More Beautiful Ordinary Things

A few years ago I challenged my readers and myself to find Beauty in Three Ordinary Things.

IMG_0732As this summer is winding down, I thought I’d return to this challenge. It’s been weird here in Toronto over the past two months as far as the weather is concerned. One week it feels like autumn, the next we’re boiling hot. We were lucky enough to have some gorgeous temperatures late last week, so that’s when I went out in search of beautiful things that most people who visit my city probably walk past without a second glance.

It was one of the most entertaining walks I’ve been on in a long time. I hope you enjoy my findings as much as I did discovering them.

Have you ever wondered what the tattered remains of old posters used to promote?

I like wondering about that when I see walls that look like this. There are constantly new political protests, concerts, English as a second language classes, poetry readings, lost dog posters, and incoherent rants popping up on community boards like this one.

After a while someone always takes down the old ones. Once you’ve lived here a while you can generally predict what types of notices you’ll find on these boards, but every once in a great while I’m pleasantly surprised by the wild creativity of other Torontonians.


Pigeons are everywhere in this city. Some people call them sky rats because they’ll eat just about anything and often carry parasites.

My husband spied this pigeon sitting peacefully on a second-story ledge. I spent several minutes watching the bird as it watched over our city. If not for the thick pane of glass between us, I could have reached out and touched it.

It amazes me to see how pigeons have adapted to such a urbanized environment. They not only survive in the city, they truly thrive here despite all of the dangers that surround them.

There’s something beautiful about that to me.

Somehow life always find a way.

My final entry is a funny one.

Sometimes when I’m walking down the street I like to make up stories about the people I pass.

For example, it’s interesting to think about what lead the same family to adopt a toy poodle and a Saint Bernard. Were the dogs best friends at the pound? Did half of the family want a dog they could carry while the other half was rooting for a dog that could carry them? Have they considered getting a Labrador Retriever next to even things out?

It’s not about judging other people. It’s about trying to figure out how their minds work.

Maybe that is why I found my third picture so amusing.

Did the owner’s love of elaborate basket decorations come before or after  their love of electric bikes? What do they store in the basket? If I happen to see it again this autumn, will the basket have leaves woven into it instead of flowers? Seasonal foliage makes sense, but it also seems like it would eventually damage the weave of the basket.


I probably spent 30% of my walk thinking about all of the possible answers to those questions. It truly fascinated me.

I’d love to see your photos, drawing, haiku, or other creative responses to ordinarily beautiful things in your neighbourhoods. Leave them in the comment section, or send me a link to them and I’ll add them to this post!

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