Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Toronto)

Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Photo by Flickr user ilkerender.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery is a large cemetery that is the home of many famous and interesting people from Toronto, including the Massey family (the mausoleum for Hart Massey’s sons is the largest in the cemetery and was designed by E. J. Lennox, who also designed several important late nineteenth-century Toronto buildings, including Old City Hall), Frederick Banting and Charles Best (buried separately), the discoverers of insulin, former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, concert pianist Glenn Gould, and a lot more.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery is also a nice place to walk or jog around, with its wide paths and park-like, treed setting (it is home to one of the finest collections of trees in North America). It is a surprisingly nice setting.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery is located between Bayview Avenue to the east and Yonge Street to the west, and between the Belt Line Trail/Merton Street to the north and Moore Avenue to the south. Mount Pleasant Road bisects the cemetery.

World’s Largest Muskoka Chair

I am extra extra small today!
The World’s Largest Muskoka Chair.  Photo by Flickr user comicpie.

This 12-foot-tall muskoka chair is located at the side of the Muskoka Road at the south entrance to the town of Gravenhurst.  If coming from the south, exit Highway 11 at Highway 169, then make a quick left at Muskoka Road.  Makes for a nice photo opportunity.

The Big Apple

The Big AppleThe Big Apple. Photo by Flickr user srboisvert.

No, silly, not that Big Apple! Ontario’s Big Apple, also known as The World’s Biggest Apple, really is a big apple, kind of. Visible from Highway 401, this is a 3½-storey tall building in the shape of an apple. It’s used as a restaurant; don’t miss the delicious apple pies baked on site. Climb up to the top of the apple for a striking view of Lake Ontario, the Town of Colborne and the surrounding countryside.

There’s a lot else on the site as well. Watch pies being baked at the Pie Factory Bakery, play miniature golf, and check out the petting zoo and a nature trail. Parking is free. Located just off Highway 401 (exit 497) and north of the Town of Colborne. Open daily 7:30 am–7:00 pm.

There are a lot of rabbits running loose on the grounds. It isn’t clear whether these are domesticated rabbits that were dropped off, or whether local conditions are favourable to the wildlife.

Old City Hall (Toronto)

[photograph of Old City Hall, Toronto]

Old City Hall, Toronto

Located at the corner of Queen and Bay Streets, Toronto’s Old City Hall is an island of Victorian architecture in a sea of modern buildings and is definitely worth a look. The building was used as Toronto’s city hall from 1899 to 1965, barely escaped demolition when the Eaton Centre was planned, and is now a provincial courthouse. It was designated a national historic site in 1989.

Designed by architect E. J. Lennox (who also designed Casa Loma and the King Edward Hotel) in the Romanesque Revival architectural style, the building was completed in 1899. The sandstone exterior is beautifully carved and offers a lot of surprises to those who look closely. One curiosity of the carving is the grotesque faces above the main (Queen Street) entrance. Lennox, who felt shortchanged by the Toronto city councillors of the day, got his revenge by having the distorted faces of the councillors carved above the main entrance. There is also a figure of Lennox to be found as well. Lennox’ own face is not deformed and can be recognised by the handlebar moustache. As well, letters spelling E.J. LENNOX ARCHITECT A.D. 1898 can be found in the corbels under the roof.

Inside the building, the main entrance is a grand space, lined with marble columns with plaster capitals, and you will find a mosaic floor beneath your feet. Beside and between the entrance doors are painted murals commemorating pioneer life. Exhibit cabinets can be found on the main floor, on your left as you enter. One display describes the “Friends of Old City Hall”; the other displays photographs and artifacts. When court is not in session, the former city council chamber is also open to the public.

Crooks’ Hollow Conservation Area

Crooks’ Hollow Conservation Area encompasses much of the former village known as Crooks’ Hollow, now mostly a ghost town. This settlement was founded by James Crooks in 1805, who also built the area’s first grist mill, the Darnley Grist Mill, in 1813, and at one time was one of the largest industrial sites in Ontario. However, the railways bypassed Crooks’ Hollow, and it declined. The Darnley Mill burned in 1934 and was left in ruins.

Darnley Grist Mill Ruins at Crooks HollowCrooks’ Hollow features a walking trail that traverses much of the site of the former village. The trail starts from the main parking lot on Crooks Hollow Road.  Interpretive signs mark the locations of many of the buildings, which is a good thing because most of the locations are now just grassy fields. Somewhat more spectacular are the ruins of the Darnley Grist Mill. The mill ruins can be found on the opposite side of the road, just east of Cramer Road, where Spencer Creek crosses Crooks Hollow Road. Also visible from the road, but better seen by following the trail in, is the Darnley Cascade and the ruins of various water control devices.

In the vicinity are some privately-owned houses, some of which date to the heyday of the village.

If you’re entering the conservation area, admission is $8 per car, or walking in $3 per person. This admission also gets you into Spencers Gorge/Webster’s Falls Conservation Area.