by Anita Mae Draper
I've been on the road since May 22 with another week or so to go and let me say it's been a full schedule. But I wanted to tell you about a gem I found when and where I least expected it. That's what a gem is, isn't it? Something precious amidst the common?
My agenda had taken me from my home province of Saskatchewan, across Manitoba, and into Ontario where I drove along the northern shore of Lake Superior and Lake Huron until I reached cottage country. After a brief weekend in Barrie to attend the Ontario Genealogical Society conference I headed south to explore the agricultural land of our family history.
June 10th found me driving south again to attend the Write Canada conference in North York, a suburb of Toronto, but which has been absorbed into Canada's largest city. The day was wet and dreary, concrete and glass grew where once farms had stood, and all I wanted was to get to my hotel room and vegetate for a while. But I still had miles to go, and with every mile, the buildings filled in more of the space.
When I finally got to the hotel, I had to drive down into the parking garage. I can tell you I wasted no time getting my things and leaving my vehicle, although I did remember to take iphone pics of my car with a numbered post beside it, as well as the number of the parking level.
And then finally... finally ... I opened the door of what would be my sanctuary for the next few days. As I drew open the drapes, I caught my breath. The clouds had blown aside and sun was shining down on a welcoming garden and grass scene. I took some pics and posted one on facebook.
Later, as I gazed down, I saw a picket fence leading to a well-mulched garden. Of course, a picket fence is something quite common in a small town, but it's not often you see one surrounded by hi-rise office and apartment buildings.
However, this area seemed to have an Asian presence and that was reflected in the zen-like quality of the park on the west side of the wall that connects to the parking garage in the bottom left corner of the image. Over time I realized the park is not on a level, but rises as you enter on the bottom right, leveling off as you approach the wall, and then declines into the garden on the other side. The left side is referred to as Gibson Square.
This side of the wall is called, Gibson Park and once I saw that, I did some research and found that this land had once been the estate of Scottish immigrant David Gibson. A land surveyor who helped map early Toronto, Gibson built an 1851 Georgian mansion in what had been at that time a rural community.
Now called the Gibson House Museum, visitors can experience this elegant 1851 farmhouse through recipes and daily activities such as dipping candles and weaving on a loom. School groups are especially welcome.
In case you're wondering, the above photo isn't the side that I was looking at from my window. Here's a view of the Gibson House and the Novotel North York Hotel where I was staying. That triangular-shaped arch is on the hotel side of the street although it looks very close to the Gibson House.
And here's a news flash that at least one of our Inkies will appreciate... Sundays at Gibson House are special because it's the weekly get-together of the Keeping You in Stitches knitting and crochet group (Sep - Jun only), but June 21st is extra special because the group will bring their chairs out onto the lawn to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day! Yay!!!
Can't you just see everyone knitting outside? Or on the verandah in inclement weather?
We want to hear those knitting needles clicking everywhere this Sunday, so pass it on!
Have you ever participated in World Wide Knit in Public Day? Would you like to?
Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. Anita's short story, Here We Come A-Wassailing, published in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Volume 4, Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Present, Guideposts Books, October 2014, is a finalist for the Word Guild's 2015 Word Awards. Anita is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. You can find Anita Mae at www.anitamaedraper.com