Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Balloons at Brookfield Place

The Allen Lambert Galleria had a lot of balloons as the building celebrated its 25th anniversary recently. Balloons of all sizes and colours hung over an entrance out to the courtyard by Front Street. I didn't come by for the cake, I came for the balloons.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Toronto CNE and the CIAS coming soon

Here we are, mid-Spring and all, trying to forget that summer is proceeding without us, or without the hot temperatures that carry us through the cold, Canadian winters, and we are slowly approaching the return of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and the new school year. The annual big city fair comes back starting August 18 and continues to September 4, 2017.

The Ex is preceded by their grubby little casino which resembles one held for a cheap bachelor party thrown in someone's unfinished basement. The games of chance start July 29 so you can go in and try to win something other than stuffed toys of varying sizes before the CNE officially opens.

The Exhibition closes with the 68th Canadian International Air Show (CIAS) during the Labour Day long weekend (September 2-4) from noon to 3pm. So to get us in the mood for airplanes to fly past us on the waterfront, here are some plane pictures from Fresh Joe.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Toronto skyline at night

Colourful signs and the light show on the CN Tower reflect into the harbour beside the Portlands. I started down at Cherry Beach where you can follow a path in the dog park to the side of the Eastern Channel. Trees and the former high speed ferry property block a lot of the view.
From the west side of Cherry Beach
You can find great views from the park at the end of Polson Street
Looking west across the harbour you can see planes takeoff and land at Billy Bishop Island Airport

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday at Honda Indy Toronto 2017

Update: Josef Newgarden won the 2017 Verizon IndyCar race with Alexander Rossi second and hometown favourite James Hinchcliffe finishing third.
Josef and the launch of confetti
L-R; Alexander, Josef and James on the podium
Honda Indy Toronto 2017 Victory Circle
On the media platform in Victory Circle showing how hectic it is

IndyCar qualifying and the Firestone Fast Six was determined Saturday, today brings the headline race at the Honda Indy Toronto. It might get a little damp on Sunday, July 16 as rain is forecast to start in the afternoon but as long as you bring a rain poncho you can stay dry and it makes for some exciting racing. It only ended up raining a few drops!
Drivers will have a chance this morning to get in a quick warm up on the track and then the pre-race show starts at 3:00pm. Cars will be moved to the grid at 2:50pm then the starting ceremony will proceed at Victory Circle with speeches and driver introductions. Green flag is expected to drop at 3:47pm with the 85 laps (just over 151 miles) ending around 5:45pm.

Grand Marshal Tom Cochrane on the Indy stage

Singer, songwriter Tom Cochcrane will be the race Grand Marshal and the Grid Girls will be the Toronto Argonauts Cheerleaders. As part of the preshow Sgt David Grenon will sing the National Anthems and Captain Hilary Anderson from the 433 Tactical Flying Squadron will do a fly over in a CF-18 Hornet.
Mazda Mx5
The day also includes a number of races by USF2000, Mx5, Indy Lights and GT3 series.

Toronto's 11-turn, 1.786 mile temporary course is one of ten IndyCar road/street tracks in the 2017 series. They race on 16 tracks which also include 3 short ovals and 3 superspeedways. The Toronto track opened in 1986. Last year the race was won by Will Power with Helio Castroneves second and James Hincliffe third.
Coming into Toronto the drivers with the most top finishes in 2017 are Simon Pagenaud (8), Scott Dixon (7), Helio Castroneves and Will Power (6) and Josef Newgarden (5). IndyCars are a Dallas IR-12 chassis (from 2012 to present) running on Firestone Firehawk tires and using a Honda V-6, twin-turbocharged (550-700 horsepower) engine. The fuel for these open wheel race cars is Sunoco E85R fuel which is a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. IndyCar is planning to change their chassis in 2018.

After the race was over it was announced that Honda Canada has renewed its sponsorship agreement with Green Savoree Racing Promotions and the Honda Indy Toronto through 2020.

"Honda Canada has been the title sponsor of the race since 2009 when Green Savoree Racing Promotions relaunched the event with the Verizon IndyCar series as the feature. The 2018 Honda Indy Toronto will be a special event with Honda's 10th year of partnership. "Honda's DNA is built on racing - a heritage started by our founder Mr. Honda - which we've celebrated and are very proud of for nearly 60 years. Honda and IndyCar have enjoyed a fantastic partnership over the last nine years bringing racing excitement to the streets of Toronto every July," said Dave Gardner, President & CEO of Honda Canada Inc."

See more photos of the Honda Indy Toronto after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square