Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010 - Lights Out

Update: Ontario saved 560MW, or about 4%, during the 2010 Earth Hour between 8:30 and 9:30pm.

We gathered at the Yonge-Dundas Square to see the lights go out for the 2010 Toronto Earth Hour celebration. They had moved the event from Nathan Phillips Square to the Yonge-Dundas Square for some reason, not sure why. I thought that room would be an issue but they also closed down Yonge Street from Queen to Dundas.

Mayor David Miller (center) joins CityTV hosts Dina Pugliese and Kevin Frankish on stage.

It was a chance to think about the environment, to enjoy the music and join in the countdown to Earth Hour. Here is my Youtube video with a bit of Jarvis Church of the Philosopher Kings and the countdown in the Square.

There were a few cheesy acts including a guy that put balloons in one nostril and out the other and no flame acts that I could see. They should have had more buskers on Yonge Street, instead most of the street was eerily empty except for the penguin and the Climate Action Now guys.

The adjacent buildings and advertisements kept shutting down gradually instead of a massive lights out at 8:30pm. Earth Hour seemed anticlimactic when it was finally counted down. Here is a Yonge Street looking north towards the billboards at Dundas Street as the lights started to go out.

Toronto Roller Derby: Real Women, Real Hits

Quad City Chaos is in Toronto this weekend (March 27 & 28, 2010) at the Downsview Park Hanger. The seleted pros of four cities will battle it out over two days on the flat track at the Downsview Park Hanger (75 Carl Hall Road). Here is a panorama of the hanger with the track.

I have been dying to go to a derby rumble for quite awhile now so hopefully I can get tickets and get some great shots of the action - I did and here they are.

The top ladies of the Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD) joined together to create the all star team of CN Power and will battle against Vancouver's Terminal City All-Stars, Montreal's New Skids on the Block and Hamilton's Hammer City Roller Girls. They also had a pillow fight during the first intermission and a live band after the first match. The music during the whole event is fast paced and gets the crowd cheering.

Schedule(from the ToRD website) and single day tickets are $18 and are available at the door.

1:00pm…........ Doors Open
2:00 – 3:30pm…. Toronto vs. Vancouver
3:30 – 4:30pm…. INTERMISSION
4:30 – 6:00pm…. Hamilton vs. Toronto
6:00 – 6:30pm…. INTERMISSION
6:30 – 8:00pm…. Montreal vs. Vancouver

12:30pm…....... Doors Open
1:00 – 2:30pm…. Toronto vs. Montreal
2:30 – 3:00pm…. INTERMISSION
3:30 – 5:00pm…. Vancouver vs. Hamilton

The players pick their funky names and numbers such as Bambi, Judge Jodie and Mis Carriage and #4077, 2x4 and 1/2 pnt.

The floor is flat and concrete and these ladies don't take these matches lightly. They hip check and end up slamming into the ground.

The ladies only use elbow and knee pads and helmets for protection. The team shirts match while the rest of the uniform is up to the player to complete. The roller blades are the old style, 2x2 wheels, the type you would see in Laverne and Shirley.

I read one twitter post that said that Roller Derby is about underwear on the outside and there were a few ladies doing just that. Here is Toronto CN Power's Land Shark #13 and her chomp undies!

Watch my slideshow of the action on Youtube and here is my Youtube video of a bit of the warmup and a bit of the action of the Toronto VS Vancouver match.

So go out and support these hard working athletes and check out an upcoming match with the Toronto Roller Derby League. You can see my pictures of the 2010 Season Opener between Gore_Gore Rollergirls and the Smoke City Betties.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Noodle Peddler and other stuff

I noticed an eco-friendly delivery service - noodle peddler from SweetLulu and their box on a bike. I didn't see the rider so I can only assume they were in a fast food joint filling up on big, bad burgers.

The people of Toronto have poked their head out of the PATH system, saw the sun and decided to come out onto the streets. No longer are we CHUDs; Canadian Humanoid Underground Dwelling monsters! Here are the happy people on Yonge Street north of Dundas Street.

Earth Hour Toronto 2010

For pictures of the 2010 event at Yonge-Dundas Square see my blog post here.

The Earth Hour action will be in Yonge-Dundas Square this year as CityTV hosts Kevin Frankish and Dina Pugliese will usher in darkness with a free concert by Chantal Kreviazuk, Jarvis Church and Justin Nozuka. Lots of buildings have posters displaying their support of Earth Hour - including the Eaton Centre.

While the event begins at 5:30pm the singing will start at approximately 7:30. Here is the schedule from the WWF website.

5:30 pm Street performers and Earth Hour wish collection begins
7:00 pm onwards Official welcome and open remarks from Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada
Justin Nozuka performs
Jarvis Church performs
8:10 pm Earth Hour countdown ceremony begins
8:30 pm Earth Hour starts and Chantal Kreviazuk performs
9:30 pm Closing remarks

For more excitement there will be flame throwers, aerial artists and hip-hop dance crews.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Barenaked Ladies at FCP

Celebrating the launch of their new CD and the start of FCP events at Toronto's First Canadian Place the Barenaked Ladies put on a free lunch time concert.

The crowds once again surrounded the small waterfall stage on all levels and watched the group perform some old songs and some new songs from their new CD "All in Good Time", which was on sale for a special price of $10. They autographed their CDs after their show.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Flowers in the spring

The warm sun of March Break ran away when the weekend got here, which is ironic because this weekend marks the start of Spring (vernal equinox or spring equinox) which arrived on Saturday, March 20, 2010. Warmer and longer days are here again, well hopefully the warmer days will come back soon!

Purple crocus flowers popped out of the ground while bees came looking for pollen and this was the first sign that I have seen of new growth in 2010. I can't wait for the trees to bud and the forests to turn green.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Maple Syrup Season

The frosty nights and warm temperatures have started the running of the syrup, much like the running of the bulls, if bulls were watery liquid coming out of maple trees. During March Break many families bring their children to forests, sugar bushes and conservation areas to see the magic of maple syrup.

Near Toronto you can go to the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival at Bruce's Mill Conservation Area or Kortright Centre for Conservation or Mountsberg Conservation Area in Halton Region just by Highway 401 and Guelph Line.

Maple trees larger than 30cm in diameter are drilled and tapped with a spout which drain into buckets. The liquid is gathered together and boiled to make maple syrup. Boiling the syrup produces maple candy. You can watch the process, get samples of maple candies, buy pancakes and rides on horse drawn wagons. With the warm weather it is a fine way to spend the day outside in the fresh air.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toronto Mounted Police

Every so often you get to see the Toronto Mounted Police trotting along downtown streets, usually in pairs, sometimes in small groups. Mostly they look cool and get a lot of stares and provide a lot of photo opportunities.

You tend to forget they are also formidable for crowd control purposes - like at riots and protests. I imagine you will see lots of them during upcoming G20 conference to be held in Toronto on June 26 and 27, 2010.

I have watched them perform as a group during the Toronto Doors Open event down at the CNE grounds. The horses wear protective shields over the eyes, just like their riders.

They are based out of the Horse Palace in the CNE.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Art, art everywhere

Toronto is full of art and there is a lot of it out in the streets, in public spaces and private locations open to view. Sometimes, just walking around I trip over some statue or installation, there is just so much of it.

I've talked about the toy soldiers, the immigrant family, the freaky sculptures in the Historic Distillery District and the watertable under the Gardiner Expressway but I haven't talked about the family of plastic, headless elephants along the Don Valley Parkway.

Well, they aren't really headless elephants - they are planters in an installation called "elevated wetlands" by Noel Harding. This green installation uses recycled plastics to help clean the water and each planter supplies water into the next lower planter until it empties into a small wetland at the base of the sculpture.

You can find more art around the city from these links: City of Toronto Public Art, the City of Toronto Art Walk, Toronto Sculpture Garden and Outdoor Art in Toronto.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Performance World Custom Car & Truck Show

Check out my coverage and photos of the lovely ladies at the 2011 Performance Custom Car and Truck Show on my post here.

The Toronto International Centre was once again full of cars and trucks during the 2010 Performance World Custom Car and Truck Show. The snake pictured above was from an antique automobile, it is the horn from a 1911 Locomobile 48 Touring car. You squeeze the buld at the end of the hose and the snake would make a sound. It would be hard to get a good case of road rage squeezing on that horn.

There was a number of halls full of various race, hot rod and classic cars as well as some tricked out tuner cars and critters from Zoo Too You. In addition to all the metal and chrome there were a number of beautiful ladies like Tania Amazon a curves centerfold and calendar model.

NASCAR had a few Canadian Tire Series (NCTS) drivers including Mark Dilley (pictured below), Scott Steckly (Scott's #22 car was also at the show), Kerry Micks and J.R. Fitzpatrick courtesy of Sunset Speedway and Wide Open Motorsports.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres

Workers recently finished some renovations to the outside of the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatres on Yonge Street just across from the Eaton Centre. I never really noticed the "and" on the sign as well as the two theatres; Elgin (downstairs) and Winter Garden (upstairs). Apparently the historically significant structure, built in 1913, is the only remaining working double decker theatre complex (two separate theaters) in the world.

You can rent the theatre out for private events, take a tour of the National Historic site owned by the Ontario Heratage Trust or even go to see some live theatre. I am going to wait for Cats to come back.

Nathan Phillips Square rink finished for season

The outdoor rink under the "Freedom Arches" in Nathan Phillips Square just recently shut down for the season on the 5th of March and a small amount of ice remained at the edges. Bye bye winter.

The rink gets a lot of use during the day and night and tons of people rent skates on site. During winter special events they will usually have a DJ play some music to skate to.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Guest Blog: The Toronto Music Garden

The Toronto Music Garden: Musically Inspired, Beautifully Inspirational. A guest blog by writer Steven Rosen. Photos by James Hamilton.

The Toronto Music Garden waterfront park spans over two acres of pristine landscaping, artistically inspired from J.S. Bach's "First Suite for the Unaccompanied Cello". From the moment of arrival, guests are transported to an aesthetic blending of classical culture made manifest with carefully crafted garden suites, each representative of the many phases of the Bach musical masterpiece.

Overlooking the sparkling waters of Lake Ontario and hedged among the city's skyline, the Toronto Music Garden is a haven for rest, relaxation and living harmony with nature. Nestled between the water's Edge Promenade and Queen's Quay West, the Toronto Music Garden is divided into six organically grown courtyards to include the Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Menuett and Gigue, each section abounding in unique greenery and foliage arranged like a work of art. The senses are awakened to colour and aroma with a natural canvas of colourful plant life, birds, butterflies and a crackling river to wash away the cares of the day.

The Toronto Music Garden was carefully crafted in artistic arrangement of Canada's finest botanicals. Stroll through river birch trees, Swiss stone pine, rocky mountain fir, Russian ash and more as they are perfectly adorned by colourful specimens of golden azalea, roses lilac and over sixty luminous and scented species of plant life which would make any Toronto florist drool. Take a leisurely stroll or find your secluded garden spot for pondering and meditation.

The communion with nature and taking time to appreciate life is a dynamic stress reliever that refreshes and renews one's creative energies. Beauty and culture has inspired some of the greatest minds to capture a vision and make it happen. The J.S. Bach inspired Toronto Music Garden sets your mind free and rejuvenates, opening up a world of rich culture, tranquility and endless possibilities.

The Toronto Music Garden presents some of the best symphony talent and ensembles for cultural enrichment in a peaceful, park like setting. Guests may enjoy the works of Bach, his contemporaries, and the best from the classical era in the spectacular ambience of nature's sights and sounds. Whether you have been a lifelong patron of the fine arts or wish to introduce yourself to this richly rewarding world, the Toronto Music Garden has something for everyone of all ages.

The generous gifts and donations from the friends of the Toronto Music Garden make this nature lover's sanctuary a free gift for guests to enjoy year-round from sunrise to sunset. Guided tours are available and wheelchair access is provided.

Steven Rosen has been a Toronto resident for the past year (he is a former Montrealer) and has been lucky to experience being a tourist while living here. As a "tourist" he is interested in providing an insider/outsider view of some of the city's best attractions. An overhead view of the Music Garden is shown in this screen shot from Google Maps.

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square