Gone fishin’ in Waterloo

I posted about a fish-shaped catch basin grate near the Leaside Bridge a couple of winters ago. It remains the only one I’ve seen in Toronto, but I found the mother lode of them last weekend in Waterloo:

Fishy catch basin in Waterloo

They seemed to be along the entire length of Margaret Avenue in Waterloo, and were probably elsewhere in the city as well. Waterloo Region has a detailed casting design for them (page 20 of this PDF) while also noting that they are only for use within the city of Waterloo and nowhere else within the region. So how did we get one in Toronto? The one here has a slightly different design, or I might have suspected someone at Toronto Water of having sticky fingers.

A useful bit of whimsy

Fishy catch basin grate

Much Toronto infrastructure is notable for its absolute devotion to utilitarianism, so it’s always a pleasant surprise to happen across a piece that combines utility with thoughtful design. This catch basin grate, located just a few steps north of the Leaside Bridge, was installed after the road was resurfaced late last autumn. Toronto has long participated in the Yellow Fish Road program, but incorporating the image of a fish directly into the grate is a nice touch that both looks great (mud and trash notwithstanding) and delivers a message.

These grates seem to have been around Ottawa for a while, and seem to be one of at least two fishy designs currently on the streets of Toronto.

Weekend project


It’s funny how weekend projects always seem to take longer than you expect. This one started in October, when I saw a xylophone kit at Lee Valley and decided that it would make a good gift for my nephew’s upcoming seventh birthday. One weekend stretched into three partial weekends and a couple of early mornings and late nights, but these things always do.

I’m not normally the kind of woodworker who plans in advance: I usually have an idea in my head and just dive madly into the project, making up the details as I go. But for things that I’m giving away or that have deadlines, I try to be a little more careful. I even did sketches and a full-scale model for this one. The sketches helped me come up with what I think is a much better design than the one I initially had, and the model allowed me to identify a weak point in my initial plan and improve the final piece accordingly.

Check out the gallery after the jump to see the whole project.

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