Searching for Spring at Cawthra Estate
Words and Photography by Ann Ivy Male
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”― Margaret Atwood,Bluebeard’s Egg
It’s no secret that we have just emerged from one of the longest and coldest winters in years. But now, it appears that even spring is taking its sweet time. Not to worry though, in Mississauga, spring has indeed arrived—you just have to know where to look for it. A few days ago, I decided to dust off the rain boots and head to Cawthra Estate to see if the trilliums were in bloom. Cawthra Estate’s entranceway is south of the QEW at 1507 Cawthra Rd., but once you park the car and start walking along the trail, you quickly forget that a highway of speeding cars and trucks is just meters away.
The 27-acre property, also known as “Lotten,” is named after its location back in the early 1800’s—Lot 10. It is now owned by the city of Mississauga for public use and the house can be booked, through the city, for small functions.
The original owner, Joseph Cawthra, had the house designed to match his former home in Yorkshire, England and it was important to him that the grounds and gardens were created to reflect a natural charm. The city now maintains the grounds as an “Environmentally Significant Woodland.”
As soon as I started walking along the trail, it didn’t take me long to find early signs of spring. Many of the young trees had buds leafing out and new shoots of life were poking through the dark, decaying leaves of years past. The forest was covered with white trilliums and every now and then I’d find the odd red one. Native plants such as Mayapple, wild ivy and trout lily grace the forest floor, however as delicate and vibrant as they were, there was also an eerie sense of loss and destruction surrounding the grounds.
In my search for spring, it saddened me to see that the once dense canopy from the ash trees found in Cawthra forest is now under attack by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). If you live in Mississauga, you are most likely very familiar with this infestation. Many of our residential and wooded areas including Rattray Marsh, Huron Park and Grand Park Woods are severely under attack. The insect with its emerald green hue is a native of East Asia and is believed to have been brought over to North America in packing crates. It has been spreading at a vigorous rate since its arrival to Mississauga in 2008. For now, local and provincial forestry services have an overwhelming task of clearing dead trees and treating healthy ones with a natural insecticide called TreeAzin.
As I continued my walk along the pathways, signs of life and decay were all around me and it struck me that nature certainly is remarkable. It is giving us humans warning signs to slow down our need for mass consumption. Whether we choose to hear it, is another story. In our quest for cheaper goods we have imported a huge monetary expense and environmental threat in the form of the EAB. It is estimated that Canadian municipalities will face billions of dollars in expenses over the next 30 years to deal with this infestation.
On a more positive note however, I did discover that the forest is starting to thrive again with new saplings growing. The trees in the forest are falling and nature is listening, in spite of it all, it keeps showering us with its beauty and renewal—we just have to get our boots dirty and venture out in search of it.
1507 Cawthra Road
Seasons of Change: Kariya Park
Words and photography by Ann Ivy Male
“In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the origin of the stained glass window, with which Gothic cathedrals are adorned, in the colors of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Reflecting upon my visit to Mississauga’s Kariya Park in the spring of last year, I remember the pale pink petals dropping from the cherry trees, filling the air like the delicate snowflakes of winter.
And speaking of winter, it certainly has been a challenging one thus far. The polar vortex continues to bring frigid temperatures and the now-infamous ice storm of December caused power outages and tremendous damage to our city’s trees. Nevertheless, if you take these inconvenient realities out of our Canadian winter and come to appreciate the sheer beauty of this season, then you might revel in the calm, serene surroundings that Kariya Park has to offer.
With this in mind, I bundled up and went back to the park to capture its splendour, now blanketed under snow and ice. It was evident to me that Emerson was so insightful with his descriptive words of winter being a “stained glass window” on the sky. The snow on the ponds, pathways and bridges was the perfect backdrop for the shadows cast by “the bare and crossing branches of the forest.”
There was noticeable damage to the trees but no doubt with time, nature will put the pieces back together. Kariya Park was quiet, almost lonely—a far cry from that spring day with families walking along the paths, taking pictures and feeding the ducks. I must admit though, it felt good to walk around in solitude knowing with certainty that in a few short months, the snow in the form of cherry blossoms will return once again. If you are looking for an outing this winter, dress warm, grab a tea or hot chocolate and head to Kariya Park to experience our city’s natural “stained glass.”
Check out Ann’s winter/spring Kariya Park photos below!
Sound and vision at the Loft Gallery
Music in Me
Staff photo by Rob Beintema
MISSISSAUGA — A group of six artists have tapped into the powerful unifying nature of music for their latest exhibit in Port Credit.
Members of Art Divas Canada released their “Music in Me” collection of paintings and photography Friday night at the Loft Gallery.
The free exhibit, which runs until Sept. 20, features original works by Mississauga artists Halina Wyluda-Kazmierczak, Vanna Boghossian, Ann Ivy Male, Mona Engeset-Faustino, Iwona Kozibroda-Saniternik and Sylwia Piekielska.
“When you paint, you open your soul, and sometimes you can hear something inside yourself. Until you start expressing, it stays in you until you release it,” Wyluda-Kazmierczak said of the show’s theme.
However, transposing something you hear into something you see can be a challenge.
For instance, one of Wyluda-Kazmierczak’s four acrylic paintings showcased at the gallery, “Dance Me,” denotes sound with a three-stage, vibrant image of a dancer.
“I was trying to show movement in my painting. It’s difficult to show movement on a two dimensional canvas — I was trying by colour and form,” she said.
Kozibroda-Saniternik’s series of landscape abstracts also managed to overcome sensory limitations.
In her work “Winter’s Echo,” the moody blues and whites perpetually bounce off the reflection cast in the icy waters.
Similarly, the lively colours and texture of “Sounds of Fall,” speaks volumes to its viewer.
“Every colour gives you a sound,” said the Lorne Park resident.
Art Divas Canada formed in 2011. The 12-member, all-female group meet weekly to create at Wyluda-Kazmierczak’s Port Credit studio.
Twenty per cent of art sales from the show will be donated to the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.
“It’s for helping underprivileged kids to express themselves through art,” Wyluda-Kazmierczak said of the charity.
She added that the group previously donated $2,000 to the foundation from an auction they held last year.
The opening reception also included a live acoustic performance by Marc Hogan, Judy Whyte and Jay Kana, three-fifths of the local band Radio Road.
The Loft Gallery is located on 42 Port St. E.