Blossom cracking open.We are all hyper-aware of our immediate vicinity when we emerge from hibernation and look for signs of spring. And when we inspect our neighbourhood for incipient sprigs of green, we have our favourite spots. Architectural and topographical details subtly demarcate localities in ways we may only notice subconsciously. They are clues that tell us where we are in the city without looking at Google maps. Idiosyncratic gardens, structures or street configurations are our home touchstones, our local weird or unusual expressions of untrendy taste and individual vision that exemplify the diversity and variety of our city neighbourhoods. In this issue we explore and share what brings a smile, smirk or groan as sun and warmth return and we enjoy life outdoors, walking the streets.

Spring written in chalkHere today…

The instant ice and snow recede, the wheels and chalk come out and sidewalks in every neighbourhood bloom with the first pastel colours of spring.


River of History hedge.A Property of Art

Topiaries are usually not expressions of abstract art or movement. They are often the result of conventional design and constrained execution. Not this one. The partnership of a ‘tree artist’ and an encouraging homeowner has resulted in an extraordinary creation.

intro imageFrom Troubadours to Haiku: Nine Voices of Spring

To celebrate the arrival of spring (it IS coming) our erudite contributor, Robert Fisher, has chosen nine poems from the ages: classical, Chinese, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Japanese, and some more recent – as in the 19th century. Read, enjoy, think warm thoughts.

Rose featureSeeding Unconventional Gardens

Experience the great references of literature in your own backyard while you grow a sunflower house. Here’s how you can do both.


Bilton Lane.Bilton Laneway: Transforming Orphan Space

Who and what does it take to protect the trees and turn a trash-strewn laneway into a tiny community garden and social space?


yodaThe Morning Sun Who Knows No Setting

Resurrection is a wish, a religious belief, a myth as old as recorded history and as current as the latest sci-fi movie. Apropos of the vernal equinox and its attendant holidays, Robert Fisher recounts many versions of the concept.

featureRenovation imperfect

Why would anyone leave a dilapidated little hut attached to a beautifully renovated modern house in mid-town Toronto? We speculate.

Heart garden with sign.A Garden as a Public Gesture

A church site is always filled with religious symbols, and it is strange to see this non-Christian anomaly on their land. But that is a part of the point – it is not their land. Embedding a Native cultural symbol in the actual land is a very concrete recognition of this state of affairs.

0042-Abraham-Anghik-Ruben-Angatkuk-1Inuk Sculptor’s Connection to Toronto Began in a Dream

How did world-renowned Inu sculptor Abraham Anghik Ruben hook up with a Woodbridge art gallery and its Italian-Canadian owners? It started with a dream…