Monthly Archives: September 2013

Faith For Free- Faith That Frees

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto was built in 1847 with money donated by a twenty-five year old British woman named Mary Lambert Swale.  She had one stipulation for her donation. Attendance at Holy Trinity must be free and no one would be allowed to pay to sit in a certain pew. The tradition at the time was that rich people bought family pews near the front of the church. They were the most expensive pews. The less fortunate parishioners sat nearer the back or stood, if they could not afford a pew. Mary said everyone should be welcome at Holy Trinity and should be able to sit wherever they wanted.  

We visited Holy Trinity on a tour of Toronto and learned the church has carried on Mary’s tradition of equality and justice.  They have supported more than ninety refugees to come to Canada. They have opened two affordable, safe housing units in downtown Toronto, with a diverse population of tenants who take an active role in managing their community. 

They were the first church in Canada to sanction and perform ceremonies for  same-sex marriages. A banner on the front of the church proclaims that “Every Day is Pride Day At Holy Trinity.”On the first Tuesday of every month Holy Trinity holds a memorial service for the homeless people of Toronto who have died during the previous month. A special sign board outside the church lists the names of these people. 

The Church of the Holy Trinity was built thanks to the generosity of  a woman who believed that a faith community should be open to everyone. Over 150 years later her vision continues to be carried out in the mission of Church of the Holy Trinity. 

Other posts about churches………….

Grace Mennonite 50th Anniversary

All Saints Church

On Being A Church Tourist

Church of the Holy Cross – Sedona

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Filed under Canada, History, Religion, Toronto

A Bike Ride in Toronto

cyclist consulting mapOur last day in Toronto we rented bikes and went for a five-hour ride around the city.  You appreciate the sights and sounds and smells of a city so much more from a bicycle seat than from a car seat. 

squashes for sale
pink umbrellas on the waterfront in toronto

big mouth doorway kensington market toronto
gun mural kensington market toronto
the fairies pyjamas kensington market toronto
the cn tower toronto
mannequins on a roof kensington market toronto
olivia chow's office
fall tree outside subway in toronto
pumpkins for sale
flower bucket
st. lawrence market toronto
pitcher of sangria
A pitcher of Sangria on a sunny patio. The perfect end to a bike ride.

Other posts about Toronto……

100,000 Nails in a Musical Mural

Meeting Friends in Toronto

Sweet Revenge

A Quick Dip Into the AGO

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Filed under Canada, Toronto, Travel

The Fist

This unique sculpture caught my eye on a recent drive through Detroit and my brother-in-law Paul was kind enough to drive by it a couple of times so I could take some photos. This art piece is called The Fist and is a tribute to the boxer Joe Louis who was born in Detroit and was the heavyweight champion of the world from 1937-1950. It was commissioned by Sports Illustrated magazine and cost $350,000. Weighing 8000 pounds, 24 feet long and 24 feet high it was dedicated on October 16, 1986. Joe Louis died in 1981.

Joe Louis was the first African American to become a national hero when he helped shatter the German myth of Nazi supremacy by beating German fighter Max Schmeling in 1938. He helped to fight Jim Crow laws in the United States. Some say the fist in this sculpture by Mexican American artist Robert Graham is aimed at racial injustice.

This sculpture has created some controversy. Some critics say it doesn’t reflect Joe Louis’ generous spirit or his gentle funny nature. Other people like The Fist because they say it shows Louis’ determination, endurance and creative energy. 

Artist Ed Hamilton felt so strongly that The Fist was not a fitting tribute to Joe Louis that he created a statue of his own of the fighter which is located in the Cobo Centre next to the Joe Louis Arena. 

This August  The Fist was at the centre of a controversy again when artist Jerry Vile placed a large sculpture of a can of Crisco underneath The Fist. He called his sculpture Vessel of Hope. It was removed the same day by the city and Vile sold it on e-bay shortly after.  

The Fist is an eye-catching piece and whether or not you agree that it is a fitting tribute to Joe Louis it certainly puts a symbol of his legacy front and centre in his hometown. 

Other posts about Detroit……….

The Heidelberg Project

Detroit Tigers In the Pink

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Filed under Art, History, Politics, Sports

Visitors in Winnipeg from ICS in Hong Kong via Phnom Penh

dave and dannyWe had some unexpected visitors for brunch on Saturday.  We were very surprised when Danny Hein contacted us and said he, his wife Jessica and their son Joshua were coming to Winnipeg.  We taught with Danny for two years in Hong Kong but then he moved on to an international school in Phnom Penh Cambodia where he became the principal. dave with danny and son He met his wife Jess there since she was teaching at the same school. They have two daughters and this summer their son Joshua was born. They came to North America for the birth since medical services in Phnom Penh aren’t always very dependable or up to date.  dave and joshuaDave had lots of fun playing with Joshua during the few hours they spent at our place.

danny and daveDan and Jessica are on extended leave and are missing the first months of school this year but will return to Phnom Penh shortly. They had left their two daughters with Dan’s parents in British Columbia for the trip to Manitoba so we didn’t get to see them. Dan and Jessica were here to meet with a family who had taught at their school in the past and  also touch base with a donor who supports the work of their school in Cambodia. 

danny and marylou logos school cambodiaI had seen Dan in May of 2011 when I took a group of students from ICS, our school in Hong Kong, to Cambodia on a trip. logos school cambodiaI visited Logos School and Dan gave me a tour. danny logos schoolHe actually became interested in teaching at Logos School when he was on a trip to Cambodia with a group of Hong Kong students over a decade ago. 

storylines- ics history book Dan and Jessica spent some time looking at the history of ICS book since they had never received a copy. I interviewed Danny for the book and there were quotes and comments from him in several sections as well as a short story about how a trip with his ICS students had led him to teach in Cambodia.

It was great to see the Heins and catch up on one another’s lives. Teaching abroad has given us connections with people all over the world and we are always surprised at how many opportunities we have to reconnect with them. 

Other posts about meeting with former Hong Kong colleagues……..

Visiting the Hubbards

Visiting the Wongs

Visiting the Weiss Family

ICS Colorado Reunion

Visiting Karen Lee

The Burnetts and Tad Visit

Rebekah Visits

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Filed under cambodia, Education, Hong Kong, People

Music Snobs

When I taught high school journalism one of my students created an editorial cartoon showing a girl being shunned by other teens because of the music she enjoyed. “Is this really a problem?” I inquired. “Oh yes”, my student replied. “If kids don’t approve of the kind of music you listen to they won’t talk to you. Some guys won’t ask out a girl whose music tastes are different than his.”

I was surprised that choice of music could have such an impact on a teen’s social life. Apparently some teenagers are music snobs. They make assumptions and judgements about one another based on the music they have downloaded into their i-tunes library. Only certain kinds of music pass the coolness muster. 

Research has been done on college campuses where they show students an I-Tunes library and ask them what kind of a person would have that sort of music collection. Young people can readily come up with a personal profile for someone simply by looking at their music choices. They are sometimes surprised to find when they are introduced to the actual owner of the library that some of their assumptions have been false. 

 Are adults really so different? Do we have a tendency to pigeonhole sixties music fans as aging hippies, classics lovers as high brow intellectuals and country music aficionados as unsophisticated and less cultured? 

The idea has made me look at my I-Tunes playlists and wonder what people would think of me if they saw it.

A Soundtrack for Daily Living

Musical Instrument Museum

Leonard Cohen

Music Across the Generations



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Filed under Culture, Music, Reflections

100,000 Nails- A Musical Mural

Toronto artist David Partridge used more than 100,000 nails to create a mural called Metropolis on the wall of the lobby of Toronto’s City Hall. Just as a city is made up of many different people so too the mural is made from nails of different sizes, shapes and materials. The mural has nine panels each weighing 180 kg. The centre using copper nails represents the heart of the city. The next concentric circles represent the suburban regions and then the circles move on to show the more treed areas outside the city. 

If you drop a coin into the mural near the top it will find a path through the maze of nails down to the bottom and create a beautiful musical sound on its way. As we were leaving City Hall a large group of visitors were all sending coins through the mural and it made a kind of lovely metallic symphony. 

Other posts about Toronto……

Tasting Toronto

The DeGrassi Girls

A Quick Dip Into the AGO

Visiting ICS Students in Toronto




Filed under Art, Canada, Toronto

On A Carousel

Yes. That’s my husband Dave riding on a carousel whose seat is made from an old shopping cart.  It’s actually a piece of cutting edge public art. Read about it on my blog Destination Winnipeg.  

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Filed under Art, Winnipeg

Meeting Hong Kong ICS Friends in Toronto- Part 2

lunch with tim and connieDuring on Toronto visit we were delighted to be able to arrange to have lunch with Tim and Connie Wong. We taught in Hong Kong with Tim at ICS for all of our six years there. Tim was the elementary school principal and Connie worked as the librarian at another international school.
with tim and connie in torontoThey moved back to Toronto in 2012. Tim continues to serve long distance as the administrator of a private school in China which he founded, and he and Connie are administrators and facilitators of an after school program in Toronto. They are enjoying being so close to their families, since their siblings and parents all live in Toronto. Their children are happy to be getting to know their many cousins so well. Last year Tim’s whole extended family enjoyed a trip to Florida.

at tim and connie's for thanksgivingTim and Connie were noted at our school in Hong Kong for the annual Thanksgiving party they hosted for everyone on our staff who hailed from Canada on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. They provided great food, lots of red and white decorations and games that tested our knowledge of Canada complete with prizes.

It was good to reminisce about our time together in Hong Kong with the Wongs and also talk about what we’ve been doing since returning to Canada.

Other posts about reunions with Hong Kong friends……

Meeting Hong Kong ICS Friends in Toronto -Part 1

ICS Reunion in Colorado

Visiting With the Hubbards

Visiting the Jangs in Hawaii

The Burnetts and Tad Come to Manitoba

Rebekah Comes to Manitoba

So Proud of Them- ICS Students in New York

Visiting Karen Lee in Chicago

Visiting the Weiss’ in Chicago

Visiting Rosana in Chicago

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Filed under Canada, Hong Kong, Toronto

Meeting Hong Kong ICS Friends in Toronto- Part 1

Here’s Dave with Jon and Ivan, two of our former students from the international school we taught at in Hong Kong. We were at the Toronto Blue Jays game.  Toronto was playing The New York Yankees and the stands were nearly empty since the Blue Jays haven’t been playing well. The Jays won this game but I admit they didn’t get a great deal of cheering from us. We were busy catching up with Ivan and Jon.  

Last October when we got together with Jon he was starting his final year at the University of Toronto studying English and history. At the time he was working for a student magazine and had written some articles for the University of Toronto newspaper. He graduated from university in spring and is just finishing up a six-month internship with The Walrus a national Canadian magazine and is hoping to find a job in the journalism field. If nothing materializes soon he may go to Washington DC where his older sister lives and look for work there.  John gave us three issues of The Walrus which he has worked on as an intern. We are enjoying his excellent articles. One of them contained an editor’s note from John MacFarlane which is a tribute to their interns like Jon.

Eating with some of our former Hong Kong students in Toronto 2012

When we visited with Ivan last year he was a student at York University and is continuing in his program there this year hoping to become a physical education teacher. He is enjoying his school placement.  His parents came to Toronto this summer to visit him so he didn’t go back to Hong Kong. He is still dating a medical student from Washington DC. Ivan is back in the dorm this year after living off-campus last year because he is a residence assistant (RA) this year. 

It was great to catch up with a couple of our former students during our short stay in Toronto. Hopefully we can get together with a few more students on our next visit. 

Other posts about reunions with people from Hong Kong………..

ICS Reunion in Colorado

Visiting With the Hubbards

Visiting the Jangs in Hawaii

The Burnetts and Tad Come to Manitoba

Rebekah Comes to Manitoba

So Proud of Them- ICS Students in New York

Visiting Karen Lee in Chicago

Visiting the Weiss’ in Chicago

Visiting Rosana in Chicago

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Filed under Education, Hong Kong, People, Toronto