Photo by C. Dowson: a neighbourhood landmark.

A question from a reader from a sunnier district of North America: Is it practical to have a backyard swimming pool in Toronto?  The answer is that Toronto has three seasons: rain, winter and July. July sometimes visits in April, melting the snow. Then it goes away, and the mercury sinks into a depression. Then it comes back, and the mercury soars.July spends what other people call spring going back to and forth from Toronto like a Western University student who wants Mum to do his laundry. July then settles in more or less around the Feast of John the Baptist/the Summer Equinox and begins to steam.  

Given a choice, my own mother prefers to spend the hottest part of July in gentle, constant Europe. But sometime in May, my father goes out and takes the cover off the pool, tinkers in the pool shed (aka “the pump house” which sounds he is in Georgian Bath), and turns the green water blue. However, for months the pool will have been full of life and interest, thanks to the various avian visitors, especially the ducks. Ducks love the pool and swim around the deep puddles in the pool cover. Sometimes it attracts lovely little birds, too, like lemon-yellow American goldfinches. It seems that the pool is a rest stop for birds on their way to and from a wilderness conservation park. This makes staring out the very large kitchen window a profitable activity. 

Praise the Lord

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