This past July 8th, Leon's celebrated the Grand Opening of a store in downtown Toronto at Roundhouse Park, which lies immediately south of the Rogers Centre. The new location shares occupancy of the Roundhouse with neighbour Steam Whistle Brewery, and eventually the building will also house the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre.
Although the initial proposal to open a Leon's at the Roundhouse was met with disapproval from many Torontonians, the project went ahead as planned and the final results are nothing short of brilliant. The architect has taken great pains to avoid any alteration of the original structure - the showroom has been seamlessly incorporated into the building.
In light of its location, this new Leon's offers contemporary furnishings designed to suit small downtown condominium dwellings. The selections are hip, urban and modern - not exactly what you'd expect from this traditional furniture retailer. I highly recommend checking out this location, since it offers a chance to shop while you appreciate a part of Toronto's architectural history.
This summer, more than ever before, I am enjoying the serenity provided in the tranquil gardens of Toronto. My most recent visit was to Allan Gardens, located south of Carlton between Jarvis and Sherbourne. This area of the city has developed a bad reputation in recent years, but once inside the conservatories, the world outside fades away. The city of Toronto is currently implementing a revitalization program for Allan Gardens. Hopefully this plan will make the park an even more enjoyable place to visit for Toronto residents and tourists alike.
Entering the core of Allan Gardens
The Palm House, Built 1910
Toronto Horticultural Society
Founded in 1834 under the patronage of Sir John Colborne, lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada (1828-36), this was the first horticultural society organized in this province. Established to encourage the introduction and cultivation of improved varieties of fruits, plants and vegetables, its first president was the Honourable George Markland, inspector-general of Upper Canada. An oval of five acres was donated to the society by the Honourable George W. Allan and on September 11, 1860 the Horticultural Gardens were opened by the Prince of Wales (Edward VII). Additional land was leased from the municipality of Toronto in 1864 and in 1888 this park was turned over to the city. It was named Allan Gardens in 1901.
Entering the Cool House Conservatory
Inside the Tropical House Conservatory
What a beautiful pattern!!! And a soft, velvety texture!
Read more about the Heritage of Allan Gardens here.
Find out more about the Revitalization Plan for Allan Gardens here.
Before going to bed Saturday night, I made sure to watch the local weather forecast to help plan my Sunday schedule. The meteorologist stated that the best bet for outdoor activity would be the morning and early afternoon. So imagine my surprise when I awoke to a morning thunderstorm which carried on until early afternoon.
Since I was already up and ready to go, the minute the skies cleared I hit the road. Arriving at Edwards Gardens & Toronto Botanical Gardens, mine was only one of a dozen cars in the parking lot. What a treat to have the whole park to myself - as you can see by the photos - not another soul in sight!!
Waaaaayyyyy back on March 18th, you may recall my post entitled "Toronto Garden Tour" which featured a Top 5 list of gardens to visit this summer. Well, I finally got around to spending some outdoor time today at the Toronto Music Garden. What a relaxing way to spend a few hours on this Simcoe Day holiday.
This first movement of the Suite imparts the feeling of a flowing river through which the visitor can stroll. Granite boulders from the southern edge of the Canadian Shield are placed to represent a streambed with low-growing plants softening its banks. The whole is overtopped by an alley of native Hackberry trees whose straight trunks and regular spacing suggest measures of music.
The Allemande is an ancient German dance. Interpreted here as a birch forest, the movement invites the visitor to swirl inward to various contemplative sitting areas, that move higher and higher up the hillside, culminating in a rocky vantage point that looks over the Harbour through a circle of Dawn Redwood trees.
Originally an Italian and French dance form, the Courante is an exuberant movement that is interpreted here as a huge, upward-spiralling swirl through a lush field of grasses and brightly-coloured perennials that attract birds and butterflies. At the top, a Maypole spins in the wind.
This movement is based on an ancient Spanish dance form. Its contemplative quality is interpreted here as an inward-arcing circle that is enclosed by tall needle-leaf evergreen trees. Envisioned as a poet's corner, the garden's centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.
This French dance was contemporary to Bach's time. Its formality and grace are reflected in the symmetry and geometry of this movement's design. Hand-crafted with ornamental steel, a circular pavilion is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.
The Gigue, or "jig" is an English dance, whose jaunty, rollicking music is interpreted here as a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the Harbour. The steps form a curved amphitheatre that focus on a stone stage set under a weeping willow tree; a place for informal performances. Shrubs and perennials act as large, enclosing arms, framing views out onto the Harbour.