Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trains and the rails they rode in on

Many people are fascinated by trains, real ones, toy trains, scale replica trains (see the Model Railway Club of Toronto), you name it, they like it. Put it on a big sheet of plywood and stick it in the basement, build some scenery, put in a station and maybe a tunnel and voila, you are now a conductor and railway owner.
There are a lot of train tracks running throughout Toronto - many going into Union Station (GO Transit, VIA, CN, CP and the underground trains of the TTC's subway), and there are a few baby trains that are meant for fun rides such as those found at Centre Island (the Iron Horse in Centreville), Woodbine Mall (Fantasy Fair Express) and down at Roundhouse Park (Miniature Railway) across from the Rogers Centre.
Riding the Miniature Railway at Roundhouse Park

For those looking to find the full size trains you can check out the both Roundhouse Park (three pictures at top) and the Halton County Radial Railway collections.
Train tracks coming in from the north and west of Toronto into Union Station.
White and green of the GO Train.

Fall 2011: September 23rd

The Labour Day holiday weekend in Toronto starts this Friday and for those paying attention tomorrow is the 1st day of September. Fall officially begins September 23rd and in September and October you get to see the beauty of the fall colours. Some of the best places to see the beautiful autumn foliage are large parks like High Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park and the Scarborough Bluffs.
Don't forget about the Ontario Parks Fall Colour Report website to keep on top of the steady progress of the changing trees throughout our fair province. I always look forward to checking out the waterfalls close to Toronto during the fall.

Until then I would suggest that you get outside to see all of the nature available in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) before winter turns everything white in a blanket of snow.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things to do in Toronto September 2, 3, 4 & 5, 2011

What is there to do on a long weekend in Toronto?  No, the question should be what is there not to do on a summer long weekend in Canada's best City. It's time to enjoy freedom before school begins and the homework piles up, freedom from freezing your ass off when winter hits, freedom to enjoy the CNE before it packs up it's rides and heads back to the road. The Labour Day weekend is a jewel in the weekends of life.
Continuing until Mon September 5: The Canadian National Exhibition CNE.
Fri September 2 to Mon September 5: The Hispanic Fiesta at Mel Lastman Square.
Fri September 2 to Mon September 5: Hot and Spicy Food Festival - you can also find some of the Toronto Roller Derby skaters at the festival down at Harbourfront Centre.
Sat September 3 to Monday September 5: The Canadian International Air Show CIAS. They also tend to practice over the harbour on Friday from about 10am-2pm. You can also visit the Canadian Armed Forces Naval ship that you can tour during the weekend - see more information at the bottom of this post.
Sat September 3 to Sun September 5: Fiera in Little Italy.
The flower is sad that summer is almost over.

The ultra famous Toronto Film Festival TIFF will soon shine the world's spotlight on our fair city, running from September 8th to the 18th.

Naval ship tour during the air show weekend: more information from the Toronto Star.

The HMCS MontrĂ©al is tied up on Queens Quay, just east of Captain John’s restaurant.

On Sept. 1 it’s open to the public from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 3, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept 4, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 5, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A Canadian Royal Navy minesweeper, the Shawinigan is arriving in Toronto Thursday morning and will be berthed in front of the Montréal. It will be open to the public Sept. 2.

A second minesweeper, the Summerside, arrives Sept. 4 and will be berthed next to the Shawinigan. It will be open to the public Sept. 4 and 5.

University Orientation - Frosh Week 2011

With the ending of the CNE we are of course heading into fall and for many it is also the return to school. University life includes Frosh Week and at Ryerson University they have named their event 'Froshey Shore 2011'. The Ryerson Student Union also hosts the 'The Week of Welcom '11' with events that include a street festival on Tuesday Sept 6th,  a campus groups fair and community bbq on Wednesday the 7th and a disorientation and coffee house on Thursday the 8th. They promise an amazing week of free all ages events.
The University of Toronto has things like PHEreaKIN SUPER Frosh Week starting on September 6th as well.
I predict a major amount of drinking and partying with a side of study! Oh, and some purple people will be wandering the streets.

Washington Nationals Presidents Race - Giant Foam Heads

I was almost bowled over by four gigantic heads walking down Front Street and heading north on Bay Street. They were from the Washington Nationals Presidents Race which is a promotional event held during a baseball game where four former presidents are portrayed by each runner. The heads are giant foam caricatures, it's surprising that they don't fall over.
 I think these guys were Tom (Thomas) Jefferson, George Washington, Abe (Abraham) Lincoln and Teddy (Theodore) Roosevelt.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Danger Due To: Zombie Fanboys

There is a lot of road construction going on in front of Union Station. Traffic has been screwed up for awhile now and fences protect pedestrians from the holes in the ground and all the heavy equipment on site. The fence has signs posted which warn people of dangers.
You can tell that the FanExpo was in town because one of the signs read 'Danger Due To: Zombie Fanboys'.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Return to the Valley of the Buskerfest

Everyone in Toronto decided to drop by Buskerfest in the St Lawrence Market area, everyone. Damn it was crowded in the hood. Tucked into the wide Front Street and closed to vehicular traffic the street festival was bursting with humanity moving up and down the streets, squeezing between vendors and the rest of the attendees. They really need to get more raised stages so that more people can see the shows. When you could see the shows were fantastic and young and old enjoyed the shows. More Buskerfest 2011 photos here.
I had a view for Mr Toons, Lindsay Benner, Bendy Em, FlameOz and the XL Insects.
Mr Toons

Lindsay Benner, balancing and juggling with flames
Bendy Em fits into the tiny cube

At night time the shows which include flames add an extra touch of excitement. FlameOz uses a lot of fire and their costumes reflect when you use a flash so their costumes look like they are in the movie TRON.

I came in the afternoon on Saturday and returned later in the evening to watch some of the fire shows. I have to say that my favourite performers are the gang from XL Insects - their interactive monsters that wander through the packed streets are made even more amazing at night when flares are lit and the smoke and red tinge fill the air.

See more photos after the jump.

Sexy Cosplay from Toronto FanExpo comic convention

Some people at the Toronto FanExpo left the pocket protectors at home and came showing some sexy skin and revealing cosplay outfits. Playtime can be fun at the comic conventions when people dress up in the favourite characters from comics, movies, games, cartoons and magma/anime - and whatever else they can think of. Here are some photos of the hot costumes and the beautiful ladies from FanExpo 2011, you can see more of my pictures from the show here.
Princess Leia's bikini when she was Jabba's slave in the Star Wars series ranks high in the fanboy experience.


The 3D ladies of XBox 360 and LG.
Babydoll from the movie Sucker Punch
Sexy steampunk.


Some costumes had a lot of leather or latex.
See more photos after the jump.

Toronto NBA Jam Session at Y-D Square

Basketball was on the minds of many as several courts were set up in Yonge-Dundas Square as part of the Toronto NBA Jam Session which runs from Saturday August 27 to Sunday August 28, 2011 as part of a cross Canada tour.

Games of skill and fun were taking part in the square across from the Eaton Centre. There will also be NBA three on three tournaments on Sunday.
The Sprite Rep.
The Black Diamond Cheestrings mascot.

We were also treated to a dance demonstration by Raptors cheerleaders the Dance Pak.
See more cheerleaders after the jump.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Toronto FanExpo 2011

The extremely large Toronto FanExpo event filled the south halls of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street during it's weekend run from August 25th to the 28th, 2011. Commonly known as LineExpo, the show is famous for lines that stretch along the boulevards surrounding the Convention Centre and on into the building.
The geeks and nerds were joined by the beautiful and sexy as people embraced all manner of expos from Comic Book, Sci Fi, Horror, Anime and Gaming. The outfits include plenty of wigs and colourful contact lenses. These photos are from Saturday. See photos of the previous 2010 Comic and Cosplay convention here.
We bought tickets ahead of time and avoided the long lineups outside for long lineups inside. I particularly liked the section of lines that snaked back and forth under the escalators. We finally made it in and wandered the aisles of comic books, action figures and artists.
Sexy chain mail. You can see more hot cosplay below and also on my post here.
Fighting robots from Hugh Jackman's new movie Real Steel.
Robin, boy wonder.
Green Lantern mutant.

Tom Felton, Draco from the Harry Potter movies.
Katee Sackhoff

They had plenty of celebrity guest stars and we decide to get the photo opportunity with Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galictica. For $50 we were set to take some photos of the Sci Fi star until we were asked if we wanted the photos tonite or tomorrow and we were like - right now. No, you have to have their professional photographer take the picture - wats up wit dat? We quickly grab our money back and get back out onto the show floor to watch all the interesting cosplay outfits.
Colourful wings.
Star Wars characters were out in force at the show.

Fans gather at the 3 sets of guest celebrity autograph areas. Freddy Crueger actor Robert Englund is second from left. 
FanExpo Woot Woot!
See tons more pictures after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs

Pride

Redball

Beaches

Graffiti

Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square

Transportation