Saturday, November 28, 2009

Toronto Cavalcade of Lights - opening celebration

Torontonians gathered in City Hall's Nathan Phillips Square to listen to music, watch the square light up and see the spectacular fireworks as the Cavalcade of Lights Festival was kicked off on Saturday, November 28, 2009. We wore reindeer antlers and headed onto the elevated walkways running along the edge of the square to get a good view of the stage, the rink and the 50' Christmas tree. The weather was very nice for so late in the year - it's so close to Christmas.

Scotiabank presented the 43rd edition of the festival with hosts CityNews Meteroligist Michael Kuss and radio personality Maie Potts. Michael made a prediction for the musical guests and the weather for the event and of course he was wrong. Mayor David Millar kicked off the lighting of the square. Most available surfaces had lights and they lit up the evening in white, red and yellow.

Musical guest stars were Steven Page, Matt Dusk, Keshia Chante and Fritz Helder and the Phantoms. Each star sang about three songs each.

Steven Page, formerly of Bare Naked Ladies, looks out into the large crowd. He did a few songs from his past.

Well dressed crooner Matt Dusk sang from his new album. In this Youtube video I sweep the camera over the large gathering and into the skating rink under the freedom arches while Matt sings his latest single.

Keshia Chante sings for the large crowd.

Fritz Helder and the Phantoms take to the stage. This group also had fire jugglers on stilts performing during their songs.

The rink was packed full of those enjoying the exercise and the music.

The fireworks created a lot of smoke but made a nice show even though the smoke quickly made it hard to see many of the fireworks, especially those on top of City Hall. Most of the fireworks were sparkler type rockets. One blazing piece fell down onto Bay Street, cordoned off for just such an event.

Future shows will be held on December 5, 12 and 19 and will also include fireworks. You can see the many people gathered looking towards the stage in this picture. After the fireworks are over a DJ takes over the square until 10 pm.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Isolation at the Hospital

When someone we knew went into the hospital with flu like symptoms it didn't take long before she was in isolation and we had to don gowns and masks to minimize the risk of infection. Luckily they did not have the H1N1 virus and she got out of the hospital in a few days. Here we are dressed up for protection.

Skating back at City Hall

The Zamboni surprised me this morning as it came off the shiny new ice surface on the reflecting pond at City Hall. Later that day skaters took to the rinks with their rented blades. Meanwhile, at City Hall, Commissioner Gordon makes sure that the preparations for the Cavalcade of Lights continue as the Christmas Tree has been decorated and the stage starts to take shape.

Canadian musical crooner Matt "two shots" Dusk will be on hand for the opening ceremonies November 28th. We went out and saw Matt in action at a concert at Hamilton Place and I must say he did a fabulous job and afterwards his fans surrounded him for autographs and photos.

Speaking of Christmas I took in a small town (Acton) Christmas Parade and you can view hightlights of the event on this Youtube video.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Anne Mroczkowski - Update: Laid off from CityTV

Anne Mroczkowski, co-anchor of CityTV news, films a news story on the streets of Toronto. She was reporting on the money stores retain, or as she says "holds hostage", when returning the not so perfect gift. Check CityNews for the full story.

UPDATE January 19, 2010. The very able Anne joins many other news staff on the unemployement line as CityTV shows her and Laura DiBattista as well as a large number of staff (rumoured to be about 35 in total) out the door. CityTV hasn't taken her off all of their webpages yet. Here she is on the personalities page.

UPDATE January 21, 2010. Both The Toronto Star and EYE WEEKLY have taken my picture and used it in their online articles - without any credit or link. Check my blog post here

Coffee in the Square

A great gob of people worked on a large circle in Yonge-Dundas Square, slowly filling the circle with coffee cups, many filled with java. There wasn't a lot of information around so I don't think it was a straight promotion - it was probably for a photo shoot or commercial.

H1N1 Craze

H1N1 is in the news everywhere, tinged with a little panic and much uncertainty. Some of the questions people have relate to the following.

1. Is the virus man made?
2. Does it really hit children dis proportionally?
3. Are the vaccine additives dangerous?
4. Can the reactions to the vaccine, with and without additive, be very serious?
5. Was the vaccine testing rushed?
6. Do flu victims have underlying health issues which make the flu deadly?
7. Is the H1N1 flu deadlier than regular seasonal flu?

A young lady was in downtown Toronto trying to invite attention and dialog regarding the H1N1 Craze, you can leave comments on her website

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Olympic Torch

The Olympic Torch relay makes it's way towards Vancouver, British Columbia for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The torch was made by Canada's own Bombardier and some have commented on the fact that the torch looks like a giant joint - which is hilarious as it is heading to BC (you know those snowboarders)!

Bell had a promotion at the Toronto Eaton Centre and had one of the actual torches used during the relay. The assembly includes a bottle of propane and isobutene and a little button to ignite the flame and there was one made for each torch bearer (more than 12,000 were made).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big bang, boom

I watched some linemen blowing up some implosive connectors which was fun. The connectors are wound with explosives and the charge is set off. The resulting heat and force provide an excellent bond between the high voltage conductor and the connector.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blue Rodeo sings on the rooftops

There was some loud singing coming from the area around Second City and Gretzky's and as I got closer I saw that the road was blocked off and there were plenty of people on the road looking up to the rooftop. Blue Rodeo was rocking the roof as they filmed a CMT production of Blue Rodeo: The things we left behind. This is what their website has to say.

"To celebrate the launch of their new double album, The Things We Left Behind, Blue Rodeo are throwing a street party in their hometown of Toronto. The band will perform selections from the new album from the roof of the Diesel Playhouse (55 Blue Jays Way) at 2:30 pm on Tuesday, November 10. The City of Toronto is closing off both Blue Jays Way and Mercer Street that afternoon for the special public performance."

Cavalcade of Lights Prep

See pictures of the 2009 Opening Celebrations at my blog post here

Toronto prepares Nathan Phillips Square for the Cavalcade of Lights Celebration. The pond has been drained and Christmas lights and stars added to the arches. It won't be long before the skating rink is in place. Strings of lights are being put up on the extra large Christmas Tree.

The trees in the Osgoode Hall property finally have finally realized that fall has arrived.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Upcoming Cavalcade of Lights

See pictures of the 2009 Opening Celebrations at my blog post here.

Toronto will soon be lit up for the 2009 Cavalcade of Lights at City Hall. "The festivities kick-off on Saturday, November 28 at 7:00 p.m. with the lighting of Toronto's official Christmas tree, fireworks and live musical performances". Steven Page (former Barenaked Ladies) and Matt Dusk (I will be going to his show later in November) will be some of the singers at the event.

In honour of this upcoming night of lights I went to the opening of Niagara Fall's Winter Festival of Lights. Instead of Matt Dusk they had a lot of Disney characters and I even saw a lion on stage. Later they had two small (just over two minute) fireworks display. Their floodlights light up the falls, sometimes with colours.

Here is a short Youtube vid of some of the fireworks.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Let it Snow

It snowed today in Southern Ontario which makes the Christmas decorations going up around Toronto seem perfectly logical. The Eaton Centre has started installing the Santa Claus sleigh and reindeer in the area in front of Sears. This is also the location where the North Pole castle is constructed.

Meanwhile cute squirrels are gathering food at a frantic pace before the winter snows pile up on the ground.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Late Fall Waterfalls

Another day of waterfall pictures. We missed the peak colours by a week and yesterday's high winds blew most of the leaves of the trees - but still the waterfalls remain. Our first stop was one of the hardest to get down into the valley: Decew Falls. It has two of the nicest looking waterfalls so it is worth the treacherous climb by rope down the steep cliff walls. Here are the lower Decew Falls.

Later we took in the waterfalls in the Balls Falls Conservation Area. The leaves on the ground show how late in the season we are getting.

This is a little easier to get in and out of. There was a lot more water flowing since our last visit to this site. The upper falls has a little bit of Canada and US Niagara Falls action going on. The main falls is a horseshoe type falls while off to the side there is a seperate waterfall coming through the rocks halfway up the slope. The first picture is the Upper and the second picture is the Lower Balls Falls.

Here are some of my video clips on Youtube of these and other waterfalls of Southern Ontario.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square