Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Wellness Post #3: Ice Breakers 2019

Welcome to the third Wellness link up of 2019! You might like to read my January wellness post here, and February wellness post here. Feel free to join in on the fun with your recent or past wellness-related posts every second Wednesday of the month.


I was at home the month of February which made it easier than when I travel to achieve my health goals. I use a simple sheet to keep track of all my goals for 2019, and write a monthly wrap up on my blog. My February wrap-up, including my Health activities, is posted here.


For this month's Wellness post, the optional prompt is Indoor or Outdoor Fitness. I live in Ontario, Canada. In the winter months, the weather is unpredictable so it's necessary to do fitness activities both indoor and outdoor to stay healthy throughout the year.

Today, I'm sharing my 'fit and fun' outing to the Ice Breakers 2019 event in Toronto's Waterfront area. This is an annual outdoor event that showcases five winners of the Ice Breakers International Design Competition. Let's take a closer look at the five installations.


1. Tweeta-Gate by Eleni Papadimitriou and Stefanos Ziras of Space Oddity Studios SOS (Athens, Greece) - I like the yellow colour, the different shapes of the gates, and the small bells attached to the corners of each gate in this design. When you reach the end of the gate, you can see Lake Ontario.

Tweeta-Gate. Ice Breakers 2019

2. Chroma Key Protest by Andrew Edmundson of Solve Architects Inc. (Toronto, Canada) - I like the green colour and the simplicity of this design. The twenty-five wood buoys are anchored in a basin so I can look at them from the bridge but cannot touch them.

Chroma Key Protest, Ice Breakers 2019

3. Stellar Spectra by Rob Shostak and Dionisios Vriniotis (Toronto, Canada) - I like how this art installation invites interaction. When I look at the two light grey columns from the side walk, they are not that interesting. However, when I step inside each column and look up, I see warm colours (red, orange, yellow) in one column, and cool colours (blue, green, purple) in the other.

Stellar Spectra, Ice Breakers 2019

4. Tripix by Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada) - The modern look of this design is interesting. When I examine it closely, the reflective panels and how light gets through the gaps give a kaleidoscopic effect.

Tripix, Ice Breakers 2019

5. Connector by Alexandra Griess and Jorel Heid (Hamburg, Germany) - I like the striking orange colour of this design and how it invites interaction. I've seen children speak into the black mouth pieces at the corners and listen to the sound transmission.

Connector, Ice Breakers 2019

  • Raised heart rate from the brisk walk outdoors.
  • An enjoyable walk along the waterfront on a sunny day. 
  • Positive sensory experiences from the visual art exhibits, the clear blue skies, the lake view, the sound of the bells, the touch and feel of most exhibits, the sunlight, and the cold air.

OVERALL RATING: I gave this outing five out of five points, one point for each of the following:
  • Affordability: Admission to the event is free.
  • Elements that support wellness: The art installations are along the Waterfront Trail which is open year round to cyclists, joggers, and pedestrians.
  • Fun: The art exhibits are interesting and interactive.
  • New experience: It was my second visit to the Ice Breakers event so I'm familiar with the event but the exact locations of the art installations changed slightly. I wrote about Ice Breakers 2018 here.
  • Uniqueness: The Ice Breakers event is once a year and each year five new winners are chosen.

I was pleased with how well this winter outing turned out. I left the Ice Breakers art installations feeling energized and joyful. Another fun walk, another good day!

I look forward to doing more fit and fun walks in the Spring. The next Wellness link up will be on Wednesday, April 10. Optional prompt: Healthy Mind.

Which of the above five winners do you like the most? I'd love to hear your comments.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

A Walk to Canoe Landing Park

Two days after a major snowstorm, on the first day of March, we had sunny skies with calm wind and the high temperature near freezing point. It was perfect for my 'fit and fun' walk to Canoe Landing Park.

Canoe Landing Park is an urban park created in 2009 in downtown Toronto. Its total area is 8 acres (3.1 ha). Its location is adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway, a municipal expressway, running close to the shore of Lake Ontario.

What makes Canoe Landing Park visually interesting are the standalone art pieces by Douglas Coupland, the Vancouver artist, author, and sculptor.

Here's a closer look at the art creations:

1. The Red Canoe: The canoe is large enough for people to stand in and see over the Gardiner Expressway to Lake Ontario. It's placed on a hill made from on-site excavated fill and geosynthetic reinforcements. Some 20,000-25,000 dump truck loads of fill were diverted from landfills.

The Red Canoe

2. Iceberg Benches are a pair of benches situated near the canoe. On a clear day, one can sit on the benches and have a panoramic view of Lake Ontario to the south and the high-rise buildings surrounding the park.

Iceberg Benches

3. Fishing Bobbers: A colourful display of twelve large fishing bobbers adds visual interest, especially on the white snowy ground. In the summer, when sprinklers are turned on, this area becomes a fun splash pad. Imagine running around, or in and out of the fishing bobbers with water spraying.

Fishing Bobbers

4. Beaver Dam: It's a sculptural beaver dam situated near the fishing bobbers, not a real one :) Due to the snow, my photo did not show the sticks and branches similar to what beavers use for their dams.

Beaver Dam

5. Terry Fox Miracle Mile: It's a one mile run named after Terry Fox, the Canadian athlete who ran the cross-country Marathon of Hope in April 1980 to raise money for cancer research. His life story and actions are incredibly moving and inspiring.

Map of Terry Fox Miracle Mile

6. Heart-Shaped Stone: This bronze artwork was cast from a stone retrieved by Terry Fox's brother at the end of his journey. Terry Fox was forced to end his run after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi). He died at the young age of 22.

Heart-Shaped Stone

The beautiful sunshine encouraged me to continue my walk from Canoe Landing Park to the lake front. There I saw lots of seagulls, ducks, birds, and a few white swans.

Seagulls on Lake Ontario

Swans in Toronto Harbour

Then it was time to head home. I felt great and relaxed after walking outdoors in the sunshine and observing nature. Another fit and fun walk done, another good day!

I'd love to hear your comments.

Friday, 1 March 2019

February Wrap-Up

Greetings! This is my second monthly wrap-up in 2019. My January wrap-up was posted here. I plan to write a wrap-up for each month so I can look back and see how well the year has turned out.



In February I viewed two visually interesting outdoor art events titled Icefest 2019 and Ice Breakers 2019, and two wonderful indoor art exhibits titled Same Dream by Omar Ba, and Mapping Worlds by Shuvinai Ashoona.

I wrote about my visit to the Icefest 2019 event here. The Ice Breakers blog draft is in progress. Each of the two indoor art exhibits had about thirty or more beautiful paintings. Taking photos without flash was allowed so I took several photos and might share some of them in another blog post. In the interim, I included two photos below.

Omar Ba is an artist born in Dakar, Senegal. He lives and works between Dakar and Geneva. His works have been shown in Belgium, Switzerland, the UK, and Senegal.

Art by Omar Ba

Shuvinai Ashoona lives in Kinngait (formerly known as Cape Dorset) on the southern tip of Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada. Her work has been shown in various galleries and museums in Canadian cities.

Art by Shuvinai Ashoona


In February I blogged about my travels to explore some of the main attractions in Guatemala, my fit and fun walk to see Icefest Hollywood North ice sculptures and ice carving demonstrations, one monthly wrap-up for January, and one final update for my Winter Fun List.


I read seven books written by authors from Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA. I was kind of surprised that I could finish this many books in a short month like February.

  • Scrublands by Chris Hammer, 368 pages.
  • Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini, 48 pages - This book was inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis and the death of Alan Kurdi. The Afghan-American author, Khaled Hosseini, will donate author proceeds from this book to the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe.
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 432 pages - This book was made into a movie starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in 2014. The movie and the actress were nominated for several awards. It must be quite a thriller to watch.
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, 419 pages - I was so pleased to pick up and read this book which won the 2018 Giller Prize in Canada. Last time I checked, there were 1685 holds for 399 copies in the Toronto Public Library system. If you're looking for an award-winning Canadian author, add this book to your reading list.
  • Defending Jacob by William Landay, 421 pages.
  • The Widow by Fiona Barton, 336 pages. 
  • Family & Other Catastrophes by Alexandra Borowitz, 302 pages.


I attended two piano concerts performed by Rudin Lengo and Jean-Luc Therrien, one guitar concert by Louis Lawlor, and one choir and organ concert by Bach Children's Chorus at Roy Thomson Hall. The live singing and music were simply incredible.

Organ at Roy Thomson Hall


Sharing delicious food with my family and friends was the theme in February. Each week we had a food event: A potluck dinner with my family clan, followed by a potluck lunch with my yoga class, and a Mexican fiesta dinner on Family Day. There were desserts at each event, too. I also met up with my friends for three coffee and one lunch catch-ups. One of my friends is taking early retirement in March so it's an exciting time for her.

Potluck lunch


Being at home the entire February means I can be consistent with my fitness routine. I got in all my daily meditation time, and walked outdoors for forty-five minutes or more every day, except three Sundays which were my rest days. I also completed thirteen strength workouts in the gym, eight yoga classes, and four swimming sessions.


I continued my French an Spanish lessons on Duolingo, fifteen minutes for each language daily. I also learned about the new artists when I went to see their art exhibits or attend their concerts, and new authors when I read books that are new-to-me. I usually end up researching more about the artist or the author and their works.


I watched four movies in February. As we know by now Bohemian Rhapsody won four Oscars for Best Actor, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing, and Shallow from A Star Is Born won an Oscar in the Original Song category.
  • Johnny English Strikes Again starring Rowan Atkinson
  • Bohemian Rhapsody starring Rami Malek
  • The Front Runner starring Hugh Jackman
  • A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper


My sister and I booked a guided tour to Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia in March.  We're both looking forward to the trip. The weather forecast at our destinations definitely looks more spring-like than what we have at home at the moment.

Overall, February was a fun-filled month for me. I enjoyed time with my family and friends, and the continuity of my health and leisure activities. March is off to a great start with plenty of new things for me to explore and learn.

How was your February? What good things happened? I'd love to hear your comments.