Pigeons, pigeons

The other day I was viewing photos I had taken around a year ago to see what winter was looking like then. I came upon this image of pigeons on electrical wires on a grey day. They congregate near a tiny park outside a subway station in Toronto. I love these birds. They are a familiar and often undervalued sight in the city. But I enjoy seeing them on my walks, being careful, however, not to walk directly underneath them!


Pigeons on the wires, December 2012, Toronto

Dreaming of Larkwhistle

Larkwhistle Garden

Larkwhistle Garden, June 2012, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

I’m taking a break from the cold and going to Larkwhistle Garden in my mind. Larkwhistle is a terrific garden on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario that has been created and gardened by Patrick Lima and John Scanlan. For decades, they have opened the garden to visitors in the summer. But last year, they decided to end those public visiting days. 

Larkwhistle Garden

Kniphofia at Larkwhistle Garden, 2010

Larkwhistle Garden

Larkwhistle Garden, September 2010, Ontario

We have gone to this place of beauty for years since travelling to the peninsula and it remains with me in memories of flowers, birds and grace.  And with thanks to Patrick and John for what they have created and generously shared.

Larkwhistle Garden

Larkwhistle Garden’s resident cat, 2010.

Ice Crystals

We’re back to a cold snap in Toronto–around -20°C–which is cold for the city. Here’s two views of a window with beautiful ice crystals this morning.

Ice Crystals

Ice Crystals on the window, Toronto, January 21, 2014

Ice Crystals

Ice crystals on the window, Toronto, Jan. 21/14



In an earlier post I spoke about my concerns that the Canadian government is closing a series of libraries in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.  Since writing that post, I’ve come upon an article on the subject by John Dupuis, a science librarian at York University in Toronto.  He speaks about the issues and questions arising from these closures. Here’s the link to his article: Question! What is really happening at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries?.

And, in keeping with Fisheries and Oceans, here’s a photo of the Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland from my time there in August.


Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland, August 2013

Over the Don Valley, Toronto

Toronto Don Valley

Looking out over the Don Valley, Toronto, January 15, 2014

After the big freeze and the rain and melt, this was all the snow left in Toronto the other day, although last night we had a dusting of snow.  Here, I’m looking out at the expressway, the ravines and the Brick Works in the distance.  I love this dramatic, though often windy, view showing urban life and nature together.

Politics, Nature and the Censoring of Science in Canada

On the Cyprus Lake Trail

Water lilies in Cyprus Lake, Ontario, June 2013

Science: The systematic study of the nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of laws to describe these facts in general terms. — Collins English Dictionary

I never go through a day without thinking, at some point, about the destruction of nature in the world and the efforts to halt that destruction and restore natural areas.  You’ll likely have heard that the Canadian Conservative Party, who are in power now, sees oil extraction and pipeline building as priorities for the country’s prosperity.  At the same time, they have fired publically employed environmental scientists, cancelled whole projects and prohibited public scientists from speaking about their findings without first being vetted so that they are “on message.”

Athabasca Falls

At Athabasca Falls, Alberta, Canada, Sept. 2012

Recently the government has closed a series of science libraries connected with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They say this is to consolidate information, digitize it and save money.  Apparently, however, a government email has surfaced that speaks of culling the information and lists the savings as around $440,000.  This may be a lot of money for most of us, but it is quite a low saving for a federal budget.  In the last few weeks, researchers have discovered that materials from the closed libraries, some with records dating back a century, are being destroyed.  A photograph showing books and papers in a dumpster has appeared online.  I find this deeply troubling. 

Newfoundland Ocean View

Newfoundland, ocean view from the Skerwink Trail, August 2013

My own belief is that these destructive actions toward environmental scientists and scientific information speak to the Conservatives’ desire to withhold knowledge (inconvenient truths) of our eco systems from citizens.  Not only can destroying knowledge have destructive consequences for our health and wellbeing in Canada and beyond, but it is deeply undemocratic.

I’m writing about this today to do my small part in spreading the word and to say there can be no justification, financial or otherwise, for destroying knowledge or for censoring the messengers. I’ve added a few links if you’re interested in reading further.  Plus some photos of the beauty of nature in Canada.



Grange Park in the Snow, Encore

Back to winter in Toronto. Here’s 2 more photos I took of Grange Park on January 5th while I was in the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Grange Park

Trees of Grange Park, Jan. 5/14, from a window in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Members’ Lounge

Grange Park

Grange Park through the window, Jan. 5/14


Signs of the Donkey Sanctuary

Donkey Sign

Sign at The Donkey Sanctuary, with quote by Alice Walker, that I photographed in 2010

In my last post I mentioned that there are inspiring signs at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario. I’ve photographed some of these over time.  Here’s several images I took between 2008 and 2013.  The charter feels like one we humans could benefit from ourselves!

Donkey Sign

Donkey Sanctuary’s Charter, photographed 2010, Lily S. May

Donkey Sign

Donkey Sanctuary sign with quote by James Herriot, photographed 2010, Lily S. May

Donkey Sign

Donkey Sanctuary sign with another quote by Alice Walker, taken in 2008.

Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Donkeys at the Sanctuary

Donkeys at the Sanctuary, Guelph, Ontario, Sept. 2013

I thought I’d take a break from the cold and show you photos from the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario. I first learned about the Donkey Sanctuary from a friend a few years ago and have been visiting the Sanctuary ever since.  There, donkeys, mules and hinnies that are neglected, abused or unable to be looked after are cared for. Meeting the animals on this beautiful farmland has been a wonderful experience. It has taken me away from my own initial ignorance that donkeys might need a sanctuary.

Young Donkey

Ruby, a young donkey at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, Sept. 2013

At the Sanctuary are a number of signs with inspiring quotes about humans’ relationships with other animals. I’ve included a photo of one here, in addition to a pair of donkeys, plus the young Ruby who was just a few months old when we saw her in September.


Jane Goodall quotation–sign at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, Sept. 2013

Grange Park in the Snow, Toronto

I was at the Art Gallery of Ontario today.  Through a window, I took this photo of Grange Park.  Winter in the city–flurries on a mild day with rain and freezing rain expected later.

Toronto Grange Park

Nature in the city: a snowy Grange Park, Toronto, January 5, 2014