Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Male grackles fighting

Two male common grackles exhibiting their aggressive nature.
It was quite the battle: fast, vicious and long. Two male grackles pecked, clawed and beat their feathers as they struggled to get the best of the other combatant. No clear idea why these two were going at it but it might have been a dispute over food, they were under a bird feeder stocked with corn — a favourite grackle food. Or, it might have been a mating display. A female was watching from a safe distance.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Is this a good neighbourhood?

Recently a fellow I rather admire, claimed Londoners want condos like the ones shown above. He says they are selling very well — so well that the developer has applied to city council’s planning committee for permission to begin construction of the second phase. This is ahead of schedule.

This building actually looks quite good — better than in my picture, that's for sure. Still, it has a problem, a big problem. Location. It sits on the edge of a highrise jungle that may be the largest, densest grouping of apartment towers in the entire city.

For a more in depth look at this area of London and an introduction to the Palmer Park Historic Apartment District, please click the following link: Maybe ReThink London should remember Detroit.

Monday, April 22, 2013


When I see apartment towers almost in the backyards of nearby homes, I wonder if the home owners knew tall apartment buildings were planned for their neighbourhood. Is this apartment building too close to the one story homes? What do you think?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cardinals return to southwestern Ontario

It has been a colder and wetter spring than normal but that hasn't stopped birds, like the bright red cardinals, from returning to southwestern Ontario. The nice thing about a spring like this year's is that the buds on the fruit trees are not seduced by warm weather into bursting into flower too early. Last year was a warm spring and the almost inevitable late frost killed the blossoms, just about destroying the fruit crop.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Even mini urban cores losing businesses

The TD Canada Trust in downtown Lambeth has closed.

Some years ago, Lambeth was a separate little town on the south edge of London. It liked to be known as "Lovely Lambeth." Well, the little place isn't quite so little anymore, nor is it as lovely, nor is it an independent little town. It has been annexed into the expanding London urban monolith.

Within walking distance of many Lambeth homes, it still closed.
London's downtown is suffering. And the former commercial core of Lambeth is also suffering, and for some of the same reasons: For example, competition from suburban development is killing the old main street businesses.

London lost a number of its bank branches in the core. As businesses left, I imagine a lot of the commercial business also left.

Driving through Lambeth I noticed that one of the few banks in the town core has closed. It has moved to a suburban outdoor mall a couple of kilometres away.

I wonder what a dying downtown in a real small town says about the new urbanism theories? The Lambeth downtown is located in the middle of an older, grid patterned neighbourhood. The TD Canada Trust bank that has closed was within a short walk of lots of homes, and it had adequate parking at the side. Yet, it closed.

The new bank has a drive-thru but is more than two kilometres distant.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The new Sarnia Rd. Bridge

Yesterday I posted a view from the new Sarnia Rd. bridge. Until recently an heritage bridge built around 1890 in St. James, Manitoba, and relocated to London in 1909, was the span carrying traffic across the CP railway in northwest London.

The new bridge is clean and modern.
The old truss bridge was removed and put into storage, a move heritage groups supported. Pin-connected truss bridges are exceedingly rare in Ontario, yet London has one in storage and another in use — the restored King St. pedestrian bridge in the city core.

If you'd like to know more about the old, single lane iron bridge that until recently spanned the rail line, click on the link, "old truss bridge", above.

Today the crossing is so wide, the approach so long and gently curved, one hardly notices that one is on a bridge crossing the tracks. I miss the old bridge but with all the subdivisions being built in the area, the old bridge had to go.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CP rail line in northwest London

It looks quiet now, but this lone track carries rail traffic 24-hours a day. This is the Canada Pacific  main line in northwest London. Note the arc of an interesting wooden bridge spanning the tracks in the distance.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Heritage gas station has a new life

This heritage gas station on Main Street in Lambeth has seen a number of uses since it ceased pumping gas. Today it is the Jubilee Kafe — a cafe serving gluten free foods.

Stations like this were once common but most have been demolished. This one keeps being reborn but one must wonder how long until it too is history.

Lambeth was once a separate small town but was annexed an is now a part of London.