St. George's Greek Orthodox Church. Another religious building on Bond Street.

A detail of the magnificent mosaic above the entrance of St. George's Greek Orthodox church.

First Evangelical Lutheran Church. Toronto is a city of churches, shrines, temples, mosques, and other religious buildings of all types and denominations. Bond Street is a small and historically very important street close to Ryerson University. This small and intimate church was erected in 1898 by German immigrants to Toronto.

Tim Horton's

Canada is a country that loves donuts and knows how to make them well. Tim Horton's are without a shadow of a doubt the best of them all. They are delicious anytime, but when really fresh they taste like a white cloud in a blue summer sky, a little piece of edible heaven. This is obviously not a donut but a coffee cup. Tim Horton's coffee is not designed as a gourmet coffee but as a decent everyday coffee, and as such it is doubtless the best in its category.

This Tim Horton's store is close to Ryerson University and is one of the many that are open 24 hours a day. The entrance is a typical Canadian airlock style entrance designed to prevent the icy cold winter wind to come inside, and to prevent the expensive cooled air to escape in summer.

The counter area at a typical Tim Horton's. Just behind the counter, a rack with baking trays can be seen. Many goods are indeed baked in-store.

Tim Horton's does not only bake and sell donuts, but also sandwiches, soups, and several deserts, tarts, cakes...

Crab apple tree in front of our building (May 21st)

Closeup of the blossoms

The blossoms from even closer

This one is really funny. In a picture like this, one would expect the blossoms in the foreground to be in focus, but I did it just the other way so the background blossoms are in focus.

The eastern part of the north side of Ward's Island. There is a little bit of the Toronto harbour sticking out behind it.

Houses on the north side of Ward's Island. Some of the people living on the islands are lucky enough to be at the shore. The north shore is a lot safer than the south shore where the boardwalk is because the islands themselves protect the houses from storms.

Looking for traffic. First left.

Then right.

Gerrard Street West. This picture is taken from the same spot as the next one, but while the next one is taken without any zoom, this one uses the 12x zoom of the Lumix at its fullest. It shows how powerful a 12x zoom really is.

Gerrard and Yonge crossing, looking west, taken from the north-east side of Gerrard Street. There is obviously some traffic, but not very much.

Growing ethanol. Contrary to what political propaganda wants Europeans to believe, North Americans are not insensitive to environmental issues. Actually, common sense would already tell us that, since just about all environmentalist groups, institutions, initiatives and the like have their origins in North America, not in Europe. One of these initiatives is using ethanol, the same alcohol alcoholics use to kill their brain cells, to fuel engines. More information on greenfuels.org.

Toronto TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). In Toronto, most of what we need is well within walking distance, and the public transportation system is better than any system I have experienced in Europe. In comparison to the Toronto TTC, the Belgian public transportation is so dismal, it is not even funny. By car, I lived only 13 minutes away from my work place in Belgium. I hate driving, so I have really done my best not to need a car. Unfortunately, it was impossible to cover that same distance in less than 3 hours by public transportation, and that included a more than 20 minute walk... On top of that, the cost per kilometer was about double by public transportation as compared to my car (which, admittedly, was a very small, low consumption vehicle). Thanks to my coming to Toronto, my dream of a car(e)less existence has finally been realized.

Bicycles on Yonge Street. Contrary to what I was told, bicycles are very popular in Toronto. In fact, many if not most people who live downtown Toronto do not have a car because it is not needed. Brussels is a relatively small city with a population of just under one million. The GTA, depending on how one counts, has somewhere between 4 and 6 million people. And yet, there are far more cyclists here than in Brussels. Courtesy is doubtless one of the reasons. Toronto traffic, while slowly becoming less friendly, is far far less agressive than Brussels traffic.

The swimming bus. On the Flemish coast, boats that drive into the water for a tour and then drive out again on the beach, are a common sight. This is the other side of the same idea. In Toronto, we have tour buses that drive into the water for a tour of Ontario Place and the drive back out for a tour of the city. This is the first time I saw this bus on Yonge and Gerrard.

A source of continuous irritation: the elevators. Press the upper button with the triangle pointing upwards if you want to catch an elevator to go up. Press the lower button with the triangle pointing downwards if you want to catch an elevator to go down. It is really surprising to see how many people always press both buttons because "the elevator comes faster that way". That is true of course. Instead of catching an elevator that goes up or goes down, you catch them both. But what is the point of catching an elevator that is going up if you want to go down? That wouldn't even bother me, people are allowed to waste their time as they see fit, but that is not what happens. The elevator opens, they see the light inside the elevator pointing in the wrong direction and then sigh and wait for an elevator that goes in the right direction, thus having wasted the time of the people in the elevator and in the end, their own time, since making needless stops only slows the whole system down. How bright does one have to be to understand this, or how dim not to understand it?

This is one of the corridors of the building where I live. Although I thoroughly hate the carpet, I am very happy with it. It may look awful, but it is a smart design because it can handle quite a bit of punishment before it starts to look worn out and dirty.

This is the building where I live, at 6:40 am on May 30th. There is no visible smog yet, so the sky is of a very pure blue colour. I also like the diagonal nature of the picture as everything seems to point from lower left to upper right.

Lilacs are definitely one of my favourite flowers. Their strong fragrance is, of course, what attracts me most, but I think that the flowers are quite beautiful, regardless of their fragrance.

I love flowers, so I am going to post quite a few of them. These are blossoms I saw on the street on May 30.

Toronto skyline

I have made several dozen pictures of the Toronto skyline, but this is definitely one of my favourites. I took it from the ferry, going to Ward's Island.

Toronto skyline

The Toronto skyline sticks out above the trees when looking north from Ward's Island beach.

Southern part of Ward's Island from East to West

The southern part of Ward's Island is the part with the beach. The changes from east to west are quite dramatic. This picture show you the east side with the rocks to protect the island from erosion.

Just west of the rocks, is the environmentally sensitive area. I chose this picture because it clearly shows part of the wetlands. Be warned that some of those wetlands can only be discovered when it is too late: when you are already drowning in them. Therefore, common sense dictates to stay out of them.

The transition between the environmentally sensitive area in the east and the beach in the west. Once again, it is remarkable to see how close the city is, with the CN Tower and some banks on the horizon.

West side of Ward's Island: the beach.

Environmentally sensitive area

Large parts of the islands are wildlife/vegetation sanctuaries, as indicated by this little sign. The question to stay on the tracks makes sense of course, but is largely superfluous, since it can be quite dangerous to venture off the beaten track. Many parts are marshlands, and due to the dense vegetation, it is quite likely one would end up drowning, trapped by the vegetation in some type of deep puddle with no way to get out.

Ward's Island, South tip

As on so many parts of the islands, there are quite a few gulls here. The island stops where the rocks start. Those rocks are nothing more than an attempt to stop the erosion by the lake. The Southern part of Ward's Island is indeed quite pointy, triangular in shape. The West part, and the narrowest part, is the beach. The East part is a wildlife/vegetation sanctuary.


Garter snake on Ward's island

Thamnophis, the garter snake. It is the first time since I am in Canada that I have seen a snake. There were two of them, both thamnophis, and both dead, unfortunately. I saw them yesterday evening on Ward's Island while making a fast excursion to the Toronto Islands. They were most definitely garter snakes, but because it was quite dark (the light comes from the flash), and because they were both dead, I am uncertain as to the precise species. They are probably sirtalis, but there remains some doubt.