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Event Reviews

Dinner at the Bier Markt
Sun, May 1, 2022
The Bier Markt Click on image for Slideshow
Thanks to Edward Stahlberg for organizing another excellent get-together as we continue to meet in person, instead of on Zoom. The venue was one of our favourite haunts; the Bier Markt on The Esplanade, attended by seven members of the UK Connexion.

The evening got off to a bit of a rough start as, even on a Sunday night, the place was absolutely jam packed with a crowd that the staff had clearly not anticipated! I believe that the Toronto Blue Jays game had finished up late in the afternoon, at the Rogers Centre, and crowds had descended on the local restaurants. As a result the restaurant staff were rushed of their feet and wait times were lengthy. Some members resorted to going up to the bar to get a drink - even better was to go to the Goose Island brewery bar, which is co-located in the same building, to pick up a beer brewed on site.

Then, all of a sudden, the big crowds from earlier seemed to disappear and the place settled down while UKC members in attendance enjoyed the generous portions of the excellent food provide by the Bier Markt, while chatting on a variety to topics. An all-around fun evening was had by all.

Well done Edward!
Peter W.

Dinner at the Pheasant & Firkin
Thu, Apr 28, 2022
Pheasant and Firkin Click on image for Slideshow
I'm very happy to have joined Christine and her group for the first time at her great local pub, The Pheasant and the Firkin. It was a Thursday evening and pretty busy around the bar plus a large dining room at the rear of the pub where we were seated. I saw a large patio too which will be just the place on a summer evening. There were seven of us in our group, and four chose the delicious shepherds pie which was truly the best I have eaten. Being a British style pub there was a wide selection of beers on tap and bottled. April 28th was the night of game VI of the basketball playoffs with the Toronto Raptors and it was very lively and loud at times, plus we we were seated in front of a large television. This was a fun evening and we all had a great time.

Thank you to our host Christine, and excellent server Mila.
Marilyn G.

Dinner/Mingling Granite Brewery
Sun, Apr 24, 2022
Granite Brewery Click on image for Slideshow
Thanks to Maureen for organizing another excellent get-together as we continue to meet in person, instead of on Zoom. The venue was the Granite Brewery at Mount Pleasant and Eglinton, which has hosted us many times before. Attendees were surprised to see that there were people who were sitting outside, dining on the back Patio – although the patio there is well covered and has gas heaters. Our UKC group was not quite that brave, but maybe next time! As usual, the food and drink were excellent, especially their own beer that they brew in-house. The UKC group was smaller than usual but those of us who attended enjoyed each other’s company, with discussions on many different topics, and an all-around fun evening was had by all.

Well done Maureen!
Peter W.

Dinner at Regency Restaurant
Thu, April 21, 2022
On Thursday April 21, Tony welcomed seven UKC members to the Regency Restaurant. We enjoyed an array of spicy dishes, including chicken curry (so good!), chicken and shrimp biryani just to name a few, along with vegetables done in spicy sauces, a wide variety of rice, naan bread, yoghurt, and a sweet little dessert to follow. And all at very reasonable prices. There was also beer and wine available. The Regency is located on Gerrard, just east of Greenwood, in the heart of a lively and thriving community – also referred to as Little India – consisting of many ethnic restaurants and stores. Some of the shop windows displayed a variety of bright and beautiful traditional garments and jewellery. Such a treat just to wander around and browse! The service at the Regency was excellent. Thank-you to our server, Komari, who made the evening perfect.

And a big thank-you to Tony for hosting this event. We hope he’ll do it on a regular basis!
Christine Q.

Dinner at the Budapest Restaurant
Wed, Apr 20, 2022
Budapest Restaurant Click on image for Slideshow

Big Band Swing/Jazz, Smokeshow BBQ & Brew
Sun, Apr 17, 2022
Smokeshow Click on image for Slideshow

Dinner at Squire Pub Restaurant
Sun, Apr 10, 2022
Squire Pub Click on image for Slideshow
A number of UKC members gathered on a Sunday evening, April 10, to resurrect a longstanding tradition; dinner at the Squire. Prior to sitting down for the meal, we socialized at the back, where some free eatables were provided. We haven't been together there for over two years. Our "thank you for coming" and "nice to see you" was shared by all as we enjoyed our meal.

A pleasant congenial time.
Gayle T.

Bata Shoe Museum
Thu, Apr 7, 2022
Bata SHoe Museum Click on image for Slideshow
Five members enjoyed a pleasant afternoon at the Bata Shoe Museum on April 7. It was a new experience for most of us to explore this wonderful venue. We were fascinated by the vastly varied displays, from pre-historic to modern times all around the world, including shockingly tiny Chinese women's bound-foot shoes, Sumo wrestlers' footwear, beautifully decorated indigenous moccasins and boots, and shoes used through the ages by rich and poor alike. We were especially amused by a pair of French chestnut-crushing clogs. Afterwards we dashed across the street through a warm spring shower to a pub to enjoy a drink and share a plate of nachos.

Thank you to Ann for her enthusiastic hosting.
Vanessa J.

Dinner at The Pheasant
Thu, Mar 17, 2022
The Pheasant Click on image for Slideshow
Nine members and the host celebrated St. Patrick’s Night at The Pheasant and Firkin on Avenue Road. While the pub was packed and quite hectic, we were able to seat 6 at one table and 4 at another. No one seemed to mind being separated. Most of the crowd in the pub wore some form of green and our group enjoyed conversations about “way back when” and a few laughs along with a pint or two of Guinness. As a rule, the pub is not that packed but everyone wanted to be out to celebrate St. Patrick, the beginning of the end of COVID (we hope), and the beginning of the warmer weather (again, we hope!).

Thanks to Samantha and her bar staff who worked really hard. Slange! See you again in April.
Christine Q.

Bier Markt
Sun, Mar 6, 2022
Bier Markt Click on image for Slideshow
Nine UKC members ventured out to the Bier Markt on a day when things suddenly warmed up. For many it was our first time eating out in a long time. We had drinks at the bar and while several of us selected cod and chips, a spectacular looking pork schnitzel and a hand-made pizza also arrived at the table. It seems almost half of us had trips planned back to the UK or elsewhere in the coming months, with others looking to book to be away too.

Thanks to Susan who did a great job hosting and organizing us.
Edwina M.

Dim Sum Lunch
Thu, Feb 17, 2022
Dim Sum Lunch Click on image for Slideshow
Cold and rainy outside but warm and cozy inside Rol San Restaurant on Spadina Ave where seven UKC members got together for dim sum on Thursday February 17 at 11 am. Our host Lily had the advantage of her Cantonese to get us great service. Each of us selected a dish of special interest.

Delicious flavours of shrimp dumplings, beef rolls, sticky rice, fried shrimp, pork dumplings etc. satisfied our dim sum desire until next time.
Polly C.

Dinner at the Granite Brewery
Sun, Feb 13, 2022
Granite Brewery Click on image for Slideshow
On Sunday evening February 13 nine of us lucky UKC members met our lovely host Maureen for dinner at the Granite Brewery. The restaurant has a great and varied menu with interesting specials, and the food good enough to keep us coming back. Plus for our beer lovers it is a Brewery too with an excellent selection plus of course their own blends.

Now things are opening up we will be able to have more than ten people attend and I highly recommend this for a fun night out.
Marilyn G.

Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Feb 4, 2022
Zoom Happy Hour Click on image for Slideshow
Once again Susan held her Zoom meeting on February 4th and gathered together 12 people. We all enjoyed seeing each other and listening to everyone's opinions on different subjects. This time - at Ed's suggestion - it was our favourite foods and whether we liked to cook them. It seems that during the pandemic some people had become quite culinary adventurers but most preferred not to cook but to order in (or eat out if possible), it made us feel very hungry.

We all appreciate Susan holding these Zoom get togethers and maybe she will continue in the future – many of us hope so.
Maureen D.

Dinner at The Pheasant
Thu Feb 3, 2022
The Pheasant Click on image for Slideshow
On February 3 six enthusiastic members gathered at The Pheasant on Avenue Road, just south of Wilson, to enjoy each other's company and share dinner selected from this British-style pub's varied menu. Shepherd's pie, fish and chips and mixed fried seafood looked tempting, smelled delicious – and lived up to expectations! Quite a lot of laughs ensued and conversation was flowing and entertaining. Due to the snowy night, the place was quite empty with just the sound of our table and the basketball game on the TVs surrounding us.

Many thanks to Christine for organizing this event: such a treat for us all after a month of "no indoor dining"! We look forward to the next occasion at the pub towards the end of the month.
Jackie B.

Jerk Chicken Cooking Challenge
Sat, Jan 22, 2022
Jerk Chicken Cooking Click on image for Slideshow
In spite of Zoom setup difficulties, which eliminated some of the participants, this event went ahead with a few who were able to reach Polly and Lily and carry on. Some had received the recipe ingredients beforehand and had marinated the chicken in Jerk Paste overnight. Polly and Lily guided us through the details of the recipe and we reached the end of our zoom call just before ringing off and getting to the eating. Photos attached of the cooked chicken and the meal with a salad added. Polly wrote a lovely apology to participants the following day. We still all need lessons in Zooming.

Thanks for your efforts, Polly!
Liz McG.

Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Jan 14, 2022
Happy Hour 2 Click on image for Slideshow
On January 14, eleven UKC members gathered, virtually, for a Zoom meeting from the comfort of their homes – some members using fake backgrounds featuring exotic locations possibly, like the author, to hide a messy home!. With drinks in hand to toast each other, the topic for the evening was books that members have been reading to help them through the Covid lockdowns. There were many different kinds of books mentioned, but many members had a predilection for murder-mystery books. Among the recommendations for reading were the following:
- “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" by Bill Brewster, tracing the history of the DJ from its origins to the present time and the roles the DJ has played in society.
- “Beyond Belfast", a 500 Mile Walk Across Northern Ireland” by Will Fergusson, and the title pretty much sums up the real-life story of the author’s Journey.
- “The Missing Millionaire” by Katie Daubs, a true-life story set in Toronto about the disappearance, in 1919, of millionaire Ambrose Small.
- “Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel about the struggles of a group of actors following the collapse of civilization after a pandemic!
- “Grand Hotel” (1929) by Vicki Baum about the lives of the characters staying in a Hotel in Berlin in the 1920s, subsequently made into a movie.
- “A Fabulous Kingdom” by Charles Officer and Jake Page about the quests, successful and otherwise, to explore the North, and reach the North pole.
- The eleven book police fiction series, by Val McDermid, featuring Policewoman Carol Jordan and Profiler Tony Hill.
- The murder mystery books of Elizabeth George; many featuring Inspector Linley.
- The murder-mystery books of Scandinavian Jo Nesbo featuring character Harry Hole.
- “The Future of Money: How the Digital Revolution is Transforming Currencies and Finance” by Eswar Presad.
Peter W.
Zoom Happy Hour
Fri, Jan 7, 2022
Happy Hour 1 Click on image for Slideshow
It was great to see so many UK Connexion friends (and a few new people too) at Susan's first Zoom meeting of 2022 on Friday January 7th. Altogether there were 16 participants relating all their adventures and pastimes during the period between lockdowns! These Zoom meetups are very enjoyable and always entertaining and enlightening.

Thank you for doing them, Susan, we really appreciate the time you give to this event.
Maureen D.

Pheasant & Firkin Pub Night
Thu, Dec 9, 2021
Pheasant And Firkin Click on image for Slideshow
It was a cold and slippery night on December 9, when 10 of us got together to try out the Pheasant and Firkin on Avenue Road. There was a "my local" atmosphere about the place when we walked in and got seated. The food was excellent (I can certainly recommend the shepherd's pie) and came to us piping hot. It went well with my pint of Rickard's Red!! The service could not have been better – thank-you to our servers: Kristine and David. All agreed it was a success as a UK Connexion event and the writer will host it again in January, February and March. Thank-you to those who braved the cold and the somewhat slippery conditions to join me and I look forward to seeing you all again come January (COVID/OMNICROM depending)!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.
Christine Q.

Lucy's Ethiopian Restaurant
Sun, Nov 28, 2021
Lucy Click on image for Slideshow
We were a rowdy bunch of well-travelled people and we really enjoyed each other's company at Lucy's Ethiopian Restaurant on November 28. Photos were snapped and tales were recounted of repasts from many parts of the world, even Toronto! My entire meal was under $20, which included two small cups of strong coffee. The coffee ceremony included watching the beans fry on a wrought iron pan, then drinking the brew to the aroma of a heady incense, which curled beside us to the ceiling. Long afterward, that scent reminded me of our fun time.

The dancing to loud Afghan popular music? No skills required and a whole lotta shakin' going on!
Ritu B.

Katsu Restaurant
Thu, Nov 18, 2021
Katsu Restaurant Click on image for Slideshow
Nine of us enjoyed a meal together at this pleasant Japanese restaurant on the Danforth. It's a popular one for our group with good reason: delicious menu options and accommodating staff. It's nice to relax with friends as winter approaches and daylight hours get shorter.

Thanks to Tony for organizing.
Elaine P.

Granite Brewery
Sun, Nov 14, 2021
Granite Brewery Click on image for Slideshow
Once again, we had an enjoyable evening on Sunday November 14 at The Granite Pub with host Maureen D. They have an excellent menu of comfort foods, and a good selection of wines and in-house-brewed ales and lagers. Our server, Tiffany, was very attentive considering she had the job of looking after twelve talkative, hungry (and thirsty) members. Our lively conversations included future events, climate change and political leaderships!!

Thanks for hosting, Maureen. A fun evening.
Christine Q.

Opera 'Nabucco' and Dinner at Elephant & Castle
Sat, Nov 13, 2021
Click on image for Slideshow
What a delight to join Marilyn Gilbert at St. Andrew's Church on Simcoe St. in Toronto to hear a rarely performed opera by Giuseppe Verdi performed by the Toronto City Opera. Nabucco is the story of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II laying siege to Jerusalem intermingled with political and familial intrigue. The wonderful choir included the voice of our own Beverly Gibson.

Most people are familiar with the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves ("Va, Pensiero") an emotional lament – so lovely. The singers were accompanied only by amazing piano work by music director Ivan Jovanovic. The roles of “Abigaille” sung by Christina Pisani and “Zaccaria” sung by Dylan Wright were outstanding. The audience was rapt throughout and thunderous applause concluded the performance.

Afterwards Bonita S, Arnold L and Mary, and Jerry accompanied Marilyn to the Elephant and Castle pub across the street where some of the Company were enjoying a post performance repast. We enjoyed a lovely meal as well (my pot pie was delish) and some lively conversation. I'm looking forward to the next performance from the company!
Brenda W.

Golf Final
Thu, Nov 11, 2021
Golf Final Click on image for Slideshow
The UKC golf group played a fabulous game of fun golf at Scarlett Woods on a wonderful November day. The trees on the golf course were past their full colour resulting in an abundance of leaves falling to the ground. This made it trickier to find golf balls when they landed alongside the fairways in a pile of leaves. At the 17th hole, ducks were observed by the pond enjoying one of the last warmer days of the fall season.

Some refreshments were enjoyed on the Club House patio to complete the final golf outing for the season!
Jo-ann D.

Timothy's on Brown's Line
Wed, Nov 10, 2021
Timothy's Click on image for Slideshow
Wednesday November 10 was Ada's first time hosting a pub night. She could not have picked a better place to host an event – Timothy's on Browns line. A very popular place, friendly staff, live entertainment, dancing, wings on special, very large servings of food and reasonably priced.

Many thanks for Ada hosting this enjoyable event.
Ross A.

Trip to the Middle East Jerusalem Restaurant
Thu, Nov 4, 2021
An unexpectedly large and spacious restaurant with some interesting Middle Eastern artifacts. Our group of five (including two new members) enjoyed the varied 'buffet style' meal served by an attentive staff.

Our Lithuanian server even tried to convince us that he spoke with a Manchester accent!
Jean M.

Palgrave Forest & Wildlife Area
Sun, Oct 24, 2021
Palgrave Forest Click on image for Slideshow
Seven UKC members joined Mary for a hike through the Palgrave Forest and Wildlife area on Sunday, October 24. We could not have asked for a better day for the hike. While the temperature was a bit on the cool side, the sunshine and clear blue skies made for an enjoyable day. Everyone agreed that it was a great day for a hike and there was plenty of stimulating conversation as we made our way through the forest. We ended the day with a late lunch/early supper at our favourite pub in Bolton, The Toby Jug, which made sure we were all double vaccinated.

Thanks Mary and Zacky for a great hike!
Ron K.

Budapest Restaurant
Wed, Oct 20, 2021
Budapest Restaurant Click on image for Slideshow
Thirteen is supposed to be an unlucky number, but not for the 13 people who attended the Budapest Restaurant night. A hearty meal, a glass of wine or beer, and going by the chatter level, camaraderie.

It was wonderful to see new and familiar faces after all we have endured over the past months.
Rosemary P.

Autumn Walk Edwards Gardens
Thurs Oct 14, 2021
Edwards Gardens Click on image for Slideshow
On Thursday October 14, six members met on a sunny warm autumn day for a strolling tour of the upper Edwards Gardens. At this time one member left us to enjoy their own pursuits and the rest headed downhill for a hike along the trail in the wooded area to the valley along Wilket Creek’s natural area to Sunnybrook Park. There was lots of chatter while enjoying the fresh air amid the lovely autumn colours as well as other walkers and bikers. After a brief pause we headed back to view the lower gardens, cross the Bride’s Bridge and walk slightly uphill to the courtyard and cafe. After gathering various beverages and snacks the group opted to sit outside to enjoy the refreshments and friendly conversation. We were pleased to discover that 10,000 steps were taken that day, amid nature’s bounty and good company!

We thank our knowledgeable host who has been involved with the garden tours of many years and made learning about the history of the garden most interesting.
Filomena de S.

Dinner/Mingling Granite Brewery
Sun, Oct 10, 2021
Twelve UKC members, two of whom were new, turned out to attend a lovely dinner at the Granite Brewery on October 10th. It was a pleasant evening with mild temperatures, perfect for enjoying the large back patio. We spent some time chatting and catching up, for those of us who had not seen each other at recent UKC events, and also welcoming the new members to the group.
Our server, Trish, was very friendly, providing efficient service – even recalling a favorite drink order from a past visit for one of our group. A tasty menu with scrumptious specials was offered, and everyone enjoyed their meals. This truly was a meal and friends to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving weekend - so very much better than this time last year!

Many thanks to Maureen D. for hosting this successful and enjoyable event.
Helen M.

The Granite Brewery
Sun, Sep 26, 2021
The Granite Brewery Click on image for Slideshow
Not hard to see why the Granite Brewery is a UKC favourite. A large back patio with warm ambiance, lovely flowers, good reasonably-priced dishes and of course, great company in attendance.

Many thanks to Maureen D. for hosting this popular event on September 26.
Donna W.

St. James Gate
Thu, Sep 23, 2021
St. James Gate Click on image for Slideshow
On Thursday September 23, Maria A. hosted a pub night at St James Gate in Etobicoke. As a new UKC member I am happy to report that the evening was thoroughly enjoyable! The conversation at my end of the table of 13 flowed and the fish and chips were good.

I hope to meet up with my new friends and more in the near future.
Christine B.

Golf Fun Day
Sat, Sep 18, 2021
Golf Fun Day Click on image for Slideshow
Several UKC golfers joined together on September 18, a beautiful, sunny late summers day, at Scarlett Woods Golf Club to play a great game of fun golf. Some trees along the fairways were beginning to change colour reminding us that fall is just around the corner. The groups all kept good momentum managing to limit the number of balls lost to rivers, ponds and bushes. One golfer lost her sunglasses around the 14th hole and sent many of her golf buddies looking without success.

Bravo to Scarlett Woods who recovered the sunglasses the following day! After the game well deserved refreshments were enjoyed on the Club House patio prior to concluding the day.
Jo-ann D.

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.

Hot House Café
Sun, Aug 29, 2021
Hot House Cafe Click on image for Slideshow
On Sunday, August 29, our veteran host Chris hosted a UKC dinner event at the Hot House Café located in the St. Lawrence Market area of Toronto. Fourteen members responded and attended. Aside from a couple of new faces most UKC members were able to physically see and talk to each other again for the first time in over a year. We were seated very privately, all on one long table outside under an awning and were served by a very pleasant and polite waiter. Conversation flowed over a glass of wine or beer as our variety of dinners were being prepared.
Since this was not a pub but a restaurant, the Hot House Café featured an outstanding variety of items on their menu, not just pub food. It included exotic items such as “poke”, spicy marinated raw tuna. Of course, this was not for everyone although one member ordered it and thoroughly enjoyed it. After more conversation we said our farewells.

Hopefully Chris B. can host another event such as this very successful one in the near future.
Ed S.

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.