Monday, January 22, 2018

CN Tower from a Union Station Platform

Sometimes you have to travel to the far end of the Union Station platforms to catch a GO Train to where you want to go, winding your way through the every changing crap show that is the station construction.
I was out at this platform, number 27, incorrectly it turns out and almost ended up east of Toronto instead of west. Luckily Ann noticed the error minutes before we set off on the Lakeshore East train and we got to the Lakeshore West train just in time. But before we left I got a nice view of the CN Tower along the condos and office buildings south of the rail line.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ice Breakers winter art at the waterfront

Toronto's hunger for interesting activities brings out the crowds during the cold of winter to see temporary art installations along Harbourfront or the Toronto Light Fest in the Distillery District. Ice Breakers comes back to Queens Quay West between York Street and Spadina Avenue with five new pieces for Winter 2018. The works will be on display from January 19 to February 25 all along the south side of Queens Quay. My favourite was the half buried red bear called "Through the eyes of the bear".
‘Through the Eyes of the Bear’ by Tanya Goertzen of People Places (Calgary, Canada). Inspired by Ursa Major - the Great Bear constellation. You can walk into the head and look out of the eyes. The bear is made of renewable, recyclable and compostable materials.
‘Black Bamboo’ by Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang of 2408 Studio ( Hangzhou Shi, China). The shape is an abstract cube made of painted bamboo poles.

"After the huge success of last year's Ice Breakers event, we decided to open the exhibit up as an international competition for 2018. We were looking for installations that would bring colour, warmth and activity to the Waterfront - attracting visitors from across the City to experience this spectacular wintertime streetscape," says Carol Jolly, Executive Director, The Waterfront BIA. You can see the 2017 Ice Breakers on my post here. The theme for 2018 is "constellation" and designers and artists were asked to create their projects with the stars as inspiration.
A hundred international submissions were received and the jury chose five final installations on October 19, 2017. "The name Ice Breakers is inspired by the utilitarian ships once used in Toronto’s harbour to break up frozen bodies of water, keeping commerce flowing into and out of the City. Ice Breakers is also a testament to the power of design, bringing strangers together and sparking a fresh dialogue about Toronto's urban Waterfront."
'Winter FanFare' by Thena Tak (Vancouver, Canada). Fan sculptures provide space for people to walk through.

'Ensemble' by João Araújo Sousa and Joana Correia Silva, JJs Arquitectura (Porto, Portugal). Chimes that make music when touched by visitors.

‘Root Cabin’ by Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson, Public City Architecture (Winnipeg, Canada). Is a cabin shaped by a pile of roots and painted pink inside.

And if you want more art you can see the fourth annual Winter Stations lifeguard installations starting February 19 (Family Day) in the Beaches. Photos by Ann and James Hamilton.

See more photos of the installations after the jump.

Toronto Light Fest 2018

The Distillery District is booming again as #tolightfest takes over from the recent Toronto Christmas Market. And instead of a reindeer with a nose that glows there is a dragon that belches flames. This festival is free to enter but parking, if you are lucky enough to find it, is $2.25 an hour. And believe you me, the tight quarters and too many cars make this area hard to traverse while looking for a precious spot to open up, so park somewhere else and walk to the district.

"During the cold, dark days of winter, City residents will be drawn out of their traditional indoor habitats to experience Toronto in a way they never have before."
A number of luminous art installations are spread throughout the historic Victorian industrial neighborhood including a piano that plays light, a pyramid, seven monks and lasers. Light sculptures, fixed and changing, are mixed among the stores and restaurants of this unique section of downtown Toronto. The festival is on from January 19 to March 4, 2018 starting each day at sundown and ending at 10pm every day but Sunday, which ends at 9pm. The festival directors say that they created the event to help winter not suck as much!

Photos by Ann and James Hamilton. See more of the light installations after the jump.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Interior Design Show 2018 Opening Night Party

Toronto’s #IDS18 Design Fair starts with a fun night featuring DJs, abundant amounts of free food and drink samples and the outstanding array of leading brands and design ideas sponsored by PurParket. Opening night was on Thursday, January 18 beginning at 7pm and continuing until 11pm and then heading to The Drake for the after party. Future Fantastic and Edge of Design were some of the buzzwords of the night. I highly recommend the show and if you are going to attend and the opening night party is definitely worth considering, then you can return on other days to listen and learn from experts.

Held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre – North Building the Interior Design Show runs from January 18-21 with days set aside for Preview on Thursday, Professionals on Friday, Globe and Mail Saturday and House & Home on Sunday. “The 20th edition of Canada’s design fair celebrates leading brands, innovative speakers and rising local talents. We hope you enjoy exploring the people, products and places that make the design world so exciting an inspiring.” The beauty of some elements make the show a combination of function and art that provide for a really unique trade show.
The variety of design groups and manufacturers brings many of the best products and services available in Canada all to one place. Highlights of the opening night were the Caesarstone display area and their adjacent stage and lounge as well as the ladies in the illuminated dresses.
Shauna Levy, co-founder of IDS in Toronto and President and CEO of Canada’s Design Exchange will be speaking at the Caesarstone Stage on Saturday at 11:30am. She says that “Design is certainly about beauty, but it’s now time for design to do some heavy lifting. Design should have a seat at the table when discussing how to create a world where all people can prosper.”

While the visual world is well represented at the show, there is also a component of learning with Trade Day Talks and Seminars such as ‘Universal Design: Learning from the past, designing for the future’, ‘Using the WELL Building Standard to optimize your healthy workplace’ and ‘the Business of Colour’.

Globe and Mail Saturday will delve into where we find inspiration and will have Guests of Honour: Yabu Pushelberg’s George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg. Their multidisciplinary firm looks at all aspects of design and architecture and the due will converse with Globe and Mail editor Kristina Ljubanovic. Saturday will also have Design Classes so that you can learn some of what it takes to develop into a successful designer with such topics as ‘For follows function – outdoor entertaining in small spaces’ and ‘Stages and phases of designing your dream home from the inside out’.
House and Home Sunday will look for trends as Canadian and International design personalities will provide keynote talks. This is your chance to ask questions from the experts and take in all their valuable advice.
In additional to the Caesarstone area there is also a Canadian by Nature exhibition, Studio North, Ontario Wood, designboom mart, how bright is our future space. There are also some quirky spaces such as the Bubble Yum bouncy ball rest area, the Crate Canteen and the Vantashack.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Interior Design Show Toronto 2018

The @idstoronto 3 day-weekend is almost here. Twenty years of people, products and places influencing the designs found in Canadian homes. Built to showcase designers and design concepts the Interior Design Show will be at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from January 18 to 21, 2018.
International Guests of Honour George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg will be the special design superstars of the show and will join the Globe Style Saturday speaker series. The pair have designed such projects as the interior of the Four Seasons Toronto and New York Downtown as well as the Canada Olympic House Rio 2016 games.
I loved the shiny elephant toilet paper holder
"The Interior Design Show is Canada’s premier showcase of new products and furniture, superstar designers and avant-garde concepts from North America and beyond. Over 3.5 action-packed days, the show captures the latest innovations for an engaged audience of consumers and professionals. With its ambitious programming, IDS Toronto is a driving force of the city’s flourishing design scene. The fair promotes rising design talents and attracts keynote speakers of international acclaim, making it the must-see event of the year for established and emerging design."

It all begins at the opening night party on Thursday, January 18. The party has some of the industry's greatest influencers celebrating the "Future Fantastic" from 7-11pm.

Professional Trade Day is Friday, January 19 from 9am to 6pm. "IDS Professional Trade Day is reserved to professional members of the design trade. The day is designed to inspire, educate and expose professionals to products, designers and ideas from both international and national perspectives. In addition to the floor exhibits and features, programming on this day includes the AZURE Trade Talks speakers series that takes place on the Caesarstone Stage, Trade Day seminars, the IDS Booth Awards and Design Awards."

January 20 is Globe Style Saturday is open to the public from 10am to 7pm. Where consumers can take in some speaker's series and learn all about design.

House and Home Sunday finishes the show on January 21 from 10am to 6pm. Find out what is trending with design personalities along with House and Home editors.

See some photos of the 2017 show after the jump.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Dead of Winter returns to Toronto

Extreme cold and winter storms have been the norm lately so it is fitting that we are in the coldest part of the year. The period runs from January 10 to February 10 and is the opposite to the Dog Days of Summer. The Great Lakes Ice Cover as of January 14 is currently at 29.8%. It's time to remember what summer is all about.
So far in the 2017/2018 winter we have had 22 days of extreme cold weather alerts: Nov 9; Dec 12, 13, 14, 16, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and Jan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14. And we even had a record breaking cold temperature of -23 C on Friday, January 5, 2018 breaking the record set in 1959 - the next day was even colder.

The wind and temperature website shows the cold blast of arctic air is penetrating well south of the Great Lakes.

Toronto average temperatures from 1981 to 2010 show lows for January as -7 C, February -6 C, March -2 C and April 4 C.

The recent extreme cold weather alert started on January 12 and was terminated at noon on January 15. Here is the City's news release starting the alert.

"Extreme Cold Weather Alert – seek shelter, check on loved ones

Based on information from Environment Canada, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert today for Toronto that will be in effect until further notice. Extreme Cold Weather Alerts are issued when the temperature is forecast to reach -15 degrees Celsius or colder, or when the wind chill is forecast to reach -20 or colder.

Exposure to cold weather can be harmful to your health. Hypothermia occurs when the body's core temperature drops below 35 degrees Celsius and can have severe consequences, including organ failure and death. Frostbite can also occur in cold weather when skin freezes and in severe cases can lead to amputation when deeper tissues freeze.

Those most at risk of cold-related illness are people experiencing homelessness or those under-housed, those who work outdoors, people with a pre-existing heart condition or respiratory illness, elderly people, infants and young children. People with heart problems can experience worsening of their condition up to several days after cold weather occurs.

Extreme Cold Weather Alerts activate local services that focus on getting and keeping vulnerable residents inside. These services include additional shelter beds, notification to community agencies to relax any service restrictions, availability of transit tokens in some drop-ins, and overnight street outreach. Between November 15, 2017 and April 15, 2018, winter respite services are available continuously at several drop-in locations across the city, operating 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Call 311 for locations or check the web app at

The City asks that residents help vulnerable people by calling 311 if there is a need for street outreach assistance. Call 911 if the situation is an emergency.

During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, members of the public are encouraged to take the following precautions:
• Check the weather report before going outside.
• Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.
• Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.
• Stay dry. Your risk of hypothermia is much greater if you are wet.
• Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothes instead of cotton, because cotton stops keeping you warm once it gets wet.
• Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.
• Drink warm fluids, other than alcohol.
• Warm up by taking regular breaks in heated buildings when enjoying winter activities outside.
• Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, during colder temperatures, especially if it's windy.
• Heat your home to at least 21 degrees Celsius if infants or elderly people are present.
• Call or visit vulnerable friends, neighbours and family to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the weather.

Find out more about winter services for homeless and under-housed individuals at

More information and tips for staying warm during cold weather are available at

Information to help residents prepare for extreme weather and weatherproof their homes is available at"

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Toronto International Boat Show 2018

Everyone is a Captain at the Largest Indoor Boat Show so be your swashbuckling best when you check out your new ride. You can get everything from tiny little Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) to luxury yachts. Actually it is hard not to trip over a boat and end up buying one and if it is really expensive you can probably talk them into launching it into the indoor lake so you can take it for a winter spin.
Ship lovers are down at the Toronto International Boat Show taking place at the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place from January 12 to 21, 2018. There are also free shuttle buses between the Sheraton Centre, Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Chelsea Hotel and the Enercare Centre. Parking is free at Exhibition Place on weeknights after 4pm, otherwise parking is $18 in the outdoor lots.

"In a province with more than 250,000 lakes and 98% of residents living within a short drive to the best boating in the world, there are countless options. We want more people to know what we know - getting out on the water is affordable. Boating is open to everyone and the memories made with family and friends last forever."

Show Hours:

Saturdays (13 & 20)
10am to 7pm

Sundays (14 & 21)
10am to 6pm

Weekdays (15 – 19)
11am to 8pm
I took in the Twiggy waterskiing squirrel show and I loved the little furry girl. Twiggy and her 'mom' are going to retire after this show and stay in Florida. If you want to see this fuzzy rodent you have to come down to this year's boat show and watch for yourself as Twiggy dons a life-jacket and hops aboard the skiis and zooms around the small pool. Later he goes for a swim which was less exciting than the waterskiing but still darn cute. You can find her down at the North Extension Food Court each day of the show - twice on weekdays, four times on Saturdays and three times on Sundays.
TIBS is a licensed event and there are alcohol stations spread throughout the Enercare Centre - Muskoka Brewery is the official beer of the event.

You can win great prizes at the 60th boat show including a Princecraft, an Antigua Sailing Vacation, a Boston Whaler and a 14' Lund Fishing Boat. New boaters visit the welcome centre/discover boating centre. And if you buy a boat at the show you have a chance to win $10,000 towards the purchase.
wakeboard lessons

The indoor lake is full of bone chilling Lake Ontario water the show schedule is full thrills with the Winter Wake Fest Wakeboard Show with displays of exciting tricks, the Greatest Water Ski Show on H2O, as well as free boat rides and wakeboard lessons. Tiny wooden race boats take part in the World Championship indoor Sea Flea Races. Actress Brenda Lowe of Survivor and Baywatch the Movie will make appearances at the show and perform paddleboard demonstrations at the lake. The lake is in the Ricoh Centre, home of the Marlies, and the stands are a good place to rest while exploring the show or catching the action on the water.

Enercare Centre is divided into several sections such as Cottage Country, Mariner's Marketplace, Food Truck Court while the massive main hall featured the main boat displays including the Pride Marine Group, Sea Ray Boats, Princecraft and Executive Yachts. The kids fishing zone is in the Food Truck Court area.

See more boats after the jump.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

#TOBoatShow 2018 starts this weekend

There are some boats still in the harbour but ice has them locked in place, going nowhere, so now you have time to visit the fleet that is in the Enercare Centre from January 12 to 21. North America's largest indoor boat show comes back for its 60th anniversary with 1,200 boats, over 500 exhibitors and the world's largest indoor lake! You can see the lake full of one million gallons of Lake Ontario water on the live webcam. If you are in the market for a boat, or just like to dream, this is the show for you.

"There’s something for everyone from wakeboarding lessons, canoe and kayaking boat rides to fishing demos, seminars and even a live trout pond for kids to get hooked on fishing. New this year, visitors can watch the fun and competitive sport of stand up paddleboard polo, or cheer on the World Championship Indoor Sea Flea Races (single-person DIY hydroplane boats) as they zip across the Lake."

My top ten list of things I want to see at the Toronto International Boat Show.

1. Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel.
2. The transparent kayak and Stand Up Paddle Boarding with Baywatch actress Brenda Lowe.
3. Wakeboarding demonstrations.
4. The largest boat at the show - the 52' Carver.
5. Kayaks and kayak accessories.
6. Speedboats.
7. Captain Jack Sparrow.
8. Live trout pond.
9. Sea-Doos.
10. The party boats!

"Mercy Ships Canada: Mercy Ships has partnered with the Toronto Boat Show for the first time to raise awareness and donations for the world’s largest volunteer-run hospital ship. Mercy Ships Canada is part of a global charity with a mission to deliver free life-saving surgical care to impoverished children and their families, and has already impacted the lives of more than 17 million people around the world. Come meet the inspiring doctors, nurses and volunteers including Canadian Captain Mark Carew, who will be returning home soon from the ship’s current lifesaving mission in Cameroon."
The indoor lake will be a hive of activity during the boat show demonstrations of pedal boats, kayaks, canoe and boat rides, wakeboarding lessons, wakeboard and Waterskiing shows and indoor Sea Flea Races. At the Boathouse you can talk with boating experts, take in workshops and seminars.

Tickets are $20 Unlimited Weekday Evening Pass (4pm – 8pm); $25 Two-day Adult Pass (17 – 64 yrs.); $20 Two-day Senior Pass (65 yrs. & better); $45 Nine-Day Event Pass (excludes Preview Day). There is free weekday parking after 4pm.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square