Bathurst Loop

There’s a turnaround and transfer point at Bathurst and Queens Quay on Toronto’s waterfront.  I sometimes used to transfer to a Bathurst car here when I worked in the King/Bathurst area about 2002-04.  But these are new streetcars that take up most of a city block. I first rode these articulated streetcars in 2017-18 I think.  I was working for Tapestry Opera in the Distillery District and I’d catch the streetcar on Cherry Street. It was a darn cold place to wait.  I wasn’t sure about the new cars. They were easier to get on but they moved in such a herky jerky fashion, people were always losing their footing at first until both drivers and passengers adjusted.

Philosopher’s Walk

Nestled between RMC and the Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor is the entrance to the nicest little footpath through a part of U of T’s downtown campus

Anglican Church of Canada Offices

North of St. James Cathedral there is a row of Victorian offices that run up to Adelaide and around the corner. Built in the same brick as the church, the Court House a block away and St. Lawrence Hall, the original City Hall, these buildings house a number or organization including the Anglican Church of Canada, who used to take up the full structure, I believe. Theres a new church Hall for the Cathedral in blue glass between the old offices and St. James Park.

Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto

I bought myself a sketchbook with a wide format.  I’d been admiring other people’s ability to create some wide street scenes.  I really had fun with this.  I think I’ll use this format a lot in future.

Elmsley Place

This house in Toronto’s Annex was purchased by St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto in 1920 and still serves as student housing. I wanted to sketch it because of it’s Hogwarts feeling and the unique brick buttresses under the upper storey tower room. These days it is connected to two additional houses on the block that collectively house about 70 students in double and single rooms. The Annex was Toronto’s first subdivision and is now a mixed neighbourhood of mansions, frat houses, rooming houses and houses converted into multi-unit dwellings.

37 Madison

37 Madison

I saw this house in a real estate listing for about 7 M. It is currently being used as offices for an advertising agency. I think the sunrise light bathing the bricks and stone in yellow and orange really appealed to me.

Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra Website

The Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra is an amazing 40 year old community orchestra in Scarborough, Ontario. Once an independent city, Scarborough was annexed to Toronto by provincial decree in the 1990’s, but maintains an independent identity.  Developing a new website for the orchestra was a considerable challenge due to some years of neglect of their prior site.  The site was built on a child them of a deprecated them and much of it’s architecture was dependent on premium plugins with expired licenses. No wonder the staff of the orchestra was reporting that the site was balky and the simplist posts would encounter difficuties.

Unravelling the problems, it came to light that the site had been developed by a small local communications business that had, for the most part given up on web design.  Once again, no one in the organization had really noticed but simply carried on.  I was reminded of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance again.  In the book the character talks about how neglecting a dripping tap erodes your quality of life over time.   Like a dripping tap, the problems with the website were affected every level and aspect of the organizations work


Organizing the orcestra’s many videos was one of the challenges with this build.  Originally I built video portfolios as pictured here, but, given some recent changes in Google Search Console, I am transitioning the sit over to a video custom post type to have only one video on a post. Using a custom taxonomy, the videos are aggregated on archive pages.

Another challenge was setting up a self-hosted ticketing system.  In this case we used The Event Calendar and Event Ticets from Modern Tribe.  

Is your project “grant-ready”?

I participated in a great discussion today emerged in the Grant Writer’s Network on Linked In “How do you deal with clients who don’t provide you with the detailed information you need to write the grant?” 


This comes up numerous times when organizations ask me to write a grant for one of their projects.  They want to know, of course, how much it will cost them, but the number of hours of work, depends on how ready they are for grant writing to begin. 

Normally writing a grant takes  8-16 hours of work time (depending on the program) and I am relunctant to bill more than 16 hours for any grant, because it gets expensive for the organization and it is hard for organizations to understand why a “writing” task could take longer than 2 full work days.  This happens when they are unfamilar with the work involved outside of the writing task. 

There are hidden hours of work when you or your staff don’t give me the information I need and I have to repeatedly request information, explain and re-explain what I need.  There is also extra work involved when the project is handed over with incomplete or missing information.  Sometimes I have had to research and create statistics/budgets myself from raw data or I have had to seek and request quotes for capital costs.  One time I had to research performance spaces and create ticket scaling in each hall to come up with a realistic ticket revenue model.  These are all tasks that are far outside of what you should expect from a grant writer.

With some grantwriting tasks I have spent more time emailing the organization’s staff with questions and requests than I have working on assuring they have the best possible proposal to submit to a funder. This isn’t just stressful for me, it is an avoidable cost for your organization.


What should you expect to provide to a grantwriter?

  1. Organizational information: Mission, history, awards, reviews, bios of key staff involved, board list
  2. Project information:  The who, what, where and why of the project
  3. Financial information: Audited financials, current year budget, working project budget
  4. Support letters from partner organization, or who to contact to get the support letters.
  5. Required support documentation in acceptable formats (videos, photographs, audio, etc.) 

I’d suggest that you keep all the annually updated organizational information in a zipped “organizational information” folder for easy emailing or post the documents in a password secured location for downloading. That will save you a lot of time finding the documents individually.

Project information seems to cause people more difficulty.  If you lack program details you aren’t going to be able to effectively raise money.  You cannot wait to “see if you get the money” before finalizing your plan.  Plan your optimal project and contingencies, then you are ready to raise the money!


Larry Carbone, Veterinarian and Animal Rights Activist

The Project

Starting with content on a blog, create a multi-faceted site for an individual with streams of activity including consulting, activism, nature photography and crafting.

The Look

I drew on colours from the site owners photography and pottery.


The site logo was taken from art on the site owner’s pottery.