Waiting For Summer

Sometimes, when we’re stuck inside due to snow storms or freezing temperatures, our minds wander forward to summer. We can’t help ourselves!

As I have written on this blog before, Peter and I love to spend summer days sitting on the lake in our kayak, a kayak that is now hanging, sad and lonely, in the garage. We see it every time we take the car out, and it reminds us that summer is ahead sometime. Recently we also noticed, as we drove across the Gardiner Expressway, a bright red canoe perched on the Toronto skyline. What is that red canoe doing there? Is it waiting for summer too?

One day last week we decided to investigate. We fond the place, called “Canoe Landing Park,” (2009), situated on a piece of land just east of Fort York. The canoe is labelled “Tom Thompson Canoe.” Tom Thompson would never ride in this boat. For one thing, it has a concrete base and a door in the side so tourists can climb in. It is definitely not water-proof. But it sits high up above the Gardiner, staring longingly towards Lake Ontario.

Waiting for Summer

There are other water-related items in this park. Beside the canoe are a couple of white boxes, named “iceberg benches” keeping with the water theme. Just looking at them made us cold. We didn’t even try sitting. A sculptural version of a beaver dam is also near the canoe: a concrete semi-circle, filled with water, and shrubs nearby. It seems to be expecting some lost beavers to come along and stat gnawing.

iceberg benches

Another art installation is named “Bobber Plaza.” Brightly coloured fishing floats, ie bobbers, stand tall, but hide sprinkler heads beneath. During the summer this plaza becomes a water park. Bobber Plaza, along with the canoe, the benches, and the beaver dam, was created by Canadian actor, novelist, and artist, Douglas Coupland.

Bobber Plaza

Copland, who just celebrated his 60th birthday, has written for several prestigious publications, including the New York Times, has twice been a finalist for the Giller prize, and has created several notable art installations, especially in Vancouver. You might know the digital orca on Vancouver’s shoreline near the Convention Centre. If you want to see another of Coupland’s works, just walk about 2 blocks west from the canoe along Fort York Blvd, to find his monument to the War of 1812.

Memorial to War of 1812

Canoe Landing Park takes on added significance in September because it is a memorial to Terry Fox too. A map shows the route of the “Miracle Mile” – 2 laps of the path equal one mile. Walkers and runners are asked to keep in mind that Terry Fox completed 3,339 of those miles! The path is marked by little red leaves along the side, and billboards with photos of things that Terry valued while on his journey. At the beginning of this path, visitors can find a touchstone, topped with a heart-shaped rock, which was picked up by Terry’s brother at the site where Terry ended his walk over 40 years ago.

Terry Fox touchstone

Our visit to this unique park did not make summer come any sooner, but it cheered us up to see art work inspired by Canadian icons, and that red canoe waiting there, so full of hope.


5 thoughts on “Waiting For Summer

  1. I’m always amazed at the places you find that most of us have never heard of. Really interesting blog.

    Now that curling is restarting January 31st I don’t mind a little more winter. Although some warmer weather would be nice.


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