Thursday, May 26, 2016

Balancing in Trinity Bellwoods Park

People try their hand at walking along a tight rope in the popular park in the photo at top. Trinity Bellwoods is full of stuff, besides grass, trees and walking paths, it also has an off leash dog area, a wading pool and children's playground, tennis courts, ball diamonds, volleyball courts and the Trinity Community Recreation Centre.

I remember the first time I really paid attention to the park - it was for the annual Toronto Zombie Walk, where people gathered in the dog bowl before heading out onto the streets searching for brains. You can find a lot of things going on year round in the park such as art in the park, yard sales, and usually the park hosts Luminato and Nuit Blanche installations.

At the north end of the park, near Dundas Street you can see markers showing the long buried Garrison Creek and the gates at 790 Queen Street West were probably the entrance to the former University of Trinity College.
Over the last couple of years the use of the park has exploded in the summer, even without specific events people come to enjoy a lazy day, socialize with their friends and actually play some recreational sports. Someone also tends to put messages up on the tennis court fence and there is one on the north fence now.
'Sending out major love to my baby'
Sticking the tongue out for balance

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Harlem Globetrotters in Toronto

Just the name puts their theme song in my head but seeing members of the famous basketball team down at Toronto City Hall was pretty cool. Scooter Christensen #16, Bull Bullard #33 and Slick Willie Shaw #40 were filming in Nathan Phillips Square.

Standing on the elevated walkway the players took shots at a basketball net down by the reflecting pool. They were really friendly and took time to pose for photos with their fans.
"The Harlem Globetrotters began in 1926 as the Savoy Big Five. Now more than 85 years and 20,000 games later, the team has become one of the most recognizable franchises in sports." This year marks the 90th anniversary of the amazing and entertaining sports franchises in history.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Indy 500 drivers come to Toronto 2016

The easy part is over - qualifying for the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing", now the Verizon IndyCar drivers have come to town to meet the media and Jeff Atkinson, President of Honda Indy Toronto. AJ Foyt Enterprises' drivers Alex Tagliani and Takuma Sato flew in from Indianapolis, Indiana to discuss the sport at Hunters Landing located at 82 Fort York Blvd. They return for the final week of preparations before taking part in the Indy 500 race on Sunday, May 29. Photo at top: l-r, Alex Tagliani, Takuma Sato and Jeff Atkinson
Alex Tagliani  was inducted into the 2015 Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame and drives in the Verizon IndyCar and the NASCAR Pinty's Series. AJ Foyt brought the Canadian driver on board for two races in May 2016, including the coveted Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indy 500.

“I feel very privileged and honored to be driving the Alfe Heat Treating Honda,” said Tagliani, who won the pole for the 2011 Indy 500. "Alfe is a great company and I met a lot of good people last year with their headquarters being so close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’m very excited to be driving for the AJ Foyt Racing organization again. To be driving for them at the Speedway during the month of May is very special. The 100th Running of the Indy 500 will make it even more unique."
His 2016 Indy 500 qualifications did not go well, as he crashed, luckily he was not injured, and ended up qualifying in last place - the 33rd position. He has previously started in last place as well as taking the number 1 pole position. He could also qualify to race in both the IndyCar and NASCAR races that will take place at Honda Indy Toronto 2016!
Time for one on one interviews

Takuma Sato is from Tokyo, Japan and drives full time for the AJ Foyt team. He is the first Japanese winner of an IndyCar race and has held the pole position 5 times in the series.

"Sato considers himself a risk-taker when it comes to his driving style. “I’m an attacker. A risk-taker too. So basically, my driving style is ‘Never give up.’ I’m strongly passionate about the racing but I love the scientific approach of analyzing the driving and the car data too. I believe I’m strong at late braking, and also in high-speed cornering and wet conditions!"

The complete starting lineup of the 2016 Indy 500 spread out to cities in North America to put out word about the upcoming race. Canadian James Hinchcliffe who will start off in the Pole Position for Sunday's race was in New York along with Will Power, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Townsend Bell.

For the first time in Hoosier history the Indy 500 has been sold out and the usual Indianapolis television broadcast delay won't be required. "There's no event in the world like the Indy 500," said Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles. "This sellout is a testament to the enduring legacy of 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' the thrilling racing of the Verizon IndyCar Series and the bright future for both."

The Honda Indy Toronto comes to Toronto July 15-17, 2016 where the Verizon IndyCar race will be Sunday's feature race while the NASCAR Pinty's Series race will headline Saturday. Here are the current IndyCar Series championship standings.

1Simon Pagenaud 24222Team PenskeChevrolet
2Scott Dixon1669Chip Ganassi RacingChevrolet
3Juan Pablo Montoya1602Team PenskeChevrolet
4Helio Castroneves1593Team PenskeChevrolet
5Graham Rahal13315Rahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
6Tony Kanaan11110Chip Ganassi RacingChevrolet
7Charlie Kimball11142Chip Ganassi RacingChevrolet
8James Hinchcliffe1105Schmidt Peterson MotorsportsHonda
9Ryan Hunter-Reay10928Andretti AutosportHonda
10Will Power10512Team PenskeChevrolet

Monday, May 23, 2016

#Banksy still remains in Toronto

The art endures even when the spirit fades and fresh paint covers over the canvas of a graffiti artist. Banksy has long kept the world fascinated by the application of paint over the shabby walls of the decay found in large and small cities. His work is sometimes cut from the buildings it was applied to, many times it is covered over by those whose destructive talents overshadow their contribution to life in a modern society. Sometimes it is protected and kept for the public to enjoy, to wonder about the belief that always said that art is in the eye of the beholder. The message is for you to figure out.
Banksy, the secretive graffiti artist, apparently came to Toronto a few years ago, did some of his magic and as quick as he arrived, he departed. Leaving several pieces behind, spread throughout our city, waiting to be discovered by those with eyes open to the wonder of creation in the midst of small alleys and out of the way places. Before you could say "what do they mean?" small minded people painted over most of the works and one was saved when it was boxed up and removed from a building being demolished. This one, the one that sits at a driveway entrance near Church St and The Esplanade, was protected by a sheet of Plexiglas and since then people have been attacking the plastic.

The three characters still wait, two men and a boy, staring at what? Something that isn't there, something that has to be provided by the viewer. That has to be seen by you.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Indy 500: James Hinchcliffe takes the pole position

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Canadian IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe brought his Arrow Electronics car into the best location for the 100th running of the Indy 500. Last year's season ended early for James when he had a massive crash during a 2015 Indy 500 practice session. He survived the near fatal crash and fought his way back into the cockpit of the open wheel race cars. James Hinchcliffe holding up #1. -- Photo at top by: Chris Jones

“I came into this month hoping we would have a new story to talk about after what happened last year, and I think we did it,” he said, moments after doing just that, his Mom and Dad hanging on every word. He edged out Josef Newgarden with his four Q lap average of 230.760 mph. bringing a loud roar from the stands at The Brickyard at the checkered flag. Newgarden was next at 230.648, and veteran Townsend Bell was third at 230.481." His parents have once again made the trip down to keep an eye on their son, in much happier circumstances this year.

The Mayor of Hinchtown credits Allen McDonald and the rest of his engineering team with getting him into the spot. James was the top driver in the previous night's qualifier which allowed him to have the final shot at qualifying on Sunday. He says of the 200 lap race, “It’s crazy. Obviously, this race always has more pressure than anywhere else and, it being the 100th, there’s a little more attention as well. Obviously, we’ve done something right as a team. It’s a long race. Ten miles is one thing. You’ve got to hold your breath for that whole thing. But 500 is a very different deal. You’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to breathe. You’ve got to know when to push and when to relax. At least we’ve got a good starting spot, the best starting spot and we can kind of go from there.”

The Indy 500, the fifth event in the current Verizon IndyCar Series, starts at 12:19 pm on Sunday, May 29. Honda Indy Toronto will come to Exhibition Place and the streets of Toronto July 15-17, 2016.

Fun things to do: Harbourfront

Toronto's waterfront comes alive in spring with so much activity along the shores of Lake Ontario. The May long weekend brings out Buskers and the start of the festival season with the free HarbourKIDS Circus (May 21-23). The tour boats have been running for awhile now and it's also a great time to catch a ferry ride (or water taxi) over to the Toronto Islands. I found some interesting custom chopper-type bicycles besides Music Garden, photo at top.
Boating in the Natrel Pond which becomes a rink in the winter

Here are my top ten reasons for going down to Harbourfront and the Central Waterfront.
1. Biking paths that allow you to explore the area.
2. Cool urban beaches - HTO Park and Sugar Beach.
3. Majestic Tall Ships and all the other manners of flotation.
4. Concerts and Festivals.
5. Harbourfront Centre, the West Jet Stage Ampitheatre and the art galleries.
6. One of the best areas in the city to see buskers or street performers.
7. Access to the Toronto Islands from the ferry docks.
8. Relaxing on one of the red Muskoka chairs and pretending that Toronto is your cottage.
9. Small parks - Harbour Square Park, Toronto Music Garden (with concerts in the summer), the Natrel Pond, Ontario Square and Sherbourne Commons Park.
10. Everything you need to enjoy the day is down in the area including grocery stores, Restaurants, LCBOs and the Beer Store.

See more after the jump.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bex in Motion

She brings the flaming hula hoops to Harbourfront and as the crowd gathers around her, they fear for her life as she is so close to the burning black marshmallow type things. Her warm up act features a gradual buildup of spinning hoops, from one to four, before she brings two helpers in from the audience and has them throw ten hoops at her. I counted and there were indeed ten hula hoops that were flung and quickly incorporated into her spinning act.
Bex in Motion was inspired by her birthday, which apparently was today, and her finale featured two flaming hula hoops.

The talented street performer also has a great sense of humour and she started in the big leagues last year when she joined the artists at the Toronto Buskerfest.

Rib Fest & BBQ Bash Toronto

There wasn't enough smoke in the Big Smoke, so Yonge-Dundas Square hosted a barbecue party during the Victoria Day weekend. The best rib teams in Canada bring big signs and a lot of trophies and I am pretty sure some of them were bowling trophies and road signs.

They say that May is BBQ month, but here in Canada we never stop barbecuing, get the q-juice out in winter and cook that meat product year round, summer, winter and the in-between times as well. The briquettes are putting out the heat until 10pm on Saturday, May 21.

Slabs of meat and bone will be cooked by Kentucky Smokehouse, Fire Island, Louisiana BBQ and New York BBQ while bands play and the beer flows in the non-tent beer area.

People seemed to love it because the lineups were gigantic in the square.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BVLGARI and the Brain

#NoBlankBrains continues with the unveiling of second Brain Project sculpture created by artist Pascale Girardin. The Montreal based artist's creation was inspired by Bulgari's Divas' Dream collection and presented in the Bulgari Toronto boutique in Yorkdale Mall. Pascale's brainy art installation featured mosaic tiles based on the ancient Roman baths of Caracalla and was titled Illumination. The ceremaics used in the piece were handcrafted in Rome, glazed in emerald and white tones and also had jeweled accents. Photo at top: Sarah Rafferty and Pascale Girardin at the Bulgari Toronto boutique in Yorkdale Mall celebrating The Brain Project on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo Credit: George Pimentel.

The Brain Project, presented by TELUS, is in support of brain health research at Baycrest Health Sciences and the latest sculpture unveiling brought together notable guests like Sarah Rafferty, Pascale Girardin, Jessica and Ben Mulroney, Erica and Noah Godfrey, Vanessa Mulroney, Joanne and Garry Foster, Amoryn Engel, Jay Strut, Sandra Ainsley, Gina and Paul Godfrey, Donna Kuczynski and Brittney Kuczynski during a fancy cocktail soiree.

The project consists of brain sculptures "designed by world-renowned and emerging members of the arts community - spanning fashion, culture, music and visual arts - and sponsored by philanthropists and corporations will be on display in Toronto in June 2016."
Noah Godfrey (The Brain Project Co-Chair), Erica Godfrey (The Brain Project Co-Chair), Aarrynne Dokken-Isgar (Bulgari Store Manager), Pascale Girardin (Artist), Sarah Rafferty (The Brain Project Global Ambassador), Jessica Mulroney (The Brain Project Co-Chair) and Ben Mulroney (The BrainProject Co-Chair) at the Bulgari Toronto boutique in Yorkdale Mall celebrating The Brain Project on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Photo Credit: George Pimentel.

Victoria Day activities by the City of Toronto

The 2016 fun includes the May 23rd Victoria Day fireworks at Ashbridges Bay Park beginning at 10pm. They will be shooting off approximately 2,000 fireworks with a grand finale. Other stuff to do include Riverdale Farm, High Park Zoo, the Toronto Islands and throw in some historic sites for something a little different.

Here is the City's news release:

The City of Toronto will offer a wide variety of activities for residents on Monday, May 23, including the annual Victoria Day fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay. Many family attractions, including two farms, two historic sites and other facilities will be open, however City-operated recreation centres will be closed and recreation programs will not operate that day.

See more after the jump.

Nathan Phillips Square Peace Garden

Toronto Mayor John Tory rededicated the Peace Garden at its new location close to Osgoode Hall during a ceremony on May 18, 2016. The Mayor was joined by Peace Garden founder Father Massey Lombardi, the Consul-General of Japan, Yasunori Nakayama; Hiroshima Peace Ambassador Setsuko Thurlow; Chair of the Toronto Interfaith Council, Zul Kassamali; and Toronto Poet Laureate Anne Michaels; Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke. A smudging ceremony was carried out by tribal elder Cat Crieger and the Jarvis Collegiate Institute Choir performed during the event.
Originally located near the middle of Nathan Phillips Square in a small urban forest, the garden was created as a memorial to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Toronto's commitment to World Peace. The late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father to our current PM Justin Trudeau, turned the first sod for the original garden. The stone-clad gazebo, fountain and eternal flame were moved to the new site as part of the major revitalization project which also saw the statue of the late Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill moved as well. And they didn't break the roof, it was left unfinished to signify how fragile society is.
The history of the garden is quite astounding. Pope John Paul II lit the flame from an ember that originated from the Peace Flame in Hiroshima and poured water into the fountain that came from a river in Nagasaki. Finally, the monument was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth in 1984.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square