When we lived in the wilds of Eastern Ontario, there was an Orchid Festival every year. There was a huge colony of Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchids at a conservation Area very close to our house. There were signs on all the country roads with arrows directing visitors to the area to the location. There was an (apparently) delightful boardwalk that they built to best be able to view the colony. I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t go. Not once in 11 years. I just kept saying that I was going to go, and kept finding a reason not to and kicking it into the next year. And when we moved, I still hadn’t gone. I kinda feel badly about that. There was this great thing that I just blew off – for 11 years.
So on Friday past, when I had a day of vacation and no gots-to-do items on the schedule, I decided that I would purposefully find Things To Do in Cambridge. No excuses. With the help of Facebook’s Events Near You and Eventbrite and the Events calendar on our city website and our local newspaper, I came up with my plan.
Ideas Unlimited Queen’s Square
The Queen’s Square location of Idea’s Unlimited (our local library system) is hosting Body of Waters. There’s a circuit of works in the exhibition that they change regularly so that not all works are out at the same time. When I was there, the center of the gallery was taken up by a piece called Nayaano-nibiliimaang Gichigamiin The Five Great Lakes, 2016 by Barry Ace. There are 5 blankets, with a sash across each one (at eye level for me). There are aboriginal symbology (the fire, the beaver, the thunderbird), and materials (the wool blankets, the beads, the horsehair), but the artist also used copper wire, capacitors, and resistors. The same artist created a water bag that also used the same types of materials. The exhibit was trying to make you think about bodies of water, how we use that water, and the concept of flow. On the introductory information on one wall of the gallery, a sentence stuck with me as I wandered: “A human body is also a body of water”.
After I left the library, I sat on a bench on the edge of the field in front of the Galt cenotaph. I always look at war memorials. They’re their own art. Often very similar with a soldier or an angel, or the sword of sacrifice. Friday, though, it was a very different experience on a midsummer day than in November, when I’m there for Remembrance Services. In November, the library has snipers on the roof… just in case. I thought about that, as I sat on the edge of the field. I’ve spent many Remembrance Days there, mostly in the same location on the side of the field, helping to direct cadets who’ve helped to lay wreaths on the cenotaph to fall back in with the corps where they’ve formed up on the grass. I stood in front of the cenotaph for a while, said my We Will Remember Them, and moved on.
Design at Riverside
The Waterloo School of Architecture building on the Grand River in Galt hosts a lovely restaurant called the Melville Cafe, and a small gallery that’s also part of the Ideas Unlimited campus. I had lunch at the Melville, and waited for the the gallery to open at noon.
The Common Waters exhibit had pieces that themed around shared waters. Some pieces were about the environment, history, or sustainability. It certainly complimented and built on the experience at Queen’s Square. although it wasn’t purposefully a part of the project. There is an additional project site at the Bridge Center for Architecture and Design – I didn’t visit that one, but there are other NoWorkonFriday days left in the summer for additional excursions.
After this, I was going to go to the Cambridge Sculpture Garden on the Grand. The Unsilent Night circuit often passes through the garden, but I’d never seen it in daylight. There’s some construction going on because of the development of the Gaslight project, and it’s difficult to find parking in that area right now. I recommend the visit, but go on off hours, so the parking situation doesn’t make you turf the idea. To be honest, that’s what happened to me – live to park another day.
The Potting Shed
There’s a little store attached to the side of a house at the end of a wind-ey laneway at the south end of Cambridge. I didn’t even know it was there, except that Facebook said that they were having a midsummer sale. Worth a look, right?
After I bought a wrought iron daisy for my garden, it was time for Marble Slab Creamery’s Free (for CAA members) Ice Cream Sandwich day! I got double chocolate chip cookies, with mint ice cream. I have no regrets. But I feel like any of them – peanut butter cookies with chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip with vanilla ice cream, oatmeal with… maybe also vanilla… Anyway, I feel like any of them would have been a good addition to my day.
I like street art. I like being stopped by trains so that I can see the graffiti on the sides. Several years ago, someone painted an eye on the front of an engine that was parked on a spur line near my house. I passed it on a walk with Louie, at night and without my phone. When I was able to return to take the picture, of course, it was gone. Murals are a-whole-nother thing. In Cincinnati and Covington in February, there were murals everywhere as part of their city beautification initiative. Same thing in Madeira Beach and St. Petersburg last month. Every time a mural that goes up somewhere, I think that’s pretty great that someone would give an artist a whole side of a building to beautify. Cambridge has a Street Art festival in June where artists were able to do chalk murals, but a few years back, there were a few permanent murals added to the mix as well. A new one showed up in Galt recently:
I love that there’s a defined spot on the ground so that you can take your picture (doesn’t work so much with a selfie, unless you’ve got a stick, I guess).
I visited a few others that I like, including birdo (in the alley on the side of the Cornerstone furniture store):
After all this, I had good intentions of going to the Hespeler Farmer’s Market, but did not. I also had good intentions of taking a picture of the sun mural in Preston. Also did not. Those will be part of a different wander.
I’m glad I did this. It gave me lots of ideas for other things I want to record. I quite like living where I do. Best to celebrate everything that it has to offer… even if I pace myself figuring out what all those things are.
Cambridge International Street Art Festival (CBC article)