Whatever I decide to call them, I must remember to modify my choice with the adjective cool.

Thursday morning I met a most interesting group: The Morning Ramblers of the Thames Valley Trail Association. Members meet twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, to take a planned hike together.

I joined them this past Thursday at 9:15 a.m. They met at Treasure Island Mall and then headed for the morning destination in four cars. Those taking the car pool chipped in to reimburse their driver.

If you've been following this blog, you know that I often hike in Springbank Park. When you hike alone you set your own pace, and the pace I set is a bit slow. When I learned of the Morning Ramblers I figured I'd have to check them out. They passed the test.

The big question is, "Did I?"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thomas Bros. Fruits and Vegetables

Around the world many folk think of Canada and think of snow and ice and fierce cold. All true. I'll bet there's at least one day a year here in London, Ontario, fitting that description.

The other 364 days are wonderful ---  especially the summer days. When I was a boy, there were canning factories seemingly in every small town. Today, there may be none. Sad.

But each summer the Thomas Bros. fruit and vegetable stand about five minutes from my suburban home offers locally grown produce for sale. Fresh picked sweet corn, and it is sweet. The sugar in corn is converted into starch after the corn is picked. If it is kept cool, the sugar content is retained far longer but the best corn is the freshest corn. The corn at Thomas Bros. is fresh.

As are the melons, and the squash, and the tomatoes and . . .

I love Ontario.