Tuesday, November 14, 2017

King Street Transit Pilot

Moving more than 65,000 public transit riders along King Street has become a priority for the City of Toronto and so on Sunday, November 12 the east-west roadway stopped allowing cars through intersections. Only streetcars are allowed to pass along King Street, all private cars have to turn off King Street at each intersection. It seems way more confusing than a system of one way streets and my brain hurts thinking about it. Many vehicles are ignoring the changes at this point so it will take some getting used to.
King Street at Bay Street
King is the third busiest ttc corridor in the City, surprisingly just behind the Yonge-University and Bloor-Danforth subway lines. So they have cut off two lanes of traffic, one on each side, for such things as drop off zones, accessible bus stops, public spaces and ttc stops. This pilot project runs between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Toronto Fan Days 2017 ComiCon coming December 9

Your one day holiday show brings cosplay festivities to the city in time for Christmas gift giving. Fans can check out the selection of comics, costumes, toys, memorabilia and other items at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building from 11am to 5pm.
Visitors can enjoy the show, make new friends, show off their cosplay and meet groups of like minded fans. And the entrance to this mini-comicon is only $10. You can see photos of the 2016 Holiday Show on my post here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Toronto's Christmas Tree

A 60 foot tree was brought into Nathan Phillips Square November 6, 2017 and hoisted aloft by Weller Tree Service. Arriving at City Hall at 8am on a large flatbed trailer the rest of the morning was taken getting the tree upright and tied into place. Decorations will now be placed around the beast of a tree ahead of the Cavalcade of Lights.
Weller Tree Service has selected and installed the tree for several decades. It has to settle for three days before the decorations can start being placed, it does not require watering and will be recycled after the holiday season ends. It takes about two weeks for a crew of four to put up the decorations and lights around the tree.
"The 51st annual Cavalcade of Lights will launch the holiday season on November 25 at 7 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square. The event will include a DJ skating party, the lighting of Toronto's official tree, live musical main stage performances, special pop-up performances and a spectacular fireworks display."

Monday, November 06, 2017

Honda Indy Toronto 2018 Renewal tickets on sale now

Previous purchasers of two-day reserved grandstand seats can pick up tickets for the 2018 race ahead of the general public sale coming December 5, 2017. Customers can reserve the same seats or upgrade with prices ranging from $85 for Bronze to $185 for Gold two-day grandstand seating. Renewal tickets also include enrollment in the Meridian Champions Club which "offers exclusive benefits and access, including a souvenir credential with lanyard, complimentary Verizon IndyCar Series paddock passes, pre-race grid walk, discounts on official event merchandise, an opportunity to win a two-seater Indy car ride on the track, and many other experiences. Additional exclusive offers and surprise benefits will be revealed leading up to the 2018 event."
The Honda Indy Toronto is a street course racing around Exhibition Place and onto Lake Shore Boulevard which will run July 13-15, 2018. Children under 12 get in free to the Motorsports Festival throughout the weekend when entering with a ticketed adult. Also returning for 2018 is the Ontario Honda Dealers Association Fan Friday with free general admission with a voluntary donation. Children

"The Honda Indy Toronto has shown tremendous momentum over the past two years, and we expect this positive trend to continue. 2018 will be an extra special celebration as we mark our 10th year with Honda Canada as title sponsor of this summer racing tradition," said Jeff Atkinson, president of Honda Indy Toronto. "Then, Sunday afternoon's Verizon IndyCar Series race will certainly ignite additional passion from our fans. The new Indy car design, and the recent announcement of local favourites James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens becoming driving teammates has formed an awesome, all Canadian super team to root for."
Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe gives the thumbs up to fans in the grandstands

On and off course attractions include beer gardens, Thunder Alley, charity events, food trucks as well as several race series including the open wheel cars of the Verizon Indycar Series and stockcar racing from the Nascar Pintys Series.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2017

Special guest stars Pentatonix (pictured at top. Photo by George Pimentel, Getty Images) helped to unveil the Holiday Windows in the heart of downtown Toronto on Thursday, November 2nd. Presented by Cadillac Fairview and new for 2017, the series of scenes in the windows of Hudson's facing Queen Street West have been created based on a snow globe theme. Pentatonix, the multi-platinum, Grammy Award winning musical group performed as part of the celebration with Alison Coville, President of Hudson's Bay and Tanya Kim as the host for the special night.
Fans crowd onto Queen Street West to see Pentatonix perform. Photo by George Pimentel, Getty Images
Pentatonix on stage. Photo by George Pimentel, Getty Images

The previous animatronic Christmas displays have long been a staple for many holiday memories for families shopping and enjoying the festive season in Toronto. In 2016 Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue introduced a new set of holiday scenes called the Enchanted Forest complete 34 hand-sculpted animals in a various winter settings. Mariah Carey was the special guest for 2016.

A lot of Toronto landmarks made it into this snowglobe

Hudson's Bay Shake Up Your Holidays 2017 window displays "designed to take bystanders on a whimsical journey as seen through the lens of enchanted snow globes. Each of the five animated windows boasts a unique scene, bringing viewers from the North Pole Arctic Adventures and Santa’s Magic workshop to Christmas in the City set in Toronto, with a few magical stops in-between."
This year’s snow globe theme windows feature: Santa’s Magic: A modern-day Santa looks into his globe. Arctic Adventures: Two polar bears meet for a celebratory high-five in an arctic scene, Winter Woodlands: A rabbit ventures toward a magical tree with woodland creatures, Holiday Circus: A vintage-style circus is conducted by the master of ceremonies and Christmas in the City: Starry holiday scene is set against Toronto landmarks.
Saks Fifth Avenus also puts up unique holiday window fashion displays along Yonge Street and in 2016 had a land of 1000 delights which had a lot of candy in the clothes. For 2017 they worked with Disney to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Disney's movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Costume designer Michael Southgate created five versions of Snow White's iconic dress set in an magical forest.
Presents in the antlers in the combined Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue Queen Street West entrance

Skybridge open in the Toronto Eaton Centre

Shoppers can now cross between Saks Fifth Avenue building and the Eaton Centre with the new Skybridge over Queen Street West. The original pedestrian bridge was approaching end of life and Cadillac Fairview hired Dominic Bettison of WilkinsonEyre to design the new structure.

Looking towards the Eaton Centre from Saks

The two entrances were different with the Eaton Centre side being rectangular and the Saks Fifth Avenue/Hudson Bay side being round. By rotating and breaking up the rectangle, similar to rifling in a gun barrel, they accomplished the transition between the two geometrical shapes. It also rises in the middle as it approaches the middle of Queen Street West.

Looking towards Saks

It was quite a process as the old bridge was removed in May of 2017 while the new bridge was under construction on James Street, just beside the Eaton Centre. Then Queen Street was closed for traffic over a July weekend and they hoisted the beast into place and have since been working at completing the interior and exterior of the bridge. You can see photos of the construction process on my original post here.
On November 2nd, 2017 the bridge was opened and shoppers are not only crossing the street in the bridge, they are stopping and taking photos inside the bridge because it is pretty interesting with a nice view of Queen Street. And it is ready just in time for the Christmas shopping rush.

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 2017

Horses and heifers were the main draw to the world's largest indoor agricultural and equestrian show in Toronto's Exhibition Place, but there was so much more to see at the fair. Taking place November 3-12 in the Enercare Centre, the Horse Palace and Ricoh Coliseum for the 95th time since the Royal began in 1922. General admission tickets are $27.50 and you could upgrade your ticket to see the Royal Horse Show for additional costs depending on the date and time.
"The Royal Horse Shows hosts more than 1,000 competitors and offers $1 million in prize money over the course of its ten-day run. International show jumping athletes make their way to Toronto from all corners of the world to compete in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto on Wednesday evening, November 8th. This year top ranked international competitors will include Olympians, Kent Farrington, and McLain Ward, ranked #1 and #3 in the world respectively. In addition to international competition, the $125,000 Canadian Show Jumping Championship returns in 2017. Top-ranked Canadian riders, including 12-time winner and defending champion Ian Millar of Perth, ON, will go head-to-head over two days on November 3rd and 4th, with the winner being crowned the Canadian Show Jumping Champion."
Ian in the practice ring on Saturday
Ian Millar in competition on Friday night. Photo from the Royal Winter Fair

Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario won the initial phase of the Canadian Show Jumping Championship on Friday with the help of his horse named Dixson. His time of 61.75 seconds was the fastest time without knocking down any jumps, on the course which was designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil who designed the 2016 Rio Olympic course. Fellow Canadian Ali Ramsay riding Hermelien VD Hooghoeve finished in second place. Competitors carry over their scores into Saturday's final phase which was won by Amy Miller and her mount, Heros.

"The Canadian Championship is a really big deal for us; it's what this weekend is all about," said Millar, 70, who is the defending champion with Dixson, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo D'arsouilles x Olisco). "The timing is wonderful because it's year-end, so it culminates like a true championship. Sport has to have a script to it with a start, an end, and drama. This gives you a script with the championship at the end of the season, and The Royal does a very, very good job of it. It is very prestigious to win."

Saturday, November 4 had Heifer, Hereford and Dairy Goat competitions while over the course of the Royal several different animals such as sheep, lamb, fancy birds and rabbits will be featured. You can also see butter sculpting, the K9 Equine Relay featuring the President's Choice SuperDogs, the Craft Beer and Cider Awards and emerging artists Boots and Hearts. Amber Marshall, star of the CBC series Heartland, will return to the Royal as the guest MC for the matinee Rodeo on November 12.
In the Burnbrae Farms Food and Lifestyle Stage we got a chance to see the International Invitational Chef Challenge hosted by Ted Reader.

There is plenty of paid parking in Exhibition Place although some parking spots were given over to an outdoor cow holding area. Across Lake Shore the parking for Ontario Place was full of hundreds of livestock trailers, so many that I don't think there are many horses left on the farms.

See more of the Royal after the jump.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Canada Blooms goes to the movies in 2018

Hollywood inspired floral designs like the Star Trek Garden will be featured during Canada's largest horticultural festival returning to the Enercare Centre March 9-18, 2018. The annual BloomFest, founded by Landscape Ontario and the Garden Club of Ontario, continues to fund community garden projects and help others with their horticulture expertise.

“We are very excited for our 2018 theme, ‘Let’s Go To The Movies,’” says Terry Caddo, General Manager of Canada Blooms. “We cannot wait to see what our award-winning florist artists, garden builders and designers have up their sleeves and how they will incorporate the theme into their creations.”
Melanie Rekola Landscape Design will create a floral masterpiece based on the sci-fi series Star Trek. “Horticulture is very much a science-based practice and I’ve always had a love for science – and science fiction,” says Landscape Designer Melanie Rekola, “When I heard that Canada Blooms 2018 was movie themed, I saw the perfect place to merge sci-fi with horticulture.”

Visitors to the Canada Blooms will also be able to see the National Home Show when they come to see the gardens, take in some presentations and check out the competitions with Canada's largest juried flower show. “We’re looking forward to welcoming back many of our exhibitors such as the annual Toronto Flower Show and, of course, our several guest speakers and industry professionals who will be sharing gardening and floral advice on our celebrity stage,” adds Caddo. 

Photos provided.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Salmon run in Lowville Park

Autumn's cold temperatures sends spawning salmon upstream from Lake Ontario into the rivers that flow throughout the GTA. In Lowville, which is part of north Burlington, the Bronte Creek flows through the area and crosses Guelph Line. Hard work by various parties like Trout Unlimited have helped to restock the river with fish and to remake the river bed to make it easier for the fish to battle their way upstream.
The fall run of Pacific Salmon (Chinook and Coho) typically happens between mid-August and November, peaking in mid-October, when the water flow increases and the temperatures start dropping to 14 degrees Celsius or less. The change in temperatures from the warm summer waters to cold waters foretelling the coming of winter. The fish swim against the current where they plan to lay their eggs in the gravel beds known as redd, resting in deeper pool areas during the hard run against the current and hiding from predators.
Salmon in the shallow rivers are no small creatures, Chinook can be more that three feet and get to be 25 lbs or more. The normal silver colouring of the salmon turns almost black during spawning season. Apparently most of the chinook salmon are 3 - 4 years old when they begin their journey to lay eggs at the same place they were born and only make the trip once, dying during the run or soon afterwards.
To make an adequate habitat for fish the river needs to have a combination of riffles, pools and runs. Riffles are areas of fast flow around rocks which cause a wavy and disturbed surface. Pools and deeper areas like those found at the outside of a bend while runs are smooth, slower moving parts of the creek. Salmon can make the difficult climb against the rushing water and even jump over large waterfalls, swimming thousands of kilometres as necessary to reach their spawning grounds.
Plus it was a good excuse to look for some more fall colours. See more foliage after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square