Saturday, May 21, 2022

Tulips make it a garden

 My wife calls it a garden but until the tulips start blooming I find the designation very generous. But the tulips are blooming and the small plot hemmed in by interlocking blocks is clearly a garden. My wife and her flower-loving friends always knew it was a garden but today I am onside as well.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Muslim girl with scooter

When the young girl grabbed the scooter, I grabbed my camera. I had noticed the Muslim girl sitting at the picnic table with a scooter nearby but I did not think the two went together. Seeking her permission before taking her picture, I gestured to catch her attention. She understood immediately and instantly took a pose. I'd have preferred an unposed moment but I think the peace sign adds to the image.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Is Made in China really cheaper?

Are consumers really saving money by buying so many items labelled "Made in China." I am not convinced.

I've been seeing these stamped out metal items in garden centres all around the London area. They are simply large sheets of very thin steel with a stamped out pattern. The piece has been painted to resist the elements.

How much would this cost to make in Canada? The ones made in China are selling for about $170 at some centres.

Have you questioned the savings you enjoy by buying stuff made in China? I'm old enough to recall when shirts, toys, appliances and more were all made in Canada and the States. When the plants started closing I did not notice a big drop in the prices of these goods. Did you? Think about it.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

A little bit of China in our backyard


When we bought our magnolia tree, it was small, possibly two feet tall, and covered with green leaves and completely devoid of flowers. The first spring was a surprise. The blossoms were more purple than pink and the petals were long and thin. This was not the usual magnolia tree so common on London lawns.

A little digging and we discovered that we had planted a Magnolia liliiflora or lily magnolia as it is commonly known. Originally it was native to eastern China but today is rarely, if ever, found growing wild. The tree has been domesticated and is now found growing around the globe.

The pink tulip magnolia that we thought we had bought is also originally from China but the flowers are larger with a rounder appearance. The colour is usually more towards the pink end of the spectrum.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Nearby apartment towers have not brought shoppers


East London has been in trouble for decades. At one point, Dundas Street running through business section was ripped up and replaced with a curved section of road surfaced with paving stones. This unique roadway was supposed to ignite renewed interest in the area. It didn't.

Family businesses that had operated successfully for years were closing regularly and the empty stores remained empty. Blaming the curved street for the collapse, the failure to attract new businesses became the go-to-reason for the derelict district.

The curved road was straightened. The paving stones were lifted and removed. The straight road was made cyclist friendly and to encourage parking cutouts were created. No shoppers appeared. The neighbourhood residential density was said to be too low to support a business district. High-rise apartment building were encouraged and today the old East London shopping area is in the shadow of a number of high-rises.

The street is quieter today than it has ever been. More stores are empty and boarded up than at anytime in the past. The parking cutouts sit empty most of the day and the only thing one can say with assurance about the residents in the high-rise apartments is that they do not frequent the old East London core.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

COVID took down the St. Regis


The exact date when the building housing the St. Regis Hotel and Tavern was built is unknown. What is known is the building has been a combination hotel and tavern since 1883. The present name, St. Regis, goes back 91 years to 1931.

Sadly, a business that survived the Great Depression could not beat COVID. The St. Regis closed two years ago in mid March 2020. From the looks of it today, it seems rather doubtful that it will ever reopen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Whimsical planters for the home


When I was a boy, planters for the home were often quite plain, simple fired red clay, or outrageously fancydecorated with scenes of Jason seeking the golden fleece. Today, many planters are a source of whimsey. The planters at our local garden centre encourage smiles and not discussions of the Greek classics.