I am not sure why that saying fits the last ten days of my time in Kingston – perhaps the pattern of my days fit me, rather than me fitting around others. Not that I was suddenly on my own, I was still staying with and seeing family. That was more important to making my trip well rounded as I could go places during the day while they worked (or played) and then join up for an evening of quality time. So, what did I do with my time? A lot! Which means breaking things down to bite size pieces over time.
Still taking full advantage of my K—Pass I was able to see so much of what Kingston has to interest probably anyone. I hopped on and off the trolley to visit the Pen Museum and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, walked back to town and went out for dinner with my daughters one day.
The Pen Museum – ‘Cedarhedge’ house was built in 1873 for Warden John Creighton and his family after he refused to raise his children within the walls of the penitentiary. It was interesting to be told by the trolley driver that it was Creighton’s wife who refused whereas some written histories say he was the single parent of his five children. We can assume there was a mother at some point. I have absolutely no recollection of any cedars. )I found out later most of them had been removed.) Who built the house – convicts of course.
Although a relatively small museum it holds many interesting items ranging from confiscated shims (not out of Kingston Pen) to various torture devices….er, correction, including an early, crude, and most likely extremely effective, contraption similar to waterboarding. If anyone was not clear as to how despicable this was (and us still used in some form to this day) look it up. I was aghast to see that visitors willingly sat in the seat and had the bucket shut around their head. One woman said it made her feel claustrophobic – gee, really?
The second floor displays some of what would have been in the house during the time of the first warden to live there. No signs of any items for children though. It did appear they had quite a comfortable life. The cedar hedge that is no longer there would have hidden most of the neighbouring home (maximum 564 but no idea when that was nor how many in 1870s) except for maybe the stairway from the lower yard to the Pen.
A visit to the more refined Agnes Etherington Art Centre shook off the creepiness of incarceration. The first exhibition – Road Trip: Across Canada with Alan C. Collier, that included short narratives from the artist’s son who had the bounty of travelling with his parents, was very interesting. I am not an artist, very often the subtleties many find in a piece escape me. However, I found all of the work exhibited rather mesmerizing for their simplicity and the ease with which I could recognize some of the landscapes as well as relate to them. For me, that is what makes an artist. His paintings also made me want to keep on exploring Canada.
Of course I had to see the three Rembrandt paintings! What first struck me is that they are relatively small. Then just how difficult it must have been to paint such exquisite work under deplorable lighting. The small size of the pieces, two were on panels, one on canvas, invites close inspection. I came away wondering how anyone could capture expression and tone without a photograph to refer to!
The Alfred Bader Collects: Celebrating Fifty Years of The Bader Collection was a chance to see the works of the Old Masters from the 16th to 19th century. I enjoyed having the time to really look at the paintings, it was not busy, and left thinking I really do prefer art I can at least sort of understand. This conclusion came after I visited the Les Levine: Transmedia exhibit. I just could not understand the why of it. Which is why art, in all its forms, is so expressive.
The walk along the lake was wonderful. All along one long stretch were Inukshuks, or renditions of them, that kept the art theme in my mind. I took so many photos it became difficult to choose a favourite.
To end that very busy day I met my daughters for dinner at Curry Original, a wonderful restaurant that serves delicious Indian cuisine. We ordered too much, we ate too much, we had a wonderful evening. A two month early birthday dinner I had requested.
3.50 brkfst – yogurt with fruit & granola. Free coffee at Crave! (A card from Diva – a salon I introduced my daughters to that they still use for some services. Put that way it sounds nearly salacious) Dinner was a gift from my daughters. Steps over three days approx: 30,000