My last Jane’s Walk of the weekend – Frame Your Neighbourhood – was truly about neighbourhood through an observers eye. We met at DeeDee’s Ice cream (it’s the BEST) where Emma Fitzgerald who led the walk, introduced the neighbourhood and then invited us to take a cardboard cut out frame and explore the area; we were to meet up, after sketching for about an hour, at the local municipal library.
A young woman in the group and I set out together. We shared some of our observations and then began to sketch. We met, separated and drew together up and down the streets, eventually making our way to the library. Others from the walk were already gathered and sketch books were spread out on the benches. We added ours to the parade. People shared the little stories of their individual explorations and experiences. These stories were snapshots and vignettes that sometimes explained their sketches and sometimes were simple commentary on the experience of being in the neighbourhood.
I had chosen to attend this walk with some trepidation, but the brochure said “no drawing experience necessary” and I reminded myself of this as I prepared my makeshift sketch book that morning and as I arrived and saw the others’ “real” sketch books; and then again as we arrived at the library and I placed my modest sketch on the bench. Anyone who reads this blog will know that I take pictures to tell the stories of my walks and I do enjoy this process. Sketching for Frame Your Neighbourhood was similar and different. It led me to make different observations and be present in a different way. Below is a copy of my sketch and then a photo of the house…I hope you can see the relationship between the two images – both by an amateur, and both achieved by a process of quiet observation.
A few more pictures of the walk are up on flickr.
This past weekend there were Jane’s Walks all over world; and there were walks here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. There were 15! And I walked 5. On Saturday, the local walks began with A hidden gem, Oathill Lake in which the Oathill Lake Conservation Society led a walk around the lake. What a great way to meet neighbours, learn about the society’s activities, the health of the lake and it didn’t hurt that the weather was fabulous too.
For the next walk, Walkers’ Walk, we rambled between three cemeteries in Dartmouth – on a walk mixing bits of history, personal story, art and sharing. Barbara Lounder who led the walk invited participants to take rubbings in Mount Hermon Cemetery – making the visit to the cemetery personal.
The route took us by the Park Avenue Community Oven – really, really neat! – definitely planning to go back and make pizza. And there was cake and Walker shortbread cookies too!
We ended the walk at St. Paul’s Cemetery near the Dartmouth Waterfront. This cemetery is located by a Mi’kmaw burial ground which has been reclaimed from what was a municipal park. We were fortunate to speak to a Mi’kmaq elder, who generously shared his thoughts and knowledge with us there.
More pictures of the walks are found on flickr. Later this week, I hope to post about some of the other walks on the weekend.
Fallopia japonica, that’s the scientific name for Japanese knotweed. It has got to be the most vigorous, invasive plant that I have ever seen in an urban setting. Everyday that I walk to work, I pass some. It doesn’t matter which route – there it is pushing up through the pavement. And at this time of year, the dry stalks pushing up through the asphalt are clear and stark; no, lush, green growth covers this slow motion drama.
New growth – coming from the crown.
This plant grows all over Nova Scotia and there is a wealth of information online. From images to scientific papers like this one submitted for a MSc at Dalhousie University.
Dollar Lake – quiet and contemplative today.
With all the snow this winter there has been fabulous skiing around Halifax. Dollar Lake provincial park has excellent skiing although after the rain yesterday trails are icy now!. We walked to the lake from the outside gate. Its about 45 minutes along an open road (completely snow/ice covered!). We met a family with young kids having a snack under some pines, but once at the lake we were all alone and spent some quiet time enjoying the frozen lake.
The road to Dollar Lake is a bit tricky – so, coming from highway 102 take exit 5A, turn onto Aerotech Dr., then left onto Pratt and Whitney Dr. and then right onto the Old Guysborough Rd. and what looks like a regular Nova Scotian secondary road, highway 212. It is all highway 212, but not signed that way.
The Martock Nordic Ski Club maintains the cross country ski trails at Dollar Lake Provincial Park.
A beautiful fall weekend and beautiful fall colours in shades of orange and brown accented by a blue ocean and green spruce. Crystal Crescent Beach is one of my favorites (and for many Haligonians too!). We didn’t make it out to the point, since we started late in the day and stopped frequently to admire the view, and snap pictures. The sun was brilliant on the ferns and the fields were painted in sweeps of golden browns and orange browns.
Check out this post for more info on the trail itself and this one for more.
Exploring your neighbourhood – more to see walking
On Sunday last I had a lovely relaxing walk along Prince Albert Rd., around Sullivan’s Pond, over to Lake Banook and back along Prince Albert Rd. There is a new sculpture by Ilan Sandler at the Greenvale School (now loft apartments) – I really like it.
A walk around Sullivan’s Pond on a lazy Sunday afternoon is easy and relaxing.
To finish off the walk – cross Hawthorne St. to follow the path to Lake Bannook by way of lock one at the end of the Lake.
For the ambitious – Just before the lake is a city sponsored outdoor exercise area. Maybe next time, I’ll try these machines! For directions on this route check my HRM map (Sullivan’s Pond circle).
Tulip Street in Dartmouth has some keen residents who have banded together and planted hundreds and hundreds of tulips on their street. Really – 10,000. It’s quite marvelous. We’ve walked over a couple times and today I took my camera – so of course the skies opened and the light rain became a deluge – but still worth the walk and the view. More information about this neighbourhood initiative can be found in several news stories and on tulipstreet.ca.
The champion of this initiative has challenged nearby streets, Rose and Dahlia to try their hand too, with roses and dahlias of course! Won’t it be fun to see if there are more flowers next year?