Sunday, June 24, 2018

Pink Flamingos in the Distillery District

Toronto's historic Victorian Industrial district is home to a pair of pink flamingos, of the art type, hiding in the hipster neighbourhood. Well, not so much hiding as welcoming you into a store. And that store is near the intersection where the Love Lock display is located.

Distillery District Flamingos
360 degree photo, just drag and explore the photo in all directions

One of the monster sculptures still watches over the visitors
Gooderham & Worts distillery
A great place to be a tourist

Love Locks in the Distillery District
360 desgree photo at the Love Locks

Don't wait for special events to drop by the historic Distillery District, go during a weekday when the crowds are small when the visit can be more relaxed.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Toronto Indigenous Arts Festival

Fort York Historic Site highlights traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture on from June 21 to 24, 2018. Thursday and Friday are Education Days while the Public Festival is June 23 to 24. The festival is free on the weekend and during the day and includes a Traditional Pow Wow and over 30 Indigenous artists from across Canada. The event is produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
Celebrations of Indigenous culture will also feature dance, theatre, storytelling and concerts at the site located at 250 Fort York Boulevard. Weekend hours are Saturday from 10am to 10:30pm and Sunday from 10am to 7:30pm.

The Bentway Park outside Fort York also has an ongoing canoe installation and several old canoes are being painted out on the walkway. On the highway pillars several images of canoes have been applied to the concrete. The works are by Vancouver-based, Lakota Sioux artist Dana Claxton who "considers the iconic role and symbolism of the canoe in Canadian, Metis, and Indigenous histories. Claxton works with photographs sourced from the Internet, and her images depict a range of canoe types, from traditional birchbark vessels to contemporary leisure crafts, reflecting a method of transportation that spans time and distance."

Saturday, June 23 will also have the Indigenous Day Live Concert with a pre-show at 5:20pm and the concert from 7pm - 10pm. Main stage performers include Grace Dove (Host), Samian (Host), Kardinal Offishall with Que Rock, Shawnee, Ria Mae, Logan Staats, Shauit, Beats Collective, Daniel Roy, Valerie Dee Naranjo, Rich Brown, Jera Wolfe, Illustrated, Quantum Tangle and Fawn Wood & Dallas Waskahat.

See more of the festival after the jump.

Toronto Trans Pride and Streetfair 2018

Friday was the beginning of StreetFair on Church Street and the first of the Toronto Pride parades of the annual festival with the Trans Pride March on June 22nd. Yasmeen Persad will be the Grand Marshal of the parade which began with a rally and left the starting point for their march.

“Trans” is an umbrella term that refers to all the identities within the gender identity spectrum. It includes but is not limited to community members who identify as transgender, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, gender-fluid, gender-independent, non-binary, third gender, two-spirit, and bi-gender."

See more of Pride after the jump.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Redpath Waterfront Festival 2018

Famous for the 2017 giant rubber ducky, the annual festival returns with the HTO Pendulum Wave at HTO Beach. The Redpath Waterfront Festival also features Aqua Cirque which is an H20 Themed Circus Show at Sherbourne Common. "Aqua Cirque is an enchanting and colourful show from A2D2 – Aerial Dance Cirque Co. The show tells a magical underwater tale with mystical creatures performing incredible acrobatics, aerials and nautical feats. Submerge yourself with our aquatic friends as they take you on a captivating undersea journey." The annual Toronto waterfront festival weekend runs from Friday, June 22 to 24.
HTO Pendulum Wave - giant beach balls
360 degree photo. Left click and drag to view the photos in all directions

Also joining the beach balls at HTO Park is the Royal Canadian Navy Tall Ship the HMCS Oriole. The ship has been out on a training mission and this is the first time it has been in the Great Lakes in over 25 years.
Six giant beach balls form the installation HTO Pendulum Wave, designed by Decor & More, where the balls swing back and forth. The balls are 6.5 feet wide and hang from a steel truss structure right by the water and as the balls move back and forth they are cranking out the tunes. Look but don't touch. It is slightly interesting, but come on, we all know this doesn't hold a candle to the giant rubber ducky. You know what would have been great? A giant Gozzzilllla pointing towards the unknowing city, or an giant ape climbing up the CN Tower.

HTO Pendulum Wave - giant beach balls
360 degree photo

Honda Indy Toronto 2018 Track Build

Putting together the Streets of Toronto track while minimizing the impact to traffic is no easy feat, yet the construction crews do it year after year. Most of the track on Lake Shore Boulevard is setup, Turn 3 grandstand is up (photo at top), within Exhibition Place the blocks are over 50% are in place - just needing fencing to be installed and the pit lane stands are under construction with grandstand 10 complete.
Festival Map

Turn 6 near the Princess Margaret Fountain is half built
Honda Indy Toronto 2018 track build
Turn 3: 360 degree photo. For these photos hold your mouse over the picture, left click and you will be able to scroll around the photo in all directions.

Pit Lane and grandstand 10
The Trackside Suite on the inside of Turn 11 under construction

Kilometers of fence and concrete block are placed as Honda Indy Toronto grandstands take shape along the route. They have to be ready by race weekend which is mid July. And they have made steady progress from their mid June start.

"Track construction of the 2.89 km (1.786 miles), 11-turn temporary street circuit has begun inside the Exhibition Place grounds for next month’s Honda Indy Toronto. The final racing layout will once again feature four left and seven right turns running clockwise direction.
Lake Shore Boulevard
Turn 5 near BMO Field
Honda Indy Toronto 2018 track build
Turn 5: 360 degree photo

Coming into Turn 8 near the GO Station
Honda Indy Toronto 2018 track build
Turn 8: 360 degree photo

Turn 9 between BMO Field and the Horse Palace

Led by Jim Tario, Director of Track Operations, who has built the Toronto circuit for 30 years, approximately 200 expert crew members will assist in completing the project with much of the work happening at night.

“Each year the crew gets more efficient with the construction and tear down process. The logistics of night construction comes at a greater cost to us, but the time savings is significant in completing the track build,” said Jeff Atkinson, president of Honda Indy Toronto. “We transform the streets into a world-class race track while showcasing the beauty of our city to a worldwide TV. In total over 2,050 blocks made using more than 10 million pounds of concrete will be positioned. Fencing spanning 14,000 feet made from 410,000 pounds of steel will be erected, and over 1,600 feet of tire wall barriers will line the course.

Track tear down will begin immediately upon conclusion of racing activity. Crews also work at night on this process to avoid daytime traffic."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Kicked out of Friday Harbour

Our first kayak trip of the season happened when we visited Big Bay Point, near the northern part of Lake Simcoe and it ended not so well. Travelling to Innisfil we made for the government dock to launch our kayaks and ended up with a $50 parking ticket because they don't like visitors, so try to go to some other town if you want to launch your kayak. Areas along Lake Simcoe were infamous for episodes of locals pushing Asians into the water in assaults that were known as 'nipper-tipping'. It looks like they found another way to keep unwanted visitors from coming into the area by restricting parking access to taxpayer funded places like government docks!

At the mouth of Friday Harbour

Then we set out on the water during a beautiful day, boating around the point and heading over to the new development at Friday Harbour. My wife is obsessed with this place, she tried to win a condo by buying a ticket to the Princess Margaret lottery but lost out and cried for days. It started to enter her thoughts because of the radio ads and their logo with the combined backwards F attached to the letter H (she dislikes the logo so it is stuck in her head). I thought it would be a perfect waterborne journey and then we could explore the harbour and go into one of the restaurants or even Starbucks for a coffee and snack.
Friday Harbour 5-0 gives us the old heave ho

As we headed into the harbour (picture at top) we were greeted by a couple of security people in a pontoon party boat who said that they can't have just any kayaks in the harbour and kicked us out.
Leaving the government dock, you can almost hear the town say we don't want you

An old anchor decoration along the shore
The highlight of the trip was the brood of tiny ducklings

So basically Big Bay Point sucks for visitors.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pride Parades and Streetfair Schedule 2018

Pride Month culminates with the three immensely popular parades that march out from the Church-Wellesley Village, along Bloor Street and down Yonge Street to various terminal points. Anchoring the parades will be the annual Pride Streetfair running on Church St from Dundas Street East to Charles Street East.

The Streetfair is on Friday, June 22 (7pm-2am); Saturday, June 23 (noon-2am) and Sunday, June 24 (noon-11pm). This fair will feature a licensed drinking section (with wrist bands, id checks and bag searching) on Church St from Carlton St to Charles St.

The roster of Toronto Pride Parades starts with the Trans March on Friday, June 22. The march starts at 8pm with the rally starting an hour earlier. "Toronto’s Trans March is officially one of the largest, most exciting Pride events in the world – not only for all the trans and non-binary folks, friends, and allies who rally and march together in solidarity, but for anyone who is lucky enough to witness the landmark event. Trans women of colour and people with different abilities are encouraged to lead the march and set the pace for all. Join us at the intersection of Church and Hayden streets as we make our way along Bloor, south on Yonge, and east on Carlton to Allan Gardens where we host a fantastic lineup of trans performers for a postMarch showcase until 10PM."

Parade number two is the Dyke March Saturday, June 23. The march starts at 2pm and the rally time is one hour before. "The Toronto Dyke March is a political demonstration of critical mass, welcoming all self-identified dykes to create political and visible space. This grassroots event is not a parade. The women and trans people of our dyke community take over the streets of downtown Toronto to celebrate our power, strength, diversity and passion of dyke experiences and identities. We will reflect on our history, celebrate our accomplishments, learn from our past, honour where we’ve come from and lift voices that have been silenced and forgotten. Join us for the post-march rally in Allan Gardens for performances, crafting and even more dyke-community building."

The final parade is the namesake Pride Parade which starts at 2pm. "The 38th Annual Pride Parade is happening June 24, 2018 at 2 P.M. followed by a moment of silence at 3 P.M.. From the corner of Church St and Bloor St all the way down Yonge St to Yonge-Dundas Square, tell your stories to a crowd of over 1 million festival-goers and many more watching at home through art direction, costume design, choreography, music and special effects. Go glitz & glam. Be colourful and creative. Go big. And have fun!"

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Toronto Sculpture Garden relaunch

A tiny oasis of calm on an otherwise busy street in the heart of downtown Toronto contains a waterfall and a place to showcase the art of sculpture. Located at 115 King Street East, just across from St James Cathedral, the small parkette is accessible from King Street and the alley to the south. The City has relaunched the Toronto Sculpture Garden after a brief hiatus in 2014 and will feature two exhibits this year. "I am delighted this public art location is active once again and I look forward to seeing exciting new works there now and in the future," said Mayor John Tory.

Up first is an installation by Canadian artist Karen Kraven with a piece called Pins and Needles, made with marine canvas and lightweight plastic. It resembles a drying rack for giant clothes.

"Inspired by the histories of labour strikes that occurred at garment factories in Montreal, Toronto and New York, the exhibit takes its name from a hit Broadway show organized by the editor of a newspaper from the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Kraven's artwork takes apart the individual pieces that make up women's trench coats and transforms them into sculptural elements. The disassembled clothing casts away its functionality and suggests abandoned bodies, much like the act of going on strike. The installation will remain on display until September 15."

Find the garden on the Toronto Discovery Walks route

From 1981 to 2014 the garden had 60 exhibitions from over 80 artists. Managed by the City and developed by the Lous L. Odette Family, The City of Toronto and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. The next exhibit will be in the fall of this year. Here is the garden with a sculpture in 2011.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

TFOB 2018 sounds Beerlicious

Cold beer and great music are being announced for the upcoming Toronto Festival of Beer presented by the Beer Store at Exhibition Place July 26 to 29. Bands start Thursday at the OLG Bandshell Stage with Broken Social Scene and The Rural Alberta Advantage, on Friday; Ludacris, on Saturday; Dwayne Gretzky and on Sunday, the final day of the Festival of Beer; I Mother Earth and Finger Eleven.

“We are thrilled to present this great lineup, on the opening night of TFOB 2018,” said Les Murray, President and Owner of Beerlicious and Toronto’s Festival of Beer. “Bringing together much loved Toronto based Broken Social Scene and The Rural Alberta Advantage is sure to make Thursday night a can’t miss. It is a great night for consumers to enjoy a first taste of the beer, food,and music presented at TFOB. We hope to see you there!”

Broken Social Scene is a Toronto based indie rock band of indeterminate size founded in 1999 by Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. The duo released their first album in 2001 which also featured a number of guest performers. By their second album, released in 2002, the band included 11 musicians and won their first Juno Award as Best Alternative Album in 2003.

Rural Alberta Advantage is an award winning trio of musicians playing percussive folk songs know as "Canada's best unsigned band" and has been nominated for two Juno Awards. Amy Cole, Paul Banwatt and Nils Edenloff have released The Wild, their fourth album and have collaborated with Mill Street Brewery for RAAle which will be available at the festival.

OLG is supporting the live music at the Bandshell Stage and will also present the OLG Winners' Corner with a chance to win VIP experiences, prizes and exclusive access.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square