Monday, June 10, 2024

Luminato Festival 2024 and Evanescent

Toronto's Luminato is back and in full swing (June 5-16) and the multi-arts festival that "transforms Toronto into a "playground of art, creativity and conversation."

Their website also notes that, "Luminato showcases exceptional Canadian and international art and artists. We push the boundaries of what art is, who it is for, and where it can happen, tearing down barriers between art and people."

Public art makes a big entrance with Evanescent by Atelier Sisu with several large installations of see through, shimmering balls. The immersive art looks cool and will be at David Peacut Square and Arnell Plaza along with Bay Adelaide Centre until June 16. Then, after Luminato, from June 19 to July 30 the balls will be at Bay Adelaide Centre, Brookfield Place and First Canadian Place.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

World Naked Bike Ride Toronto 2024

The cheeky ride returns to Toronto Saturday, June 8! Hundreds of naked, or nearly naked, riders show up in Coronation Park for the annual protest bicycle ride through the streets of downtown Toronto. This event is part of a twenty-year, world wide protest that in Canada will also be held in Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver while Edmonton and Halifax participated in 2023. I have previously posted information on preparing for the ride on my post here. Gene is already on site before 8am ready to greet the riders.

If you see the ride coming you will also hear chants of "Less Gas, More Ass" and "World Naked Bike Ride" as people ride to save the world, protesting against the pollution caused by combustion vehicles and also riding against body shaming while promoting bicycling and fighting climate change.

WNBR Toronto organizer Gene Dare will greet people in Coronation Park, just south of Princes' Gates across Lake Shore Boulevard, beginning around 9am. Riders and interested people will show up to the Victory-Peace Monument by the tall Canadian flag pole. Socializing and body painting will happen before the ride leaves the park at 1pm and this year 'Naked News' star Eila Adams will be joining the ride.
Latest route map

You can find WNBR passing by the following iconic Toronto tourist spots between the start of the ride (1pm) and approximately 4:30pm.

Coronation Park (start, bathroom). Leave the park at 1pm
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Kensington Market
University of Toronto
Queen's Park (possible stop)
Allan Gardens (possibly, construction is underway in the park. possible stop)
Metropolitan University of Toronto
Yonge-Dundas Square (usually two circles around the square)
Toronto Eaton Centre
Toronto City Hall (usually the longest stop, bathroom)
David Pecaut Square (new biking sculpture)
Union Station
Roundhouse Park/CN Tower (possible stop)
Sugar Beach (possible stop)
HTO Beach
Coronation Park (final stop, get dressed, bathroom)

You can also join in along the route, difficult to plan on though, and every year several people impulsively see the ride, take off their clothes and join in WNBR. The planned ending is to return back to Coronation Park or go over to Hanlan's Point Beach on the Toronto Islands, otherwise you can depart the ride wherever you want.

Some of the previous rides in Toronto.

A nice lady was giving out free bike helmets. Clothing optional but safety first. She is Inga the CEO of Prime Health CarePrime Health Care. Inga also brought water and juice to Sugar Beach for the riders. Many thanks to Inga

See more photos of the ride after the jump.

Friday, June 07, 2024

Peeled Pavement art by Corktown Common

In some small towns people often joke that in the evening they roll up the sidewalks because no one is out and about. You can't really say that about Toronto because something is always happening in the Six, so they decided to make the sidewalk literally art that you can sit on.
Near Corktown Common along Mill Street there are several sidewalk installations where the sidewalk is curled up with a light where the sidewalk would normally rest. In the exposed concrete (cast in bronze) where you would sit is the outlines of industrial artifacts that might have been found in the area. The pieces were designed by artist Jill Anhold and were completed in 2015.

See more photos after the jump.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

Toronto Underpass Park: Art, Play and Farmers Market

The dark and dingy underside of multiple elevated roadways in the West Don Lands/Corktown, just west of the Don Valley Parkway, was made over into a community park in 2015. This was the first underpass park, the second was the Bentway under the Gardiner which opened in 2018.
Bold art murals and mirrors on the ceiling were the first things that drew my eyes, then you notice the playgrounds and across the street, a skateboard park and twin basketball half-courts. There is also a sign about the Underpass Park Farmers Market which runs May 23 to October 17, 2024 between 4pm to 7:30pm. The market began in 2017 and has no charge to attend and is a volunteer run, non-profit community market.

Artist Paul Raff Studios created the murals painted onto the massive concrete columns and supports reflected in the mirrors that are on the bottom of the elevated sections of Eastern Avenue, Richmond and Adelaide. The 57 octagonal mirrors made of stainless steel is called Mirage by Paul as well.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Exhibition Place clock tower and fairy tale figures

Exhibition Place in Toronto is a place that most Torontonians are familiar with. You grow up going to the annual Canadian National Exhibition knowing that summer will soon be over, or you come to the large City property to check out the Beer Festival or some other event in the many conference centres. I have been many times and just noticed that the clock tower, or Carillon Tower, which holds 50 bells which used to play, first manually, then automatically bang out some tunes also contains a compartment that has moving figures depicting a fairy tale.
The tower is near the Princess Margaret Fountain and in Bandshell Park
About a third of the way up is a large metal rectangular box with a doorway that opens upward at the top of the hour with a scene depicting characters from a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale called "The Young Swineherd" as the figures move counterclockwise along a track before disappearing and the door coming down on the performance. The tale doesn't last long so be ready to watch the short show before the door closes, waiting for the next hour.

It's a terrible tale of a Princess abandoned because she traded kisses for a musical pot and a musical rattle, suffering abandonment by the poor Prince kissing her and her father, the Emperor. The Prince had disguised himself as a swineherd to get close to the Princess and after the kisses said good riddance to the girl. The scene in the clocktower is of the Prince as the swineherd and the Princess lean together for a kiss, followed by a tiny pig, while behind a fence the Emperor watches the two.

If you don't remember the bells or the fairy tale it's probably because the clocktower was broken in the late 1990s and only recently been refurbished and placed in working order. The bells ring often during the day.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

BE ME sculpture for Pride Month in Trinity Square

Downtown Yonge BIA is working with artist Monica Wickeler who has brought her sculpture "BE ME" to Trinity Square Park to help celebrate Pride Month. Trinity is tucked in the middle of the Toronto Eaton Centre block between Yonge and Bay Streets and you can through the side door of the Eaton Centre or follow up James Street from Queen Street.

Santa Speedo Run human tunnel

The art installation shows two figures holding their hands high, clasped together to form a bridge. This formation is used quite often to allow people to run through a human tunnel at the end of some sort of event - like a game or a Santa Speedo Run. It will remain in place for the month of June, 2024.

Monday, June 03, 2024

100-year anniversary RCAF at Union Station

Toronto's public transit hub at Union Station had some of Canada's military personnel along with a F18 fighter jet cockpit hanging out over the June's opening weekend. This was part of the 100th birthday celebrations of the Royal Canadian Air Force and gave visitors a chance to get into the cockpit and also learn some history of the RCAF.

Long banners also hung between the columns of Union Station looking over the Front Street Square while the F18 setup was held from May 30 to June 2, 2024. The event was brought to Toronto by the RCAF Foundation. 

From Union Stations website, “At the heart of everything we do are the people who define the RCAF as an incredible institution. Our people enable Air and Space Power every single day: in domestic operations such as search and rescue, responding to natural disasters, and protecting the skies above us. As we proudly celebrate 100 years of aviation excellence in 2024, we invite you to join us in commemorating our history, recognizing our people for their achievements, and looking forward to the exciting future of Your Air Force.” – Lieutenant-General E.J. Kenny, Commander of the RCAF

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square