Saturday, July 22, 2017

Toronto skyline at night

Colourful signs and the light show on the CN Tower reflect into the harbour beside the Portlands. I started down at Cherry Beach where you can follow a path in the dog park to the side of the Eastern Channel. Trees and the former high speed ferry property block a lot of the view.
From the west side of Cherry Beach
You can find great views from the park at the end of Polson Street
Looking west across the harbour you can see planes takeoff and land at Billy Bishop Island Airport

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday at Honda Indy Toronto 2017

Update: Josef Newgarden won the 2017 Verizon IndyCar race with Alexander Rossi second and hometown favourite James Hinchcliffe finishing third.
Josef and the launch of confetti
L-R; Alexander, Josef and James on the podium
Honda Indy Toronto 2017 Victory Circle
On the media platform in Victory Circle showing how hectic it is

IndyCar qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six was determined Saturday, today brings the headline race at the Honda Indy Toronto. It might get a little damp on Sunday, July 16 as rain is forecast to start in the afternoon but as long as you bring a rain poncho you can stay dry and it makes for some exciting racing. It only ended up raining a few drops!
Drivers will have a chance this morning to get in a quick warm up on the track and then the pre-race show starts at 3:00pm. Cars will be moved to the grid at 2:50pm then the starting ceremony will proceed at Victory Circle with speeches and driver introductions. Green flag is expected to drop at 3:47pm with the 85 laps (just over 151 miles) ending around 5:45pm.

Grand Marshal Tom Cochrane on the Indy stage

Singer, songwriter Tom Cochcrane will be the race Grand Marshal and the Grid Girls will be the Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders. As part of the preshow Sgt David Grenon will sing the National Anthems and Captain Hilary Anderson from the 433 Tactical Flying Squadron will do a fly over in a CF-18 Hornet.
Mazda Mx5
The day also includes a number of races by USF2000, Mx5, Indy Lights and GT3 series.

Toronto's 11-turn, 1.786 mile temporary course is one of ten IndyCar road/street tracks in the 2017 series. They race on 16 tracks which also include 3 short ovals and 3 superspeedways. The Toronto track opened in 1986. Last year the race was won by Will Power with Helio Castroneves second and James Hincliffe third.
Coming into Toronto the drivers with the most top finishes in 2017 are Simon Pagenaud (8), Scott Dixon (7), Helio Castroneves and Will Power (6) and Josef Newgarden (5). IndyCars are a Dallas IR-12 chassis (from 2012 to present) running on Firestone Firehawk tires and using a Honda V-6, twin-turbocharged (550-700 horsepower) engine. The fuel for these open wheel race cars is Sunoco E85R fuel which is a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. IndyCar is planning to change their chassis in 2018.

After the race was over it was announced that Honda Canada has renewed its sponsorship agreement with Green Savoree Racing Promotions and the Honda Indy Toronto through 2020.

"Honda Canada has been the title sponsor of the race since 2009 when Green Savoree Racing Promotions relaunched the event with the Verizon IndyCar series as the feature. The 2018 Honda Indy Toronto will be a special event with Honda's 10th year of partnership. "Honda's DNA is built on racing - a heritage started by our founder Mr. Honda - which we've celebrated and are very proud of for nearly 60 years. Honda and IndyCar have enjoyed a fantastic partnership over the last nine years bringing racing excitement to the streets of Toronto every July," said Dave Gardner, President & CEO of Honda Canada Inc."

See more photos of the Honda Indy Toronto after the jump.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday at Honda Indy Toronto 2017

With two IndyCar practices completed Friday, Simon Pagenaud leads the field with a top speed of 106.702 mph coming into day two of the weekend speedfest in Exhibition Place. He won't be able to take it easy as Saturday's schedule will include one more practice in the morning and qualifying and the Firestone Fast 6 starting at 2:15pm.
After the third IndyCar practice, speeds have crept up into the 107 mph range and now Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden have posted the top speeds in the combined results. It's interesting to note that the IndyCar drivers have already completed 1,287 total laps in the practice sessions alone. In the qualifying session Simon Pagenaud won the pole position and leads the Firestone Fast Six which includes Graham Rahal, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe.
Looking towards the Prince's Gates
The Toronto Argonauts cheerleaders will be the race Grid Girls

Today's races include the Mx5, USF2000, Indy Lights, GT3 and the Saturday feature race; NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto.
NASCAR vehicles go through technical inspection in the paddock

NASCAR drivers qualified Friday with Andrew Ranger in the pole position followed by Alex Tagliani, Kevin Lacroix and American Adam Andretti. Twenty stockcar drivers will get ready for their race in the midfield paddock and garage area at approximately 3:00pm then head out on the track for their race which is scheduled from 3:45 to 5:05pm.

Andrew in the 27 car heads toward the tire barrier

There were 20 drivers qualifying for the Grand Prix of Toronto. Pole position went to Andrew Ranger while Alex Tagliani and Kevin Lacroix rounded out the top three drivers for the starting lineup of the race.
(left to right) L.P. Dumoulin, Kevin Lacroix and Adam Andretti
Champagne spray ceremony

The race was just under one hour and had three cautions. The first one was in the second lap when Car 2 contacted the wall, later Andrew Ranger and Alex Tagliani got into a bit of a dust up and Andrew's car crashed into the tire barrier in turn four. After it was all over Kevin Lacroix took the checkered flag, followed by L.P. Dumoulin and Adam Andretti. The race was 57 minutes long and the top speed was 64.601 mph.
You can also shop for a hot tub

See more photos after the jump.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday at Honda Indy Toronto 2017

It's Fan Fiday at Exhibition Place and fans are coming down to see some World class race teams as they get some practice time on the tracks and start some qualifying rounds. Entrance today is free with the sponsorshop of the Ontario Honda Dealers and you can give a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada. The Toronto race weekend is from July 14 -16.
Grandstand seating is available today without any tickets required so you can check out the sightlines. Thunder Alley, the Honda Speed Zone and Honda World are all open and you can wander all but the IndyCar Paddocks for free. Firestone Racing is in the IndyCar Paddock and they have brought over 1,200 tires to Toronto which include the primary tire with a black sidewall and the rain tire with the grey sidewall. Each car will get 6 sets of primary tires, 4 sets of alternate tires and 5 sets of rain tires. Firestone will provide a Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award for the Toronto race, in the Iowa Corn 300 Will Powers' team won with a total pit stop time of 2 minutes and 1 second.
Ryan Hunter-Reay climbs into his car
Verizon IndyCar and NASCAR Pinty's have had their first practices in the morning and later in the afternoon IndyCar will have one more series practice before concentrating on pit stops. NASCAR will have a qualifying round starting at 3:35pm. In the first Verizon practice Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud ranked top three.
Cars taking to the track today also include Indy Lights, Mx5, USF2000 and GT3 and the action on the track ends at 6:00pm today. Weather has been great so far with some showers in the afternoon forecast.

Tomorrow will have a number of races with the feature being the Grand Prix of Toronto run by the NASCAR Pinty’s Series from 3:45 to 5:05pm. If you are coming down remember to use public transportation and bring some earplugs if you get close to the track.

See more racing after the jump.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

REVERENCE at Brookfield Place

Site-specific dance, ballet, mime and silent cheers are happening in the Allen Lambert Galleria of Toronto's Brookfield Place. REVERENCE by Brendan Fernandes was trained in classical ballet and he uses his Kenyan-Indian-Canadian background to question identity and the dynamics of power. Performances run July 10-14 from 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm and celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.

"Choreographed and conceived by Brendan Fernandes, Révérence is performed without a stage, without music and the audience is invited to travel with the dancers as they move through the Allen Lambert Galleria." The dancers passed out small paper flags that stated "REVERENCE". The dgathereed ancers posed and moved along the perimeter of the great hall while people gathered, watched and snapped photos of the graceful troop.

See more after the jump.

Honda Indy Toronto 2017

The race track is in place, the city roads are closed and Honda Indy Toronto is in town for its 31st year from July 14 to 16 in Exhibition Place. With a number of series taking part in the race festival the track schedule will be full of practice sessions, qualifying times and exciting races. Headline races will be the NASCAR Pinty's Series Grand Prix of Toronto on Saturday and the Verizon IndyCar Series Race on Sunday. Fan Friday remains free courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers with a request of a voluntary donation to Make-A-Wish Canada.

See photos of Fan Friday hereSaturday here and the big race day - Sunday.
Prince's Gates from the Pinty's Pub and Grill

21 IndyCar open wheel drivers are bringing their high powered machines to the Streets of Toronto race course (CAR/DRIVER): #1 Simon Pagenaud, #2 Josef Newgarden, #3 Helio Castroneves, #4 Conor Daly, #5 James Hinchcliffe, #7 Mikhail Aleshin replaced with Sebastian Saavedra, #8 Max Chilton, #9 Scott Dixon, #10 Tony Kanaan, #12 Will Power, #14 Carlos Munoz, #15 Graham Rahal, #18 Esteban Gutierrez, #19 Ed Jones, #20 Spencer Pigot, #21 JR Hildebrand, #26 Takuma Sato, #27 Marco Andretti, #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay, #83 Charlie Kimball and #98 Alexander Rossi.
Will Power interviewed at the press conference

Will Power won the 2016 Honda Indy Toronto which puts him at the top of active IndyCar drivers with the most wins at the track. Three other past winners will also be driving in 2017 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden. Will Power of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet says "Toronto is a great course for myself and the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team. We won the event last year and had a really great car to make it happen. We've gotten a win at a road course and an oval this season already, so a win at a street course would be really exciting. We continue to have a really strong car as we had a great one at Iowa. We're looking forward to racing for the fans at Toronto this weekend and building on consistently solid cars this season."
Crews setting up in pit lane
Cars are coming out of haulers in the IndyCar Paddocks

The Mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe of the #5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda is also returning and looks forward to racing in Toronto, "It's one of the busiest for me, but one of the most enjoyable, then to go home and race in front of the home crowd at the racetrack that I went to as a kid that really made me fall in love with Indy car racing. Getting the chance to race there every year is exciting. The support that I felt from the city, and the entire country, has been overwhelming the last 100 starts of my career, and it's going to be exciting to have number 101 there."
Honda Indy Toronto 2017 map

On Thursday, July 13 there will be a press conference where we will meet Jeff Atkinson, President of the Honda Indy Toronto and a number of drivers and later get to see the William Ashley race trophies. Jeff noted that this is the fourth longest running event in IndyCar and is a special event for the city of Toronto. The diversity of racing means that there is something to see and do for everyone.
From left to right: Alex Tagliani, Scott Hargrove, Patrick Gallagher, Will Power, Dalton Kellett, Parker Thompson and Sebastien Bourdais who joined the panel as a surprise guest.

Drivers at the initial press conference will be as noted.
Will Power of IndyCar. Says that the track and conditions are different every year and that you need to stay on your toes and survive the race - minimize mistakes and be smart. The concrete patches are slippery but if it rains Friday it might make the racing better.
Alex Tagliani, NASCAR Pinty's Series driver of the No. 18 Dodge in the Pinty's Grand Prix of Toronto. Alex won last year's race and he bringsthanked his new sponsor Lowes as they help raise awareness of food allergies.
Parker Thompson, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda driver of the No. 90 Exclusive Autosport Mazda. Toronto is one of the coolest cities to race in, he won last year and has started the campaign 'Drive to Stay Alive; to end distracted driving
Patrick Gallagher, Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup driver of the No. 29 McCumbee McAleer Racing Mazda. Says that this is the first time the race has come to Toronto and looks forward to the street course.
Scott Hargrove, Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama driver of the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche. This is Scott's fifth time racing in TO and notes that the track is difficult - bumpy and the walls are tight.
Sebastien Bourdais, IndyCar driver injured during the qualifying for the Indy 500. He is now walking and hopes to get into a car later in August after fracturing his pelvis and breaking a hip at the famous oval. He thought it was important to show up and support his team.
After the press conference "IndyCar drivers Tony Kanaan and Conor Daly, plus Jeff Atkinson and representatives from William Ashley will unveil the William Ashley Waterford Crystal trophies to be awarded to the top three IndyCar finishers in the Hondy Indy Toronto."
Pit lane and the Honda pedestrian bridge

Other events scheduled around the track or around town are as follows.

Thursday, July 13 from 3:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Indy Cycling Challenge benefiting Prostate Cancer Canada
Honda Indy Toronto temporary street circuit
Exhibition Place
"This inaugural event benefits Prostate Cancer Canada and will consist of a 10KM and 25KM race. Cyclists will compete in a timed event to raise money and to win prizes. 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi will also participate."

Thursday, July 13 from 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
The RALLY Toronto by Racing for Cancer
The Fermenting Cellar - Distillery District 28 Distillery Ln.
Toronto, ON M5A 4R2
"James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay are hosting a fundraising event to support the charity Racing for Cancer as well as benefit Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia Foundation of Canada."

Friday, July 14 from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Coors Light/New Era Event
Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub
14 Duncan St.
Toronto, ON M5H 3G8
"Coors Light and New Era are joining forces at Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub to build excitement for Honda Indy Toronto. Drivers Conor Daly, Graham Rahal, J.R. Hildebrand, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be on-site to meet fans and sign autographs. The event will feature giveaways, including co-branded Coors Light New Era hats."

Singer-song writer Tom Cochrane will be the Honda Indy Toronto 2017 Grand Marshal. Tom gained fame with his single 'Life is a Highway' and has received eight Juno awards, a GRAMMY nomination and been awarded the Order of Manitoba and the Order of Canada among many other honours.

"As Grand Marshal, Cochrane will announce the most famous words in motorsport, "Drivers, start your engines!" as well as participate in other pre-race ceremonies for the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Sunday. The race will be broadcast both globally and live nationally on Sportsnet 360 with coverage starting at 3:00 p.m. EDT. "We are incredibly excited to have Tom Cochrane as our 2017 Grand Marshal," said Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto. "His accomplishments in music as well as extensive charity work are a point of Canadian pride. We are honoured to have Tom join us in celebration this weekend."

"It is an honour to be asked to Grand Marshal the iconic Honda Indy especially in the summer of Canada's 150th year. It's always a hallmark of summer in Toronto and Ontario," said Tom Cochrane. "My favourite moment of Indy history was when Paul Tracy won the championship. It was a proud year for Canadians. This year after being a resident of Oakville for the last 20 years and raising our daughter here, I'm obviously rooting for fellow Oakvillian, James Hinchliffe to win!"

"Additionally, in celebration of Canada150, to enhance the Canadian presence in the pre-race ceremonies, Sgt. David Grenon of the Royal Canadian Air Force will perform the National Anthem. Captain Hilary Anderson of the Royal Canadian Air Force - 433 Tactical Flying Squadron, 3 Wing based out of CFB Bagotville, Quebec will fly over following the national athem in a CF-18 Hornet."

Sunday's Verizon IndyCar race will be preceded by a parade march of military members and untis from across Ontario along with the drivers and race organizers. The grid girls will be the Toronto Argonauts cheerleaders.

Photos from the weekend, the daily schedule, road closures and TTC changes after the jump. Check the Honda Indy Toronto website for updated schedules.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2017

The party has started as the city enjoys 50 years of Carnival in the big smoke. Spreading from Trinidad and Tobago and eventually to Toronto, the local celebration of Caribbean culture, music, cuisine is an event that has been embraced by Toronto and brings in many international visitors. The 5 week festival started on July 4th with the media launch of the Junior Carnival and will end with the big parade is Saturday, August 5. You can look for places on Lake Shore Boulevard to view the Grande Parade for free, buy general admission Exhibition Place tickets for $20 or go all out and get a VIP ticket for $100
Come back as I add more photos from the 2017 launch
"Go big. Really big! The Grand Parade is the largest event of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. This event continues to attract local, regional, national, and international attention by visitors and media. It is the highlight of the annual Festival. After months of preparation, masqueraders in colourful and striking costumes and steel pan bands wind their way from Exhibition Place moving east along Lakeshore Boulevard and returning to Exhibition Place. The road becomes the stage for the masqueraders and steelpan performers. It truly is something you can’t miss."

Toronto's Carnival brings out some amazing bands and masquerade groups to showcase the gorgeous mas costumes and music of the Caribbean and you can get a free peek of it for yourself during the Tuesday, July 11 official launch down at City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square. The magic starts at 11am and will feature music, performances and a massive display of mas costumes.
The remaining events are Carnival Village (Jul 15, 2017), The Art of Carnival (Jul 13, 2017), Junior Carnival and Family Day (Jul 22, 2017), Carnival Ball (Jul 28, 2017), Carnival Ball After Party (Jul 28, 2017), Lighting of the CN Tower (Aug 01, 2017), King & Queen Parade (Aug 03, 2017), and the Grande Parade 2017 (Aug 05, 2017).

See more photos after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs

Pride

Redball

Beaches

Graffiti

Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square

Transportation