An iconic skyline stands tall along the shores of Lake Ontario. People fill the streets with the hustle and bustle of progress. Where there were once "trees standing in the water," there now stands a modern city. The contemporary history of Toronto begins in the 1600's with French colonial exploration. Prior to the discovery, indigenous people occupied the region for thousands of years as an important trading route and meeting place. Eventually, the area became an outpost for the colonial powers. Today, Toronto is Canada's largest city and most prosperous economy. I have journeyed north just as spring arrives to visit the enchanting public parks, unique private gardens, and spectacular Niagara Falls with the 2015 Garden Bloggers Fling.
Canadians are a friendly people, welcoming strangers into their neighborhoods, homes and gardens. In Toronto, a system of biking trails leads through natural green spaces to neighborhoods all over the city. Everywhere locals were enjoying the outdoors in the warm spring weather. Harry Jongerden, Executive Director at Toronto Botanical Gardens, believes the quest for beauty in nature brings about conservation efforts. When the people appreciate natural environments, preservation becomes a priority.
Nature and Art, installation by sculptor Wojtek Biczysko at www.wojtekbiczysko.com
The Aga Khan Museum celebrates Islamic Art, Science, and Intellectual achievement. A couple years ago, I watched a fascinating documentary entitled East to West. Strangely it has been blocked and unavailable in the US. If you can find it, enlighten yourself. After 3 days of touring Toronto, Niagara Falls was on the itinerary as was rain. The majestic falls straddle the border between Canada and the United States. Located on the Niagara River, a combination of 3 falls were formed by glaciers during the last ice age. Horseshoe Falls is the largest and most breathtaking. Two hydroelectric dams divert 75% of the water for power, thus slowing the erosion rate to approximately 1 foot a year. Even at 25%, the falls are the highest flow rate in the world and an incredible experience.
During my 5 days in Canada, I made many wonderful new friends. The word most representative of the journey is Inspiration. Inspired by the gardens, the natural spaces, creativity, and friendly faces in the progressive city of Toronto. The Garden Bloggers Fling was a unique tribal experience as we gathered together for our love of plants, nature, design, and beauty. Thank you to our sponsors! The Royal Fairmont, Lee Valley Tools, Garden Design Magazine (my new favorite) and to all our Canadian Friends who made our trip remarkable. I love all my new products! See you next year.