Thursday, January 17, 2019

#IDS Interior Design Show 2019

The design industry comes together to the 'experience the power of design' at the four-day, January 17-20 Interior Design Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre south building. Each year of IDS is an individual experience, with new installations, new designers and a redesigned showfloor. The photo at top is a rug!
Visitors can wander through the concept house: Great Lakes Cabin, the concept space: Re-Space, see the Ontario Wood Installation and walk amongst the clouds at the Haven installation or get tangled in the fabric strands found in the installation called Seeds by Marije Vogelzang, presented by Caesarstone.

IDS Conference Keynote speakers will share their expertise in design while seminars and trade talks run through out each days schedule. Don't forget celebrity musician, producer and creative force Questlove will be at the show during Globe and Mail Saturday.
"IDS Toronto celebrates and promotes design in Canada and across the world. Experiential and transformative, we bring together compelling concepts, innovative products, upcoming talent and key experts in the industry so that you can be inspired by the best of the future."
Party night includes tasty snack samples and bounteous quantities of free alcohol and beer samples.
Thursday is Professional Trade Day and the Opening Night Party. Professional Trade Day continues on Friday. The Globe and Mail Saturday and House and Home Sunday fill out the rest of the weekend. The days are full of seminars and design classes and the conference hall is a giant showroom of art, furniture, bathroom and kitchen fixtures and appliances.
On Thursday, January 17 you can purchase tickets for the IDS Party presented by PurParket and Toronto Life, supported by Benjamin Moore and LG Electronics. BELLOSOUND will provide music with special guests Miguel Migs and Lisa Shaw. The party is a splendid way to explore the show while sampling tasty food and adult beverages. A portion of the ticket price goes toward Habitat for Humanity.

See more photos after the jump.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Honda Indy Toronto will welcome the NTT IndyCar Series

Global information technology and communications company NTT has become the new title sponsor of the IndyCar Series in 2019 and beyond, taking over from Verizon. The announcement was made during media days at the 2019 North American International Auto Show.
“Having a strong technology partner is critically important to INDYCAR’s continued growth, so we are thrilled to welcome NTT as our new title sponsor,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “INDYCAR’s rise in popularity is a testament to the fact that we’ve made the sport as accessible as possible to our fans, and we plan to continue in that mission. “We have a history with NTT through NTT DATA’s involvement in the sport with Chip Ganassi Racing. We know this partnership will help us attract the next generation of fans to what remains the most competitive racing program on the planet.”
NTT will partner with IndyCar for digital innovations and the development of the NTT Smart Platform. “NTT is proud to be associated with INDYCAR and accelerate the future of smart racing,” said Jun Sawada, president and CEO of NTT.

IndyCar returns to the temporary street circuit in and around Toronto's Exhibition Place during the Honda Indy Toronto from July 12-14, 2019, one of 17 races in 2019. The NTT IndyCar Series runs on street circuits, permanent road courses, short ovals and superspeedways - starting on March 10 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and ending at the IndyCar Grand PRix of Monterey on September 22.
Toronto's race schedule will include the NTT IndyCar Series, the NASCAR Pinty's Series, the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires and the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama as well as plenty of off-track entertainment.
From the Honda Indy Toronto website; "Dating back to the first race in 1986, Honda Indy Toronto is a world-class motorsports festival which takes place annually on the streets surrounding Exhibition Place near Lake Ontario and downtown Toronto. The event features many attractions, including beer gardens, food trucks, interactive displays and activities, and charity events. As one of Ontario's largest annual sporting events, it has become a prestigious meeting place for some of the world’s fastest race car drivers including Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, and Josef Newgarden, as well as Canadian racing greats James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens, including other past native Indy car drivers like Greg Moore, Alex Tagliani, Paul Tracy, and Jacques Villeneuve."

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Niagara Icewine Festival is on again

The fruits of winter are flowing again in Ontario's wine country - Niagara-on-the-Lake, during the annual Niagara Icewine Festival January 11-27, 2019. Forty wineries across Niagara are participating in the Discovery Pass Weekends where you can explore the sweet, cold wines plucked from the grape vines in the cold of winter and pressed, still frozen, fermented and placed in thin wine bottles.
The process and the risks of making ice wine make the product more expensive than your average wine and the sweetness might be too much for some people, but if you try the dessert wine you will probably fall in love with it - in small doses.
Fallsview Casino fountains
Niagara area tourist attractions - like this tiny church "The Living Water Wayside Chapel"

In winter's early cold embrace the Icewine Festival gives you a great excuse to get out of the house and explore a beautiful part of our province. We love to visit the Niagara area, starting by getting off the Queen Elizabeth Way and heading into St. Catharines and Port Dalhousie. Driving along Lakeshore Road brings you into wine country, just follow the signs and pick out which wineries you want to visit. Picking the big names means waiting in crowds of people for the chance to sample the wines. Smaller vineyards gives you the thrill of the chase and the victory when you find some excellent wines not found on the shelves at the local LCBO. I personally like the smaller wineries because it is less of a business and more of a passion, customer service is usually better and you can really have a good time with some of the hosts. In Gretzky's big estate crowds meant that unless you were willing to wait, it would be some time to sample the wine. So off we go in search of wineries like Frogpond Farm Organic Winery and Mary Nissen Estates Winery which we really enjoyed and picked up some quality grape, alcoholic beverages.
Niagara Falls
Festival of Lights under the Niagara Fallsview Casino

The event starts with the the Twenty Valley Winter Winefest and the Northern Lights Icewine Gala on  the 11th and ends with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Icewine Village on the 27th. In between is fun and VQA drinks, paired with some excellent food pairings and the chill of the season.

If you do like wine the southwestern Ontario region celebrates three big wine events - the Niagara Falls Icewine Festival, the Niagara Homegrown Wine Festival and the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival. Tours of wineries can also be found with buses, limos and bicycle tours. The tourist haven town of Niagara-on-the-Lake goes all out during icewine celebrations with their own Sparkle and Ice Gala, the Icewine Village, a Flash and Panche Cocktail Competition and the White on Ice Dinner. Other events in the area include Days of Wine and Chocolate and Sip and Sizzle.
The lights on Dufferin Island
Each icewine Discovery Pass is good for 9 days and valid at 8 wineries, buy more to experience more, with some of the estates holding mini-festivals and other entertainments throughout Twenty Valley, St. Catharines, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls. The Wayne Gretzky Estates (distillery and winery) has an outdoor rink, DJ, whiskey patio and food on Saturdays 5-9pm, as weather permits.

The Discovery Pass brochure says to use the three S approach to sampling; Sniff (swirl and smell) to experience the wine's aroma, Sip to taste the wine and finally Summarize, especially do you like the wine, or is it time for another variety.

When you visit the wineries, during or outside the Icewine Festival, you can usually sample three wines for about $5 and if you buy wine, the sample fee is usually dropped. The prices for wines can be dependent on whether the wines are sold in LCBO stores - if they are they have to match the prices in the stores, if not, they can charge whatever they want, which is usually very reasonable.

At the end of the tour it is always worth it to spend some time in the city of Niagara Falls for the natural wonder of the falls, the pair of casinos and the many other attractions and restaurants. The Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights is another reason to wander the edge of the Niagara Gorge for the illuminating exhibits from November to the end of January.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

NASCAR Pinty's Series 2019 Schedule

2018 Champion L.P. Dumoulin will have his hands full defending his title as there are a lot of drivers that have been champions in the stock car series ready to take the top spot once again. L.P. won the 2018 title with only a 7 point margin over Alex Tagliani, not enough to slack off and enjoy life on the track. Twenty one drivers are listed for competition in 2019 and there might be one or two more that join in on the fun part time, if the opportunity allows. Photos by Joe Hamilton.
Tradition continues and this year's NASCAR Pinty's Series will start once again at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on the Victoria Day holiday weekend and end at the Jukusa Motor Speedway in September. In between races include the Honda Indy Toronto street course and a slight detour into the United States in New Hampshire.

Here is the 2019 schedule (subject to change)

May 19
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Bowmanville, Ontario

June 1
Jukasa Motor Speedway
Hamilton, Ontario

June 29
Autodrome Chaudiere
Chaudiere, Quebec
July 13, 2019
Honda Indy Toronto
Exhibition Place
Toronto, Ontario
Budweiser Grid Girls

The 125-lap twin features
Jul 24
Wyant Group Raceway
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Jul 27
Edmonton International Raceway
Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Aug 11
Circuit de Trois-Rivieres
Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

Aug 17
Riverside International Speedway
Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Aug 25
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Bowmanville, Ontario

Sep 7
Autodrome St-Eustache
St-Eustache, Quebec

Sep 21
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
London, New Hampshire

Sep 28 - Pinty's Fall Brawl
Jukusa Motor Speedway (formerly Cayuga)
Hamilton, Ontario

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Change is Good at Union Station

A & W has created an art installation made of their last plastic straws and placed it in front of Toronto's busiest commuter hub.

The red straws spell out 'change is good' and most times it is, but often it drags out far too long, like the Union Station construction project.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

#IDS The Interior Design Show 2019 is coming

Canada's Design Fair is coming back to Toronto starting with Professional Trade Days and an Opening Night Party on Thursday, January 17th and ending with House and Home Sunday on the 20th. The Interior Design Show brings world class designers, architects, trade construction and speakers alongside design exhibits providing inspiration and knowledge for both professionals and homeowners.

"The Interior Design Show is Canada’s design fair. Since the doors first opened in 1999, IDS has been visited by over 700,000 design professionals, design-savvy consumers and media; it has served as a design industry hub providing a unique and unrivalled business opportunity for thousands of design-driven businesses. Each year, world-renowned designers and architects participate as keynote speakers and create inspiring feature exhibits. Located in the city of Toronto, Canada’s economic engine, IDS provides an annual catalyst for millions of dollars spent on design, and has positioned Toronto as a frontrunner in the global design scene."
IDS will be held in the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with the following hours.

Professional Trade Days, presented by Miele: Thursday, January 17, 9am-5pm.
Opening Night Party, presented by PurParket: Thursday, January 17, 7pm-11pm.
Professional Trade Days, presented by Miele: Friday, January 18, 9am-5pm.
The Globe & Mail Saturday: Saturday, January 19, 10am-6pm.
House & Home Sunday: Sunday, January 20, 10am-6pm.

On Saturday from 11am-12pm you can watch Questlove and Adam Sandow in conversation with Maryam Siddiqi, Lifestyle Editor. Questlove is a well known drummer from the band Roots and also the Musical Director for the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. "Questlove recently launched a new venture in partnership with Adam Sandow, CEO of SANDOW, that will bring new and inspired brands and products to market: CREATIVE HOUSE will unite a diverse mix of artists, designers, inventors to inspire, connect, and ideate. This new venture will use a plurality of means to engage innovative solutions and gather inspiring individuals from across platforms such as a printed publication, fireside chats, conferences and an agency for product development."
Features of the show also include Seeds by Dutch designer Marije Vogelzang and presented by Caesarstone which has a honeycomb-like layout to portray the journey of a seed inside a forest of ribbons and Haven, a popup inspired by billowing clouds by Tangible.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

North American International Motorcycle Supershow 2018

The big one by the airport is back once again to make Toronto forget all about winter. It's time to buy a new bike and plan your tours - or just dream about your perfect motorcycle if you did actually ride. The North American International Motorcycle Supershow is full of biking enthusiasts checking out over 1,000 motorcycles and 500 exhibitors contained within 425,000 square feet of Halls 1 to 5 of the International Centre.
"A true shopping extravaganza, the Motorcycle SUPERSHOW hosts hundreds of exhibits. In addition to the unveiling of the new Motorcycles the Motorcycle SUPERSHOW has the largest display of Motorcycles, Non-current and Pre-owned Bikes, Aftermarket Parts and Accessories, Rider Apparel and Helmets, Performance Equipment, Trailers, Travel Destinations, Custom Bike Builders, and a full range of Leather Fashions. The Motorcycle SUPERSHOW offers the largest marketplace in North America for Everything in Motorcycling."
The Purrfect Angelz perform in Hall 5

Special guest stars including Danielle Colby, live music from Freedom Train and the Bayou Boys along with live stunt shows and the Purrfect Angelz bring great entertainment to the Centre. The Angelz are based in Hollywood, the finalists on 'America's Got Talent' and are accomplished dancers, gymnasts, aerial artists and fire performers. Shows are on the Hall 5 stage and they will also be there on Sunday at 11am, 1:30pm and 3pm.

There is everything you could desire relating to motorcycles at the show and it runs from January 4 to 6, 2019 at the International Centre.

You also have time to meet Danielle Colby, the real star behind the hit TV series American Pickers. Her last appearance is at 5pm on Saturday.
It's busy in the International Centre so enjoy the free parking with additional parking at the nearby GO Transit parking lot. They are open until 9pm tonight and from 10am till 5pm on Sunday.

See more photos after the jump.

Toronto Car Shows and Races 2019

It is hard to believe that the roads many thousands of people take on a daily basis, with regular speed limits up to 60 kph, are taken over by high performance IndyCars as Toronto becomes a racetrack in and around Exhibition Place. The annual Honda Indy Toronto is now the second longest running street course in the IndyCar Series and it is back in the city in mid-July. You will also be able to see plenty of automotive shows and access to nearby racetracks to get you motor-fueled adrenaline rush.
The 5th annual Toronto Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo Fri to Sun, March 8-10 returns to the International Centre. "Canada's biggest indoor Custom Car, Hot Rod & Motorsports Show. Over 300,000 square feet featuring mostly first-time-shown vehicles, automotive & racing celebrities, race tracks & series, car clubs, equipment & collectibles vendors, and more." There is no separate MegaSpeed Car Custom Car and Truck Show anymore. I do miss the abundance of entertainment that they used to have such as a bikini contest and a best bottom contest.
Honda Indy Toronto 2019 roars into town July 12-14 and includes off-track entertainment along with some of the top racing series in the world. Thunder Alley, Pinty's Beer Garden, several paddocks and Honda Town are just some of the attractions that will keep you occupied during race weekend. In addition to the IndyCar race series the Mazda Road to Indy, NASCAR Pinty's Series, Porche GT3 Cup.
Tickets to the Honda Indy Toronto are on sale now and the website says; "As announced earlier, ticket prices remain unchanged for Honda Indy Toronto run on the 2.89-kilometer, 11-turn temporary street circuit. Pricing starts at $85 for Bronze-level 2-Day Grandstand seating, $130 for Silver, and $185 for Gold. 2-Day Weekend General Admission is $55, and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult providing an exceptional family value. Single-day tickets will be released for sale closer to the event.

Additional items now on sale to enhance the festival-goer experience are the Meridian Champions Club, Pit and IndyCar Paddock Passes. The Meridian Champions Club is available for a limited time for $75 offering unprecedented access. The benefits include a complimentary IndyCar Series Paddock Pass which provides entrance into “the locker room of motorsports”, the pre-race grid walk, a souvenir credential with lanyard, signing the start finish line, an opportunity to win a two-seater Indy car ride on the track, and other exclusive at-event experiences to be announced.

“The countdown is officially on to summer and the Honda Indy Toronto! Now is the time to secure some of the best seats or pick up the ultimate gift for someone on your holiday list,” said Honda Indy Toronto President, Jeff Atkinson. “This summer Toronto tradition continues to gain momentum, but we are most proud of the positive impact that the event and Fan Friday is having on the community thanks to the great support of the Ontario Honda Dealers and the generous donations of our spectators.”

Fan Friday returns for the 10th year offering general admission on Friday, July 12, courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association through a voluntary donation by festival-goers. Honda Canada Foundation matches dollar for dollar the contributions received on the event weekend. Over $690,000 has been raised in nine years for Make-A-Wish® Canada.

The Honda Indy Toronto is an event for the whole family. The Honda Indy Toronto Rookie Racers Club immerses the youngest attendees into the sport with fun experiences. Thunder Alley will be filled with numerous activities and interactive displays including the Honda SpeedZone. New and diverse food options and upgrades to the experience providing additional festival gathering points will continue for 2019.

Importfest, Canada's largest modified car show, is happening Saturday, July 27, 2019 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Cars and competitions take place with the help of some gorgeous models at "Canada's Biggest and Baddest."

Wheels on the Danforth takes place on the streets of Toronto in August 16-17, 2019. The street festival features a large collection of antique, classic and tuner automobiles at the crossroads of the Danforth.
NASCAR Pinty's Series stock car races are Canada's only national racing series with about a dozen races starting from the Victoria Day Speedfest to the last race at Jukasa Motor Speedway in September for the Pinty's Fall Brawl. Canada's premier racing series also headlines Saturday's card at the Honda Indy Toronto. L.P. Dumoulin will be the the defending series champion. See the 2019 race schedule on my post here.

If you want to watch some more racing you can travel to a number of tracks around Ontario, some just hundreds of minutes away from Toronto. For bang for your buck value, the journey to the tracks provide a day or weekend of excitement and entertainment that is hard to beat. Here are the tracks with the approximate distance and direction from Toronto City Hall.


Sunset Speedway (1.25 hours north)
Full Throttle Varney Speedway (2 hours northwest)
Sauble Speedway (2.75 hours northwest)


Oshweken Speedway (1.25 hours southwest)
Jukasa Motor Speedway (formerly Cayuga Speedway) (1.5 hours southwest)
Merrittville Speedway (1.5 hours southwest)
The New Humberstone Speedway (1.75 hours southwest)
Canadian Motor Speedway (under construction, 2.75 hours southwest)


Flamboro Speedway (1 hour west)
Delaware Speedway (2.25 hours west)
Grand Bend Motorplex (2.5 hours west)


Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (1.25 hours east)
Kawartha Downs and Speedway (1.5 hours east)
Peterborough Speedway (1.5 hours east)
Brighton Speedway Park (1.75 hours east)
Shannonville Motorsport Park (2 hours east)
Brockville Ontario Speedway (3.25 hours east)
Cornwall Motor Speedway (4 hours east)
Calabogie Motorsports Park (4 hours east)

For those that like racing but enjoy the two wheeled variety more, you can check out my motorcycle show post here or hit Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for the Canadian Superbike Doubleheader Weekend August 9-11, 2019. "Canada’s top motorcycle riders compete in a doubleheader points race for the national Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship. This is the premier stop of the season for the Superbikes, along with other national classes including Pro Sport Bike, Amateur Superbike, Amateur Sport Bike and the Ninja 300 Racing Series."

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square