Monthly Archives: July 2013

The River and Bridge Walk in Saskatoon

Saskatoon is known as the City of Bridges. My favourite walking route is along the South Saskatchewan River between Broadway Bridge and Railway Bridge. On this walk, I am going to take you through the most scenic part of Saskatoon, which also forms part of the route of the Saskatoon Marathon and Half Marathon, in case you want to race there one day.

I begin my walk through a nice residential area near the Royal University Hospital to Broadway, which is considered to be a “hip” area of town and I arrive at  the Broadway Bridge.

Looking south, I see the Victoria Bridge (also known as the Iron Bridge) which is now closed to traffic due to its age. Looking over the bridge on the river bank, I see some painted stones. University Bridge is to my north. The Meevasin Trail runs on both sides of the river bank. I cross the bridge to the west bank of the river.

I am on Spadina Crescent East. I have chosen to walk on the tree-lined sidewalk by the Kiwanis Memorial Park to look at some city sights to reach the Bessborough Hotel. The Meevasin Valley Trail runs through the park, but at this time of the summer, tents have been set up in the park for the outdoor Shakespeare production and I decide not to go into the park.

I press on, past the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, and take the underpass of the University Bridge to avoid the intricate network of pedestrian crossings to continue on Spadina Crescent East. On my right is a residential area and on the left is the river overlooking the University of Saskatchewan campus. The Mendel Museum is my next landmark. This is the best part of the walk: I inhale the air imbued with morning freshness and slow down to admire the ancient trees with a canopy of leaves looking emerald green after the rain from the night before.

The next bridge I reach is the Railway Bridge at the Meevasin Waterworks. I walk on the bridge to take some pictures of the very full river–Saskatoon is lucky enough to escape the flood that has created havoc in Calgary since a month ago.



This is my turn around point. I do not cross over to the other side of the river to use the trail by the university campus, because it is more deserted. I decide to walk on the trail on the same bank I have come up and it is better maintained.

University Bridge is in sight. A monument marks the ramp to the Bridge. By this time, the sun has come out. I take a look towards the Broadway Bridge, and another look at the Railway Bridge to absorb the scenery. I  say goodbye to the river the bridges and return home on another tree-lined residential avenue.

Sonel’s Black and White Weekly Photo Challenge: ABSTRACT

This is my first time entering Sonel’s Black and White Challenge with pictures for the theme Abstract. I am inspired by blog friend Michael’s post in reitreediary in which he says, “We know what abstract is when we see one.”. When I walked past these two sculptures standing across the road from each other on Broadway, Saskatoon, I did not know what they were, but they certainly appeared “abstract” to me.



A Kurelek Connection in Saskatoon


William Kurelek was born in Alberta Canada to Ukrainian parents and his grandparents came to Edmonton in 1924 in the second wave of Ukrainian immigration. Kurelek was a prolific painter in spite of his short life. He was renowned for depicting the life of early settlers, particularly Ukrainian pioneers in his paintings. Several members of the board of directors of the Ukrainian Museum in Saskatoon met Kurelek to commission him to paint a collection to celebrate Canada’s Centennial. Kurelek spent about three years between 1964 and 1967 and produced 20 paintings focussing on the life of the pioneer Ukrainian women. He was working in his studio in Toronto at that time. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada did not have enough funds for all the paintings, and only paid Kurelek for twelve of them, now on display in the Special Collection Gallery behind the brass door, which were the original front doors of the museum in the Ukrainian Museum in Saskatoon.

This is undoubtedly a precious collection that I have not come across before in publications on Kurelek’s art. Six smaller paintings in glass frames recorded the daily chores of the pioneer women–serving a meal, painting pysanka (Easter egg), engaging laundry, daily prayer, embroidery, and helping a child to read. Each painting tells a story and one is naturally drawn towards the facial expressions of the figures in an attempt to guess what is on their mind or what they are saying.

Six larger paintings are about community life, such going to church, farming, an outdoor picnic and dance. This painting is unique in that it shows a meeting of the Association of Ukrainian Women in session.


I like this one with aurelius borealis in the night sky with mother and daughter returning with their supplies.


The community party with exudes gaiety and festivities is more well-known  and a little boy, likely Kurelek himself, has climbed up the tree to watch the activities and scenes like this are based on the painter’s recollection of his childhood in the prairies.


This collection is painted in oil on panel. The details and the fineness of the stroke are the work of a great master. One has to be face to face with the painting to appreciate the talent of Kurelek.

The Gallery also presents a documentary made in 1983 on Kurelek. There is  sub-titles if you do not know Ukrainian.

Ukrainian Museum of Canada, 910 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Konga Cafe: A Taste of the Caribbean in Saskatoon

I am in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for  few days. There is a small restaurant that my friend and I like to go to every time I visit for Caribbean food. Konga Café is situated in a non-descriptive plaza in the fringe area of town, but the moment you enter, you know you are in a friendly family-run eatery that only the enlightened locals and visitors would come.

You cannot miss the open kitchen near the entrance. This is to allow you to say “hello” to chef owner Eddie or for him to spot you and greet you. The décor is vibrant and and relaxed. Colourful paintings by children are pinned up as part of the decoration. The restaurant does not have a big menu, but their signature dishes are well-known.

This evening I ordered mahi mahi with Caribbean rice, and my friend ordered the spicy ribs, because it was all right to get messy with familiar company. The food was hearty and delicious. We could not resist the key lime pie as dessert, and it is freshly made every day.

Chef Eddie had a moment to spare and came to the table to greet us. He also handed us his own concoction of a shooter-drink for a toast. No wonder all of us kept coming back. If you happen to be in Saskatoon, look out for Konga Café. Their curry goat is another must try.

Konga Café, 204 Avenue H.N., Saskatoon, SK

Konga Cafe on Urbanspoon

A Word A Week Challenge: UNEXPECTED

I was walking across Broadway Bridge in Saskatoon. When I looked over the south side of the bridge, I saw the most UNEXPECTED sight: Painted rocks and stones!  (I am very pleased that it fits Sue’s A Word A Week Theme : Unexpected for this week.)


I had no idea who did them or how they got there along the river bank, and people I asked did not seem to know either. Anyway, it’s a fun and pretty sight. Saskatoon has more interesting things to discover than most people think. To give you a better idea, this is the location (A):

PLEASE click here to see a bigger view of where the rocks are:,+Saskatoon,+SK&hl=en&ll=52.121459,-106.659208&spn=0.000484,0.000955&sll=49.303974,-84.738438&sspn=11.814539,31.289062&oq=broadway+bridge+saskta&t=h&hq=Broadway+Bridge,&hnear=Saskatoon,+Division+No.+11,+Saskatchewan&z=20

Tracing the History of Ukrainian Immigration in Saskatoon


I lived near the Royal University Hospital on the eastern side of town during my recent visit to Saskatoon. Located across the South Saskatchewan River on the west bank is the Ukrainian Museum of Canada. The museum is governed by a board of directors under the authority of the Ukrainian Women’s Association, which was instrumental in establishing the museum in 1936, and for its move to the present location in 1979. The museum has been collecting artifacts from across Canada to preserve the Ukrainian heritage in this country .

The museum has three exhibit areas. The Main Gallery has a permanent exhibition on the history of Ukrainian immigration to Canada, the Special Collection Gallery is dedicated to the paintings of William Kurelek, and a  Feature Gallery displaying the other collections of the museum, which otherwise are stored in the basement,  on a periodic basis.

The Main Gallery features articles collected primarily from the first wave of immigration of the Ukrainians to Canada. The exhibits tell the story of how hardship in Ukraine around 1890 -1913, combined with the promotion of immigration from Canada motivated many Ukrainians to leave their homes and travelled to Winnipeg, Edmonton and Saskatoon. The Canadian government gave each family 160 acres of land–a homestead–for the value of only $10 with the only condition that the immigrants must farm the land. There are immigration documents, land deeds, birth certificates and baptism papers on display. Household artifacts–farming implements, spindle and loom–and a large collection of costumes and accessories from western Ukraine are among the exhibits. The embroidery is complicated and delicate. There were an entire cabinet of pysanky (Ukrainian painted Easter eggs) and detailed explanations on the symbolism of the colours and how a pysanka is made.


The first wave of immigration was halted by the First World War. When it resumed, the second wave continued up to the Second World War, and the third wave took place in the 1950’s. The last two waves were not as massive an exodus, because there was no incentive from the Canadian government. After Ukraine became an independent state in 1981, immigration continued at a steady pace.

The collection is well presented and educational. At the end of my tour, I develop a deep respect for the Ukrainian women in the pioneer days for their hard work in maintaining the household and daily routine while the men were occupied in farming and mining. Their influence has carried on into the present day with the establishment of this museum and their effort to secure a special collection of William Kurelek’s paintings. More on this when I write about the Kurelek collection.

Ukranian Museum of Canada, 910 Spadina Crescent E., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

A Few More Awards Have Arrived!

It’s about time I thanked a couple of kind blogging friends for their support and generosity in bestowing me a some new awards.

In March, Mama Bear Musing gave me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Award Inspiring

I thank dmauldin53, and since I have been awarded this award before, I refer you to my previous post about  what I have said about myself.

In May, The Seeker passed on the Sunshine Award, I Am Part of the WordPress Family Award and Super Sweet Blogging Award, and stipulated no rules.

Sunshine Award fromTerry1954Wordpress Family Award from ShilpirajputSuper Sweet Blogging Award from Shaun

I have a sweet tooth, and so I am pleased to accept again the Super Sweet Blogging Award from dmauldin53 a couple of days ago.

1 super-sweet-blogging-award21w6451-1

The questions I have to answer are:

1.  Cookies or Cake?    Cake    2.  Favourite sweet treat?   Crème Caramel, made from real ingredients  3. Sweet Nickname?   Sorry, I don’t have one   4. What is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for you?   The first one that comes to mind is that my daughter volunteered to make (her first) a Christmas cake for the family and spared me the work last year   5.  What is your sweetest memory?   I accepted a challenge and ate half a dozen Chinese egg tarts

I am now nominating 5 people/blogs for the Super Sweet Blogging Award (alphabetical order):

Bea’s Bites


Hanno Phenn

Janet’s Notebook

Sassy Earl Grey

On the same day, The Seeker sent out several awards as a token of appreciation. I thank The Seeker and accept the following tokens to be passed on.

fWordpress Family Award from Shilpirajput

Here are the bloggers I wish to thank and please feel free to accept one or more of these Awards (Very Inspiring Blogger Award, Sunshine Award, Super Sweet Blogging Award, I am Part of the WordPress Family Award, Best Moment Award and Inner Peace Award). To avoid duplication, the only rule is that you write a post to accept the award(s) with a link to this post, display the icon(s) of the award(s) and pass it on to five to ten bloggers. Feel free to talk about yourself if you like.

A New Day

Add Grain On Earth

Allyson Mellone

Bam’s Blog

Mary Gilmartin

Francine in Retirement

It’s In The Picture-365


Sequins and Cherry Blossoms

The World is A Book

It is wonderful to know you in blog sphere. Blog on, everyone!

A Word A Week Challenge: DISTANT

A Word in My Ear has announced this week’s A Word A Week Challenge to be “Distant”. Bringing in “Distant” in photography involves another perspective to look at objects or landscape.

My first pick is an aerial photo of a road in outback Australia. The highway interestingly divides the landscape into a green zone with vegetation and an area which seemed to have suffered from a forest fire.


Looking from Centrepoint in Sydney, Australia, there are the inlets of Sydney Harbour and the horizon in the distance.


Another photo I have taken from a distance is the Big Buddha on Lantau Island in Hong Kong on my cable car ride.


Brandenburg Concerti at the Brott Music Festival

1-IMG_0559 The Complete Brandenburg Concerti featured The National Academy Orchestra, now celebrating its 25th anniversary under the artistic direction of Boris Brott.  The orchestra presented the six Brandenburg concerti in two concerts (matinee and evening) on the same day. I was only able to attend the evening concert with Concerti No. 2, 6 and 5 on the programme. The venue was the Studio Theatre of the Burlington Performance Arts Centre which housed 200 people, and it was a full house that night. The theatre provided the perfect room-size and good acoustics for chamber music.

(Source: Burlington Performing Arts Centre Facebook)

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 is famous for its trumpet part, which is reputedly the most difficult part in the entire repertoire. It was a bright piece of music to open the concert with over twenty musicians on stage.  When the trumpet was not playing in the second movement, the violin, clarinet and flute trio blended in to a calmer movement, before the trumpet returned in the third movement. The trumpet soloist gave a brilliant and commanding performance tonight.

The atmosphere became more intimate when the instrumentation called for only six musicians in Concerto No. 6. Only two violas were playing at the beginning and other instruments were graduatlly brought in . The energy built up, and the flow of the music continued. Overall, it was a mellow and beautiful piece featuring the violas and the cello, which was muted to produce the effect of the ‘viola da gamba’.

Concerto No. 5 brought back the rest of the orchestra and was a treat for harpsichord lovers. Bach probably was writing this piece for himself, and the harpsichord soloist gave a virtuoso performance. Since the concert went without an intermission, this was a warm and affectionate piece to close the evening with.

The reason I support the National Academy Orchestra of Canada was the opportunity and support it has given to young musicians, mostly recent graduates from music programmes, who still need the mentorship of established musicians in how to become a professional musician. This orchestra provides a unique platform for these musicians to work with experienced professionals before they join major orchestras in North American and around the world. This evening’s concert is the best illustration of this philosophy. Emerging musicians were performing with professionals, who took on the leading or principal parts on the trumpet (Robert Weymouth), the viola (Brendon Chui), the harpsichord (Borys Medicky) and the oboe (Tamsin Johnston), and led by their enthusiastic concertmaster Joseph Lanza. The younger musicians may occasionally missed the flair of the concerti, but the music quality is made up by their focus and discipline in making music. An added bonus was the succinct and very well-written programme notes. I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.


I like to participate in Jake’s Sunday Post, because his themes often allow the bloggers to use both photography and writing the express their views. This week’s theme is Urban Design.


Recently I took a ferry to Toronto Islands from downtown Toronto to Ward Island and as I looked west towards the City with the CN Tower rising majestically above all the buildings surrounding it, I noticed the changes that had taken place on the east side of town. I could not help myself from reflecting on the efforts towards urban design, or more precisely, the lack of it, in the City of Toronto.

The buildings along the shore of Lake Ontario are older buildings, some residential, and some commercial. High rise residential condominiums are burgeoning in the background. In fact, what lies between separating these developments is the Gardiner Expressway, which is the topic of debate in the City, for its lack of maintenance and failure to provide a thoroughfare to handle in increase in traffic of the City. The design of the City regrettably cannot pass the “functional, attractive and sustainable” test mentioned by Jake.


Looking west towards the City on my return ferry taken from Hanlan Point back to town, the new buildings that encircle Roger Centre (formerly known as Sky Dome, home of our baseball team the Blue Jays) again make the point. My blog friend Barbara recently made a trip downtown and drove on the Gardiner Expressway. She liked looking at the buildings along the way but did not like the drive. She was lucky to make it at the speed of 100Km/hr. Often I crawled at 50Km/hr.


The urban design of Toronto, especially downtown Toronto can be described as haphazard at best, and at its worst chaotic. Planning is piece-meal, short-sighted and good ideas are sometimes abandoned due to local protest. What is lacking in the mentality is a commitment to the good of the City rather than individual selfish interest. This is a picture looking from the City toward Toronto Island. There are redevelopment plans for the industrial land along the lake shore. Again, the Gardiner Expressway is in the way. (Photo from Wikipedia.)

Among the places I have travelled, I rank the effort and achievement in urban planning of Singapore top on the list. I have visited there in my pre-blogging days, and I really appreciate blog friend Sydney for writing about it.

The Perfect Kichen: Perfect Cantonese Dining


I live in the suburb and this means that every time my husband and I want to dine out in a Chinese restaurant, we have to drive about half an hour to get to somewhere we can find authentic Chinese food. I do not mean to belittle the local restaurants serving Chinese food in the ever-so-popular buffet style with primarily Chinese dishes and Japanese sushi. In fact, I go to them occasionally for an indulgence to sample many dishes in one seating.

I have been to the Perfect Kitchen in Mississauga, Ontario more than once. They serve a Cantonese menu and also have dim sum at lunchtime. Their food fits my definition of authentic Cantonese cuisine, and the price is reasonable. For three people that evening, we ordered two meats and a vegetarian hot pot. The stir fry beef was sizzling hot when it was served, and the sweet and sour spare ribs lived up to the standard of being one of my favourites on the menu. The mixed vegetables dish was the best.  There were baby bok choy, broccoli, spinach, carrots and  Chinese mushroom braised with vermicelli. All went well with a bowl of fluffy rice.

The Perfect Kitchen, Unit 1, 2075 Ridgeway Drive, Mississauga, Ontario.