Friday, December 15, 2017

NASCAR Pinty's Series 2018 Schedule

The flag will drop for Canada's premier stockcar racing series at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the Victoria Day holiday weekend. With thirteen races in the series, 2018 will feature the first race in the United States at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. You can check out car shows and race tracks on my post here.
Tracks include nine ovals and five road-course races including the July race at the Honda Indy Toronto in Exhibition Place and the last race at Jukasa Motor Speedway in September. This is the 12th year of the series as the cars travel between Nova Scotia to Alberta with a detour into America as part of a NASCAR triple-header.

“The NASCAR Pinty’s Series continues to grow as new talent comes into the series and challenges some of the country’s best stock car drivers,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “The 2018 schedule provides a strong platform for these competitors to showcase their driving and covers a number of high-profile events designed to further enhance the series.”
"Following the Pinty's Fall Brawl at Jukasa Motor Speedway, Alex Labbe claimed his first NASCAR Pinty's Series championship by 16 points over rival Kevin Lacroix.  The 24-year-old from Victoriaville, Quebec, finished the year with an impressive five wins, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s. Tallying up 542 points, Labbe claims the highest honour in Canadian stock car racing, the 2017 NASCAR Pinty's Series championship."
Here is the 2018 schedule (subject to change)

May 21
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Bowmanville, Ontario

June 16
Jukasa Motor Speedway
Hamilton, Ontario

June 30
Autodrome Chaudiere
Chaudiere, Quebec

July 14 Honda Indy Toronto
Exhibition Place
Toronto, Ontario

The 125-lap twin features
Jul 25
Wyant Group Raceway
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Jul 25
Wyant Group Raceway
Saskatoon, Sakatchewan

Jul 28
Edmonton International Raceway
Wetaskiwin, Alberta
Aug 12
Circuit de Trois-Rivieres
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

Aug 18
Riverside International Speedway
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Aug 26
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Bowmanville, Ontario

Sep 8
Autodrome St-Eustache
St-Eustache, Quebec

Sep 22
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
London, New Hampshire

Sep 29
Jukusa Motor Speedway (formerly Cayuga)
Hamilton, Ontario

Night skating at Toronto City Hall

Toronto's outdoor rinks started opening late in November and people have been flocking to Nathan Phillips Square ever since. Skating by the Toronto sign and under the illuminated arches at night makes for a magical evening. The city has 52 outdoor rinks including a covered rink at at Greenwood Park and also several skating trails like the one that can be found at Colonel Samuel Smith Park. Skating continues into March, weather permitting.

“The opening of our City-run ice rinks is the true kick-off for the winter season in Toronto,” said Mayor Tory. “Enjoying outdoor skating across the city is part of what makes winters in Toronto great. I urge residents across Toronto to lace up their skates this weekend and join in the fun."
The rinks are cooled by compressors which allows the facilities to stay open during a range of temperatures, however unseasonably warm temperatures can temporarily cause the rink to close. You can find a list of the city rinks on the city's webpage.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Toronto Beer and Spirit Festivals 2018

These festivals are usually the best combination of every festival you have been to, they got your concerts, they got your shopping and they got your tasty alcoholic beverages. The atmosphere is amazing, the prices are very reasonable and the ticket prices are extremely low when you consider the entertainment that usually comes with the party. If you don't like friendly crowds go early and remember to take public transportation when you are drinking.
Society of Beer Drinking Ladies various Bevies starting in Jan.
Winter Craft Beer Festival at the Roundhouse Sat, Feb 10.
Winter Brewfest Toronto Fri to Sat, Mar 2-3.
Toronto Food and Drink Market Fri to Sun, Mar 31- Apr 2?
Spirit of Toronto Sat, May 5.
Toronto Festival of Beer Spring Session Sat to Sun, May 19-20 - see photos from 2017 here.
Wine and Spirit Festival Fri to Sat, June 22-23.
Toronto Craft Beer Festival Fri to Sun, June 22-24.
Beach BBQ and Brews Festival TBD.
Toronto Festival of Beer Thurs to Sun, July 26-29 - see photos from 2017 here.
Summer Craft Beer Fest July TBD.
Toronto Cider Festival Sat, Aug TBD.
CNE Craft Beer Festival Aug TBD - Sep TBD.
Toronto Beer Week Sep TBD.
Cask Days at the Evergreen Brick Works Fri to Sun, Oct 19-21.
Toronto Oktoberfest Sep - Oct TBD.
Torontoberfest Oct TBD.
Cask Days 3rd Weekend of Every October.
Gourmet Wine and Food Expo Thurs to Sun, Nov 22-25.
The Gentlemen's Expo Nov TBD - see photos from 2017 here.
It's still a little too early to get all the events scheduled but I will update this post when more details are known.

#BEERLOVE Toronto Festival of Beer 2018 Info

Well the weather outside is awful, but the beer at #TFOB2018 is so delightful. The beer festival is still some time away but you can buy tickets now for the summer festival, after all you might need some ideas for Christmas gifts. An extra day has been added for 2018 so tickets are available from Thursday, July 26 to Sunday, July 29 and the event continues at Bandshell Park in Exhibition Place.
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Especially since tickets for the 2018 edition of Toronto's Festival of Beer are now on sale. The 22nd annual summer event is presented by the Beer Store. Beer lovers can now enjoy a 4th day of celebrating Canada's golden beverage with a new Thursday night - making the event four great days of fun in the sun! "The very best of local, national and international beer will be front and centre at TFOB 2018," said Les Murray, President of Toronto's Festival of Beer. "Tickets for the beer lover in your life make a perfect holiday gift and that's why we are on sale right now!"
The brews will be from around the world and headline acts are always part of the entertainment with past musicians like Method Man & Redman, Salt-N-Pepa and Big Sugar. Next years acts will be announced at a later date.
Early bird tickets offer great savings over tickets purchased closer to the festival and the event often sell out so this could be your chance to get tickets to the days you want to attend. TFOB2018 hours are as follows.

Thursday, July 26 from 5pm to 11pm
Friday, July 27 from 4:30pm to 11pm (early access for Club TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized ticket holders)
Saturday, July 28 from 1:30pm to 8pm (early access for Club TFOB, VIP and Hoptimized ticket holders)
Sunday, July 29 from 1:30pm to 8pm (early access for VIP and Hoptimized ticket holders)

There are many stages and DJ stations throughout the park

I love that the Beerlove team put together a list of the 8 best Star Wars related beer gifts to celebrate the December 15 release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The gifts include a Millenium Falcon Beer Opener, my favourite - the Rogue One Stormtrooper Beer Stein, the R2D2 Bottle Stopper, the Tauntaun Can Cooler, Star Wars Pint Glasses, a Darth Vader Tap Handle, a Han Solo in Carbonite Beer Fridge and of course tickets to TFOB2018!

Stormtrooper Beer Stein

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Light Festival at Ontario Place

After sitting unused for so long, Ontario Place continues to promote its parkland as a place to visit year round. They had just started to hold events like the Heritage Ontario Festival and the Art & Music Ontario Festival along the western side of the park, joining the occasional concert at Echo Beach and the new pathway along the east side. Now a skating rink and a light festival has been added for the winter season from December 8, 2017 till the 2018 March Break.

Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and Han Dong, MPP for Trinity Spadina, were at Ontario Place on December 5 to announce the free winter-themed activities. Eleanor said “What a great honour to kick-off Winter at Ontario Place and welcome people back to this great public park. The winter festivities offer something for everyone, from a stroll on the newly opened Trillium Park and William G. Davis Trail, to skating, to taking in the beauty of Ontario Place illuminated by fairy lights! The waterfront is more vibrant than ever and I hope everyone will have a chance to enjoy the magic and fun of winter at the lake all season long.”
The winter light festival has 12 exhibits throughout the west island, an outdoor synthetic skating rink, bonfires on the weekends and a concession stand. The big, round ball is the Cinesphere which has also been reopened year round to screen IMAX movies from Friday to Sunday.

See more photos of the park after the jump.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ontario passed Cannabis legislation today

On December 12, 2017 the Ontario Government brought a bill to "ensure the safe transition to Federal Cannabis Legalization." This law will regulate recreational cannabis in time for the July 2018 Canadian legalization deadline. Marijuana will be sold by the LCBO online and in stand alone stores, dedicated to the previously illegal weed.

Protection to youth will be established by setting the minimum age of use to 19 and providing for strict drug-impaired driving laws. There will be zero tolerance for use while driving under the age of 21 or for commercial drivers and drug use will be treated like drunk driving.

Studies have shown that 45% of Ontario adults have used cannabis at least once and quite a bit of the world have already legalized marijuana.

Producers and stores will restrict advertising, restrict the visibility of the product, age verify and have strict training for staff. The province is working with municipalities to determine the locations of the stores. Consumption will be limited to private residences initially while they explore the possibility of other designated consumption sites.

Toronto Music Garden at night

The winter is cruel to the waterfront in winter, no one wants to freeze their asses off while watching ice in the water bob along to the waves. Only hardcore runners still make the journey along the path beside the waters edge and bikers risk their balance when snow and ice makes the day treacherous. But a couple things make the journey worth while - Winter at Ontario Place, the upcoming art installation Ice Breakers along Queens Quay and the Toronto Music Garden park.
Okay I was riding along the pathway in December, in the evening, cause I am crazy as well and I came upon the lights of the Music Garden. Illuminated musical notes hang from the gazebo as the purple and white harps follow along the curving pathways. The lights are part of the Spectacle of Lights stretching from the garden park to the spiral tree at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel. The display is on from November to April.
The music garden is a great place to enjoy a summer day along the water. "This delightful garden — a reflection in landscape of Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major for unaccompanied cello, BWV 1007 — was designed by internationally renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy, in collaboration with landscape architects from the City of Toronto's Parks and Recreation department. Two Canadian artists created special features for the Music Garden: Tom Tollefson, architectural blacksmith, fabricated the Music Pavilion; and Anne Roberts, Feir Mill Design Inc., designed the Maypole."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Distillery District Christmas Market 2018

The popularity of the Christmas party in the historic neighbourhood has continued to build and so they added an entrance fee on the weekends and still people line up to get in. Yeah, so I also lined up but then they said that the lineup was for people that already had tickets. Then I found the ticket office, paid the six bucks and got back in the line. It took me about a half an hour to hand in my ticket and join the crowds packed into the brick block.

Besides the lines of people, the lines of cars stretch around the adjacent streets, moving slowly and hoping for parking in the area. Park somewhere else and walk to the site, it is the smart thing to do, or Uber it. The market started November 16 and finishes December 23. During the week the Distillery District Christmas Market opens at noon and closes at 9pm (10pm on Friday), on the weekends Saturday stays open from 10am to 10pm and Sunday from 10am to 9pm. There is no market on Mondays.
The big draw to the area is alcohol and beer, after all it is the distillery district, along with some vendors in cute booths. They also have a few amusement rides so there is that. Oh and lights, plenty of bulbs and the occasional phrase or word. Santa has a little home and you can meet the big, jolly guy and give him your wish list.

"This year’s schedule includes themed entertainment each day (subject to change):
TUESDAYS: Traditional Tuesdays - bluegrass, folk, roots, traditional
WEDNESDAYS: World Wednesdays - world music, dance, and cultural performances
THURSDAYS: Classical Thursdays - Seasonal opera, oratorio, and cross-over Classical performances
FRIDAYS: Friday Night Jazz – holiday jazz and swing
SATURDAYS: Pop/Variety Saturdays - Emerging artists (afternoon) and Featured artists (evening), performing pop, rock, Adult Contemporary, blues, and more
SUNDAYS: Ensemble Sundays – Instrumental Ensembles (afternoon), Vocal ensembles and Choirs (evening)"

See more photos after the jump.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Toronto Fan Holiday #Comicon 2017

Friends don't let friends cosplay alone. Toronto enjoyed another #comicon on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This is an intimate gathering of fans held within a small part of the south building's Hall D, without the gigantic lineups and high ticket prices. The cost was only $10 and you still got comics, accessories, artists and of course the amazing cosplay.

The one day event started at 11am and continued until 5pm, enough time for thousands to wander the aisles and enjoy the day with friends and fellow fans. You could even pose with the Star Wars contingent from the 501st Legion as they joined Santa Claus for a holiday photo op - HO HO HO and may the force be with you.

See more cosplay after the jump.

Santa Speedo Run 2017

Winter weather and speedos don't usually mix, but for one day in December a group of brave runners takes to the streets of Yorkville to raise money for the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children Toys and Games fund.

Registration begins at noon on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Hemingway's Restaurant (142 Cumberland Street) in the upper patio. People gather together, change into their red speedo bathing suits and around 1pm some of the participants come out for media photo ops, then the run begins at 1:30pm. The route is less than 3km and after the run they make victory arches for everyone to run through, then the party returns to Hemingway's. Photos from previous runs are shown above.

The Santa Speedo Run started in 2005 and runs no matter the weather or temperature. This Saturday is supposed to be around freezing, with a little snow expected, but not too bad compared to some years. And here are photos from the 2017 Santa Speedo Run.
Runners gather on December 9, 2017 at Hemingway's
Volunteers hand out free speedos

Warming up before the run

See more photos of the run after the jump.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square