Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Canada 150 winning ONE Condoms

Canadians took to designing condom wrappers with a certain amount of humour with hundreds of entries received by ONE Condoms. Contest judges selected their top 50 designs and public voting has produced a number of winners, including grand prize by Emma Scott with an "I'd Tap That' design followed by her other design "Get (P)laid" which came in second.

“I never thought I would be so excited to see my art being ripped up and thrown away, but here I am putting my designs onto ONE Condom wrappers for all consenting adults across Canada,” said Emma Scott. “This contest was the perfect way for me to sprinkle my sense of humour into my design work, and I'm so glad Canada loved them!”

Other runners-up included a rooster Loonie, some moose doing it, Canadians apologizing in bed and a toque reference.
“I couldn’t resist such a quirky contest in celebration of this great country of ours. I was laughing throughout the entire process of creating this design, and I’m thrilled that I could bring that feeling to other people. I hope it makes people laugh all over this wonderful and loving country,” said A. E. Thompson, who created the “Loonie ONE” design.

Some regional winners included these designs.

And some staff picks.

“We’re so impressed by all the designs across Canada, from loonies and lumberjacks to condom igloos and beavers,” said Davin Wedel, founder of ONE Condoms. “Starting condom conversations, ONE Canada-Condom at at time!” Winners get a cash prize and a one year supply of condoms with their winning artwork. ONE Condom will also donate tens of thousands of condoms to Canadian organizations which promote sexual health education and outreach.

"Condoms are the most effective way to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. ONE was founded in 2004 with the core belief that if you put interesting and engaging artwork on condom wrappers, it helps start a conversation about the use of condoms and safer sex. ONE’s signature, circular condom wrappers feature hundreds of different designs and unique design collections."

Festival Music House tiff 2017 lineup

Returning to tiff on Sunday, September 10 at the Velvet Underground with an all-star lineup of Canadian artists and bands connecting to festival tastemakers. The exclusive concert at Velvet Underground is at 508 Queen Street West in Toronto and is produced by Arts & Crafts on behalf of Radio Starmaker Fund features Belle Game, Gabrielle Shonk, Matt Mays, Hollerado and DJ/Producer Grandtheft.

“Since its 2010 debut, Festival Music House has acted as a catalyst of connection between the film and music world,” said Aaron Miller, Programming Director at Arts & Crafts. “We’re excited to return to TIFF for the eighth edition of FMH with a solid lineup of fresh Canadian talent and established artists.” 

Notes from the release follow.

Belle Game. Image courtesy of Belle Game.

Led by the hypnotic vocals of Andrea Lo, Belle Game weaves ethereal soundscapes into blown-out, crush-pop confessions. Sonically, Belle Game exists somewhere between new-age visions and unkempt basements. Their debut album, Ritual Tradition Habit, earned the band critical praise from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, while their emotional live performances prompted Paste Magazine to name them one of the “10 Great New Bands from CMJ”. From hushed anthems to distorted instrumentals, Belle Game is always teetering between two worlds. Whatever the mood, it’s always a celebration of the hard times and a refusal of fear.

Gabrielle Shonk. Image by Norman Wong.

Raised in Quebec City and singing in both English and French, Gabrielle Shonk is the natural product of a creative household, with a blues-musician father and artist mother. Gabrielle’s instantly popular first single, “Habit,” introduced her voice to millions of people; her original music is a heady blend of soul-infused folk where melody shines atop a lively groove. She is currently working on her debut album, which offers a broad spectrum of sonics - from gossamer to guttural, celestial crossings to barroom stompers.

Matt Mays. Image courtesy of Matt Mays.

After departing from the seminal alt-country collective The Guthries back in 2002 and switching between solo and band projects, enigmatic singer-songwriter and Canada’s own rock n’ roll son, Matt Mays is back with a sixth studio album. "This is party rock for the heartbroken," says Mays of his new album. Once Upon a Hell of a Time is scheduled for release this upcoming fall, and will be following up the award-winning Coyote, which landed Matt a 2014 JUNO Award for Rock Album of the Year.

Hollerado. Image courtesy of Hollerado.

In 2009, Hollerado released their debut album Record In a Bag, scoring two Top 10 radio hits with “Americanarama” and “Juliette”. Five years and another album later, Hollerado began dedicating themselves to project 111 Songs, wherein they wrote custom songs for hundreds of specific fans. This extensive and continuous song writing project built the working framework for the release for their new single, “Born Yesterday,” which hints at the sheer energy of musical and creative offerings to come from the band in 2017.
Grandtheft. Image by Peter Don.

Grandtheft is a Toronto-based Producer and DJ whose music is spun worldwide and has garnered support from Pretty Lights, Hardwell, Skrillex, Annie Mac and Diplo. His original song "Keep it 100" with Keys N Krates won the MMVA for Best EDM Dance Video and was featured in the Minions movie trailer. Grandtheft continues to define his sound with his debut EP, Quit This City, on which the first track features Canadian compatriot and Arts & Crafts pop darling, Lowell. With performances at festivals including Coachella, Ultra, TomorrowWorld, HARD Fest, EDC and Mad Decent Block Party, Grandtheft's following has incresed astronomically in the past two years and shows no signs of slowing down. 

The full FMH 2017 lineup is listed below, and can also be found at:

Sunday, Sept. 10
Belle Game (8:30 p.m.)
Gabrielle Shonk (9:30 p.m.)
Matt Mays (10:30 p.m.)
Hollerado (11:30 p.m.)
Grandtheft (12:15 a.m.)

Elora Gorge

Water has cut quite the gorge in Elora and the town and the river valley are a fun place to spend a day visiting, especially not in winter! We parked near Victoria Park and headed towards the edge of the cliffs where you can find the stairway down to the river bed of Irvine Creek. This small creek leads into the Grand River which flows into Lake Erie.

Their is a new zip line across the gorge and you can kayak and tube in the Grand River or just hike the trails winding through the forests. The water temperature was perfect today and the waters are full of baby fish and crayfish.
The town of Elora is a popular tourism destination, full of shops and ice cream, based in incredible stone buildings. The old hydro generator has been moved away from the old Mill and a new 1 MW generator has been built on the footprint of a previous 1911 site.

See more of the Gorge and Elora after the jump.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Visit to the Parry Sound area

Traveling north on Highway 400, then Highway 69 brings you to the community of Parry Sound which is located on the eastern side of Georgian Bay and half way between Toronto and Sudbury. Cottages line the many shores of the inland lakes with roads cut through the Precambrian bedrock, winding along vast hardwood forests.
Summer brings families north to enjoy weekends and longer periods with plenty of watersports as part of the recreational activities. This stretch of Ontario, along with Haliburton and Muskoka are Toronto's vacation playground whether you use a tent, trailer or cottage.
Searching for turtles
We enjoyed the weekend, even with this year's abundance of rain and cool temperatures and took the kayaks out on McKellar Lake and Armstrong Lake. We were joined by lots of Canadian Geese and the occasional turtle sunning themselves along the shorelines filled with lily pads and their flowers.

See more of Ontario's cottage country after the jump.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dragons back in Toronto

Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi brought their slow motion martial arts and a bunch of dragons and lions to Yonge-Dundas Square. The dragons take dozens of people to carry the long body and provide the movements as the creature chased a big ball.

Groups of taoists performed their arts in the square and asked people to join in and learn about the practices of moving meditation. Then the dragons sprayed fire and ate several of the participants, their martial arts were ineffective against the rampaging dragons (this is based on Game of Thrones and how I think dragons will act).

Saturday, August 05, 2017

2017 Grand Parade of the Carnival

Come play MAS! The climax of the Toronto Caribbean festival starts in Exhibition Place and will dance its way along Lake Shore Boulevard on Saturday, August 5. There is a new start time for the parade in 2017, it will commence at 8:30am from the corner of British Columbia Road and Lake Shore on the west side of Exhibition Place. Here are some of the Mas costumes from the official 2017 launch.
The four staging areas for the parade prep are also on the west side with participants starting to assemble at 6:30am, entering the site from the Dufferin Street gate. The parade will be leed by the Guest Bands, followed by the Costumed Bands and then the Steelbands. The marchers will leave Exhibition Place and head east along Lake Shore Boulevard, turning up Newfoundland Road, then westerly on Prince's Boulevard where the Spectrum, or judging area, will be setup to judge the bands on parade day.
The order of bands is Durham Mass, Toronto Revellers, Carnival Nationz, Saldenah Mas-K club, Tribal Carnival, Atlantic Mas, Fantazia, Concepts Costume Creators, Sunlime Canada, D'Regulars and Venom.
Remember to respect the Mas and if you want to join the parade - join a band and get a costume. Exhibition Place will have paid entrance for viewing and there are some non paid viewing on Lake Shore Boulevard. Visitors are asked to not impede the parade route. When the last parade passes then non-masqueraders will be allowed on the route with a free daytime Blocko (block party) taking place on Lake Shore between Jameshon Avenue and British Columbia Road which will continue on Lake Shore after 6:30pm.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Importfest 2017 is in August

It's going to be a busy month in Toronto. Street festivals are popping up allover the place, the CNE and other town fairs make you want to go faster, Carnival makes you want to dance, Fan Expo brings
the world of comics to life and the tuner lifestyle will make you want to put a big screen television and 50,000 watts of speakers in your trunk.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 26 for the one day Importfest which is Canada's largest automotive aftermarket car show held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from 11am to 11pm. Hundreds of cars will be in the centre along with accessories, fashion models and a bikini contest.

"Top Tuners from across North America have been selected to go head to head in a competition of style, cool design and engineering. Over $5000 in cash and awards to be won!"

Importfest schedule

11:00am DJ Ritz Live on Location
11:00 Competition Begins
12:00pm RC Drift Demo
2:30 B Boy Battle
4:00 Scott Boogie
6:30 Bikini Contest
8:00 Stage Giveaways
9:00 Award Ceremony
11:00pm Show closes

See more photos from the 2015 show on my post here.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Guild Park Arts Festival

Located along the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs, the park is home to many orphan architectural pieces from Toronto's past and this weekend the park comes 'Alive with Culture'. The 10th annual festival takes place July 29-30 in the Guild Park and Gardens at 201 Guildwood Parkway in Scarborough.
The fest had an Artists' Market, live entertainment, Guild Heritage Exhibits, Taste of the Guild and a Beer Garden by the Olde Stone Cottage Pub and Children's Activities. While there is no parking on site they have shuttle buses running every 20 minutes between several parking lots that have free parking. Festival hours are 10am to 6pm on Saturday and till 5pm on Sunday.

Formerly known as Guildwood Park, the scenic setting has seen some amazing improvements since the last time I was there - the Inn has been redeveloped and looks amazing and the grounds are still getting fixed up with sod and seed. There are sculptures mixed in with the building remnants and there are several trails that you can take to explore the area - Livingston Trail, Guild Park Trail and the Guild East Trail. It is a beautiful place to hold a wedding, but I wouldn't do it during a major festival.
The Inn was originally built as a mansion for Colonel Harold Bickford in 1914, taken over by the Canadian Government as a training base during World War II and returned to use as a hotel in 1947 by owners Rosa and Spencer Clark. From the City's website: "For the next 35 years, the Clarks built a reputation as patrons of the arts and preservationists, amassing a huge art collection and preserving architectural fragments from dozens of demolished buildings. The property and the architectural fragments were sold to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in 1978 to be maintained as a public park. Spencer Clark continued to run the hotel until 1983, when a Board of Management was formed to oversee operations. At the time of the City's amalgamation, the Board was disbanded and the City’s Economic Development and Culture Division took over responsibility for the sculpture and architectural fragments, while the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division began to manage the surrounding parkland. The hotel continued to operate under contract management until it closed in 2002 when it was considered no longer viable without a major capital infusion."

Friday, July 28, 2017

Toronto Festival of Beer 2017

The weather is hot and the beers are cold!
Bring on the brews because the #TFOB is back in Exhibition Place along with some great bands and some tempting foodstuffs. Presented by the Beer Store and running from Friday to Sunday, July 28-30 at Bandshell Park, you can find the entrance at the front of the Better Living Centre. Headlining the live musical acts will be Wu-Tang & Def Squad originals Method Man & Redman on Friday, Saturday will be Sloan and Sunday will be Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea. The festival map is at top.
Chef Ted Reader

Walking through the gates you get some tokens and a commemorative TFOB festival mug, then it's time to try some of those 416 beers available in the park at the BeerFest. Tokens are $1 and most 4oz samples are 1 token. When you run out of tokens you can purchase more in the park.
Selling tokens in bundles of 20

"Our culinary programme keeps evolving and growing. Welcome to #TasteTFOB! The Grilling Tent and our curated list of food purveyors are second to none! Combine all that mouth-watering deliciousness with over 416 BREWS TO DISCOVER, and then add some incredible main stage talent and we are FREAKING OUT OVER HERE! Seriously, can’t wait for July 28-30. #TasteTFOB is presented by TO’S FINEST and in partnership with Labatt – Good things brewing, Broil King and Cheese Boutique. HERE IS THE VERY LATEST INFO ON TICKETS. As you know, we are sold out of TFOB Friday and TFOB Saturday tickets. You can use promo code EAT to save $5 off TFOB Sunday general admission tickets."
3:00p – Doors Open for Club TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized Ticket Holders
4:30p – General Admission Doors Open
9:30p – Method Man & Redman
10:30p – Last Call
10:45p – Taps Off
11:00p – Closed

12:00pm – Gates Open for CLUB TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized ticket holders
1:30pm – Gates Open for General Admission ticket holders
2:30pm – Frank Ryan
3:30pm – Secret Broadcast
4:30pm – Brothers of North
5:30pm – The Blue Stones
6:30pm – Sloan
7:30p – Last Call
7:45pm – Beer Taps Off
8:00pm – Gates Closed
Toronto Festival of Beer 2017
360 degree photo of David James band at the Bandshell
12:00pm – Gates Open for CLUB TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized ticket holders
1:30pm – Gates Open for General Admission ticket holders
3:00pm – Dani Strong
4:00pm – Eric Ethridge
5:15pm – David James
6:30pm – Alan Doyle & the Beautiful Gypsies
7:30p – Last Call
7:45pm – Beer Taps Off
8:00pm – Gates Closed

See more photos after the jump. By Kevin and James Hamilton.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square