UK Connexion Logo

The UK CONNEXION

Event Reviews

Stroll in Mount Pleasant Cemetery & Patio Supper
Sun, Sep 5, 2021
Christine organized a group of UKC-ers to meet on this lovely bright and sunny Sunday afternoon of September 5 to stroll around the cemetery with its interesting headstones and well-tended gardens. Small groups were well-involved in their own lively conversations and all-too-soon it was time for some of us to assemble at the Indian resto Christine had chosen just north of the cemetery, on Yonge Street.
We were seated on the patio – aka the road by the bike lane – but fortunately for us, on a Sunday evening around Davisville, there's not much traffic to contend with! The long wait for our food was actually worthwhile: the dishes are fragrant, well-presented, reasonably priced and extremely tasty!

Many thanks to Christine for organizing this and making time for us with her busy schedule, much appreciated!
Jackie B.

Philosophers Walk Stroll
Wed, Sep 1, 2021
On September 1 a small group joined host Maureen for a stroll through Philosophers Walk. It was a pleasant way to spend a late summer afternoon.

Sitting in the middle of Queen's Park it didn't feel like we were in the centre of a bustling city.
Linda G.

Smokeshow Jazz
Sun, Aug 22, 2021
Smokeshow Jazz Click on image for Slideshow
On Sunday, August 22 Marilyn G. generously hosted a lovely event at the Smokeshow Bar-B-Q & Brew. Nine of us were in attendance on this steamy summer's afternoon enjoying the cool air inside along with snacks while grooving to the sounds of York Jazz Ensemble, a swinging, nine-piece jazz orchestra. The music was fantastic.

Good times shared by attendees.
Donna W.

Golf Fun Day, Scarlett Woods
Sat, Aug 21, 2021
Golf Fun Day Click on image for Slideshow
Eight golf enthusiasts congregated at Scarlett Woods Golf Course on a very hot August 21st to have some fun and play a great round of golf. The trees along the fairway provided some much needed shade as the golfers played the course avoiding the sand traps and water holes. Fortunately, it did cloud over occasionally and around the 14th hole we experienced some very light showers refreshing us all.

Some well deserved refreshments were enjoyed on the Club House patio before concluding the day.
Jo-ann D.

Toronto Island Hike
Wed, Aug 18, 2021
Toronto Island Hike Click on image for Slideshow
The weather was 'iffy' both proposed dates, so we waited for the second date, and "steeled" ourselves for possible rain. Two individuals joined me on that Wednesday, and it was great to see some changes to the gardens from last month. Beautiful flowers. Took the same route from Centre to Wards, and the weather didn't disappoint, as we sheltered under umbrellas and trees along the boardwalk for a quick downpour in the warm weather. The brew at the Island Cafe was so welcome, along with the reasonable little lunch. Since we missed one ferry, we took the opportunity to go further into the rows of houses on Wards, enjoying both the lovely, the wrecks, and more wonderful plantings.

'Twas' a lovely midday activity.
Liz McG.

Granite Brewery Dinner
Sun, Aug 15, 2021
Granite Brewery Click on image for Slideshow
On Sunday August 15, twelve members sat down to a patio supper at The Granite Brewery on Mount Pleasant. Our charming host, Maureen D., welcomed us as we arrived and after some “sit down” mingling (observing COVID precautions) we ordered our drinks, followed by our food. The Granite has an excellent menu of pub grub with a decent selection of wines and some great tasting beer brewed on the premises. It also boasts free indoor parking which is easy to access. It was great to be with old friends and familiar faces and to be socializing once again. Wow, how we’ve missed it!

Thanks, Maureen, for an enjoyable evening and we hope you will do it again soon.
Christine Q.

Stroll in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery/Patio Supper
Sun, Aug 8, 2021
Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Click on image for Slideshow
On Sunday August 8, fourteen members met at the cemetery gates and took a stroll through a section of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery which, at 5 pm, was a peaceful time. Following our stroll, two members left us to enjoy their own pursuits, and the rest headed off to the Bull and Firkin at the corner of Yonge & Merton where the host had made reservations for the eight who elected to dine indoors and the other four who took their chances on finding a table on the patio. It worked out well for all of us and we enjoyed a tasty pub meal and a drink, along with intelligent conversation and a few laughs. We all agreed how great it was to be socializing once more!

Thanks to all who registered for the event. Hope to see you in September.
Christine Q.

Garden BBQ Lunch
Sun, July 25, 2021
Garden BBQ Click on image for Slideshow
Saturday, July 24, arrived with an ominous forecast of heavy rain in the early afternoon, so all those who had signed up for the garden barbecue lunch party to be held on that day were informed that the long-awaited event would be held on the alternative next day. Despite some unfortunate snags encountered the morning of Sunday 25 by the stalwart organizers (kudos to energetic Ann!) including collapsing shade tarps, grill delays and sweltering temperatures, 29 fully vaccinated guests arrived and enjoyed a happy afternoon in Audrone's pleasant garden as they sipped and chatted, and ate the delicious barbecued offerings. It was a pleasure to be able to mingle in a group after such a long time stuck in our homes with only ourselves for company.

Thanks go to Audrone for her generous hosting assisted by a hard-working John, as well as helpers Ann and Terry.
Vanessa J.

Walk & Tour of the Botanical Gardens
Mon, Jul 19, 2021
Botancial Gardens Click on image for Slideshow
On a hot and humid midsummer morning Gail treated us to a professionally guided (she is a regular guide for the Gardens) tour. We started on the Entry Garden Walk designed by Piet Oudolf, a celebrated Dutch designer, where we enjoyed day lilies, purple coneflowers and brightly mauve Russian sage. There was a gorgeous tall stainless steel sculpture entitled ”Web of Life” by Ron Baird.

Then on to the Floral Hall Courtyard sometimes used for weddings with its wall of Wisteria and white plants all around for serenity. Gail read us her own prize-winning poem about the loveliness of her “Secret Garden”. The Westview Terrace has a curving and moving water channel and is beautifully landscaped and offers a wonderful black and cream coloured Heron carved in Serpentine Stone on site by an artist from Zimbabwe.

The Beryl Ivey Knot garden is reminiscent of formal French chateau gardens such as those at the Palace at Versailles and includes parterres and magnolia trees. We passed hand-crafted bee homes - a delight to see. We walked through the landscape gardens with fountain by Len Cullen and made our way to a shaded hilltop overlooking the woods of the private cemetery of the Milne family who built the mill on Wilket Creek in 1817.

We ended the tour at the Moriyama Pavillion from which one can gaze out over the landscaped lawns to the woods and creek below. Then we retreated to the cool of the Garden Café to get some drinks and treats and relaxed on the terrace outside.

Tour enjoyed also by Linda G., Mary W., Maureen C., Martha M., and Adam R.
Brenda W.

Virtual Book Club
Never Judge a Book . . . One of the things I enjoy about being part of a book group is that it commits you to read a book you might not normally choose. That happened to me. Starting in January, the virtual book group met monthly to review the books they chose. We read fiction and non-fiction.

We began with Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, suggested by Julia, followed by Margaret MacMillan’s War: How Conflict Shaped Us, suggested by Vivienne; The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman; Loving Frank by Nancy Horan and suggested by Wendy; Lion (previously published as A Long Way from Home) by Saroo Brierley, suggested by Christine. The group had its final meeting on Jun 30, reviewing Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, suggested by Graziella.

We enjoyed some lively and thought-provoking conversation at our meetings, along with a glass of wine and nibbles, sharing our thoughts on the characters, the scenery, and the plot or the historical facts. Thanks to members for all the input: Julia, Vivienne, Maureen, Ann, Beverley, Dana, Debbie, Graziella, and Wendy.

Because we don't know the future and COVID restrictions, we plan to continue via Zoom for the months of September through to April next year. Members of the group are already submitting titles. If you are committed to reading the books we choose (and that’s important) please contact me with one book suggestion and we will add you to our virtual book group. The reading order will follow.
Christine Q.

Visit to Centre Island
Wed, Jul 7, 2021
Pink Click on image for Slideshow
On a rainy July 7th, two brave souls joined me (Liz) in typical British weather, at the ferry docks and on the ferry to Centre Island. It was a minor rain and ended by the time we got over there. Because all three were very familiar with the Island, we headed straight for the dock on the far side, admiring the fountain and flower beds along the way (photos). After hiking the boardwalk towards Ward's Island and exploring the colourful eastern dock wall (photo) in very pleasant wind, we landed at the Island Cafe.

The lunch menu has modest prices and we enjoyed the grilled mushroom and cheese sandwiches on nice crispy bread. Home on the ferry to end a 4-hour trek.

I hope to repeat this in August as a pop-up when the weather report is better.
Liz McG.

Walk: Jack Darling Park
Tue, July 6, 2021
Jack Darling Park Click on image for Slideshow
On Tuesday July 6, a hot, humid day, five lovely ladies and one nice gentleman went for a morning walk along the lake in Port Credit. We spent time watching a coyote, only to learn it is a statue meant to keep real coyotes away. We then sat on the patio of an Italian Restaurant for good food, drinks and conversation.

Thank you Phyl for organizing this fun outdoor event.
Mary J.

Poetry Reading Gathering via Zoom
Thu, May 13, 2021
Six UKC members enjoyed a lovely evening of Zoom poetry reading on May 13. As always Polly had prepared a lovely selection of three poems and Gail shared a delightful poem she had written. Other attendees shared a poem they had selected for this the final Zoom Poetry event for the season.

Special thanks to our organizer Polly for creating this special event.
Jo-ann D.

Zoom Happy Hour
Fir, Apr 30, 2021
Thanks to Susan B. and twelve participants, we had a lively trip down memory lane on our April 30 zoom call. The topic of conversation was "your favourite comedy film". What a great list we compiled! Showing our age somewhat, haha, the slapstick comedies of Charlie Chaplin; Arsenic and Old Lace; the "Carry On" series from the 50's; Peter Sellers' long list – Pink Panther, The Party, etc.; John Cleese's The Full Monty and more; Bringing Up Baby; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Nine to Five. Moving along, and some are TV series… Are You Being Served?; Some Mothers do 'ave 'em; On the Buses; The Bird Cage; My Cousin Vinny; Red Dwarf; Dr. Strangelove; One Man and 2 Generals. Also some unnamed Mel Brooks movies; Some Like It Hot; A Fish Named Wanda; Weekend at Bernie's; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Love Actually; Chevy Chase's many escapades like the Xmas movie; Rat Race; Keeping Mum; Travels with my Aunt; and a current Netflix series Travels with my Father.

What a list of jollity! Notice how many are British? Love it!!
Liz McG.

Alexander Muir Memorial Garden Walk
Sat, April 10, 2021
Maria cleverly arranged for a gloriously sunny warm day for her walk in Alexander Muir Memorial Garden! The five of us admired the formal traditional Victorian layout of the garden with its low stone walls encircling numerous flowerbeds that were coming to life after a long cold winter. Strolling leisurely beyond the garden – named for the composer of The Maple Leaf Forever – we passed majestic ancient trees and admired the benches with their plaques which Pat explained to us were carefully vetted by the city. Walking further toward the bridge under Mount Pleasant road we were all quite impressed how well-kept and litter-free the park is, with its steep banks full of trees and fallen trunks, with wide walking paths which were well-utilized that afternoon. With great company of Bonita and Christine, along with Maria and Pat, we were involved in interesting conversations all the way to (under) Bayview Avenue- and most agreed that this area is yet another undiscovered spot to further explore in our great city! Returning to the garden we admired all the bluebells that covered the ground everywhere and then we gathered for pictures around the stunning crocuses, remarking that we have to return once the summer flowers are showing. I for one felt “high” after too many days of confinement at home.

Meeting friends and going for walks together is a marvellous way to beat the pandemic blues while staying safe and obeying all the rules. Many thanks to Maria for organizing this adventure.
Jackie B.

Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Apr 9, 2021
Zoom Click on image for Slideshow
Twelve members got together on April 9, meeting virtually on Zoom with drinks in hand, to discuss – amongst other things – what we have missed most during the Covid closures. Common themes were that we all missed going out to live events, concerts, pub nights and dining out, with dreams of someday doing all these things when it is finally safe to do so. Another thing that most people missed was the ability to travel, with many of UKC members having had to cancel travel plans a year ago and still waiting for travel to resume, especially air travel which still seems a long way off! Not being able to get together with family and friends was something that has been discouraging. Some members have, however filled their time by attempting to make bread – with mixed success.

Others have been catching up on reading, home renovations and, of course, watching lots of Netflix!
Peter W.

Poetry Group
Thu, Apr 1, 2021
A very pleasant evening was shared on Thursday April 1 by six UKC members with Poetry on Zoom. Original works by Gail M, Polly C and Maureen D were delightful. Christine Q and Judith J shared favourites with an appreciative audience which included Jo-Anne K.

Another pleasurable poetry event is planned for later this month.
Polly C.

Walk Through the Brickworks
Wed, Mar 24, 2021
Brickworks Click on image for Slideshow
On March 24 six of us had a lovely walk through the Brickworks and up the hill for a view of the city. We strolled the pathways around the ponds, observing evidence of Beavers, no actual sightings, from the many felled trees and muddy tracks leading into the water. The chirping of the Redwing Blackbirds perched atop the reeds, accompanied us on the nature walk. Afterwards we sat and chatted, socially distanced. There is a cafe onsite where we could purchase beverages. This was my first experience with UKC and I am looking forward to future events.

Thank you Christine for organizing.
Lynne L.

Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Mar 12, 2021
Zoom Happy Hour 4 Click on image for Slideshow
Several members got together on March 12, meeting virtually on Zoom with drinks in hand to discuss some of our favourite UKC Events from what seems like the dim and distant past! Not sure what is says about our UKC Zoom group, but the common theme seemed to be the Pub events such as the musical events at Grossman's Tavern and the Leaside Pub, as well as the mingle evenings at the Granite Pub, the Duke of York and the Bedford Academy – the latter may, sadly, now be permanently closed. Walks were also popular with our members - the Humber River, the ravines around Edwards Gardens and many other memorable walks. Theatre events were also sadly missed such as the Village Players on Bloor.
Peter W.
Poetry Group
Thu, Mar 11, 2021
Six of us were on time

Four of us were ready to rhyme

Through a whole range of emotion

We gave to our Muse our devotion

The time so quickly flew by

That next Thursday again we will try

Polly C.
Virtual Book Club
Wed, Feb 24, 2021
Christine's book club met, for the second time, via Skype, on Wednesday February 24. We had an enjoyable discussion for approximately two hours. The book chosen for the discussion was "War: How Conflict Shaped Us" by Margaret MacMillan. Everyone was pleased that we had read the book and thought that they had new insight into the causes and outcomes of war throughout the centuries. We also enjoyed the many examples that supported the author's ideas, in particular, the small anecdotes which we would never have thought of. Margaret MacMillan is a Toronto resident and belongs in our generation so it was good to read her book, which has been well received both here and in the United States. We recommend the book and many of her earlier books, which some of us have read.

We will meet again, to talk about our final book, on the last Wednesday in March.

Thank you and thanks for organizing.
Vivienne

Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Feb 19, 2021
Zooming with Susan... what fun we are having! She has kindly hosted these Friday evening events, and I have only recently joined in. After an email request to our host, the link into Zoom comes at or shortly after 6 p.m. and it takes a few minutes to get us all in from the waiting room. Susan and other members name a topic of conversation for the 40-minute check-in and Susan "directs the traffic" to ensure that we've heard from everyone. Fun topics have included our scariest memory (one mentioned being caught on a high ski lift as a child), or our favourite means of transportation (a few sailors in the bunch!), and in Lew Smith's memory, we had a slide show of the Canal Boating adventure that Pat, Anna, and I had with him. Spurred on by this weekly adventure, I've investigated what it means to have a "green screen" and background pictures from my own collection, along with the extras like funny glasses. As we get through this gloomy month of February, when a few of us would otherwise be in a warmer place, this is a cheery gathering.

Thanks to Susan and all of you who participate!
Liz McG.

Five Day Walking Challenge
Feb, 2021
For five days in the month of February, Maria Alexander suggested that UKC members join her in a virtual walk to Niagara as we cannot meet up in person right now. We wouldn’t have attempted to walk to Niagara in February but it sounded doable virtually!

Sadly only three of us actually walked, logging our steps daily. Due to weather conditions and old injuries there were days when we didn’t walk much but between the three of us in five days we walked 52 Kms in total. According to a website I found the driving distance from Toronto to Niagara is 141 Kms so we walked approximately 37% of the way there.We will try to do better next time we set out and hopefully more members will join us, maybe when the weather gets a bit warmer.
Wendy H.

UKConnexion Virtual Book Group
Wed, Jan 27, 2021
The first virtual book group event was held on Wednesday January 27 with members “meeting” via Skype, eagerly waiting to share their thoughts on the book, Where the Crawdads Sing, written by Delia Owens. We found the book both touching and fascinating, describing a small coastal town in North Carolina and the lives of its inhabitants, as well as being full of facts about the local habitats of birds, animals, insects, and fish. It was also a murder mystery (with an ending none of us expected!). Members recommend it. We enjoyed our nibbles and wine during the second half of the meeting, while we voiced our thoughts on some of the interesting questions Julia (who suggested the book) laid out for us. Our next meeting is on February 24 and we will be discussing War: How Conflict Shaped Us, written by historian Margaret MacMillan.

The book was suggested by Vivienne, who will lead us into discussion.
Christine Q.

UKC Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Jan 8, 2021
Zoom Click on image for Slideshow
Seven members got together on Zoom on January 8, drinks in hand, to discuss a wide range of issues and exchange personal anecdotes. Initial discussion was about the usual aches and pains associated with getting old but decided that still being alive, and active, was a good thing, and the fact that the fact that the oldest member had a few aches after Cross-Country skiing yesterday was only to be expected. The topic then moved to careers of the participants and their children and how they were often inspired to go into a particular career by a teacher. One member felt that being a lawyer was the worst job which stirred some debate, especially with another member whose daughter was a lawyer. About teachers; a member with childhood Eastern European roots described a good male teacher, who was rather old fat and ugly, but ended up marrying a rather attractive 18-year-old female student. She got really good grades! Some elderly male UKC members felt that was still hope for them.

Thanks to Susan B. for organizing.
Peter W.

Downtown Mystery Tour
Wed, Dec 23, 2020
Mystery Tour Click on image for Slideshow
What a delightful event hosted by Jackie on December 23. The weather to begin with was a bit chilly, but when the sun came out it was quite pleasant. The five of us met at the corner of College & Yonge and with coffees in hand we walked south towards the Ryerson building – one of the mystery locations Jackie wanted to show us. Then along Dundas W we entered the old Anglican church courtyard that sits beside the Eaton Centre and passed very interesting architecture dotted with a few people who unfortunately have to live in a tent community just outside a church. From there we viewed the windows at The Bay – all done up with robotic figures (Santa’s new-age elves?) managing the production lines full of presents and candy canes. From there we made our way towards City Hall and got some tasty French-fries at the curb-side "chip wagon". Then we sat and ate them by the skating rink watching the skaters having fun and keeping their social distance from each other, of course! Afterwards we strolled over to the snack bar and got hot chocolate and then walked and sat in a sunny but sheltered area by the Christmas tree, enjoying some conversation about our Christmas plans and beyond.

Thank you, Jackie. A most enjoyable walk and great company.
Christine Q.

Walk in Kew Gardens
Fri, Dec 18, 2020
Kew Gardens Click on image for Slideshow
Rose Marie led us through Kew Gardens on December 18, pointing out the ancient majestic trees, some of which resembled characters (if your imagination allowed you!). Then she showed us the fairy house all decorated for the season (in-between the feet in this picture). We strolled down to the beach, enjoying the newly expanded boardwalk along with the gorgeous sunshine beaming down on us. After a while we deviated and went down to the shore – Lake Ontario looking just like an ocean there. New bays appeared to have been constructed recently, perhaps for safe shielded swimming in the summer?

We finished our lunchtime adventure with French fries and cappuccino/hot chocolate from the beach restaurant, picnicking on a bench in Kew Gardens.

Thanks go to Rose Marie for organizing this event – worth repeating later in the season.
Jackie B.

Walk around the Evergreen Brickworks
Thu, Dec 3, 2020
Evergreen Brickworks Click on image for Slideshow
Thanks to host Christine, on December 3 we enjoyed a very pleasant walk and visit to the grounds within The Evergreen Brickworks, a former quarry from the early 1900's. The weather was sunny with a comfortable temperature. We walked around the outer premises passing many of the original buildings that manufactured the bricks found in such iconic buildings such as Casa Loma, Osgoode Hall and Massey Hall. We walked along the pathways overlooking a partly frozen pond, where we even saw a beaver's dam.

We headed to the on-site coffee shop to get a hot beverage and take it outdoors where we could sit and eat our packed lunch. It was a great opportunity to catch up with one another about current affairs and share our opinions on recent Netflix series. This was a highlight for me. We wandered into the gift shop and saw some very nice Christmas decorations along with bottles of jams and jellies to buy.

I'm hoping we can return to this location again in the next month or so if and when they open up the skating rink.
Bonita

A Visit to the McMichael Art Gallery
Sat, Nov 28, 2020
McMichael Art Gallery Click on image for Slideshow
On Saturday, November 28, Ann Garnett led a small group of UK Connexion members – we were five in all, two men and three women – in a visit to the McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg. After going through the Gallery’s careful pandemic precautions, we were treated not only to the regular exhibits of the Group of Seven painters as well as Canadian indigenous artists, but also to special exhibits featuring female indigenous artists. Most of us hadn’t been to the McMichael Gallery for a long time, so it was a good way to get reacquainted with the iconic artists of the Group of Seven and the most famous indigenous artists such as Norval Morrisseau, and to get to know the new artists featured in the special exhibits.

Afterwards, it being a beautiful day for late November, we ate lunch outdoors near the sculpture gardens, then had a short hike on the trails around the grounds, ending at the memorial cemetery where six of the Group of Seven, plus the McMichaels, are buried.

Thanks go to Ann for a most enjoyable and informative visit.
Tony A.

Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Nov 27, 2020
Zoom 3 Click on image for Slideshow
Members 'met' on Zoom to chat and exchange thoughts from their experiences over the past week. All were happy to see Martin B, who had not joined us for the last couple of weeks. We talked about our preparations for Christmas. Outdoor themes included Peter's winter tree and Brenda's garden decorations. Gabi told us about her indoor decorations and plans for more activities in the coming days leading up to Christmas. Winter activities were a popular topic. Cross country skis and skiing were in the thoughts of several members. Old equipment was to be replaced, and many were amused by the descriptions of the existing items that still had a home in several basements. Peter recommended Sail as a good place to shop for outdoor equipment.

Ed entertained us with jokes, leading to lively discussion and laughter. Our closing topic was to be positive. Ed told us about Victoria state in Australia, where 5 million people live. Today they have been Covid free for 28 days, and have discharged the last patient from hospital. Brenda reminded us to watch the Santa Claus parade on TV on December 5.

Our Zoom meetings are no substitute for meeting in person in a pub or restaurant, but they let us share our good experiences and frustrations with a group of friends at a difficult time. Many thanks to Susan for organizing. Please come and join us. We would welcome you.
Vivienne W.

Hike in Terra Cotta Conservation Area
Sun, Nov 8, 2020
Terra Cotta Click on image for Slideshow
On November 8th nine UKC members joined Mary and her dog Zacky for a hike in the Terra Cotta Conservation area. We couldn’t have picked a better day, weather was glorious. The walk was originally scheduled for the previous Sunday but was cancelled because of the bad weather. It’s hard to believe the weather could do such an about face in just one week.

We walked for about an hour then stopped for a lunch break. We found a few large logs and spaced ourselves out - like socially distanced peas in a pod ! Terra Cotta was beautiful, offering wooded walks, lake and ponds. There was an area of sugar maple trees that had been tapped - the taps were joined by tubing which seems a good way to collect the sap. I had not seen that before.

Zacky did a great job in checking up on us, waiting for any stragglers as we walked at different paces. For me personally it was good to meet some members I didn’t know and I think we did a good job of mixing and walking/talking with different people.

Great way to spend a beautiful day in November and in these challenging times.
Wendy H.

Philosophers Walk
Wed, Nov 4, 2020
Philosophers Walk Click on image for Slideshow
Maureen C organized a wonderful walk for us on the most beautiful November Wednesday! After meeting at the ROM, we walked to Philosophers Walk, the hidden gem whose entrance is just west of the ROM on Bloor Street. From there we meandered along the paths, reading the park bench inscriptions, admiring the trees’ changing colours and observing the historic British-style buildings around University of Toronto. Despite quite a lot of construction and renovation, we were able to admire the lovely grounds of this beautiful area. Quite a number of others were out enjoying the glorious weather, from soccer players on the U of T green to others keen to explore the Hart House area – all socially-distanced, of course! Then we made our way back alongside Queen’s Park having thoroughly enjoyed our 90 minutes of socializing and friendship. The only missing part was more members to enjoy this lovely Wednesday with...

Many thanks to Maureen for making the effort to arrange this, hopefully not deterred from planning more outings by the lack of respondents!
Jackie B

Zoom Happy Hour
Sat, Oct 17, 2020
Zoom Happy Hour Click on image for Slideshow
Twelve UKC members gathered on October 17, virtually, for a Zoom meeting from the comfort of their homes – even though there were a number of people using fake backgrounds featuring exotic locations. With drinks in hand to toast each other, the discussions started off with talk about Halloween and what it would be like in the time of Covid. Members suggested their favourite Halloween movies to watch in the absence of door-to-door Trick-or-Treating. Somehow, the topic moved to tips and techniques for opening screw caps on bottles and jars with some interesting suggestions provided.

From Halloween discussion moved to Santa Claus and various holiday traditions from around the world with contributions from members who moved to Canada from other countries. With winter in mind the discussion moved to how to keep your feet warm in winter with some interesting suggestions including; heated socks, hot water bottles, and microwaveable bags of cherry pits! For the more adventurous, at least in their younger years, there were discussions about winter camping, but none of the members indicated that they were planning to do any winter camping this year.
Peter W.

Social Distance Hike Humber River
Sat, Oct 17, 2020
Hike Click on image for Slideshow
Wow! Did Dorothy pick a gorgeous Fall day for this 9 kilometre walk through the woods of James Gardens to the Old Mill! Six intrepid hikers enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and the gorgeous scenery along the way. We spotted salmon jumping upriver on the Humber and navigated the many spectators along the banks! Then we enjoyed a leisurely picnic at a convenient fire pit seating area.

A fantastic hike and perhaps one of the last in the milder weather? Thank you so much for leading this hike, Dorothy!
Kayren H

Afternoon Stroll in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery
Wed, Oct 14, 2020
It was wonderful to meet with the group and see familiar faces once again. Six members came out to enjoy the afternoon. It was a beautiful day, with amazing weather giving us plenty of sun and fresh air. We walked through the cemetery, observing various headstones and chatting along the way. Another member of the group joined us for the last leg of the walk.

Many thanks to Christine Q. for organizing such a smoothly run event. A good time was had by all!
Helen M.

Hike Wilket Creek Park/Edwards Gardens
Sat, Oct 10, 2020
Hike Wilket Creek Click on image for Slideshow
On Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday October 10, a group of UKC members enjoyed a hike along the Bata Trail with many trees in full fall colour and the forest floor covered in crimson red and orange leaves. Circling Edwards Garden there were many beautifully coloured mums and other fall floral arrangements observed before the group headed to the Don Mills Trail south back to the parking lot where the hike started just as the very dark clouds appeared.

An enjoyable hiking route.
Jo-ann D.

Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Oct 9, 2020
Zoom Click on image for Slideshow
With our beverage of choice in hand we joined Susan in her friendly and welcoming Zoom Room. After Susan greeted us all, both old friends and new, she introduced a talking point to break the ice. This time it was “What have you planned for Thanksgiving?”

It was fun to hear everyone’s plans including even some menus for the meals to come. The conversation flowed naturally as we sipped our preprandial cocktails. And, “frosting on the cake”, Susan sent us all photos taken at various times throughout Happy Hour.
Brenda W.

Golf Fun Day
Sat, Oct 3, 2020
Golf Fun Day Click on image for Slideshow
Eight enthusiastic UKC golfers met at Scarlett Woods Golf Course on a cool, crisp and mainly sunny October 3rd for a great game of golf respecting COVID 19 protocols. Many trees on the golf course were in their full vibrant fall colours of various reds, oranges or yellows. There was also a large eagle observed near the 18th hole circling high up before perching on one of the large trees. All participants completed the 18 holes with several golfers making visits to the sand traps to rescue their golf ball and a number of golf balls disappearing into the creek.

Many thanks to our organizer Dorothy for hosting another great golf day.
Jo-ann D.

Walk in Don Mills
Wed, Sep 23, 2020
Walk Don Mills Click on image for Slideshow
On September 23 under bright sunny skies and accompanied by our masks and sanitizers, our friendly walkers enjoyed a leisurely stroll through this gem of a trail, one of the many trails and parks of the Don Valley. In fact we crossed the Don Valley Parkway itself through an underpass. In open air we had picturesque views of streams, fields, bridges and much greenery. We had a happy stop where we all sang Happy Birthday to our own birthday girl Christine!

Many thanks to Lisa for hosting.
Audrey R.

Hike in Palgrave Conservation Area
Sun, Sep 20, 2020
Palgrave Hike Click on image for Slideshow
Although the 33 kilometres of Palgrave trails are marked, you could easily get lost in what may seem like a maze. Luckily on September 20 we did not get lost as our host, Mary, guided us along, with some help from her dog, Zacky. Of course I am kidding, but it was the last Sunday of the summer, a time for fun and outdoor activity, which was exactly what we did; celebrating summer with a great day out. It was a small but lively group. The seven members in attendance had an approximately 2-hour hike through fairly thick forest and met a few fellow hikers, bikers and even horses along the way. Zacky kept the wild animals away (lucky us).

It was a Sunday well spent. Thank you Mary for hosting so well.
Ada G.

Humber River Hike/Picnic Lunch
Sat, Sep 12, 2020
Humber River Hike Click on image for Slideshow
Dorothy led six UKC members on an energetic walk in James Gardens along the Humber River last Saturday which turned out to be a lovely warm sunny day. We enjoyed our social distancing lunch just before the Old Mill Bridge which was reminiscent of one seen in an English manor house garden and Karen joined us there for the return trek. As we looked across the river, we were delighted to see a majestic heron out fishing and later in the woods we were captivated by an awesome skeleton of a giant dead tree which was very impressive.

Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
Marilyn G.

Nature Hike Through Wilket Creek Park
Sat, Sep 5, 2020
Wiket Creek Click on image for Slideshow
On the morning of Saturday Sept 5, a group of UKC members set out on an energizing hike through Wilket Creek Park forested areas and around the playing fields of Sunnybrook Park, stopping briefly for lunch on the south end of Sunnybrook Park. The weather was perfect. Afterwards, the group gathered for refreshments at the Bier Markt, Shops at Don Mills.

Thanks to everyone for joining in the event.
Jo-ann D.

Social Distancing Garden BBQ Lunch
Sun, Aug 30, 2020
BBQ Lunch Click on image for Slideshow
Full marks to the UK Connexion for pioneering a full scale Garden Party and pulling it off without a hitch. Our wonderful Audrone offered to host us in her garden as it is nice and spacious with awnings for shade and plenty of space for Social Distancing. There was not one scary moment: everyone followed the spacing and serving rules (see below) perfectly – except her super-friendly dog Gaia who could not resist befriending all these guests and goodies!
  Audrone and John had planned it meticulously: all the food was served on a point-and-serve basis by two helpers. The food was amazing in its range and excellence. There was a huge BBQ laden with 4 choices of meat and baked potatoes to die for.
  In case you are still scared here are the practical points to think of ... all do-able safely with some forethought:
  • There was plenty of space to stay 6 feet apart and move around to mix with others.
  • The servers wore gloves to serve all the condiments, sauces for the BBQ, drinks and desserts.
  • All the salads were pre-plated under saran wrap together with each person's utensils.
  • The washroom was equipped with wipes and a garbage bag to dispose of them after wiping all the handles etc.
  • ...and what would we do without disposable everything...

Advice to other clubs: there is still a lot of nice weather yet – so you can enjoy outdoor events like this and stay safe. For me it was the highlight of this COVID summer!
Ann G.

A huge thank you to host Audrone! And to two veteran members, Ann and Lisa, who willingly offered to be servers. They performed their very arduous tasks with charm and smiles wearing masks and gloves This COVID-19 compliant party would not have been possible without their help.
John P.

Golf Fun Day
Sat, Aug 14, 2020
12 golfers had an enjoyable 18 holes of golf, on a warm and sunny day at the Scarlett Woods Executive golf course. In spite of COVID-19, we were able to golf and keep the required distancing without any inconvenience, and the refreshment cart was available to quench our thirst if needed. Following golf, 2 non-golfers joined 10 golfers on the patio of the London Pub for dinner and conversation. The quick service was very welcome after an afternoon on the fairways.

Many thanks to Dorothy for organising golf and dinner.
Maureen C.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery Hike
Wed, Aug 5, 2020
Mount Pleasant Click on image for Slideshow
Late in the afternoon on Wednesday August 5, eleven UKC members met at Mount Pleasant Cemetery at Yonge and Davisville. I assume that our organizer and leader, Christine, has really good connections with the gal in charge upstairs, as Christine has worked in various religious places, and the weather she arranged was absolutely perfect for our stroll through the cemetery to Mount Pleasant Road. Along the way we discovered the last resting place of William Lyon Mackenzie King, a rather humble grave for a former Prime Minister of Canada. Circling back to Yonge and Merton, eight of the party gathered at The Firkin pub, The Bull, for beer, wine and tasty food delivered by really welcoming staff who looked after us well. Conversations on our table were wide ranging and interesting, a great ending to a sunny summer day.

Thanks to everyone for joining in the fun, and to Christine for getting us together.
Eileen S.

Edwards Gardens
Wed, Jul 29, 2020
Edward Gardens Click on image for Slideshow
On Wednesday, July 29 a group of 15 members met to enjoy a walk through Edwards Gardens in Don Mills. The trees and flowers were in full bloom and so enjoyable noticing the number of different trees to discover. We walked through the Garden’s pathways admiring the different variety of flowers surrounding the pathways in such a well appointed manner. A few members ventured as far as the edge of Wilket's Creek and Sunnybrook Park. The weather was definitely on our side, hot, sunny and no rain showers. After we exhausted ourselves we headed to a nice outdoor patio in the Shops at Don Mills to enjoy a beverage and light dinner. A great opportunity to spend some time with UK Connexion members and find out how we are all coping these days.

These Gardens would be nice to re visit in the fall to enjoy the trees with their fall colours on display. See you there in the fall.
Bonita

Ontario Place
Mon, Jul 20, 2020
Ontario Place Click on image for Slideshow
Thanks to Ann Garnett for organizing a delightful walking tour along the recently re-landscaped “William G Davis Trail” and the Ontario Place Boulevard which run along the Ontario Place waterfront. Ann managed to arrange for wonderful weather conditions with a mix of sun and cloud and a refreshing breeze off the lake which made it extremely comfortable for walking, while the rest of the city was sweltering in the summer heat. Attendees brought a picnic lunch which was eaten, under the shade of nearby trees, at tables and chairs associated with a snack bar that was not open at the time.

To round off the walk, the group adjourned to a covered patio in Liberty Village for a well-earned libation.
Peter W.

Golf Fun Day
Sun, Jul 19, 2020
Sunday July 19th Golf Fun Day started with great promise. However, by the 4th green, the clouds darkened, and the thunder and lightning occurred one event after the other. We had debated whether to continue golfing as the previous occurrence told us the storm was extremely close!! Then the Marshall arrived and shouted, "Go back now"!! We started running, but by this time the rain was coming down in sheets accompanied by the light and sound show that seemed to be directly over our heads. EXTREMELY SCARY!! We ran as quickly as possible pulling or pushing our golf carts and getting soaking wet!! It took my golf shoes 4 days to dry!!

At the clubhouse afterwards, I was able to get rain checks for our players to use at our next GOLF FUN DAYS on August 15 or September 19.
Dorothy B-B

Bier Markt, The Shops at Don Mills
Wed, Jul 15, 2020
Bier Markt Click on image for Slideshow
Thanks to Lisa for organizing an excellent get-together to kick off the start of the UKConnexion summer schedule. The venue was the patio of the Bier Markt, not the downtown one, but the one located at the Shops at Don Mills. This is a delightful shopping and dining location, at Lawrence and Don Mills, which is mostly dedicated to pedestrians. There were plenty of umbrellas on the patio to keep the strong late afternoon sun off our group of twelve, which was socially distanced at three different tables. Members were, however, able to get up and move around a bit to socialize with the other tables. Among the beverages was, of course, good German beer along with local Craft and other brews.

As usual, the Bier Markt food and service was excellent and nobody went home hungry. Well done Lisa!
Peter W.

Kettle Creek Golf
Sat, Jun 28, 2020
June 28 was a very warm and sunny day as seven UKC members trekked up to Kettle Creek Golf Course north of Toronto for a great game of golf and camaraderie while social distancing and following the golf COVID-19 restrictions and protocol. The drive to the golf course was very scenic and relaxing observing forested areas and open fields throughout the journey. Despite the extreme heat it was a very enjoyable afternoon with all participants completing the 18 holes with a few golf balls disappearing into the creek and a number of golf balls retrieved from the sand traps.

Many thanks to our organizer Dorothy for an incredible day and Pauline for making arrangements with Kettle Creek Golf Course. It was a change from our usual venue at Scarlett Woods Golf Course.
Jo-ann Den Ouden

Humber River Hike
Sat, Jun 27, 2020
Hike Click on image for Slideshow
The June 27 hike turned out very well. We had excellent weather – sun, with some cloud, and shade which helped reduce the heat a little. James Gardens, the starting point for most of us, is a gem of a place for walking/hiking/biking with the Humber River always in view. We walked the trail as far as the Old Mill to join the first group and enjoyed our "reunion" picnic lunch as well as good conversation and offers to host events during July, August and September. We had a total of 16 members, so in accordance with the health guidelines Joan split us into two groups - one led by Joan and one by Dorothy. We welcomed some new people and hope they will join us again. Let's hope we have many more of these healthy and enjoyable walks throughout the summer.

Thanks to Joan and Dorothy and all those who participated.
Christine Q.

Golf
Sat, Jun 20, 2020
It was great to see everyone again at the June 20 golf event and a good turnout. Ten enthusiastic golfers came out, 3 men and 7 women. There was also a new lady who joined us. The day was a bit warmer than we might have liked but I think all we all enjoyed ourselves in spite of that. Maybe next time we will be able to sit on the patio and have a cool drink.

Our thanks to Joan for organizing the event. Although we socially distanced during this event, golfing together made life seem more normal, considering the on-going COVID19 pandemic.
Pauline

New Orleans Jazz Grossman's Tavern
Sat, Mar 7, 2020
Thirteen UKC members attended Grossman’s Tavern on March 7 to listen the good Dixieland jazz provided by the Happy Pals. We were told that jazz has been playing at Grossman's for 50 years and the jazz this night was excellent! It was so good that the whole UKC group were up dancing. Afterwards the group went to The Red Room for good food and conversation.

Kudos to Rosemary for organizing what has to be one of the best UKC events. If you have not tried Grossman’s, you do not know what you are missing. Hope we see you next month.
Ron K.

Granite Brewery
Sun, Mar 8, 2020
Granite Brewery Click on image for Slideshow
A group of fourteen members joined our host, Maureen, at the Granite Brewery on Sunday March 8 for a jolly evening of mingling and dinner. The Granite has definitely become one of the favourites on the monthly club calendar. The conversations, at times heated, made for a fun evening.

Many thanks to Maureen for organizing the event and a special shout out to Ryan, our trusty waiter.
Anna M.

Movie Night and Popcorn
Sat, Feb 22, 2020
Ten of us movie lovers gathered at our hostess Christine's apartment on Saturday February 22 to see the classic film "The Pink Panther" made in 1963 and featuring Peter Sellers among other stars. Christine and her guests provided a wonderful selection of goodies to nibble on and lots of wine and other drinks, and we had time to chat before the film began. I personally love "The Pink Panther" and remember seeing it for the first time in England. It is still the funniest movie I have ever seen and we were all laughing heartily throughout the film and after when talking about it.

My sincere thanks to Christine for showing us the film and being a wonderful hostess. I'm sure we are looking forward to the next movie night.
Marilyn G.

Dinner/Mingling Elephant & Castle
Sun, Feb 2, 2020
E & C Click on image for Slideshow
Although it was a damp and dreary evening on February 2, a goodly number of members joined us including two new members, Hazel and Linda. We enjoyed some good pub food and a few drinks, with conversation ranging from Brexit, spring holiday destinations, Meghan and Harry, jig-saw puzzles and cats, as well as other topics of interest.

Great service from our server, Lindsey.
Christine Q.

Band Swing Jazz and Dancing, Smokeshow
Sat, Jan 25, 2020
Our first event at Smokeshow on Saturday afternoon, January 25, was a great success. Our charming host, Marilyn, arranged good seating with a view of the band. They played well and their vocalist, Cheryl Lyn, has a fabulous voice. The food and beverages were reasonably priced.

Thanks, Marilyn. Always a pleasure to attend your events.
Christine Q.

Squire Pub Restaurant
Sun, Jan 19, 2020
Squire Pub Click on image for Slideshow
An intrepid group of UKC members braved winter’s snowy streets and frigid temperatures to meet up for a simply delightful gathering at the Squire on Sunday evening, January 19. We were thoroughly warmed by the pub’s specials of chicken pot pie and hot curries. Jolly conversation also ruled the evening.

Many thanks to Chris for organizing the event.
Anna M.

Scrabble Party and Dinner
Sat, Jan 18, 2019
Scrabble Party Click on image for Slideshow
On the "snowiest" night of the New Year, Saturday January 18, eight UKC members braved the storm. A strong incentive was our welcoming host Jackie in her lovely apartment. The evening started, around the coffee table with appetizers and lively conversation, then on to the serious stuff, a great roast chicken, meal, followed by Scrabble.

The two teams of four played two games, with a break for coffee and dessert, and then we left for home knowing many new words to confound people with.
Rennie F.

Opera Movie
Wed, Jan 15, 2020
A small group of UKC opera enthusiasts got together on January 15 to attend a showing of the French Opera by Massenet entitled "Manon". This opera/film is a production from the Met Opera in New York. The performances, especially of young American leads Michael Fabiano and Lisette Oropesa, delighted the New York audience. During the intermissions, we were treated to some interesting "behind the scenes" insights, including interviews with the two leads, some of the production personnel, and from the staff located in the trailer outside the House who are responsible for transmitting the MET productions to numerous locations around the world.

We all agreed it was a pleasant way to spend a cold January afternoon.
Maureen C.

Granite Brewery
Sun, Jan 12, 2020
Granite Brewery Click on image for Slideshow
Thirteen people attended the event at the Granite Brewery on January 12th. There was a good mix of men and ladies and we were provided with a great spot to mix and mingle. This venue is getting more popular every time. The food and the service are great, the prices are very reasonable.

For those who drive there is free parking, for others the short bus ride isn't really necessary as the easy walk to the pub takes only ten minutes along Eglinton.
Cheri W.

The Madison Pub
Sun, Jan 5, 2020
Madison Pub Click on image for Slideshow
Our second visit to The Madison Pub on January 5 proved as successful as our first. Thank you, Christine, for hosting such a fun evening at this long established institution. Altogether 17 UKC members enjoyed great conversation, food and drink, while telling stories about their holiday festivities. Our server, Sarah, dealt happily with us, despite so many food and drink orders.

I think we all look forward to our next visit to The Madison Pub in March. See you there!
Maureen D.